Is there no God? Buddha answers the Question


I heard that one day a person came to Buddha in the morning and asked, “Is there no God?”. The person was a theist. A theist is a person who believes in the existence of God. A theist only believes and does not try to know anything. He is just a believer. Buddha said, “Yes, there is no God”. The person got angry. He became violent. He went nuts. He became crazy. He actually came to Buddha to get a confirmation of his own belief. Buddha was aware that this guy is a believer and he needs a confirmation to his belief. Buddha took him to the other extreme. The person carried a belief of “Yes” and Buddha shown him the power of “No”. The person was holding on to only one bank of the river and Buddha shown him the existence of the other bank of the river. It is a great psychological insight that a person is always searching for a confirmation of his own belief from others. 

By now the news has spread to all the disciples that Buddha has said that there is no God. Some disciples were very happy and some were unhappy. The disciples who were just believers in the non-existence of God were very happy. The atheists in the camp were very happy. And they all got confirmation from Buddha that there exists no God. 

The same day in the afternoon another person came and asked Buddha, “Is there a God?”. The person was an atheist. An atheist is a person who believes in the non-existence of God. An atheist also only believes and does not try to know anything. He is also just a believer. Buddha said, “Yes, there is a God”. The person was very angry. He also got a confirmation that went against his belief. And this confirmation he got from none other than Buddha himself. The person carried a belief of “No” and Buddha shown him the power of “Yes”. 

Again a new news spread in the camp of the disciples that Buddha has said that there is a God. The theists have felt at ease. They were feeling very happy at Buddha’s confirmation. Now the atheists were feeling uneasy at the new disclosure. A small number of the agnostics in the camp were unperturbed. The camp of the agnostics thought that Buddha is only playing a practical joke and they all knew the truth. 

There are three kinds of believers - a theist, an atheist, and an agnostic. A theist believes in the existence of God. An atheist believes in the non-existence of God. And an agnostic believes that the existence or non-existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved. An agnostic is a person who disbelieves in the belief of a theist and an atheist. He is a person who does not believe in the “Yes” and the “No”. He looks like a quantum physicist. 

In the evening another person came to meet Buddha. This person didn’t ask any question to Buddha. He did not ask whether God exists or does not exist. He sat with Buddha for a while. He looked into the eyes of Buddha. He closed his eyes and went deeper into meditation. He felt the silence within him and outside of him. In the presence of Buddha the chattery of his mind stopped and he felt his own silence within. He opened his eyes, touched Buddha’s feet and left the place. He did not ask any question to the Buddha. And Buddha did not give him any answer. It was very clear from the attitude of the person that he was not a believer. He was an adventurer. He was an enquirer. He had a quest. He wanted to feel the experience on his own. He wanted to do something on his. He wanted to know on his own. He was not a closed door. He was not a dead-end. He was an opening of infinite possibilities. 

When Buddha used the word “Nirvana”, he simply meant that one should not be a slave to the belief of “Yes” and “No”. He also meant that one should not be a slave to the belief of neither. There are some who believe in the illusion or Maya that neither the existence exists nor they exist. According to these people nothing really exists. They are there, and they may say they are not there. And this could be their illusion and delusion.


The river of life has two banks - yes and no. One should not jump to the conclusion that the other bank of the river does not exist. And for some the other bank of the river exists and it looks greener. The other bank gives a new perspective which could be looked into. In order to go to the other bank one has to go through the waters. One has to travel from this end to that end. And in the process one has to travel through the river. And without travelling through the waters one wouldn’t know that the river has two banks opposing each other. Are these two banks opposing each other? Or, Are they complementing each other to allow the river to flow? 

I think it is the same thing with the ocean of the mind. I think the mind has two streams of thoughts. One thought says “Yes” and the other says “No”. And without these two divisions the mind can not flow. And without these two divisions the mind can not move. And we all need a mind to move in life. And we all need a mind to flow in life. The chattery of the mind is because of the collision of these two thought waves. They are not opposing each other. They may be complementing and compensating each other. We can rise above these waves and bring in observation. And when we become mindful of the waves of thoughts, they disperse and dissolve in the ocean. And in the process of mindfulness we experience the unification of the thought waves with the ocean. This gives the experience of tranquility and oneness, and the barriers of the mind of “Yes” and “No” are frozen. This gives the illumination of going beyond the dark corners of the mind. Now, the mind is bestowed with a unique experience of crossing the barriers. And this experience is out of the box. It is not boxed in the walls of “Yes” and “No”. The mind is now filled with the experience of Nirvana. The mind can now flow in the river of life with tranquility and stillness.

When we become mindful of the waves of thoughts, they disperse and dissolve in the ocean. And in the process of mindfulness we experience the unification of the thought waves with the ocean. This gives the experience of tranquility and oneness, and the barriers of the mind of “Yes” and “No” are frozen. This gives the illumination of going beyond the mind. Now, the mind is bestowed with a unique experience of crossing the barriers. And this experience is out of the box. It is not boxed in the walls of “Yes” and “No”. The mind is now filled with the experience of Nirvana. The mind can now flow in the river of life with tranquility and stillness.

