The Idea of God
There is a very beautiful story....
There was a great saint, Ramdas. Thousands of years after Rama walked on the earth, Ramdas was reciting his story again -- after thousands of years. The way he used to tell the story of Rama was so enchanting, so magnetic, so charismatic, that it is said that Hanuman, the absolute devotee of Rama, who had seen everything with his own eyes, used to come to listen to Ramdas, of course, in disguise. He would sit in the crowd and listen, and he enjoyed it very much.
Sometimes it happens that when you are involved in the action itself you can't see the whole thing, the perspective cannot be that big. You are involved in the thing, you are doing your thing, and there are a thousand and one things going on; you cannot be watchful of all.
Now the story was finished, completed. Ramdas was telling his disciples the story of Rama, and Hanuman was very happy, utterly glad to come, to listen. Many things that he had only heard through rumors he was listening to again from an authentic source.
But one day a problem arose. Ramdas was describing when Rama's wife, Sita, was stolen by Ravana. He kept her on Sri Lanka in a beautiful garden; the garden was full of white flowers. Ramdas was telling that part of the story -- that Ravana kept Sita in a beautiful garden which was full of white flowers.
Now this was too much, because Hanuman had visited Sita in the garden and he had not seen a single white flower; he had seen red flowers. So he stood up. He forgot that he should not interfere, that he was not expected to be there at all. He stood up and he said, "Please, everything is okay, but this information you got wrong. You change it! There was not a single white flower, all the flowers were red, bloody red."
Ramdas said, "You sit silently! Who are you to correct me?"
In anger, Hanuman threw his blanket. He was a monkey god, so with his tail and everything he appeared out of the blanket, and he said, "You ask me who I am? I am the Hanuman about whom you are talking! And I was the man who went to the garden, and you never went, you were never there. After thousands of years you are telling the story, and you have got some nerve! You are telling me to keep quiet! I cannot keep quiet! Change the story! The flowers were red, absolutely red!"
But Ramdas said, "Don't be stupid! In the first place you are not expected here. In the second place, you may have gone, but I cannot change the story. I know for sure that the flowers were white."
Now this was too much. Hanuman was an eye-witness, and this man, after five thousand years, was writing a story, and he seemed to be much too stubborn. Not only that, he called Hanuman stupid!
He said, "You be silent! Don't be monkeyish! I know who you are -- you just keep quiet!"
Hanuman said, "I cannot allow this. You will have to come with me. I will take you to Rama. Only Rama can decide now -- and this has to be decided."
So Hanuman took Ramdas on his shoulders, flew back to heaven, reached Rama, really angry, and said, "Look at this man! After five thousand years he is writing a story. About everything else I have not objected because I was not an eye-witness. And I love his story; he is a beautiful story-teller. But about things which I was involved in he is not ready even to listen to me. You tell him to change his story. The flowers were all red, and he goes on insisting that they were white. Not only that, he calls me stupid, and he tells me 'Be quiet, and don't disturb and don't interfere!' And I say again, the flowers were red! What do you say?"
Rama said, "Hanuman, Ramdas is right, the flowers were white. But you were so angry because my wife was stolen, your eyes were full of blood; hence you saw the flowers as red. You should not interfere. When persons like Ramdas say something, it cannot be changed. It is not a question of time -- five thousand or fifty thousand years, it doesn't make any difference. For a man like Ramdas there is no time. He has entered into eternity, all time has disappeared. When he is telling the story he is not only telling the story, he is seeing it too. For him there is no question of time. It is not something of the past."
This was too much! Hanuman said, "You also were not present there! And this is being partial, unjust. It is unfair! I was present there! You had not gone into the garden, so who are you? Ask Sita; she was there, and I hope that she will not be unfair."
And Sita started laughing and said, "Hanuman, you simply apologize. The flowers were white; you were just so angry that you could not see the white flowers. You imposed your anger, you were so blood-thirsty! You just apologize to Ramdas. And make it a point that in the first place you need not go, and if you go then keep hiding and don't interfere. Nothing can be changed. Whatsoever Ramdas is saying is right, because he has a more aloof, distant witnessing than you can ever have. You were too much involved in it."
That's how it has been. When Moses talked about God, he talked about the God which the Jews of his time could have understood. When Jesus talked about God, of course, three thousand years had passed, man had grown, had come of age; it was possible to talk about love. At least a few people could understand him -- not many, but a few. Hence he was crucified; because the many could not understand yet.
In the past people have been changing their god.
One of the Indian incarnations of god is Parashuram. He killed millions of people, his whole life was that of a killer. Another incarnation of god is Buddha. He was absolutely non-violent; he would not kill even an ant. Between the time of Parashuram and Buddha much water had flowed down the Ganges. Buddha brings a new concept of God, a new vision. It is the same god, but he gives you new eyes.
God is always the same. It was exactly the same when Moses was alive, it was exactly the same when Jesus was alive, it is exactly the same when we are alive; it will remain the same. God is always the same, but our eyes change.
Jesus could see God as love, as compassion. God was growing because man was growing. And man was changing one god for another, for a higher conception of god. Man has always been changing gods, and that's perfectly right. When we change, how can our rudimentary ideas of God remain the same? When our eyes change everything changes.
The environment filled with hatret, ignorance needed a Buddha. It created a Buddha. The same environment at other time needed a Guru Gobind Singh and created one. It is the same Jyot manifesting itself at different times under different circumstances.
In the past people had been changing gods. Men have left God not for other gods... But in the present day something else has happened: Man has stopped inventing newer and higher conception of god. Man has dropped the whole idea of his own evolution and thus his Gods. Man has dropped the whole idea of a divine presence in existence, the whole idea of any meaning, the whole idea that existence is alive, conscious, breathing, always evolving... And now we are standing empty and we are feeling empty.