When you hear this word, ‘God’ what comes to your mind?
Well, please do not give an answer which your mind is conditioned to give. Close your eyes and think about it for a few minutes.
There are a few explanations this world has fed us intellectually, about god.
You might be one of those atheists, who do not think there is a vast supreme energy governing the universe, but rather everything is subject to the laws of material science, and for you this question is meaningless. And I respect you for it. Because well, that is the truth, as you know it. And you must be applauded for sticking to your guns.
Those from the Abrahamic religions, who attribute god to the tenets of their religion, consider that to be truth of their mind and so be it. Again, those who consider god to be him from the pantheon available in Hinduism, is also true to his heart, isn’t he?
Or you could be one of those whose view of god is an all encompassing supreme force-less force whose presence is omnipotent and that creation is controlled and regulated by him, and our destinies are all interwoven with each other in this beautiful tapestry built in time and space, and by god’s design or fate or destiny. I used to fall under that category too once upon a time.
Whatever category you fall into, please take a step back, and look at our evolution as a species through history. In almost all cultures and races, we humans worshiped god as forces of nature, and that of creation’s custodian, and that benefactor to whom we turned to, during our times of perils. When caveman started to settle down and took to farming, he prayed to the rain gods and the sun god for a good crop. When there was flood or drought, he turned the gods into benefactors and requested them to be kind. And slowly our own idea of god evolved as we evolved.
The later man started worshiping angels and those who brought us the gospels, whose teachings got converted into religions, and so on. So man’s idea of god evolved too, as man’s mind evolved. And that is good, because we are always a dynamic species and change is always a dynamic force.
New age man discovered the balm of philosophy. And god continued to evolve under various philosophers. And I like these too. Some of them are so profound, it plunges us into oblivion of rumination.
I am safe to assume that man’s perception of god continues to evolve, as man’s awareness evolved, and as man’s purpose of existence evolved. The ancient hunting Homo sapiens would probably have a different need of god, than the settled down farming man had. The philosopher man created a different perception of the nature of god, as his mind wandered to thereabouts.
Man’s perception of god, has been continuously evolving.
What has been your earliest perception of god?
When I think of my earliest thoughts of god as a child, I can by far remember this sentence which kept on playing in my mind. I remember as my mother piled up my hair into a ponytail getting me ready for kindergarten, a sentence floated into my mind –
God is a fantasy.
I liked that sentence, because I had just learnt the word “fantasy”. I ran out to get into a pony drawn carriage which took me to school. You may wonder why a pony drawn carriage... well, that is another article for another day, but I went to school in a pony drawn carriage for a few days.
I remember this sentence quite vividly a lot of times. When we played hopscotch in school during recess, this sentence played over in my mind and I remember looking at the square to hop on, and thinking – god is a fantasy. Some memories just stay forever and this sentence is one of those. Well, I think it was just a child’s mind which had learnt two new words –‘god’ and ‘fantasy’ – probably. And I am sure at that stage in life I did not have any rooted philosophy or understanding about the idea of god. But that is my earliest memory of what I perceive god to be.
And then I grew up, and started relying on my thinking-mind. Thankfully my parents never forced any of their perceptions and ideas on me. Rather I watched them at their own perception and evolved my own.
Why am I telling you all this now? Perhaps I want you, the reader to go back and think what your earliest memory of your perception of god was like.
For those who think of this as blasphemy and feel that he is indeed not a fantasy, I ask you -
What does god thinks of him to be?
What does god want man to think of him as?
If god is that superman thing, how would you explain good and evil? How would you explain bad things happening to good people and good things happening to evil people? How would you explain karma? How would you explain life before birth and life after death?
The global guide of Heartfulness, Shri Kamlesh ji Patel, affectionately called, Daaji, says in one of his books, “Designing Destiny”, “You can change your own destiny. Remove the impression, and it is gone.” And I am inclined to agree with this idea of destiny rather than the doom and gloom or the rosy, joyful, perfect future, both of which destiny or the karma theory projects. At every juncture in life, we have choices and man can use wisdom and intuition to exercise his will and act.
So coming back to this idea of god, if god created man in his own image, as the famous idea goes, wouldn’t god want man to be like him?
Look at children. Why do children create make-believe toys and speak to them? Why do toddlers talk to their toys? Because they need a friend! They like to think that the toy is their partner. And they develop a peer-to-peer relationship with the toy.
And if god created me in his image, wouldn’t he want to have a peer-to-peer relationship with me? Wouldn’t he want to be my friend? Wouldn’t he love to catch up with me over a cup of coffee and chat about my work day? Wouldn’t he be that bestie to whom I pour all my woes and share all my joys? Wouldn’t he be that buddy on whom I know I can always bank on? So perhaps that could be the next step in our perception of the evolution of god.
Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari, one of the teachers of Heartfulness meditation said in his book, “Heart Speak-2008”, “God in my heart is my eternal friend, my eternal companion, who is with me, or with whom I am, life after life after life until I end up with Him. He is with me; I have to be with Him. This is the secret of spiritual life.”
However, this still does not satisfy my thinking mind completely. As I meditate on this question about god, I think of this universe, which god created.
