“To the fish, God is a fish.”
It has been years since I heard Swami Satchidananda, founder of Yogaville, Va., give his talk on God, but I still remember him making that provocative statement.
The Hindu yoga master further explained: “To the man, God is a man; to the woman, God is a woman, because God is not a person. God is the Absolute.”
To me, trying to define God is like trying to explain information technology to a newborn, electricity to a mole or the automobile to a fish.
It doesn’t work, because, in the words of the Dalai Lama, “Religions are created by man.”
And, I would add, “God” is created in the image of man. For proof, I ask these two questions: If religions are not man-made, then why are there, everywhere, so many beautiful works created by so many different believers and nonbelievers in “God”? And why are so many atrocities waged in the names of so many different “gods”?
“God” is an agreed-upon name for what some people may call the Absolute, the Life Force, Source Energy, the Unfathomable, the One with a Thousand Names, the One with No Name, the Alpha and Omega, the Golden Number, Buddha Nature, Great Spirit, the Higher Self, What Is and What Is Not.
The list is endless.
In fact, Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita is aptly titled “The Yoga of the Divine Manifestations.” Lord Krishna, himself an incarnation of the Divine, appears in human form to the Prince Archer Arjuna. He introduces his spiritual teachings by stating:
“Not even the gods or holy sages know my origin. The truth is that I am the source of the gods and the sages.” (BG 10:2)
Pressed by Arjuna, Lord Krishna goes on to list more than 40 of his manifestations, such as:
“I am the true Self in the heart of all creatures, Arjuna… I am time eternal… Yes, I am also death that devours everyone and everything… I am the feminine qualities fame and fortune, eloquence and memory, mental brilliance, perseverance and forgiveness…” (BG 20, 33, 34)
Lord Krishna finally concludes: “But, Arjuna, what use are all theses details to you? Just know that I am the I AM, and that I support the whole cosmos with only a tiny fragment of my essence.” (BG 10:42)
In the end, why not toss ideas and concepts to the wind, and with the focus of the archer, demonstrate our essence through our words and deeds?