Is there God?

Entering a temple after almost four years, I found it a little discomfiting. It wasn’t guilt or anything close to that. I still don’t know why I felt like that.

I have always maintained that I am an agnostic not an atheist. Let me clarify because people think these two words are interchangeable. While an agnostic thinks it is impossible to know whether God exists or not, an atheist denies the existence of God. I belong to the former category. It is very disconcerting when someone calls me an atheist for the simple reason that I am too young to challenge any existing institution. Religion is too vast, and God is too complex a theory to refute without any basis.

Most of the times, people who question God and his existence are those who are lazy to participate in any rituals and worship. This might be a tantalising observation, but I strongly feel so. You may think I am one among them.

Like every Tamil Brahmin family, ours is a fastidious one, but at the same time we are a little liberal when it comes to traditions. Despite my apathy towards God, I haven’t found the courage to voice it in front of my relatives. Though, I do have brief debates with my parents on that topic. Anyways, the fifth estate is too huge a topic to analyse at one go, so I prefer to stick to my temple visit.

I visited Ganesha temple with my huge family that consisted of my aunts and uncles and my parents. It was a strange occasion, as I stood there trying hard to concentrate on the prayers offered. Though we discount many practices, my folks are highly religious and have unshakable faith in the almighty.

So, it was hardly surprising that they didn’t have to try much to immerse themselves in the incantations. Here I was amidst them looking uncomfortable, and fidgeting with my clothes. I looked around the temple. Like any other temple this one, too, had smaller sanctorums for other Gods. As I shifted my gaze around, restlessly, I was struck by a volley of questions.

First of all, if all Gods are the same, why do we have smaller sanctorums for some and big ones for the others? Hindus are broadly classified into Vaishnavites and Shaivites. The former category is quite particular that they don’t visit Shiva temples, though there are some exceptions. By those standards, are we trying to toss Gods, one the preserver and the other the destroyer,  between two coteries who pick and choose whom they want to worship? And, if there is God, is he actually omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient? If he is all the three, why do we have to go to him with our problems; he might as well solve it without us telling him about it? Finally, why does he give some all that they ask for, while he denies some the basic happiness in life?

I believe that there is some power above us that controls our existence, but I am not too sure if the abode of the power is in the quiescent firmament. I am not too sure if from the vault of heaven all the Gods us Hindus worship are watching over his devotees. Let me clarify, I am not ridiculing when I say this ( pretty sure, people might get agitated when they read it). But, isn’t this the way serials and movies picturise Gods.

When the human race has found answers to everything, why does the phenomenon called God still remain a mystery? It is an open-ended question. Can anyone explain it? But being the enthusiastic soul that I have been, I can’t help add another question- do we want it to remain a mystery because we need a guiding force, or someone to watch over us since we might get carried away by greed and selfishness? Or, to pass on the buck when things go wrong? Perhaps, we created God.

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