God is unconditional love
I think the above statement is one of the most difficult statements to accept by most people.
- Does God never get angry?
- Then, why do we suffer?
- Then, why do we need to follow any rules?
- Does he love even the most despicable?
Questions like above start raging through the mind when we try to accept this statement. Since we don’t know the answers to these questions or are not comfortable with the answers, we reject the original statement that God is unconditional love.
Besides, it seems difficult to us to think of anyone who could love everyone unconditionally. Instead of facing our difficulty and changing our understanding, we have taken the other route. We have created God as per our understanding and comfort.
It is said that God created man in his own image. Gurbani says:
But these days, we have created God in the image of a man.
In the movie PK, Aamir Khan says to a God-man
“The God created by you is just like you – who gets angry, requires worshipping….. About the real God who created all of us – we don’t know anything.”
Do you know the first character of Sri Guru Granth Sahib?
It is numeral one i.e. 1.
It means all there is is ONE. We can call him God, Allah, Ram, Rahim, Preetam, Beethal or any other name. There is nothing except him. Everything and everyone we see is God manifesting in different forms and shapes.
Gurbani is filled with lines that talk about this reality of life.
We are not aware of this reality of life. We do not see God in everyone and everything. But that is because we are under illusion. God is not under illusion. He knows the reality. And he is love. So, all there is is love. And it is not impure love. It is purest of all i.e. unconditional love.
God is love.
We are love.
The relationship between God and us is love.
God loves us unconditionally. And the day we also love God, we’ll realize our true essence.
There is a test to determine whether your understanding of God is correct.
Think of the most ideal person. What would be the qualities of that person?
- Would he love unconditionally?
- Would he be non-judgmental?
- Would he be full of compassion?
- Would he be full of forgiveness?
- Would he be full of kindness?
- Would he give you complete freedom?
- I believe the answers to all the questions would be in affirmative for the most ideal person.
Now, here’s the test:
If you understand God as worse than your ideal person, then your understanding is INCORRECT. Simply because God cannot be worse than your thoughts if you (and all of us) have come from him.
It is really imperative for our growth that we carry the correct understanding of God (and thus, our true selves). If our idol is imperfect, we’ll never ever become perfect. If our God is judgmental and angry, we’ll never be able to live the virtues that Gurbani asks us to
If we go back to the beginning to the universe and ask why was this universe created, what is the answer that we get?
To complete the feelings of love.
Khoji, a Sikh luminary, says the following about the creation of the universe:
“God is the embodiment of love.
However, feelings of love cannot be complete by themselves. For the expression and completeness of love, we need two sides.
On one side, expression of love
On other side, reception of and response to love.
Therefore, for the completeness of love or for this play of love to play out, we need two individuals to come together and exchange these feelings of love. One individual would be the lover and the other would be the beloved.
The lover of the entire universe is God himself. That’s why, he has been mentioned as “full of love” and “embodiment of love” in Gurbani.
To feel these feelings of love or to play out this play of love, God has created this universe by endowing each individual with a soul and he loves everyone like a father or a mother.”
Now, one may ask
“If God is unconditional love, why doesn’t he pardon our bad karma? Why do we have to suffer for our past actions?”
Gurbani says that he indeed forgives. God always forgives and never punishes.
One may ask:
“If he forgives always, then why do we suffer?”
I think pain or suffering is just a tool in the hands of the universe to move us towards our joy or our real self.
When a mother slaps her child for not studying, she knows that the real pain is not in the slap but in illiteracy or lack of education. If the child is not intelligent by himself to understand his welfare, then the mother, out of her love for his child, uses the tool of “a slap” to guide his child to study. But it is important to understand that behind every slap of the mother, there lies deep motherly love, affection, and care for the child.
And given this understanding if we really follow our joy, which is our real self, then we would never suffer, for there would not be any reason for suffering.
Our true self or original state is of infinite joy, bliss, peace, and love, and our mother doesn’t want us to settle for anything less.
Anita Moorjani, author of “Dying to be me”, experienced this unconditional love during her NDE (Near Death Experience). She writes,
“I then had a sense of being encompassed by something that I can only describe as pure, unconditional love, but even the word love doesn’t do it justice. It was the deepest kind of caring, and I’d never experienced it before. It was beyond any physical form of affection that we can imagine, and it was unconditional—this was mine, regardless of what I’d ever done. I didn’t have to do anything or behave a certain way to deserve it. This love was for me, no matter what!
I felt completely bathed and renewed in this energy, and it made me feel as though I belonged, as though I’d finally arrived after all those years of struggle, pain, anxiety, and fear.
I had finally come home.”
May Guru Nanak bless us with our true home!