The Source of “The Force is with me and I am one with the Force” is Hindu
Star Wars and Advaita Vedanta
Warning: you will be going on a mind-bending journey and your life may never be the same after reading this article. According to Allie Gemmill, Rogue One’s “The Force is with me and I am one with the Force” mantra has become a tagline for a new generation of Star Wars fans. What 99%+ of fans do not realize is that repeating “I am one with the Force. The Force is with me” is based on a Advaita Vedanta song, “Everything is Brahman and you are that”:
The Advaita Vedanta is an ancient concept. It could be argued that Advaita Vedanta is “it”- the core truth of reality and meaning of life, but it has been obscured, and therefore humanity lives in a constant state of selfishness, desire, insecurity, delusion, and violence. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
What is Brahman, or your word of choice
Brahman is the Ultimate Reality and we are Brahman. It is the First, Only, and Last Cause of the Universe, which cannot be labeled by words in this sentence- the eternal force which grows, changes, and transforms reality. It is all encompassing, self-evident, and unspeakable. It is. It is everywhere and nowhere. It could be labeled as Reality, Nature, Universe, God, Universal Law, Natural Law, Science, The One, Multiverse, Holy Spirit, The Force, Omniverse, Infinity, I Am That I Am, Mother Earth, Nirvana, Eternal Truth, The Truth, It, Immortal Universal Soul, Cosmic Consciousness, Yahweh, Allah, El, Sky God, Big Bang, Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, The Creator, or whatever floats your boat, but we still can’t put it in words. Feel free to find and replace “Brahman” with any of those words for this article if you don’t like that is too foreign to you. It is a rock, gravity, laughter, your first kiss, an X-Ray, a cockroach, a wave, an elephant, death, ideas never enacted, dreams never realized, your broken heart, the pride you have for your child, a Teddy bear, an arrow, and a human. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
All the “separate things” in the universe like you and I, from the largest galaxy to the smallest subatomic particle- is nothing but Brahman. Being unaware of this truth leads to misery. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
If this is intangible for you to grasp, here’s a story for you to chew on- reality is conscious, alive, and a self-sustaining process. Brahman’s unfiltered reality would be an unspeakable, infinite light, since Brahman is all encompassing. All Reality would be imperceivable since all things would be Brahman. So we have objects so we could see ourselves. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
The Secret Origin of the Universe
Brahman got bored being The One, just as you would be. So Brahman separated itself into the laws of science, mathematics, space, evolution, and the other invisible building blocks of this operating system called reality. The universe is alive and strives for life. You and I do not come into the world, we come out of it. We, and all other objects, come out of this world like a how a whirlpool forms in an ocean, or like how fruit sprouts from a tree. Every object is the result of untold processes, all co-dependently arising. Think about how our solar system was created. We come out of stardust with the miracle of consciousness. We are made up of the same elements of the stars. We breathe the same oxygen molecules as the ancient ones. Brahman separated itself so it could experience itself with an infinite multitude of different points of views. It wanted to be surprised, just like you would be. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
For example, if you could program and input yourself into any dream in a virtual reality program, you still have to wake up once the simulation is over. With an infinite time period to play around, it is possible you will have exhausted all of your adventures and pleasures in your dreams. So it is possible you would create a “SURPRISE ME” button and actually decide to live a dream world in a vulnerable state but don’t want all of your eggs in one basket. You would want to be in “god mode” in the simulation and have the ability to experience all things. So Brahman forgot what it was and wanted to experience a different reality. So Brahman is every object, concept, thought, life form, process, or “thing” you could imagine. That means there is no reason to fear death because life and death cannot exist without each other and Brahman is eternal and cannot die, even if the Sun goes nova or this universe becomes a giant black hole. We become transformed. Atoms and smaller particles are like pixels and the laws of the universe are the like the 1’s and 0’s of a program. We are immortal. The root word for Brahman may have meant originally “to grow, to enlarge, to promote, strong”. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
Why do you think there is so much diversity in this world, not to mention how vast our known universe it, which is only a small fraction of the rest of the universe, with all its awe-inspiring features? Brahman forgot its true self and so did we because everything is Brahman and you are that. Life is a game, a role playing game, so lighten up. Why attack your enemy if he is you? Why not just ride the wave and enjoy the miracle and beauty of life, the little things or find your special calling in life- your true passion? How do you spend your time? How would you like to spend your time? Everything is Brahman and you are that.
