Sorry Sadhguru, I humbly disagree with you!

Don’t be waylaid by religion, tradition or rituals. Just celebrate yourself and go do what you want to do – as long as it makes you happy!
Women in Maharashtra have raised the demand of wanting to enter the Shani temple in Shani Shingnapur – which currently does not allow women inside its sanctum sanctorum or chauthara. Even as the issue is being hotly debated, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s elaborate – and what some people call ‘brilliant’ – explanation on why women should indeed be disallowed from entering certain shrines, is doing the rounds on social media. Vasudev’s premise – available here  – is that certain temples have consecrated energies that are likely to have a detrimental effect on women; he explains that it is a biological thing and since ‘in the very nature of female biology, occult forces can have a deeper impact on their system’, women should not be exposed to such places.
I find all this drama totally avoidable.
At a very basic level, as we of course know, there are men and there are women. And there is a higher, inscrutable, energy that shapes our ends. Some call it divinity. I call it energy. Yes, there is a science behind planetary influences on people, places, events and things. But that science and its understanding are beyond the grasp of a majority of us. More often than not we ordinary folks are being misled in the name of tradition, religion, the occult, superstition and rituals. Even if there are influences of a particular planet – the one in question here is Shani or Saturn – on someone or some place, so be it. Isn’t it always what it is? To claim that the female biology responds differently to Shani’senergies – as Vasudev professes – than male biology does, represents primitive and unevolved thinking. It is also highly improbable that this theory can be proven without invoking evidence from another, questionable, dimension – which is purely a human invention – religion.
I believe it is time to drop all this human-made diversity and resolve all this confusion that confounds our co-existence. Let’s learn to simplify our lives and unify humanity in the process.

The best way to live is to celebrate who you are. Male. Female. Whoever you are, just celebrate yourself. After all, the Life-giving source – the breath that you and I take and what keeps us alive – is the same. For the same reasons, religion is totally avoidable. It is unnecessary in fact. Yes, there’s a higher energy that governs all of us. It is both the creator and the destroyer. But such is Life’s nature – where there is birth, death will follow. So, as part of celebrating yourself, if you want to go some place to celebrate that higher energy (if you believe the energy is location-specific) – Shani Shingapur, Sabarimalai, Mecca, Vatican, wherever – simply go. Don’t get waylaid by people who tell you what religion dictates or what rituals demand or what their understanding of planetary influences is. Do what you must. Just be sure to be happy doing what you are doing. Nothing else – no one else – really matters! 

Pray in the buff if you like, who cares? Teri Marzi!

Faith is deeply personal. It is a communion between the Source and you. Nobody and nothing, least of all, religion and law, can come in between you and your faith.

