Ishaavaasyam idam sarvam - God Omnipresent

"Ishaavaasyam idam sarvam yat kim ca jagatyam jagat 
tena tyaktena bhunjithaah maa gridhah kasyasvid dhanam"
                                                                        first mantra of the Ishavasya Upanishad: 

The entire universe is indwelt, enveloped, covered by the Supreme Being; 
Live a happy life in this world. Enjoy your existence; do not suffer.

In an interview published in INDIA New England News  – Chinmaya Mission, Boston (June 1, 2003) (page 6 of the pdf document: 
( )  Swami Chinmayananda explained the meaning lucidly thus: 

This positive state of harmony and peace, which can be invoked by an intelligent person of will and courage, is called God.

He is present everywhere --

as the raga in the music, or

the canvas in a painting.

He is the warp and woof of the entire tapestry of life,

as the thread in a piece of cotton.

We must have

the ears to listen to the raga,

the understanding to see the canvas, and

the knowledge to recognize the thread in the cloth.

The hurried existence of busy experiences
diverts our attention, and we consequently
fail to see, hear, or know Him. ………. 

We can do no better than sing in chorus with Hans Denk:

'Oh my God,
how does it happen in this poor old world that

Thou art so great and yet nobody finds Thee,

Thou callest so loudly and nobody hears Thee,

Thou art so near and yet nobody feels Thee,

Thou givest Thyself to everybody
and yet nobody even knows Thy name?

Men flee from Thee
                        and say they cannot find Thee;

Men turn their backs
                        and say they cannot see Thee;

Men cover their ears
                        and say they cannot hear Thee.'

The Tamil Saint Tirumoolar explained in his Tirumanthiram how our individual perceptions hide Reality/Truth,
with this example of a child playing with an elephant-figure carved out of wood:

maraththai maRaiththadhu maamadha yaanai
(wood (was)     hidden (by)      wild    elephant
maraththil maRaindhadhu maamadha yaanai 
in the wood   got hidden       wild     elephant
Paraththai maRaiththadhu paarmudhal bhootam
paramaatma   was hidden  (by)     the five elements 
paraththil    maRaindhadhu paarmudhal bhootam
in paramaatma      has merged       the five elements

The child played ecstatic with his elephant proud,
He cared not it was made of wood,
Man with his worldly knowledge beholds only the wood,
But misses the Lord in all creation;
Even so, the Elements hide the Real from our sight,
But the Mystic’s eye of perception 
pierces through the Elements and experiences God.

paar-mudhal-bhootham =  earth etc. the (five) elements = prithvi, aapah, tejas, vaayu, akaasha = earth, water, fire, air and space.

A wild elephant carved out of wood might look very real. A closer scrutiny reveals that though it resembles an elephant in shape, it is made of wood only and is life-less. Similarly, study of the scriptures and cogitation in the mind will reveal to us that this world which appears to be made of  the five elements is really made of the timber called the Paramatman; we must learn to look upon all this as the Supreme God-head.

Thirumoolar says in this poem that because of our being accustomed to seeing the five elements (pancha bhootas) all the time, we must not forget to see the Paramatman that is hidden within them. We must recognize that it is indeed He who pervades them, learn to see Ishwara in everything and develop the Upanishadic perception: Isavasyam idam sarvam .

The Upanishads perceived Life as Ful, Bliss as pervading the entire world and and named the experience: sat chit ananda.
the Buddha, however,  perceived suffering as all pervading in our experiential world and stated this as his 'First Noble Truth'.

One may term the Upanishad's perception as positive in that the fundamental Truth about Life was asserted at the very beginning in positive terms: 
"pUrNamadah pUrNamidam"",  in contrast to Buddha's "There is inevitable suffering in life" and the Bible's "we are born in Sin".

Shraddha (faith), Bhakti (love of the all-pervading God) and Karma Yoga (action) practiced with detachment (vairagya) 
will help us to progress on the path to satchitananda.

