Part IX — Questions and answers: University of Montana

Question: What is the difference between seeing God and realising God?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference between seeing God and realising God. When we see God, we can see Him as an individual or as an object or as something else. But we do not consciously and continuously embody Him and feel that He is our very own. When we see God, it is like seeing a tree. We do not at that time consciously embody the tree-consciousness. And since we do not embody it, we cannot reveal or manifest it. But when we realise something, at that time it becomes part and parcel of our life. We may see a flower, but when we realise the flower we actually become one with the consciousness of the flower.

When we merely see something, we cannot claim it as our very own, and that particular thing also will not claim us. Seeing is on the physical plane, while realising is on the inner plane. Seeing does not last, whereas realising does remain with us. If we see something, the vision may last for a short while; but when we realise something, this knowledge lasts forever. In the spiritual life we always say that there is a great difference between experience and realisation. Experience is something that lasts for a few hours or a few days or months or years; but it does not last forever. Experience enters into our life but does not and cannot make its permanent abode within us. But once we have realisation it becomes part and parcel of our life and lasts for eternity.