They say that God has made man in his image. So is there anything that differentiates a human being from God?
The answer is a surprising one! – Ignorance.
Ignorance is what separates man from God. Our souls are already a part of the divine consciousness of God, yet we remain ignorant of this truth and so the divinity within us remains unmanifested.
Recall the great saying from the Chandogya Upanishad: “Tat twam asi ” – “You are That”. Which means: That immanent one – God, is the same that is in the human soul. Not only that but you are Him!
“Each soul is divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within, by controlling nature; external and internal.
Do this either by work, or worship, or philosophy – by one, or more, and be free.
This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, rituals or books, are but secondary details.”
– Swami Vivekananda
Just as a wave on the surface of the ocean is composed of the same water as the ocean, and can never be separated from it, so too are our souls made from the same substance as God and we are eternally joined with Him.
All power, purity, knowledge, omnipresence and omniscience – in fact the entire divinity of God Himself is already lodged within us. However, much like a genie trapped in a bottle, it remains unmanifested. Our ego, our selfishness, greed, anger and desires, serve as a hard lid, preventing our consciousness from expanding and limiting our awareness to our narrow selves.
This ignorance, this restriction of consciousness, is the root cause of most of the problems in this world. “Me and mine” become the biggest barriers in cultivating the feeling of oneness and harmony with the rest of humanity.
It is only when we start to chip away at each of these base instincts, that our consciousness begins to be released from its prison and manifests itself as increased empathy, kindness and love for others. As the divine fragrance of our soul gets released more and more, it brings its sweetness and joy to not only ourselves, but to all those that surround us.
So what happens when man has conquered all his base instincts and the divine consciousness of God is fully manifest? Then man becomes an incarnation of God on earth, worthy of worship, as was the case with Krishna, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and the divine Rishis (sages) of India, whose names are too numerous to list here.
This essay has been built upon the Advaita Vedanta teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore. The books referenced for this purpose include: From Colombo to Almora and Sadhana: The Realisation of Life.
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