Recently, I visited a monastery in Averi, near Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. It was well built, the architecture symbolizing Tibetan tradition and culture, full of heavenly paintings, Buddha’s deity decorated with flowers and ornaments. It felt pleasing to spend time over there.
The other day, one of my friends, over a phone call, was sharing about her Shirdi trip. She was explaining how alluring it was to watch Sai Baba’s idol with all the ornamental decoration, people involved in bhajans and central lighting on the top. She said that two eyes were not sufficient to watch that graceful scene. After my friend’s call and my visit to the Monastery one after the other, I figured that all great human personalities like Sai Baba, Gautam Buddha, Vardhamana Mahavira, Ramana Maharshi, Guru Nanak and others probably failed in spreading or passing their message as intended. They couldn’t successfully be the change they wanted to bring in the society. In addition to that, the people who praised them and followed their ideas, made them a GOD.
These people may not have wanted to be idolized or worshiped as Gods. Buddha left all his luxurious living and led a saint life eliminating all the greed, desires and happiness in search of truth and enlightenment. His preachings say that the belief in God is not important.
Sai Baba was a saint, a fakir who used to just sit under a Neem tree and meditate the whole day. Some people in the village thought that he was crazy while some others used to offer food and shelter. There are stories which say that he would irritated or angry when he was offered money. As per a story narrated by people in Shirdi, one day, someone had kept a few cents under his pillow as an offering, and he couldn’t sleep the whole night. Baba was also against all the material desires but recently, Amitabh Bachchan, the Bollywood actor, offered one of the costliest ornaments for Sai Baba’s deity in Shirdi.
Kabir Das is famous for his Dohe (couplets), one of which is,
Na Teerath Mein, Na Moorat Mein
Na Ekant Niwas Mein
Na Mandir Mein, Na Masjid Mein
Na Kabe Kailas Mein
Main To Tere Paas Mein Bande
Main To Tere Paas Mein
Guru Nanak’s preachings always reflect that it’s not necessary to have a God in temples and deities, but by looking for one with pure mind and soul, you can find God in human beings.
After looking at all these stories, what I feel is that whenever people cannot accomplish something which great minds do, people idolize them. Buddha had struggled a lot to get into the state of Nirvana (Enlightenment), but it has been so difficult for the other people to reach that state that they accept they can’t do it and start idolizing him. Rarely any human being wants to sacrifice his/her greeds and desires. All the policies of these enlightened souls are contradictory to the materialistic world, which people think is the real world and want to stay there. Creating a God is the only option to avoid practicing what they preach so that the God looks after whatever happens. It’s like, I tried my best, but now I leave it to you.
There was no God until the Jews introduced the concept of faith which then became the ultimate excuse or reason when things are out of hand or difficult to deal with. So God is there to solve problems, which is great to an extent or otherwise, people may get mentally stressed and quit their lives. The concept of God gives hope for a certain period of time, or for life.
But when the Greeks started searching for a reason, logic and science, people got frightened that what if our hope and faith are not true. They couldn’t digest the possibility that there may not be a God anywhere. It made their belief in God even stronger, and till date, science is competing with it.
The question that keeps bothering me is that why can’t we see the Godly personalities as normal human beings. Why can’t we observe them as stories written by great writers?. It’s similar to how we take inspiration or motivation from movies and film stars. It’s because all the things they do on screen are beyond human capabilities, and not everyone can become like them. So, we declared that they are Superhuman who can do such great things. Just imagine how life would be if each one of us could either be a Superhuman or a God; if everyone was an enlightened being. Can we do that? I think yes, but we don’t want to!
Interesting opinion. In this book called “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse, a fiction book, the author makes a similar interesting point through an amazing story. It says just because Buddha achieved enlightenment by giving up desires, it doesn’t mean everyone will achieve it that way.
yeah, I’ve heard of that book, it’s quite interesting one. I will read it.
I loved this blog of yours but to answer some of your questions, a few years back a movie came Oh My God!, where one of the character filed case on god, and some similar argument occurred where he mentioned about Sai Baba etc. I feel that for a lot of people, god is a ray of hope, the “Bhakti” helps them to fight from fear.