So why do we believe in God?
I had a dream in which I saw that I was choosing not to commit suicide so felt that life must be worth living despite our troubles. I thought of sending my memoirs to Professor Robert Winston by email to begin publicising my book taking advantage of the question he had raised in his books, Why do we believe in God? and The Human Mind. I obtained his email address from his Secretary. As I worked on the idea I found myself deciding that the memoirs would give a bad impression of me and of my mental state so that it should not be sent, at least not at this stage. So what to send? I started drafting a letter and worked on it for two days, with Rashmi watching me concernedly as I worked away on the computer. Many ideas came and got rejected as inappropriate and even as displaying delusional thoughts, for example: I don't know why other people believe in God but I was led to believe that He is the provider of all knowledge and wisdom…etc. Finally on our anniversary morning (15 February 2007) I seemed to have a draft ready as follows:
The reason that I believe in God is that It is a self-evident fact: everything one sees around us and within us is God so that one must take care of everything.
The Hindus sub-divided God into numerous dimensions including the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, and the Entity of Shakti the details of which are sketchy. But can God be represented mathematically by for example the String Theory or other ways of combining the theories of Newton, Einstein, etc. It is highly unlikely. The essential question is whether the Reality has a spiritual dimension? The answer to this must be yes because individuals have experienced the spiritual force of God upon themselves, not just held a delusion of the existence of God.
Science (medical and physical) cannot uncover the whole truth, for example is there a satisfactory explanation of why two heavenly bodies should attract each other in a force called gravity? One does not have to see electrons in orbitals in order to teach Chemistry. One may apprehend the Reality if one moves from experimental science as an intellectual pursuit (which no doubt also produces material benefits) and the practice of observing and recording the data generally available, and theorising from these, to a form of meditation that brings one into communication with God. This leads to realisation but not everyone has the mental state to engage in this devotional activity or has the right circumstances within which to practice it. That is all I can say.
As far as evolutionary biology is concerned one may wish to look for a candidate gene responsible for seeking the truth for this appears to be the fundamental reason that homo sapiens triumphed over other animals which are now well on the way to being wiped out from the planet. Man is not a social animal. Who is to say that such a gene has not mutated since man's time as a hunter-gatherer, and with the planet getting increasingly crowded, that it will not mutate into a more biologically-active form at some time somewhere in the future. Indeed, such is the damage being wreaked upon the natural environment by man's selfish actions in pursuit of comfort that such an occurrence may be the only hope to save the planet as we know it from premature demise, that is, before the Sun is finally exhausted to the point that life is impossible on Earth. Perhaps a scientific mind will come along to solve the cold fusion problem. Or will another cataclysmic geological or 'heavenly' event be required to make 'the present dinosaurs' extinct as the restart button is pressed for another round of evolution.
As far as whether global warming is caused by greenhouse gases and has become a problem for man to negotiate, have not Gaia processes been dealing with it all these years since the industrial revolution began? Perhaps the rate of carbon emissions is so high now that the capacity of the planet and its surrounds can no longer effectively deal with it. Has not the depletion of the ozone layer stopped and even reversed? What is there to worry about?
One may speculate on why the Universal Being has created the universe and this world within it with its geological and evolutionary history in a so-called Grand Design. Some have said that He creates to amuse Himself and may even be a Joker at heart. The manner in which fellow human beings and especially politicians conduct themselves certainly produces much laughter.
But returning to your question 'Why do we believe in God?' a man's conduct is governed by his intrinsic religious beliefs, which override his animalistic instincts and susceptibilities depending on the strength and direction of these beliefs. Our existence is pointless but for the fact that the elusive Universal Being has made Itself known to us and continues to make His presence felt in life so that man is kept interested in the question of what to do and how to conduct oneself in life and what the future holds. Incidentally, day to day acknowledgement of God amounts to devotional worship of the Divine, which somehow produces health benefits, especially to one's mental state, giving one the peace of mind to withstand the injustices and misfortunes that may come one's way.
After drafting this letter I found that my nose was no longer as runny as it had been and wondered if this meant that my health was now in full recovery because of the latest finding. But with Rashmi harassing me as I pondered over the draft I decided that it too was dangerous to be sent out. But I had to send something in order to progress my case. It turned out to be a two liner:
Dear Professor Lord Robert Winston
WHY DO WE BELIEVE IN GOD?
1. The reason that I believe in God is that It is a self-evident fact: everything one sees around us and within us is God so that one must take care of everything.
2. And human existence is pointless if it was not for the fact that the elusive Universal Being has drawn attention to Itself through various momentous historical events and continues to make His presence felt to those living in devotion to God.