Differences Between Brahman and The Force
Because Stars Wars is in the pop culture business to make money as opposed to existing solely for artistic or spiritual merits, ultimately The Force is a watered down version of Brahman. I give credit to Star Wars for popularizing the spiritual elements to children. There can be no denying that The Force concept changed from the original drafts, Episode IV, and each subsequent movie, and is at times very contradictory. In the end, The Force concept it is not a direct analogue to Brahman. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
The movies add such features as having super powers fueled by The Force, and its covered under a nice, safe, Zoroastrianism dualism of The Light Side vs The Dark Side, which was borrowed by Christian philosophers who framed Satan as the ultimate evil. The battle between goof and evil is easy money, and simple to grasp. Real life is a little more complicated. Taoism may consider the so-called forces of good vs evil to be futile game, and as absurd like both sides of a football game praying to God to get the victory. [Please note: I am not saying that good and evil do not exist or that morals are relative.] In many ways, The Force seems to be a dumb, faceless, and mechanical which can be used like as a tool to fight enemies and indulge the viewer with adolescent fantasies or adult adolescent fantasies like Magic (Jedi use White Magic and Sith use Black Magic, while civilians do not have access). Everything is Brahman and you are that.
“That’s Not How Brahman Works!”
The “fight for the balance of The Force” (which is an oxymoron in Taoism)is a tip of the hat to the old movie serials of a white hat hero vs a villain dressed in black. Because of this cartoon conditioning, some fans will not notice that Jedis- who are supposed to the last hope of good in the universe- will use violence (obstinately in defense, except when a few of them turn to the Dark Side and kill without mercy) and align themselves with Rebels who at times seem no better than French Revolutionaries. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
Even the most dramatic scene of forgiveness and compassion when Luke Skywalker refuses to cut down his father, Darth Vader, comes after Luke had destroyed the Death Star and Jabba the Hut’s sail barge and all life forms inside those two. In the movies, there are no repercussions or self-realization for those two acts, in which both the Death Star and Jabba’s barge had forced labor workers, prisoners, average workers trying to make a living, and cool, weird creatures who I guess were at the wrong place and the wrong time (“collateral damage”). If Gandhi proved a country could win a non-violent revolution, Star Wars on the contrary shows that war is good as long as the right side wins- it is shallow like all pop culture. It keeps things simple. It helps sell toys. If you want to make it complex, you’d have to use pretzel arguments and try to bring up how The Force strives for balance, prophesies, and the lack of free will the characters would then have. I’m not trying to be offensive or belittle the franchise, it’s what Hollywood gives us. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
“That’s Not How The Force Works!”
Obi-Wan has the best lines about The Force but unfortunately, The Force is not depicted consistently throughout the franchise based on his words. Yet even his words show The Force like a energy field created by living beings or Nature which connects everything, like a magnetic field, as opposed to being all of Reality itself. And obviously, using it like a weapon or video game talent buff is just pure entertainment. Hijacking the free will of some guard or shopkeeper reeks of mind-control for the “greater good”. My young friends would mimic the hand-wave and it was always for nefarious reasons. Having beings who are “sensitive” to The Force, and bringing up midichlorians is downright discriminatory and elitist. Star Wars apologists have to scramble to make everything fit their idealistic notion of The Force. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
The Force isn’t the Holy Spirit from Christianity, either, although at first inspection, The Force is described as being binding, guiding, a light, an ally, and gives powers to believers. The Holy Spirit actually has those attributes, but only works for those who believe in Jesus as the Way. Therefore it would not be available for Sith. Dark magic in the Bible comes from other gods and later traditions placed Satan as the main power behind all supernatural feats which do not come from The Father, The Son, or The Holy Ghost. It would not be possible for a disciple of Christ to use the Holy Spirit for evil, like how Darth Vader does or even how Luke does when he blows things up. Instead the Holy Spirit gives the power of mental and physical healing, the ability to spread The Word, and the ability to gain divine wisdom (dare I say the secret truth of Brahman?) and accomplish divine will. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
In Zen, you are always free because you have the present moment and no one could take that away from you. You could awaken at any time. You may imagine monks studying at a temple for years with a strict teacher, but true Zen is about you having the ability to instantly see Reality as it is at any time. You do not gain super powers and your personality does not die. Your thoughts of hunger, love, intense feelings, and your favorite tastes do not go away, but you will finally become aware of them truly. You will realize that you are inviting the feeling of sadness in for a cup of tea in your mind, but sadness shall not overstay her welcome. Your emotions flow, do not get attached to them and cloud your thinking. You are your own worst enemy and saboteur, when you overthink and over-feel. You will realize that compassion is the real path and that The Other is an illusion. You will become stronger to get through day-to-day by not taking everything so seriously like your job, relationships, public image, or bank account balance. Everything is Brahman and you are that.
Ironically, the Star Wars notion of The Force created this article because I had to craft a response to it. So I do give Star Wars credit for getting the ball rolling for putting The Force in the marketplace of ideas so I could get the word out about Advaita Vedanta, yin and yang, the Holy Spirit, and Zen. Feel free to take your time to digest what I said here and test it in your own life. Everything is Brahman and you are that.