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!

Celebrate creation’s essence, the Godliness, in you!

The beauty of Life lies in understanding that you have both the ‘essence’ and ‘presence’ of creation – a.k.a God – in you.

We are all created with the essence of God in us. Yet, not realizing this miraculous grace, we continuously seek God’s presence in our lives. We run from temple to mosque to church. From idols to godmen. Resultantly, we grieve. Because how can you find what you seek outside of you, when all along, it is within you? The presence of creation, of God, according to me, can be found only when we are present in the NOW. Life’s what’s happening to you right now. Are you there? 

When you are in the now, you can feel the Godliness in you. You can experience the miracle called you. You can see the manifestation of the Universe’s creative energy in you. The ‘essence’ of this energy is your ability to see, hear, touch, feel, speak, move about, apply your mind, feel love, touch another Life. Without this energy, we would all merely exist like a rock does. The fact that you are able to live a Life apart from, and beyond, inanimate objects, which are also manifestations of creation, is evidence of the Godliness in you.

So, stop seeking the presence of a God outside of you. Look within, and you will find all that you need. Osho, the Master, said this simply yet profoundly, “There’s no God. Only Godliness.” Celebrate creation’s essence, the Godliness, in you! Have a great day ahead!

“God is not a person. God is a presence.”

In the name of God and religion mankind remains divided. Only when each of us realizes the ‘godliness’ in us will all this strife cease.
I read two interesting stories in the papers today. Both had to do with “controversial” Tweets posted well-known personalities. One is Ram Gopal Varma, the highly-talented film-maker, who’s presently going through a bad run at the box office. Varma tweeted a purportedly derogatory remark against Lord Ganesha, whose birthday it was on Friday. Varma wanted to know what obstacles Ganesha had removed for his devotees in all these years that they had been worshipping him. Naturally, the devotees, particularly Hindus, were up in arms against Varma. Their angst forced Varma to issue an apology for his insensitive remark. The other Tweet was by DMK leader M.K.Stalin who wished everyone a “Happy Ganesh Chaturthi”. This surprised his followers and his detractors alike. Now, the DMK is a “rational Dravidian party” that does not follow or champion any religion or God. So, some of Stalin’s followers lamented that he was “breaching party protocol and tradition”, while others treated his “social, secular greeting” as a “new beginning” for the party. Stalin, for his part, chose not to comment any further – even as the debate continued on whether he had done the “right thing or not.”
I have nothing to say for or against what either gentleman has had to tweet. My point is this – why do we give so much importance to God and religion? Why do we divide humanity on that count?
Down the ages, all through history, God has been seen only from two angles by mankind. There’s one view which says that God is a person, someone high above – who cannot be seen, but who has to be feared and followed. This is where religion came in and made matters worse. Each religion is basically saying this: if you follow our processes, rituals and practices, we will show you the way to God. And so, for lack of any other option, people follow a religion. And, sometimes, they move from one religion to another hoping to find God – that elusive person who apparently has all the answers and solutions people desperately want! The other view challenges this view and invites us to be rational, to be scientific and to apply common-sense and intelligence. It questions the futility of this ongoing search for God. And those who hold this view have successfully maintained – and often argued – that there is no God. These are the atheists. What the atheists have done further, apart from denying that God is a person, is that they have, without any material evidence, denied the presence of God too. What I have understood, primarily from following the Buddha’s teachings and Osho’s, the Master’s, works is that there is also a third view. And that view says – “God is not a person. God is a presence.”
This is such a beautiful perspective. And I relate to it completely. It invites us to consider that God is not someone, God is an experience. In fact, Zen Buddhism says God is in the stillness, in the silence, in the magic and the beauty of all creation. And Osho says, when you shift your focus from searching for God, to experiencing yourgodliness, you become free. I find great value in that insight. As long as you are searching for God, you remain hostage to religion. Irrespective of which religion you follow, your search for God remains incomplete and you are bound by tradition and rituals. You can’t ask why something is being done. You can’t seek. You must just follow. But, through the flowering of inner awareness – often through practising silence periods or any form of meditation – when you awaken to your godliness, you realize that what you seek is within you. Then religion becomes an avoidable process. And God becomes a personal, direct experience.
As I journeyed through Life, I too ended up searching for God all over the place. I have been through rituals, prayers and tried all religions – and have visited several places of worship. But I finally found God in fellow human beings – who through their kindness and compassion continue to touch my Life in myriad, beautiful ways. I find God in every aspect of creation – in a sunrise, in a raindrop, in the chatter of the birds and in the breeze that soothes me on a hot summer afternoon. I find God in my happiness – in my state of “simply being” irrespective of what circumstance I am facing. This is the way, over the last several years, I have come to experience God – and my godliness! When you realize your godliness, and feel God’s presence in everyone and everything, then you are forever prayerful, forever blissful and forever at peace!

