Chapter 9: That - The Universal Religion
The one who has the attribute of being the embodiment of maya, illusion, who is the source of the universe, who has the characteristics of omniscience, etcetera, and is the embodiment of indirectness, multiplicity and truth, etcetera, is known by the word tat - “that.”
The one who seems to be in support of the “I” as an experience as well as a word and who is experienced as separate from the conscience, is called by the word tvam - “thou.”
There are two attributes: maya, illusion, to the universal soul, and avidya, ignorance, to the embodied soul. On abandoning the two, what is seen is the perpetually true, conscious and blissful Param Brahman - the ultimate supreme reality.
God has been addressed by many names. Man has established a variety of relationships with God. Somewhere he is the father, somewhere mother, somewhere lover, somewhere beloved, somewhere friend and somewhere something else. In this way man has tried to establish many, many different relationships with the ultimate truth. But the Upanishads are alone on this whole earth in calling God only ‘that’, tat, and thus not establishing a relationship of any kind.
This needs to be understood properly. This is a very deep insight. Out of love we may call God ‘father’ or ‘mother’, but in so doing there is less of understanding and more of foolishness. No matter what relationship we establish with God it is foolishness. Why? - because there is one inevitable factor in a relationship: there must be the presence of two persons. A relationship cannot be constituted without two. I am there and my father is there - both are necessary; I am there and my mother is there - both are necessary. No such relationship with God is either right or possible where we can relate by remaining two. With God, it is possible to be related only through losing ourselves, not through remaining as separate entities.
All the relationships of this world are maintained only by remaining separate entities. The relationship with God is established only by merging with God, by losing oneself in God, by being one with God. This is of great complexity. For a relationship two are required, so we can even say that no relationship can ever be established with God. If two are a must for a relationship, then no relationship can be established with God because the very meeting with God is possible only when the two disappear as two and the one remains.
Kabir has said, “I had set out in search for you but I could not find you. I disappeared in the very search, then you were found. The one who had set out in search for you.as long as he was there, there was no meeting with you; when in the process of seeking you were not found but the seeker disappeared, then the meeting happened.”
It only means that man never meets God, because as long as the man is there, there is no God; and when God is there, the man is not there. The two never meet.
So none of the relationships of the world are applicable to a meeting with God. We make a mistake by thinking this way.
A father can be met without losing ourselves; losing oneself is not a condition for meeting. A mother can be met without losing ourselves; losing oneself is not a condition for meeting. But to lose oneself is a basic condition for meeting God. Relationships take place between two, but the relationship with God takes place only when there is one, not two. So this relationship is just the opposite.