The following is in response to a question regarding Tsunami. "if God exists why did the Tsunami Happen"
Namaste, “that which is GOD in me greets the GOD in you” I have grown up saying Namaste, but I did not know what it meant till tonight. Thank you, Tom.
Having grown up in a fairly religious family, I never questioned the existence of GOD. I was not allowed to choose my faith. I just had to follow my Grandparents idea of GOD. Sometimes I was dragged kicking and screaming to attend a service of GOD where I would sit sullenly and questioningly. I remember the worst times in my house being when we had to undertake a religious ceremony. As a child I was supposed to follow the rituals and the norms without questioning or disagreeingMy father had passed away at age of 34, and I was 9 years old, my brother was 4 and when my mother passed away 20 years later at a young age of 54, I started questioning this whole issue of existence of GOD. The God I had grown up fearing and yet praying to. How could the benevolent GOD do this. My mother was a devoted to her GOD Krishna. She would bathe, him, feed him, change his clothes, and then put him to bed in his night clothes. I found the whole process quite ridiculous and would often ask her why she was treating the so called savior like a little baby. She had her explanation which did not satisfy me. But when she fell ill and was fighting for her life in a hospital in Bangladesh, I started praying incessantly to her GOD Krishna. Hoping that he would save her and cure her. He did not listen to my prayers and made my brother and I orphans? My little belief in the entity called GOD started dwindling even more. But I had too many questions and no answers. Why would he do that to me? Was it because I did not practice any form of ritaulistic religion? Was my doubt the cause of my misery? I could not find any answers and whenever people asked me to have faith in GOD, I would get very aggressive and say, WHAT GOD?
I started to search for answers, I started reading as much literature as I could, both eastern and western. But my search would always steer towards spirituality and not religion. The more I read, the more I got convinced about the existence of GOD. The GOD within each one of us and not the image that I was supposed to pray to. The omnipresent, omnipotent GOD became a reality. If GOD exists in each one of us, he sure is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. It has 6 billion human forms and billions of non human forms. The existence of a punishing GOD who one has to fear became a myth. I had grown up fearing GOD, I was made to believe that I had to go to the temple to show my reverence. I had to partake in all the rituals or I would be punished, for everything that did not work out. Suddenly this new found knowledge gave me freedom to pursue GOD or the goodness that lies within. I started to like GOD, I started to look for the GOD in people and the more I looked, the more I found. My faith in GOD actually became stronger.
Then when I found a positive co-relation between mantra , meditation and a fulfilling life I started to believe even more in GOD, but the GOD being the I and the goodness in I. I don't believe there is a GOD that is keeping a record of no. of times we have called his name, or is keeping a score of how often we have gone to the church , temple or the synagogue. If there was such a GOD he would be a rather egotistical GOD.GOD and EVIL exist in each one of us. When something good happens we expect it to be the norm, but when something bad like a tsunami happens we immediately call it an act of GOD and expect answers from GOD. How often do we question when things are going fine. Do we ask GOD why it rains? Why does the sun shine? Why does the moon orbit the earth? Why is he providing us with all that we need for sustenance? No, we just explain it with science and the theory of evolution according to Darwin.
Why then can science not explain the tsunami? It can and it did? Where does GOD come in the picture?
But having an image of a benevolent GOD helps us humans to persevere in the face of calamity. It is not that anyone has ever seen or felt GOD, it is just the faith that GOD exists that helps people face adversities. It helps one to relegate responsibility and ownership of one’s actions.
Tsunami was a natural phenomenon that resulted in disastrous consequences. So many other things happen ( maybe at not such a vast scale though) that make us question “ WHY”,and we are left clueless.
Tsunami raised these questions for the skeptics and the believers, and many moved on the other side of the belief spectrum. More people started moving towards soul searching and spirituality instead of blindly following the laid down religious doctrines. More and more are now looking for the GOD within, instead of relying on the bearded GOD or the Elephant trunk GOD on the outside. All the Hindu GODS are not physical GODS, but are a depiction of the capability of the goodness within each one of us.
Maybe the Tsunami was just a reminder to each one of us to find that latent goodness within.