Many people profess to believe in the existence of God based on the teachings of their religion. Because the belief is based solely on a teaching, rather than actual experience that would support this belief, they may, in many cases, not take their faith in God seriously enough to actually abide by the rules, laws and commandments set forth for regulating their behaviour in their lifetime. The Judeo-Christian belief in God and the 10 Commandments is a case in point. Many professed believers still commit adultery, steal or kill! Many Christians do not follow the prescriptions set forth by Jesus to “turn the other cheek”, “beat your swords into plowshares”, or to feed the hungry, etc. There are of course those who take the beliefs seriously and try to abide by the tenets of their religious teaching. As long as the belief is based on a teaching, and not actual experience, it can lead to this type of anomalous result.

As long as we remain fixed and embedded in the external consciousness, we are surrounded by the action of Nature, Prakriti, and have no evidence of the existence of God in the workings of Nature. Thus we see various people conclude that there is no evidence for God, and they become either agnostic or even atheistic. Some conclude, again without evidence, that there was a God the creator, but he must be dead. In today’s world we see a proliferation of ideas about existence created by random chance, chemical reactions that create life automatically, or that we actually exist within some kind of computer simulation or hologram. These are expressions of the agnostic or atheistic attempt to justify our very existence in the absence of a creator God. All of this is based on conclusions that are drawn from being bound and limited within the frame of the external existence.

It is rational and realistic for someone without this experience to try to base his understanding of the world on logic, inference and reason founded in the perception of his senses. Thus, it is a healthy response of such an individual to suggest either that he does not know that God exists (agnosticism) or even to deny the existence of God (atheism). This is perhaps a better starting point for a spiritual opening than someone who bases his belief solely on a fixed teaching and is not receptive to opening himself to the actual shift of consciousness and the experience that comes with it.

Once an individual experiences a shift of consciousness out of the external framework of Prakriti, the existence of God, or the Divine (under whatever name or conception one has based on the background of the individual and his view of things), becomes a self-evident fact, not subject to argument or philosophy. Just as an individual who has never seen the ocean can speculate about whether it exists, may question the amazing things he hears about it from those who have that experience, and may try to find an alternative explanation for things that the ocean is the basis of, so also a person who has never experienced the extraordinary force of the divine Reality may question its existence. This is in fact recounted in the Bible with the conversion of Saul based on his experience on the road to Damascus.

It should be noted that a number of advanced scientists have eventually come to conclude, based on their pushing of the boundaries of space, matter, energy and time, that there is a Divine existence which creates, contains, permeates, infuses and is the basis of all existence as we know it. They begin to see that the mathematical precision, the principles of Matter, Life and Mind require a further principle of existence.

The seer of the Isha Upanishad declares: “But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught. He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings, for he has the perfect knowledge, how shall he be deluded, whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness? It is He that has gone abroad — That which is bright, bodiless, without scar of imperfection, without sinews, pure, unpierced by evil. The Seer, the Thinker, the One who becomes everywhere, the Self-existent has ordered objects perfectly according to their nature from years sempiternal.” (Isha Upanishad, 6-8, translated by Sri Aurobindo in The Upanishads)

Sri Aurobindo notes: “This apparently self-acting mechanism of Nature conceals an immanent divine Will that compels and guides it and shapes its purposes. But you cannot feel or know that Will while you are shut up in your narrow cell of personality, blinded and chained to your viewpoint of the ego and its desires. For you can wholly respond to it only when you are impersonalised by knowledge and widened to see all things in the self and in God and the self and God in all things. All becomes here by the power of the Spirit; all do their works by the immanence of God in things and his presence in the heart of every creature.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 1 Life Through the Eyes of the Yogin, pg. 23

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
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