(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 48
The existence of God is a question which arises in every mind, whether in the mind of the believer in God or in the mind of the unbeliever. And there are moments when the greatest believer in God questions His existence – whether there really is a God. He finds it, at the second thought, sacrilegious have a notion such as this; and he tries to get rid of it. But often this question rises in the heart of the unbeliever: if it is really true; if there is some such a thing as God. The idea of God is inborn in man. The God-Ideal is the flower of the human race; and this flower blooms in the realization of God.
As everything in the objective world has its tendency to rise upward, so the tendency of the soul can be seen in human aspiration, which always soars upwards, whatever be the sphere of man's consciousness. The man who is only conscious of the material life, his aspirations reach as far as they can reach in material gains. And yet he proceeds higher and higher, and remains discontented with all that he achieves through life, owing to the immensity of life in every phase. This craving for the attainment of what is unattainable gives the soul a longing to reach life's upmost heights.
It is the nature of the soul to try and discover what is behind the veil: it is the soul's constant longing to climb such heights which are beyond its power; it is the desire of the soul to see something that it has never seen; it is the constant longing of the soul to know something it has never known. But the most wonderful thing about it is that the soul already knows that there is something behind this veil, the veil of perplexity; that there is something to be sought for in the highest spheres of life; that there is some beauty to be seen; that there is someone to be known who is knowable. This desire, this longing is not acquired. This desire is a dim knowledge of the soul which it has in itself.
There disbelief in the God-Ideal is nothing but a condition which is brought about by the vapors arising from the material life of illusion and covering as clouds the light of the soul, which is its life. It is therefore that the unbeliever is not satisfied with his disbelief. Yes, sometimes his vanity is fed by it, to think that he is wise in not believing in someone whose existence is believed in by numberless blind beings. So he begins to think: after all, to believe in God is not a difficult thing; any simpleton can believe in the God-Ideal. He takes, therefore, the opposite direction, of refusing to believe. He is honest, and yet he is like someone who stands before a wall which hinders his path to progress.
If this world offered to one person all it possesses, even then the soul will not be satisfied. Because its satisfaction is in its higher aspiration. And it is this higher aspiration which leads to God. The question: has man an aspiration because it is his nature, but in the end of the journey he may perhaps not find anything? may be answered: there is no question which has no answer, and there is no desire the object of which is a miss. There is appetite, and there is food; there is thirst, and there is water; there is sight, and there is something to be seen. So there is aspiration, and there is God. Man knows not what is not. There is no such thing which one knows and which does not exist. For one cannot know what does not exist; something must exist first in order that one may know it.
But there is a question: everybody does not know God, he only believes in some idea. The answer is: what is the idea? The idea is that out of which all is born. Science and art and music and poetry and religion and nation, all is born of the idea. If the idea is the source from which all comes, then why is the idea something insignificant, and why is God who is the source and goal of all not found in the idea?
Seeking for God is a natural outcome of the maturity of the soul. There is a time in life when a passion is awakened in the soul which gives the soul a longing for the unattainable. And if the soul does not take that direction, then it certainly misses something in life which is its innate longing and in which lies its ultimate satisfaction.