The God you seek is in you, in me, among us …

Let’s stop seeking God, searching for God, hoping, in vain, to find God, outside of us. Know that we won’t find God there. Because the God we are looking for is within us__in you and in me.
There’s this parable of God calling his or her council of advisors, after creating humankind, and conferring with them on where God should be based, so that human beings may reach out in times of distress and need. There was a pre-condition that God stipulated though. That God must be within immediate reach and yet not so overtly visible. The first wise advisor said, “God, you must be behind the farthest star. There humankind will not find you.” “Not so,” said the second wise advisor, “One day human beings will learn to fly and then they will find you God. Hide yourself God, I say, on the floor of the sea and they will never find you.” “Not so,” said the third wise advisor, “One day the people will learn to swim and they will swim to the bottom of the ocean and then they will find you God. Rather, hide yourself God in the everyday lives of the people. No one will immediately know you are there. And yet, when they do need you, they can always find you within them, among them.” And so, God did precisely this. God hid among the people.
This is not so much a parable as it is a truth. But we don’t and won’t believe in this too easily. Because we have been fed an overdose of evidence of God being an external source of energy and creation, of God being an “outside presence” in our lives. We have been brought up to believe that God must be feared. And so we fear an external retribution rather than feel conscientiously the energy of all creation within us. God must not be feared. God must be understood as being you, as your true Self. It was the famous Polish-French physicist-chemist known for her pioneering work on radioactivity, Marie Curie (1867 ~ 1934) who said, “Nothing in Life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” So it is true too about God. To know God, fear less and understand more.

Kamal Haasan, renowned Indian actor and a genius in thought and expression, captured his philosophy of the God in us, in his beautiful 2003 movie ‘Anbe Sivam’ (meaning ‘Love is God’). In the movie, Kamal Haasan, tells co-actor Madhavan, that the seed of compassion that intrinsically remains embedded in each of us, gets activated when we feel compassionate towards any form of creation. That sense of compassion, boundless love, which flows unhindered, even if it is for a brief while, makes each of us godly! Say, when you feel for a hungry child on the street, or when you say a silent prayer when an ambulance passes you by, or when you read of a natural disaster or accident that has claimed several lives in another part of the world and you feel the urge to reach out and help, these are the times, when you experience your own godliness. If you pay attention to it, if you give that feeling of compassion for another human being more energy, it will stay with you longer. Which is, if you let go of desires pertaining to yourself, and let your entire being relate to serving another form of creation__even if it is immediately unconnected to you__you will know, feel and find the God in you!

Why fear a God than love one?

Don’t let anyone feed your insecurities and fuel your fears. Because that’s what society wants: to keep you enslaved to your worries and anxieties.
One of the first things we are taught as children is to be God-fearing. My grandma used to encourage me to eat my food or avoid telling lies by saying, “Swami vanthu kanna kuththum”. Meaning, God will come and gorge out your eyes if you don’t finish your meal or if you say lies. How gory can that be? Hardly Godly! Resultantly, most of us are brought up fearing an external God who will punish us for any transgressions.
But how can God be both merciful and fearful at the same time? Have you ever wondered why you have not been encouraged to be God-loving? As you grow up, enter adulthood, the whole spectre of SIN looms large over you. If you drink it is a sin. If you have sex it is a sin. If you as much as not pray it is a sin. Then Life becomes, in due course, a challenge for most of us. What all this God-fearfulness does is it makes us insecure to the point that we lean on the crutches of religion, abstinence (weekly fasting to propitiate the divine!) and God-men/God-women! This is bizarre.

You – and I – were not born basis a religion. You were not brought up because you chose a society, a standard of living or a way of Life. Then why become victims and slaves of what society wants you to do? Deal with Life, its beauty, its challenges, its pain, its joys, its insecurities and its abundance in your own way. Be free. Because it is your Life. When you experience Life for what it is than what others make you believe it is, you will see a God, your God, within you! Then you will appreciate the value of being God-loving!                                                              

Never operate from fear – simply do whatever gives you joy!

