agnostics, Ash Wednesday, benevolent god, conspiracy theory, Dark night of the soul, Destiny, free will, God is dead, Guru, Indian spirituality, Karma, kriya yoga, Kundalini, meditation, Nietzsche, Paramhansa Yogananda, soul, Spirituality, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, St John of the Cross, Swami Vivekananda, T S Eliot
God exists. So I’ve heard though I believe the jury is still out on that one. Not too long ago Nietzsche proclaimed that “God is dead”. Whatever be the deeper meaning of this now famous nihilistic assertion, at least he acknowledged His existence, albeit in a back handed way. God is dead but at least He existed. Today a question mark is put on His very existence.
Since time immemorial Saints have spoken of God’s existence as solemnly as the agnostics and atheists have questioned it. For the former His presence is as certain as the sun that shines on us. We may not see the sun at night but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, they say. So it is with God. You may not see or feel His presence but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. Pretty much like the all pervasive radio waves- You need to have the antenna to catch the frequency you desire. Tune yourself, prepare yourself. Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall be given. The agnostics and atheists on the other hand deny His existence albeit in different ways. They may deny or disbelieve His existence; they may believe it’s impossible to know whether God exists or not. Either way believing in Him is not their forte or calling. God, effectively, is nothing more than yet another conspiracy theory.
Both parties, of believers and non- believers, are comfortable with their assumptions and beliefs. It’s those in between, like me, who grapple with Faith and questions thereof, who are the traumatised ones. However I’ve often been told that none of the questions that trouble me are new. They are those that have troubled every reasoning, doubting, questioning soul down the ages. In this world full of agonising pain and rampant evil, how does one in fact believe in a benevolent God or any power that be ? This apparent contradiction , and so much more, have kept me awake night after night. Why do things happen the way they do? Why does good suffer and evil flourish? And what is this whole mumbo jumbo about Karma, destiny and free will? And to add to the cauldron of confusion, let’s throw in reincarnation, Maya, dualism, Kundalini as well! How does one accept the most disturbing fact of all- the suffering of men soaked in Divine love. Belief, faith, unwavering devotion- nothing seems to guarantee any kind of hedging from the vagaries and suffering of this existence. What it does seem to offer is in fact is nothing more than a promise of a better afterlife. Religion was not called “opium of the poor” for nothing. Who, indeed, has seen the afterlife or new life? Is there any method to this never ending madness? Is our search for the Divine an escapist’s way out of a lost or losing battle? As if all this was not enough there are a plethora of self realised god men/con men to shake the already floundering faith of the masses.
While all this and much more runs through my head and I veer between faith and scepticism, between hope and despair, I read works of and works on the likes of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Paramhansa Yogananada. These were people who had no reason to lie and whose very existence became a living proof of a Divine presence. I listen to the soulful mystic music of the Sufis and the cosmic chants of “OM” . A shiver goes down my spine and I am transported to another world. Is it the workings of a crazed imagination or is there something really beyond what we see with our physical eyes? Is my despair and dilemma what St John of the Cross famously describe in his “Dark Night of the Soul”? Is this the journey, from darkness to light, that we all are destined to undertake? Questions exist- as they always do. But there comes a time and place when all questioning, all doubts, all despair cease – there is just acceptance and a peace that comes with it. And then I remember my favourite poet T.S. Eliot-
“Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will”.