Friday, August 31, 2012

Loving an Imaginary God



There are person who proclaim that they do not believe in God and there are others that firmly affirm that they believe in God. Both of these statements should not be taken at their face value because after all what these persons are proclaiming as God means different things to different persons. Let us consider both these type of persons a bit more

First let us consider the people who say they believe in God. Perhaps they even visit a temple, mosque or church or belong to one of the many religious organizations that exist on our planet. Or, they may be independent believers who do it on their own. Amongst these are some that practice their faith in a visible active manner, yet, it has been found that some from amongst them may lack in compassion for their fellow human beings or other life that makes up our world. They may even lead a life that exploits or hurts the planet, other humans and other life forms directly or indirectly for personal gain. To my mind these persons actually either do not love God, have not begun to do so yet, lie about loving God or if they are not lying then they are in fact not loving God but actually loving something false and imaginary they have called God. The infinite consciousness of the Almighty runs all through the universe and through all life. A person who does not display compassion for others but rather even exploits or hurts them is in fact hating God rather than loving Him.

Amongst humans and animals it has been found that mothers love their children. This is an example of divine love. However, the love of the Lord implies similar love and compassion for all of creation. Human beings cannot be perfect. they can only constantly strive to improve. Even mothers are rarely perfect and therefore the love for all of creation is expected to vary from individual to individual. However, a being that display a lack of love for others or even perpetuates hatred is undoubtedly a God hater even though he or she may not realize it.

The question arises that if it is God’s consciousness that runs through all life and charges them then why is it that some humans are violent and evil. The answer is that a consciousness focused on an individual mind and body often begins to focus on individual needs and thus looses its clarity. It is like a light bulb covered with the dust and smoke of individual needs and desires rather than universal desires. This causes ignorance in beings and is the cause of a lack of compassion. A person who truly loves God and therefore all of creation does not hate even such ignorant individuals but only deplores their evil or ignorance.

If God is the formless infinite with an infinite consciousness one may wonder if there is any value in worship or visiting a temple or church that houses an image of a god or saint. Purifying one’s consciousness requires drawing it away from the workings of the individual mind to focus on the infinite. If focus on an image such as that of Buddha, a god or Mother Mary helps a person to change the focus of  his or her consciousness from the individual mind and desires to a point of divine love (real or presumed) outside, this practice has much value.The extent of spiritual benefit would depend upon the extent of faith and concentration. It may even have immense spiritual merit if one then stretches one’s consciousness from this individual point to the infinite Universal Consciousness surrounding this point. After all in an infinite universe, every point is a center.

Compassion for all life does not mean that one has to go about caring for all needy people in the world or the universe. That is impossible. It just means that one would care for the persons one encounters in life and from amongst these the most needy such as children, the aged, the helpless and the deprived to the extent that is reasonably possible. It does however mean that one would definitely not do anything to bring harm to these others at least. Amongst saints and divine personalities we have examples of Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Buddha and Jesus to name just a few who practiced the love of God in precisely such a manner and therefore these are the persons who truly and deeply loved God. It is a different matter if organizations built around the names of such persons do not behave similarly. Some of them run like business organizations that proclaim for example that their car is the best car and comfort can be found only in their car and none other. A few behave like dictatorial orgnaizations that not  only claim that theirs is the only good product but will punish if their product is criticized.

Now let us consider persons who say that they do not believe in God but actually display an exemplary compassion for others. The foremost amongst these was the Buddha. The persons whom Buddha spoke to in his time were worshippers of finite divine images who were devout worshippers of their chosen forms but did not display sufficient compassion for other beings. This was an imaginary God and Buddha did not believe in such an imaginary thing called God by others. Instead he loved all of creation and advised beings to first shun violence to all life and then move away from their individual desires to first attain compassion and then attain enlightenment and Infinite Universal Bliss. Thus the Buddha loved and existed in Infinite Bliss and was in fact a true believer of the true Lord of the universe. The same is the case to varying extents with some humans in modern times. Amongst them is one my friends– Harbinder Gill - who most vociferously denies belief in God but in fact display a great degree of kindness and consideration for others. It is persons such as him who are the true believers rather than others who may claim a strong belief in their imaginary conception of God.

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