Each person has his own conception of God. If the conception of God as Light satisfies you, then you are perfectly right in thinking of God as Light. Someone else perhaps will be satisfied only with God as a most luminous being, like a most beautiful child. Each person has to think of God according to his own inner capacity and inner receptivity.
If you want to see God in a particular form, if you have pleased Him, then He is bound to appear before you in that form. If you want to see Him with attributes, if you have pleased Him, He will show Himself to you with attributes. If you want to see Him in His impersonal Form, as infinite Peace, Light and Bliss, then He can appear in that way also. God is more than ready to appear before you in the form to which you are most devoted.
The personal God and impersonal God are both the same God. The personal God will come to you with a body. He will be most luminous, infinitely more beautiful than the most beautiful human being on earth. The impersonal aspect of God is His infinite Energy, infinite Light, infinite Power. When a man stands in front of you, he is personal. But the moment he shows you his power or his capacity in any form, that aspect is impersonal. Similarly, God is both personal and impersonal; He is with form and He is without form. At the same time, God transcends both form and formlessness.
Personal and impersonal,
With form and without,
God the Supreme
Do not try to approach God with your thinking mind. It may only stimulate your intellectual ideas.
Try to approach God with your crying heart. It will awaken your soulful, spiritual consciousness.
Is it better for us to think of God in personal terms or in impersonal terms?
It is easier to approach God in His personal aspect. If we try from the very beginning to enter into the impersonal God, our physical mind—which is so clever—may try to convince us that God is unreal, or we may enter into false imagination. Imagination is not bad, but it can be all mental fantasies. But if we see a most luminous being right in front of us, and then if we try to enter into the heart of this being, there we will also see the formless. If we go from the form to the formless, the process is easier.
Suppose we see someone standing in front of us. If we know that this person is our father, then we can try to see how much knowledge, wisdom and capacity he has. But if we first try to fathom his knowledge without thinking of the person as our father, then we will be totally lost. If we know that he is our father, immediately his affection and love enter into us and then we can easily see his capacity. At that time, it is impossible for us to separate his capacity from his reality.
A commander has a big battalion and inside him is the power to make this battalion do something. He may say just one or two words and then, with the power that he wields, he leaves the whole world stunned. He utters one word of command and immediately his power is seen all over. Once we see him and his capacity, it is impossible to separate his capacity from his reality. It is the same with the personal God. Once we see Him and realise where this immense capacity is coming from, then it is impossible to separate the Being and the capacity.
First let us take the form as reality and from the form let us go to the formless reality. To go to the formless reality from the form is infinitely easier than the other way around.
/It seems to me that at the start of the spiritual path we see God with form, and that as we grow into oneness He starts to lose His Form. Is this true?/
No, unfortunately you are mistaken. It is our own mental conception that the formless is something superior to the form. We feel that before the creation the Supreme was formless and only later He took a form to come to us. But look at the sun. Although it is so vast, when we look at it, it has the form of a tiny disk. Why? Because we are seeing it from very, very far away.
Similarly, when spiritual Masters, great spiritual figures or God-realised souls come down, they embody the highest infinite Consciousness inside them. But when they come into the world of form, they are 6' or 5'8" or even of shorter stature. Do you think they have then lost their inner height? Do you think they have lost their inner depth? No. It is like the vast sun that looks tiny here.
When consciousness descends into the physical, the physical takes a form. The individual is actually the soul, and the soul is the representative of God. The soul is infinite Peace, Light and Bliss inside God. But we do not see the soul; we see only the very limited frame of the body: this much height, this much length, this much breadth. We feel that something beyond the body or form is vaster. True, it is vaster, but it is a mistake if we say that the formless is more meaningful than the form.
The idea that the higher we go, the more we are in touch with the formless is not true. When we go higher it need not be toward the formless. It can be toward the supremely divine God with form, who possesses boundless Affection, boundless Love, boundless Concern—everything in infinite measure. We can go beyond the form of the mind, but not beyond the supreme Form.
The formless is not superior to the form. They are equally important. Especially in the beginning, before you realise God, it is advisable to go through the form. If you can go through the form to the formless, then you will be happy. But if you try to go through the formless to the form, you will find it impossible. First you have to enter into the water and swim a little. Then when you become a great swimmer, you can cross the sea. But if you try to cross the sea without knowing how to swim, you will drown.
Do you think that one's visions of God as form are influenced by one's cultural upbringing?
Sometimes one may have a vision of God that is influenced by one's tradition or culture. But again, it may not be so. When, on the strength of our own aspiration, we realise God, it is up to God how He will appear before us. In some countries they have very fixed ideas, fixed notions that God will be like this or like that. The Indian gods and goddesses have all kinds of forms. Again, there are many Westerners who have not read Indian books at all, but they get experiences of the Indian cosmic gods and goddesses.
