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Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 00:59:47 EDT
From: Fakir9@aol.com
To: sai-disc@sainet.org
Subject: Re: Question of Formless

Bill Benson wrote:

"Hence identifying with God starts with the visible input of a form, living or idol, and is followed by a sharper inner eye perception of the visible form. It is only when one is spiritually elevated does the external stimulusof physical visibility diminish as a factor of realization and acceptance of the formless and infinite."

Sai Ram! Peace be on you from my heart to yours!

If you read my postings Islam Eternal Part 8 and 10 on Form and Formless you will see that the view expressed above while correct for many is not universal. If you will, for the sake of making myself clear, please keep in mind that it is one thing to adore, love and seek aid from a Form but a very different thing to call that Form by the word GOD. If by God one means an OMNIPRESENT, OMNISCIENT and OMNIPOTENT Consciousness/Being then how can what the senses(which can percieve only the measurable) report easily/naturally depict the Infinite (not measurable by the senses) ? I believe that any form is God but I don't see how it is the natural thing inthe begining. I accept that for many it is natural to worship a particular Form as God.

Beloved Sai's statement that you need a Form to get to the Formless need to be examined very carefully because any simplistic understanding of this statement can lead to serious misunderstanding between people who believe in God as Formless Being/Consciousness and those who do not. The fact is that such a distinct and simplistic division already exists among the masses and a misunderstanding of Baba's statements on this issue can add fuel to the existing prejudices.

In my view Baba does not mean that you need (unless that is natural to you) to see God as a Form first but that you do need to use one or more Forms to relate to the Formless Reality. For Muslims the Forms such as the Holy Kaba and the figure of the Sheikh (Spiritual Master) are means not the end. Forms for us are means to focus our minds on God. Existence of spiritual giants within the Islamic and Jewish traditions are ample proofs in support of my view point. The same perhaps could be said in different terminologies about the Zen Buddhists and some Christian sects.

From my perspective which represents the Islamic viewpoint it is easier to accept in the begining that THAT / HE / SHE / COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS / GOD which created / gave rise to the cosmos and beyond, can not be limited by any sense. A Form initially represents a limit. Everything that the senses (which can not capture the Infinite) percieve are in the Quran "Signs of God" "for those who understand." Through contemplating on many 'signs' and in particular by focusing on those 'Signs' that blurs the distinction between finite and Infinite such as the seemingly infinite selfless love/compassion of a Master one can begin to feel with the heart (sense without senses) the Universal relating to the particular through these 'Signs'. These 'Signs' beacons the seeker to dive ever deeper until he/she realizes LA ILAHA ILLALLAH (there is nothing other than God/Sureme Reality). At that state which we call Fana (Extinction) the 'Signs' are more than 'Signs': everything is God. Kabir said "It is easy to understand how forms dissolve into the Formless (the particular dissolving into the Universal), but very few can understand that the Universal merges into the particular." The implication is that Man as God is a highly sophisticated concept experienced first by Yogis/Holy Men/Holy Women/Prophets.

In my view the fact that Hindus so easily worship God as a Form first, does not necessarily imply that vast majority have an understanding of how the particular Form is also the Universal. It operates primarily as a belief system. Devotion however overcomes any lack of Jnana to take one to God Realization. How many Sai devotees can honestly claim that they have experienced Sai as God? For most of us it is a belief. For to know God is to be God. Only God can know God as God. How can our limited consciousness know God the Infinite except by a 'sensing without senses' something in our hearts and then take a 'leap of faith'? No wonder Baba says He can count the number of His true devotees with His fingers.

My reason for writing today has been to express once again that for at least half of humanity it is not at all natural to see God as a Form first. One may ask if it were so natural why after 71 years of Sathya Sai Avatar's presence perhaps no more than 8% of Hindus in India see Sai as God.

Beloved Sai is the most Transparent of Signs of God known to me. In time through continuous unveiling of my inner Self by the Rays of Illumination of this awesome Presence, I pray I will be lead to an experience our ONENESS. The Formless Allah shines through the Form of Sai. It is my perception in a figurative sense.

My motto: LOVE THE FORM, SEEK THE FOMLESS. This is a Muslim's way to love/adore Muhammad with all his/her heart and soul but pine for/seek only Allah, the Formless Cosmic Consciousness. Anyone who thinks that one can not feel for the Formless should know that the yearning/longing for the unseen Beloved can be intense. Lovers know it well. I have observed it over and over. It is difficult to forget the sobbing masses as they circumbulate the Holy Kaba chanting "Here I am Lord, here I am at Your service, I bear witness that You are One without any partner."

Tarique Quadir

© Copyright 1998 Tarique Quadir