• Parabaas
    Parabaas : পরবাস : বাংলা ভাষা, সাহিত্য ও সংস্কৃতি
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  • Selections from Santiniketan : The All Pervading Presence [Visvabyapi - Santiniketan Vol I] : Rabindranath Tagore
    translated from Bengali to Engllish by Jyoti Prakash Datta , Edited by Nandan Datta

    A sage of the Upanishads has said: "We bow down in obeisance to the Divine Spirit who pervades the Universe and whose presence we perceive in the shrubs and trees all around us."

    But to most of us, the saying that God is everywhere has become stale through being repeated all too often. This saying, having lost its purpose for us, therefore fails to evoke any response within ourselves.

    It is true that however much we may believe in the omnipresence of God, we are usually at a loss to pay obeisance beyond our direct experience. We have only heard others say that God is omnipresent. A hearsay becomes old and dead to us soon.

    Yet there have been sages who had not picked-up a hearsay from someone else, but had uttered this saying directly experiencing the presence of the Divine Spirit in the world around them. How?

    Most of us see the world as a collection of things of utility. To most of us, the water, the earth and the air are no more than items serving our material needs alone. We perceive the elements in the universe as no more than agents of a giant industry engaged in serving us.

    By this arrogance, we only deprive our own inner selves. We are happy to be satisfied with a smaller benefit which nourishes our bodies only, when a larger benefit could be ours which could truly nourish our souls as well.

    No! Your devotion must go out to the presence that you perceive in nature around you. Be like those sages of yore who uttered the words quoted above only after their meaning had come alive to them and they could thereby welcome the Spirit within their consciousness illumined with the joy of creation as revealed to them in nature all around.

    Do not render your sense perceptions idle, but also send your intuition beyond what you merely see with your eyes alone. Touch the consciousness in the world all around you with the consciousness residing right within you. In engaging the power of your own comprehension to meditate on the all-pervading Intellect permeating the universe, do not disdain the created elements with the limitation of your own intellect. May the wonder of their creation fill your own being with abiding grace. May you bow down with humility in ever-widening circles of relationship with the Universe. Through conscious cultivation may you gain true possession of that which has come to you without your paying any price for them beforehand. May you now be blessed within by the true meaning of the endless bounties of nature that are always coming to you from all sides.

    Before ending, let us go back to the saying we started with. Having affirmed "the Divine Spirit who permeates the Universe," was it not somewhat trite and redundant for the sage to have stated "whose presence we perceive in the shrubs and trees."?

    The sage had included this ending because, this indeed is what lay within his direct perception as evidence of the Truth which permeated the Universe. It had been never difficult to repeat, as an article of faith learnt from someone else, that the Divine Spirit permeated the Universe. But to have perceived that presence, the sage had to enter into a communion with elements of life and matter around him. He felt his soul purified in the water of the river he bathed in to cleanse his body, the fruit he ate to nourish his body but at the same time in which he tasted ambrosia of immortality. In his eyes, the morning sun rising in all its glory, daily appeared suffused in the radiance of Life itself. O! What a delight for us to even imagine him being in such living communion with the Universe around him!

    So it is that, till we are able to perceive His presence in the very shrubs and trees and all else that have their being in our immediate vicinity, it would not do for us to affirm by hearsay that the Divine Spirit pervades the entire Universe.

    Published in Parabaas August 9, 2019
  • Introduction | In the morning | Night | Three Storeys | The All Pervading Presence | The Abode That Ever Abides Within | Stregth at Work | Seeing the Truth | Creation | The One Commandment
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