All those who have striven to know God, they have declared: God is very difficult to know. All have declared; there is nobody who can say very clearly, ‘I have known God and I am now perfect. Even the Upanishad: there is Kena Upanishad where it is said that ‘One who knows the Divine does not know; one who does not know really knows.’ He says ‘I cannot say that I know the Divine, and yet I cannot say that I do not know Him.’ These are some of the last statements made by one who has realised the Supreme, and he states this statement in the Kena Upanishad (II, 1&2).
Else where also, wherever anybody who has come to realise, he describes, Sri Krishna also describes the Reality in these many words, many have described but they say ultimately: ‘He is ineffable’; ‘He cannot be expressed’. This is also the report of many people who have gone to the Divine and seeing Him they feel: ‘This is ineffable; it cannot be described; it cannot be expressed’. In the Upanishad we have one description of the Divine: neti neti, whatever you say of Him, you add, He is not that. You say everything that you want to say and then you add to it: neti neti, it is not so, it is not so. You say, He is akṣara, then you say He is not so; you say, kṣara, then you say it is not so. You say it is sat, it is not so; it is asat, it is not so. It is ‘Infinite’, it is not so. It is ‘Finite’, it is not so; neti neti, whenever you make any statement…because the moment you make a statement you fall short of that reality, it would not be applicable to that reality.
At the same time in saying ‘it is not this, it is not this’, it does not mean that He is nothing, because neti neti, could be also applied to something that is nothing. About ‘nothing’ also you can say ‘whatever you can say it is nothing’: it is not that, it is not that, it is not that. It is something about which you can say: it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this: this also can be said. It is such a reality about which you can say: it is not this, it is not this. It is such a reality about which you can say: it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this, it is this, endlessly.
Now this is the way in which God has been described in many different ways. As a result, historically three concepts have come out. All the three concepts are inadequate and as expressed exclusively, all are wrong. But if they can be combined together, synthesised together, then you have to say what Sri Krishna has said here in these two verses. If you can combine these three statements, then you are bound to say what Sri Krishna has said here.
These three concepts are what are called: ‘Deistic’ concept of God; ‘Pantheistic’ concept of God; and ‘Theistic’ concept of God: these are the three concepts of God. ‘Deistic’ or ‘Deism’; second is ‘Pantheism’; third is called ‘Theism’; there is also a fourth concept called ‘Monism’; there is also another concept which says: the Divine is “a-cosmic Monism’, it is ‘Monistic’ but also ‘a-cosmic’: the reality is one in which there is no place for the world. Now these are the different concepts.
Now, ‘Monism’ is very often identified with ‘Pantheism’, therefore I did not count four concepts but only three concepts. ‘Monism’ itself is either ‘Pantheistic’, or ‘a-cosmic’; so you might say there is a ‘Monism’ which is ‘Pantheistic’ or ‘a-Cosmic’. There is ‘Theism’ and then there is ‘Deism’. Basically there are three concepts: Deism, Pantheism, or Monism which is Pantheistic, or Monism which is a-Cosmic and Theistic.
Now, let us first ask: what is Deistic concept of God?
According to Deism, God is superior to anything that you can think of. He is superior, supreme, (not only superior but supreme), and so supreme He cannot be judge by any concept that you have about the world and man. Now, there is a ‘crude’ Deism, there is a ‘very refined’ Deism, but there is also a ‘crude’ Deism which says: man is man, God is God, you cannot compare God with man: to compare God with man is blaspheming, it is sinful even…