Practising Presence of God
Excerpts from God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita
by Paramahansa Yogananda
God Has Become Myself
He who perceives Me everywhere and beholds everything in Me never loses sight of Me, nor do I ever lose sight of him.
— The Bhagavad Gita VI:30
The divine lover beholds God through every window of thought and space, and the Cosmic Beloved beholds the devotee through every window of His omnipresent love. Enlocked in visions of love, God and the devotee enjoy unparted union.
After uniting his soul to God, the yogi may still maintain the dual relation—the liberated devotee, and God as the Object of adoration. This stanza of the Gita definitely points out that the illumined yogi does not lose the individuality of his soul; instead he finds his being extended into the Being of the Spirit. An ordinary person perceives himself as separate from God. The advanced yogi feels his soul as a wave in the ocean of Cosmic Consciousness. But the completely liberated yogi beholds his soul-wave as a manifestation of the Cosmic Ocean. Such a yogi never says, "I am God," for he knows God can exist without his soul; but, if he wants to, he can say:
"God has become myself."
The soul of the emancipated yogi can remain merged, if he wishes, in the Absolute, as the Absolute. Or the liberated yogi, owing to the retention of his God-created individuality (which can never be lost), may remain or reappear in the physical body in which he was liberated, in order to worship God in any personal concept (such as Father-Mother-Friend-Beloved God), or in any desired materialized form (such as one of the deities, or as incarnate in one of the avatars such as Christ or Sri Krishna), or as the All-Pervading Infinite.
This stanza stresses the state of duality that may exist between the devotee and God. The liberated devotee can watch God through every open niche of space, as the Spirit can look at him through every pore of the sky. Such a liberated yogi never loses sight of God nor does God ever lose sight of him. The True Lover is God; we are all His beloveds, mistakenly seeking love in impermanent human beings. The thirst for affection can never be quenched by the imperfect love of mortals. When the devotee, by the practice of loving mortals truly, learns to love all beings, and by meditation learns to love God supremely, then and then only is his longing for love satisfied.
Every man who leaves the earth in an embittered state of unrequited love has to come back here until he finds the perfect love of God. When he recognizes the Lord as the only Perfect Lover, his heart seeks no other affection. After many prodigal wanderings the yogi meets the Cosmic Lover in the bower of eternity. Wherever the yogi turns his attention, he sees his Beloved peeping at him through the windows of stars and flowers, through every opening in the atoms and the pores of the sky. The Cosmic Lover similarly beholds the lost-and-found soul of the yogi steadfastly looking at Him.
To the ordinary person, God seems to be absent or vanished from the universe. But the yogi sees the ever-watching Eye of God gazing at him through all windows of space; the face of his Cosmic Beloved is omnipresent. (pg.634-636)