Where does God live? The heart is the abode of God. What is this heart? To answer this significant question, first one must understand what God is.
What is God?
God is existence –total existence. In fact, existence and God are synonymous. Since existence is God, God exists. God not only exists but God alone exists. To see God as God truly is, one must see God as manifest in every form throughout the universe.
The totality of existence is God. “A God defined is a God confined,” said Swami Rama Tirtha (1873–1906), one of the greatest spiritual masters of India.
God, who is present in all places, at all times, and in all things, must be present in this place, at this time, and in this thing. So, it follows that God is present within each of us. If God is not within, God is nowhere else.
Ask yourself this question: Do you exist or not? Your answer will inevitably be, “Yes.” It is impossible to deny your own existence — it is like a person saying with his own tongue that he has no tongue. You exist, therefore God exists.
To know God exists is not enough. You should experience this God within. For example, the only way a piece of salt could know the sea is by becoming the sea. In Samadhi (union with the Absolute), the last of Patanjali’s eight limbs, God is experienced. Once you experience God within you, you will be able to see God everywhere.
Our great sages have declared that God lives within, so it makes perfect sense to turn within to experience God. Given below are quotes that refer to the true religion of oneness, which if understood rightly by Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and so on, there will no reason for a religious fight anymore.
“The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
“I Am That I Am.” (The Old Testament — Exodus 3:14)
“God lives in the heart of every being” (Bhagavad Gita 18-61)
Aham Brahmasmi, “I am the Absolute” (Yajur Veda)
Ana’l-Haqq, “I am the Truth” or “I am God,” said al-Hallaj Mansur (858-922), a famous Sufi saint.
“Having created the physical bodies of all creatures, God Himself entered into them to make them alive and active.” (Taittiriya Upanishad)
God abides in your heart
Even though God abides everywhere, in every pore of your body, when it is said God abides in your heart, the “heart” means the core of your being — beyond your physical body and mind.
Beyond the waking, dreaming, and sleeping states of your mind is the last fourth state called turiya in Sanskrit. This turiya state is the core of your being and is, therefore, called heart (Hridaya in Sanskrit). All of the first three states – waking, dreaming, and deep sleep – become illusory when you enter the fourth – turiya state. Turiya – the ultimate reality – is the permanent background that underlies the said three temporary states of consciousness.
To experience this heart where God resides, you first must understand the secret of how breathing works. You are aware that the same breath, which comes in, goes out, but are you aware of the place, the gap where it merges and then the incoming breath becomes the outgoing? This place/gap, where the breath merges, is the heart, the abode of God or Self. The esoteric verse 24 of Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, an ancient treatise considered the supreme authority on Self-realization techniques, reveals the breath awareness on the heart as follows:
Ordhve prano hy adho jivo, visargatma paroccaret
Utpattidvitayasthane, bharanad bharita sthitih // 24 //
Radiant One, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out)—the beneﬁcence.” (Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps)
How can this be done? It can be done by awareness, by watching your breath. It is through this breath awareness that you can reach the innermost being you really are. If you go on practicing breath awareness, suddenly you will feel the gap in which there is no breath. In that stopping “the beneficence” or God. God is at your innermost core — the very heart of your self.
For understanding the above-mentioned verse 24 of Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, you may refer to my book, Building a Noble World. (Chapter 3, Yoga: The Highest of All Unions). In this book, you will find my own experience of Kundalini awakening: transcending physical body and mind and experiencing absolute reality. I also answer questions about body, mind, and Spirit as well as the fundamental truth we all share.