The Nine Billion Names of God
Christina Sarich, Contributing Writer
The World’s Religions Were Meant To Be Inclusive not Exclusive
Any comparative religion course in any decent university can break down the differing doctrines and customs, ethics and metaphysics, as well as concepts of salvation, sin (ego) and redemption in religions throughout the world. That is not the aim of this article. What I would like to present are the similarities instead of the differences utilizing yogic terms, which can be thought of as Universal, especially when you consider the prominence of the concept within almost all religions.
An Underlying Notion in Yoga is the Idea of Samadhi – A Oneness With the Object of Meditation.
Whether you realize it or not, you are meditating right now. Whatever you are concentrating on, is becoming your ‘religion.’ Samadhi more specifically, is a complete absence of dualistic thinking. It may be called Christ Consciousness. It can be called simply, The Tao. In Sufism, ‘God is the One Real Being which underlies all phenomena’ (Nicholson, The Mystics of Islam, p.80) In Buddhism, phenomena are inter-dependent, a concept called dependent origination. We suffer dukkha, when we forget that all things correlate. In Jainism, there is the concept of sat-cit-ananda-vigraha, which means an awareness (often referred to as a Being) which is completely integrated and therefore blissed out because it is aware of its 100% subjective nature – that is, it knows absolute subjectivity and absolute objectivity because it is one and the same.
The Nine Billion Names of God
Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction writer, figured it out. Why can’t we? Do we need to hire a computer programmer to figure out all the possible permutations of God’s name – carried out to the nth degree? Is it only possible to have a multiplicity of God-awareness in a sci-fi movie or novel, but not in real life? Whether your religion is Abrahamic in nature, Taoist, or Indian, Shamanic, Fundamental, or Esoterically influenced, there are underlying principles in each one that point towards Divine Intelligence. Whatever you call it, it has more than a million names. We don’t need to hash out the finer points of multi-theistic vs. mono-theistic, atheism vs. polytheism, pagan or Christian and so on. We get it. There are so many lenses to look through. . .but isn’t that the point? The world’s great wisdom traditions weren’t meant to divide us, but guide us towards Infinite awareness. You don’t have to abandon your religious or cultural observations in order to love.
As Ken Wilber suggests in his definition of integral spirituality, and many other insightful beings have offered since the beginning of recorded human history, there are “spiritual patterns at work in the universe . . . and these spiritual patterns announce themselves with impressive regularity wherever human hearts and minds attempt to attune themselves to the cosmos in all its radiant dimensions.”
It doesn’t matter if you kneel to pray or prostrate. It is of no consequence if you meditate in lotus position or use psychotherapy to elevate yourself to a higher moral ground so that you can be kinder to those around you. Or – use all of the above. You can pray in a thousand ways, and some of them are so subtle, you don’t realize that you are ‘praying’ at all.
Paramahansa Yogananda once said, “it is better to have a prayer without words.” I say, if we can’t have love without religion, then let’s ditch religion. Let’s ditch the finger pointing to the moon and see the moon itself.
Infinity is a Big Concept.
Just try to wrap your brain around it. You can be a member of Mensa and have the highest IQ since Steve Jobs and Marilyn Vos Savant had a secret love child (they didn’t – I’m just saying. . . ) and you still wouldn’t be able to conceive of limitlessness. We cannot even theoretically grasp the number of stars in our little solar system or the number of grains of sand on a single beach. That being said, might we not bow to the possibility that all our differences are still encapsulated and incorporated into the one big picture?
Kedar Joshi once said, “It is human to search for the theory of everything, and superhuman to find it.” My suggestion, therefore is this: be a believer in whatever religion you like, but practice love. Practice peace, practice what every darned religion (when taken out of its political and institutionalized bastardization of truth, and boiled down to its essential wisdom) is trying to teach you. You pray in every thought and action you take. You meditate on whatever you focus on. You can be a Sufi-Buddhist-Pagan-Episcopalian-Mormon for all I care. Just be cool to your neighbors.
“Quotes by Kedar Joshi (Quotations – Superultramodern Science and Philosophy)” 2009http://works.bepress.com/kedar_joshi/17
About the Author
Christina Sarich is a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studying Lao Tzu, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rob Brezny, Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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