Monday, 24 December 2007

The immanent Divine

The first gift conferred by Asia on the religious world is insight into nature. The Oriental discovers, contemplates, and communes with the Spirit of God who, in his view, fills all creation.
Nature is not a mere stimulus to mild poetry; Nature is God's abode. He did not create it and then leave it to itself, but he lives in every particle of its great structure. Nature is not for man's bodily benefit, but for his spiritual emancipation also. It is not enough to say the heavens are God's handiwork, but the heaven is his throne, the earth is his footstool. Our Nanak said: "Behold the sun and moon are his altar lights, and the sky is the sacred vessel of sacrifice to him." In the vast temple of nature, Asia beholds the Supreme Spirit reigning, and worships him through the great objects his hand has made.
Nay, more. The Oriental beholds in Nature the image of God. "I offer my salutations unto the bountiful Lord," says Yogavasista, "who, as the inner soul of all things, reveals himself in heaven and earth, in the firmament, in my own heart, and in all around me." To the Asiatic the Immanent Spirit embodies himself in nature's beauty and sweetness, to be immersed in which is to be immersed in God himself. We receive from every object we see a suggestion of something unseen, something higher, inner, something divine and immortal. "Whatever is on earth," the Persian poet, Sadi, says, "is the resemblance and shadow of something that is in the spheres; again, that light is the shadow of something more resplendent, and so up to the light of lights."

-- Pratap Chandra Majumdar, 1893 (Brahmo Samaj)

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