I just wanted to share an awesome article I found online, that outlines the basic truth in ALL the World's religions (albeit sometimes hidden)... that the Creator is within everything, and everything is within the Creator. It compares this universal truth among most of the major religions, including Sikhism. Though I'd like to point out, I feel it wrongfully left out any mention of Sikhism when it talks about the concept of Maya / Illusion... I also believe that while ALL religions are paths to the same place, Sikhism seems to me, to be the one that is the most direct path, explaining all these concepts directly... not hidden. The article also takes one of my favourite subjects, Quantum Physics, and ties it to this ONE Universal Truth! Appropriate credit given: Quoted from: http://www.iawwai.com/EveryoneIsGod.htm Everyone is God What has always historically been the unbelievable truth has today finally become the inescapable truth. What in the past could only be spoken of in parables can now be spoken directly and what in the past could only be described in part can now be described more fully. This section deals with the idea that a person's real identity is ultimately God. Or put another way it is to say that when a person truly experiences herself or himself as God, then this is not some illusion. Rather the experience of becoming God is to see things as they really are. It is the discovery of our true nature and the realization that it is material physical existence that is really illusory. When we see beyond the appearances of 'normal' physical reality then we are no longer trapped in the delusion that we are our physical bodies. We see that our real identity transcends the material. So instead of seeing ourselves as a person trapped in a physical body, gazing out upon a vast impersonal universe; instead we come to understand that we are God living through a person gazing out and reflecting upon itself, that is the Universe, that is God. Many people are familiar with the idea of the 'Christ within'. In Hinduism's premier holy text the Bhagavad Gita we have the 'Krishna within', and the Koran tells us that Allah is 'closer than your jugular vein'. The Buddhist scriptures talk about the Buddha within and correspondingly the Adi Granth, which is the Sikh holy text, describes that 'the one God is all pervading and alone dwells in the Mind'. Though many religious people know the idea that God is to be found within them, they imagine that somehow a small and divided piece of God is inside them or perhaps that all it means is that there is some aspect of God within us. However other passages in the scriptures of the World's religions also clearly state that God is indeed within us, but also that God is undivided, indivisible and always one. For instance this idea is clearly stated in the Bhagavad Gita in the following passage... 'Although the Supersoul [i.e. God within], appears to be divided, He is never divided. He is situated as one.' - Bhagavad Gita Chap 13, verse 17 Also the idea that God is an indivisible unity, forms one of the central tenets of the so called monotheistic religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This is confirmed in what is referred to in the Bible as the greatest commandment, also known as the 'schema', which begins like this... 'Hear O Israel, the lord your God the lord is One...' - Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4 So it is always the oneness and totality of God that is to found within each and every one of us. This is the mystery of the 'all in all', an idea that is expressed several times in the New Testament and also one that is found in the Bhagavad Gita, as the following passage demonstrates... 'The man whose self is disciplined in yoga, whose perception is the same everywhere, sees himself in all creatures and all creatures in himself.' - Bhagavad Gita 6:29 Also related to this idea of the 'all in all' or the idea that within a person is to be found all of existence, is the mystery of the kingdom of Heaven. For it is stated in the Bible that this is to be found inside you, as described by Jesus in gospels. As it says in the Gospels... "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." - Bible, Luke 17:21 This diagram apart from showing the essential unity of all World religion, also illustrates the fact that all religion has an exoteric or visible side but also an esoteric or hidden and more secretive aspect to it. In the outer sections of the diagram are represented the exoteric facets of World religiousity. Here we find the rules, rituals and regulations which differ from religion to religion. In the more medial sections of the circle are represented the esoteric traditions. It is here that we find more commonality in belief between the World's different religions. Near the centre of the diagram are different words for God. When we delve right to the heart of all true Religion then we find the Universal truth that we ourselves are that which is called God. So to recap, it is a recurring idea that somehow God is within us and also that God is within us indivisible and undivided. This is really the same idea as the 'all in all' or the notion of the Kingdom of Heaven that is to be found within a person. If we go on to delve deeper into the heart and history of world religion then we discover the idea that everyone is God is expressed more directly. To give several instances and starting with Islam we have some mystical quotes from Muhammad who said... 'Man is my mystery and I am his mystery, for I am he himself and he is also I myself' - Muhammad, Hadith Qudsi He also said 'Whoever knows himself knows God'. And if we examine the history of Islam and some of its more mystical sects then we find again the belief that everyone is God, i.e. the various mystical sufi groups, the Ismailis sect and the celebrated heretic and martyr Al Hallaq. Shifting our focus now to Christianity, when we examine the sayings of Jesus outside the Bible and also even some of the passages within it we discover that the message of Jesus wasn't just that only 'I and the father are one' and that only 'I am the son of God'. We learn that the real uncensored and unadulterated message of Jesus is that we are all God and also that we are all sons and daughters of 'the father'. In the Gospel of Thomas, which many scholars consider a more accurate source of Jesus' sayings than the Bible he says... 