11 December, 2008

Of God's Mind and Ours ....

(This is a guest post, actually. Am not publishing the name of the author as the author has chosen to stay anonymous. This piece was penned in fond memory of the lives lost in Mumbai and in many other parts of the world over the past so many years ........... all in the name of God and religion.)

Of God’s Mind and Ours

We believe that God made this Universe and populated our World with His creatures including his masterful creation, humankind. Strangely, we also believe that He then called all those he had made in his own image and said, "I now pronounce you Hindu and Muslim. And Jew and Christian and Buddhist and Jain and Sikh."

Just think - could God have said, "I will divide mankind in small groups, each at the other's throat in My name? And I want you all to keep arguing till doomsday about the best path to follow in order to reach Me?" Could he have also have added, for good measure, "I will reward those who carry out violence in My name and those who look at their fellow humans through narrow lenses of their own making will be especially dear to Me?" Could He then have called some chosen ones and anointed them as his representatives on earth, giving them the right to morally judge others?

Also consider this - did God feel weak one day and appeal to some of us, "I need you to defend Me because, though I am all powerful, without your support I am lost?"

We believe that God is supremely wise. Yet we tend to believe that He said all the above unwise things. Our newspapers are full of items reflecting people’s actions based on strong adherence by them to this belief. As a result of this, many followers of their chosen paths to God have been responsible for more cruelty, injustice and divisiveness in His name than has been caused by any other factor.

This wrong belief has imprisoned us in cages of bigotry and self righteousness. It has divided nations and precipitated wars. It has given birth to terrorism around the world. And this belief is not even founded on common-sense. Just pause and reflect - would an all-powerful God opt for cruelty in his name? Would He want us to be narrow-minded and absorbed in empty rituals? Would He want us to wage war with others who have decided upon different rituals?

Would God, who knows everything and is a part of all, want us to spend a lot of our time repeating His great qualities? God knows these and does not need us to keep reminding Him. Perhaps it is we who are in danger of forgetting because our faith is so shallow that we must do this in order to reinforce it. We would come closer to Him if we spent more time praising other people and being worthy of their praise. We would do our duty by Him, if we were just to watch our conduct and behave as we would wish others to behave. For the vast majority, this would include being considerate, kind, compassionate, honest, truthful, gentle and loving. A relatively small tone can make a huge bell reverberate and our behavior will find resonance in others. As a result of this, we will notice a change for the better in our society and so will God.

Many of us have been told that knowing God’s mind needs scholarship and years of preparation. Those who believe this are missing the point. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s quote “Nothing is true, but that which is simple” is definitely applicable to this quest. Infants are said to know the mind of God more than scholars. No, understanding God’s will does not need scholarship. God is everywhere and never far from us. Hence to reach Him we do not need complicated maps, which only scholars can decipher,. If we dare to look inside in the silence of our minds and in the depth of our hearts and consider what a compassionate and loving God would want from his people, we will find the answer and that answer should be our guiding light regarding our own attitude and conduct. All else we hear from those who quarrel in the name of religion and who think that only their chosen path is the right one, is based on their own narrow point of view, not God's for God is never petty or limiting.

A beautiful flower is called Kamal in India, Lotus in England, Lotos in Greece, Ward el nil or Sawsan in Egypt and Hasu in Japan. The ancient Egyptians called it Sesen. It has been used in worship, strewn on Pharaohs and even used to make tea. Should we fight about whose name for Lotus is the ‘right’ one? Should we argue about how we should treat the Lotus? Would it make an iota of difference to the flower? With God, too, we need to adopt a similar attitude. He has given us brains to think and a heart to feel. We would be failing Him if we did not use our facilities of discrimination, even for such basic matters.

One last point. Some of us are ever ready to jump to the defense of ‘our’ God. We should view the conduct of such people in light of this – God is the omnipotent Creator. Without His support we will not survive, but without our ‘support’ He will do fine. He was there before us and will be there long after we are gone from this planet and He does not need us to ‘defend’ him against other humans. It is hubris to think that some humans can harm God and other humans can save God.

If we keep the above in mind, we will not fight in God’s name. We will not think that we are the only repositories of The Truth and that everyone else is a misguided fool who it is our God-given duty to correct. We will not listen to those who divide us in His name. All of us would leave a better world, if this happens.

May God be with you.

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5 voice(s) said so:

dipali said...

So very true, and expressed so wonderfully. If only this could be read and understood by the bigots of every kind.

mg said...

Have invited you to be part of a google group, please join if you can.

Keshi said...

very very true! exactly my sentimenst Gauri.

Wut is this emtpy, self-righteous war in the name of a God! I dun get it at all. Its just plain STUPIDITY, nothing else.


Keshi said...


Just Like That said...

I read this some days back, but couldn't comment then. A brilliant heartwarming piece!