You are reading the blog of a confessed agnostic. But life has taught me to remain silent about matters of the faith. I do not champion any point of view and keep my own counsel when these matters are discussed. But I was not always like this…
Earlier I was a vocal atheist. I felt it was my bounden duty to show the “right” path to my misguided and “blind” brethren. I would challenge and argue, try to convince by logic : in matters of the heart!! Needless to say, a la the Bard, it resulted in “much sound and fury, signifying nothing”. I do not think I managed to convince and change the heart of a single believer! Rather they showered pity on me: I was a misdirected soul for them!!!
Earlier than that, like all others, I was a Believer once. Those were the growing up days, when whatever your parents/elders said, and what you saw all around you – the social espoused reality – was the way to be. Then in the growing up phase, one questioned everything, challenged all things and then decided to bury God, Faith, Religion …whatever did not stand to empirical proof was a no no; scientific temper ruled!! One attended the lectures of Jiddu Krishnamurti in JJ School’ sylvan premises, and bought & devoured his books. Though one understood nothing else, one phrase caught on…“Let us question…”. So alongwith JK we intellectualised, debated, and with JK tried to “go deeper to understand and see it clearly” and found no proof of God !!!
Then the phase of rabid atheism where one took joy in asking awkward and difficult questions. And though the Believers did not squirm or go red under the collar, we still felt morally and intellectually superior after every argument. So then what made me go silent? why did I stop arguing on matters of faith?
I went through 2 experiences which showed me how shallow and foolish I was. I understood that I know so very little that I must remain silent, rather than open my mouth, & prove to the world what a complete idiot I was.
As I plan to go for 10 days Vipassana course from today, I am again accosted with the question: how come a guy like you wants to do a meditation course? Is this really your cup of tea? What do you expect to get out of this? These questions made me go back to those 2 “moments of truth” in my life, which gave me a feeling that I understand very little in this space.
The first of these Faith Moments of Deep Learning was when 2 colleagues from Johnson & Johnson took me, forcibly, to Tirupati. They were avid believers and felt if I am in the presence of Balaji, I could not but be impressed. Most reluctantly I reached there, went to the 330 am Kakad Aarti. And when the doors opened, and we went into the sanctum sanctorum, the presence and the vibrations in the inner room were so strong that I felt something very different. Try as I could , I could not look into the eyes of the idol. The peace and solace I felt, was totally out of the world! I never wanted to go out from there!! Fortunately our “guide” told us we could stay back between the 3 aarti darshan tickets he had bought. So literally from 330 to 9 am we were in the Holy Presence. In between, the doors would open & shut, and some people went out and another group come in. But I was totally lost to the world, for the entire duration. I have never felt that comfort and joy I felt there. Even when we finally came out, I was a zombie: not knowing what was happening around me. I felt like someone had entered me and expanded me so much that I was striding the entire world!!!!
The second Faith Moment was in Shirdi in Saibaba Sansthan. Here we took the darshan and then were taken to an ante-chamber. There was a bed against the wall and a black & white lithograph of Saibaba standing under a tree looking straight at you. Looking straight into your soul. Apparently Baba slept on that bed. Though there was a sofa opposite, I felt like squatting on the ground. Again the vibrations in the room were so strong, that I was totally shaken up. I felt I was being buffeted by sea waves; I was riding the winds. I truly felt omni-present and withdrawn from my body & my physical limits and felt that I was enmeshed, one with the entire universe. What a powerful feeling! I just shut my eyes and floated….
Both these experiences taught me that my knowledge, my brain & my body was severely limited. There are many things beyond me. I do not understand so many things. And so why argue or reject?? Just say I do not know and keep quiet. Absorb and feel; rather than analyze and understand.
J Krishnamurti had said: “Belief has no place where truth is concerned.” I realised these are non-overlapping circles, and each stands glorious in its own space. More recently Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev observed; “If you believe there is God or if you believe there is no God, you are both in the same boat : you believe something that you do not know!”
We know MK Gandhi often took recourse to fasts to solve issues. Once Nehru asked him, “how will your fasting help? There is serious rioting going on and how do you think your fasting will help?” Gandhi’s reply was “करके देखो” “Do it yourself and see the result”
My advice to those who question me for Vipassana is the same: करके देखो. There is no way I can explain what one goes through, the feelings and the experiences one gets…करके देखो!!! The 10 days of Arya Maun or Noble Silence purifies you. Takes you to a place where there is no negativity, no angst, no jealousy, no ill-will. Pure brotherhood. Joy. Sheer heaven on earth!
Rather than belief, I am with Sadhguru who says “If you say I do not know, the longing to know will arise within you; if the longing arises , the seeking will arise; and if the seeking arises, the possibility of knowing exists.” Be open to that possibility. Vipassana will certainly create that opportunity for me…
As Vipassana’s teacher SN Goenkaji puts it “Bhavatu Savva Mangalam!” : May all beings be happy. To which dear readers you can reply with me: “साधु साधु साधु “. So be it!! Let all be happy.
Bless me that I may have the longing and seeking: vikas
14 Replies to “Does God Exist?”
When you return to
Mumbai please contact me for detail talk on the subject. Regards
Kanubhai back yesterday. Kyare malwanu chhe hukum karjo, chookas malisu
It’s wonderful article, straight from heart. I have similar feeling about argument and logic with my surrounded people but reality remains that I know very less in this world.
