Chapter 1: Fear Is a Beggar
If you have no eyes for creation you are totally blind. There are many who cannot see the hand behind creation. When you see a small picture or statue and you ask who made this, you never for a moment think it may have been formed by chance. But such a vast painting hangs all around you, each leaf a work of his genius, and you cannot see him behind all this? You must simply have made up your mind not to see him; you have resolved to turn your back towards him as if you feel there is some danger and you are afraid.
Certainly the fear is there. No sooner do you recognize his hand behind the canvas of this vast creation than you are a changed person; you cannot remain the same. Whoever hears even the faintest murmur of the divine music in creation has to alter his life, because once you begin to see his hand behind everything, you cannot continue to do what you have been doing; it all appears wrong.
As long as you pretend he doesn’t exist you can sin, misbehave, mistreat others, and give yourself full freedom to indulge in any evil; as soon as his hand appears to you that freedom is lost. Then you have to think twice before you act and pay more attention to remembrance, to remembering God, because now you know that he sees, that he is present. He is in and around everyone, everything. Whatever you do to anyone, you do to him. If you pick someone’s pocket, it is his pocket you pick; if you steal, you steal from him; if you kill, it is him you kill.
Most human beings turn a blind eye towards him. Once aware of his presence, you can no longer remain as you are; you will have to change at your very roots. This change is so sweeping that many prefer to avoid all the trouble, so they deny God and remain as they are.
A hundred years ago Nietzsche declared: “God is dead. Now man is totally free.” It is exactly for this freedom that you deny God, because then you are at liberty to do as you please. There is no one to decide for you. You are unrestrained, independent. He who is self-willed and independent persists in denying God no matter how much you try to convince him. It remains easy to deny him because the gross handiwork can be seen, but the subtle hand remains invisible.
So people say: “Creation happens by itself; everything happens on its own.” But this is the definition of God: he who happens on his own, who is swayambhu, the self-created.
The second type of man sees God’s handiwork and also accepts the hand behind it, but his acceptance is only mental. He is intimidated and frightened, so you will find him in temples and mosques, in churches and gurudwaras. He goes there because he is frightened, having suffered the lashes of the whip of life. Out of fear he comes to pray, to beg protection and to seek solace in wealth, position, name. He has come to beg. Fear is always a beggar, always asking for something or other. He has an inkling of the hand behind creation and a slight feeling for the presence of God, but only because of his fear. He is totally oblivious to God’s munificence, or else he would not beg.