When I hear or read about the notion that we attain divinity like Yudhishthir of Mahabharat when we follow certain rules and laws of social conduct and spiritual evolution based on worship and dharma as taught in the social context, I am at a loss. The idea that The Divine has set out laws to keep us on the straight and narrow within a rigid frame of how to live our lives within the parameters of civilised society so we too may consider ourselves divine somehow seems too narrow to me and does not gel with my idea of divinity.
Who is to confirm and say what rules or laws are right? What may be acceptable and recommended in one age, era or culture may be unacceptable and even considered abhorrent in another. Social norms, rules and laws are never absolute and must change over time. It is, therefore, difficult to agree that following mutable laws is what would lead us to divinity. Certainly, we can be recognised as great when we live our lives bound by rules and laws of dharma in the social context. Much like Ram from Ramayan. If divine refers to being ‘godly’, then what exactly are those qualities? Is it about benevolence, kindness, righteousness, justice, truthfulness, fearlessness, superhuman powers, and other such? Do we become divine when we develop all those qualities?
All these qualities are defined in context of human values alone, which itself again rests on existence of society and social fabric. They are, therefore, not necessarily inherent in human nature. Is the divine in us then also to be restricted to the same context? There is a contradiction in my understanding of divinity and what it is generally interpreted as when applied to ourselves as described above.
What does fill my mind when I think of the concept of The Divine and divinity is a powerful sense of amazement and incredulity, along with an overwhelming intuitive awareness of uncontainable, unrestrainable creative energy. Looking at all the fantastical creatures that The Divine has brought into existence, it must definitely be one wilful entity with unbridled imagination and infinite resourcefulness: One hell of a creative entity. Who’d want to create and unleash mosquitoes or bacteria and viruses for no apparent reason? Perhaps only to observe how much grief these can give the other living creatures? Curiosity, you know, just to find out. Who’d bring into existence black holes and nebulae, galaxies and universes that tend to chaos? And why? Maybe as an outlet for an intensely creative phase to let out steam? As to why: because, very simply, it can. The Divine is the ultimate manifestation of imagination and thought. Like a child who picks up a paintbrush in a fit of restless creative energy and just splashes colours around feverishly till the whole looks chaotic, but appealing; so he smiles at his efforts, dusts his hands off with, ‘Nice picture, that. Impressive. Satisfying. I like it. I have made something beautiful, now let me find meaning in it.’
The Divine must be characterised by total abandon, exuberance and enthusiasm to be like that. It must so enjoy celebrating its power, expressing it in passionate outpourings of creativity. The Divine seems to be all about moving, being proactive, ever-evolving, restless striving. Sometimes its creations begin with great promise, but then fizzle out for one reason or another; the least of which could be loss of interest. How much joy there must be in imagining without boundaries! In having an idea germinate, then crystallise, then the birth of desire to create something based on it, then the striving to explore and discover what it is that could be created to give the idea expression. Then perhaps, would come the striving phase with experiments and observation of what would be a pleasing end result. Next, let go of some of those experiments to pursue feverishly one that would likely bring into existence something that is an expression of the original idea that had germinated. Imagining, visualizing, planning, creating, evolving, nurturing, refining…end product! Creation that is yet open to change. A work never quite complete with always scope for improvement. Never quite reaching a point that will allow the comment, ‘I am done. There is nothing more I can do with this.’
It is in this sense that I believe we emulate The Divine, not in following transitory and changeable rules, norms or laws. It is our nature to be curious, explorative, inventive, experimentative, creative, imaginative, and proactive; pushing boundaries in thought and action; exploring and striving to understand that which is without as well as within us. Look at any child. These traits are inherent in them. They add to these the qualities of wonder, exuberance, enthusiasm, and excitement that continue to feed their inherent nature. Being a thinking human gives us much to appreciate and celebrate: our power, imagination, drive and resourcefulness that allow us to emulate The Divine.
We become ‘great’ by following laid out rules and laws. We don’t become ‘divine’ by doing that. The thing is, we don’t have to ‘become’ divine. With all the inherent traits we possess that mirror The Divine, we just are. No conditions attached.
What is in our hands is how well and to what extent we manifest the divinity in us.