“In God we trust, all others must bring data.” – W. Edwards Deming
Yes, we often ask for facts, proofs, reports, statistics and a lot more before we agree to anyone’s claims, junk old opinions and build a new belief system. But when it comes to God, we continue to live with the beliefs our parents and society imbibe in us during our years of dependency. God, being all-powerful and holier than thou is not to be tinkered with and easily classified by many spiritual gurus of today as beyond human mind.
As I begin writing this post, I find myself relating so well to the struggles of a little boy in the movie “Life of Pi” who is fascinated by different Gods and religions and often moves from one to another. As a kid, I so fondly remember praying to one God after another hoping to find the one all-powerful and the one who actually listens to my plight. But just like the movie “PK”, I also found Gods to be rather busy to attend to my prayers. As I grew up, the methods of prayer grew a little more demanding as did the size of my problems. I found myself reciting verses which I don’t know the meaning of, fasting and visiting temples to please my chosen God.
With the advent of cable tv during last 20 years, I found a spurt of tv programs and spiritual gurus lining up to bring God closer to their disciples. But all they could do was storytelling, singing spiritual songs and topping it up with their holier-than-thou thoughts. These gurus demand that their disciples see them equal to God and agree to all of their diktats. Any deviation means crippling your chances to secure a slot in heaven and landing straight into devil’s frying pan.
Sounds pretty neat, after all, who would not like to go to a better place post-departure from this plane and all I need to do is follow my religious instructors without question. But my inquisitive mind always demanded answers to few questions which no one was willing to offer:
- Does God really exist?
- If yes, I need my God to stop being so elusive and help reduce my pain & miseries in current life. I need a manual to live a better life
- If I will spend all my life preparing for next plane when will I live my current life
Oops!! Did I just question God’s existence? This one will get a lot of religious fanatics come together to brand me “Atheist” before they go back to fight each other. But this question has always intrigued me and I have never been sure. Do I believe in God’s existence just because everyone else around me does? It wasn’t until I came across a very simple yet effective demonstration which helped me find clarity.
Dismantle any equipment (a watch, mobile phone, anything), put together all pieces and shake them up, never in a million years will these pieces come together to form a working equipment. It needs organized intelligence to reassemble the equipment. Similarly, it will take intelligence to put together a world where the sun rises from east every morning, weather change as per set schedule, a grain of wheat produce only other grain of wheat and never mistakes to produce oats or barley. Someone somewhere is so infinitely intelligent to put together everything and I believe him to be the “God”.
Being infinitely intelligent God created everything and then went into hiding, leaving us to trace him with our limited intelligence. With the passage of time, different sects of people came together and created their own definition of God. Being a Hindu, I ended up being trained to bow down and worship idols representing Gods. In Hinduism, we can worship just about anything, Idols, rocks, trees, sun, moon, river, animals, birds, etc.
While this sounds ironical, it also made me realize that all we are required to do is to put our belief to work and a God figure is ready to be worshipped.
Call it belief or blind faith!! It’s one of the most abused words on the road to spirituality. Don’t question, just accept. Believe that God resides in temples (after all that’s why we must throng temples on auspicious days), that he answers our prayers only when combined with offerings, that we must fast, read sacred texts glorifying him. And if all this is not enough, all Gods are not made equal – paying a visit to those places of worship in far-off lands appeases Gods far more.
Is it really God or a well-oiled industry, which is thriving on our insecurities? I don’t need a God who is the sole property of a temple – for how will he set me free if he is not free himself, I don’t need a God who desires the best of offerings but preaches me to give up all earthly pleasures in his pursuit, I don’t need a God who dwells in far-off lands while his child longs for embrace.
With existing version of God falling real short of my requirements, its time I upgraded to a better one. One who is not caged in temples where I must pay up for dekko, one who is ever available whether I had a bath or not, I fast or feast, I heap praises on him or complain. Despite having no face on him anymore, my connection with God is stronger than ever and it stems from a firm belief he is watching over me.
I am no more worried about inviting his wrath for not following rituals. I realize that God doesn’t want me to beg out of fear but demand what I want of life & back my dreams with sustained efforts. I start my day bowing down to God in appreciation of everything he has blessed me with, pray and thank him for a beautiful new day.
Here’s a little prayer which helps connect me with almighty and while also keeping me in firm control of my destiny:
“O Divine Providence, I ask not for more riches but more wisdom with which to make wiser use of the riches you gave me at birth, consisting in the power to control and direct my own mind to whatever ends I might desire.” – Napolean Hill
And so comes an end to my pilgrimage realizing God exists in our beliefs, in the power of our positive thoughts, and the quest for truth and wisdom.
May God bless you all richly. Thanks for reading.
- The thoughts expressed here are not intended to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.
- Images source: Google