Picture Courtesy: Internet
I was amused reading in the papers this morning that the ruling of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court stipulating a dress code for visiting temples in Tamil Nadu has come into effect from yesterday. Obviously the new dress code has evoked mixed responses. The Hindu reports that devotees were “bemused and irritated, stopping just short of being outraged”. I am not surprised. I will not be surprised either if someone challenged this order. I do sincerely hope it is struck down.  To be sure, Justice S.Vaidyanathan, who was concerned “over the use of improper clothes worn by many people visiting temples”, has stipulated that “men should wear a dhoti or pyjama with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts and women should wear a sari or a half-sari or churidhar with upper cloth,’ and for children, ‘any fully-covered dress’.”  So, anyone coming in jeans and/or shorts will be denied entry to temples in Tamil Nadu. Similarly, sleeveless-tops, spaghetti-strapped tops, skirts and mini-skirts are a strict no-no.
I was even more amused reading a fellow citizen’s view favoring the new dress code: “If clubs can have dress codes, why not temples?” With due respect to the honorable judge’s ruling and to those favoring this new system, I would like to invite attention to why we must not confound an already complicated situation.
Really, to me, what matters is who you are – not what you wear or how you worship or who you pray to.
Let me tell you a story. The disciples of a venerable Master invited him to visit Benares with them. The Master asked them why they were embarking on the trip. One of the disciples replied, “We want to take a holy dip in the Ganges so that we can cleanse ourselves.” The Master smiled and said he was not keen on the making the trip. He instead gave them a bitter gourd fruit, karela, and asked them to immerse the fruit in the Ganges and bring it back with them. The disciples found the Master’s instruction weird but did not question him. When they returned in a few weeks, they handed back the bitter gourd fruit to their Master. He asked them if it had indeed been immersed in the Ganges. When they said yes it had been, he asked them if it would be tasting sweet now. One of the devotees responded with utter bewilderment, “How can a bitter gourd taste sweet, Master? A bitter gourd is always bitter. How can immersing it in the Ganges change its intrinsic quality?” The Master beamed his big smile and said, “So it is my child. How can you cleanse yourself by merely dipping in the Ganges? You are who you are. Look within and if you don’t like who you are, work on changing yourself. You can’t expect change by merely visiting a temple or taking a dip in a river!”
I relate to this perspective fully. For someone like me, even going to a temple to worship, is a wasted exercise. I feel communion with the Source, the Higher Energy, that has created us and governs this Universe, can happen any time and any place. It saddens me, therefore, that we now have a dress code that dictates how you must show up to worship. But Tamil Nadu is not the first state to have this sartorial idea – some of Kerala’s temples have had, for years now, strict dress codes too. Besides, it is not only Hinduism that’s confused with rituality, division and protocol. Religion as a concept is all messed up. It has become a fear-mongering charade – anyone telling you that God will punish you or that something is a sin wants you to be scared. If you pause to think about it, God has never come forth and said, do this or don’t do this, God has not said be scared of me; yet every religion and every vendor of religious discourse insists on inducing fear. So the truth is that those who peddle religion dogmatically want you to be scared of them. Isn’t it tragic that you cannot celebrate your creation and be one with the Creator, whenever you want, wherever you want; and that you must be fearing rule(s) that religion’s peddlers want you to follow so that they can control you in the name of God?
I must hasten to inform that I am not an atheist. In fact I like Swami Vivekananda’s (1863 ~ 1902) definition of an atheist: “Only the one who does not believe in himself or herself is an atheist.” I am not against religion either. But I refuse to practise religion the way (some) people expect me to practise it. Just like you, I too was created without my choice. Religion was imposed on me too, through family – it is therefore a human act. Whereas, to me, my creation, just as yours, is divine. So, the best way to celebrate the divine in me, is to communion with the Source, the Higher Energy, the way I want to – and when and wherever I want to.
I owe this perspective to Kabir who has written these immortal lines – rendered here beautifully by the legendary Bhupinder – way back in the 15thCentury!
मोको कहाँ ढूंढें बन्दे,

मैं तो तेरे पास में

ना तीरथ में ना मूरत में, ना एकांत निवास में

ना मंदिर में, ना मस्जिद में, ना काबे कैलाश में

ना मैं जप में, ना मैं तप में, ना मैं व्रत उपास में

ना मैं क्रिया क्रम में रहता, ना ही योग संन्यास में

नहीं प्राण में नहीं पिंड में, ना ब्रह्माण्ड आकाश में

ना मैं त्रिकुटी भवर में, सब स्वांसो के स्वास में

खोजी होए तुरत मिल जाऊं एक पल की ही तलाश में

कहे कबीर सुनो भाई साधो, मैं तो हूँ विशवास में

Translated, it simply means that the Creator, the Source, the Higher Energy, is not in places of worship or in rituals or in penance or in prayer, but is (to be found) within you – in your faith, in what you believe in. So, pray if you must – and for all you care even in the buff in your home – but pray to the Higher Energy within you, the one that keeps you alive and has helped you read, and hopefully internalize this post! J

Religion deserves no more importance than the label of the undergarment you wear

Religion ideally must have no place in our lives. And if it must, it definitely cannot be flaunted in public. So, can we cut the crap and simply be human?   
I am not a great fan of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s films but I love him for who he is – as an individual, as a fellow-human. He’s a hard-working, tax-paying, honest, and important, secular, humane, citizen of my country and that for me is enough reason to love him. I am sure many who read this post may agree with me on why they too love SRK – with the exception that several among them may actually, additionally, be fans of his acting and movies!
The insinuation by some dim-witted bigots that SRK’s heart is in Pakistan or that he must be treated on par with Hafeez Saeed is outrageous. Not because they said it. Not because they said it against SRK. Not because they connected the dots to Pakistan and a terror-accused. But because their saying it represents how petty and shallow our already decadent society has become!
Think about it folks. None of us has chosen to be created human. Not SRK. Not me. Not you. Not Yogi Adityanath. Not Kailash Vijayvargiya. We were created without our asking for it. And we came without a name, without religion, without an economic or social standing. When we go we will go empty-handed – definitely without our name, religion, money or social moorings. Then why all this drama? How does it matter to anyone if I am a Palaghattan Iyer or SRK is a Muslim or if a certain so-and-so is a Christian? Does religion make any of us superior? Can we say we have conquered disease or death because we are from a certain religion?
Religion is outright divisive and fear-inducing. And anything – or any one – that divides the human race must be ostracized, expunged. What India is witnessing in the last several months is not a sign of intolerance alone. What’s going on is nothing short of a rape of human values and the principles of co-existence.
But rather than get bitter about all this, let’s work to make things better. And the best way to do that is to stop flaunting religion in public. Religion, honestly, must be given no more importance than the label of the undergarment we wear. Do you go talking about your undergarment brand in public? If at all religion must be pursued, make it a personal choice. There’s no need to wear it on your sleeve. And most definitely, there is no need to talk about the religious preferences of others!
If you pause and reflect on this, you will discover the futility of all religious discourse. All of us has the same color of blood, red; all of us has the same Life source, we breathe the same air; all of us were created without our asking to be born and all of us will surely die one day. Then what is the point in allowing ourselves to be divided in the name of “a” God whom no one has really “seen”? And what kind of a God is it who induces fear and pits one human against another? Truth be told, it is not God who induces fear and promotes hatred among us humans but it is a small bunch of fellow humans, who in the name of God and religion, are dividing our race. These are the real terrorists among us. And they need to be isolated through the rest of us uniting.  