On waking up on 16 February 2007 I considered that a man was trapped by his circumstances. New questions started in the mind: what was faith and what was devotion? I did not believe in the faith attitude, that if one carried on working on the presumption or belief that it was God's will that one was doing one would achieve the end one desired. But I had been devoted to truth and all that entailed, and had acted initially in faith based on visions that I had had, which were to materialise to the end point that I would be getting my job back at the University of Greenwich. It dawned on me that this end-point was not being reached, whereupon I started analysing myself and pursuing the truth of my visions and other indications and fate on the basis of devotion to truth. And I was recording everything so that my experience would become public knowledge. So perhaps God had no choice but to guide me to the realisation summarised in the email to Lord Robert Winston.
I analysed the details of what I had sent, wondering what it meant in terms of how I should live from now onwards. 'So that one must take care of everything': did it mean I must tell Rashmi that I was giving up meat for example. Should I talk to every individual as if I was talking to God and see only the Divine in them, that is no evil? Was there any truth in my now old theory of the nature of evil? What was duty? Did my understanding of Brahman and Personal God, Sri Krishna, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, etc written through my memoirs still hold true, with the Brahman being the Universal Being, that is, had I been guided upwards to the Brahman in the past few days which had been a terrific struggle?
As I scribbled these notes on 16 February I was concerned that Rashmi may again consider these as a relapse of mental faculties, so I had to accede to her wish that I started a job application. I said to her, 'Today I will write to Kent Police to see if they will now give me the job now that I have been discharged from medical care'. She replied, 'No'. It turned out that she had already drafted a letter to Medway Matters Newspaper run by Medway Council and gave this to me. I realised it was an opening to publicise my case so together we edited it and sent the letter, as follows:
Dear Ms Barnes: KENT POLICE My attention was drawn to the latest issue of ‘Medway Matters’ and I could not miss the opportunity to write to you about an issue that has affected myself and my family. My apologies to you if this is not kind of question that I was supposed to ask or you were not expecting in the post bag. I would be grateful if you could explain to me how Kent’s Police Authority’s ‘Positive about Disability’ and ‘Equal Opportunity’ policies are interpreted please. Both policies as I understand it is to embrace people from all backgrounds into the staff force, provided they meet the set criteria and have the necessary competences. But my personal experience tells me that these policies exist in name only. Reality is something very different. I applied for a Public Enquiry Officer’s job in Rochester Police Station in 2005 and was successful at the interview. But the job offer was withdrawn from me after the authorities found out from their post interview security and other checks that I had suffered from a minor form of mental illness in the past. It should be noted that my earlier illness was declared in the application and therefore the job offer was made with knowledge of this fact. The personnel department told me however that being in a customer service role would bring on that illness again. This is not a medically proven theory. As a proof, a year and half later, I am doing a customer service job in shift system, working single-handedly and often dealing with a variety of difficult customers and I am considered a valued member of staff. But it is low-paid work for people less qualified than myself. As a PhD holder I can do so much more. I feel strongly that I have proven that I am of clean health and sound mind and the doctors have discharged me from the routine care I used to receive. Please kindly inform me if I can apply for a job with Kent Police in the future and if my application will receive unbiased treatment. Please withhold my name and address because of the personal and sensitive nature of this matter.
The letter provided a clue to what my email to Professor Lord Robert Winston meant: it was clear that we were continuing with the battle. I went to the library to look for other jobs advertised, and sent a reminder email to the World Society for the Protection of Animals about the job application that I had made. After checking for other jobs and finding none, I ended up responding in depth to an email from my younger sister, deciding that 'taking care of everything' must have also meant that I could not leave the family matter alone either.
Soumya had written: Your departure was a little sudden. Not for me. Babu and Deben both remarked that they didn't get a chance to say good-bye. I was feeling very sad. Deben has written a three page letter to Shan. Its lying in front of me now. Sorry to hear about your travails at Kolkata. I would really like to be able to consult Bappi. The present lawyer charged me a Rs 1000/- extra after you all left. I had to hand over to him a xerox copy of the documents executed. I will phone Bappi and ask him his advice in the present situation. I dont know what kind of problems I will encounter to get Deben's money released. I invested 1 lakh of Deben's money in MIS post office and I use the monthly interest Rs 600/- for his expenditure. My 1 lakh I spent most of to pay off my old debts (scooty etc). The other 1 lakh lying in the bank is the only source I can rely on for future imminent visits to Kolkata etc. And let me tell you 1 lakh is not a big amount in todays world. When I think of the future of Deben I get nervous. Your meeting with Sudhakar sounds planned on their part !! Im a simple person and do not understand the ways of God. I am starting to feel tired like Shan.
My reply was: Dear Soumya. I feel re-invogorated today, you will be pleased to know. By Rashmi's choice and somewhat against the wishes of the doctor I went off medication before we travelled to India. Now the doctor has discharged me from her psychiatric care altogether which I take to mean that I have been given a clean bill of health medically. Whether I will relapse into a severe mental condition such as the one which caused my hospitalisation in 2004 remains to be seen. I am fighting for a clear mind, not least because I do not wish to be incarcerated again even though it was for a short period of time the first and hopefully the last time round.