Don’t be God-fearing. Be God-loving. That too, love the God, within you. Heed your inner voice. And do only what gives you joy.
My friend bought me a drink the other day. In fact, he bought me a few! But he did not drink. I knew he had had a problem with alcohol some years back. He had struggled to quit it for several years. In vain. Until, as he told me, “Sai Baba appeared in my dream and ordered me to quit.” So, he has been off alcohol all these years. I asked him if he was enjoying abstinence. He confessed that he hated it. But he said he was “scared of Baba’s wrath” if he violated the “order” and so he motivated himself each time to stay away. Which is why, he claimed, he often entertained friends so that he could have the “joy of being in a bar”. I told him, at the cost of sounding rude, that he may have got off alcohol, but he was still “alcoholic in attitude”. I said, “Don’t do anything out of fear. Baba may have given you the right direction – because you indeed had a drinking problem. But there’s no point fearing him. By doing that, you are only suppressing your desire out of fear that you will be otherwise reprimanded. Act freely. Drink responsibly, drink with awareness, and you will never overdrink. By abstaining, and craving, you are only creating a context for you to slip back, one day, when your resolve will break, let’s say when you are angry with yourself or the world or even with Baba, your suppressed desire will explode and you will hit the bottle again!”
My friend politely refused to take my advice. And I appreciate it. To each one their own.
I strongly believe that the human mind tries to trick itself by bringing the fear factor into play in most situations where individual actions require justification in a social context. The mind revels being gripped by fear – of someone or something. Fear of God, especially, is a convenient way to justify decisions relating to personal choice. In fact the whole issue of morality is debatable and is governed by this kind of fear. For instance, many believe that to have an extra-marital affair is a “sin” that “God will never forgive”. Some see eating non-vegetarian as sinful. Others think that drinking alcohol will tantamount to being disrespectful to their religion. And some think of women in their menstrual cycle going into the kitchen or prayer room as sacrilegious. My humble view is that morality is like body odor. It’s intensely personal. And if it is not dealt with properly, honestly, by the individual concerned, it stinks. Period. I don’t see any role for (an external) God to play in any of our human choices – especially those that are driven by our very human, sensory cravings! Therefore, if we drop this fear of an external God that’s in us, we will be free.
The only person you are answerable to is the one you see in the mirror. The only voice you must heed is the one you hear from within. When you operate from the core of loving whatever you do – be it drinking, be it eating meat, be it having an active sex Life with multiple partners, be it choosing to pray to a Higher Energy the way you want to and when you want to – you will experience a great inner peace. Because in doing all of that, and more, you are going with the flow of energy from within you, from your individual Godhead. It is only when you run scared that you run confused. Where there’s confusion, how can peace prevail?

Love yourself to find your God within you!


What you fear will enslave you and what you love will liberate you!

 

You often hear people referring to themselves or others as “god-fearing”. Last night I saw an electronic billboard outside a place of worship that read: “The Fear of God is the Beginning of Wisdom”! Nothing can be more untrue.

What kind of a God is it that wants you__or me__to be fearful? Religion and its self-serving propagators have turned God into a mega-brand that is propped up so that it earns them (the propagators) money and keeps them powerful. The 2012 superhit Hindi film ‘OMG – Oh My God!’, directed by Umesh Shukla and starring Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar, satirically and successfully, challenged the popular concept of God, as the religions and its leaders want us to believe. The movie had an unputdownable awakening feel to it. A Rediff review of the film summed up its message: “A brave and absorbing blend of satire, fable and fantasy that brings our attention to the misuse and commercialization of religion.”

This is indeed true. The most corrupt institutions in society today are the ones that engage with and thrive on religion. The people who run them have their followers in their stranglehold by playing up concepts of sin, retribution and divine punishment. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844~1900), the German philosopher, busted this whole God theory rather forcefully. He declared, ‘God is dead. Now man is free.” Understand this in a less debatable context. You see a snake at your feet. And you freeze, fearing it. You can’t think of anything else but your imminent death. Is the snake scaring you or your thought of it scaring you, crippling you? Anybody who understands snakes will tell you that they don’t harm UNLESS they are harmed. So, if you replace your fear with love and move away slowly you will be free. But no, you will stay frozen, not so much grounded by the snake, but by your fear of the snake! The same argument applies in the context of God. When every scripture (not religion) champions love, compassion and surrender__to the moment, to Life__how and why do we buy this absurd logic of fearing a God? Fear cripples. Debilitates. Love frees, liberates. How can you fear God and be free? When you fear a God__you will be dying every moment that you are alive. You will be enslaved by superstitions, rituals, dogmas and will be looking for an, unavailable, approval of each of your actions. Which is also the reason why you are plagued by anxiety, worry, grief, suffering and stress, DESPITE your being so God-fearing! The irony is that you are suffering only because you are God-fearing! If you are God-loving, your suffering will disappear. Think about it. You were born free. And in your infancy lived free. Don’t you realize that if you have stopped being free it is your fear of God that has made you so?

Swami Sathya Sai Baba explains this so beautifully: “Everyone is God. But some are unconscious of their divinity and are conscious only of the body-state, some are partly conscious of it and a few are fully God-conscious. Complete self-surrender and unquestioning love becomes possible when man achieves unswerving faith. Once God is realized there is no question of faith at all, just as there is no question of faith when a man knows himself to only be a man.” Note here that the faith that Swami refers to here is faith in Life __ that if you have been created, you will be looked after, provided for. And he talks of surrender to the Self, not to some external entity __ living or otherwise!

 

 

Drop all your fears. Recognize the value in loving the God you so desperately seek. You cannot find that God by seeking, searching, running from one place of worship to another. Or by wearing stones and rings on your fingers. Or by fasting and abstaining. You can and will find your God only when you find yourself. The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek language. ‘entheos’, in Greek, meaning enthusiasm, is a combination of two Greek words: ‘en’ (within) and ‘theos’ (God). ‘entheos’ therefore means ‘the God within’. So, be enthusiastic about Life. Love the Life source within you. That is your God. One whom you don’t need to fear at all. Through this love, and only with this love, will you awaken to freedom and bliss.