What is Truth? What is Reality?


Truth is beyond words. It is beyond time. In this sense it is ancient. It is the experience of a non-duality. Truth is transcendental. It is the experience of the state of a spiritual singularity. What is transcendence? It is going beyond the duality. All duality is a relativity. Relativity is not reality and reality is not relativity. Truth is transcending relativity. The first duality is space-time curvature. This is a part of the outer universe. This is an objective reality. What is the measuring rod? The light is the measuring rod. Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity can be of immense help to know the objective relativity. The second duality is the space-time curvature of the mind. This is that inner universe. And what is the measuring rod? A pure thought is a measuring rod. The Vedas and Upanishads which are the eternal resources of Advaita can be of an immense help to know the subjective relativity and then to experience the absolute truth as it is. Truth or reality means to transcend the objective relativity and subjective relativity. The absolute truth is beyond the objective relativity and subjective relativity. 

Truth is One. This “One” does not mean a numeric one. It only means that the truth is non-dual. It means it is beyond duality. It means it is transcendental. One means the existential experience of Oneness. It is the experience of the union. It is just like how a dew drop from a lotus petal slips into a pond and becomes one with the pond. This merging is one. It is just like how a river falls into an ocean, merges with the ocean, and becomes one with the ocean. What is then left out is only the ocean. The experience of this merging and becoming one is Oneness. It is in this sense the truth is One. 

Truth is eternal. It was same to my parents. It was same to me. It will be the same to my son. And it will be same to anybody, anywhere, and anytime. Truth can be experienced but can not be expressed. Truth can be known but can not be made into a knowledge. Truth can be known but can not be described. Truth can be realized but can not be given. Truth can be seen but can not be said. Truth can be smelt like the pleasant fragrance of a flower. Truth can be felt like the taste of a delicious fruit. It can never be given like a chocolate or an ice cream. But yes, it can be shared. The method can be shared. The way can be shared. The approach can be shared. The path can be shared. Because spirituality is a science of experiencing the truth. Anybody who is promising you that the truth can be given is a fake. Anybody who is assuring you that the truth can be given is a sham. Truth is non-negotiable. Please beware !!

Everything can be said in words except the truth. The truth is beyond words. And still the words have to be used to say the unsayable. This is the biggest dilemma. The truth can be heard when the chattery of the mind stops. The sound of truth echoes in a silent state of the mind. Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya (Move from Untruth to Truth), say the Upanishads.

Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti !!


Today is the day of the “Guru”. Guru Nanak Dev was the founder of the Sikh faith. There is a legend behind his becoming a great Guru. He was once working for a merchant. And while counting numbers he made a small mistake. I strongly feel that such mistake should happen in everybody’s life. He was counting numbers. He was supposed to count up to twelve (12) and by mistake he counted up to thirteen (13). The moment he counted this number thirteen there was a sudden flash of a thunder in his whole being. It was a miraculous moment of his life. In fact divinity descended in him in that very moment. And at the same time, in that very moment, he ascended to divinity. In that very moment everything in his life has changed forever. 

In the Eastern tradition the word “Tera” means the “Supreme”. It simply means “Yours” and not “Mine”. The word “Tera” means everything is yours (that of God) and nothing is mine. Now, the world of me and mine has come to an end for the first time. Unless ‘my’ world does not come to an end, ‘His’ world can not start. Unless ‘my’ territory does not come to an end, ‘His’ territory can not begin. And unless ‘I am’ not absent, ‘He’ can not be present. And this moment was such a mystery to him that he almost lost himself in the very being of the whole universe. In that very moment he became one with the cosmic being. In that very moment he became one with the whole and all the division and discrimination has disappeared forever. In that very moment he found his own being completely in sync with the cosmic being. And in that very moment he also experienced that oneness with the divine. It is just like how our digital devices are in sync with the web in the presence of an internet. When the WiFi is on, the digital devices get in sync with the web. And in the same way when the divine WiFi is on, our individual beings get connected with the cosmic being. And in the presence of a divine WiFi the individual beings get connected and be in sync with the cosmic being. 

