Is there any validity to the idea that we're all God?
A lecture in London in August 1973
avinasi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idam tatam
na kascit kartum arhati
"That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul." (Bhagavad-gita 2.17)
The nature of the soul is very clearly described here. Any sensible man can understand from this verse that within the body there is an eternal soul. Lord Krsna says, avinasi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idam tatam: "That thing which is spread all over the body is imperishable." What is spread all over the body? Consciousness. Everyone can understand this. If I pinch any part of your body, you feel pain. Why? Because consciousness is there. Pains and pleasures are felt so long as there is consciousness in the body. Sometimes we are made unconscious by drugs or by chloroform or some other anesthetic, and then we cannot feel anything.
There are three stages of consciousness: jagrati, svapna, and susupti. The first stage is wakefulness, the second is sleep, and the third is deep sleep, unconsciousness. When you are awake, your consciousness is very acute, very strong. In the sleeping state there is consciousness, but it is not so active. And in the state of deep sleep the consciousness is subdued; it is not working.
Death means that one is unconscious for a long period. Because the soul is eternal, as Krsna explains here, there is no birth and death for the soul. When the body is annihilated, the soul remains unconscious for some time six and a half months for a human being. In other words, the soul remains unconscious for six and a half months within the womb of the mother, and then consciousness revives.
Some of you have had the experience of becoming unconscious under anesthesia. The surgical operation takes place, but you do not perceive any pain because you remain unconscious for several hours. Then, gradually you begin dreaming: From the unconscious state you come to the dreaming state. And after dreaming, you awaken. Just as you go down from the awakened state to the dreaming state, and from the dreaming state to unconsciousness, so you come up from unconsciousness to the dreaming state and from the dreaming state to awakened, full consciousness.
So, when death occurs the gross body is lost and the soul remains in the subtle body of intelligence, mind, and ego. That subtle body carries the soul to another gross body. Those who are unintelligent do not understand what the subtle body is, although it is clearly said in the Bhagavad-gita [7.4] that the subtle body is composed of mind, intelligence, and false ego. But because we cannot see the mind and intelligence, foolish rascals think that when a man dies, everything is finished.
Everyone knows he has a mind and intelligence. I know that you have your mind and I have my mind, and that you have your intelligence and I have my intelligence. But I cannot see your mind or intelligence; they are too subtle. For example, there is air in front of me now, but I cannot see it. So the gross senses cannot experience even the subtle material things, what to speak of the spirit soul.
The soul is so subtle that it is not possible to perceive it with the material senses. But the rascals simply say, "No, I cannot see the soul," and then they conclude that everything is finished at death. How can you see the soul? That is not possible. It is so minute and so subtle that you cannot see it even with the most powerful microscope.
So, here Krsna clearly says that consciousness, the symptom of the soul, is avinasi, imperishable. Previously He said to Arjuna, "You, I, and all these others existed in the past, we exist now, and we shall continue to exist in the future." That means we are all eternally individuals. In the past we were individuals, at present we are individuals, and we shall continue to be individuals in the future. There is no truth to the rascal Mayavadi philosophers' idea that after liberation we all intermingle and become a homogeneous lump. Even after we attain liberation we remain individual particles of consciousness.
As Krsna explains here in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, the spirit soul cannot be cut into pieces. That means we are all individual spirit souls, eternally. It is not that we were lumped together at one time, that we have been cut into pieces, and that we are therefore now individuals. This Mayavada philosophy is false. We are individuals eternally. Krsna will explain that later in the Bhagavad-gita [15.7]: mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah. "The living entities in this material world are My eternal fragmental parts." This is confirmed in the Upanisads: nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. "Of all the eternal conscious living beings, there is one who is supreme."
Yesterday we consulted the dictionary about the meaning of the word God, and one of the definitions was "the supreme being." So, we are living beings, but we are not supreme; we are subordinate. God is also a living being, but He is the supreme being. That is the difference. It is a very simple thing. You cannot say, "I am the supreme being." Yet the rascals say, "I am God." How can you be God? Are you supreme? As soon as we ask this question "Are you supreme?" you must answer, "No." Then how have you become God?
