Bhavasagara is the ocean of worldly existence that can only be crossed by seeking and knowing the noumenon of cosmic intelligence- God. Humans are naturally drawn to reason and logic. We try to explain every perceived event as a phenomenon. We are so conditioned to understanding the universe using our sense perceptions, that majority of us just fail to understand the noumenon of existence, which is behind every manifested form in the universe. Thus we minimize the material manifestations of this noumenon using intelligent ideas under the guise of Science.
Due to the lack of ability to perceive beyond our 5 senses we can only perceive good vs. bad. Thus we strive to live a good life to understand God. Doing good and leading a good life is of course very essential, but seeking the true knowledge of God is much more than that.
The path of self-realization is tedious. To cross the ocean of worldly phenomenal existence to the other-worldly being of noumenon is difficult because the ocean of life is very unstable and scary as long as we are attached to our sense perceptions. As God has indicated many times, that 1 in a thousand seeks me and only 1 in a thousand who seeks me knows me. To stay on course there are stepping stones, which is difficult to balance on due to the fierceness of the ocean of life.
The first stepping stone of self-realization is Karma. Every perceived manifestation of the Noumenon in this universe has a purpose as long as it is allowed to exist by the same Noumenon. While fulfilling ones purpose there has to be a balance of action and inaction. As it is said in the Bhagavad Gita- there has to be action in inaction; and inaction in action. Understanding and accepting ones God given purpose is ones Karma. Knowing well that every action or inaction, i.e.Karmic action, creates a series of events that is orchestrated by the Noumenon which is often oblivious to those who depend on sense perceptions solely to understand creation. These series of events as a consequence of 1 action or inaction is the balance of Karma that is created for oneself. So we cycle ourselves through life and death to clear this balance sheet, being unaware that we are driven by a cosmic intelligence with a final goal of realization. Until the internal motivation of “seek ye’the kingdom of God” is created, the karmic balance will continue to wax and wane. Thus in an attempt to nullify the Karmic Balance humans often turn to religion to understand righteousness or Dharma
Leading a good life is of course a noble life, however there is an obvious drawback to following this path exclusively. By the virtue of being dependent on our sense perceptions, humans may do or say certain things that can be perceived as morally righteous to one, but immoral to the other. The disadvantage of Moral Relativism is inevitable in this pursuit of happiness by just doing the right thing (those who hunt for food, kills an animal, it may be morally righteous for the hunter because he is feeding and taking care of his family, however the animal that was killed suffered in the process, and possibly causing distress to the others in the herd or flock. Humans justify it by the phenomenon of the food chain, and that the act was performed to feed his family which is thus for a noble cause). Thus leading a righteous life or following Dharma, or maintaining the mode of goodness is the second stepping stone in the pursuit of self-realization. Often religion is the basis for understanding Dharma. Just being religious is not sufficient to seek and understand God. Dharma has to be done without any egoistic attachment which only the doer and God is privy to this. Dharma done with egoistic attachment leads to greed, envy, coveting, stealing, and all other deadly sins. This is hard to overcome with just the religious knowledge of Yama-Niyamas (dos and dont’s- the moral code of life)
Religious based dharma or moral/ religious righteousness are often contradictory because we are not able to know God’s message through this phenomenal existence. We have to seek to gain the divine vision and audition to hear the message as intended by God. When left to human interpretation it becomes very convoluted leading to factioned ideas of God. This factioned ideologies lead to different branches within the same religion. This division in the thought process of God creates strife and unrest among humans. The faction is caused because humans just believe in God. To understand God Faith-Bhakti is needed. Faith thus the third stepping stone. Yogananda explains faith or intuitive experience of all truth is present in the soul. It gives birth to human hopes and the desire to achieve, but also hides behind the wall of ignorance. Belief is an imagination of reality without knowing it to be certain. There is an expectation to know for certain at some point of time. So belief in God is expected to become reality for certain sometime in the future. Belief is good as long as there is a desire to realize what you are believing. The realization of the belief materializes only when there is an incentive to persevere towards it.Belief in God has to be time tested to prove its value. Blind faith without perseverance will not bring results. Concentration and Meditation is important to achieve Yoga or the Union with God.Belief converted into experience becomes Faith With Belief and Faith comes wisdom. Seek the boundless wisdom from God’s all-possessing, all-bountiful hands. Then in the valley of humbleness, the fathomless ocean of God’s Wisdom will gather. With faith there is no need to faction the universal God who is ominiscient/ omnipresent/ and omnipotent.
Faith can sometimes waver due to life’s instability. To stay on course and be firm in Faith we need the fourth stepping stone of Strength -Shakti. This strength is only derived from the Grace of the same God we are seeking to know. Without this strength faith can be very hard to hold on to.
Steady strength is difficult to maintain because being humans we are susceptible to fatigue. Mental fatigue is very easy especially when facing the ups and downs of this worldly existence. The fifth stepping stone is Patience-Saburi. Unless we develop undying patience we can easily fall back into the ocean of worldly existence half way through this rocky journey.
Even with patience God can still stay elusive causing our vision and direction to waver. To stay strong on course the sixth stepping stone is Complete Surrender-Sharanagati. Sharanagati can be achieved by adapting the mindset of “let it be”and “let it go”. Give it all to God, good-bad-and ugly. Unless we surrender all our actions and thoughts to God, we cannot reach our final destination of Self-Realization. A self-realized soul is only full of love and bliss. Nothing in the word can change his mind.
Self-realization is none other than knowing Noumenon God. To know the Noumenon existence of God we need to reach the inner core Sanctum Sanctorum within each manifestation of material existence be it living or non-living. The process of this Cosmic Intelligence that binds this universe which can be explained scientifically using phenomenal ideas. However we can never understand why it exists the way it does. Only the existence of God beyond sensory perception can explain why the world exists and why it changes with time.