As my thinking and understanding of life has been evolving, so has been my definition of God.
Born and brought up in a deeply devout Hindu brahmin family, God, I was told, exists everywhere. I was taught to be reverent and highly respectful towards Him. He is our Father and Mother, takes care of us, fulfils each and every wish of ours and one should always turn to Him in tough times. He can be appeased with fasting, puja, flowers and heartfelt prayers.
To this day, I believe so.
But along with all of the above, my own understanding of God has emerged in my psyche.
God was, is and will always be, what He really is. Humans, be it saints, nuns, Sufis or any other ordinary being, have always described Him with a purely personal perspective. Any definition will be correct but insufficient at any given point in time. Just like the proverbial elephant who gets touched by four blind men; each touching a different part of the elephant and describing it as long, fat, thin etc. respectively. None of the blind men see the entire elephant so that they may describe it accurately.
I personally think – whatever God is, doesn’t matter. What matters is – how we connect with Him/Her.
How I connect with God depends on how I feel at that particular moment.
For me, God is my father, mother, sister, brother, friend, junior, senior, my Master and so on.
Sometimes I refer to God as Him and sometimes as Her. God is both my Divine Father as well as Divine Mother.
Sometimes I fight with Him and vent my frustration on Him and sometimes I go crawling to him out of reverence – depending on my mood of the day. He knows me inside out. He knows that I am not a great fan of rituals. I have no way of appeasing Him. I just talk to Him. Since He is there in each and every cell of my body, I am sure He listens. In fact, I’m sure He knows much more about me than even I do.
Whatever I may be feeling, one thing is certain – God does not scare me. How can anyone be fearful of someone who is pure love? Someone who sees no flaw in us, never criticises us, who wants nothing but love from us, wants our highest good and does all He can to make us happy?
I’ve never felt the need to carry any picture, symbol, book or totem that reminds me of Him.
Having said that, I still love going to temples and gurudwaras and love putting garlands of flowers around the deities necks. I love the sound of temple bells, dholak and bhajans, incense and diyas. In short, anything that reminds me of Him and His loving energy – I love.
But I find His energy most palpable in children and Nature. May be that’s why I find most happiness when I am amongst these two.
When someone asks me – What does God mean to you? – I have only one thing to say – The same as oxygen means to you, of course.