SRK is but a metaphor for me this morning to make a larger point. It is irrelevant to me if he is an actor or if is a Muslim or if he is Indian. What is most important is that he is another fellow human on this planet – breathing the same air as I do, as Yogi Adityanath does, and with the same color of blood as I have, as Kailash Vijayvagriya has. I am no SRK fan but I still love him – just as I love any other human! If we can share this post, and talk about this message in our circle of influence, we would have made a small contribution to making our world a better place!  

Only spirituality can help you live in this world and yet be above it!

Spirituality demands nothing of you. It invites you to just be and to let Life take you on your journey – one moment at a time.  
A whole lot of people out there are confused between spirituality and religion. They think that people who lead religious communities are spiritual. It need not necessarily be so. Spirituality is the flowering of inner awareness – it helps you understand that all Life is equal just as it is impermanent. When you realize the true nature of Life, you simply want to be (who you are) and don’t want to anymore become (something, who you are not!).
This morning’s papers reported the shocking story of a lady reporter having been asked by members of the Jain community to move to the back row in an auditorium because they didn’t want a woman sitting in the front row, when their munis, their gurus, who are celibate, sat on stage. Rashmi Puranik, a journalist with a Marathi news channel, was asked by members of the Shree Santacruz Jain Tapagachh Sangh to move to a back row at a function organized by the Jain community to felicitate Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for banning beef in the state. The organizers felt that Puranik’s presence would “offend” the celibates. I found the approach of this section of the Jain community outrageous. I would like them to ponder over how their “venerable” saints, the munis, the gurus, were created on this planet if they found the presence of women “offensive”. The way this Jain Sangh behaved with Puranik is not just regressive in the context of respect to women, it is an assault, a slap, on all of humanity. I am glad Fadnavis said what he finally did at the event, but only after Puranik raised a stink over the treatment meted out to her: “We are in the 21st century. All practices that discriminate against women should be stopped. A society progresses only when women get due respect.” Apparently, the Sangh has issued a statement saying the issue had been misrepresented and that Puranik was only asked to join a row meant exclusively for women. I am sorry. But I find that argument too weak and untenable – aren’t you still discriminating on the basis of gender?
But there’s yet another, equally larger, issue that begs clarity here. Which is, the role of religious leaders. These leaders, like the religions they represent, are confusing humanity. Their avowed rituality, their dogmas and their faulty, often illogical, belief systems are in place only so that they can lead and control their followers. Instead of awakening and inspiring people to the right way of thinking, living, working and winning, they are promoting fear and guilt in the garb of championing religious discipline. I, for one, don’t see any value or virtue in celibacy. In fact, it is impossible for anyone to be celibate. And truly no one is. Indulgence need not be with the physical sense and form alone. Those who claim and profess celibacy in a physical sense may have never stopped fantasizing encounters in their minds! And why work hard on suppressing a natural urge when, by being truly spiritual, you can allow it to arise within you and yet remain unmoved by its presence? A truly awakened person is one who can, in the company and presence of a woman, nurture a feeling of compassion and love for her. Trying to claim the same while asking for women to not cross your path is, to put it bluntly, cowardice.
We met our astrologer, Balan Nair, yesterday. A very learned man. A scholar. He’s truly world-class, a subject matter expert and a no-nonsense, no mumbo-jumbo professional. At 82, he has 64 years of experience in seeing how human beings are tossed around in the ocean of worldly Life – samsara sagaram, according to him! Seeing me wear rings on my fingers some years ago, he had remarked: “Sir, you look educated. Do you think a stone can change your destiny?” That’s how practical and evolved he is – for the record, I internalized his message and chucked my rings! So, my wife and I always find his perspectives enriching. Yesterday, he said this to us (referring to the gut-wrenching experience of a bankruptcy that we are still going through as a family and as a business): “Each numbing experience in Life has a teachable point of view. You will learn as long are you have the willingness to learn – and unlearn. Anybody can go to a forest or sit in a cave and become a sanyasi. But the one who can deal with the pulls and pressures, trials and tribulations, and the continuous churning of the samsara sagaram, of this chaotic world, and yet be above it, that person alone is truly spiritual and a real winner.”
That’s a simple, awakening perspective from someone who has seen a lot of Life. I wish those who sit on powerful social or community pedestals, controlling religions and people, learn from this man’s wisdom. Only then can we create a spiritual world that celebrates all of humanity. Only then can we rid ourselves of a dogmatic, ritualistic religious order that divides basis gender and social stature and exploits the vulnerable among us! 

