The river is three kilometers wide. People take mechanized boats and travel upstream to visit the holy places. As the boat moves upstream dense hilly jungles come into picture on both the sides of the river. The river becomes narrower and deeper. Every year the river is on spate during rainy season. The hillocks on both sides bear the marks of the water when it was flooding. But,now the river is very calm and composed. In the jungles there are tribal hamlets. The only mode of transport for them is the country boat on the river. There were no roads to those habitations. No TV signals.. no cellular signals. Sparrows are still chirping around. After staying there for a couple of days and getting immersed in the quite tranquility, a man from the city begins to yearn for his staple diet of TV programs and radio channels. But the original inhabitants know nothing of either the beauty of the place or ruckus of the modern world.
Finally one reaches the birth place of the river. It’s small pond like body in the high mountains. Water collects from almost incessant rains and thus the river is formed. It has become a pilgrim place.
As I entered my tenth standard, I started having many unanswered questions in my mind. Two most important of those questions are about God and the Universe.
Initially I believed in God due to my family environment. Soon there began murmurs in my mind. “Why did that train accident happen? What is wrong with all those thousands of people dead in the tsunami. If I am a bad person, is God,my creator, not responsible for my badness? Should one worship God? Is he a sycophant? Does he punish those who do not believe him? Is he so power-hungry? Should I believe in him to get access to the goodies given by him? If nobody created this world where from it has sprung up?”
Soon it has become difficult for me not to argue God is not there. At the same time it was hard for me not to believe in God..especially in the testing times of school examinations.
While being asked if God is there or not,why don’t people say,”I do not know”. Why do they always either believe or not believe? Usually one believes or disbelieves an object one has not seen or perceived. So, one should say one does not know. Of course,the person who has seen God is free to tell he has seen God. But I have not seen such a person so far. Some people say God is in their heart. This implies a belief and wishful thinking again. Imagination or hallucination can not be God.
The other day I asked my elder cousin who believes he was an omniscient, “Who created God?”.
He said,”Nobody created God.If somebody creates him, then he is not a God”.
Then I asked, “When has God’s existence started?”
He said,”There’s no start or end to God”.
This looks like an escape for me.Escape from agreeing, “I do not know”.
I asked him, “could there be such a thing that does not have starting or ending?”
He said,” Since we do not see any such things in our daily life, we can’t imagine such a thing with out a start or an end. But once we see such a thing it become easier for us to imagine a thing without start or end”
“Could you give an example of such a thing?”
He said, “I can give the example in a different field. Take any circular object. What’s the starting point and ending point of its circular body?”
These arguments between my cousin and me run long.
“What’s the origin of Universe?” I would ask him.
“I’ll give similar answers to those of God”
“What’s outside the Universe?”
“There’s no outside to the universe”
“How come it is possible? An object without an outside?” I would press on him.
“Similar explanation..since in your daily life you do not see any object without an outside..it’s difficult for you to imagine an object with out outside.”
“Before universe what was there?”
“How come so big a universe has come from nothing?”
“Again..problem with your imagination”, then he posed a counter question,”negatively charged electrons revolve around positive nucleus that contains protons..right? That’s the story so far..but what is the guarantee that one fine day electrons do not become positively charged too…? Similarly what’s the guarantee that tomorrow, out of the blue, gravity disappears and all planets collapse in to Sun? Fundamentally our imagination is a results beliefs. These beliefs are due to long observed facts. But what’s the guarantee that facts do not change? Fact may not change in a million years.But it can change after two million years.”
“Is the belief in God necessary?”
“It depends. It gives a sense of control over the hardships in your life. If you think there’s nobody to take care of “things beyond your control”, you might become mentally more unstable”
His arguments leave me more confused and restless.