"The supreme being" means and this we also looked up in the dictionary "the highest authority." So, is any one of us the highest authority in the material world? No. Everyone is under the grip of material nature, so how can any of us be the highest authority? But the rascals imagine, "Yes, I am the highest authority. I am moving the sun and the planets." Simply rascaldom. This is their meditation to falsely think, "I am the Supreme. I am controlling everything. The sun is moving under my direction. The seas are under my direction." This is the impersonalists' meditation.
Just try to understand how foolish they are. Will any sane man say, "I am moving the sun; I am moving the moon; I am moving the seas"? Will any sane man say that? No. Will anyone here say that you are moving the sun and the moon? Anyone? Who can say? Nobody can say this. And still these rascals are claiming, "I have become God. We are all God." This rascal atheistic philosophy has killed the whole world. So many "incarnations," so many "gods," are preaching false theories only. So many gurus all rascals.
Take my word for it: Anyone who is speaking against the principles of the Bhagavad-gita is rascal number one. That's all. Don't give him any credit. Ask him to his face: "Do you accept Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead?" If he says, "No," tell him, "Then you are a rascal." That's all. There is no exception.
At least you must know that these socalled gods are rascals, because you know that Krsna is God, the Supreme (isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah). Krsna is accepted as God by all the acaryas [spiritual teachers and exemplars] and by all the Vedic scriptures. And when He Himself was present on earth, He proved that He is God. Nobody was equal to Krsna when He was personally present. If you read the whole of the Mahabharata and the Srimad-Bhagavatam, you will find that nobody was equal to Krsna or greater than Him. Many, many demons came to fight with Him and tried to kill Him, but He killed them all. Even when He was a child, the Putana demoness came to kill Him by poisoning. She smeared poison over her breast, and when Krsna sucked it He sucked out her life. But Krsna is so kind that He gave her liberation, the position of His mother in the spiritual world.
Krsna, the supreme consciousness, is so kind. He thought, "This Putana demon is ignorant. She has come to kill Me without knowing that I cannot be killed. But I have sucked her breast as if she were My mother. Therefore she should be given the position of My mother, like Yasodamayi." This is Krsna's mercy. He felt so much obliged because of the service rendered by Putana. A mother is meant to give service to her child without any return. She gives service from the very beginning of the child's life within the womb, when she feeds him. The process is given by nature, and the mother feeds the baby. When pregnant, a mother should not eat any pungent things, because they will burn the tender skin and heart of the child. She should eat only very simple things.
But today women have no conscience. Instead of maintaining the child very nicely, thinking, "I must provide all comforts for the child in my womb," they are now killing him by abortion. There is little motherly affection in this Kali-yuga [the Age of Quarrel]. In the material world, motherly affection is considered the highest form of love. But the Kali-yuga is so polluted that mothers are even giving up their love for their children.
Just imagine the position of this age! As the Bhagavatam [1.1.10] says, mandah sumanda-matayo manda-bhagya hy upadrutah: "In Kali-yuga everyone is lazy, misguided, unfortunate, and disturbed." Therefore in this age almost no one is interested in spiritual life. The aim of life is to become immortal, to no longer be subjected to the four distressful conditions of birth, old age, disease, and death. But hardly anybody is interested. People in this age are so dull. Therefore they are described asmanda "bad" or "lazy." They do not care to know what the goal of life is.
And then, sumanda-matayah, "misguided." If someone wants to become recognized as very religious, he will accept some rascal magician as his guru, and then he will do everything he likes and eat everything he likes and become a "spiritualist." And his rascal guru will say, "Yes, you can eat anything. You can do anything. Religion has nothing to do with eating." This is going on.
The Bible explicitly says, "Thou shalt not kill." But Christians are killing. Still, they very proudly claim, "I am a Christian." What kind of Christian are you? You regularly disobey the order of Christ, and still you are a Christian?
So, whether one is a so-called Christian, Mohammedan, or Hindu, everyone has become a rascal. That's all. This is the Kali-yuga. People have created their own imaginary religious principles, and therefore they are condemned. This they do not know. The aim of human life is to realize God. But today people are so much embarrassed by their uncontrollable senses that they are going to the darkest regions of the material existence. As the Bhagavatam [7.5.30] says, adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram:"Those who cannot control their senses are going to the regions of darkness." In the Kaliyuga people cannot control their senses. They have become so unfortunate that they cannot make the little effort, undergo the little austerity, to control their senses.
