In the modern day “God” is a term that is used for a wide range of understanding. Starting from the simplest opinion “A higher being that runs this world” to a physical form “a particle that forms and drives our actions in this world”. But, what is to be noted in all these definitions is that, all definitions of God still stay within the realm of reality around us.
In its most common form, “God” is seen as an entity to which good and bad can be attributed. All that occurs, that is good and bad, that which cannot be explained or accepted by the normal human brain is attributed to fate designed by God. In this form of understanding, it is expected that the entity (God), perform miracles and is prayed to as a boon-granting being. While it is nice to have such a being, it should be remembered that good and bad, happy and sad, justice and injustice etc., are judgemental calls made by the human form. When the definitions of good and bad are not uniform within all human beings, why should any other being other than a human have the same platform of judgement as us?
For e.g., when seen from the angle of “climate change”, “population explosion” and “resource deficiency”, murderers are good and doctors are in-fact bad. The reasoning goes: it is because the doctors have extended the life expectancy to a very high level, we do not have natural causes of reduction in population, thus causing all the problems we are facing. In a more modern world acceptable example: Where murder is committed, by one person killing another, the action is considered wrong and punished, whereas, when an army kill a whole population using a bomb, the soldiers are felicitated as martyrs.
Every judgement requires a reference point. The society serves as the reference point of judgement for us. We have the definitions of good, bad, kind, miser, intelligent, clever, fool, insane etc., based on social norms. In such a society, a person tends to impose their ideologies onto the “God” form, and preach about kindness, compassion and any such emotions as “Godliness”. Yet, these same emotions such as compassion stops at being shown to human beings who follow their social laws as opposed to being extended to everyone without barrier. In this case, the brain cheats us by forming a “feel good factor” for various reasons. One such instance is where, someone has listened to what we have said and accepted it. When this acceptance reaches a certain number of humans accepting it, it tends to become a commonly accepted behaviour of any person in the society. This gives us the feeling of importance and thus we get cheated into believing that we have behaved according to the laws laid down by “God”.
What Japji Sahib says in the following verses should be remembered through all this:
suni-ai siDh peer sur naath.
suni-ai Dharat Dhaval aakaas.
suni-ai deep lo-a paataal.
suni-ai pohi na sakai kaal.
naanak bhagtaa sadaa vigaas.
suni-ai dookh paap kaa naas. ||8||
suni-ai eesar barmaa ind.
suni-ai mukh saalaahan mand.
suni-ai jog jugat tan bhayd.
suni-ai saasat simrit vayd.
naanak bhagtaa sadaa vigaas.
suni-ai dookh paap kaa naas. ||9||
Listen oh accomplished sages, the sky, the paatal, the ishwar, brahma, indra and everything, and all that which even time could not diminish, in all of you also is this “I” resplendent, listen those who try to destroy sadness and happiness, in you also is resplendent this “I”!!!
The point is, it does not matter how many living beings or humans respond to your thoughts and judgement, accept it and live by it. At the end even in all these living beings an “I” is present just the same “I” that is present in you. They and you, still live in the reality of this world around us, abiding by the underlying principles of nature more than laid down laws that needs to be consciously followed.
In another not so common form, “God” is considered to be that image within ourselves that indicates what we aspire to become. But, even in this form, the “I” is resplendent and all we are doing is aiming to go into a higher plane of knowledge and not come down to the underlying truth that is driving the existence of this living being. In all these forms of “God” that we have envisioned, we have stayed in the current plane of reality and just traversed the infinite of this plane of existence. An explanation in the diagram below:
Figure 1: Direction of movement of knowledge
There can be multiple planes of manifestation between the truth and the current plane of reality. But, if, something triggered this plane of reality to form, imagining a “God” that extends this reality, can either retain us in this current plane within one of the infinite knowledge or just takes us to the next higher plane of understanding laid over the knowledge in this current plane. The direction of movement in such a case is opposite to the direction in which the truth lies.
From the various translations of the mantras and sthotrams, it looks like the ancient literature is trying to go down to the plane of truth and not go to other higher planes of knowledge.
This is the core mismatch we have in the understanding of “God” which has caused us to add unnecessary strict conditions and force ourselves into perceived goodness, kindness, service to poor and compassion rather than act on the natural impulses that we are born with.
Most of us in the current world, live rejecting the natural impulses, judging them as bad or trying to adopt another person’s impulse as an threshold to achieve for ourselves. We live in a world where social judgements and impressions are more important than what we naturally are made to be. In such an environment, how is it possible for us to move from one plane of understanding to the next, to ensure that the ultimate goal of merging back into the unmanifested happens? After all, this is the cycle all of us are traversing. Irrespective of whether during the course of the cycle someone is good or bad, wins or loses, is miser or a donor, all of us traverse from the unmanifested become manifested and go back into being unmanifested without affecting the environment around us. So, what “God”, what “higher plane of living”, what “lower plane of living”, none of them matter. All that matters is that there is a truth where all possibilities exist with equal probability and ultimately we go back into just being a probability. Why not research, find and understand?