Is God Stupid?
We pray for prosperity, for love and happiness, for peace, health and wellness. We ask God to provide us with a host of things. As soon as we encounter an obstacle, or experience pain, or anguish we implore, beg, weep, and plead for Divine Mercy. Some of us dedicate one day a week to go to church, to sing the praises of the Lord; most of us remember God when we are challenged, and the going gets tough. Many of us get angry at God, we blame the Divine for neglecting us during times of trouble, or we scoff at his name in times of disasters; “How can a caring God create such havoc, loss and anguish?” “Why should I believe in God when my prayers go unanswered,” “If there is a God, why is there so much suffering?” Is God stupid? Is he so insensitive, and unaware that he does not know of our challenges? The simple truth is when we objectify God as having a location or motivation other than within the Self, we close out reality and with it the opportunity of learning who we are. The real inquiry begins when we recognize that God is infallible. And in so being, we can decipher the purpose of suffering.
Today, I took a leisurely walk with a friend in the Bronx; a skeleton-thin older man was pushing a shopping cart uphill. Laden with garbage bags filled with cans and bottles, it was obvious he was scourging to make a living. My friend gave him a few dollars. He was so surprised. He bowed and smiled and said over and over again with child-like innocence, “God Bless you, God is good, thank you, thank you!” It was clear he did not assume God is out there punishing him. When we assume God is somewhere out there, the object of our inquiry is misdirected. Where is the God we pray to? Is he sitting on a throne in heaven and watching havoc unfold on planet earth. Is he helplessly stumbling around the clouds trying to comprehend his role? What is his motivation? Is he contemplating the predictions for 2012? Is he concerned about the welfare of a few favourite children or wondering why his chosen sons become martyrs, or get bludgeoned to death? Or why with all the brilliant minds of India, we cannot figure out how to design a cap for a bottle that does not leak?
Obviously, the question of God is not one of location or motivation, but of the individual quest – the understanding that God is Awareness, existing entirely in the universal consciousness, which is flawlessly replicated in awareness: that is, in the awareness within each and every person. In truth, God is within, he is neither “he” nor “she” or “it”. All pervasive, immutable intelligence, holding infinity, the One without a Second. I am Awareness, the complete fullness of light and love and harmony! Why then do we become so distracted, immersed in the on rushing operetta of life? Simply put, samkaras – the imprints of a vast past that we carry around our bodies. Not recognizing that our real nature is awareness, we are weighed and mired in the full glut of the mind. Unable to stand back and observe the mind, we appear rigorously immersed in its trillion thoughts, and memories divinized and habituated from the past of the good, the bad, the glorious, the evil – in short, from the karmic, ancestral beyond of the beyond.
The Vedic tenet, “Aham Brahmasmi,” “I am Brahman” that Infinite Consciousness: and if indeed I am full consciousness, why do I suffer? As we shuffle through the mortal coils of karma, from life to life, we tend to glean a clearer understanding of that seemingly endless journey of our soul; a soul that has been travelling beyond the beyond; that each one of our lives is subjected to the universal law of cause and effect ~ karma!
On a recent pilgrimage to visit the temples of the Nine Planets in South India, I witnessed tens of thousand of devotees waiting patiently in long cues, their faces revealing a broad range of emotional states: young and old, rich and poor, those in good health and those who were not, faces that gleamed with joy and those that were marked by the stale shadows of despair. I asked a young man who was busy operating his mobile phone what he was doing. He was ahead of me in the cue to visit Shani, Lord Saturn. He said he was downloading the mantras for Shani and intended to learn them before he reached the sanctum! I asked an elderly man why he would take to waiting for hours, and his response was, “to see God, to serve God.” God, as we know, is within. And although we are now able to download his messages on-line or have his Avatars on our Facebook pages, we see that the Divine can only be invoked in our hearts. I love going on pilgrimages, visiting shrines. I recognize that everything is holy, every grain of sand is sacred, and yet I love experiencing the full might and abundance of well-performed Hindu rituals and ceremonies, based as they are in the wisdom handed down by our Rishis. I come from a rich, knowledge-based culture that has influenced vast territories of Self-God-Universe education in the world. These exquisite shrines help me to keep re-invoking God within my heart – a gentle reminder of “I am Awareness!” How sublime it is to know that the Creator whose love is entirely unconditional is within me, and that at every moment, I can love completely and redirect this Love from my heart to your heart (the One Heart) as love’s energy ripples across the broad pages and gentle planes of our lives.