How to dissolve in prayer

Prayer is not sitting in front of an idol or reciting verses or visiting a place of worship. Prayer is simply living Life fully – being content with what you have and being happy, caring and loving!
A Sufi mystic was so full of love, and so full of joy — his whole Life was laughter, music and dancing. And the story goes that God became very interested in him because he never asked God for anything; he never prayed. He felt his whole Life was a prayer, there was therefore no need to pray. He never went to the mosque, he never even uttered the name of God; his whole existence was the argument for the presence of God. If anybody asked him whether God exists or not he simply laughed — but his laughter was neither a yes nor a no.
God himself became so intrigued that he decided to pay the mystic a visit. When he met the man, God said, “I am immensely happy because that’s how I want people to be — not that they should pray for one hour and do everything against it for twenty-three hours. Not that they should become very pious when they enter the mosque, and when they go out they leave their piety in the mosque and they are just their old selves: angry, jealous, full of anxiety, hatred and violence. I have watched you and I have loved you. This is the way: you have become the prayer. You are, right now, my only argument in the world that something more than man exists — although you have never argued or vouched for my existence, you have not even uttered my name. Those are superfluous things… but you live, you love, you are so full of joy that there is no need for any language; your very presence becomes the argument for my existence. I want to give you a blessing. You can ask for anything.”
The mystic thought deeply and said, “But I don’t need anything. I am so joyous, and I cannot conceive there can be anything more. Forgive me, I cannot ask because I really don’t need anything. You are generous, you are loving, you are compassionate; but I am so over-full, there is no space within me for anything else. You will have to forgive me, I cannot ask.”
Osho, the Master, would tell this story to his followers and explain that true prayer is not an action. It is a state of being. In that state you are everything that Life is about – joyous, peaceful, abundant, loving, forgiving and giving. In that state, you don’t need an external God to pray to. You become the prayer. When you reach this stage of evolution, you even learn to wish your detractor, or someone that you can’t relate to, all success, good health and joy. Selflessly. The selfless seeking of another’s joy, success and bliss is true prayer.
It is very easy to love someone you like. But it is very difficult to love someone you don’t agree with, relate to, or even, at times, hate or have hated. Our normal tendency is to distance ourselves from people we don’t agree with or get along with. But if we make an effort, we may still be able to do our duty in a situation where such differences arise and exist, and more importantly, do that duty in peace. Prayer is about practicing to do this. Day after day after day. And include in the circle of influence of such prayer, every person we know on this planet. Slowly, our world becomes the world we always wanted to be in. Full of peace and calm. This is when, as they say, you dissolve in prayer and you realize God or discover Godliness in you!!

Serve to connect with the Godliness in you

During the course of a business discussion yesterday, we talked about leaders developing ‘a servant attitude’ towards their teams. A manager present at the meeting wondered aloud: Isn’t projecting a ‘servant attitude’ something negative?
The manager’s premise is symptomatic of what ails society today. We have all become so obsessed with what we get than what we can give. Let’s remember that the larger purpose of being born human is to be able to serve, to touch another Life and to be able to make a difference. But because most of us are caught in this trap of focussing on what we deserve, we rarely recognize the opportunity and potential that exists in each moment, to serve, to create value and to make this world a better place.
To serve, to give, is a blessing. It will enrich the giver immeasurably when the act of giving is selfless and spontaneous. True service is not to be done out of pity, as a charity. It cannot be done to fulfil your ego either – to  ‘feel good’. When you see people serving communities through charities or social service organizations, they are doing immense good no doubt, but much of it is also to ‘earn a good name’. Again that’s not true service. In the context of true service the giver is indebted to the receiver – for having got the opportunity to serve in the first place. This is what having a servant attitude to leadership and to Life is all about. It is being grateful for the opportunity, the experience, to give, to make a difference. In effect, serving is humbling. That’s the reason why almost every religion and scripture celebrates true service as an act of worship, as a means to ‘realize’ God.
I am not sure God exists outside of us. But if an important port of anchor for many of us is indeed God, I can, from my own experiences, share a little secret: You do connect with the Godliness resident in you __ and in all fellow beings __ when you serve, when you offer yourself to, another!