Being human, not being religious, is the way to finding your God

Stop being humanly religious and instead be religiously human.
Religion, at best, is the path, not the destination. If religion could have helped us find God, all of us, you, me, everyone, should have met God and got Her autograph. Why is it that only few have seen God, fewer have experienced God, only a miniscule have KNOWN God and maybe, just a handful, know that THEY ARE God? That’s because, a large mass of humanity is religious, while a minority is spiritual.
To be sure all religions, and there are over 300 of them globally, champion God-realization. And promise the path to God. Not that they are wrong. But we, the followers, have become so obsessed with the path, not even the journey mind you, that we have come to imagine that being religious IS knowing God. To be religious is to be dogmatic, persistently ritualistic, about a faith. The only faith worth being religious about is being human. Most of humanity, however, while obsessing over religion, has completely forgotten what it means to be human. Take the case of Republican Jon Huntsman, who once was in the race for the Amercian Presidential nomination. A principal__political, not principled__charge against him was that he was raising two adopted daughters from other religions: one a Chinese Buddhist and the other an Indian Hindu. Does it really matter? The color of our skin and the nature of a faith that has been__like our birth__thrust upon us, without our asking for it, without choice to us, is not who we are. We are all human. Period. And we are not divided by race, nationality, faith and such as we imagine it to be. We are all one. Period. All of us have the same 5.5 liters of blood. And it is all red in color. All of us breathe the same Life source. What I exhale you breathe. And what you exhale I breathe. When I can breathe in what you breathe out, and live, why can’t I raise a child that happens to have embraced the same faith as you? If I can, why can’t Jon Huntsman? Huntsman and his wife have seven children, including Gracie Mei, 15, who was abandoned at a Chinese vegetable market at two months of age, and Asha Bharati, now 9, who was left to die on an Indian village dirt road the day she was born. A hands-on dad, Huntsman speaks to Mei in Chinese and is encouraging little Asha to learn about and appreciate her Indian culture and Hinduism. Had Huntsman got his party’s nomination and gone on to win the race to the White House, America would sure have shown the world what it means to be human__not just a Democrat or Republican.
Take also the case of a lady who is seeking an alliance for her daughter ‘within the same faith’, despite hating, from the bottom of her heart, the inhuman rituals of her faith that are perpetrated on girl children__a crude form of female circumcision__because she ‘does not know how people outside her faith are’. What would you call people who claim to be upholders of a faith that indulges in an act of violence against girls, and that too innocent children? We could call them terrorists. Terrorism and terrorists don’t belong to one religion. Anyone who kills humanity, kills Life, in physical or spiritual form, is a terrorist. Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), American sci-fi author, puts it so aptly: “If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.”

So true. Let me hasten to clarify that I am neither for atheism nor against religion. I am pleading for us all to just be human. And it begins with each one of us. We don’t have to adopt abandoned children, if we don’t want to, to do this. We don’t have to stop practicing our individual faiths to do this. We just have to stop clinging on to anything that divides us__race, nationality, color or religion. Instead, let’s celebrate being human. And let’s do that without fail, every moment of our lives, from here on__religiously! Believe me, that’s when you will find, just as I have, God!