At the same time, there are many Indians who have not studied the Bible or the Western scriptures, but they do see angels and other things. If religious tradition has formed some mental concept of God, the seekers may see God in this way when they are realising the Truth. In other cases, what they see may be entirely determined by God's own Will operating in and through them.
When you speak of the Beloved Supreme Himself, how do you imagine the Supreme to be?
It is not a matter of imagination; it is a matter of experience. You can experience the Beloved Supreme in one particular way. I may experience Him in a different way. Each one, on the strength of his or her aspiration, experience and realisa-tion, will see the Supreme in a different but most convincing way.
If I am looking for a policeman and I find someone in a policeman's uniform, I will be very pleased. Because he is wearing his uniform, I will know that he is a policeman. But if you are looking for a policeman, and you happen to know that so-and-so is a policeman, then you will be in a position to approach him even if he is not wearing his uniform. Similarly, if one is already in tune with the higher realities, he will have the experience of the Beloved Supreme in one form, whereas someone who is having the experience of the Highest for the first time may have it in a different way.
It is like the child whose father is a Supreme Court judge. When the child sees his father in ordinary street clothes, he still knows that his father is a Supreme Court judge. And when he goes to the courtroom and sees his father in a judge's robe, he still knows that this individual is his father. But if somebody who is not a member of the family sees the judge on the street, he will not recognise him. Similarly, each individual sees the Beloved Supreme in a specific way that will be totally convincing to him.
What has been your experience of God?
I have experienced God in the personal form as well as the impersonal form. At this moment, I see Him as an expanse of Light and Delight. The next moment He may take the form of a most luminous being. When we realise the Highest, we see that He is at once personal and impersonal. Like water and ice, He can be with form or without. Sometimes water is liquid, and we can swim in it. Other times it is solid, and we can walk on it. In the spiritual life also, sometimes we are fond of the impersonal aspect of the Highest Absolute, and sometimes we are fond of the personal aspect.
The Highest is beyond personal and impersonal but, at the same time, He embodies both. The Highest is formless, and at the same time He is with form. If we have to state in a word what He is, we have to say that He is both, and again, that He is beyond both. We cannot grasp God with the human mind. In the beginning He is this; then He is that. Then there comes a time when He is beyond both. The Highest is the ever-transcending Reality. Today's Beyond is to-morrow's starting point.
How does the Supreme appear to you, and what is the nature of your relationship to Him?
Usually I see the Supreme in the form of a golden Being, a most illumined and illumining Being. Here on earth, when we say that a child is extremely beautiful, we are judging his form. But the Supreme is infinitely more beautiful than any human child we can see. This is the way I see the Supreme when I converse with Him. It is this form that I am most fond of.
Our relationship is that of Father and son. Out of His infinite Compassion, He has kindled the flames of aspiration in me. These flames climb high, higher, highest. My aspiration carries unconditional love, devotion and surrender.
Familiarity breeds contempt in the human life, but in the spiritual life the familiarity between the seeker and the Supreme Pilot only increases in intensity and capacity. Familiarity cannot diminish the sweetness, love and concern that flows between the seeker and the Supreme. On the contrary, familiarity only increases these qualities. When I deal with the personal aspect of the Supreme, He increases my love, devotion and surrender. He makes me aware of what He eternally is. The more familiar we become with Him, the more we establish our ever-fulfilling oneness with Him.
The personal aspect cannot create problems for the true seeker. When two people become close, it often does not last because they see weaknesses in each other. But the personal aspect of the Supreme knows what we are. He does not think of us as imperfect; he takes us as His own infinite extensions. He does not find fault with us either on the physical plane or on the psychic plane. It is He that is carrying us to the ever-transcending Perfection.
God always treats you
As His dearest child.
But where is your heart
To feel it,
And where is your mind
To believe it?
Every day when you meditate, try to feel that you are inside the Heart of God, the Inner Pilot. Although you have not seen the Supreme, just imagine a being who is absolutely golden. Imagine that He is right in front of you or that you are inside His Heart or in His Lap or at His Feet. Do not think that you are eighteen or forty or sixty years old. No! Think that you are only one month old and that you are inside the very Heart of the Supreme or in His Lap.
Each moment is an opportunity
To think of God
And to feel God's Presence.
In everything that you do,
Feel that you are touching
The very Breath
Of your Beloved Supreme.
I completely forgot
That God is old.
I could have learned
So much from Him.
I completely forgot
That God is young.
I should have invited Him
To come into my heart-garden
And play with me.