From a vedic-wisdom yahoogroup posting:
Do deities exist as beings separate from us? Yes.
Do deities exist in us as aspects of our own consciousness? Yes.
What then is the link between the two? Let us step down to something more earthy to understand this better.
When I write or say something, does everyone understand the same way? Of course not. One may think that I am denying God’s existence. One may think that I am asking to completely surrender to God.
One may think I am confused and not making any sense. One may think that I am wise and clarifying subtle concepts. One may think that I am a proud person spreading half-baked knowledge. Different people may look at me differently and judge/understand my actions, my words, their meanings and their motivation differently. Sometimes, totally differently. We see such things all the time in life, don’t we?
Why does it happen?
When one reads or listens to me, one’s mind is aware of some letters or sounds or facial/tonal expressions, etc. These objective sensory perceptions are subjectively interpreted by a mind using its own conditioning (vasanas, tendencies). We add meaning to objective sensory experiences by consciously or sub-consciously falling back on lessons from all experiences in this life and previous lives (which are stored in chitta as sub-conscious memories and tendencies).
Of course, I am not saying that what I write/say does not matter. It matters too. But it is just one input. The other person’s mental conditioning and life experiences are the other input. Both inputs together form an impression in the other person’s mind. Effectively, this creates a character called “Narasimha Rao” in that person’s mind. Whatever that person thinks of me, favorably or unfavorably, is actually about that character in his own mind and not about me! Similarly, whatever that person learns/understands from my writings is actually from that character in his own mind and not from me. After all, not everyone develops the same understanding by reading what I write.
Of course, as one interacts with me more and more, that character in one’s own mind may resonate with me more and more and get closer to the “real me”. But it may never really become identical to the real me.
This applies to deities too.
Whether one reads about a deity and thinks of the deity, whether one worships the deity, whether one actually had a vision or a dream of the deity, the bottomline is that all that creates a character in one’s mind called that deity!!! Whatever one perceives of that deity is of that character in one’s mind and not of the “real deity”. Whatever one learns or receives from is from that character in one’s mind and not from the real deity.
The reason is one’s own conditioning, which has a fundamental role in interpreting, or even constructing, every experience. It affects one’s awareness, understanding and interaction with a deity too. Whatever one is aware of, understands and interacts with, is basically through characters/conceptions constructed and sustained in one’s own consciousness, whether of people like me or deities. As long as there is dense conditioning, it does affect one’s experiences. What I say or a deity does is one input, and one’s conditioning is the second input. Both together determine what the character in one’s mind, corresponding to me or a deity, says/does!
If you want to understand me better, overcome your conditioning - make it lighter and lighter. Spend more time with me. Let the “Narasimha Rao” in your mind become a closer reflection of me.
Similarly, if you want to benefit from a deity, overcome your conditioning - make it lighter and lighter. Spend more time thinking of the deity. Let the deity’s conception in your consciousness become a closer reflection of the deity.
This is why self-control, reduction of conditioning (vasanas) and internal transformation is vital for progress. Without it, one with dense conditioning will not make progress even if he sits next to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa everyday or Lord Shiva appears before him everyday.