Approach Life with open arms, in all humility…

Awaken each day with total humility, stretch your arms wide open and be sure that Life will provide you all that you need. Our grief comes from our wants. Wants always have an element of ego, a demand, in them. But when you approach Life with humility, saying, fill my Life with what you believe I need, not only will everything be taken care of__as has always been__but you will never ever be in grief.  
This morning I read a beautiful interview that Times of India has done with A R Rahman. He tells Priya Gupta: Every time I sit for a song, I feel I am finished. It’s like a beggar sitting waiting for God to fill your bowl with the right thought. In every song, I ask help from Him. Everybody around is so good, so to create music that will connect with so many people is not humanly possible without inspiration.
This is the humility I am referring to. Caught in the trap of the mindless rat race we run, our wants have increased manifold. And so have our insecurities and anxieties. When things don’t go as per our wishes, when what we want doesn’t happen, we agonize and blame an external God for our misfortunes. We have ended up becoming so full of ourselves__our grief, our problems, our wants. This is the only reason why our lives are not complete and yet we feel spent! This is why we are unable to create value in whatever we do daily. To feel enriched and live fully, we must empty ourselves daily. When we approach Life with a sense of nothingness, nobody-ness, in total surrender, we will be able to see and experience the Life that is ordained for us. Most important, we will feel peaceful and blissful within!
Our wanting anything is of no consequence really. There’s an old Arabic proverb that goes like this: “What is destined will reach you even if it be beneath two mountains. What is not destined will not reach you even if it be between your two lips.” Let’s remember that this Life has been given to each one of us. We didn’t ask for it. So, logically, if something has come free, without your asking for it, you don’t impose your wants on it. You accept what’s being given and use it intelligently, fully! That fullness can only come from respecting Life and being responsible for your own lifetime. When you impose your wants on Life you are being both ungrateful and irresponsible. Your wants must cease for the God within you to find expression.
This is why people like Rahman, or any successful or creative person, is able to live in this same, cold, dog-eat-dog, world that we live in and are able to produce a matchless, beautiful, work of art each day. I am not talking of celebrity achievements here. You and I too can achieve those levels of creative expression, leading to phenomenal success, if we learn to empty ourselves and let Life take care of us. That then would be a true celebration of our lives and making them meaningful – leading us to bliss and peace.

Anchor within to find your God


An interesting headline in this morning’s Times of India caught my attention. It read: “More Indians have stopped believing in God – Survey”. The London-datelined story reported that the latest Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism found the number of non-believers in India increasing. As against 87 % saying they were religious in the same Survey in 2005, the percentage has fallen to 81 % in 2012. In other words, a drop of 6 % in seven years!  

This got me thinking again about this whole God debate. And I am expressing, sharing, only my personal views here with no disrespect to your views or beliefs.

Is there a God? And if so, why do so many of us, good, honest folks, have to go through tough times? Why do terrible things happen to good people? Why is there so much pain and suffering everywhere? And why do people who employ deceit always get away with it? If God is indeed the epitome of virtue, as all the world’s religions have always been saying all the time, why is God being a silent spectator to all that’s wrong with the world? I am sure you have asked these questions too. But for lack of any evidence that can lead us to the answer, we end up leaning on our conditioning, and cling on to a crutch that we have labeled ‘God’.

Obviously there’s an intelligent energy that powers the Universe. Otherwise we can’t explain creation and the existence of Life in a simple, easy-to-hold manner. But no one’s been able to conclusively prove that that energy is a person. All the world’s religions will of course have us believe only in this ‘God is a person’ theory. I have come to agree with what German philosopher Friedrich Neitzsche (1844~1900) postulated, that, perhaps, man created God (and it possibly was never the other way round!) to control large masses of mankind through religion. This perspective, when reflected upon, will explain why as a species, we are increasingly becoming more divisive and intolerant of each other.

The real question concerning God is not about believing or non-believing. It is about knowing and non-knowing! The English word ‘enthusiasm’ comes from the Greek language. In Greek, ‘en’ means ‘within’ and ‘theos’ means ‘God’. So enthusiasm really means the ability to invoke the ‘God within’. And that’s the knowing I am talking about. Since we are all powered by the same energy source that powers the Universe, it is imminently possible that the God that we so desperately seek outside of us__through religion and through a place of worship__really resides within us. The only way to ‘realize’ that God, to feel that God, to connect with that God, is to be present in the here and now. And live every moment of this gift called Life enthusiastically.

Interestingly, every scripture in the world, champions just this same perspective: that living in the moment__without clinging on to the past or worrying about the future__while being enthusiastic about the Life that you have been given, loving what is, is the only way to experience God. That’s why you see Godliness in a child or in anyone who’s immersed joyfully in her or his work. A child is present. It never lives in the past. Or worries about anything. It plays with the Life it has, engaged in the moment. So do people who lose themselves to their work. Whether it is a musician or a sportsperson or a chef or a surgeon or even a housekeeper __ when the person is immersed wholesomely in the activity, you will see Godliness in that person.

Even so, possibly God’s existence will continue to be debated forever. But no one will deny that there’s Godliness in all creation __ including in you! We don’t experience this Godliness all the time because instead of anchoring in the God within we make bad spaghetti of this beautiful, even if inscrutable, Life by preferring to be held hostage by the concept of an external God!

As Mirza Ghalib (1797~1869), the legendary Urdu poet wrote memorably: “Sharaab Peene De Masjid Mein Baith Kar…Ya Woh Jagah Bata Jahan Khuda Nahin!” It means, “Allow alcohol in a place of worship or show me a place where God isn’t present!”