130 Monday Musing - Man and God
Someone asked me the other day what my view about God was. I was temporarily taken aback by the colossal nature of the question, the import of which far exceeded the age and agenda of the person asking and the person asked. But a question it was and so begged for an answer.
The notion of God and His place in the overall scheme of things varies with culture. There is a significant difference in the notion of God in the eastern and the western world. Within our eastern worldview too there is an amazing diversity in the notion of God and more importantly how to reach Him. Some belive we should be 'God fearing', others believe in 'surrendering to Him', while yet others belive in 'Loving' him - either which way there is an unique and personal relationship that gets established between the worshipper and the worshipped.
I recognise my own inability to believe that God created man and his universe as a distinct event, almost like a divine project - and despite having been born in a culture which did propagate man's essential subservient position vis-a-vis the divine, i recognise my inability to relate to this notion of God. I am also growing to believe that in all likelyhood, man needed God, in its various avtaars, more as an explanation and support to tide over the vicissitudes of existence. God many not have created man, but man had definitely reasons to create Him.
Nothing scares man more than uncertianity and ambiguity. In fact i believe all of human civilisation is a story of mans relation to uncertianity and ambiguity. What we cannot control or predict, or what we are unsure of, scares us. What we cannot explain or put a rational cause and effect relation to, worries us. The mere thought of future as a place we cannot have cut out to follow a particular script worries us. Just as the cave man could not explain thunder, shower and lightening, the modern man cannot explain career and family uncertianities - and both need an anchor to hold themselves to. So we have nature Gods for the caveman and we have numerous godmen for the modern day man.
Some may not believe in any notion of God, but are surely scared of the unknown and believe its advisable to keep him in good humor. It is better to have God on your side when the tide turns adversarial. So if following a set of rituals either prescribed thorugh generations or through new found faiths, provide a sense of security, why not!. It is not uncommon to find many, if not most, to go through these rituals of fast, pilgrimages, darshans and worship, as a routine, as soul-less steps of an algorithm, without really relating to it, or connecting with it as a spiritual experience. They still do it, so that the unknown does not get offended and withold his benediction and blessings. It is almost like an all encompassing, all powerful insurance cover one buys for life itself.
I am also growing to believe that while most do not understand and experience God as a truly soulful experience, it is still better to be a believer in the notion of God, because it lends two things so essential to survive - stability and hope. In the worst of circumstances, in the bleakest of things, God provides an inexplicable hope of correction, redemption and improvement. That hope lends man courage to go on, to keep moving, to keep living. And in an otherwise hopeless, cruel, and infinitely disturbing web called life, that hope is worth calling God.