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Who is God? What is God?
Truth is beyond words, truth is beyond expression and truth is beyond the comprehension of the mind. The glory of God is limitless. Language has its limitations. Through words we cannot explain the divinity or the majesty of the divine. Who can sing, who can rightfully and appropriately praise God? Indeed no one can!
God means existence – existence which is present in every atom. And when you believe that God is in a temple, synagogue, church or in a mosque, then you are just saying that you do not know who or what God is. The one who is all-pervasive cannot be cornered or imprisoned by man-made walls. God is beyond definition of time and space; time and space exist as long as mind exists. Once you transgress the mind, there is no time and there is no space.
For a so-called religious person, God exists only in the places his belief has taught him. For a Sikh, God is in the Golden temple, for a vaishnavite God is in Vrindavan, for a devotee of Rama God lives in Ayodhya, a devotee of Shiva sees Shiva in Kedarnath, Kashi and Omkareshwar. They have all imprisoned their Gods in these places. But the God who can be imprisoned by man, can that God be called a God?
When a child is admitted to a school, his education begins with the alphabet – A for apple, B for bat, C for cat, D for dog. Then slowly and gradually he moves from the alphabet to small words, to sentences, from sentences to passages and so on and so forth. Finally a day comes when the child is grown up and reads all kind of books, the difficult poetry of Bach, Wordsworth, William Blake and Shakespeare. But it will not happen on the day he first goes to school. On day one in school, the child is not ready for Shakespeare. He begins with the basic letters and even for that he has to be coaxed, cajoled and pampered.
Matthew came back from school and said to his mother, “Mom, from tomorrow I am not going to school.” Mother said, “What happened dear, why are you not interested in going to school, you always loved your school?” Matthew said. “Mom, my teacher is such an idiot; she does not know that A stands for apple and B stands for bat. She is so big and yet every day she keeps on repeating A for apple, B for bat. I know it all by heart and she does not know this much to this day. I am not going to waste my time with such a teacher.” But is this true? No, the teacher is trying to teach all the children so that slowly they understand and learn the alphabets. Similarly, when it comes to religion, you start from somewhere. So for someone the journey begins from a temple, for others from a mosque and for yet others from a church.
In school the teacher leads the child from letters to words to sentences. Thereafter the child advances to poetry and prose, but this does not happen with religion. Those who take their children to religious places forget that this is the beginning and not the end. For a Hindu child where is God? God remains limited to the periphery of the temple. For a Muslim where is God? God remains limited within the four walls of Mecca. And even when a Hindu says that God is in the temple, then it will not be any or every temple but the temple of his preference, where his chosen istha devta is. And in Hindu religion there are 33 thousand demi-gods and goddesses and there are three major male gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; one female goddess, Durga, who has eight forms.
People do not know who God is. To recognise God, you will have to go where God is. You will have to move in the direction of God. You will have to undertake a journey, not outside, but an inward journey. If you wish to see the Taj Mahal, you will have to take the highway which takes you to Agra. If you wish to see the Gateway of India, you have to go to Mumbai. If you wish to see the Qutab Minar, you have to go to Delhi. Whichever building you wish to see, you will have to move in that direction. The Qutab Minar will not come walking towards you and call you to come see it. No, this will never happen. You have to go, for things cannot move but man can. So man has to move and go to the particular spot where the object of his desire is. If you wish to see the Eiffel Tower, you have to go to Paris. If you wish to see the statue of Liberty, you have to go to New York. If you wish to see the Buckingham palace, you will have to go to London. If you wish to see the Great Wall, you will have to go to China. Wherever the building or object is, you have to reach that place. The question arises: Where is God?
First we have to understand what we mean by the word God. When I use the word God I am not satisfied with the word as it not appropriate word for God. The word for God in sanskrit is Brahman. If I have to explain the meaning of the word Brahman, I would say it means that which is beyond neither one nor two; that which is truth, ever-conscious, ever-blissful and all-pervasive. Rather than use these four different words, the seers use one single word i.e. Brahman. It means the existence which is everywhere. So wherever you are, Brahman is, truth is. This means that you do not have to walk even one step to seek God. God is present in all times, this means you do not have to wait for one single minute to know God. But the one who wants to know God, does he know who he is? Who is the seeker, what is his identity?
Once a man asked Santa, “I wish to meet Banta, where does he live.” Santa said, “Banta lives in front of Santa’s house.” The man said, “Ok, then give me the address of Santa.” He said, “Well Santa lives opposite Banta’s house!”
When you say I wish to meet God, then look deep in this I. Where does this I stand. Because I and God, I and Brahman cannot be in two different places, cannot exist in two different spaces. Truth is omniscient and omnipresent – this means that wherever you are, truth is there. Right there – within you and outside of you. To know the truth you do not have to travel outwards, away from yourself or far from yourself. Do you need to go anywhere to meet that existence which is right there with you? The answer is no. You just have to turn inwards. You just have to take the journey to where the final destination, truth is.