“Uday Sir, all over the world people have varied shapes, forms, colours, sex and looks. I am a science student and I really want to know what does God look like…” George Thomas, a reader of my website wrote to me.
“It depends upon your perception and concepts about God…” I told him.
“No, but of course, God doesn’t have four hands, extra limbs and tail as you Hindus worship…” he said.
“What makes you so sure? Till this day, nobody has seen God. Then how can you be so sure that God doesn’t look like that?” I asked again.
If you ask children in developed countries, “What does God look like?” most of them would say: “He is very old, has a long white beard, bushy white hair, and wears a flowing white dress or robe.”
Somehow, when it comes to God, everybody acts like children.
According to Hindus, the skin colour of Krishna, their God, is bluish-back. If you portray Krishna as fair-skinned, they would get angry, though they have affinity towards fair skin.
How many Christians would agree if I say that Jesus Christ was short, bald and fat? He was truly Asiatic with features characteristic of Asian race . But all over the world, people believe that he i blue-eyed, thin-faced, trimmed bearded, tall, and well built Caucasian,. Even African blacks and Chinese subscribe to this Whiteman’s supremacy theory.
Ask Christians, why can’t God be Black or Chinese? They won’t agree to that idea.
If you ask a Muslim he will say: “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, All-Seer.” They believe that God is formless. If you tell a Muslim that God has a form, he would definitely get angry at you.
For Hindus, God comes in many forms and in various sizes. Probably the wildest array of display can be seen in Hindu portrayal of Gods.
All these concepts come up when you believe God as an exclusive different entity, outside of you.
“But these explanations won’t answer my question, how would God look like?” George queried.
“There is a popular folk lore of India. The story of the ‘Six Blind Men and the Elephant’. The six blind men in a village decided that, though they would not be able to see it, they can feel it anyway. Every one of them touched the elephant.
“The elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.
“It is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.
“It is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They all can argue and fight. But the truth is everyone was right and wrong. The story tells us how people in general have completely different point of views of any situation.”
“You mean to say that the sages, prophets and messiahs were like those blind men?”
“Of course yes. How can a human brain contain the entire cosmos? It’s like taking a spoon of water from the Ocean and telling others that this is ocean…”
“Hmmm. So we won’t know what does God look like?”
“The only logical explanation I have read so far about God is a story told by Sri Rama Krishna Paramahansa. Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. It wanted to tell others how deep the water was. But this it could never do, for no sooner did it get into the water it dissolved. Now, who was there to report the ocean’s depth?”
“This means we can experience but can’t explain or describe…”
“That’s right. Everybody can attain God, but God cannot be described. One realizes God. In that state reasoning stops altogether, and man becomes mute. He has no power to describe the nature of God.”
Our ancient sages realized that this concept of God is an abstract notion called “Brahman” or sometimes just called “that which is”. It’s the root of everything real or conceptual, in this universe. Everything thing has come out of it and everything ceases to exist.
All other stories and concepts of Gods – forms and formless – are imposed by Generals, Caliphs, Kings and Fascists.
God is the Almighty and Supreme. God is not just something that stays in a far off heaven, who would be met with after death. God is omnipresent. It is right in front of us. It is right inside us too. So, let’s see the divine presence in animate and inanimate things.
We need co-existing concepts like polytheism, which had zero religious wars and which will accommodate many sentiments and ensure tolerance.
“So, it is good that God never appeared in front of anybody. Now I can see the God the way I want to see,” George said.
“Yes, God will appear in the mind of the devotee whichever way he/she wants to see God,” I replied.