Three questions from an innocent child
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
Three questions from an innocent child
One evening my seven year old grand-daughter was amusing me with her jokes. Suddenly I cut her short and asked her to ask me some question about God. Promptly she put up three questions given below:
Q.1. Why don’t we see God with our own eyes?
Q.2. What does God do for us?
Q.3. Why do people grow old and die?
These questions made my mind racing with some explanations, but it was difficult to summarize those views and explain them to her in simple way. After thinking for a few days I thought that these questions are important not only to her but also to most of us.
Answer 1. There have been saints who saw God in person or say they had a vision when they were alone and later started seeing Him in everything and everywhere. Others saw him as light or listened to His voice and became spiritually wise. We can say that they were in a meditative mood when they came across God. Later they glorified God in all possible ways and were in a cheerful mood.
Our five senses which we use for sensing physical objects are not capable to visualize God as He is spirit, i.e. not made of five prime elements (sky, earth, air, fire, water). Anything living or non-living made of these five elements is subjected to decay and destruction while God is an unchanged eternal entity. We have to concentrate on God with our mental eyes; however, the mind should be free from vices and worldly cravings, in any form. Moreover, it is our spirit of intense love towards God which makes Him appear in divine form or as a spiritual teacher.
Before one starts meditation one has to select the object, or practice even breathing on which to concentrate. Those who believe in God with form and name can meditate on the same. But for others the easiest way would be to concentrate on a spiritual teacher (Guru) as we see him in physical form, and in Hinduism the Guru is, must, and should be considered equal to God.
It is not possible to eliminate vices from
our mind completely and leave attachments to our possessions, but understanding the futility of these traits of mind helps in removal of vices and attachments. Complete elimination is through surrendering to God.
Hence with pure heart and unbiased mind one is able to visualize God and feel His presence all around. One feels engulfed by Him.
Answer 2. God helps us in many ways – first He has given us a human body which is most suited for the development of intellect and devotion and to taste the sweetness of bliss above all. Secondly, various kinds of resources are available on Earth for our consumption. He rewards or punishes us according to our good or bad deeds to keep order in the world.
Also God is the source of supreme joy. The joy which arises from materialistic gains is of the lowest level; the joy felt by the intellect is more than that; and the joy of a devotee of God is considered blissful.
Answer 3. Everything on Earth is either changing its state, shape and constituents, or withering away. The physical body which we have is subjected to decay in due course of time. Graying of hair, falling out of teeth, loss of vision, reduction in the efficiency of internal organs are the signs of ageing. Besides malnutrition, use of drugs, hereditary diseases, et cetera also affect health.
Failure of health and loss of vigor make it impossible for a man to pursue his desires and ambitions any more. Therefore a new body is granted by nature through rebirth. Here if we believe in rebirth then either it is for tasting the fruit of our actions of past lives and perform new actions, or for completion of our spiritual course.
This human body is given to us by God for the development of selfless love of Him and our fellow beings. If we are successful at it then our life is transformed into an eternal blissful life which is really desired by our mind and soul.
Hence, to avoid death one has to surrender to a bona fide spiritual teacher (God-realized and well versed in the scriptures) with complete faith and follow his instructions solely.