We all came from somewhere. Somebody created us. When I look at other creations — paintings, sculptures, buildings, food, music — I think of what went into their creation — heart, pain, love, energy, time, effort — and I’m able to rationalize, I have some answers. I can guess how many people worked on it, I can calculate how much time it may have taken, I can express like and dislike on the basis of how it looks or sounds or tastes. When I look at the world around us, trees, oceans, mountains, shores, rivers, valleys, animals, birds and us, I’m left speechless. I cannot fathom who made this world and how — did he (or she) have a recipe, a manual, years of education that went behind creating the world or was he simply… God.
I spent years, a decade to be precise, trying to not believe in God. But I didn’t realise this until very recently. I was a few months shy of 21, it was a regular night in the month of May when I was caught completely off-guard with what I’ve now come to accept as a life lesson. Back then, it was the death of a friend — a cold, stark, agony-filled reality check that nothing lasts forever. Most people who knew me well called me brave and fearless, possibly at my response to the situation, and so I thought, I must be. I was taken aback when I realized soon after this incident, that I had begun to fear EVERYTHING. The day you begin to fear uncertainty is the day everything changes.
I was angry with God, not because he had taken a friend and a young soul away from this world, but because he had left me with so many questions that I couldn’t answer. I spent hours, days, even months pondering over those questions — Where did God live? What did he expect from us? Why did he take some of us away from Earth, sooner than others? Why did we pray to him if he was anyway going to do as he pleased?
When reading, discussions and documentaries about God didn’t reveal much, I turned to Science and Spirituality. There is a Universe, no need to worry about where it came from. There was a phenomenon called ‘The Big Bang’. Planets, moons and weather are born. Ice, stone, and other ages go by. Finally — water, trees, mountains, animals, birds, and us. I read about the universe and how it has a plan for us. In my mind, this plan settled in as working towards being the best version of myself. The Universe has multiple planes and there isn’t just one me, there’s many. And in every plane, I am living a different life. A mirror facing a mirror creates infinite images. That’s how many of us there are. And in each life, we’re striving to be the best version of ourselves. I spent another few years reading about Astral Projection, Past life regression, auras, energies, vibrations and a myriad other concepts that I took to immediately, I’ve always been fascinated by the alternative. The rebel inside me was happy to ditch the term ‘God’ and replace it with ‘Universe’ instead. ‘God has a plan for me’ now read as ‘The Universe has a plan for me’. No big deal.
The next few years introduced me to various kinds of prayer and meditations and kriyas — Hindu chanting, Buddhist chanting, Art of Living, Yoga, Pranayam, Tibetan Lama rites, etcetera. I could now completely relate to a list of names of spiritual leaders and practitioners. I had a lot of insight to offer to freshers and could totally keep conversational pace with veterans in the field. Along the way, I had also come across various belief systems. There were no longer just those who believed in God and those who didn’t. There were gnostics, monotheists, pantheists, freethinkers, pragmatists and a plethora of other ethical or cultural systems. Luckily for me (I don’t think my god-believing parents would’ve liked me being an aetheist), I could now continue to remain non-committal about the issue of God by being an Agnostic Theist. (For the uninitiated, this is someone who neither denies nor accepts the existence of God.)
I have a fundamental problem with the concept of religion. It puts blinders on people. People lose their ability to think for themselves. They start acting out of a herd mentality. They start cultivating dogmas that have been handed down without questioning them. Unintellectual, doctrinal thinking is not for me, so I steered clear of Religion. I listened to what people had to say about all religions and appreciated what I felt were salient points. Now that we have established that I’m not religious, I can safely and proudly wear the ‘Spiritual’ badge. I’m turning a year older soon, hopefully wiser too. Each birthday, I look back on the year gone by and try to list down the highlights of that year. From these I then narrow down to my most significant learning or discovery. This year, it was God.
What is God to me? God is Strength, Power, Force — That moment in a race when you take a deep breath and unknowingly look up or look within and ask for a win, the strength your mind and body respond with — that is God egging you on. God is a Friend, a Support, a Guide — During the times in our lives that seem the hardest, the person or the force we turn to, that is God. God is One. He’s in your heart and in your mind. I go to temples, churches, monasteries and even mosques and while the effigy I face in front of me is different, the person I have in my heart is the same. One God, many faces. This also brings me to the idea that God too can split up into multiple versions of himself, so maybe a team of Gods, all of whom essentially came from the one God, created our world. God is not someone you fear, but someone you love. It’s not always easy to understand why something unpleasant is happening in our lives but if we step into the situation believing that God has a lesson hidden in there for us, it will give us greater strength to move forward. To me, God is also what keeps me moving forward. God is so much more and I’m quite sure I have found Him!
Note: This article was originally written in September 2015 but stayed on my laptop until now. I believe it’s all about the timing. :)