In fact all our divisions are only up to twelve. Twelve hours, twelve months, twelve zodiac signs, etc. Just look at the time piece that we use for all our daily reminders. Every moment and every second the time clock is actually reminding us about this division. The time clock is actually a great reminder. What happens at 12 O’Clock? How do we know that it clocked 12? In fact we come to know this in the moment when all the three hands of the clock come to become one. They all accurately come one upon the other to become one. They merge into each other and become one. The angle between them for the first time becomes zero degrees and all divisions of time and space disappear. The time clock is also a metaphor for the mind. The three divisions of the mind, that is, the past, present, and the future come to an end. And for the first time it is a zero hour (00:00). And zero in the Eastern tradition means “Shunnya”. It literally means a state of deep tranquility and stillness. It is a state of infinite silence. It is a state of being one with the One. And this state is possible through mindfulness and meditation. It is a state of being one with the divine. And for the first time all the divisions of the past, present, and future come to an end. What the hands of the clock are doing? They are dividing the space of our life into time. They are dividing the time of our life into distance. They are dividing the space of our mind in twelve (12) equal zones. And after this twelve (12), comes the number thirteen (13). And for Guru Nanak Dev this number thirteen (13) is not just a numeral, but a mental state in which all the divisions of space and time have disappeared. It is a state in which all the divisions have dissolved into the eternal. It is a transcendence of the space-time object. It is a state of no-time and no-space. All our divisions are of the space and time. And beyond time and beyond space there are no divisions. The scientists are also talking about an unbounded cosmos. Our earlier thinking was that the universe is finite and bounded. We are slowly moving into a new understanding that the universe is open-ended and boundless. In fact the moving time is space. In fact the moving mind is space. The moving thoughts in the mind give rise to a subjective space-time object. The mind is a subjective world. And in the process of counting the numbers up to thirteen, Guru Nanak Dev transcended this world of the mind. And to indicate this state of our being, Guru Nanak Dev used the word, “a-man-gati”, a state of the mind where the thoughts have dissolved into silence. It is a silent state of the mind. He said that in a silent state of the mind we can experience the glimpse of the divine. 

There are two states of an ocean. One state is that the ocean is noisy and turbulent. This is because the waves in the ocean are colliding with each other and making a lot of noise. The waves of the ocean are fighting with each other. The waves of the ocean are dividing the space of the ocean into “mine” and “yours”. And this gives rise to a conflict and chaos. And this results into a disturbance. And the second state is that the waves have dissolved into the ocean and the ocean has become a silent ocean. All the turbulence in the ocean has gone. And in a silent ocean the boat can sail through smoothly. The same is the case with our mind. The mind is like a factory of producing thoughts. An average man produces some 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. These thoughts are like the waves in the ocean. These thoughts in the mind can divide the space of the mind into “mine” and “yours”. And this can give rise to a conflict and chaos. Just imagine what will happen if all the thoughts in the mind are negative? And also imagine what will happen if all the thoughts in the mind are positive and creative? The whole territory of the mind can either become “mine” or “yours”. And it is a great benediction if the mind becomes “Tera (13)” or “yours”. So please remember in all your dealings that the number thirteen (13), “Tera” is a lucky, magical, and mysterious number. 

All numbers were also divine to the great mathematician Pythagoras. To him, the whole universe was like a divine number. And it is a very surprising thing that in some parts of the Western world, number thirteen (13) is considered to be a superstitious and unlucky number. They have many reasons for such a belief. And just like Pythagoras, all numbers are also divine to the Eastern tradition. The largest number that is being used in the digital world of information today is “Tera”, (10^12, that is, 10 to the power 12). For example, “Tera Byte”. The root of this number “Terabyte” is also from the Eastern tradition. The root word is “Tera” or thirteen (13). This number means all is “yours” and nothing is “mine”. When this number thirteen (13) could enlighten Guru Nanak Dev, why can’t it enlighten us all? I do not know why some people associate superstition with this number? In the West in some buildings there is no 13th floor. After the 12th floor comes the 14th floor. This appears really very strange. There is also a superstition attached with “Friday 13” in the West. And this day is looked down upon and unlucky. 

Let us try a small trick of numerology here and see the miracle. Let us associate all alphabets in “Friday 13” with the corresponding numbers. The word Friday gives us a number sixty three (63). Now add this number to thirteen. This gives us 76 (63+13). Again add the two digits 7 and 6. Wow !! This again gives the same magical and lucky number thirteen (13). 

You will be surprised to know that even the word “Guru” stands for number “Tera”, thirteen (13). Let us again try the trick of numerology here also and see. Let us associate all the alphabets in the word “Guru” with their corresponding numbers. This gives us number sixty seven (67). And just add these two digits. Voila !! Even this word “Guru” gives us the same magical, mysterious, and lucky number.

Our being and the cosmic being are not two different things. Our physical being is numeric and our spiritual being is Nirvanic. The quantum science says that the particle of matter has a dual or quantum behaviour. It behaves both as a particle and a wave. The same is the story of the human being. Our physical being has a particle nature. Which means our body is here and there. And our spiritual being has a wave nature. Which means our Nirvanic body is everywhere. Spirituality is a path to know that our mind is numeric and our soul is Nirvanic. Spirituality is a way to know that our physical being is numeric and our spiritual being is Nirvanic. 

Guru Nanak Dev says, “God is One, but he has innumerable forms. He is the creator of all and He himself takes the human form.” 

I think it is very clear now that number thirteen (13), “Tera” is a universal and divine number. It is a number of the “Guru”. Let the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and the magic of his number “Tera” enlighten us all. I dedicate my this day, the day of the Guru Nanak Gurpurab to “Satnam Shri Waheguru”. Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti !!