What is God?

It depends on you. Your God will be your God, my God will be my God. There are as many Gods as there are possibilities of looking at God. It is natural. We cannot go beyond our plane; we can only be aware of God through our eyes, through our minds. God will be just a reflection in our small mirror. That’s why there are so many concepts about God.

It is like the moon in the sky on a full moon night. There are millions of rivers and reservoirs and oceans and small streams and small puddles on the road — they will all reflect God, they will all reflect the moon. A small puddle will reflect the moon in its own way and the big ocean will reflect it in its own way.

Then there is great controversy. Hindus say something, Mohammedans say something else, Christians say something else again — and so on, so forth. The controversy is foolish. The conflict is meaningless. God is reflected in millions of ways, in millions of mirrors. Each mirror reflects in its own way. This is one of the fundamentals to be understood. Not understanding this fundamental there is naturally antagonism between religions, because they all think, ‘If our standpoint is right then the other has to be wrong.’ Their rightness depends on the other’s wrongness. This is stupid. God is infinite, and you can look at him through many ways, through many windows. And naturally you can look at him only through yourself — you will be the window. Your God will reflect God as much as it will reflect you; you will both be there.

When Mansoor says something, he is saying something about himself. This tremendously beautiful statement — ‘THEN THE UNION… THEN THE FUSION’ — is much more about al-Hillaj Mansoor than about God. This is Mansoor’s God. This is Mansoor’s unique experience.

Mansoor was murdered, crucified, like Jesus. Mohammedans could not understand him. This happens always. You cannot understand any point higher than your own. It becomes a danger to you. If you accept it, then you accept that there is some possibility which is higher than you. That hurts the ego, that humiliates. You would like to destroy a Mansoor or a Christ or a Socrates just for a single reason: that you cannot conceive, you cannot concede, that there is a possibility of some higher standpoint than yours. You seem to believe that you are the last thing in existence; that you are the paradigm, that you are the climax, that there is no beyond. This is the attitude of the stupid and the irreligious mind. The religious mind is always open. The religious mind is never confined by its own limitations. It keeps remembering that there is no end to growth; one can go on growing.

It is said in the Bible that God created man in his own image. This is a human statement; it says nothing about God. It simply says something about man. It is man writing about himself. Naturally man thinks in terms which are anthropomorphic. Man thinks in terms of man being the centre of existence. God created man in his own image. He has to… at least in human scriptures he has to follow the human mind and the human ego.

Just the contrary is the case. Man has created God in his own image. Man’s God is a human God. You can see. You can go into the temples and you can see the images of God. They are made in the form of human beings — a little better, more beautiful. but still a modification, a decoration of the human body. They have human eyes with a little more compassion. Just a little more is added. The ideal human being, that’s what our Gods are.

When Nietzsche declared that God was dead. he was, in fact. not saying anything against God himself. He was simply saying that the God that we have followed up to now is no Longer applicable because man has grown up. The God that we have been following up to now was a childish, juvenile God. Humanity was juvenile. Somebody worshipping a stone as God is saying a very, very primitive thing. His statement is very primitive, pagan. Somebody worshipping an idol is a little better, but still limited. All forms are limited. Somebody worshipping a tree… a little more alive because the tree has a kind of vitality. God is vital; the tree participates in god so it is vital. God is green and fresh and so is the tree; and God blooms and the tree blooms. There is an at-oneness.

But a tree is a tree. It may be a faraway reflection of the divine, but to worship the tree as God is ignorant. Somebody worshipping a river may be right in his own way — because the river also expresses the divine, everything expresses him — but everything expresses him in a limited way. He is all. So no single thing can express him in his totality. How can a single thing express him in his totality? If you worship the tree, what about the river? If you worship the river, what about the sun? If you worship the sun, what about the moon? You are worshipping only one thing — and because it is limited and one, it cannot represent all.