'Whoever drinks from my mouth shall become as I and I shall become as he and hidden mysteries to him shall be revealed.' - Gospel of Thomas, verse 108 Also, in the Gospel of John in the New Testament, chapter 10 is related an incident when Jesus was about to be stoned to death by his fellow Jews for claiming to be God. Significantly in verse 34 of chapter 10, in his defense he quotes from the Psalms saying... "Is it not written in your law, 'I have said you are gods' " - Bible Psalm 82:6 It is interesting that in the Psalms the above passage is followed by the statement... "You are all sons of the most high." - Bible Psalm 82:7 Essentially these two passages express between them two of Jesus' main and central assertions, i.e. firstly that, he is the son of God and secondly, that he is God. But the clear implication here is that not only is he claiming that he himself alone is God or that he himself alone is the son of God. But by the fact that he quotes from this Psalm, just quoted, in defense of his own claim to be God. He therefore is in effect saying that everyone is God and also that everyone is the son or daughter of God. Also if we examine the very early history Christianity then we discover that indeed some of the early Christians were like their founder, going off into the desert and trying to achieve a state of union and oneness with God. When we examine Hinduism we have a situation where historically the idea that everyone is God was quite openly believed and was constantly reiterated in ancient Indian holy texts called the Vedas. The idea is further reinforced in the Vedanta texts which means the summing up or end of the Vedas, and also commonly known as the Upanishads. Perhaps the idea that everyone is God was most elaborated in the heavily mystical Tantric traditions of India. However, through the course of Indian history things changed. It was during medieval times that revisionist philosophers and theologians started to alter the original truth behind Hinduism. It was during this period that distinctions started to be drawn between a person and God and also between God and the Universe. This movement is referred to as the Bhakti movement and did to Hinduism what the Roman Emperors did to Christianity and what the Caliphs did to Islam. The truth that everyone is God was altered and suppressed. However, even today the belief that a person's real identity is God is relatively common in India. Similar parallels and correspondences can be made with Buddhism, Taoism and Judaism. When we consider the metaphysical assertions of Buddha, the Taoist texts and the mystical traditions of Judaism, taken together with the idea that everyone is God; then this better explains the cryptic sayings and completes our understanding of what the ultimate spiritual attainment is. When we accept that all the worlds religions are really asking after the same truth then we may come to understand that the Tao in Taoism, the Void in Buddhism and Ein Sof in Jewish mysticism, are really just different names for the same God. And also just different names for the same ultimate God that is called Brahman in Hinduism, Allah in Islam and the Word or Logos in Christianity. Therefore this idea of union with and becoming God is the universal truth behind all world religion. What stops us from seeing that we are God? To most people this assertion, that a persons real identity is God, might seem opaque and unbelievable. Something so far from the boundaries of normal experience and common sense. Most people would find the idea that their real identity was God, outlandish and counter to all intuitions and assumptions that they hold about themselves. In order to understand this situation, a useful analogy may be employed. Imagine meeting a person who thought that the world was flat as many people did so believe in the not so distant past, the wise and the unlearned alike. Now imagine trying to explain to that person that you could go East by going West. To a person who believed that the world is flat, the notion of going East by going West would sound like an absolute absurdity. Yet you, I and everybody from around the age of five onwards, knows and accepts that you can go East by going West. We know and can accept this idea because we know that the world is round and not flat. And so by replacing one assumption with another we are able to see truths that we otherwise would not have been able to. This is the reason why it is so difficult for most people to entertain the idea that everyone's true identity is God. We hold certain incorrect assumptions about ourselves and about reality and it is these assumptions which prevent us from seeing the truth. So what are these assumptions? The main assumption which stops us from seeing that we are God is called Materialism. It is the belief that existence is material or physical. We normally come to believe that we are inhabiting a physical world consisting of material objects and also we come to identify ourselves with our physical bodies. And so we consider the nature of existence to be physical and material. We also come to the belief that our subjective experience or consciousness, somehow depends on our physical bodies for its existence and also that there is a physical world outside of us which is independent of our subjective internal reality. This constellation of related beliefs is called Materialism. This idea of Materialism is opposed by the idea called Idealism which holds that the essence of existence is consciousness, and that it is only the subjective world that is truly real. So these two philosophical ideas form the two competing camps in the great ontological debate which concerns