Is God the Holy Father?

By B. R. Gowani

What is God?

Every human being has strong inner instinct on certain issues that compels her to act on it. Whether that urge is a Godly force, i.e. God speaking through that person, seems to depend on how much political, religious, or will power that person yields. In some cases, how strong or righteous (or both) that person feels about the issue is also taken into account. Those without clout must have the stamina to withstand ridicule and occasional stoning. In some instances, e.g., televangelists: shrewdness and cunningness are handy tools in the motive to empty the pockets of the gullible.

If Lord Krishna had failed to convince Arjuna (one of the five Pandava brothers) to fight his cousins, the Kauravas, on the battle ground of Kurukshetra, despite Arjuna’s reluctance to shed his cousins’ blood, the religious epic Mahabharata, as we know it, would not have existed.

If Jesus Christ would have answered, “I am,” and no more, when he was asked by the high priest, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” the chances of a new religion emerging by the name of Christianity would have been minimal. Jesus strongly felt that he had a special relationship with the Almighty and so he added: “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” (Bible, Mark 14:61-2.) With these words, Jesus’ fate was sealed. He was crucified and the rest is history. These last words had scared Jewish elders for their potential to provoke the Roman rulers and hence his fate.

Some 900 years later, a Persian Muslim Sufi called Mansur Al Hallaj (d. 922 CE) was to meet a similar fate. He would be crucified or beheaded for proclaiming Ana’l-haqq, that is, “I am the truth” or “I am God.”

“I am he whom I love, and he whom I love is I,
We are two spirits dwelling in one body.
If thou seest me, thou seest Him,
And if thou seest Him, thou seest us both.”

Quoted in Alfred Guillaume, Islam, (1986), p.146.

These were simple verses with a profound message to the religious establishment: God lives within me and so you get lost. Everywhere, the custody of God is in the hands of the religious and/or political establishments. It was no different here. The Abbasid caliph could not let him go so easily; Hallaj had to die. But before that he suffered a decade in a Baghdad prison.

When Prophet Muhammad (CE 770-632) first introduced the concept of one God in Mecca, a land of many goddesses and gods, he was ridiculed. He firmly believed in his mission and persisted with perseverance. Also, being a member of the respectable Banu Hashim family, he didn’t have to fear any physical harm.* He belonged to the Quraish tribe which was powerful and had control of the Kaaba.

One can only wonder what would have happened to Muhammad if he was one of the lower class Bedouins.

When Muhammad’s uncle Abu Talib died, the protection afforded to him was denied by the clan leader Abu Lahab, and in 622 CE Muhammad had to leave Mecca for Yathrib, later named Medina.

Enthusiasm and good battle strategies helped him to return to Mecca in 630, two years before his death. As a result, Islam gained the strength to branch out in different directions, making it one of the world religions.

In the present time former President George Bush had regular audiences with God in the White House premises, to know and carry out His mission, as is evident from his conversation in 2003, with Nabil Shaath:

“I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …’ And I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.’ And by God I’m gonna do it.”

(Prime Minister Mehmood Abbas was present at the meeting and recalled Bush’s words: “I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state.” The then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wasn’t listening, of course.)

Such a humble and obedient servant of God! What more could God ask for?

(If God had a few more servants like Bush then surely, He would have been forced to terminate His sabbatical in order to re-create the world, because of high probability that His servants would have caused enough destruction to have left an entirely flat earth. In that case, one would have expected Him to devote more than six days to achieve a decent outcome of the re-creation effort.)

So this is the miracle of power. If we imagine George Bush as an ordinary six pack Joe, a construction worker, or a homeless person in Texas, would his claim that God told him to invade Iraq have had any effect at all? NO. Fellow workers would have laughed at him or his homeless buddies would have distanced themselves from him. Perhaps some mischief mongers would have harassed, taunted, or thrown stones at him. Bush’s claim that God told him to invade Iraq would have been empty, tossed off as mere rubbish, if it had lacked the force and power to carry it out.

Then there are those who have been beaten by the moola bug. They amass fortunes in the name of spirituality, and want to sting everyone else with the spirituality bug. Their argument is that spirituality cures many ills and without it life is worthless.

These entrepreneurial spiritualists gain riches and fame for themselves by selling spirituality rather then helping common people in any way. Those who are working to make ends meet have much to worry about in paying bills, getting the car repaired, taking care of a child beaten up by a bully, and tons of other problems; they don’t have time for this spiritual nonsense. This changes, of course, if you get a hold of them and create this “need” in their lives.

(Like businesses create a “demand” for their products by bombarding the viewers with their advertisements.)

