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What is the Name of God?

OM GalaxyA Continuation of the Commentary on Theologia Germanica, by the Frankfurter.

The things which are in part can be apprehended, known, and expressed; but the Perfect cannot be apprehended, known, or expressed by any creature as creature.

The ancient sages of India knew by direct experience of Brahman that nothing can be said about it as the ultimate Reality, not even that it exists, since our only experience and concept of existence is that of relative things.

Therefore they said that all we can do is say neti neti: not this; not that. (The earliest Fathers of the Christian Church said exactly this same thing, but it became overshadowed by later ignorance in the form of official theology.) Only by direct union with God can God be known. And even then it will not be through the mind or intellect, and therefore nothing can be said about God.

The second clause: “the Perfect cannot be apprehended, known, or expressed by any creature as creature,” does mean that if we cease to be a creature, a relative being trapped in Maya, we can apprehend and know God. But we have to become god ourselves–realize our divine essence, finite though it may be–to do so. And even then we cannot say a word about Him.

Therefore we do not give a name to the Perfect, for it is none of these. The creature as creature cannot know nor apprehend it, name nor conceive it.

One of the common failings of religions is to assign a name (or names) to God, Who cannot possibly be named because He cannot be conceived. For example, “Inconceivable” cannot be a name, because it is only a description. All the world’s religions have this failing in common except for the Sanatana Dharma of India.

Therefore Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of the Arya Samaj, wrote in Satyartha Prakash: “Om is the highest Name of God, and comprises many other Names of God. It should be borne in mind that Om is the Name of God exclusively–and of no other object material or spiritual–while the others are but descriptive titles and not exactly proper names.”

This is an extremely important point: all “names” of God are really descriptive titles, and essentially do not designate God in a “proper” or exclusive manner as they all have meanings of their own, such as almighty, universal, and such like. Om, on the other hand, has no intellectual meaning or designation at all, but is a direct name or indicator of God.

The rishis (seers) of India not only knew that Om is God’s Name, they knew that it is a transforming sound vibration that has the power to convey God-perception to those who are sensitive and refined enough to experience it [See The Masters of Wisdom on Om]. They knew God’s Name, and therefore knew God. And so can anyone who dedicates themselves to the way revealed by those sages as the path to God-realization: Yoga.

“Now when that which is Perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” But when doth it come? I say, when as much as may be, it is known, felt and tasted of the soul.

Those spirits which are sufficiently purified and evolved can know, feel and experience the infinite, though themselves finite. This is the fundamental purpose of creation and their entry into it. But when will they be purified and evolved enough for this to take place?

That is totally in their hands. God has already done everything necessary in the projection and supervision of the creation; the rest is up to them. They and they alone will decide when the Great Moment will come. But first the entire situation must be completely under their control. Wishing, aspiring, praying, affirming, and rousing up the will, emotions and intellect can accomplish nothing but further delusion and bondage.

Yoga is the means

Yoga and yoga alone is the means of control and ultimate mastery. The aspirant must become a yogi, not a dabbler or disciple (read: groupie), but a proficient (and therefore self-sufficient) practitioner of the supreme science of yoga [See How to Be a Yogi]. From that moment onward it is all according to yogi’s application and diligence.

Because this is so, in the Yoga Sutras (1:20) Patanjali tells us that the yogi must have developed the effective faith, energy, understanding and high intelligence necessary for the attainment of samadhi. (For samadhi is not the end but the beginning of actual yoga.) Then he says that “it [samadhi] is nearest to those whose desire [for samadhi] is intensely strong” (v. 21). But that of itself is not enough. Effort must be put forth. So he continues: “A further differentiation [arises] by reason of the mild, medium and intense [nature of means employed]” (v. 22). And finally: “By total giving of the life to God” (v. 23). As the Gita affirms: “In yoga, the will is directed singly toward one ideal” (Bhagavad Gita 2:41): God-realization. The Krishna speaks of “that concentration of the will which leads a man to absorption in God” (Bhagavad Gita 2:44).

Be “one in a million”

Now, considering all these necessary prerequisites, how many successful yogis do you think there will be? Krishna says in the Gita: “Who cares to seek for that perfect freedom? One man, perhaps, in many thousands. Then tell me how many of those who seek freedom shall know the total truth of my being? Perhaps one only” (Bhagavad Gita 7:3).

There you have it. Saint Paul said it this way:

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (I Corinthians 9:24).

Those who do not approach yoga with this understanding and the requisite commitment as well as the strength of mind and heart to carry it all through are destined to fail. This is simple fact without favor or prejudice.

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