“Atheism taught me that God is nowhere near a human being.”
This is another insightful topic for me. Atheism is the one word or ‘faith’ that has been misunderstood for the right reasons. Their continuous fight to prove that a God of any human qualities does not exist is something remarkable. For religion, theism, theology teaches you how to believe. They touch the outline of the topics but as much as you believe that their teachings are deep and insightful, they still remain on the periphery. To find God is something of a useless journey. How can you find God? Will God be your own projection? This was the continuous fear that I had within me. I constantly knew from my ‘Christian’ upbringing, my primary school headteacher would constantly read the Bible. I found God to be terribly hypocritical and my tiny mind didn’t know whether to raise the questions and tell my headteacher that God of the Old Testament is a jealous, angry old man who is probably suffering from dementia. Then I met the God of the New Testament is a nice, caring and gentle father, however during the end of it, he does relapse, maybe the anger management failed or he realised that love means nothing but only wrath has some sort of value. However, the God of the New Testament proved to be something more complete but that is due to Jesus but was Jesus documented correctly? This has always been an inner feeling that Jesus probably denied the existence of a God that is more human but possibly accepted a God that we call Formless, that was there in the beginning, if there was a beginning. The fact is, whether it is called nothing, I have always wanted to know what caused the Big Bang. Whatever it was, it was a tiny spot and then it exploded and created the Universe. It is a theory but that tiny spot had some sort of energy, or some energy had ignited this explosion and for me that energy is God because God is not apart from the creation. God is the creation. No matter how we like to make God into the most Supreme Being, the fact is that it is beyond our comprehension of being. What we like to bring a form to is not one that deserves a form from our limited minds. We are what we think. We are the gods of our own lives.
The constant argument of my family, which is against the Formlessness of God, as they have faith in what we would call Murtis or idols that I used to say the Shiv ji mantras until I was two years old. First of all, as a rational argument against me it does seem really pathetic. The fact is I am against idol worship especially against stone. I don’t mind the concept of Guru’s but to accept that we need to have an idol to grant our wishes is a very ignorant mode of thinking. The vastness of this creation proves that everything is ours but that pursuit to make everything ours is also useless because you are in everything. Brian Cox said a very good fact about the creation, “we are based entirely on physics of cosmology…we are made by the Universe…every atom in our bodies was created out in deep space”. This very statement by Cox made me realise that there is no external energy, no outside agency, no man sitting in some distant star or planet that is controlling us. We are doing our duties as the universe itself is doing its duties. For me, spirituality with science can come up with an answer. To think that God even has a time, why would God have time? Why would he create the world in just 6 days? What is so great about that? But science is giving this Energy called God even more power by saying it is the Universe. God does not need to be an external being. I would rather believe in the Universal God than a God that sits on a throne, throwing judgments of people and that has a plan for mankind.
What are we in front of this majestic and royal universe? Even if God had created the Universe, then why are we as humans so special? If God could make one Earth then why can’t he make other planets just like ours. When I say ‘he’ I am just saying it as a simple term to explain everything. God has no gender, it is stupid to think of God as a he or even a she. In my opinion if God is a gender, he would be more of a she than a he. So from now on, I am going to refer to God as a she. A woman creates life and if we see God not as a person but as an energy of spontaneous creation then it must be very feminine. The fact that we can see the beauty of this vast universe that consists of billions of galaxies can only create a stirring into the soul. The more I look at it, whatever I feel, is because of this Universe. If I feel this sense of enlightenment then it is because of the humility of this Universe that has made everything so beautiful. If I feel this sense of freedom then it is because this Universe allows me to feel that. Everything that we perceive is this Universe and only some spiritual institutions have gone into that. So many of the Eastern saints have said that there is no beginning. The fact is that even time is limited to our thinking. To even try to comprehend the universe or to try to understand its complexities, our numbers will not be enough hence the creation of infinity. Our thinking is finite and the quest is how to become infinite. But the question is wrong. Why should we strive to become infinite when really when we do die, when we have left this mortal body don’t we realise that we were part of something Eternal, something Infinite, something Immortal and for me that gives me comfort. I don’t see how an External God would. Even if she would judge me, my intellect would not stand for it. Therefore, to understand this God that the Eastern saints have talked about is very different to the God of the Western religions. Most, if not all of the Eastern religions that have dwelled deep into the understanding of this Universe stemmed from India. It is funny to now see that many of these Indians have ignored their marvellous texts and follow Swamis who exploit the texts (possibly not even reading a word) and try to make a fortune of wealth and fame by telling their followers to do silly paths (mantra chanting), by going on arduous pilgrimages to see a stone statue appear from an obvious trap door, to go on fasts of food or silence whilst their stomach is hungry and their mind is forever chatting away. All these silly pursuits have no value because they fit nothing that is greater than LIVING in this Universe. I may have been a Shiv devotee as a young toddler but my rational mind would never had accepted what I believed in. I would grow up to be a rationalist thinker that I am. However, if they truly accepted Hinduism then the texts are enough to show that their God does not reside in the Universe, it is the Universe. It has no beginning, it has no end, it has no middle, but is stationary.
Being a Nirankari has opened me to that fact that if God is formless then he needs no form. Nirankar means Formless. Nanak and Kabir contemplated on this Formless. So what is this Formless? This Formless is nothing but the Universe. How big the Universe is then our minds will never be able to comprehend it. But we can feel it and if we can feel it then the Universe is allowing that feeling to occur. Possibly some Nirankaris’ will not agree with me, but the birth of my ideas came from there. For to limit this Formless is to add words, is to add attributes, which a lot of Christians, Muslims and Jews have done. They have tried to humanize God possibly with the best intentions but what has happened is something on the contrary and something that is disgusting. They may have tried to make this Universal Energy a close and personal ‘friend’ but instead seems like a horrible dictator that makes even the most horrible dictators in our history seem like nice people. So religion has degraded God by itself. An atheist, a humanist, an agnostic or a Gnostic does not need to do any damage to God because organised religion has already done that.
All I know is that my God is this Universe and I am just fortunate to be part of it today. I don’t know about tomorrow but today I am enjoying it. To me, there is nothing more spiritual than this thought. This thought must be from the Universe, every thought stems from the Universe and maybe this is why our Universe seems so paradoxical. I find that beautiful. I find that to be tranquil and calming. That no matter what, for it to survive, it will always change and yet will remain changeless. However, we cannot deny that the Universe is a constant reminder of evolution. I may die tomorrow but what gives me comfort is knowing that I lived as much as I could. I will die for certain. But I will always be in unison with this Universe. If we go by the saying that from ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if I am cremated or buried, I do become one with this Earth that is part of this Universe. Ultimately, I know I was never born and I can never die.
Therefore, atheism has to be the first way of knowing what is the greater Truth. You may not reach to Theism but you will reach your own truth and that is always going to be greater than any concept of atheism or theism.
Rahul N Singh
(‘Thoughts’ is to be part of a new e-book compilation).