Vipassana has touched on very basic things in my life and life is changing…It’s a practice…Happy for you. Wish you deeper experience….
Thanks Nishant. We are all born into one world but seemingly experience and see very very diverse and different worlds. Such is the human condition. We all have to chart out own paths, but I do believe vibrations and feelings around you make your passage easier or difficult. So do keep sharing and exchanging points of view…they will make me richer. Mangal ho!!!
Hello Sir !!!! Yet one more wonderful and soulfully written blog. Yes I do believe in GOD & I leave with him everyday of my life,.. My parents & all the most wonderful people around me are nothing but GOD in his real sense.,.. Your never ending thrist of learning more and more is something I too want to adopt …. Am sure that the next 10 days of your life will be most beneficial to not only you but all around you as you take take great joy in sharing what you have got / achieved / learned …. Have the most wonderful 10 days of meditation ….
Nikhil: Vinita said this was my best piece yet.
Agree with you that all the good people in our lives are indeed the reflection of Godliness all around us. The best def of Mother I have found is : God could not be everywhere and so he created Mothers!!!! We all are blessed with such great parents and friends….all positivity around us which has shaped us to become what we are.
My meditation exp was just amazing. Look FW to meeting soon when I can talk to you and Jayant ( and Kanukaka also wants to join) about the experience there. The environment and the vibrations were so positive that I returned suffused with enrichment.
As regards my thirst for learning…. yes that has sustained me and kept me enthused and engaged. And indeed I thank my stars and the powers that be that I am surrounded by so many good souls like you who keep me motivated to remain on that path.
Let us meet soon
Vikas boss, you have nailed it Ince again. What a wonderful piece of article!!! Absorb and feel… Well that’s what it is about God. There are things beyond science and logic. I have had my share my e experience in Shirdi. It’s one of the most divine places I have been too. Thanks…. Keep writing… Look forward to more blogs from you!!!
Rohan thanks for your comments and your encouragement. As HR we have always been on the horns of the Heart v/s Head dilemma. When you add the third dimension of Belief the solution set becomes indeterminate!!! Voltaire had said we are born free but everywhere we are in chains…I often feel we are born in chains and life is about freeing yourselves from chains into true freedom. With full gratitude I say: Jazak Allah Khair, miyan. (“May Allah reward you with goodness.” )
The vibrations are for real and one may call it god if one thinks of god as one that gives peace. After all god is the best creation of humankind rather than the other way around. Have heard amazing things about the 10 day Vipassana program. I am sure it will be an enlightening experience. I am told it has nothing to do with god.
Let me suggest another way to feel divine vibrations. Get a tuned Tanpura, place your ears to the shaft, close your eyes and pluck the strings gently, one after another. It will transport you into another place. Much in the same way you felt in Tirupati and Shirdi.
Punit boss: I have experimented this: I have tried seriously to have bad and evil thoughts while listening to an aarti or the gong of a church bell or the drums or cymbals that accompany the aarti….to my total surprise I could not do “gaali galoch” ( and you for one know how easily the BC MC language mones to my tongue!!!) and obscene thinking while the sounds reverberated in my mind. So I understand fully your tanpura example, though I have yet to experience that. I certainly will.
My faith on the vibrations theory have only strengthened as I lived my life: My father lived his whole life with the faith that If I have done no wrong to anyone else, why will anyone wrong me? and he died (God Bless his soul) with his faith intact. I am more questioning. But then when I see people like you and MAB in my life, Rashmi and her smile, so many unnamed others who went out of their way to support me…. I am overwhelmed. So whether Chitragupt is actually maintaining a book of records of our good and misdeeds, it is certain that the vibrations we sow, the love we create , the good we do returns multifold to each one of us and that too in this very life. And am happy…as Goenka ji says after every pontification: Sabka Mangal Ho…Mangal Ho!!!!
Vikas, have great time into learning about life, meditation into self being and why things are the way they are without being unbiased from experiences from your past. But I think life of 65 years was good to know what you are now seeking. We will not be able to go any of 3 places you have mentioned but on your return do share key features of Vipassana experience with our group. Dr Kelkar
Doc kelkar many thanks for your good wishes. I did return wiser and more mellowed. We can never run away from the past but we can certainly build a new future. The life I have lived has possibly prepared me and equipped me take the rest of the journey with more calm and attentive mind and develop my equanimity such that I can lead a better life and also create a better environment for those around me. The Vipassana technique is so experiential that it would be challenge for anyone to share…how do you explain to someone who has never eaten a mango how does it taste? But still i am game to have a discussion and share my experiences
I think self realisation is going to be the biggest gain from this 10 days of Vipasna (arya maun).
I am sure it will help cleansing your mind of all negativity and charge/equip you to be a very level headed person looking at various aspects of life from doers perspective and not be influenced by nay sayers.
My best wishes and prayers that you achieve your desired goals from this Vipasna experience.🙏
Gopi many many thanks for your good wishes and prayers.
In Igatpuri I felt ensconced in positivity, much like a seed full of potentialities.
It helped me understand myself better, my shortcomings and my strengths.
many thanks for supporting my quest
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