Discussion on God

Hari Mohan Zha

Uncle who was having kali fruit juice saw me and said, “Come, come. Help yourself with some juice.”

“Uncle, your words are sweet and sour like the taste of the juice, isn’t it?” I said.

“Arey, my words are very hot too. Those with weak digestive system cannot digest them. But what can I do? I can’t discard the habit of many years, can I? I can’t talk to please others. I speak my mind openly. That’s why some call me an atheist.”

I said, “Uncle, tell me the truth. Do you agree or not that there is god?”

Uncle smiled and said, “In a manner of speaking, it’s the god who doesn’t accept me. I for one treat him as my uncle.”

I said, “Uncle, you are always witty.”

“Gautama who propounded the legal science made god a potter. Upanishad made god a spider. Vedanta made him a magician. When all that’s not wrong, what’s wrong when I make him my uncle?”

“You make fun of god, don’t you?”

“Surdas made so much fun of Krishna out of friendliness, didn’t he? Should I not do this little bit also?”

“Then, tell me how he becomes your uncle?”

Uncle said, “Look at this. Lakshmi and Daridradevi are sisters. God is Lakshmi’s husband. And I’m the son of Daridradevi. Now tell me what’s his relationship with me?

“God himself said this –


‘I serve the worshipper in the same manner as he worships me.’

I said, “Uncle, everything is a joke for you. Without god, how could this creation have been possible?”

“It could, like it happens everyday. In this very place there are thousands of creators.”

“Uncle, you are digressing. My point is that we should accept someone as the first creator, shouldn’t we?”

Uncle said, “I have least objection in accepting it but explain to me this clearly. When did the first creator arrive? Where from? Did he drop from the sky? Or did he wake up suddenly after being asleep for ages and begin to engage in the activity of creation? If he started to create, what was the form he created? Did he create first, woman or man? If it is said that he created the woman first and took forward the activity of creation, then he cannot escape from blame and abuse. On the other hand, if it is that he created first both man and woman, they were siblings. If such were the origins, the mankind is bred in incest. Then how can we talk of the prestige of the clan?


‘For a fellow who urinates in Prayaga, he doesn’t attach any value to the Ganges.’

“Who can argue with you Uncle? But there must have been one who began all this creation, isn’t it?”

“Let’s agree that there’s one,” Uncle said. “But what’s he doing now? Whatever is the act of creation, it is continuing now also. In a way, the activity is increasing. Every day, creation is happening in lakhs. Where’s the need for him to interfere in this now? He can take pension and relax, can’t he?”

I said, “He’s not the kind to keep quiet, would he? He’s omnipresent. ‘…’

Uncle said, “Boy, you are entering into the realm of the Vedanta. Do you know what you are saying? Do you have faith in that?”

“Of course. God is omnipresent. He lives in each and everything.”

Smiling, Uncle said, “Wah rey, Brahmajnani! If god is present in every pot, he must be living in arrack pot also! If ‘Sarvam brahmamayam jagat’ then why can’t we give up Kali stotra and take to totamali stotra? And instead of drinking water which washes Chandi’s feet, why not drink randi’s (prostitute’s)?”

“Uncle, it’s difficult to argue with you. But the god’s glory is limitless. He’s omniscient. All powerful. And an ocean of kindness…”

“Stop, stop. Don’t refer to so many traits in one go. Tell me the meaning of each of them. Why do you think he is omniscient?”

I said, “Because he lives within everyone. Whatever you or I do is because of his wish. ‘…’”

(I’ll do as ordained by god who is presiding in my heart)

Uncle smiled and said, “All right. Stand firm on what you have said and if you don’t, you’ll get a blow with this cane.”

“Okay, I’ll stick to what I said.”

“If god gives everything, that means we are all puppets in his hands. Isn’t that what you said? We will act the way he wills.”


“If that is so, what’s the difference between a mendicant and a thief?”

I said, “Mendicant does good deeds. So, he’s superior. Thief does bad things. So he’s inferior.”

The moment Uncle heard this, he raised his stick and said, “Take care! What did you say just now?


‘I do whatever you order.’

“That means, the way god wishes. What’s the meaning of this? That god does everything. He gives rosary to the mendicant and places the lock in the hand of the thief, isn’t it? If that be so, why is the mendicant superior and the thief inferior? Whatever happens is what the god has ordained, no?”