I drink alcohol…and I am spiritual

Just because you don’t like the message, don’t shoot the messenger!  
A couple of days ago I received an email forward of a media release purported to have been issued on behalf of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living organization. I don’t know if the release was indeed issued on Sri Sri’s behalf. I hope not. The release attacks, albeit in a veiled manner without naming them, director Rajkumar Hirani, actor Aamir Khan and their movie PK, for “projecting sadhus (Hindu saints) in bad light”, for “promoting dargahs (Muslim shrines) and putting down ashrams(Hindu monasteries)” and for “influencing young minds”. The release also says that the makers of PK have been funded by a terrorist to put down spirituality.
I find the content of the media release preposterous. And the charges against Khan, Hirani and PK baseless. Whoever authored that release and whoever authorized its circulation neither understands spirituality not do they understand PK’s message.
Spirituality is the flowering of inner awareness. It is the realization that comes from within that you are the divinity that you seek. Spirituality is deeply personal, it is intense and it is liberating. It sets you free. Religion, on the other hand, tries to achieve the same result but ends up making bad spaghetti out of a good recipe. Not because there’s anything wrong with the recipe. But because the cooks, the high priests of the various religions (as the PK character says in PK, “the managers of the various companies”), have hidden and divisive agendas; they promote ritualism and hold gullible people – like you and me – hostage! In the movie, in one brilliant scene, PK picks up a new born baby to inspect if the baby is born with a “stamp”, a means of identification, that he or she was actually created (“sent down”) to be a Hindu or a Christian or a Muslim. The message is stark and uncomfortable: that our religion has been thrust upon us. We are born free to simply be human. But the label of Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jew and such is stuck on us as an afterthought. Our family and society force us to follow the religion that they have chosen for us. To add to the confusion, people who are self-proclaimed leaders of the various religions, induce fear among their followers saying that if you question what is being told and practiced, you will be punished by your God! PK makes another important, uncontestable point – the God, he says, that created you and me, is different from the God that we humans have created to suit our convenience. God, the creator, is compassionate, loving and is ever present – within us. The God we have created, he says, is forever elusive, being “managed and protected by agents and managers” and making people fearful. The truth is where there is fear, there is no faith. And when there is faith, there can be no fear. Faith is like light and fear is like darkness. You can bring light to drive away darkness. But you cannot bring darkness into a room which is well lit. You cannot, therefore, claim you have faith in a God, your God, and yet be fearful of either God or Life or both!!
The media release makes one other ridiculous, erroneous point. It states that people who consume alcohol are not spiritual! Spirituality is totally unconditional. Being spiritual means just being. You can be whoever you are. You don’t have to abstain from anything, you don’t have to fear anyone, you don’t have to fast, you don’t have to pray and you don’t have to follow any rituals. You just have to be who you are and enjoy being who you are. Spiritually empowered people employ this freedom, this fearlessness, this faith – that they will be taken care of and provided for by the Universe – to live in bliss. To them nothing is a sin. And nothing is forced. They live simply – seeing the divinity in themselves and in everyone and everything around them.

I seriously hope Sri Sri’s ashram did not issue that release and that the mail I received was just one of those hoax forwards. If it was indeed a genuine communication, I pity those who put it out – for they are missing PK’s central message and shooting the messenger, Aamir, just because he’s seen, per worldly definition, as a Muslim.  PK is not about Hindus and Muslims. It is not about Hindu Gods and a Muslim God or a Christian God. It is about you and me and how we are allowing ourselves to be trapped in the vicious cycle of religion, rituals, godmen and fear. Watch PK if you can and care. And even if you don’t want to watch it, raise a toast when you drink tonight!! To Christmas, good health and happiness. My toast, however, is to the authors of that redoubtable release: “Hey, I drink alcohol…and I am spiritual”!   

Living prayerfully

Make your Life your prayer. And you will be soaked in peace.
The popular notion that we have, thanks to our upbringing and conditioning, is that prayer is an action that requires a time, a place and certain necessary and sufficient conditions. Each religion preaches worship through prayer differently. Therefore, while all of us have become adept at prayer, and praying, we have become completely incapable of living our lives meaningfully! Even when in prayer, the mind is distracted, often anxious, fearful and disturbed! How can merely, mechanically, by rote, chanting a mantra or reciting a hymn, compensate for intelligent living?
This is my humble, personal view. Over the years, I have learned that your entire Life, the way you live, think and work, can be prayer if you understand that this lifetime is a gift and that you must forever be grateful to Life for this experience! Choosing forgiveness over angst, love over hatred, postponing worrying than postponing happiness, serving others over seeking deservance for yourself, practising gratitude over harboring expectations and making each moment count are all ways in which you can live your Life prayerfully. When you do this, repeatedly, over days and months and years, you become the peace that you seek. This doesn’t mean that Life will not serve you any more problems. Problems – perhaps even complex ones – will always be there. But you will be able to deal with each of them effectively and efficiently, because you are now anchored in peace.

It is only because you relegate peace and prayer to a specific time, and do it with a ritualistic obsession and not with soulful fervor, that you are unable to escape fear, worry, anxiety, guilt, grief and suffering. But if you make your Life your prayer, always being grateful for all that you have, you will always be at peace – with yourself and your world! 

“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!