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Beyond Dualism

In the same way, by either listening to learned people or by reading and studying the scriptures you can get some idea of what God is like. But ultimately you will not be satisfied and happy with just this. It is still only a stage of dualism, for in this stage you and God remain separate. Therefore, you will make an attempt to go beyond the stage of dualism to the next step, which is qualified non-dualism. This refers to the deep aspiration to see and experience God directly. How can you get a vision of him? By picturing in your own heart the form of God you heard described, and then continuously thinking and contemplating on that form. Whatever you do, whatever you say, whatever you see and whatever you listen to, you have to become one with that sacred form.

The specific form of God you have pictured becomes a thought form in your mind. The thought form should then become saturated with the feeling of devotion so that it becomes a feeling form in your heart. Gradually, gradually, these feelings will deepen and strengthen until one day you will have a real vision of the Lord. So, first the Lord is heard of and thought of, then he is sought through intense feelings of devotion and yearning, and finally he reveals himself in form and can be directly experienced. In other words, the thought form turns into a feeling form, which then becomes transformed into real experience. That describes the second stage on the path. Not only do you get the personal vision of the Lord, whom you have aspired to see, but you also get the chance to converse with him face-to-face.

After seeing the Lord thus and talking to him directly, you gain a little more satisfaction. But if you are a true devotee, even this golden opportunity will not give you the full joy you long for. Now you want to reach God and merge with him. You think, "I have heard... I have seen... now I must reach him and be one with him." In the first stage, when through reading and hearing you come to know that God exists, you feel that God is separate and you are separate. This is the state of dualism. But in the second stage you see the Lord and get the feeling that you are part of him. This is the state of qualified non-dualism. Finally you move on to the feeling, 'The Lord and I are one and the same'. This is the stage of complete non-dualism. Here you think, 'Either I must get merged with him or he must become one with me.' Then there is complete unity.