I said, “Uncle, you trap us in the nutcracker and don’t allow an escape route. But the truth is that the maya of god is boundless. Nothing is impossible for him. He can do anything that he wishes.”

“If that is so, I ask you a question. Answer me. Can god commit suicide if he wishes? Can he die consuming poison or by hanging?”

“Uncle, please tell me why god should think of dying. He takes birth whenever adharma increases on the earth.


‘O, Arjuna! Whenever harm is caused to dharma, and adharma is increased, those times I take birth.’

“What is the adharma that he destroys by taking avatar?”

“Violence, adultery and the like.”

Uncle smiled and said, “Do you mean to say that god doesn’t like them?”


Cracking the areca nut, Uncle said, “Then why did the creator create tiger? Why did he give such powerful claws to the lion? Why such sharp teeth to the crocodile? Why did he fill the fangs of the snake with poison? Why a sting to the scorpion? Why did he make dog, cat, jackal, wolf, eagle and vulture carnivores? If he liked non violence, why did he fill the creatures with fighting instincts? He’s the one who sets fire. Is he the one who also douses it? Is this fair? I ask you another thing. If he really is opposed to adultery, how does he allow the system of public intercourse in one short of eighty-five vaginas? Why did he make creation such a strong desire?


‘Woman is like a ghee pot. Man is like fire.’

“Why did he establish such relationship between man and woman?”

I said, “God has given intelligence to man using which he should weigh sin and merit and travel in the path of dharma.”

“If that is so, why should man commit sin at all?”

I said, “In the matter of desires, God made man independent.”

Uncle snapped. “Why? Knowing well that the freedom would be misused why did he leave him free? Is it all right to give a sword to a little boy? If he didn’t know this little thing, how do you call him ‘Omniscient’?”

“Uncle, the deeds of gods are unfathomable. The entire creation is maya of Brahma.”

“You are on one hand Brahmavadi and on the other you say there is a difference between sin and virtue. How can both co-exist? If ‘…’ is true, in terms of spirit, Brahma swims in water like fish and the same Brahma becomes a fisherman and catches that very fish. He becomes deceitful and commits deceit and he becomes a judge and sentences. He becomes a prostitute and waits in the balcony and he becomes the molester and molests. I grind bhang and add sugar and drink it. That means Brahma grinds bhang and mixes Brahma in Brahma and drinks it.”

“Uncle, you tease the mind.”

Uncle said, “You get caught in your own net. You say that god has formed the world basing it on karma; that your deeds determine the results. At another time, you say whatever is destined is bound to happen; that however much we may try, destiny cannot be altered. How could both these happen at the same time? Can it happen that you loudly laugh and keep your mouth tightly shut at the same time? You say that god is omniscient and contradict it by saying that god takes human form whenever dharma is in peril. On the one hand you say god is just to all and on the other hand you say he is partial to his devotees. One time you are an advocate of advaita and at another time you say sin and virtue are two very different things. That’s why I say you get caught in the net that you have cast.”

Uncle realised that I was in no position to comment. He said, “Say, either this or that. But please make up your mind. Does a prostitute indulge in her deed out of her own volition or is she induced by god? If it is done owing to the inducement by god, then god himself is guilty. If she does it on her own, then delete this sloka –


‘I’ll obey and do as you order.’

I said, “Uncle, what do you want me to do? Neither can be dismissed easily. Not a leaf moves without god’s order. But equally it is not correct to blame god for the offence of prostitution.”

Uncle said, “Look at my cane. It’s about to rise. Stick to one thing. Does everything happen because of god’s will?”

I said, “Yes.”

Uncle said, “If I cane you, will it also mean that that too happened at god’s command?”

Since I was again in no state to say anything, Uncle resumed, “Why don’t you speak? If all the incidents happen owing to god’s command, he must be held guilty of all the murders and rapes in the world, isn’t that so?”

“Uncle, god is most kind. He scampered with his Vishnu chakra to rescue Gajendra when he was in trouble. In the Mahabharata, to save a bird, he threw an elephantine bell.”

Uncle said sarcastically, “Was he asleep when lakhs of devotees were crushed to death in Prayaga Kumbhmela? Did his Sudarsana Chakra go blunt? Did he stay plugging his ears with cotton dipped in oil when so many women and children cried piteously? Was it due this that instead of Gajaghanta, Yamaghanta landed there? Or did god go deaf? Then he must get his ears treated.”

