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Can an atheist attain the highest Truth?

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Chanting, Consciousness, Dukkha, God, Guru, Independent Spirituality, Paths, Pranayama, Self, Self- Realization, Sukkha, Truth, Viveka

I don’t follow any Guru nor any spiritual path nor do I have any faith in any religion or God. I heard about your Kabir session from a friend where you have taught that the highest Truth is to find out Who am I really & that this truth is easily available to everyone in a second. Is this truth available to an Atheist too? Can you please cite some examples of atheists who you think understand this truth?
Absolutely! Saint Kabir was very clear that one cannot find the ‘highest truth’ in religions, idols, holy books, temples, churches, mosques, pilgrimage sites, external gurus, spiritual organizations, worship, rites, rituals, chanting, physical postures, breathing exercises, bead chants [rosary/mala], etc.
The Highest Truth about ‘Who am I’ = Guru = God. Where can the highest Truth be found?

Ya ghat bheetar anhad garje
Ya hi mein uthhat phuvaara
Kahe Kabira, suno bhai saadho
Ya hi mein guru hai hamaara
Dhhoondhhe re dhhoondhhe andhiyaara

The sound of the creation is heard within this body-mind complex.
The fountain of bliss overflows in this body-mind complex.
Says Kabir, listen, O seeker.
In this very body-mind complex, is my Guru.
You still look for him in the darkness outside. 
I understand this Kabir’s poem from my experience, not just my intellect. I am certain that an atheist can find the Highest Truth if he turns within because one can have a ‘lack of faith’ in the external world but there cannot be a single human alive who does not have conviction in his own experience [swa-anubhav].  
To answer your second question, I will cite the example of the well-known atheist Javed Akhtar who was recently awarded the 2020 Richard Dawkins Award. I have never met the great writer, lyricist, poet but I have read some of his poetry. The Urdu poem below is a clear explanation of the level of witness/consciousness/highest Truth where one recognizes that ‘Time and Space are merely constructs of the mind’. Someone who can explain this highest knowledge in such clear words must definitely have found something that others haven’t.
Find the poem and YouTube link below:

Yeh waqt kya hai? 

yeh kya hain aakhir ki joh musalsal guzar raha hai.
yeh jab na guzara thaa, tab kahan tha? kahin to hoga?
guzar gaya hain, to ab kahan hain, kahi to hoga?
kahan se aaya kidhar gaya hai? yeh kab se kab tak ka silsila hai?
yeh waqt kya hain?


What is Time? What is this thing that goes on ceaselessly?
When it was not here, then where was it? It must have been somewhere.
It has passed away, so where is it now? It must be somewhere.
Where did it come from? Where did it go? Where does this process start and end?
Time! What is it?

yeh vaakye, yeh haadse, yeh tasaadum, har ek gam aur har ek masarat, har ek aziyat, har ek lazzat, 
har ek tabssum, har ek aansu, har ek nagmah, har ek khushbu,
woh zakhm ka dard ho ki wo lams ka ho jaadu, khud apni aavaz ho ki mahol ki sadayein,
yeh zehen main banti aur bigadti hui fizaye, wo fikr main aaye zalzale hon ki dil ki halchal,
tamaam ahesaas, sare jazbey, ye jaise patte hain, bahte paani ki satah par jaise tairte hain, 
abhi yahan hain, abhi vahan hain aur ab hain ojhal,
dikhai deta nahi hai lekin ye kuchh to hain jo ki beh raha hai,
ye kaisa dariya hai? kin pahado se aa raha hai? ye kis samandar ko jaa raha hai?
yeh waqt kya hain?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

These events, incidents, conflicts, every grief, every joy, every torment, every pleasure,
every smile, every tear, every song, every scent,
It may be the pain of a wound or the magic of a tender touch, your own lonely voice or cries from the external world;
The winds of success and failure assailing the mind, the upheavals of worry, the tumult of the heart.
All feelings, all emotions, are like leaves floating on the surface of the water.
Now here, now there, and now they disappear,
It’s not visible but there is something that is flowing,
What is this river? From which mountain is it coming? To which ocean is it going?
Time! What is it?

kabhi kabhi main ye sochta hoon, ki chalti gaadi se ped dekho,
to eisa lagta hai doosri samt ja rahe hain,
magar haqikat main ped apni jagah khade hain,
to kya yeh mumkin hai, saari sadiyaan, katar andar katar apni jagah khadi hon, 

yeh waqt sakit hon, aur hum hi guzar rahein hon?

Sometimes I think, when one looks at the trees from a moving train,
It seems that they are moving in the opposite direction.
But in reality, the trees are standing still.
So can it be, that all the centuries, row upon row, are standing still?
Can it be that time is frozen and we alone are in motion?  

is ek lamhe mein saare lamhe, tamam sadiya chhupi hui hon,
na ko aainda, na gujishta,
jo ho chuka hain woh ho raha hai, jo hone waala hain, ho raha hai,
main sochta hoon ki kya ye mumkin hai, sacch ye ho ki safar mein hum hai, guzarate hum hain,
jise samajte hain hum guzarata hai, woh thama hai,
guzarta hai ya thama hua hain, ikai hai ya bataa hua hai
hai munjimid, ya pighal raha hain, kise khabar hai? kise pata hai?
ye waqt kya hain?

