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Why does God have many different names? || (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Questioner: Acharya Ji, in essence, all is one; all is Beloved. What is the significance of different genders of God?

Acharya Prashant: So, the gender of God! Why do you call Him or Her or That, God in the first place? You call Him God because you are human, right? Please understand this. God will never come to call Himself God. That which you are referring to as the ultimate God, Unnameable is called anything only in the caller’s context. It's you who calls, God has no business calling himself. God has no business calling herself. That has no business calling upon Himself.

In fact, there is no entity outside of That, which would call out to Him. Therefore, God is never going to refer to himself or herself in any way or in any language, let alone in any specific gender. So the first absurdity is when God is referred to; referred to not as Him or Her, the first absurdity is when God is referred to at all in the first place.

Who is talking of God? If God is all and everywhere, from where did this speaker emerge to call out to God or to exclaim towards God or to refer to or point to God? So, the first thing you have to see is that when you are referring to God it is not God you are referring to; it is “your God” that you are referring to. God cannot be referred to.

God is so total that making any reference to him is impossible. God is so total that the reference itself would be inside God, not outside. How do you refer to a body, something, anybody? From inside of him, it is impossible. You have to be away, outside somewhere. You have to be separate to talk of somebody.

So whenever somebody talks of God as no matter what, it is the first absurdity. Now that absurdity explains the next absurdity. What is the next absurdity? That not only do we refer to God, we refer to God in a particular gender. Not only do we refer to God in a particular gender, we also refer to God in myriad other ways, especially the Hindus. Millions of ways they have to refer to God. The Muslims too, the Sufis fondly talk of the hundred names of Allah.

Now, what is happening? What are these hundred names? These hundred names come from the hundred positions, situations, forms, and shapes of the “caller’s self”; depending on who you are; and whatever you are is false, please, that has to be understood, because there is nothing outside of God and when you are referring to God surely you are not referring to yourself; or are you?

First of all, we have said that when you refer to God, it is an absurdity. Now we are using this absurdity to explain a related absurdity. What is that related absurdity? That we refer to God in very anthropomorphic terms. We refer to God as if He is a human being with a certain gender, age, belongingness, even nationality.

Sometimes, just occasionally we refer to God as an animal as well and when we want to exhaust our limits, then we start referring to God as That or the Sky or silence or something. But we still want to use some words and every word as you know refers only to an object, a material object.

So for example, when you talk of God as joy; Hindus for example would say; Sacchidanand Ghan Bhagavan , so when you refer to him as the joyful one, or the bringer of joy, the one who blesses the subjects with joy, then surely you are not talking so much of God; you are making a revelation about your own condition.

What is your own condition? You are bored and frustrated and irritated and tensed, and this condition of the self is looking for its dissolution. Its dissolution it cannot talk of, because its dissolution is a state of unknown. This state knows only existence, not non-existence. So it cannot talk of what is there beyond frustration, or stress, or tension. So it creates some kind of an opposite; a dualistic opposite.

If you are frustrated then you will start calling God as joy. When you are frustrated with your limited presence, limited spatial presence on this planet and you hate it that you cannot keep an eye over what your son is doing with his lunch-box when the school is five kilometers away, then you start calling God omnipresent. You are calling him omnipresent because you do not like the fact that your presence is spatially limited.

The kid is trading his lunch-box for some weed, and you don’t even know. Somebody comes and beats you up, and you are in great despair and angst and fury over your impotence; “the bugger came and beat me up”, so impotent. When you are so impotent, then God is omnipotent. Because you cannot do anything, so you dream of a God who can do everything. Are you getting it?

So when a woman - and a woman is going to have a woman’s mind, right? The mind of the woman is permeated with womanness throughout. So when a woman wants to end her misery, she conceives a redeeming figure, obviously in the masculine. It is not absolutely necessary, but ninety-nine out of a hundred times, this is what is going to happen.

You may come across instances where a woman is worshipping a female deity, that is possible. But instinctively, biologically, dualistically; what is going to happen is that if you are a woman, then the one you would look forward to, to take you out of your miseries would be a man. Especially if you are an adult woman.

Especially if you are someone who knows sex. Now one of the great miseries of adult human life is that sex is never fully satisfying. It promises so much but delivers always something little. So you now know why God has to be an omnipotent male. Freud will tell you that is because not many males in this world are not very potent! So God has to be omnipotent. Are you getting it?

It is not necessary, but you get the drift, don’t you? Kindly do not accuse me of bringing in a sexual angle between the relation of the worshipper and the worshipped. It is not merely a sexual angle, it is a human angle. If you are famished, if you are impoverished, then to you God would be a provider of abundance.

Who is God? God is a provider. A provider of abundance! Everything that this little self, this mind craves for; it will project in a God. Obviously that God is not real, but then mankind probably has no option. That is what human beings will continue to do.

In deep, deep meditativeness, you stop according genders to the Ultimate. That is why the pinnacle is merely silence. In silence, there are no words that point at Godliness and therefore limit Godliness. In fact, this should tell you about the helplessness of the human condition. Forget about really reaching God and merging with him; we are so very helpless that even if we want to talk of him; we actually start talking of a self-projected absurd image.

So incapable is this little self of even talking of God, let alone reaching God, it talks of God and it starts talking of something stupid. If it cannot even talk of God, how will it travel to God? But the little self says, “Now I have talked of God, I am able to put my finger on Him and now I will even travel up to Him.” Even the talk is trivia. You want to blabber your way into the heavens? Yes! That’s what the ego claims.

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