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Who Is God?
David: Hi, James. Thanks for your prompt answers, as always. Sorry to persist in this questioning about the God-notion, but it’s still not clear. You said, “Awareness plus sattva is Isvara, pure intelligence, the Creator. The creation is very intelligently designed, so we know by inference that the designer, Isvara, or God, is intelligent…”
Just to be sure that I really get what you’re saying: everything is awareness, i.e. the self. Within the self, Isvara (awareness plus sattva…) exists as a separate entity, creating our known universe. Is that it?
Ram: Think of it this way: awareness assumes the role of Creator. In this role it is called Isvara, or God. Creation is just a power in awareness. Isvara is apparently separate from awareness. It is not an individual, although it is commonly conceived of as a “big” individual for the purposes of worship.
David: The way I understood it, Isvara (God) was part of the apparent reality (maya), which I think I have correct.
David: But I took this as God not really existing, just some concept cooked up by humans to feed their sense of fear and insecurity.
Ram: Humans personify it to make it easier to worship. Everyone sees the creation – which is Isvara – but they do not see that it is only an image appearing in awareness.
David: Now what I think you’re saying is that in this apparent reality (maya) Isvara has as much a place and reality as David, James and Matthew do (in the apparent reality… hierarchy or scheme of things). God is not just a notion, concept or idea, like Alice in Wonderland or Puff the Magic Dragon. Hence the importance of following dharma (as part of your last message on intention implied). How am I doing?
Ram: As befits my number-one disciple. Right on.
David: As well, thanks for sending me towards Atma Bodh. You don’t seem to have a translation among your texts (unless I’m not looking properly), but there is one from Chinmaya on the Web… which I imagine will do. Thanks for your amazing patience… a teaching in itself.
Ram: Yes, I do. It is on the Publications page. It is called Self Knowledge.