Can it be that in this one moment, all moments, all centuries are hidden?
No future! No past!
Past is happening now. Future is happening now.
I think, can it be possible, that this be true that WE are in motion? that WE pass by?
And what we think is moving, is actually motionless.
Moving or not moving? Indivisible or divided? Is it frozen or is it melting?
Who knows? Who can guess? 

What is time?

ye kainaate azim, lagta hain aapni ajmat se, aaj bhi mutmain nahi hai
ki lamha lamha, vasiitar aur vasiitar, hoti jaa rahi hai
yeh apni baahen pasaarti hain, ye kehkashao ki ungliyon se naye khalao ko chhu rahi hai
agar ye such hai to har tasvvur ki had se bahar, magar kahi par yakinan, eisa koi khala hai
ki jis ko in kehkashao ki ungliyo ne ab tak chua nahi hai
khala jahan kuch hua nahi hai, khala ki jisne kisi se bhi ‘kun’ nahi suna hai
jahan abhi tak khuda nahi hai, vahin koi waqt bhi na ho

This glorious universe, it seems, even today is not content, with all its glory.
At every moment, it expands more and more.
It stretches out its arms and with its galaxy like fingers, touches new parts of space.
If this is true, outside the bounds of all we can imagine, somewhere there will certainly be a part of space, which so far has not been touched with its fingers,
A part of where nothing has happened. A part of space that has not heard the Creator’s command, ‘Be!’
Where God does not yet exist. In that place, there may not be anything like time! 
Ye kainaate azim, ek din, chuyegi us unchhue khalao ko,
aur apne saare vajood se jab pukaregi ‘kun’ to waqt ko bhi janm milega
agar jamam hain to maut bhi hain
main sochta hoon, ye such nahi hai, ki waqt ki koi ibtida hai, na intaha hai,
ye dor lambi bahut hain lekin, kahi to is dor ka sira hai
abhi ye insan ulajh raha hai, ki waqt ke is kafs mai
paida hua, yahi voh pala badha hai
magar uses elm ho gaya hai, ki waqt ke is kaft ke bahar bhi ek fiza hai,
to sochta hain, puchhta hai, yeh waqt kya hain?
One day, this glorious universe will reach, that untouched part of space.
And then with its whole existence, it will cry, ‘Be!’ Then Time will be born there.
If there is birth, then there is death.
I think this is not true, that time has no end and no beginning.
The thread is very long but somewhere the thread will have an end.
Now mankind is confused because it was born in this cage of time and raised here.
But now man has discovered that outside the cage of time, there lies another part of space.
So he ponders and questions; what is time?
If an atheist poet can understand this level of Truth just by the power of reasoning and creative thinking, it follows that anyone can understand it if they make an effort to know about the biggest question in life, by their own power of discrimination
[Viveka]: What am I?
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  1. Inderjit Sharma

    Wow. Awesome description how an atheist can find the real truth that “WHO AM I”. Really your way explaining and clearing the things is so simple and effective that if one goes through these seriously and sincerely, he is sure to be benefited. Hat’s off to Javed Akhtar Ji for for such a deep, innovative and motivational poem. Namskaar with deep regards
    Inderjit Sharma

  2. pragya

    Again a big WOW !!
    Every time I read your blog I fall in love with your explanation . This is just amazing……..

    Never get such profound explanation for Javed Akhtar’s poetry.


  3. K

    The gnyani, Jiddu Krishnamurti’s words: “I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect”.

    To my limited knowledge, he was neither a theist nor an atheist. His primary teaching was ‘ Choiceless Awareness’

  4. Kishore shah

    Really lovely and truth as it is !!!! Deep Gratitude!

  5. Shailaja

    “Can it be that………we alone are in motion?”

    A Zen parable related to this:
    Three Zen monks were watching a fluttering flag.
    Monk 1: The flag is moving.
    Monk 2: The flag is not moving. The wind is moving.
    Monk 3: Neither the flag nor the wind is moving. Your mind is moving.
    (Lesson/ Insight: Movement of the mind= Movement of the world)

    Their Zen master: (disturbed from his sleep): Your tongues are moving too much! 😂

      • Shailaja

        Yes this one, thank you! The introduction/ explanation at the beginning is also very helpful. I’m not sure if it’s the parable that silences the mind, or your peaceful voice 😊

  6. SK

    Ramana Maharshi ( from the book Guru Vachaka Kovai, Verse 1082): How can he who knows his own reality as it is (I am), deny You who are that same Reality?

    Explanation by Sadhu Om (editor of the book and a direct disciple of Ramana ):
    “*****Self is not other than God.***Accordingly the atheist who denies the existence of God is thereby denying the existence of his own Self.

    Since no one can truly deny his own existence, those who wish to deny the existence of God should first try to inquire and know the true nature of their own existence “What is the truth of my existence? Who am I?” If they do so, they will automatically come to know the truth of God’s existence. Since no one can truly deny his own existence, no one is really an atheist”.


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