itself with the nature of existence. This debate between the Materialists and the Idealists has raged over the centuries and indeed over the millennia. Mostly, the dominant position has been Materialism and one of the reasons for this is that it has been very difficult to demonstrate convincingly how Idealism can be the more viable position. That is, no one has been able to show how all existence is consciousness. Materialism is the position we normally come to accept, so it has always been a sort of default assumption, in the same way that primitive peoples normally came to believe that the World was flat. And without another competing view to challenge this belief, the idea of a flat Earth was the dominant viewpoint. So we have a similar situation with the idea of Materialism versus the idea of Idealism. That is, throughout most of recorded history the dominant position of Materialism has never been seriously challenged and at the same time a strong case has never been made for the competing idea of Idealism. However, things have changed. Today the assumption of Materialism can be undermined from every conceivable angle, philosophical, spiritual and scientific. Also with the help of recent discoveries in mathematics made in the past few decades, a compelling case can now be made for Idealism. Some of the greatest philosophers from Plato to Rene Descartes, Immanuel Kant and George Berkeley have long been telling us the assumption of Materialism is flawed from the outset because we can never have certain knowledge of the physical world and that we can only truly know our own consciousness. That is to say the belief in a material world independent of our consciousness can only ever be assumption, and also one that can never be proven. Modern day philosophers accept this, even those that believe in Materialism. However, though accepting the flaw in the assumption of Materialism, they might counter that the alternative belief Idealism, as mentioned earlier, cannot be proven either. But this is what the mystics and founders of religion have been proving for themselves all through history. The experience of being God is not just the ultimate attainment of life but also the ultimate proof that everything is consciousness. The experience of being God is the experience of the oneness of all things, and the totality of that oneness. Normally we experience ourselves as a part in the all, i.e. as a physical human body in a vast physical universe. In the experience of being God we become the all and the physical universe including our physical bodies is then seen to be illusory. We become the all that is God, and experience that which we really are. In this state it is realized that it is we ourselves who are the generator of the illusion of the physical reality. This is a recurring theme in religion. In the section of this website entitled 'The nature of reality', I demonstrate how Idealism works and show what is behind the illusion of physical reality. The idea of the material world being illusory is a very ancient one that comes up again and again, all through history and all around the world. We've already mentioned Plato who described the material world as like shadows projected onto the walls of a darkened cave. And that spending our mortal lives within the cave we only ever see the shadows. We never see the greater reality that exists outside the cave or the objects that we only see the shadows off. In Hinduism we have the concept of maya. Maya is the appearance of the physical world generated through lila which means the action or play of Brahman which is the Hindu expression for the ultimate God. This physical world so created is merely illusory and God becomes embodied within this physical world of mere appearances. So God immersed in this illusion that is the physical world; takes on the roles of physical life forms, acting out an infinite succession of life paths. Therefore all of us are like the characters in a vast cosmic stage play and God is the actor who brings these characters to life. Therefore a part of maya is the illusion of the physical self and this gives rise to the belief that we have a spiritual essence or soul separate from Brahman or God. This in Hinduism is called atman. However, another recurring idea in Hinduism describes how the yogin or mystic adept is able through yoga (disciplined unitive action) to stop the process of lila or the play of God. Once lila ceases, he or she is able to see through the illusion of maya, transcend the illusory physical world and thereby become Brahman or God again. In so doing he or she is able to see that atman or the idea of self separate from the other people and separate from God was also an illusion. This is the key idea at the heart of Hinduism, that atman and Brahman are one and the same, i.e. that a persons real identity is God. In the teachings of Buddha we have a concept, corresponding to that of maya in Hinduism. This is the called sanyatta which is sanskrit and translates as 'emptiness' in english. This concept describes how all the objects around us and all material things exist only as an appearances and behind that appearance is emptiness. That is, they don't really exist and therefore it is only consciousness that exists. So physical objects and the material world exist only as projections of our conscious state. Conscious states themselves being manifestations of the one God or in Buddhist parlance 'the Void'. This original meaning is sometimes misinterpreted by modern day Buddhists to mean that things are only empty of value. i.e. that the things we perceive as having value, lose their value for us if we can make ourselves see things differently. However, an ancient legend describes how when Buddha gave a sermon about sanyatta, many of the listeners suddenly had heart attacks. This story should not be taken literally. It was created to show that sanyatta is a shocking meta-physical assertion about the nature of reality not merely some statement about the relative value of things. This true interpretation