A Logical Perspective on God
People have many different perspectives on who or what God is. For some, God has a specific form, for some God has many forms, and for some God is formless. Some believe in multiple Gods and some in One. Some believe their notion of God alone to be correct and all else to be wrong, while some believe their notion of God to be inclusive of all other beliefs. And then there are some who think there is no such entity as God.
Among all these perspectives, the term “God” refers to a Higher Power or a Higher Reality than the world we live in. Some pray to the Higher Power in the hope of making things better for themselves in this world and/or beyond. Some have true unconditional love and devotion towards the Higher Reality as they believe its lot more pure and unchanging compared to anything else in this world and hence much more worthy of love. Some think this world is the only reality and don’t believe in any other Higher Reality.
People who fall in the last category are usually being rational/logical/intellectual about what they believe to be real. They only go by what science has to say about reality, and since science hasn’t proven the existence of a Higher Reality, they don’t believe in it. Before you congratulate yourself for being in this category, let me mention that those who have true unconditional love and devotion for God are much more peaceful and happy in life than those who don’t. I can vouch for this as I have personally experienced all these categories myself up-close. So the intellect could actually be blocking you from experiencing something really wonderful. As Mark Twain said: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that it just ain’t so.”
Instead of letting the intellect be a blocker, it can be used as a tool to explore if the existence of a Higher Reality atleast makes logical sense. Lets see how it actually does:
Say you are taking a walk downtown amidst many shops, malls, etc. and the place is bustling with people, some of them with pets, and there is probably also a small park on the side. You marvel at the tremendous variety of apparel, art pieces, gadgets, devices, etc. on display, admire the architecture of the buildings, and maybe also notice the different types of vehicles moving about. You think to yourself how advanced human intelligence is to have created all these sophisticated things. And then you look at the different humans, animals, trees, plants, etc. that are way more sophisticated than the most advanced machinery ever created by human intelligence. Would you think that all of them were just created by chance without requiring any intelligent cause?
We take for granted a human-like intelligence to be the cause of even a simple piece of pottery, what to say of the magnificent array of galaxies, stars, planets, moons and other celestial objects spread across the entire universe. One may believe that all of these came into existence after a big explosion (as a popular science theory tells us), but it doesn’t take too deep a thinking to wonder if it really appeared just by chance out of nothingness. And even if it somehow did, how come all the “stuff” coming out of this explosion arranged itself so elegantly? One may argue that those are just the different fields, forces and other laws of nature in action. But why do these laws even exist in the first place? By chance? And then how come dead non-living matter suddenly became alive and started sustaining itself and producing more of its kind? Again by chance? And those single living cells just started evolving into complex organisms by chance too? And eventually, just by chance, we have human beings who are capable of looking back at the universe and ponder upon its and their own existence!?
If left to chance, each of the above events would have an extremely low probability of happening, and a long series of them occurring one after the other would be surely considered impossible. In fact, if such events can happen by chance, pretty much anything can happen, e.g. all the water on the planet might dry up instantly or a new moon might appear in the sky suddenly or you might start growing another head this moment or pretty much any such random thing that seems to be impossible. But such things don’t happen and the universe appears to work in a very systematic and lawful manner. All of these indicate the presence of an intelligent cause, making it a way more logical and sensible option than the absence of it. Having an intelligent cause in-turn points to the existence of a Higher Reality that we seem to be unable to perceive, understand or even imagine.
This would all be just plain theory if there weren’t countless people through the ages across different parts of the world who have actually experienced a Higher Reality. These people are not bluffing. A bluff would not last more than a few years or a few decades at max, but we still see majority of the world trusting various scriptures written many thousands of years ago. This is only because the Truths revealed in these scriptures have been repeatedly validated and re-validated over the centuries and millenniums through real experiences of innumerable people. Moreover, the teachings in these scriptures cannot have any underlying selfish motive as they do not benefit anyone else except the student.
Its true that the experiences people have had are very diverse, as is clear from the variety of descriptions of the Higher Reality across different religions and sects. The reason for this diversity is that the Higher Reality is vast (has to be if its the intelligent cause behind this entire universe and more) and the human mind is tiny. So, in most cases, the mind is only able to experience the Reality partially. Hence, people’s accounts of it vary depending on which aspect of Reality they personally experienced. Moreover, different minds have different temperaments and have an inclination towards a certain aspect of Reality, which also results in them having different experiences. Even if there are differences in people’s experiences, they are all inherently consistent. Upanishads, the ancient scriptures of India, are the most comprehensive account of the Higher Reality as they are based on the experiences of hundreds of realized sages and saints as compared to just one (which is the case in most other scriptures of the world). Here is an immaculate talk on the nature of the Higher Reality as per the Upanishads: Defining God
One of the reasons why intellectually-oriented people are put-off by the notion of a Higher Reality is because it usually gets portrayed as God(s) in superhuman-like forms located somewhere within or beyond the universe. Its important to note that these forms are much more effective than something formless in terms of vividly expressing the pure and perfect qualities pertaining to the Higher Reality. They help stimulate tremendous love and devotion within an individual, which is a proven path (called Bhakti Yoga) to directly experience the Higher Reality. But one doesn’t have to blindly believe in these forms as there is another path to directly know the Higher Reality completely based on intellect and knowledge (called Jnana Yoga). The talk I linked above is especially beneficial for this path.
You might be wondering what difference does the knowledge of a Higher Reality make in your life. Apart from the fact that your whole life and everything around you derives from that Higher Reality, here’s the ultimate bombshell answer straight from the Upanishads: That Thou Art (Tat Tvam Asi) – the Supreme Highest Reality is what you really are! You think you are a body-mind-intellect complex but you are gravely mistaken about your own reality. The search for the Higher Reality – which is both transcendent and immanent – is not about explaining the creation or working of the universe, neither is it about experiencing something externally, its about knowing who you truly are. You will eventually discover on this magnificent journey that you are not a living being trying to have a spiritual experience, but that you are an eternal spiritual “being” that seems to be undergoing a life experience. And its high time for you to realize your own true nature which is no less than Infinite Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. That alone can help you overcome the miseries and sufferings of life and bring unlimited peace and joy. It is the highest and the only real purpose of life – nothing else matters!
(This article was cross-posted from happinessjourney.net/post/149527488930/a-logical-perspective-on-god)