Does God exist or is God an imagination?

Shahvir, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

Kindly pardon my audacity as i write this, but i need to find a solution to this peculiar problem as it is acting as an impediment to my spiritual emancipation.
Although i have a strong belief in the Bhagwad Gita, on very rare occasions i get negative thoughts such as; what if God is an imaginary entity or that Krishna might be an imaginary personality arising out of the Shastras which might have been created by the ancient wise men/sages in order to satisfy a basic need of humanity to be eternal/immortal, etc.

Kindly suggest me a solution to this problem as such thoughts occasionally tend to disturb my spiritual peace & progress. I ask this as i feel that my spiritual brethren might have faced this problem at some point of time in their life and would have found some solution to eliminate it.

regards,
most ignorant soul, Shahvir

Geetha, 27th November 2013

Hare krishna,

I am also having the same problem. Waiting to read the answer for this question eagerly.

Shahvir, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

That was relieving. i thought i was all alone!

regards,
most ignorant soul, Shahvir

Rathin Mandal, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna Shahvir,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your nice question.
I too used to have these questions. Due to seeing all the stupid documentaries in science channels and actions of so called gurus.
To answer this Sri Krishna says: “BG 4.34: Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”

I started learning only after meeting Mahabhagavat Prabhu and so many other wonderful devotees. My experience is that without being in the association of devotees it is impossible to understand God and his creation. And that is why Sri Krishna says that one has to approach a Bonafide Spiritual Master to learn about the truth.

The modern science teaches that only that can be perceived by senses is truth. But if we closely look around there are so many things that are beyond sense perception. Not everything around us is tangible. The law of karma is so wide and vivid that it will keep on causing confusions and anxiety in some or other form all the time.
In simple words, I can say that if I do not study then it is not possible to clear the exam. I cannot think about securing a rank. In the same way realization of ultimate truth depends upon my sincerity.
Just like i was never first in my class, but that didn’t stop me from studying. So even if i am far from a perfect devotee, nothing stops me to learn about God from his perfect devotees.

your Servant
Rathin

Nashvin, 27th November 2013

Hare Krsna!

I think that I also used to have thoughts like this sometimes, but not anymore.  I think they automatically go away with more and more blissful Krsna conscious experiences.

Of course, one can theoretically understand that God exists, and is a person, because we are people, and the source of us must also have personality.

But, practical experience is also nice.  A hungry man does not need to theoretically understand his eating.  He will automatically feel satiated after eating.  🙂

your servant,
Nashvin

Preitie, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories to Vaishnavas

I asked a similar question not so long ago although it was worded a bit differently. It is not common to have such questions / inhibitions however, I have realized that with being part of such groups, reading Srila Prabhupada’s Books, Listening to lectures, Eating prasadam, Engaging in devotee association (that’s a biggie) and chanting and chanting and some more chanting this can be slowly overcome. Basically, if this doubt is big, then you have to combat is by doing bigger and better things that the doubt itself to be able to combat it. I say this because not so long ago I was on the other side where I used to have a cloud of doubt hovering over my head and not to say I don’t feel that way at times…but it is precisely why we need to try harder to stay focussed and steer away from the clutches of illusion.

I have below some comments regarding the question I asked not so long ago and the wonderful answer that Sudeep Prabhu and Mahabhagavad Das Prabhu shared in this forum. I also meant to share my recent experiences that have strengthened my ground and helped me immensely. I even saw some post where some vaishnavas have shared their experiences and life altering events. I started to write mine down but Maya happened 😦 That email in the works though. I hope I am able to do justice to sharing my experience and putting it into words so as to motivate others to know that you are not alone. Krsna will always give us an opportunity for our sadhana to be improved and dovetailed 🙂

I hope this helps. Although I am positive some of the other answers that we are bracing ourselves for will far exceed my expectations 🙂

Please forgive me if I have said something incorrect on here, my intention is far from it. Hari Hari.

quote

Question: Preitie

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories to Srila Gurudev & Gurumata
All glories to Vaishnavas

I have a question and it is only born out of something where I have attempted to understand but have not been so successful. I have also tried and tested and repeatedly failed to convince a handful of people who pose this question to me or where I put myself in their situation and I can’t seem to convince / make them understand some points.

