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You cannot guess the ways of God || Acharya Prashant, on The Holy Quran (2015)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
11 min
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When your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the Earth a successive authority.”

They said, “Will You place upon it one who will cause corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?”

God answered,” Indeed, I know which you do not know.”

– Quran

Speaker: The ways of the divine are mysterious. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are not the right words to be associated with them. When God says ‘Earth’ and when God says ‘successor’ it has to be understood that what is meant by these.

Earth, the entire universe, the whole creation, the entire existence is the work of God, is the expression of God. You could simply say it is Godliness. God exists in the form of all this. But all this prima facie , does not look like God.

Now look at the contradiction. God exists in no ‘form’, other than the form of the ‘total’ alone. There is no particular ‘form’ that God can take, that is the reason why wise men have often and repeatedly said that do not try to give any form to God. It is useless and foolish because his form is ‘total’. And the ‘total’ cannot be represented. So whatever you will represent will be a botched up thing. It will mislead. Don’t do that.

(Laughingly) But that is the only way God exists! God exists in a way that cannot be represented and we, as human beings, are beings of representation. Our senses operate in a way that we want the limited. The eyes look at the limited, the ears hear the limited, and we touch the limited.

Are you getting it?

This contradiction is variously called as the primal illusion or Satan or Maya. Maya is nothing but the name of this contradiction. What is the contradiction?

We as beings of limitation, with our methods of cognition, cannot cognate God, whereas all is God . (Laughingly) In spite of being ‘in’ God, we cannot know or see God, this is Maya. So we will call God by very-very different names, like the bed sheet, the fan, the wall, the bird. But the bird, in spite of being God, is not really God. (Laughingly) Because the bird has a boundary! If you say the bird is God, then what is outside the boundary?

So the bird is God, and is not God.

Do you understand what the problem is in calling any limited being as God, and what the problem is in not calling it as God? ‘Is the bird not God? Sorry Sir, everything is God. So the bird is God!’ Alright. So the bird is God? ‘Sorry Sir, if the bird is God then what is outside the bird?’ This contradiction is Maya. We are born into this contradiction. Human beings are cursed and blessed with this contradiction.

Are you getting this?

Remember, this contradiction doesn’t exist on its own. Even this contradiction is the very expression of God . ‘I will be everywhere, and yet I will not be seen.’ Don’t you love to sing that one? ‘Not anywhere, yet everywhere. Not anywhere, yet everywhere.’ Then, there is that which understands this contradiction.

Remain fully with the first thing. We said that the contradiction too comes from God. Now, we are moving into the second part. There is that which understands that contradiction. There is that which enjoys that contradiction. This too comes from God. It is not outside God. It is easy for us to say that prophets come from God, but we often conveniently ignore or do not want to remember that Maya too comes from him. It is his sweet will. From nowhere else has it come. In fact prophets have a definite lifetime. You say, ‘Prophets’ (stressing on the ‘s’) . There are no ‘Mayas’! Because ‘Maya’ is immortal. You would have never heard the word ‘Satans’ (stressing on the ‘s’) . One ‘Satan’ is enough!

Satan is as immortal and as primitive as the existence itself. Avatars, saints, prophets have come and gone, that one Satan is still there because he is coming directly from God. From nowhere else is he coming. You cannot fight with him.

Our entire problem is that we are limited beings that operate in the domain of duality. So we must have a positive side and a negative side. We must have a black and a white. We must have a good and a bad. So very conveniently we start saying that the Avatar is good, and the Satan is bad, that the messenger brings us good news. That is how the Bible was written. We are spreading the good news. That the messenger brings us good news whereas everything else is bad news. This is puerile.

There is no good news or bad news, all news is his news! All news is his news, how can there be anything good or bad about it? First of all accept that all news is his news, then you will realise that there can be nothing bad about it. The moment you say that there is nothing bad about it, good is also gone. Good is also gone.

Now, a successor is being sent to Earth. This is myth. These are not facts. These are pointers towards the Truth . These are higher than facts. When you listen to these small stories, do not argue with them because, in a sense, they never happened. You cannot argue with that which never ‘happened’.

