Immanent means here-with-us; something that we can perceive, experience and touch. Unfortunately, religion was so obsessed with the transcendental aspect of the Divine that the immanent aspect has often been forgotten. As the transcendental aspect of the Divine in ancient days was anthropomorphised into a male god, the Father, so the immanent aspect used to be depicted as female, the Mother. Have you ever wondered how the Christian trinity of Father and son was completed not by the mother but by the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit? The Mother was really ghosted, removed from our perception of spirituality in the wake of Gilgamesh and his succeeding warlord culture turning religion into a tool for their own empowerment and the manipulation of the masses.
For a father to have a son, there needs to be a mother, right? But in Christian theology, following a patriarchal paradigm, the father has been made all-powerful, and the mother completely disempowered. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is so reduced in stature that she does not even get to meet the father of Jesus. nor can he meet her in person, as she is not his equal anymore. As he would sully himself in the process, an immaculate conception was conjured up.
In earth-based spirituality, on the other hand, the God immanent is anthropomorphized into the Mother. This even continued into some of the religions. For example, in Shaivism (a subdivision of Hinduism), the immanent aspect of the Divine is identified with Shakti, the divine feminine.
Now, what really is the God immanent, and how can we understand it? There is an interesting passage in Shankara’s Brahma Sutra Commentary that says, “Consciousness [the God transcendent], similar to a mirror, is of the quality of reflectiveness. If there was nothing to be reflected, consciousness could not bring about its quality of reflectiveness”. What does that mean? Try to imagine a giant mirror floating in empty space. Nothing could ever be reflected in the mirror, as nothing else existed. That means the mirror could not reflect anything. But since the mirror is not a mirror outside of it being reflective, the mirror then would not be a mirror. That’s really important to understand, and the same is true for consciousness. Consciousness (the seat of awareness) is only consciousness if there is a world to be conscious of.
What that means for us practically is that the transcendental aspect of the Divine, consciousness, is forever conscious of the immanent aspect. The immanent aspect is the cosmos, the world of matter and energy, the entire universe. Since, by now, the existence of parallel universes in astrophysics is considered highly likely, in modern astrophysical language we would say the sum total of all parallel universes, or the multiverse, rather than a single universe.
To use a poetic and devotional expression, all that you see, feel and perceive is God. The entire cosmos is nothing but a crystallization of the Divine. There is no place, no time, no particle, no energy, no radiation, no wave pattern that is not God. The entire material world is the crystallized body of the Divine. That’s why the scripture says, “In Him we move, live and have our being”. You cannot live, move and have your being in anything else because there is nothing else.
For spiritual seekers, this must come as a great surprise. We have been looking for the Divine everywhere without finding Her, but we are acting akin to fish looking for the ocean. For a fish, there is nothing but the ocean, and for us, there is nothing but God. Wherever you stand, you stand on God. Whatever you look at is God. You breathe nothing but God, and you think nothing but God. That’s why in the Gita, Lord Krishna says, “All actions are performed by my prakrti only a fool believes to be the doer”. The prakrti (procreativity) is a Hindu term for the divine creative force or energy. It is similar to the Hebrew term Shekinah, God’s energy. Both terms are nothing but shorthand for the God immanent.
In the above Gita phrase, Krishna says, “You are not breathing yourself but I breathe you through the divine creative force. It is not you beating your heart but the God immanent is beating it through you. Can you order your arm to raise? no, it is me who thinks the thought, sends impulses through your neurons, and powers your arms. Can you transform food into energy via your metabolism? no, it is me as the God immanent who does so. Can you write your DNA, create proteins, power cells via mitochondria, harvest sunlight via photosynthesis and turn it into proteins?” no, all of these miraculous processes the God immanent performs through us without we having to do anything. That’s why Krishna says, “only a fool believes to be the doer”. our foolishness consists of having appointed ourselves to being the doers whereas truly, these actions are simply expressing themselves through us without our conscious input. This leads me to the probably most important concept related to the God immanent, cosmic intelligence. When you look at the above paragraph, there is no denying that the cosmos itself is intelligent, since it could produce something as miraculous as life, and particularly complex life. We have often looked at matter as dumb, dead and inert, but the entire material cosmos is nothing but an intelligent incubator of intelligent life, designed to realize itself as an embodiment of that intelligence and to co- create with cosmic superintelligence.
Life is not something that occurred accidentally. The odds for something like that to happen have been calculated and are so extremely unlikely that we can rule out accident. For example, there are over 50 natural, physical constants that need to be exactly as they are for life to occur (discussed in great detail later). Atoms need to hold together and form complex atoms and molecules. Stars need to hold together and create heat and energy. Stars need to eventually explode into supernovae in which extreme pressure sensations take place that weld atoms together to form complex, heavy atoms, like carbon, for life to eventually occur. Look at the golden jewellery you wear. Gold atoms could only come about by matter going through four consecutive lives and deaths of a star (we are talking about a period of many billions of years) for such superheavy atoms being welded together in four subsequent supernova explosions to bring about gold atoms.
