Notes from “God: A Story of Revelation” by Deepak Chopra
“I am the Lord Thy God”
Job’s God from the Old Testament is an all-powerful, wrathful, and punishing deity that cannot be questioned or understood. Good fortunes occur at random, and so do misery. There is no pattern to this God–or rather, it is not a pattern humans are capable of perceiving. God just is, and God sees more into you than you see into yourself with your unaided, limited human vision. This God operates on fear, unpredictability, and ultimately chaos.
The tale of Job’s suffering calls for surrender, which is “necessary on the path (29).” The things Job loses are worldly possessions (wealth, social status, a secure family) and are irrelevant in the ultimate search to find God. One needs no materialistic goods to spiritually connect with God.
Ancient Greece has many gods, but Socrates’s teachings reveal little about religion. Instead, he teaches, of course, philosophy–a way of life. An attitude defined by constantly seeking, questioning and exploring. Socrates sheds light to common mind; his way is the key to self-awareness and open-mindedness. Instead of seeking to know all the answers, seek to ask more questions, for it is in the process of questioning that we are able to get a glimpse of our reality, our world, our universe.
The tale of Socrates is one of rhetoric and logic. His tale inspires us to look within ourselves to find the inner truth, that ‘human nature is capable of reaching God without dogma, authority, and fear (60).” To reach God, seek within thyself, and find him there.
“I Am the Light of the World”
Saint Paul’s world is one marked by miracles and martyrdom. He speaks of a God who is all-powerful and all-loving, and instead of fearing God, one should always love God. He demands the world to accept Jesus’ resurrection, to accept a world that is no longer bound by natural laws–hence the miracles. Despite the official oppression, miracles flourished, and that is why the “new religion spread like wildfire (78).” St. Paul’s God is wondrous, mysterious, and protects his sincere followers with divine intervention and extraordinary powers.
The tale of St. Paul is one of miraculous wonders; it is one of survival against all odds–under the protection and love of God. His story tells us to have faith in God’s power and God’s love, and it tells us to find a higher consciousness and look beyond the rational mind to find grader truths that make our lives worth living.
“Life Is a Dream”
Shankara asserts that life is a dream–once we wake up from it, we will realize and understand its unreality. Shankara’s God is the all-encompassing, totality of experience that is both unique and universal. Our experience is produced by our mind, our consciousness, and it is our ignorance that prevents us from seeing the light. He teaches us to master our dreams, to master our experiences and to become the author of our lives. That is the true path of awakening.
The tale of Shankara dissolves God–and “removes the self-centred belief that the deity must look and act like a human being (112).” It inspires to search for a new existence and transcend our own lives through mastering our minds. “The only certainty is that God has more faces to show. Matters are not settled by by any means (112).”
“Come with Me, My Beloved”
Rumi’s God is a personal God “who is approached with love and devotion (139).” The act of worship becomes “all-consuming” and “a search to the edge of madness (134).” Through his poetry, he expresses a violent yearning for bliss through the union with God. His relationship with God is one of intense loving, and his words have an appeal that speak to the universal which amplifies the personal. His writing is trance-like, dreamy and emotional. His path to God is both spontaneous and expressive.
The tale of Rumi shows us his abrupt awakening upon meeting Shams. Their friendship lasted less than a year, and Rumi is heartbroken by his violent departure. Rumi lingers at the edge of society, challenging the rational. Despite his seemingly crazy ways, his poetic ourbursts are loved by the people. For Rumi, “the divine is a feeling in the heart that expands into all consuming bliss (139).”