Tuesday, February 23, 2010

‘God is indifferent’


By Shevlin Sebastian

Swami Sandeep Chaitanya, a popular preacher of the Bhagwad Gita, rarely goes inside a temple. “I prefer to pray on the beaches, rivers and hills,” he says. One of Sandeep’s favourite spots is Mount Kailash. “God is present everywhere, but more so in nature,” he says.

When he is not travelling, Sandeep gets up every morning at 5 a.m. and says the Prabatha Smaranam. Here are some lines: ‘Wherever you have come from/My words will always be there/For all living things.’

But he says that he is not very much into formal prayer. “Every moment is a prayer,” he says. “When I am speaking with you, it is a form of prayer. Whether it is a human being or an animal, they are praying all the time, although they don’t know it. That is what the sacred texts tell us.”

Unlike most people Sandeep does not believe that God plays any role in our lives. “God is indifferent,” he says. “This is what Vedanta says. God does not punish or reward anybody. That is man’s concept of God, but that is not God.”

He gives the example: when electricity comes through a fan, it becomes breezy. When it comes through a TV, it becomes an image. When it comes through an air-conditioner, it becomes cold. “Similarly, God is just flowing past all the time,” he says. “It depends on us how we are able to tap into this power and use it in our lives.”

Sandeep has tapped into this source, but he has never asked God for anything. “He will not heed our requests,” he says. “Suppose, you want a house, there is no point in asking God. He has given you hands and legs and a brain. You have to use that to get the house that you need.”

Suppose bad things happen, and you are unable to get the house. Sandeep says there is no use in getting angry with God. “That is foolishness,” he says. “God is not somebody who punishes those who commit bad actions and rewards those who are good. He does neither.”

Sandeep says bad things happen because of your past actions and karma. “So why bring God into the picture?” he asks. “The proper way is to accept the event and try to learn something from what has happened.”

Unlike people of other religions, when Sandeep closes his eyes, during prayer, he does not see any image of God. “God cannot be visualised,” he says. “Sometimes, people say that they can see a light when they close their eyes. I don’t believe that. This is just the imagination of man working overtime: an illusion.”

Stripping away the illusions has always been the goal of Swami Sandeep Chaitanya.

(The New Indian Express, Kerala)

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