Search & Read
Did God Create Sameness?
Thomas: Dear Ram, you always say that everything here in this life is exactly the same as everything else. I do not agree. What’s the sense in God creating sameness?
Ram: God’s not a person like you. God’s not here to make sense. Sense is only something human beings think about. The creation isn’t something apart from God. It is God through and through. And if you know God, you know that God is a non-dual being. This means that It is the same throughout.
The cool thing about God is that God must have realized that human beings, being dissatisfied by nature, would not appreciate sameness, so It introduced what the Vedanta calls maya into the creation and put it in human minds. Maya is the power to see something as it isn’t. So endowed with maya, human beings can ignore the sameness of the Godness in everything (and the deep peace and satisfaction that it brings) and imagine that it’s all unique, different and separate. This is a pleasure for them. It allows them to struggle, fanaticize and carry on pretty much as they do. It lets them feel inferior and superior and expect lasting happiness from their possessions and enjoyment of ephemeral things. It shows that God has a great sense of humor and is always thinking of Its creatures. It shows that God is merciful too because he makes it possible, should they wish, to create the misery they seem to relish.
Thomas: What’s the sense in God creating illusions and not facts?
Ram: There are no illusions in God. And God is the only fact there is. Illusions and facts are concerns of human minds. When the mind understands that all this is God and that it is non-separate from God, the confusion between reality and illusion disappears along with all the minor confusions that come with the basic one.
Thomas: What’s the sense in God creating things and then making them no-things?
Ram: God isn’t doing this, is It? This is why you don’t die. In the manifested part of God things are eternal too, but they seem to shift around, coming into and going out of manifestation, like elementary particles in a cloud chamber. But from the limited human perspective, the disappearance of things, like people, causes a lot of problems and leads us to see this as a very insecure and fickle universe. By “shifting them around” I mean causing them to change form, come and go. The body, for example, is drawn from elemental nature in the form of food. When it dies, the elements that have been previously gathered disperse and go back to elemental nature. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust returneth.
If I think I’m exclusively my body then I’m going to have a problem because I’m going to be constantly worrying about when I cease to exist. If I know I’m God, I don’t worry about my fate, because I am not subject to dissolution. This understanding is the basis of the “I am not my body” teaching that seems to cause body-lovers so much trouble and inspires them to castigate Vedanta and other spiritual traditions that share this view. Sure, you’re your body if you are everything, but your body isn’t you. Or if this is too subtle, then think of the body as a non-essential part of yourself. All this seeking physical immortality and worrying about the death of the body is a pointless mental exercise. The body dies. That’s a fact, so why waste precious headspace on it?
Thomas: I sense God doesn’t want Its creation to return to Itself but to eternally go forth and co-create more factual differentiations that can be experienced as newness – not the same old same old.
Ram: There is no evidence that this is what God does. There is also no evidence that the creation goes or comes anywhere. This is a belief, an opinion. If God is the creation and God is non-dual, then there is no place for the creation to go. Evolution is a time-concept and as yet no one has been able to establish time as an objective reality.
Another, subtler aspect of this argument is how can something come out of nothing? For something to exist it has to come from something that exists. It can’t come from non-existence. For example, the concept of bird. Sure, species go extinct and other species evolve to replace them (or not), but the concept of bird, a flying creature, is a (relatively) eternal archetype. When you penetrate the shiny fascinating surface of anything you find an eternal form. Plato talks about this and all the spiritual traditions accept this in some form. There is literally nothing new under the sun, as the Old Testament says. Your fascination with women is certainly not a fascination with something new. Woman is an ancient eternal archetype that brings myriad unique manifestations of itself into being all over the place. And then destroys them. It is virtually impossible to remain fascinated with the newness of an object for long. Look at the mad anxiety with which American culture tries to satisfy this craving. Even if they get the perfect automobile, for example, they come out with a new, improved model the next year. In your own experience you must have seen this working, say in your relationships with people.
At first you are fascinated with this strange, interesting, unique creature and you imagine that you can have something deep, profound and lasting with them. But as the relationship develops you start to see how common, plain and ordinary they are. And the fascination wears off. I’ll bet that you felt this way when you first met Mary. I’ll be you fantasized her as a very fascinating, exotic woman. But as you came to know her you realized that she was just another ordinary neurotic person.
This attraction to newness has, I believe, its roots in boredom and self-dissatisfaction. It is an outward-looking energy, an attempt to get the world to distract one from the fundamental existential issue “who am I?”
I’m not sure why you’re so interested in newness. Anyway, God isn’t interested in newness. Or oldness. God is unchanging and eternal. And if the creation is God it too is unchanging and eternal. That it apparently changes is due to subjective human factors. It’s rather like the love business. When I first started out loving women I saw each as completely unique. But as I worked my way through love after love the sense of an eternal woman behind the uniqueness started to take shape. I started to experiment, communicating with that eternal, undifferentiated woman with amazing results. Now I don’t pay attention to a woman’s uniqueness or the unique idea of woman. I go straight for the universal woman (God) and my relationships couldn’t be better.
I think that the fascination with newness and uniqueness is probably related to feelings of failure in some way. A successful person values what he or she has. Newness as a special value seems to depend on negatively evaluating oldness just as the craving for uniqueness is related to the inability to enjoy sameness. I don’t think either is worth pursuing, but I think understanding why one pursues either might be enlightening.