Ishwara, the Lord, is Brahman within creation as its guide and evolver. Though Brahman and Ishwara are one, Brahman is transcendental Reality and Ishwara is immanent Reality. Brahman is beyond all relative existence, and Ishwara pervades all relative existence. Brahman is impersonal and Ishwara is personal. All these differences are in our mind. Unity is the only Reality, but for us this duality exists in a very pragmatic manner.
God–Ishwara–dreams the cosmic dream and we dream our own finite lives within that dream. The dream arises from God and the Self, yet the dream is neither God nor the Self. This is so important to realize, that in the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says: “All this world is pervaded by me in my unmanifest aspect. All beings dwell within me, but I do not dwell within them. And yet beings do not dwell within me: behold my Divine Yoga. Sustaining beings and yet not dwelling in them, I myself cause all beings to come into manifestation. As mighty winds move everywhere, yet always dwell in the ether, know that even so do all beings dwell within me. At the end of a kalpa, all beings merge into my Prakriti: at the beginning of another kalpa, I myself send them forth. Resting on my Prakriti, I send forth again and again this entire multitude of beings, helpless under Prakriti’s power. And these acts do not bind me, sitting as one apart, indifferent and unattached in these actions. With me as overseer Prakriti produces both the animate and the inanimate; because of this the world revolves” (Bhagavad Gita 9:4-10).
All things have their origin in God, yet must at all times be distinguished from God. Everything is God and no thing is God. This is not contradictory, but only the yogi will be able to grasp it and eventually experience it for himself.
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