Yes, there are people who, without commercial interest, genuinely feel that there is room for spirituality in their lives. This is fine. But others have different kinds of needs. They find solace, comfort, pleasure, and happiness (their spirituality) through other mediums. Some may enjoy reading a novel by Nawal El Saadawi, a poem by Pablo Neruda, watch a film by Mrinal Sen, or listen to a song by Joan Baez. Others may enjoy commercial cinema. Some may enjoy hiking or seating on the beach. Yet others may prefer ballet, Kathak, or theater. And so it is. There may be people who would prefer a combination of the above things. Others may like beautiful company of the opposite (or same) gender along with the philosophy of the South Asian film “Chameli’s” heroine: “Jo bhi ho, jaisa bhi ho, bus pyar hona chahiye.” (It doesn’t matter who the person is (male or female) or how that person looks, the most important thing is that there should be love.)

But How did God Come About?

Imagine yourself with no ceiling, no walls, and no shelter. No beds, no pillows, and no quilts. No clothes, no shoes, no caps—not even a shawl. No factories, no industries, and not even Gandhi’s spinning wheel. No electricity, no air conditioners, and no heaters. Fire has not been discovered yet. No farms, no agriculture, no grocery stores; no food except from the trees and plants and from the animals weaker than you, whom you can kill. No doctors, no surgeons, no quacks, no hospitals, no clinics, no pharmacies—and not even turmeric.

No transportation of any sort, not even a bike or a cart. The wheel, the mother of all transportation, has not yet been invented. No telephones, no faxes, and no computers. No technology of any type — period. You have no idea about the world or its vastness; forget about its flatness or roundness. And you have zero understanding of the natural phenomenas. You have wild and gentle animals, birds, and insects as your neighbors.

Furthermore, it is extremely cold and raining with thunderstorms and lightning. Or it’s hot and humid. Your whole being is enveloped in fear and fear of the unknown.

This then is the most fertile time of your life. You are in the ovulation period. Then comes pregnancy — not of a child, but a concept. And so during the labor pains and the fear, you give birth. What to? The God Almighty, of course, the Supreme Being.

He is not the Father God. You are the mother of God. You gave birth to God. She, he, I, they, we all are mothers of God. We gave, and give, birth to God in time of our needs.

God is not our Holy Father — we are God’s Needy Mothers.

We are all Mother Mary, Miriam, Maria, Mariam, Mapia, or Madonna. We are all Virgin Mary — nobody impregnates us and yet we conceive God.

This is how God becomes a vital part of our lives and takes on a real (not virtual) existence. “Hey Ram,” “Oh my God,” “Ya Khuda,” “Maula Bapa,” “Jesus,” “Ya Ali,” “Hey Bhagwan,” etc. becomes a part of our everyday vocabulary.

Knowing that I’m an atheist, people ask me, “So what do you say when you’re in pain or trouble?” “I say ‘Ba’ [Gujarati for mother]” is my reply. She is my creator. “Oh my Ba” and “Thank Ba” are some of the other variations.

By our giving birth to the Supreme Being there gradually evolved gods and goddesses for various natural phenomenas. Some saw gods and goddesses in the nature cycles and named them accordingly creating myths about the deities, to allay fears and awe. They also projected the gentleness, strength, wildness, or other attributes in birds, animals and nature onto their gods and goddesses. Subsequently, some inevitably put all the attributes in one entity and thus credited the creation of the entire universe to one God.

With the passage of time and the progress of infant technology, human beings (tiny minority) became more knowledgeable and articulate and the simple gods and goddesses took on a more intricate form with complicated philosophy and volumes of commentary and interpretations about what goddesses, God, and gods said or meant when revealing their messages through prophets and seers.

I suspect that the goddesses, God, and gods would be amazed at their apparent knowledge since their followers claim that every discovery, invention, or breakthrough the scientists make in medical, technology, astronomy, or other fields are already in their scriptures.

(It’s like the person in the court who started sobbing and wailing loudly when his lawyer presented the case in an exaggerated way. When the judge asked the reason for this, the person replied he had not known until then, that he had been beaten up so badly.)

Similarly, the divine is crying out at their ignorance of the extent of their own knowledge.

Yes. This is the Divine irony (nothing to do with Dante’s Divine Comedy.)

One can only be befuddled as to why these archeologists, anthropologists, physicists, evolutionists, biologists, and others are wasting their time in universities, fields, and labs. They should open up any scripture and find their information there. Libraries should only carry the scriptures and no other book.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

*(The idea that Muhammad had no fear of physical harm is taken from one of South Asian historian Irfan Habib’s books.)

Comments are closed.