The Upanishads did not address God as father or as mother – they did not establish any human relationship. Sociologists say that the establishment of all human relationships is anthropocentric, man-centered. Man goes on imposing himself upon everything. Let us understand this view of man being anthropocentric, because modern psychology and sociology are highly influenced by this word and attach a great value to it.
Whatsoever a man sees, he projects himself in it. If the moon is clouded over, we say, “The moon’s face is hidden behind a veil.” Neither is there any face nor is there any veil. But man, by nature, projects his experiences on everything. If there is an eclipse of the moon we say, “Her enemies Rahu and Ketu have swallowed the moon, they are after the moon.”
Man can think only in man’s language. We also go on projecting ourselves on all that we see around us. We address the earth as the mother; it is a projection. We address the sky as the father; it is a projection. If we look deeply, we shall find that whatever relationships man has with the universe, he has imposed his own image and structure on all of them.
Freud says that the whole issue of God is in fact a substitute for the father.
When a child is born he is helpless, weak and insecure; the father protects him and brings him up. The little child grows in his shadow, he takes the father to be the superpower; there is none bigger than him in the world. So small children are often seen to be discussing amongst themselves as to whose father is the more powerful. Every child claims that his father is the biggest, and every child feels this way – that what can there be bigger and more powerful than his father? All power is in his father’s hands.
In childhood, the child takes support from his father to grow. His confidence, trust, respect, all are endowed in his father. If while holding his hand his father walks through fire, the child will accompany him laughing, because wherever his father is going there cannot be any danger for him. Neither have any doubts nor has any distrust arisen in the child’s mind yet. His father is still absolutely trustworthy. But as the child grows, this trust will start falling apart. Slowly the weaknesses of the father will become visible to him.
As the child grows he will be able to understand a little, and the very first weakness that he will come to see is that in ninety out of a hundred occasions the mother is more powerful than the father, on ninety to ninety-nine occasions out of a hundred. All his father’s pomp and show, all his strutting is outside his house – he enters the house a little afraid, a little meek. This will be the first crack in the child’s trust. As he grows up and begins to understand things, he sees that his father also has a boss and that he trembles before her.
This trust that had been imposed on the father in childhood now shifts away from the father, leaving a gap. It is this same trust that, according to Freud, one imposes on a God – an imaginary father – so that the mind does not have a gap. So man calls God the father, the supreme father, the most powerful of all.