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Understanding Scriptures

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 Blooming Stars


            There are many existing realities for which we do not have answers. How did our universe come into being? How is there such order and predictability in this universe? Every day we are discovering new facts that throw more light on this universe. Our faith supplies answers to some questions that give not only purpose to our life but also help us cope with our life. God is a postulate of our faith. Christians believe that Christ, the incarnation of the second person of the Holy Trinity, revealed his Father – God – to humanity. Hindus especially in Advaida (non-duality) believe that God and humanity are one like an ocean and its waves. And we have wonderful treatises of speculative theology and traditions in both religions. God is the only thing that matters for those who believe in God. Apart from revelations or speculations, how we came to the consciousness of God always fascinated me. How then did we come to the consciousness of God?

            Before Vedas and Vedantas including Upanishads, Brahmavidya, and Bhagavadgita of the Hindus, there was no mention of God in the East. Mono-theistic concept of God primarily comes from the Judeo-Christian scriptures (Bible) originating in the Middle East and spreading to the East and the West. Both the Eastern and the Middle-Eastern scriptures were believed to be revealed by God. Primitive humans either feared or worshipped primeval forces. So we can only speculate on how humans came into God-consciousness. It makes extremely good sense to think that as finite humans evolved in reflection, meditation, and consciousness, they got into the depth of their being where nothing else but an infinite Fullness of Being, that is God, satisfied them and gave meaning, purpose, and fulfillment to their life. Once we arrive at this kind of deep thinking where we experience emotional, if not intellectual, satisfaction with a Supreme Being, the leap of faith into the lap of a God who provides for us and takes care of us in every way becomes easy. For most of us, if not all, who have been born into very religious families with strong belief systems and traditions in this day and age, all the thinking and searching have been done by those who have gone before us. So the day we were born, deep programming begins. For us to question or not to believe in what we have been programmed over the years would be fraught with dangers. At this point all I want to say is that I continue to have doubts but I continue to will and choose to believe. I certainly envy the faith of St. Paul or Mahatma Gandhi or my own mother. And I say with St. Peter who, reminded of his little faith by the Lord, said: “Lord, I want to believe; but help my unbelief”.

            A Hindu sanyasi (monk) friend of mine told me the other day: “Swamiji, nothing else except prayer matters; He (God) is everything; I am nothing”. I responded: “God is everything, but I am also everything in my own unique way as a child of God”. I read a summary of a recent interview given by Pope Francis to Jesuit journalists. Asked as to whom he was, the pope replied: “I am a sinner”. I want to appreciate his humility or self-emptying (kenosis) as I think he was sincere. But I do not agree with him as he is defining himself negatively. Sin is absence of goodness or some particular virtue. We are all saints as children of God and friends of Christ; we are called to be saints. We all as humans fall short of the mark, and do things that we should not, and do not do the things that we should. We fall down, get up, and progress in perfection. That is what really matters. That is the way we have been created. So God is more intimate to us than we ourselves are as St. Augustine said. We live, move, and have our being in God as St. Paul said. We are all Brahmacharis, that is walkers or movers in God. So God-energy saves us all when we want to save ourselves. All that matters is our sincerity. The deeper we get into our inner being, the more intense we are aware of that Presence who wants to take us beyond us. God-consciousness resides in the depth of our being. It does not matter what kind of faith I have; for me I am satisfied with the desire to have the right faith as the mystic Thomas Merton indicated. As for God-consciousness, it does not matter as I am always in God, and God is always in me. Am I aware of my breathing or the blood flowing in me when I am asleep?! No. I need to be aware of that Universal Force within me and around me. That consciousness is all that matters. That alone is my Bliss.


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