My question concerns one that always leaves me somewhat immobilized by its all-encompassing depth and that is the great question: "Why"? What is the purpose of spiritual enlightenment and transcendence if it is only to serve the will of "God" and what even is God? I understand that self-realization and states of oneness bring a sense of great connection, joy, and love. But are those not just states that have been designed? I often feel "used" by "God"! Deepest thanks!

—Dean, Canada


Dear Dean!

Aahh! Why, indeed! I’ll begin by admitting there is no truly satisfactory “answer” to that question from the point of view of the “creature in creation!”

Life here is a struggle; it seems at times unfair; some have all the fun; others, the suffering. We see the operation of cause and effect in many day-to-day events and in the vast bulk of science’s investigations but plenty of life’s experiences remain inexplicable from the point of view of cause-and-effect (or, “why?”).

Let’s imagine, however, that you are Shakespeare and you are writing another one of your awesome plays. What makes a play popular and enjoyable is the element of suspense, drama, love, betrayal, and action. The play, like the modern motion picture, would be uninteresting if it didn’t grip your attention, stir your emotions, and, at last, come to a “happy ending.” Right?

Well, guess who gets the role of Shakespeare? Yes, the Deity! Is Shakespeare evil because he creates a great villain? No, of course not. A believable play has to “get your goat,” doesn’t it? You have to think (in the moment of experiencing it) that it is real. Yet, when it’s over, you can heave a sigh of relief and exclaim, “What a great story!” Is this not so?

I just saw an article (yet another) affirming that quantum physics has reached the ineluctable conclusion that there is no objective reality! Life’s objectivity, reality’s substantiveness is called into question even by the god of science himself.

“You will know when you will know” Paramhansa Yogananda brusquely commented when asked: “Why?” “Leave some things to be answered by the Creator himself when you meet Him” he said (I am paraphrasing). “He who says he knows, doesn’t. He who says he doesn’t, doesn’t. He who knows, knows!”

In the story of the Garden of Eden, we are told that we once enjoyed perfection in human form. We lost it because we fell for the lie that maya, duality, could make us even happier. Most of the inhabitants of the planet wouldn’t have it any other way. The lures of maya (the senses, possessions, power, beauty, fame, intoxications) are plenty interesting for most people. Most are both fallen and enjoying it (or, more correctly, hoping they’ll get “theirs” any day now).

“God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten Son.” The true son of God is the intelligence and bliss that animates our soul; the Christ or Krishna consciousness resides in every atom of creation. We, like the musk deer searching for the source of the fragrance it smells, look in all the wrong places until we “hear” the words “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” God has created this great drama that “He might enjoy Himself through many.” Swami Kriyananda gave us this insight: “The nature of bliss is to want to share it.”

If you win the lottery or have found your true love, you share your happiness with all those who love you, and many more! God is Satchidanandam: ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss! And, so are are we in our soul which is as old as God; our soul is eternal and unchanging, untouched by maya (delusion).

The impulse to seek happiness is embedded in our spiritual DNA. We inherit, therefore, that impulse to go “out and (pro)create.” We are sent out to discover and experience the Bliss which resides in all beings, all creatures, all things. When we unmask the illusion of maya, the fact that form hides the Spirit, the oil that lies within the seed, we shall have returned to the Eden within.

It is “the greatest story ever told” and when we become free we will rejoice and look back at all those countless lives and we will have a good laugh and we will know that it was always a dream.

We are not separate from God. God is as much US now as ever has been or ever will be. We need only, Yogananda stated, “to improve our knowing.” Just as a child cries out for his broken toy and we know that his sorrow is both short-lived and for no real reason, so God within us and all-around views our dramas. We fear death for no real reason, from the God’s eye point of view.

Yogananda wrote “The drama of life has for its lesson that it is only that: a drama.” Play our parts well and according to the script of Self-realization and we will be free. It is only our thought that we are not free that holds us back. Our thought of being bound is bound up in countless incarnations of delusion but nonetheless is but a thought, for the universe hangs upon a thought. Erase the thought and we are free.

Are we not free every night in deep, dreamless sleep? Learn to achieve freedom moment by moment through the conscious act of meditation and Self-awareness or Self-inquiry. Remember: we have made many choices away from Self, seeking happiness in things, people, experiences, and avoidance of pain or suffering. What is, simply IS!

When Krishna counseled Draupadi to practice yoga, she replied, “Lord, I would like to but my mind is fixed upon you!” Krishna only smiled. Go to God in every moment and he will, as Krishna promised, “make good your deficiencies and render permanent your gains.” Rejoice for “the time for knowing God has come!”

Zen says that before enlightenment, we “chop wood and carry water.” After enlightenment, we “chop wood and carry water.” Be the change and the change is within you. The purpose of creation is here and eternally NOW!

Joy and Blessings,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA