Divine Life Baltimore Meditation Center | FAQ
WHAT IS GOD?
God is infinite; therefore, God cannot be defined, because definition by its very nature imposes limits. Man, nevertheless, seeks to express his understanding of God. God is One, both the impersonal and the personal Reality. Man calls God by various names, such as: Brahman (Hinduism), Ahura Mazda (Zoroastrianism), Jehovah (Judaism), Nirvana(Buddhism), Christ (Christianity), Allah (Islam). God is imminent and transcendental. God is the all-pervading spirit of the universe. Everything is the manifestation of God. God is Light. God is Truth. God is Love. God is Energy. God is the creative Imagination. God is Perfection. God is I AM THAT I AM. In essence, God is Consciousness-Existence-Bliss Absolute.
WHAT IS THE SOUL?
The soul is God in man. The soul of man is of identical nature with the God of the universe. The soul is endowed with the nature of God, the divine Reality: immortal existence, divine love, pure consciousness, infinite perfection, and absolute oneness. The soul of man is the source of eternal wisdom, guidance, revelation, and realization.
WHAT IS MAN'S PURPOSE?
Man is the manifestation of God and is the total of all his experiences. Man is a complete being whose nature consists of four principal aspects: spiritual, mental, devotional, and physical. By unfolding his divine nature, man regains the consciousness of his spiritual identity. God and the Self of man are one and identical. The purpose of life is Self-discovery and Self-realization. Each being has a unique mission in the divine plan: to unfold and share his or her divine attributes by serving God, which is present in all beings, creatures, and creations. Self-unfoldment is a subjective process that leads to Self-realization in divine perfection.
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL PERFECTION?
Perfection is the realization of absolute oneness with God. The philosophy of Absolute Oneness teaches the ideal of spiritual perfection, which is our essential state of being.
HOW CAN WE REALIZE GOD?
Self-realization is the divine birthright of every being and can be attained by following any of these paths:
— Karma Yoga, the path of divine oneness through selfless service
— Bhakti Yoga, the path of God-realization through pure devotion and unconditional love
— Jnana Yoga, the path of God-realization through pure consciousness or wisdom
— Raja Yoga, the path of God-realization through meditation and prescribed techniques.
Learn more about the four paths of yoga
WHAT IS YOGA PHILOSOPHY?
Yoga means oneness of soul with God. Yoga includes both the ideal and way of divine union. Yoga philosophy teaches that God, or Brahman, is the one infinite, all-permeating Reality and that the soul of man and God are one and identical. Yogic disciplines provide the means for every being to realize his or her divine potential of spiritual oneness.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is subjective communion with God. It is calming and stilling the mind in order to become aware of the underlying presence of God. Meditation establishes our life, mind, heart, and soul on the reality and qualities of God. Meditation is a prerequisite to God-realization. There are various techniques of meditation offered to anyone interested in the practice of meditation. For guidance in meditation, see the senior Swami.
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Every religion regards prayer as an essential and integral aspect of worship and has its own definition of prayer. All religions agree the purpose of prayer is to acknowledge the presence of God and establish a personal relationship with God. Prayer reveals or teaches that we are not alone in the universe. Prayer allows us to realize that whatsoever we ask of God, believing that we have received it, so it will be. Prayer is the devotee talking to God. Meditation is the devotee listening to God.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE WORD “CHRIST”?
The word “Christ” is derived from the Greek term “Christos,” meaning “the Christ.” It signifies the anointed, illumined state of Christ-consciousness, or God-consciousness, the realization of absolute oneness with the infinite Reality. Jesus of Nazareth (in Galilee) attained Christ-consciousness and became known as Jesus the Christ.
WHAT IS THE TEACHING OF ABSOLUTE ONENESS REGARDING JESUS?
Absolute Oneness teaches that Jesus was a divine incarnation, or Avatar. He was a Savior who came to awaken humanity to spiritual perfection and to teach man the way of supreme peace, enlightenment, and union with God. He left the dispensation that allowed humanity to make a direct connection with the God of Love, for Love itself is shown to be the way and the goal. He is the embodiment of the way of wisdom, love, and truth. He came to remind everyone of their innate divinity and oneness with God.