So, people are missing the aim of life. Why? They are unfortunate (manda-bhagya). Only those who are very fortunate will understand, "I am eternal, imperishable. I have been put into this perishable condition due to my material body." And how to get out of it? The first step is that we have to understand that we are consciousness. Krsna is so kind that He very clearly explains this here in the Bhagavad-gita. He is helping us understand what the soul is. So, who cannot understand that there is consciousness all over the body? As Krsna says, yena sarvam idam tatam.
The impersonalists will jump to the conclusion that yena sarvam idam tatam means that they are the Supreme God. "Since God's consciousness is spread all over the universe (yena sarvam idam tatam), and Krsna here says we are yena sarvam idam tatam, therefore I am the Supreme God." But is your consciousness spread all over the universe? Both God and we are conscious, but He alone is supremely conscious. Therefore His consciousness is spread all over the universe, all over the creation.
In the thirteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita [13.3] Krsna says, ksetra-jnam capi mam viddhi sarva-ksetresu bharata: "I am the knower of all bodies." In other words, He is the Supersoul. What is the difference between the individual soul and the Supersoul? The soul's consciousness is spread all over one particular body. You are a soul, so your consciousness is spread all over your body. I am a soul, so my consciousness is spread all over my body. But my consciousness is not spread all over your body, nor is your consciousness spread all over my body. But God's Krsna's consciousness is spread over your body, my body, every body. So Krsna is the Supreme Being because His consciousness is spread all over the universe.
You cannot hide anything from Krsna. That is not possible. Krsna says, sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto: "I am present in everyone's heart." You are making your plans with your heart and soul. But Krsna is within your heart, so you cannot hide your plans from Him. In other words, Krsna has superconsciousness.
One famous yogi tried to get superconsciousness. His philosophy was to attain superconsciousness. But you cannot get superconsciousness. It is not possible, because superconsciousness is for Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krsna says,vedaham samatitani vartamanani carjuna bhavisyani: "I know everything, past, present, and future." Also, the Srimad-Bhagavatam [1.1.1] says, janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah: "The Absolute Truth is that from whom everything is emanating, and He knows everything, directly and indirectly."
I am conscious, but I do not actually know what is within my body-how it is constituted, how many veins there are, how the blood is becoming red. I have no information. I do not know what is within this finger. I am claiming that it is my finger "Here is my finger" but I do not know how the finger is constituted. Therefore I am not abhijnah, all knowing. Although I am conscious, I am not abhijnah, superconscious. Only Krsna is superconscious.
And not only is Krsna abhijnah, but He is also svarat, independent. We have to consult somebody to get knowledge, but God is so independent that He doesn't have to take knowledge from anyone else. The Vedic literature also describes God assvabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca. His knowledge and activities are natural to Him. For example, suppose I feel some itching. Immediately my hand goes to the spot and scratches. It is not that I have to think, "Now, here it is itching; what should I do?" No. Immediately my hand comes and scratches. This is svabhaviki, "by nature," or "automatically." Similarly, when God creates, as soon as He thinks, "Let there be creation," there is creation. He hasn't got to think how to do it, to make a plan how to execute the creation, to find out where to get the ingredients. No. His energies are so perfect that as soon as He desires, everything is accomplished. That is God.
In the Bhagavad-gita [9.10] Krsna says, mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: "Under My superintendence, material nature is producing all moving and nonmoving living entities." Krsna may order, "Prakrti [nature], immediately produce a rose," and prakrti does so immediately. The color comes, the beauty comes, the fragrance comes everything comes. The rascals say that the flower grows automatically. It is not automatic. There is expert knowledge behind it, and that belongs to God.
Let us utilize our minute consciousness to understand the supreme consciousness, God. Although I am conscious, I am not supremely conscious. I am not all-knowing, but God is. So there is always a difference between God and ourselves. We can never be equal to God. It is impossible. Understanding this is real intelligence. Otherwise, it is all rascaldom. Don't be victims of the rascals. Hare Krsna. Thank you very much.