When Nietzsche said ‘God is dead’, he was saying that all formulations of God up to now have become irrelevant. Man has gone beyond them; man has become more mature. Man needs new Gods every time. As man becomes more mature he needs a more mature God. Look in the Old Testament. God is ferocious, very jealous. God declares, ‘I am a very jealous God. If you worship somebody else I will be your enemy. I will torture you in hell. I will throw you into fire.’ This seems to be a very primitive God; seems to be conceived of by a Genghis Khan — not very cultured, not very sophisticated yet.

The Hindu God is far more sophisticated. Krishna with his flute is far more cultured. But Buddha reaches to the very peak because he drops the idea of God. He talks about godliness. The very word ‘God’ makes God like a thing: defined, clear-cut, solid, concrete, like a rock. Buddha drops the very idea. He says, ‘There is godliness but there is no God. There is divineness. Existence is full of divineness, BHAGWATA, but there is no God like a person sitting there on a golden throne controlling, managing, creating. No, there is no God as a person. The whole existence is full of divinity, that is true. It is overflowing with godliness.’

Now this is a far higher concept. we drop the limitations of a person. We make god more like a process. The ancient concept says that God created the world, he was the creator. Buddha does not agree. He says, ‘God is creativity, not a creator.’ God is one with his creativity. So whenever you are creating something you participate in God.

When a painter is lost in his painting, when he is completely absorbed in his painting, he is no longer an ordinary painter. He is divine in that moment of absorption. THEN THE UNION… THEN THE FUSION.

A dancer lost utterly in his dance is a human no more; hence the beauty, hence the utter beauty. Even those who are just spectators, even they start feeling something strange, incredible, fantastic, happening.

It happened that for nine years before al-Hillaj Mansoor was crucified he was confined in a jail. And he was tremendously happy because he used those nine years for constant meditation. Outside there were always disturbances, distractions — friends, followers, the society, the world, the worries. He was very happy. The day he was put into jail he thanked God from his very heart. He said, ‘You love me so much. Now you have given me complete protection from the world and there is nothing left except you and me.’ THEN THE UNION… THEN THE FUSION.

Those nine years were of tremendous absorption. And after those nine years it was decided that he had to be crucified, because he had not changed a bit. On the contrary, he had gone farther in the same direction. His direction was that he started declaring, ‘I am God — AN-EL-HAQ! I am the truth, I am the reality.’

His Master, al-Junaid, tried to persuade him in many ways — ‘Don’t say these things! Keep them inside you, because the people won’t understand it and you will be getting into trouble unnecessarily!’

But it was beyond Mansoor. Whenever he was in that state — what Sufis call HAL — whenever he was in that state, he would start singing and dancing. And those utterances would simply overflow; it was not possible for him to control them. There was nobody to control; all control was lost. Junaid understood his state, but he knew the state of the people too — that sooner or later Mansoor would be thought to be anti-religious. His declaration, ‘I am God,’ was a fact, his experience was there behind it, but people didn’t understand it. They would take it as arrogance, as ego, and there would be trouble. And the trouble came.

After nine years they decided that he had not changed a bit; in fact he had grown deeper into it. Now he was continuously declaring, ‘AN-EL-HAQ! I am the truth! I am God!’ So finally they decided that he had to be crucified.

When they went to take him out from his prison cell, it was very difficult — because he was in a HAL, in that mystic state. He was no longer a person, he was just pure energy. How to drag pure energy out? The people who went there were just struck dumb! What was happening in that dark cell was so fantastic! It was so luminous. Mansoor was surrounded by an aura not of this world. Mansoor was not there as a person. Sufis have TWO words for it: one is BAKA, another is FANA. BAKA means you are defined by a personality, you have a definition around you, you have a demarcation line that this is you. FANA means that you are dissolved into God and you don’t have any definition. BAKA IS like an ice cube and FANA is like the ice cube which has melted and become one with the river.
Source: Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2
Chapter 3 – Here, Now, This…

wordpress seo