WHAT IS THE TRINITY?
I AM. Absolute Oneness teaches that God is one, both transcendental and immanental. God manifests in three correlated functions designated by the terms Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver; and Shiva, the Transformer. The three aspects of deity are also expressed in the Western religious tradition as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (or Cosmic Vibration).
WHY DO WE FOCUS ON THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND THE TEACHINGS OF OTHER SPIRITUAL TRADITIONS AND AWAKENED BEINGS?
Truth is one, although it can be expressed or approached in many different ways, even as the diamond is one, though it has many facets to reflect the light in infinite variety. Absolute Oneness focuses on the underlying unity of all faiths and spiritual philosophies.
IS THERE A HEAVEN AND A HELL?
Both heaven and hell are states of consciousness. Heaven is the God-consciousness of unconditional love and perfection, whereas hell is the ego-consciousness of negativity and self-limitation.
WHAT IS SIN?
Absolute Oneness teaches that every being is the child of God and, therefore, can never be separated from God. Sin is humankind’s belief in separation from God. As an immortal child of God, man can never be separated from his divine source, even as the sunbeam cannot be separated from its source of light. The soul is ever pure, ever perfect, and ever one with God. When traced to its Greek origin, the word “sin” means “missing the mark,” that is, falling short of realizing one’s spiritual identity and oneness with the Source.
WHAT IS THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION?
Absolute Oneness teaches that every soul is the Immaculate Conception of God, the pure emanation of Consciousness-Existence-Bliss Absolute. What is conceived in the consciousness of God partakes of the pure and perfect nature of God and Its attributes.
WHAT IS REINCARNATION?
Absolute Oneness teaches that every Soul incarnates many times in human form, even though the mind generally does not remember. We may call nonremembrance the law of blessed forgetfulness. The purpose for reincarnation is to gain the experiences necessary for the unfoldment of our innate divinity into absolute perfection, or until humanity regains the consciousness of immortality and bliss.
WHAT IS DEATH?
According to the teachings of Yoga Philosophy, death means "dehatyaga", the soul’s renunciation of the body. Death is not the end of life but the transition from one plane of existence to another. In the New Testament, Jesus refers to these planes as “many mansions.” Life is eternal, immortal, and infinite and is the source of all embodiments.
WHAT IS EGO?
Ego is the sense-identified I-consciousness that creates the illusion of separation from God and from one’s fellow beings. Ignorance is the source of the ego and the cause of human suffering.
DOES THE CHURCH TEACH THE BELIEF IN ONE GOD OR MANY GODS?
Absolute Oneness teaches that there is only one God, one Power, one Reality, one Presence, one Creative Cause, and one Source of all beings and creations residing equally in all. Scripture reminds us of the truth of our divinity when, in the words of Jesus the Christ, it proclaims, “Wist ye not, ye are gods?” Hence, we are the individualized self-expression or extension of infinite being.
WHAT IS AN AVATAR?
An Avatar is a Divine Incarnation. The Avatar is one who has attained absolute oneness with God and chooses to reincarnate in response to man’s fervent yearning to realize God. Among the Avatars are Rama, Krishna, Gautama the Buddha, Swami Shankarachariya, Jesus the Christ, and Ramakrishna. The Avatars have all dedicated themselves to assisting man to attain Self-realization, or union with God
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE CROSS AND LOTUS ON THE ALTAR?
The cross is a universal religious symbol. Individually it also represents every being whose physical form and inner path of self-unfoldment constitute a perfect cross. In the philosophy of Absolute Oneness the cross represents the path of ascension and spiritual perfection. The lotus is the symbol of the spiritual unfoldment of all our innate, divine qualities.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF "AUM" ("OM")?
“AUM” is “the ‘Word” referred to in all scriptures of mankind. In the beginning was God, Brahman, with whom was the Word, and the Word is AUM. AUM signifies the triune aspects of the divine reality, as well as that which is beyond name and form. Essentially AUM signifies Consciousness-Existence-Bliss Absolute. By the practice of meditation on AUM with faith and devotion, man can realize God.