A response to a query on the video, The Real You—Where Were You Before the Big Bang? :
God is one and many. There is only one God. There are many gods (this is not a typo).
It is difficult for the western mind to accept such an apparent contradiction, for we are not schooled by our society to do so. With the kind of abstract concept of God presented in “The Real You”, one must entertain the idea that the Absolute One is all there is and is therefore all of us. God is singular and at once plural, for there are no limitations where Absolute God (parabrahman) is concerned. In the early part of the video you mentioned, the situation is timeless pre-creation before one becomes self-aware and exercises the ability to know. Once this occurs, the Tattvas1 begin to unfold and God begins to appear as creation and a multiplicity of living beings.
You said, “It sounds like the Absolute One is undivided and yet chooses to be these distinct nonphysical beings that are not aware of each other.” I might put it this way: “The Absolute One is undivided (parabrahman) and is distinct nonphysical entities who, once having exercised the ability to act (to choose), ultimately come into being.” This statement appears to be full of contradictions, but it is as close as I can come to putting it into words (or pictures). It is a divine paradox that can only be realized through direct perception.
God is all there is, so these conflicting statements are true: God is all of us; God is the Eternal Undifferentiated Absolute One. Once differentiation occurs as apparent creation (maya), everything is Absolutely Relative.
As divine individuals we are gods with the same characteristics attributed to God: eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. Now, we are ‘embodied ones’ who have always been in union with Absolute God. Wearing bodies, we do yoga2 to remember this by removing the veils that obscure it from our conscious awareness.
The practice of yoga ultimately takes one to nirbija3 samadhi,4 or asamprajnata5 samadhi, and the revelation of this apparent dichotomy. This samadhi is objectless—there is no knowable, no sense of self, nothing one is being conscious OF—there is no differentiation of knower, knowing and known, there is only rolling bliss beyond description, the individual merged with Beloved Absolute God as salt is dissolved in the ocean. Even so, our individuality remains in tact. There it is again: divine paradox.
1 Tattvas – Self, soul, intelligence, ahamkara (I-doer), five sense faculties, five sense organs, five objects of sense, five organs of action, and mind. These differ within different philosophical systems, but ultimately come down to the same thing.
2 Yoga – Union. Union with God. Practices aimed at attaining union with God (removing the veils).
3 Nirbija – “Without seed,” without anything in a potential state of becoming. Without the seed of desire—fulfillment leaves nothing to be desired.
4 Samadhi – “The fulfillment of union.” “Equanimity.” “Complete satisfaction.” “A uniform state of mind.”
5 Asamprajnata – “Without a knowable.”