of sanyatta or emptiness is kept alive today mainly in some of the Mahayana strands of Buddhism and also by Vajrayana Buddhist sects from Tibet. Also, the fact that Buddhism is derived from Hinduism supports the case that sanyatta and maya are interchangeable concepts. That is they both talk about the illusory nature of reality. The idea of the illusory nature of reality is probably most developed in Hinduism and Buddhism but it is also alluded to in the other main religions of the world. In the Gospels, Jesus time and time again points out a higher realm of existence above and beyond the physical world. And in his sayings and sermons he repeatedly tells people not to focus their time and energies on things and matters relating to the material world. In the Koran, Muhammad says that 'the life of this world is but a diversion'. And also, the Taoist sage ponders whether he is really a butterfly dreaming that he is a man. When we consider that it is Materialism, or the belief in an external physical reality existing outside of consciousness which prevents us from seeing the ultimate truth in religion that we are God. Then it is not surprising that all the world religions should contain statements and sayings which undermine and contradict the fallacy of Materialism. We have already discussed that some of the greatest philosophers of all time have demonstrated that the belief in Materialism can only ever be an assumption and an unprovable one at that. World religion seems united in telling us that Materialism is not the real nature of things. And also that there is something above and beyond the physical material world that is far more real and which is the true nature of existence. And so, moving onto the world of science we discover that through the enquiries of the quantum physicists, the metaphysical truths of world religion and the intuitions of the philosophic greats are today being confirmed. The discoveries of quantum physics are strongly suggesting that reality is indeed illusory. Today, science seems to have come full circle. If we study the history and origins of science we discover that the first scientists, or the proto scientists, were almost invariably mystical in their outlook or else religiously inclined. Recently though, through the discoveries and insights from the quantum physicists, we are seeing science making a return to some very ancient mystical ideas. So what is Quantum physics. Quantum physics is the study of reality at sub atomic scales and is only a quite recent development emerging early in the 20th century. It studies the substrate of the physical universe at an extremely fine resolution, indeed, at a sub atomic level. What quantum physics has discovered is that the material world of matter is very very strange and not what we think it is. Without getting into too technical a discussion, some quotes from some of the greatest physicists of recent times, help to illustrate the situation. For instance, quantum physics so baffled scientists that the Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman said that "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don't really understand it". And also, the late great John Wheeler who worked with Albert Einstein, summed up what quantum physics is telling us about physical reality by saying that "There is no out there, out there!". Quantum mechanics forces us to question our pre-conceived notions about reality, and challenges our existing assumptions. It has really exposed the cracks in our existing structures of belief, namely Materialism, and opens the way for other ideas to be considered. In the same way that advances in astronomy and navigation started to challenge the idea that the world is flat or the belief that the Sun revolved around the Earth. So it is that quantum mechanics is challenging the incumbent assumption about the nature of existence called Materialism. This facilitates and helps to set up the necessary conditions for the acceptance of the idea that everyone is God. It undermines the main false assumption that stops us from seeing who we really are. Another fairly recent discovery of science which is relevant to our discussion that everyone's true nature is God, is the phenomenon called quantum entanglement. Not only is quantum mechanics telling us that that the physical world is illusory, it is also suggesting that the entire universe is really a unified & inseparable oneness. When we consider this phenomenon that the quantum physicists have discovered called entanglement then we see why this is the case. Entanglement is the quantum mechanical property where if two sub atomic particles occupy the same point in space at the same point in time, then they become like a single unified whole. This then gives rise to the phenomenon called 'non-locality', whereby these two particles may influence one another instantaneously even if they are both located at opposite ends of the universe. Though separated in space they seem to have instant communication with one another, as if they were one single entity. This property is so mysterious and baffling that even Einstein considered it an impossibility. However experiments have repeatedly proven Einstein wrong, and have shown that entanglement and non-locality are indeed properties of the physical world. Things get interesting when we consider that the entire Universe started from a single point, the so called 'Big bang singularity'. Because the entire Universe occupied the same point of space, every single atom in the universe is entangled with every other atom. So even though the universe which started with the big bang expanded and separated out to what we can see and measure today, it also exists as a single unified and inseparable whole. Without a doubt all of this is not intuitive and runs counter to what we normally assume about physical reality. It normally seems to us that there is a physical reality 'out there' populated by separate and distinct objects, so how can these objects really be a single entity? But that's the whole