Q: Gurudev, In India we seem to be very God-centric and some people are blindly devout. Is it possible to be happy without believing in God? Sometimes when you put God in life, it creates problem.
Click on the button to share Sri Sri's divine knowledge topics. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You know, India is the only country where spirituality was honored without having any concept of God. In the Jain school, there is no concept of God sitting somewhere outside. And it is the same in Buddhism as well. So, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what God is, or where God is. don’t need to believe in God, at least you believe in yourself. Then you will know who you are. Who are you? Are you the body? Are you the mind? Are you the thought? Who are you! Know who you are, that is good enough. On the path of wanting to know who you are, your integrity, your honesty, your compassion and love for everybody, your sensitivity – all these will come up. And this is godliness!
In India, in the Upanishads it is not said to first believe in God. The Upanishads say, 'Know Yourself”. This is what is emphasized.
If you say, I don’t believe in anything, I am an atheist, then you know, atheists have a very big problem. There is fear inside them.
There are two types of people, one who believe in God, and one who don’t believe in god and have terrible fear because they don’t know what is going to happen to them. Lack of confidence, lack of compassion, all these come up. I would say, it is immaterial if you believe in god or not. What you need to know is who you are. You need to have some spiritual practice, some way to log on to what you are. If you say that you don’t believe in anything, at least you believe in what you are saying, right? What you should say is, 'I don’t believe in anything except myself'. You cannot say, 'I don’t believe in anything', then you are not even believing the words that you are saying!
What I would say is that, religion or a concept of God has its own value. It helps people in distress, it uplifts the spirit of people, and it keeps the ethical and moral responsibility. But I don’t see it is a must in order to be a good human being, or to progress in spirituality. That will come automatically.