Belief Versus Understanding

In a recent cartoon of Calvin & Hobbes that I read in Hindustan Times, they are out on a holiday and Calvin keeps wondering about Santa. Is he real or false? Does he exist or not? If he does, why cannot he simply appear before us and finish off the debate and suspense. If he doesn’t exist what is all this song and dance about it? At this point Hobbes points out: Hey, isn’t this supposed to be a religious holiday? Calvin now gets candid and says: In fact I have similar doubts about God Himself!

Doesn’t this cartoon beautifully summarize the scepticism typical of many of us? If there is one topic on which volumes have been written or talked about, it’s about God. Here is an imaginary conversation between a Swamiji teaching Vedanta and a Budhist on this topic:

Budhist: I’m a Budhist – I don’t believe in God

Swamiji: I think you have a concept of God and you don’t believe in that concept; Likewise, a guy who says he believes also has a concept of his own of God and says he believes in that. Any belief is based on certain concepts, ideas and theories which cannot be verified or validated.

Budhist: If it’s not a belief, then what is it?

Swamiji: God is not a concept for belief or non-belief. It’s a matter for understanding. God isn’t someone sitting up there and manipulating our destinies as many theologies present. Hindu vision of God is that He is everywhere. In fact the seer, the seen and the act of seeing are all Him. As the Upanishad line says: ESHA VASYAMIDAM SARVAM. Eswara is all pervading – All that you see and feel and know is God. In fact, our vision goes so far as to establish that You are that Brahman(or Eswara). With this understanding, even if I enter a Church or Masjid or a Budhist temple, I have no problem worshipping either the statue of Budha, Christ or Allah because they are all the manifestations of Eswara or Narayana. These are not necessarily names of our Gods. Thes words have significant meanings. Eswara means the Lord of the Universe and Narayana means the resting place for all living and non-living entities or one who pervades everything.

Budhist: I do not understand what you say.

Swamiji: Yes. That you do not understand, I accept.

Published in: on December 14, 2014 at 12:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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