• What's really needed is to recognize the need for spiritual as well as material happiness
  • The yogi's interest is inner peace and self-realization and social harmony
  • Perfection means being in tune with reality
What's really needed is to recognize the need for spiritual as well as material happiness

Who am I

Success in life begins with knowing, "Who am I? What is the purpose of my life?" Knowledge of the self exists; but sincere seekers are rare. More rare are the great teachers of such wisdom. Since time immemorial, wise men have described our wonderful nature: spiritual, primeval, ever-existing, undying, unchangeable, imperishable. This selection of the writings of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler) shares that timeless wisdom — inspiring, challenging , practical.

At present we have in our possession a dozen commentaries of the Aphorisms of Vedanta. It is difficult for a reader to select the genuine commentary of Vedanta-Darshan, when the commentators themselves are more or less victims to misconception (Bhrama), inebriation (Pramaada), defective observation through their sensuous experience, (Karnapaatava) and instigation to delusive enterprises by dissuading from the Truth Vipralipsaa). It is said that a true sage is quite free from such defective possessions, so we should rely on the true devotees who have no other ambition than to serve the Absolute. The commentators who have some definite design of floating tendentious explanations to mislead honest but unwary enquiries by their stultifying suggestions and to oppose the true functions of the unalloyed soul, have often led only to the delusive features of the non-absolute.

An impersonalist yogi can be very dangerous because he may try to take the position of the Supreme Lord, believing himself to be the Supreme dominator and enjoyer of all that he surveys. This is the darkest region of ignorance. He may try to act on the illusion that he is God and that the world is his playground. He may become, in other words, a “super-hedonist.” One such “I am God”ist, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), formerly a professor at Harvard University, declares that no one exists except oneself, and that after merging with the impersonal Brahman, one returns to the world and is the world and is everyone.

If you come back into form from having merged with God ... you fill the forms [bodies] though there is no one home, it is just more lila, the dance of God.1

The late Swami Muktananda, a well-known “I am God”ist who had thousands of followers, wrote:

Assuming physical bodies, He appears as separate entities.2

According to the “I am God”ist, the apparent existence of others is just a hallucination. And since you are God, you are the creator of the laws of the universe (or as Ram Dass puts it, “You are the laws of the universe!”).3 And since you are the laws of the universe—since you are God—then there is no higher person or law to which you must subject yourself. Your will, your desire, is God's desire—God's will—so there is no need whatsoever to check or control your desires or actions. As another “I am God”ist, Werner Erhard puts it:

What you're doing is what God wants you to do. Be happy.4

So according to the “I am God”ist, since you and I—each of us—is God, whatever you and I and others are doing is what God wants us to do. You can be engaging in the most illicit or the most heinous activities, but since you are God, you are doing the will of God. Your will is God's will. In other words, he believes his will is God's will because he wrongly believes he is God.

Science of Identity Foundation - Siddhaswarupananda

1Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill (Santa Cruz, CA: Unity Press, 1976), p. 166.
2Swami Muktananda, Siddha Meditation, p. 59.
3Ram Dass, Remember, Be Here Now (Albuquerque, NM: Lama Foundation, 1971), p. 86.
4Quoted in Adelaide Bry, est (Erhard Seminars Training): 60 Hours That Transform Your Life (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), p. 66.

From the pen of commentators who are victims of the triple qualities of this defective and limited world, we cannot expect the Positive Truth. Most of them are misguided by their wrong preceptors; some are found to be actuated by their short-sighted policy, being unaided by the Personality of the Absolute owing to their non-devotional attitude, and some have got unusual affinity, to lord it over the limited things. So going in quest of the genuine commentator of the Aphorisms has become a puzzling problem.

Each writer comes forward with his own treatise which, he says, is the Genuine Commentary of the Aphorisms, but since none has shown the shlokas culled from the vast religious lore side by side with the aphorisms as explanatory comments, the commentators have found a loop-hole to introduce their whimsical writings as true explanations of the Aphorisms, asserting at the same time the vouchsafing words of Shrimad Bhagavatam to be vague in themselves. But the Bhagavatas always, when reading that book with all scrutiny, substantiate the assertion by recollecting the particular aphorisms exactly dove-tailing into the context. So Shrimad Bhagavatam should have the first place among the dozen schools of commentaries, and whenever there is any conflicting view in the writings of the commentators, a reference may be made on the point to the genuine commentary, Shrimad Bhagavatam.