Q:We say Jesus forgives our sins if we believe in him or take the holy name of Krishna or prostrate in front of Buddha for mercy and forgiveness. Do all these acts work? Through the Law of Karma don’t we have to face the consequences of past deeds, whatever they may be? It is my understanding that we may be forgiven only if we transform our lives towards perfection and holiness. Could you throw some more light on this subject?
It is not enough to merely believe. Saint James wrote: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). Why? Because they know God exists, and react accordingly.
We, too, must come to know the existence of God–not as an abstract concept or “article of faith,” but by direct experience. This is the message of the Gita and the Upanishads. And Soham Yoga Sadhana is the only way, for it alone opens the inner consciousness that is the very nature of the spirit-self, the jivatman.
We must not forget that despite any mythologizing that has grown up around Jesus, Krishna and Buddha, they were and still are individual beings (jivas) that have attained the perfect revelation of their divinity as jivatmans.
They are not the Paramatman within which we must awaken to our own eternal being, but finite beings, for only Brahman is infinite. They live in Brahman alone but are not Brahman, just as we are not Brahman.
The Ocean and the Wave
There is but one Absolute Being, and though that Being is the very essence of our being, we cannot say “I am Brahman,” any more than a wave can say: “I am the ocean.” But the ocean can say, “I am the wave.” This cannot be fully comprehended until we are ourselves totally awake in Brahman. And that comprehension is far beyond intellect and conceptualization–far beyond the status of a human being.
This is why it is dishonest to say that Soham means “I am He.” It means “I am that–I am spirit.” We are gods within God; but never God. The Brihadaranyaka (1:4:1) and Isha Upanishads (verse 16) tell us that both the Paramatman and the jivatman say Soham Asmi: I Am Soham.
This is why and how we can become one with Brahman through the Soham mantra joined to the breath. For as the Rig Veda says, “That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever” (Rig Veda 10:129:2). Brahman breathes breathlessly–the Soham Breath which manifests in us is inherent in Brahman as a potential which we actualize. In fact “apart from it [the inner Soham Breath] was [is] nothing whatsoever.”
The Self and the Not-Self
The Atman, the Spirit-Self, has no karma any more than God has karma. But the Not-Self–the subtle and gross bodies with which we mistakenly identify as “I”–does have karma. But since they are essentially only illusions/ideas, when we awaken and know SOHAM ASMI we find there is no such thing as karma for us, that it was all a dream, a training film in development (evolution) of consciousness. (No simile is perfect, however.)
We may incur debts in a dream, but when we awaken we do not say, “I have to go back there and pay off the debts.” We know there were no debts. Karma is also an illusion.
Awakening, the real transformation
We do not need forgiveness, we need awakening into Atmajnana which is Brahmajnana as well. And that awakening is the transformation we need. Perfection and holiness is our nature. To seek anything else is to continue wandering in ignorance. Thou Art That must become our realization-experience. For we already are That but have forgotten it and believe all the lies and blasphemies about ourselves (and God) that ignorant, exoteric religion teaches us. This is why atheism is often a necessary stage in spiritual development, as Sri Ramakrishna said.
The “light on this subject” that we need is the Light of the Self, the Atma Jyoti: Soham.
Further Reading and Listening:
- Podcast: How to Pronounce the Soham Mantra in Meditation
- Purification and Forgiveness: What Is the Yoga View?
- Yoga in Four Words: The Means of Transformation
Grow your spiritual library: this weeks recommendation: