They told me that God lived in a palace in the sky. He had a huge television through which he watched over little children and blessed them. And I watched God on my television at home. He was always kind, merciful and everybody loved him. I was told that if I was silent and well behaved, God would shower kindness upon me too. That all the teddy bears and candies would be mine. That He would give it all to me as a reward.
But at the threshold of something older than childhood and younger than adolescence, I had questions. Why did he live in the sky? Why was there a God who was blue AND a God who meditated with a man bun on his head AND a God who looked sad yet happy on a plus sign? Why did we not pray to all of them? I had been silent and well behaved for four years and yet I held more questions in my palms than the candies I was promised. Did God not honour his promises?
Answering a person hovering in that awkward, transitional age was however, not mandatory. And so, They took the easy way out.
They told me: NO STRANGERS. But aren’t They conversing with a stranger everyday? Hands joined, heads bowed over the aroma of insence and supposed Divinity? But They say, that is different. He is different. He isn’t tainted by the cons of humanity. Isn’t He? Didn’t Krishna steal butter and eat sand? That sounds human to me! And if we have so many vices, why should we live? Or why do we continue to correct them despite knowing it was futile?
They do not like these questions.
They are extremely displeased by them.
They call my spiritual loyalty into question.
Balme other Religions and other Gods.
They say I am vulgar and polluted by sinful thoughts.
But nobody resorted to the comforts of Humility and said: My love, I do not know. Religion is confusing. God is confusing. I could try to explain it to you but you may not understand.
Nobody said, Nothing is absolute. God is a presence with subjective boundaries. He is different to different people, immortal to one and mortal to the other. He is Buddha, Kali, Allah to one and a shapeless universe of colours to another. He is probably a She. He is probably above the human mind and isn’t constrained by gender.
Go ahead and find God if you are curious.
Nobody told me, This is my God.
And nobody asked, Who is yours?
Instead, I was pulled back into the confines of an ancestral belief; Gun pointed over my imagination, my audacity to question, my desperate need to understand spirituality.
“God is here. There are a lot of versions of him. But you have to choose one. And this is the choice we have made for you.”
Hearing that sentence being spoken, I couldn’t help but wonder,
Were They ever given a choice? Or was it plucked away from them?
If there was an answer, I never heard it.
They had pulled the trigger.