When we quote / make references to Krsna we quote the Bhagavad Gita which is the song of God as the source of all information and truth. What if people don’t want to believe that it has been stated by God?

There are so many important messages, learning and knowledge that the Gita is a source of, but despite all that, the fact that it was written by someone – requires a certain set of beliefs that this someone is / was very important and the faith. So what do we do when someone does not have faith in the Gita? Is it even worth spending time with / around such people and trying to convince them?

My contribution to such conversations is: Belief comes from experience and experience from doing something repeatedly. But how we explain what makes something a habit and something a belief?

I have seen that some Asians grow up knowing / hearing about the Gita so they’re aware of its importance but in the Western World, no one has heard of Gita. Or Krsna so how then are they even inclined to believing that this book is the source of everything we need in this material world? So when they don’t believe in the concept of a God, how will they believe that a book that has been spoken by God holds the key to life’s questions?

When they ask me, what makes the Gita so important or how do you know it was not written by some human being – I am at a loss for words. The last thing it does it dissuade me, but nonetheless I would like to know if there is a better approach to making someone understand this better.

My apologies in advance if my question is rude or has offended anyone. That is sincerely not my intention.

Hari Bol.

ys,
Preethi

Answer One: Sep 3 Sudeep Manchanda

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
This is a fantastic discussion and interestingly I had a similar question and had been thinking over it. I would like to share my thoughts so that senior devotees can correct me.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna is perfect and hence the words as said by him should also be perfect. So the teachings of The Bhagawat Gita should also be perfect in all sense like it should be an Absolute Truth.
We know what truth is, but what is Absolute Truth?
If I say it is evening right now, when I am typing this mail. Is that a truth? Yes, but is it an Absolute Truth? No. Why? Because it may not be a truth when you are reading this mail. So for a truth to be Absolute it should be beyond any relative reference like time, place etc…
Now does Bhagawat Gita qualify to be an Absolute truth? Yes, because it perfect in all respect. And can such and Absolute Science be said or written by a human? By all means no. So it has to be said by someone who is Absolute, which is Krishna.
The knowledge of Bhagawat Gita is also called The Science Of Self Realization. So it is a science!
What do we do in a scientific experiment? We follow the procedure exactly as it is described and then we get the results. It is basis these result that we validate that yes, the facts were correct.
So if one does not have fate and wants to validate the knowledge in Bhagawat Gita, one must follow the teachings exactly as stated in Bhagawat Gita under the guidance of a bonafide Guru and see the results for self J
Please correct me wherever needed.
your Servant,
Sudeep Manchanda

Answer TWO: Mahabhagavat Das

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

It is not correct that one needs to believe something in order for the teachings of Bhagavad Gita to make sense. In fact, belief is very cheap, one can believe or not believe, it is simply a decision of the mind, like flipping a switch. Today someone can believe something, tomorrow something else, belief is not worth much.

Also, importantly, belief is commonly thought to be a religious/faith thing, but so-called scientific persons believe and trust and have faith in so many things… how many people have gone to the sun to make sure for themselves that what the so-called scientists say is true? Do you know that each person takes a leap of faith when we walk on the road, drive a car, get onto an elevator/escalator, pay our taxes, buy a packaged product, go to a doctor, etc.? How did this faith come about? When we were children, we were taught to do things in a certain way, and doing it that way worked… so we all tried something out based on “let me see what happens”.