Since God is Blisssful existence principle, the Dweller in all beings (Vaasudeva)
the assertion that 'Life is full of Bliss' is a corollary to the statement that God is Omnipresent; 
this is implied  in the following Gita Slokam YI-30:

He who perceives Me in all 

and perceives all in Me,

to him I am not lost and 

he too is not lost to me

Search for God

The experience of one who, not knowing this great truth about the omnipresence of God,
searched for Him in many places and missed Him -- is vividly illustrated in the following pictures:

The man whispered: "God, speak to me"
and the meadowlark sang.

But the man did not hear!

So the man yelled: God, speak to me.
And God rolled the thunder across the sky.

But the man did not listen!

He looked around and said, "God, let me see you."
And a star shined brightly.

But the man did not see!

And, he shouted, "God, show me a miracle."
And a life was born!

baby.jpg (34047 bytes)
And yet again, the man did not notice!

So, he cried out in despair,
"God, touch me."

Whereupon, God reached down and gently touched the man.

But the man brushed the butterfly away ....
and walked on, disappointed.

He could not see God anywhere,
because he could not see Him everywhere 
and in all beings.

The ego in the un-evolved person,
is a rebel that has exiled itself from its native kingdom, the Self.

On re-discovery of the Self, the ego becomes the Self
in such a happy blending of a homogeneous whole that
thereafter, there is no distinction between the ego and the Self.

Such a realized person experiences God in many ways:

in the chirping of the birds,
in the roll of the thunder,
in the twinkling light of the stars,
in the miracle of the birth of a child,
and in the soft touch of a butterfly.

He sees God everywhere
and experiences God in everything.

He sings in tune with the Isavasya Upanishad mantra:
Isaavasyam idam sarvam

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad narrates the story of Lord Prajapati 
instructing the Devas (gods), the Naras (humans) and the Asuras (demons): 

When they were confused and approached him for advice, 
He sent the thunder pealing forth with the sound DA, DA, DA.

The Devas understood  ‘DA’ to mean daamayata - 'control yourselves', 
since they were lost in the pleasures of heaven.. 
The Naras understood it as datta - 'give', 
since they were acquisitive and selfish by nature. 
And the asuras got the meaning dayadhvam - 'be compassionate', 
since they were by nature cruel. 

We can constantly listen to the DA-DA-DA sound that our heart sends forth and 
imbibe Prajapati's lesson of Self-control, Sharing and Compassion 
so that we may feel the presence of God always and near to us.

You may worship a picture as God but not God as a picture. 
You can elevate a piece of stone, a piece of mud, or a bit of paper to the position of God and worship it, 
but do not bring down God to the position of a piece of stone, or a bit of paper.        Ramakrishna

.........  it has been said:  "Eswara Sarva Bhutanam" - that is, Eswara is present in all things; 
you may thus think of a stone as Eswara, but not Eswara as a stone. 
Others may argue that we worship a stone and imagine it to be God. 
The correct interpretation is that we are accustomed to believing that God is present in everything in this world. 
Therefore, we worship the tulasi leaves, the cow, the ashvattha tree, the lion, the tiger, the snake and in fact all the creation in this world, 
because God is present in everything in this world. .......  we should not think that we are doing this in blind faith. 

The Upanishads speak of Satyakama Jabala who told his Master after a long stay in the forest
that he was taught by a bull, a swan, a bird, and the fire when he was all alone in the forest tending to the cattle. 
The guileless boy heard the voice of God, no matter where it came from, and became enlightened! 

The Lord is always attempting to communicate with us in many ways.
We have to still the constant noise in our mind to be able to hear Him speak to us:

He whispers as the wind, 
murmurs through the leaves 
and shouts as the thunder. 
   Through the firmament, He teaches universality; 
   through the blowing air, the message of ceaseless work; 
   through the mountain, the co-existence of muteness and greatness; 
   and through the flowing river, the need to move on.