(Photo: Swami Satchidananda, 2nd from left, speaking at the World Congress. Also pictured next to him: Sri Vethathiri Maharishi, Congress founder, and Lakshmi Devi.)

In 2002, Sri Swami Satchidananda was invited to be a keynote speaker at the World Congress on Peace, Nonviolence and Harmony in South India. He left the body and entered Mahasamadhi a few days after the conclusion of the World Congress—his participation a fitting testament to his deep and lifelong commitment to interfaith harmony and world peace. What follows is the text of one of his talks during the World Congress.

The best way to think of Cosmic Consciousness is to keep silent, because it is something unspeakable; it is to be experienced. There’s no role for the mind or body in recognizing the Cosmic Consciousness. When we say “cosmic” it means, infinite. The universe was created by God out of Itself. I say “Itself” because God is not a He or She.

The Bible says, “God made man in His own image” and that alone shows that we are all God’s image. That is Cosmic Consciousness—to know that we are essentially God. Sometimes we won’t accept that, so we say “God’s image.” But the real fact is that we are all God in God’s image. But if we all have the same name, the post office will find it difficult to identify us! Imagine if all names are It, It, It? Where will the post office deliver your mail? That is the reason why, even though we are essentially “It,” we all have to look differently to play the game.

The oneness is Cosmic Consciousness, the manyness is worldly consciousness. We have to have both simultaneously: the cosmic awareness and the individual awareness. The one cosmic universal should always be remembered. At the same time you should also remember to play your part. One God made everything and everybody in God’s image to play their parts. The modern scientist says, “God never created anything in duplicate.” Everything and everybody is unique. Even two snowflakes are not exactly the same. Take a truckload of sand from the beach and look deeply into each and every piece of sand—you cannot find two the same. Purposely, God made everything different and everybody different, and everybody has to play a part and nobody else can play your part.

The problem in this modern world is that we have forgotten to play. Everything has become a fight. We should have fun in life. When someone says, “My way is right,” or “This is the way everybody should think and you have no right to think in another way,” that is the problem. There is no “my way” and “your way.” It is all our way. So in our lives, if we could remember that essentially we are all one we will embrace one another. When we embrace everybody, when we love everybody, there is peace and harmony. When we forget that then there is nothing but fighting. So, let us remember that essentially we are all one. Remember that Cosmic Consciousness and at the same time let us play our parts and not fight.