When you say that we are the same entity (God and we), I am not really able to comprehend it. My view of Ma is such that I should be able to see Her and talk to Her in the same way that I do with other people! Every living and non-living being is a mere reflection of God. This reflection is caused by maya or illusion. This illusion prevents you to realize the God either within you or with others. That is why maya is called as veil that prevents the true form of God to be realized. When we say God is omnipresent, naturally He has to be present within you, within me and with everybody else. Let us understand this in a comprehensive way. The one that differentiates a man from other living beings is the anthakkaranam.
Anthakkaranam can be explained as the psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning that happens internally. This works predominantly only on the physical plane, the lowest of all the planes (the level of existence and development). This is an invisible and powerful tool that comprises of four components viz. consciousness (an alert psychological state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation), intellect, ego and mind. When an individual identifies himself with his body and emotions, it is called ego. As this is against the principles of self-realization, ego is considered as the most dangerous enemy. More details on this are available in our discussions on Bhagavad Gita.
The intellect and mind are interrelated and interdependent and one cannot function without the aid of the other. Intellect is a product that develops from the mind, but does not have the impure qualities of the mind. Suppose you see a rope. Your mind gets confused in the darkness (ignorance) whether it is a rope of a snake. The confusion prevails only in the mind. When the mind is in a state of confusion, the intellect comes to its rescue. Intellect, by its sheer intelligence conclusively decides that it is only rope. When the mind is in a state of trauma, only the intellect comes to its rescue. In the path of spirituality, we should use the intellect and not the mind. Intellect is the purified and refined form of mind. Mind is bombarded by the inputs received from all our sense organs.
When the mind on its own without the aid of the intellect, responds to these inputs by means of actions, such actions arise out of ignorance (the impure form of mind) which is ‘avidya’ in Sanskrit. Intellect is known as ‘vidya’ or knowledge. Vidya or intellect does not mean the mundane knowledge. Mundane knowledge is different from the supreme intellect. The former is acquired by worldly experience and exposures and mainly deals with objects. The supreme intellect or vidya deals only with internal exploration (search within) and deals with the source of the object and not with the object itself. What do we look for within? Look for the source of our creation. Why should we look for the creator within when we say that He is omnipresent? It is easier for us to look within than searching for Him elsewhere in the universe. That is why it is advocated to pursue the path of self-realization. This path is to be pursued with the help of the tool called anthakkaranam. But all the components of this tool are not necessary in this search. If all the components are used in this search, you continue to dwell in the physical plane alone, in the sense that you consider your body as the source of creation. Body is only a product of creation and not its source.
What we are trying to do is to know the source and not the product. This can be explained as the difference between a programmer and a vendor of software. Programmer creates the software and the vendor merely distributes it. The end user deals only with the vendor and not with the developer. What we are now trying to do is know the developer and know the source code. To know the source, we do not need the mind as the mind is unrefined and primitive. It can deal only with vendors. So leave that alone. Then there is ego, the deadly enemy to know the creator. If it is involved it will always identify only the body. It does not know anything beyond body, as it knows only the body. So we have to drop this too. The balance is consciousness and intellect. Before proceeding further, we have to understand the difference between this two, the important tools in self-realization.
Consciousness is awareness. There are several levels of consciousness. The lowest level of consciousness is at the physical plane and the highest level of consciousness is illuminating, pure and unpolluted and is outside the physical plane. There is no time and space limit to the highest level of consciousness. This highest level of consciousness is known as the Brahman or God or Spirit or Paramatma etc. The middle level of consciousness is neither pure nor impure and neither illuminating nor dark. This middle level of consciousness is called the soul or jiva or jivatma, where karmic account is embedded. The soul cannot function on its own and it needs necessary directions to manifest from the highest level of consciousness or the Brahman. At this point we are aware of the three levels of consciousness. The first is associated with the physical body, the next is associated with the soul and the third is the Brahman or the Spirit. It is only the intellect that differentiates between these three types of consciousness.
The intellect functions on the basis of the inputs derived from the mind. The mind seeks the help of intellect only when it is not able to decide on certain issues. Mind functions comfortably with all the objects and emotions. But when it comes to the subject, mind struggles to find a solution and leaves the decision to the intellect and mind proceeds with its most liked job of dancing to the tune of the senses. During this process, the mind gets corrupted, afflicted and polluted. Therefore the intellect does not get associated with mind and lower level of consciousness, the consciousness that exists at the physical plane. The intellect cannot move beyond a certain point. Intellect is like a master or guru. A master cannot always be with his disciple. The master can only show the righteous path and it is the will and dedication of the disciple that can take him forward. Same is the situation with consciousness and intellect. Consciousness is the student and intellect is the guru.
The level of consciousness cannot come back from the higher levels that easily, unless the mind is terribly damaged. When the intellect leaves the consciousness all alone, it becomes more matured and refined, unaffiliated, unpolluted and attains the state of self illumination, which is called the Supreme Consciousness, the God. This article will be concluded in the next part with the specific answer to the question.