We live daily in the illusion of manifestation, but it is not this illusion that prevents us from reaching God/Truth, it is our union with it. To separate ourselves from it, we must look it in the face, for we cannot be anything that we can see. By standing apart from it we will know it for what it really is.
Because I am not visible to them, those lacking in wisdom think of Me as having acquired manifestation. They do not know my highest existence: the unsurpassed, Imperishable Absolute.
Anything that is perceptible to you is not God to you. Perception takes place when one or more of the five senses opens its door and allows the attention to reach its object (i.e., sight reaches for something that can be seen). The attention will go to whatever attracts it. In this world there is always something, and the attention is always engaged in this process. But God is not perceptible by the senses.
Then what is it that we are perceiving if it isn’t God come into manifestation? You may remember in verse 8 we used the metaphor of seeing the image of a face in a cloud:
Like a face seen in a cloud, it is not that the cloud is a face, but that a face is what is perceived by the seer.
This metaphor describes how ‘those lacking in wisdom’ make this mistake. We, the unwise, tell ourselves that “all is God” and imagine that when we look at something, God is what we are seeing, but what we are seeing is an illusion (not what is seems).
Remember that Lord Krishna has identified Himself as Absolute. But all perception takes place by means of the senses, which are not absolute. Yes, the face in the cloud is real, but it is not a face, it is a cloud. It is only seen as a face to the one looking.
‘Illusion’ is perceiving something as other than what it really is. This is what is meant by ‘ignorance’, or ‘lacking in wisdom’.
The deluded and confused of this world are enveloped by their union with illusion and do not not recognize Me, the birthless and Imperishable.
Lord Krishna is saying that because we are in union with illusion, identified with it, we are deceived and defrauded by unreality.
One cannot find the Real by means of the unReal (illusion)
We look at someone across the room, open ourselves to that person’s divinity, get high, and consider ourselves to have seen the Divine. But such experiences are usually a phenomenon of the mind having kicked off an emotional high that feels good.
I have often heard someone say that s0-and-so (who usually has a book they’ve read) is the Real Deal because they have worked so many paths, and know so much, that they must therefore be ‘very highly evolved’. These people openly express that people like us, who are interested in the Real, are on a ridiculous quest for something that has no real meaning because it is absolute, and too abstract—it’s getting good at Life that counts.
I have met many of these folks. They are, across the board, doing all their seeking in such a way as to maintain control, and they never release their guard. They don’t take risks, they don’t seek the guidance of anyone (especially if they do not concur with their already existing beliefs), and they don’t study the works of those who have attained the Highest. They read all the latest books by others like themselves who are reinventing the wheel with minimal success, and remain eclectic, thinking that this is the smartest and highest road.
But this road comes to a dead end, for they are unwilling to undergo the changes that accompany progress, especially if it doesn’t feel good. They strive instead to maintain the status quo (though they fervently believe otherwise about themselves) and “do not recognize Me, the birthless and Imperishable”.
Correct knowledge will up one’s progress by thousands, but knowledge without action is just knowledge and essentially useless.
Next week, we will learn a short-cut to Freedom and union with God/Truth, that can take us to Eternal Happiness.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),