Issue nº 56

The author and his commitment  |  Explaining God

Explaining God

     It's no use asking for explanations about God. You might hear lovely words, but deep down they are all empty phrases. Just as you can read a whole encyclopedia about love and not know what it is to love.
     No-one is ever going to manage to prove that God exists, or that he doesn't exist. Certain things in life were made to be experienced, but never explained.
     One of these things is love. God - who is love - is another. Faith is a childish experience, in that magical sense that Jesus taught us: "The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the children."
     The three Arabian stories that follow speak of how innocent the search is:

Beginning at the beginning

     A man asked al-Husayn:
     - What do I have to do to be closer to God?
     - Tell Him a secret. And don't let anyone in the world know what the secret is. In that way a bond of trust will be established with the Divine.
     But the man went on:
     - Only that will help me get closer?
     - Establish a firm relation at the start of your spiritual journey. Pray. It's also important to have will power. And if it's possible to enjoy a little solitude, all the better.
     - But how do I reach the ideal stage of communicating with Him?
     - I have already explained all that you need - said al-Husayn. - But you want to reach the end before you even begin, and that is just not possible.

Loving without fear

     A pilgrim arrived at the village where Abu Yazid al-Bistrami lived.
     - Teach me the quickest way to reach God.
     Al-Bistrami answered:
     - Love Him with all your strength.
     - That I already do.
     - Then you need to be loved by the others.
     - But why?
     - Because God looks at the hearts of all men. When He visits yours He will surely see the love you have for Him and He will be happy. However, if He also finds your name written with affection in the hearts of others, He will certainly pay far more attention to you.

Wanting to take a short cut

     - Why do you make us waste time looking for God when you know Him so well? - said a disciple of Hasan de Basra. - You could tell us what He is like.
     - Yes - answered Hasan de Basra. - But it so happens that one afternoon I was standing in front of a swamp when I noticed a man getting ready to cross it. I shouted out: "Careful there, you could slip on a rock and get all wet!"
     - The man answered back: "If that happens, I will be the only one to get dirty. So, Hasan, if you slip and fall in your path, all your disciples will slip and fall with you."
     "At that moment I understood: God is an individual challenge, each person is responsible for his own search. A master can share his experience, but never the results."

Issue nº56