The Real Gospel
- All the world seeks happiness. Our American Declaration of Independence says that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right for every human being. But see how miserable people really are beneath the frantic veneer of the pursuit of happiness in an ever-changing and pain-producing world. The problem? We are looking in the wrong direction. We are seeking outward when we should be seeking inward. We are seeking the non-self instead of the Self. From the Katha Upanishad we learn the right line of action.
“The man who has learned that the Self is separate from the body, the senses, and the mind, and has fully known him, the soul of truth, the subtle principle–such a man verily attains to him, and is exceeding glad, because he has found the source and dwelling place of all felicity. Truly do I believe, O Nachiketa, that for thee the gates of joy stand open.” (Katha Upanishad 1:2:13)
“The Self is separate from the body, the senses, and the mind.” Therefore the body, senses, and mind cannot even “see” the Self as an object, and certainly cannot possibly experience the Self to any degree. The happiness experienced by body, senses, and mind is not true happiness at all, but an approximation, a sham that distracts us from the real thing, inevitably leading us to frustration and all-around misery. This must be learned. Then the Self itself must be known.
Soul of truth, subtle principle
The Self is the very soul of Truth, of Reality. It is not just the basis of reality, it IS reality. Apart from it there simply is nothing. It is subtle beyond all conception–but not beyond all experience. It is when we enter fully into the Being that is the Self, that we “attain to him,” that boundless happiness shall be ours. For the Boundless itself shall be ours.
Source and dwelling
Yama then tells us an important fact: the Self is the source of all and the dwelling place of all felicity. Now this is most intriguing. We are saying that the Self is all there really is, and then we hear that it is the source of “all.” This is the key to true non-dual comprehension. Sri Ramakrishna explained that at first we follow the path of negation saying “Not this, not that,” the idea being that everything we can see or think of is not the Real. But when we come to the real end of that approach–which is not just intellection or mind-gaming, but the inner path of meditation–and turn back we will say “ALL this!” That is, we will see that everything is the Real, that the unreal was only our way of seeing and (mis)understanding it. The whole world, said Sri Ramakrishna, will then be seen as “a mart of joy.”
Unless this is understood at the beginning we will end up being just another dyspeptic world-and-life-denying grouch, claiming that our dryness and grimness is jnana (wisdom). “There is a state beyond bliss, you know,” grated one of them to a friend of mine who dared to find joy in the Self. India abounds with these anatmic misfits and we have plenty of them in the West, too. (One is too many.)
All that is dwells in–is rooted in–the Self and is therefore an expression of divine Ananda. What a wonderful world-view: one that sees not “the world” but Spirit. We do not go from one point to another to pass from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to the Light, from death to Immortality. It is only a matter of changing our base of perception. This is the real alchemy, changing the lead of mundane experience to the gold of supernal joy.
No one is excluded from this glorious truth, it extends to all and is vital to all in an equal degree. No one is nearer or farer from the Self–it embraces all. This is the real Gospel–the Evangelion, the Good News humanity needs so desperately: “Truly, for thee the gates of joy stand open.”
Let us pass through them!========================From the Desk of GraceWatcher Ministries
Minister Paul E Jones
Sharing the Oneness of God, Religion and Humanity