What is God? Throughout the history of mankind we have grappled with this question. Everybody has their own definition of God. Some believe in it some do not, but everybody talks about it.Most people have faith in personal God. It provides a psychological pillar of support to them and feel that God will help them overcome difficulties. It is their strength of faith which really helps them rather than anything else. Still they pray to him and offer huge bribes of donations and offerings in the temples! When things do not turn out the way they want, they rationalize that God willed it so.This is the nature of our brain and mind which makes us believe that some higher entity helps us or will help us so that our lives become better. This belief basically provides mental support so that in the time of crisis it gives us faith and provides solace.Generally God concept is thought of in two ways. Personal God who helps (or is supposed to help) in our personal lives and the faith in it propels us to do things. Most of the times it is a ritual with hardly any deep faith. A deep faith in personal god was displayed by the Indian saint Ramakrishna who used to say; one can play with, tell him/her the innermost secrets, etc., etc. He was so immersed in his personal god that it was basically his invisible playmate. He exhibited Bhakti Yoga in its pure form.Then there is the Universal consciousness which is beyond the personal realm. Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras talks about it as an entity which is beyond time and space and yet guides the destiny of the Universe. That is the type of God that Einstein also believed in when he said that God is nothing else but the profound beauty of Universe and its structure.So how do we reconcile the personal God with the Universal God and how are they related? I would like to explore these issues with the help of my personal examples.Early spiritual experiencesI had spiritual experiences from age 13 to 15. These came when I started meditating for couple of hours every day. Later on there were many interesting dreams which may be termed as a part of the spiritual experiences.The early experiences were about the great feeling of oneness with most living beings and also fantastic dreams of getting bathed in very intense white light.Somehow these experiences made me feel that somebody is watching over and protecting me. It was a good feeling. At that young stage in life the closeness of somebody like that is particularly important and comforting.One episode brought this out very clearly to me. I must have been about 14-15 years of age. I always had the habit of sleeping after lunch. This habit has continued even today. So after sleeping for an hour I woke up to go to the bathroom. In the bathroom I had a blackout and fell down. During this blackout episode I suddenly “saw” that somebody had tied me up by a rope and I was in a fetal position. I also felt that the person was taking me away when another being came and untied the ropes and I regained consciousness. I never saw the faces of these beings but felt that somebody who was watching over me helped me escape.Dr. K. N. Gairola, my father’s friend and our physician was called to our house. He checked my B. P. and other vital signs and said that maybe I needed more vitamins. I used to be as thin as a stick and with my experiments in eating only vegetarian food and fasting, the necessary ingredients required for a healthy body were not being made available to it.Anil Rajvanshi
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