Jai: Grandma, I can eat and sleep and think and talk and walk and run and work and study. How does my body know how to do all this?
Grandma: The whole world, including our body, is made of five basic elements or matter. These elements are: earth, water, fire, air, and ether or an invisible element. We have eleven senses: five sense organs (nose, tongue, eye, skin, and ear); five organs of action (mouth, hand, leg, anus, and urethra); and a mind. We smell through our nose, taste through our tongue, see through the eyes, feel touch through skin, and hear through our ears. We also have a sense of feeling by which we feel pain and pleasure. All these give our body what it needs to work. (Gita 13.05-06) The Spirit or Atma inside our bodies is also called Prana. It supplies power to the body to do all work. When Prana leaves the body, we are dead.
Jai: You said God is the creator of the universe. How do we know there is a creator or God?
Grandma: There has to be a creator behind any creation, Jai. Somebody or some power made the car we drive and the house we live in. Somebody or some power created the sun, the earth, the moon and the stars. We call that person or power God or the creator of this universe.
Jai: If everything has a creator, then who created God?
Grandma: This is a very good question, Jai, but there is no answer. God has always existed and will always exist. God is the origin of everything, but God has no origin. Good Lord is the source of everything, but He or She has no source!
Jai: Then, what is God like, Grandma? Can you describe Him?
Grandma: It is impossible to describe God directly. The Supreme Being can only be described by parables, and in no other way. His hands, feet, eyes, head, mouth, and ears are everywhere. He can see, feel, and enjoy without any physical sense organs. He does not have a body like us. His body and senses are out of this world. He walks without legs, hears without ears, does all works without hands, smells without a nose, sees without eyes, speaks without a mouth, and enjoys all tastes without a tongue. His actions are wonderful. His greatness is beyond description. God is present everywhere at all times, so He is very near (living in our heart) as well as far away in His Supreme Abode. He is the creator (Brahma), the sustainer (Vishnu) and the destroyer (Shiva), all in one. (Gita 13.13-16)
The best way to illustrate why no one can describe God (Gita 13.12-18) is the story of the salt doll.
16. The Salt Doll
Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean so it could tell others how deep the ocean was. But every time it got into the water, it melted. Now, no one could report the ocean’s depth. That’s how impossible it is for anyone to describe God. Whenever we try, we melt into the big, mysterious ocean of His reality.
We can’t describe Brahma. In a trance we can know Brahma, but in trance reasoning and intellect stop altogether. This means one does not retain the memory of experiences in trance (Samadhi). One who knows Brahma becomes Brahma-like (Gita 18.55) and does not talk, just as the salt doll melted into the ocean and could not report the ocean’s depth. Those who talk about God have no real experience. Thus, Brahma can only be experienced and felt.
Jai: Then how can we know and understand God?
Grandma: You can’t know God by mind and intellect. He can be known only by faith and belief. He can also be known by Self-knowledge. One and the same God lives in the body of all beings as spirit and supports us. That is why we must not hurt anybody and must treat everybody equally. (Gita 13.28) Hurting anybody is like hurting your own Atma. The spirit in the body is the witness, the guide, the supporter, the enjoyer, and the controller of all events. (Gita 13.22)
Jai: What is the difference between the creator and His creation?
Grandma: From a non-dualistic point of view, there is no difference between the two. The difference between the creator and creation is like the difference between the sun and the sun’s rays. Those who have Self-knowledge truly understand the difference between the creator and the creation and become God-realized. (Gita 13.34) The entire universe is His expansion, and everything is nothing but Him. God is both creator and the creation, the protector and the protected, the destroyer and the destroyed. He is within us, outside us, near, far, and everywhere.
If God’s blessing comes to you, He will let you know who you really are and what your real nature is like.
Here is a story how Supreme Soul becomes individual soul (Jiva), forgets its real nature and tries to finds out its real nature. (Gita 13.21)
17. The Vegetarian Tiger
Once a tigress attacked a herd of sheep. She was pregnant and very weak. As she sprang on her prey, she gave birth to a baby tiger and died within a couple of hours. The baby tiger grew up in the company of the lambs. The lambs ate grass, so the baby tiger followed their example. When they made sounds, the baby tiger also made sounds like a sheep. Gradually it grew to be a big tiger. One day another tiger attacked the same herd of sheep. The tiger was surprised to see a grass-eating tiger in the herd. Running after it, the wild tiger at last grabbed the cub, and the grass-eating cub began to make sounds like a sheep.
The wild tiger dragged it to the water and said: “Look at your face in the water. It is just like mine. Here is a little meat. Eat it.”
Saying this, the wild tiger put some meat into the vegetarian tiger’s mouth. But the vegetarian tiger would not take it and began to make the sound of a sheep again. Gradually, however, it got the taste for blood and began to like the meat.
Then the wild tiger said: “Now you see, there is no difference between you and me. Come along and follow me into the forest. ”
We have been thinking that we are this body which is limited in time and space. We are not this body. We are the all-powerful Spirit in the body.