So that is why, we need to go gradually to the platform of conviction. Faith is not simply belief. Faith is confidence that this is the Supreme Absolute Truth, not blind, but tested and proven. That is why Krishna, in BG 9.2 says “pratyakshaavagamam” – by direct experience. It is realized knowledge, not just mental. So that is why in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, we don’t sit around discussing philosophy all day but we engage in a full program of Krishna conscious engagements. We rise early, we chant, we follow some regulations, we take only Krishna Prasada, we go out on Harinam, we clean, we go shopping for Krishna, we do so many practical services for Guru and Krishna.

The way to understand Bhagavad Gita is to listen submissively (but not blindly accept), and engage one’s intelligence with the content of the Bhagavad Gita and to apply what is in the Bhagavad Gita and see personally, does it work or does it not work.

For example, Krishna describes the different natures, divine and demoniac. Do we see that borne out in our experience or not? Does it need any belief to understand that a demoniac person wants his enemies dead and is constantly plotting how to secure more for himself?

However, Krishna describes many advanced things also… can a child say that advanced calculus is a “belief” because she does not understand past basic arithmetic yet? No, once a person goes through proper training over a period of time, anyone can learn to appreciate advanced calculus and learn to apply it to physical problems. Same thing with medicine.

Similarly, to understand Bhagavad Gita, it is not a theoretical exercise, an armchair philosopher who is actually unwilling to do the work it takes to understand will never understand. Bhagavad Gita cannot be understood simply by agitating the mind. In other words, Bhagavad Gita is not for lazies and crazies 🙂

Finally, our process is yes, we give philosophy, but we are not attached to whether someone is accepting or not… we present philosophy, we present the activities and process byy following which anyone can understand, and then we leave it up to that person. Even Krishna does not force, what to speak of a little aspiring devotee like me.

And even if we fight hard and we convince someone by force of strong argument, still, as Benjamin Franklin said “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”. So we need to win hearts as much as we need to have convincing arguments. And in some cases, some purification is needed – copious quantities of Krishna Prasadam should be regularly supplied to the persons we are trying to share Krishna’s mercy with 🙂 And then some service, maybe a donation, some help in promoting a festival, whatever, some service to Krishna, knowingly or unknowingly.

It is said that “svalpa punyavataam raajan, vishvaaso naiva jaayate” – those who do not have sufficient pious credits, they cannot trust in sublime information. So it is up to us to BUILD that base of pious credits.

The best force is purity, our own purity, in other words, the better we follow the process, the stronger our conviction becomes, and the force of our own conviction, that is what moves someone’s heart.

If someone wants to find out, they have to read the Bhagavad Gita for themselves and try it out, Bhakti is an experential process, it is not a theory.

In the western world, collectively, we are daily convincing hundreds and thousands of people to read Bhagavad Gita, to spare their valuable time, speak with us, to see the Bhagavad Gita on its own merit in its own light, and to allow them to be convinced enough to give us a donation and take the book home.

Where are you based? We can help you to share this knowledge more effectively.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das
unquote

ys,
Preethi

Sudeep Manchanda, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna Shahvir and Geetha,

I hope you both are chanting the minimum number of rounds and following the regulative principles. Chanting properly gives us that connection to the Supreme Personality of Godhead which gives us the strong belief.

Srila Prabhupada has strongly recommended the following for our daily sadana:
1. Chanting
2. Reading
3. Devotee association

(I hope I am not missing anything)

This process is very scientific and if we follow the procedures given to us by our acharyas then we would surely see results which would increase our faith. 🙂

The marathon for book distribution has started at a lot of places, are you participating in it? That is one service where you get special mercy and your understanding of the philosophy become real strong. You can also participant in the Krishna Book challenge to motivate yourself to read.

Hope this helps.
At your service,
Sudeep Manchanda

B.shahvir balaporia, 27th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

I am very glad i put forth this question. i am forever indebted to your good selves. Thank you all for this great effort & God bless! 🙂

In passing just to share, i am training my mind to visualize the all pervading nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead & chant the Mahamantra as much as possible. It feels ecstatic!

regards,
most ignorant soul, Shahvir

Geetha, 28th November 2013

Hare krishna

Thank you all for the wonderful and convincing reply.

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