We bow, we kneel, we circumambulate, we prostrate. We plead, we beg, we surrender, we bribe, we negotiate. We pray- a chant, a whisper, a hymn- with folded hands, and a heart full of faith. 365 days a year, every waking minute sometimes. We build, we demolish, we persecute, we kill, we go on wars. And we do it all in the name of God.
God. The creator, the sustainer, the Supreme Being. Omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, Bhagvaan, Buddha, Waheguru, Baha, Ahura Mazda or Adonai. He or She. A fan following that would put any modern-day rock star to shame. Yet, this faith is the most cynical of our beliefs. We question, we speculate, we scream out in disbelief. 8 million years and you think we would have figured out the answer. We look for signs, we wish for miracles. We seek “it” in the faces of the innocent, in the blessings of the old, in the vagaries of nature, in the miasma of narcotics. We starve ourselves, we take vows of silence, we throng in millions to take dips in holy rivers on frosty winter mornings, we walk on smouldering embers, and we travel the world to pay obeisance to a black cube of stone. And when all else fails we look for “it” in god- men, miracle workers and savants. This is perhaps why the son of a carpenter is still the most popular man on earth two thousand years after his death, and a dark-skinned philandering cowherd has nothing short of a cult status. This too does not cure our skepticism. We then proceed to elevate common mortals to divine eminence, put them high up on pedestals and subject them to humble supplication. They become “mahatma”, “Sri Sri Sri”, and “sant”. Call them by what name you will, they still remain dubious. Then when these very same messiahs are caught indulging in less than divine pursuits we strip them of their powers, drag their names in mud and still question, “Does God exist at all?”
So what is it that compels us to mould this enigmatic entity into human form? Why does the all prevailing life force have to be some heroic, miracle working, sword wielding, horse riding, war waging larger than life mortal? Why could it not be just that, a life force, energy of some sorts? Energy – that can neither be created nor destroyed, that pervades all life forms, that is neither vengeful nor scheming, that does not necessitate the existence of a Judgement Day. Why could we not take responsibility for who we are and what we do rather than blame it on some divine conspiracy? Why could we not channel all that faith, all that devotion for striving to better what we know already exists- our lives and of those around us- rather than debate the existence of what created us? Why are we so obstinate to admit that we create our own personal heaven and hell? When will the realisation dawn on us that the only reckoning that we’ll ever be subjected to is our own? Why can’t we trust ourselves enough to acknowledge that we are the creator of our destiny, the only ones that can lay down the master plan? Why can we not be the Temple of the living god- not perfect but certainly plausible? Thath thvamasi. You’re “it”!