I am continuing with my low-paid job in a shop to make ends meet. I also found that the engagement at work was therapeutic to the mind. I am in the look-out for a better job though. I turned 50 a month ago and am hoping for good health mentally and physically. I certainly do not wish to give up on life, let alone 'go' - before my time is up that is! I hope this message is helpful to you in some way in coping with your own hurdles, especially with regard to concerns for the future for our brother who is under your care for the present time and for your boys, Babu's health, and most of all your own health.
I did not receive a reply from Nani to my letter a copy of which I gave to you. But as things turned out while I was discussing matters with Sudhakar Nana sat next to him in the train from BBSR to Kolkata his mobile phone rang and it was Nani! She was in tears as we spoke and I listened to her unable to add anything to what I had written. They had received the letter and seemed concerned about your intentions, with Nani saying that she may even go to court over it if you acted in a way that they were unhappy with. Sudhakar Nana then said something to Muna taking him aside in the train about the matter, perhaps thinking that they were involved in my decision concerning the power of attorney, which incidentally, is not true. They are however aware of the situation. But I still do not know what Nani wishes to happen, and especially whether they will take over the care of our brother should you fail at some stage in the future for any reason. We could have helped but consideration of Rupa's welfare makes me feel that we will be unable to come to India to live permanently, at least not in the near future. So I wait and see what the future holds for us all in our own lives.
I am sorry that we left in a hurry as you put it without saying proper goodbye to my brother and Babu. My mind was still mulling over the matter relating to what I had done concerning the power of attorney especially concern over its impact for our brother so that I felt I had to leave matters standing without showing favouritism towards either of my sisters. I love both my sisters for what they are. I hope I have made the situation clearer.
Was life not too serious a matter for God to have really indicated to me that that He was a Joker in the creation of the world ('Mera Naam Joker')? Considering the goings-on in just two families (mine and Rashmi's) life was so interesting. It was an amazing creation just on facts like, it would have been stupid if every human being was the same' and the basis of the saying that beauty lay in the eye of the beholder. There was so much happiness and laughter. I was reminded physically of the joy and the power of sex. I also reminded myself of how much I loved music from my college and Natural Resources Institute days, especially instrumental soul and funky music and classical Indian music. Watching a TV programme where young people were displaying amazing acrobatics and body twisting abilities made me think of the great variety and diversity of humanity. The beauty of the languages, especially English language was also worth reflecting on. So how could it be pointless creation even for people who were not devoted to God.
As I pondered over what I had sent to my sister, I also wondered if I was learning more about the Universal Being, who was perhaps answering Soumya's questions, as well sorting her out. With the letter to Medway Council was He also getting me to act again in particular ways? I was agitated. Before going to work I saw a note from Rashmi: Calm down. I know you so there is no point in justifying that you are a normal person.' This was her response to an exchange that we had at breakfast where I argued with her about whether I had ever been a misconduct person, pointing out that I had had an unblemished 18 year career and two promotions before being classed as such by the University.
The job at Shell garage where I was dealing with hundreds of customers per shift, each encounter presenting a different situation provided me with the opportunity to test the latest knowledge contained in the phrase 'taking care of everything' by assessing my new attitude and behaviour. I had an encounter with a middle-aged male customer who asked me for 10 cigarettes but I checked to query if he had said 20. He said, 'No, if it was 10 I would be back here again!' I said jokingly, 'What within half an hour?' He smiled and said, 'He should give cigarettes up completely really', to which I retorted, 'Why? Is there a law that says you have to live up to 100!' For such were the nature of common laws in the UK.
Reflecting on the email sent to Professor Robert Winston I interpreted, 'perhaps each of my actions needed care to ensure that I fulfilled my duties to the owner of the business as well as being ultra-helpful and polite to all customers. Did everything also mean living beings as well as inanimate objects, so that I should not have kicked away an empty cardboard box as I did? To be at one with the Truth perhaps was not, after all, the way to be, as an incident with a young girl customer leaving behind change from a purchase she made indicated for I told her to take it as she might need it some day: normally I would have just accepted her decision. Was I was beginning to take care of other minor things? I was practising seeing only the Divine in each and every customer and living in happiness doing so until a major disaster on the premises with loose change took place for which I had to close the site down in order to make amends. I read into this incident (and another one in which a pot of banked money went unrecorded by me causing concern) that I was not to start living differently, like a saint perhaps caring for all, and quickly reverted back to the observational mode of being. I reflected on another incident in which a Scottish customer at work then told me that she had had an after-life experience during an explosion where she had died but returned to life from her spiritual state, commenting further that she believed people are reborn, and as justice a Ku Klux Klan member could return as a black man in the next life. Did it mean that reincarnation was real, after all?
My runny nose returned as off and on problem, and I decided it might be something to do with uncertainty in the mind on what I knew and did not know. Rashmi inadvertently produced the wrong company's Loyalty Card at Tesco, to which I remarked jokingly to the cashier, 'She is not with it', and reflected on the truth of the phrase if one spelt it with a capital 'I'.
Are you with it?