Look at the large hadron collider, an international collaboration in Switzerland, the largest, most ingenious, and most expensive machine humanity has conceived and built. The Hadron collider is about 24 kilometres in diameter, has cost trillions of dollars and took 30 years to build. We expended all of that time and energy so that we could accelerate elementary particles, crash them into each other to see what happens. A couple of years back, for a few nanoseconds, these experiments revealed the Higgs-Boson, the so-called God particle. Do you see the irony? We believe ourselves to be so smart, but three million years of existence of the genus Homo, trillions of dollars later and thousands of physicists working on this project, we still cannot outsmart dumb and dead matter?
The reason why we find it hard to outsmart it is because the same intelligence that has crystallized as matter and the cosmos has crystallized as us. There is no difference between intelligence, spirit and God immanent on one hand and matter on the other. Matter is crystallized intelligence and spirit. Matter is the crystallized body of God. Matter is God. Matter, whether presented in form waves or particles or energy is the God immanent.
Notice how different this view is from today’s mainstream religions. religion disempowered the Divine Feminine, the Shakti/Shekinah/Gaia and placed a merely male God into a faraway, unattainable realm, either heaven, Shangri-La or even further away into nirvana/ nothingness/ emptiness. Disconnected from any spiritual meaning, religion could then declare matter/the world/femininity as an obstacle, something to overcome, something that could corrupt the male seeker. religion became a sole male domain, from priest, cardinals, the pope all the way up to God all being men, and they are all supposed to stay away from women so as to not become contaminated by them. That’s because women, supposedly, are representing lowly matter, which is unspiritual. That’s why Yahweh, according to scripture, did not have conventional intercourse with Mary to conceive Jesus, and that’s why in most religions today, women still can’t ascend to high spiritual offices.
We need to get over this brainwash that has been going on for at least five thousand years. Neither matter nor women present any spiritual obstacle whatsoever. On the contrary, matter and women are crystallized and embodied spirit.
Notice also that although there is this supposed conflict between religion and science, both actually agree in the fact that matter is spiritless and meaningless and therefore can be exploited and manipulated to one’s heart’s content. notice that for the first 300 years of Western scientific development, all the founders of Science were firstly men and secondly Christians. Men like Rene Descartes and Isaac newton simply followed the biblical injunction to “make the earth thy dominion”. The term dominion comes from the Latin dominus and means Lord/ master, but it is actually the name of the roman slaveholder caste. now, it becomes clear why humanity could completely disregard the spiritual value and beauty of nature, wilderness, rivers, mountains, forests and oceans. Our religions first devalued the divinity of these entities. only then by means of science did we manage to coerce, manipulate and destroy them so that now in the 21st millennia we are looking into the yawning abyss of environmental holocaust, ecocide and our own extinction.
Rene Descartes, for example, traced the beginning of his scientific career to an experience he had as a young man. An angel reportedly appeared to him and said, “Control of nature is obtained by number and measure”. Descartes then went on to lay a big part of the foundations of today’s mathematics, geometry and physics. our obsession with measuring and controlling is, unfortunately, caused by a misunderstanding that sees us as separate from nature rather than an integral part of it. The results of this view now becomes apparent. Centuries after Descartes, this belief of separateness has led us to the point where we are destroying nature at an ever-accelerating pace and are sawing off the very branch we are sitting on.
The compound of religion and Science have provided us with an evolutionary cul-de-sac that leads nowhere (we need to differentiate here between the scientific method and the philosophy of science, which is materialistic reductionism and objectivism, but more on that later). By realizing the divinity of the material cosmos, we come to understand that humans were meant to be nothing else but guardians of this garden of Eden and not its looters, ransackers, pillagers and plunderers. But unfortunately, that is what we have predominantly done throughout the last 10,000 years. There is, however, a human culture that has existed for more than 100,000 years that managed to live in harmony with nature, and that is the indigenous culture. When you analyse indigenous religion, you understand that indigenous people have always looked at the whole of the world and nature, including all life as divine. It is, after all, possible then!
This is an excerpt from my book How To Find Your Life’s Divine Purpose.
Just this week I have been reading extracts from Aldous Huxley, The Divine Within. He shares similar ideas. Also looking into William James.
This text came to me in a timely moment. Thank you
I’m just finishing a new book called Chakras, Drugs and Evolution – A Map of Transformative States, which should go to print in late June. To a large extent the book is a response to Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy and James’s Varieties of Religious Experience. You will find it very interesting.
Very deep article. What is your opinion on vedic chanting? Krishnamacharya held it in high regard and practiced every day I believe to connect with the higher powers. If important, how would you recommend one get started.
Thanks for the kind feedback. I do consider Vedic chanting helpful. It is a time-intense pursuit if one wants to learn it properly and of course one would needs to consider whether to instead invest the same time into chakra-Kundalini meditation, pranayama or similar yogic disciplines. As Sanskrit is not easy to pronounce, many Westerners are struggling to do it really well. So your safest bet would you to find an Indian native speaking teacher online.
Hope this helps