When you say, ‘Something happened’, you want to point towards a point in time. This never really happened at a point in time. This is ‘the happening’ itself! This is ‘the Truth’ which is always happening. It is there, it never happened. So don’t try to verify it. Don’t say ‘Oh, did this really happen? Did God really send a messenger or a prophet?’ Actually he never sent. Why? Because that was not in the past. God is not in time . Kindly do not forget the fundamentals. Time is in God . So how can you put a date on God’s words? That fifty or hundred years back, God decided that I need to send a messenger.

Will God operate in time? But that is the way the ignorant mind looks at these statements, these stories, these beautiful myths. And we say, ‘Once upon a time’. It never happened in time! It is the happening. It is ‘the happening’. That is the difference between fact and truth. Facts happened. Truth is happening . Facts happen and are gone. Truth is always happening. Understand this.

So, God is sending a successor to Earth and the angels are asking, ‘Will you send someone who causes corruption, and who sheds blood?’

The angels are specialists. (Laughingly) The angels specialise in only one thing. What is that? Sing the glory of God. The angels are limited, like all of us. Now don’t come up and say that they are God’s angels. They may be God’s angels, we are also God’s men! (Laughingly) Same to same. We are all flowers of the same garden. Don’t discriminate.

So the specialised angels know only one thing, sing the glory of God. ‘God is merciful, God is compassionate.’ But whenever you will sing the glory of God, you will only present a limited picture. Now the angels are worried. ‘Are you sending someone who will cause bloodshed? We have always told all these ignorant people on Earth that God is loving and merciful. Now will you send someone who wages a war? Who is prepared to fight and even spill blood?’

God simply says, “I know what you do not know. I know what you do not know.”

You only know the limited. Only the limited can be ‘known’. Do not try to guess me. Do not try to classify me. Do not divide my work. Whatever is there, is there. Whatever is there, is me. Do not look at it through the lens of morality. Do not think that one side is good, and the other side is bad.

I do not know whether the story stops here. I do not know what happened to the angels. Surely they would have been very confused. What kind of people is God sending to Earth? They will spoil all the PR work that we have done. We have gone about preaching that God is nice, lovely, and beautiful and see what kind of people is he sending? Bad publicity!


And that is what we also do. We first of all create images of God and when the work of God does not conform to those images, we hide the work itself. We protect the image and hide the fact. Ego is more important. (Laughingly) It is because the ego has imagined.

Getting it?

In a thousand ways, he makes his presence felt. Whatever you see is a sign of his presence. Just that you have given it a different name, so you do not see the fingerprints of God there. You do not see the name of the painter there. When you are hell-bent upon saying that the wall is wall, then how you will ever see God? And you must call the wall as ‘wall’ because you must call yourself as ‘yourself’.

Till the time you are you, the wall will be just a wall . Now there is no place for God, there is you and the wall. Where is God? Nowhere! Till the time you stick to your identities, only identities are there, there is no God. (Pointing at some listeners in the audience) Till the time this is Shubhankar, and this is Rohit and there is Asad, how can there be God?

I read this beautiful story just a few days back. Somebody told Ramakrishna that now it is time for you to get married. Ramakrishna was a mystic; he looked half-mad all the time. So people thought that he will refuse the idea. Such people don’t usually want to marry. But he became very eager. He said, ‘Where is the girl? Yes marriage. Right. Nice idea. Bring the girl.’ They said, ‘See, we knew. Such people are always in search of only one thing. Everything else is just a disguise.’


So now he is married, and what does he do one day? There is the place where Goddess Kali’s statue is there. He asks his wife to go and sit there, all naked, and he starts worshipping. He starts calling his wife, Maa (the Mother).

But there is a great problem with us. The wife is just a wife, how can she be Kali? So people ran after him, they advised him, scolded him. What are you doing? Wife cannot be mother! This is no way to address the wife. You cannot call her Maa (the mother). And to call her Kali, and make her sit there is an offence, it is blasphemy. What are you doing?

He did not budge. He said, ‘No. When the wife is not the wife, when the kid is not a kid, when the world is not world, and most importantly, when you are not you, then there is only God’.

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