I said, “Don’t say that, Uncle. The sinners had to endure difficulties.”

“Do you mean to say then that all those who die in the accidents are sinners? If a crocodile catches and drags someone, do we understand that he was paying for the sins of the past lives? Do we allow him to be taken away like that? Then where was the need for the god to run to rescue the elephant, Gajendra?”

“God is kind to his devotees. “

Uncle said, “That means the god promotes sycophancy. If he wished to be impartial, why did he forsake the feast at Duryodhana’s palace and opt for eating spinach curry at Vidura’s place?”

I said, “Uncle, ‘…’ (Those who approach Him with a particular thought will achieve a result commensurate to the thought.)”

Uncle said, “That means god is like a mean merchant. You pay money and he calculates it on the weighing scale and grants results commensurately. Then what’s the difference between him and the street corner merchant?”

I said, “Uncle, God is embodiment of kindness and his mercy is limitless.”

“Then why can’t he banish all the grief and poverty in the world? Why does he torture people with disease, grief, famine and so on?”

“Grief is the result of karma, Uncle.”

Uncle said, “That means karma is important. Then, where is the room for god to show mercy? Even if he wishes to be kind, he can’t. Can he? If my karma was not appropriate, how would he get the result I seek? On the other hand if karma was good, the fruit of the same is automatic. If that be so, where’s the need for me to suck up to him? That’s why Bartrihari said,


‘Salutations to the gods. Since those gods are under the command of destiny, I salute that destiny. Since destiny is the fruit of karma, I worship karma. Since the result is dependant on karma, what business do I have with the gods and destiny? I worship karma which the gods too cannot escape from.’

I said, “Uncle, I believe that God is kindness personified and all powerful.”

Uncle said, “All right. Let’s presume it to be true. If that is so, why can’t he remove the grief in the world? There could only be two reasons for this. One, he doesn’t wish to do so and secondly that even if he wishes it he can’t do it. If he doesn’t wish, then he is unkind. If he can’t, he is incompetent. Then, why do you say he’s kind and all powerful in the same breath?”

I said, “Uncle, you raise such doubts that even a believer too can become sceptical. Finally, tell me this: does god exist or not?”

Uncle smiled and said, “I say he’s there definitely. What has to be settled is whether he’s having fun by creating us or we’re having fun by creating him.”

“Uncle, do you mean to say that god is fictional?”

Putting a pinch of nut powder in his mouth, Uncle said, “No, son. There are true gods. God means –


‘Abundance, intelligence, wealth and fame are called ‘bhagam’. A woman who has all these is ‘bhagawathi’ and a man ‘bhagawanthudu.’

“That means, one who has ‘bhagam’ is bhagawanthudu (god). God cannot create without that, like a potter can’t make pots without clay. That way-


‘The greater the ‘bhagam’, greater are bhagawantulu. Those who are not endowed with those are ‘abhagawantulu’ or unlucky persons. What creation can they think of?’

I said, “Uncle, under the influence of bhang, you’ll ruin god too. You won’t forsake logic even while you joke, would you?’

Uncle said, “My child, why do you forget that I’m a descendent of both Gangesh Upadhyaya and Gonu Jha? We have a birth right on satire and logic. Take a look at what one of our ancestor’s boast-


‘Those who are skilful in delicate poetry can exhibit their scholarliness in using harsh words in logic too. Can those who in ecstasy leave their imprints of their nails on the breasts of woman not rain arrows on the head of an elephant in must?’

“It was in the heat of the power of logic that Udayanacharya, who had defeated the Buddhists in logic, once threw a gauntlet at god when he didn’t have darshaan of Jagannath in Puri-


‘O, God! You have neglected me as wealth has made you swollen-headed. But don’t forget that before the Buddhists, your existence is under my control.’

“Likewise, I too wish to say-


‘O, God! Why do you hide like a thief? If you are capable, appear before me and prove your capacity.’

“If he was present somewhere, he would have heard me, wouldn’t he? otherwise, this is all a wasted effort. All right, whatever it be, we did discuss about god. That’s enough.

“Isn’t it said that ‘Discussion of god for a ghadiya (24 minutes) or half a ghadiya or half of that would cleanse a crore sins’?”

(From the book: ‘Khattarkaka’)