By s. chaitanya
Last Saturday, the last of 2012, it snowed 8 inches here in Providence. Late night it stopped but temperatures were dropping more and more. Early morning, when it was still quite dark, I casually looked at the snow in the backyard of Vedanta Society of Providence. A very unusual thing, close to one of the cars covered with snow, caught my attention. Wow! Someone had made a snow-man last night! A closer look revealed that the artist has put in a good deal of effort to make the sculpture as perfect as possible in the given situation. The arms were there with gloves, the eyes were well-made and glasses were put on them; a muffler adorned the neck (the snowman wanted to stay warm too!), the mouth held a pipe and so forth.
As Bhagavad Gita says (18/61) , “God, the Creator-Controller-Destroyer is in heart of all beings. …”
That makes everyone crave to create, to control and to destroy. Children and grown-ups, men and women, rich and poor, all like to express the divine creativity etc in their own way. To the extent the divinity is manifest in that individual, the creativity etc of that individual also has the divine expression. And as many scriptural sayings tell that God made us in His Own image, people too take special interest in creating images similar to them. People too want to be perfect as God is perfect.
Of course, logically speaking, this whole link between God and us can be put in a reversed manner too! One can surely say, because we crave to create, control, destroy, our God, our ideal gets pictured as the supreme creator, controller and destroyer. Because we crave for perfection, our god is, by definition perfection supreme, absolutely free from any blemish or defect. Our god has to be, by very definition, the absolute ultimate of what we wish to be.
That is why Vivekananda has said that it is man who has made god in his own image.
The two expressions "God made man" and "man made god" cannot be put on an equal footing as they are being said from two different standpoints. When we say, "God created man": we mean God with attributes is the actual creator-sustainer-destroyer of this world. A dualistic Vedantic idea is being implied. When we say, "man created god": we imply that all the conceptions of God that we are aware of fall short of that entity who is beyond description. A non-dualistic Vedantic idea is being referred to here. Thus this dualistic conception "God created man" is actually a "man created god" conception as after all it is a conception by man! In a succinct way, non-dualism is being shown as a superset of dualism.
@LordProsperity:disqus To me, "God made us in His
Own image," has both the connotation. That our real nature is Spirit and nothing else. And also that God manifests most suitably to us in anthropomorphic form.
Nice point. In my opinion, however, the two statements: "Our real nature is Spirit" and "God made us" are mutually contradictory. If we take the former standpoint, creation does not exist – all that exists is God or Spirit or Self and nothing else. If you take the latter standpoint, then God is separate from us and we are subject to His/Her control making the creation aspect entirely valid.
In this respect, I like the quote by Sri Ramakrishna about Sri Hanuman's attitude: 'O Rama, as long as I have the feeling of "I", I see that Thou art the whole and I am a part; Thou art the Master and I am Thy servant. But when, O Rama, I have the knowledge of Truth, then I realize that Thou art I and I am Thou.'
As the awareness of the individual evolves, the idea of God conceived by that individual also evolves and hence the mutual exclusiveness of each viewpoint as they are seen at a different states of mind. This validates the point "man made god" where both "man" and "god" evolve together to change the viewpoint "man made god" to the final experience of "man=god".
for the comment. I see the contradiction between God making man and man
making God disappears when one sees that 'making' is always reciprocal.
When you are making soup, in a way, soup too is 'making you' by
training and moulding you.:) s.chaitanya
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