point. Quantum mechanics is forcing us to re-examine our existing assumptions. It is suggesting to us that we consider the possibility that reality is not what it seems, that it is really illusory. Also quantum mechanics is inviting us to start entertaining the idea of the universe as being a 'oneness' and further still that we are that 'oneness'. That is, we are that oneness reflecting upon itself. So therefore, that which stops us from seeing that we are God is the assumption called Materialism which, whether they know it or not, is the belief about reality that most people hold. As we have discussed, this assumption is undermined by findings from science and also by lines of inquiry from the world of philosophy. Further, it is a view which is incorrect according to some of the metaphysical assertions of the World's great religions. When we abandon the assumption of Materialism then we can start to see that physical reality is indeed illusory and that the nature of existence is consciousness. We may also come to see that all reality is really one consciousness, i.e. God, and that we are that one consciousness. This is the truth behind the position called Idealism which stands in opposition to the idea of Materialism, and its ultimate proof derives from the direct experience of being God. Put another way, the mystery of consciousness and the mystery of God are really different names for the same mystery. If everyone is God, why am I not experiencing that I am God? Is this it? When a person is told that their identity is really God, then normally the reaction is one of disbelief and a total rejection of the notion. Those that are willing to entertain the idea a little further may go on to ask, 'But if I am God why am I not feeling like God? Why do I suffer? Is this all there is to being God?' The answer to this is that when we are living out our lives as mortal human beings and not knowing who we really are, then we are entangled in the human condition. We are driven by our basic desires and our basic fears. Thus we live out the experiences of 'normal' life, feeling pleasure and pain and all the while identifying with our physical bodies. Therefore seeing our existence as physical and so it seems to us that we are living out our lives in a material world. However, in this state we are as asleep to our true nature which is God. To awaken from this state is the achievement of an attainment that is described in all the worlds religion's and is really the ultimate goal of the spiritual journey. Known by many names, it is referred to as 'The Kingdom of Heaven' in Christianity, in Islam it is the 'Garden', in Hinduism it is called 'Moksha' and in Buddhism 'Enlightenment'. The word 'Buddha' actually means 'awakened one'. This ultimate mystical goal is a state where a person realizes his or her true identity as God. It may also be described as a union with God. So likewise when a Jewish kabbalist unites with 'Ein Sof' i.e. God, or a Taoist mystic unites with the Tao, then this equivalent to the same exalted goal that is referred to in the other religions. Seen in this light, we can see clearly that Jesus' claim to be one with the Father, i.e. God, and his teachings about the mysterious Kingdom of Heaven that is to be found within, are both really talking about the same thing. There may be some debate in some quarters as to whether the 'Kingdom of Heaven' in Christianity is really the same as 'Moksha' in Hinduism, or whether the 'Garden' of Islam is really the same as 'union with the Tao' in Taoism. There will always be those who more naturally see and find differences between the religions. However if we start from the reasonable assumption that all the World's religions are really asking after the same truth and worshipping the same God, even if 'God' is given many different names. Then of course it is reasonable and sensible to suppose that the ultimate attainment of all the World's religions is one and the same. When we further consider all the evidence which suggests this common thread in all the World's faiths which talk about the God within and the idea of union with God, then surely what goal can be more ultimate than that? The assertion being made here is that the state of true union with God is the experience of being God and waking up to our true identities. Summary and Conclusion So a person's real identity is God but though we are all God, we are God asleep. And though we think we are awake we are really as in a dream. The awakening from this sleep or dream is the ultimate attainment described in all the World's religion and the realization of our true selves as God. Historically, the idea that a person's identity is really God has always been the unbelievable truth. Many people experienced for themselves this truth but there was no way that this idea could be communicated in a way that made sense to most people. So all through history this truth had to be hidden or else spoken of indirectly and in parables. However, things have changed. I believe that the situation we have in the world today is one where the unbelievable truth has finally become the inescapable truth. That is, advances in human knowledge, in the fields of science, mathematics, philosophy and theology; have set up the conditions whereby the idea that everyone is God, can finally be expressed in a convincing, compelling and reasonable way. In another section of this website, I explain how it is that everyone is God in the section entitled 'The nature of God'. Finally, concerning the mystical journey, and the ways and methods that people may realize themselves as God. The problem today is not only that people no longer know the way to God, but also that people don't even know that the journey exists. An understanding of the truth that everyone is God is the prelude to the mystical quest for self realization and spiritual awakening. Once a person is fully aware of his or her true identity then this knowledge may lead to a powerful personal transformation and perhaps ultimately to the attainment of the divine.