Is it safe to assume that the distance from the Andromeda galaxy to San Francisco is 2.5 million light years and that the distance from the same Andromeda galaxy to Chennai where I live, is also 2.5 million
light years? But how can that be? Isn’t the distance between Chennai and San Francisco 8655 miles? Weird, huh? But totally makes sense too, right?
My son said once to me, “amma, this universe is not infinite. It is just vast. We just don’t know or do not have the capacity to understand its vastness.”
“What makes you say this?” I asked.
“Look at this ant walking all the way to its hole from this tree in the other end of our garden. It thinks this world - our earth is infinite, isn’t it? But the earth is very small and finite. It probably does not know there are other ants in South America or New York or Australia. It thinks the only ants are probably those in its own anthill or maybe in our compound. What does it know of the solar system or the milky way?”
Is it not safe to assume we are so much like these ants in our own understanding of the universe? And then, what to say of god, if he is the creator of the universe? What could be our understanding of him? How much has our own consciousness evolved already to know or understand or perceive him? The comparison between an ant’s consciousness and ours own makes us wonder about the comparison of the consciousness of god and the self.
In the book, “Complete Works of Ram Chandra, Volume -4” the modern day saint, Shri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur says, “What is the relation between infinity and finitude? Really speaking, it is not possible to conceive of infinity. To do so is to limit it. When the question of creation comes, along with it comes finitude also, and the concept of its sustenance and dissolution too. We describe God as infinite because our intellect cannot function in His case.”
While dissecting our understanding about the magnitude of the universe, surely one’s attention drifts to the idea of multiverse. Just a few days ago, the New York Post, The Guardian and the Daily Mail reported that scientists have discovered evidence of a parallel universe. A year ago, we were content to watch the TV show where the character “Flash” from Justice League ran from one universe to the other in top speed. My son totally enjoyed it and I am sure a lot of kids would have too. But today, we are forced to think perhaps we could all do it too, if we found a way to travel back and forth those different universes which the scientists have discovered.
The Guardian reports -
Each alternate universe carries its own different version of reality. There will be one where you wrote this column and I read it; one where the Guardian is an alt-right propaganda rag; even a really weird one in which Donald Trump uses twitter to spread nothing but amusing cat videos.
This concept of multiverse as reported by the Guardian is exactly what the Bhagawatha Purana of the ancient Indian puranic texts state. There is also a specific mention that the divine being Kakabusundi who stands outside of time and sees the various multiverses creation and destruction has witness 11 different endings of Ramayana (ancient Indian epic) in the different multiverses and 16 different endings of the epic Mahabharata (another ancient Indian epic story), after which Kakabusundi got bored with it.
I am reminded of this video I saw on social media quite some time ago.
The whole universe is replicated within us. Each of our atoms, spaces between atoms, the things within the atoms, are all so similar to the bigger things in the universe, so similar to the galaxies. Perhaps, I could be a god particle (not the Higgs boson, but a hypothetical something which god could be made of), couldn’t I be? Perhaps god could be composed of particles like me.
The Upanishads which are the ancient Sanskrit texts say, अहं ब्रह्मास्मिति “Aham Brahmasmi” which means, “I am the Absolute Reality” or in simple words, “I am god” in my absolute consciousness. The more I think of that statement, the more I feel that could be man’s final perception of god - the realization of himself to be god particle and the final mergence into it.
Now, how to go about starting this process of becoming like god?
In the book, “Designing Destiny”, Shri Kamlesh Patel, said, “To my heart, purity is akin to God.”
The practice of Heartfulness meditation which I follow everyday has been a great help to me in refining my heart. A simple and effective system of meditation and rejuvenation purifies the heart, and helps in furthering my own understanding of god. I wouldn’t say I have finally understood god. I would say it is helping me every day and I am getting closer to my own ultimate understanding. My perception about this idea of a god has been evolving from the day I started the practice, and I wouldn’t want to go back to my yesterday’s understanding of god.
As I sit in a comfortable position, close my eyes, and rest my attention on the source of light in my heart, I feel my understanding deepens. I cannot tell you what I understand, for that it is something poignant than there are words to explain it. It is however easy and simple to experience if you sit down and meditate on the source of light in your heart.
So why meditate on the light to know god? The teacher of Heartfulness meditation, Shri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur says in the book, “Complete Works of Ram Chandra, Volume-3”, “God is simple and extremely subtle. In order to realize this subtlest Being, we must take up means which are equally fine and subtle,” and nothing can be more subtle than light, to our understanding right now.
I feel all other explanations and discussions about the idea of god could only be futile, if god is the self. And what it is for this self of mine is my realization. You have to get your own realization. I urge you to start your practice of Heartfulness meditation and try it sincerely for some time, if you would like to feel what is god. Check out the Heartfulness centers in your country here. There are so many centers in about 120 countries with over 8000 Heartfulness trainers across the world.
Until we feel god ourselves, god would continue to remain a fantasy, a beautiful fantasy, sugar coated with exciting stories of mythological nature; god would continue to remain a subject of discussion for the intellectuals and philosophers, rather than a friend who is your peer; god would continue to remain that wise old man up in the clouds whom you or I cannot reach out to; god would continue to remain apart and away from you, rather than part of you.
To understand god, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps one has to become ‘like’ god.
The author is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness meditation.