Advaita Vedānta does not negate or dismiss God. It rather negates and dismisses our ego. God does not go out of the picture when the ‘quantum leap’ to non-duality takes place in our understanding. Our ahankāra (ego) is shown the door; God alone remains.
Sri Rāmakrishna narrated the parable of the salt doll that went to the sea to measure the depth of the waters. As the doll went deeper and deeper, it did realize how unimaginably deep the sea was but, in the process, it dissolved and did not remain separate from the sea! The sea remained; the doll did not.
Devotion to God is a major form of gathering of our energy towards the leap. A mantra1 says, “He who has supreme devotion to God… displays (the divine) qualities sung (in the scriptures)!” The position of the Vedānta is that Brahman, the one without a second2, appears as the three-fold manifestation: jeeva, jagat and Ishvara. A famous invocation verse (dhyāna-shloka), associated with the Dakshināmurti Stotra, puts it this way3: Salutations to That, which appears in three forms: God, Teacher and the self.
Does this God exist outside of us or inside us? Maharshi Ramana answered this question, saying God is both outside and inside. Staying outside, He pushes our out-going mind towards inside; staying inside, He pulls the extrovert mind inwards.
The sage of Arunachala also said4 that true ‘vision of God’ is becoming food for Him! Revolutionary saints like Kabir also expressed such a view when they sang, “The path of divine love is narrow; when He walks on it, I have no space left; when I go, He is not found!”
1 yasya deve parā bhaktih… tasya .. arthāh prakāshante – Shvetāshvatara Up, mantra 6.23
2 ekam-eva advitiyam – Chāndogya Up – mantra 6.2.1
3 ishvaro gurur-ātmā-iti moorti-bheda-vibhāgine.. namah.
4 svayam tad-anneebhavanam tad-eeksha – Saddarshanam, verse 23
Tags: article, god and vedanta, Swami Chidananda