In general, discussions about God or religion tend to be associated naively with this idea of the "Other" Power, the "Other" One, which corresponds to a rather childish or even infantile sense of reality. Children are not in general great metaphysicians or great mystics. They have some very primitive kinds of awareness as well as some remarkable kinds of awareness, which adults tend to dismiss, but when children communicate their feeling of God, they very often express a feeling that has been dictated to them by their parents. They naively describe reality according to a child's psychology—that free, child-made awareness of the total reality that is not natively associated with great, abstract propositions.
It is not that children are free of mind, and therefore their religious concepts are purer than those of adults. The religious concepts to which a child can be sensitive and responsive are generally built upon the psychology of his or her situation, which is dependence on a parent or parents, particularly on the mother. In the conventional parent-child relationship, the parent is a great, experienced person there to protect the smaller, vulnerable person. Such a relationship provides the naive basis for childish religious views and for what are commonly called "religious" views in general. And the notion that you have of God, previous to or apart from God-Realization Itself, generally is a carryover from your childhood situation.
Therefore, religion tends to be a solution for a rather infantile problem: the need to be protected, sustained, and made to feel that everything is all right and that everything is going to be all right, the need to feel that there is a superior, Other Power that is in charge of everything.
When parents communicate to their children about God, they generally speak of God as a kind of super-version of mommy and daddy. When you speak to one another about your earliest religious awareness (and it is more a kind of mental attitude than it is an experience), you commonly talk to one another in the terms of a child's model of reality. In fact, however, to enter truly into the religious process you must transcend the child's version of reality. To become human, to be an adult, a mature human personality, you should have overcome that childish view, but people commonly have not. Thus, to the degree that people are religious, it is that portion of themselves that is basically childish or infantile that is being religious or that needs religion. The whole domain of religion is commonly the domain of subhumanity, or of childishness and adolescence, rather than real human maturity.
When someone "believes in" God, that person is actually believing that everything outside him or her is epitomized in some Person, Force, or Being that is not merely making and controlling everything but that is in charge and is going to protect everyone, and especially that this Other Person will even help people to get the things they want if they will enter into a special kind of relationship with that One. Such a relationship is very similar to the relationship your parents offered you: "Be good and we will love you and protect you and give you the things you want."
Thus, popular religion is largely a cultural domain of social morality wherein people are asked to behave in a fashion that is called "good" in order to maintain a right association with the parentlike God, so that they will be loved and protected by that One and given the things they want, while they are alive and after death. Religion is therefore largely an enterprise of one's childhood, of the dependent, childish state.
When people become adults, however, they have more hard facts to deal with in life. They feel much less protected than they did as children in the household of their parents. Therefore, they begin to question and to doubt the existence of this Parental Deity. Such individuals may continue to be religious in some sense, willing to play the game of social morality and good behavior, but they carry on a rather adolescent relationship of dependence-independence, or embrace-withdrawal, with this God-Person.
Atheism is the ultimate form of denial of the Parental God. Atheism is not founded on anyone's real experiences of the ultimate facts of the universe. It is itself a kind of adolescent development of the human species. What characterizes the dogma of atheism is not a discovery that there is no God but a refusal to acknowledge the Parental God of childish religion.
If such childish religion actually amounts to an experience rather than just a state of mind, it could basically be defined as a very primitive sense that invades all of your life but that you feel most strongly in your solitariness, your individuality. It is the sense that when you are alone—and you are in some sense always alone, since you have a private destiny—Somebody Else, the Great One, the Great Parent, is always there. That One sees everything you do and represents a Parental Will relative to what you do. That One wants you to do certain things, wants you not to do other things, and will presumably reward you if you do the things that It wants you to do and punish you in various ways if you do not do those things.
Out of this kind of Parent-Godism come all the traditions associated with the notions of sin, or the valuation of events not merely factually but in relation to the Parental Deity. If something negative happens to you, it is generally regarded as a Divinely given punishment or a result of your conventional moral activity, or what you have done as a social personality. If good things happen to you, they are presumed to be gifts or rewards from the same Source.
Examine the point of view of conventional "downtown" religion. . . . You must see that such religion basically corresponds to the structure of notions I have just described, and it is therefore primarily a development of the infantile state of awareness and the original parent bond of childhood, and it is complicated by the dissociative individuation that develops in adolescence and that tends to characterize so-called adulthood as well.
The Way of Adidam is not a development of this childish or conventional religion. When I speak of God—and I also use other terms than "God", but this is one of the forms of reference I use—I am not speaking of this Parental Deity. I have frequently had occasion to criticize the childish manner of relating to such terms and to the whole process of religion and Spiritual life.
I could compare the "Point of View" that I "Consider" with you to this childish religious point of view by saying that true religion is not founded in the primitive feeling that
The Truth that is to be Realized may be summarized simply as the Realization that no matter what is arising, no matter how many others are present, there is only One Being.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Avatar Adi Da, 1983
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Earlier today I was talking with a few people about their childhood upbringing and the religious ideas of their childhood. There is a common notion people associate with God, or the Divine, and that they identify as a basic religious feeling or concept. I described it as the feeling you may have that even when you are alone there is Somebody Else in the room. This notion is the antithesis of the point of view of real Spiritual life.
Although I am speaking about God all the time, I am actually making a different proposition, or Speaking from a "Point of View" that is different from the conventional religious one. Perhaps, by contrast, it could be said that this "Point of View" is summarized in the notion that no matter how many people are in the room there is still only One Person there!
The Parental God
of Childish Religion Cannot be Proven
by Avatar Adi Da Samraj
even when you are alone there is always Someone Else present. Rather, I describe the basis of true religion as a mysterious experience or intuition that no matter how many others are present, no matter how many people are present, including yourself, no matter what is arising, there is only One Reality, One "Self", One Condition. That One is not "other". That One is not your parent. And, in phenomenal and experiential terms, That One is not merely devoted to rewarding and punishing you, supporting you and protecting you. Rather, That One is manifested as all kinds of phenomenal conditions, opposites, even contradictions. You cannot account for That One in childish terms.
In fact, if you really examine the nature of conditional Nature, or of phenomenal existence, there is no justification for believing in the Parental Deity at all. I would say there is zero justification for it. But this is for you to "consider". Where is the justification for it? It is simply not true to the facts of existence altogether that there is a great, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Being making everything happen, in charge of everything happening and making things turn out well for those who acknowledge that One and obey certain moral principles. It is simply not so. It is not so that there is such a Parental Deity controlling history, working out a great plan for humanity, making a great revelation of Truth historically once and for all, as is presumed of Jesus and other prophets and great figures.
The Divine, or God, the One to be Realized, is not other than your real Condition. That One transcends your personal, conditional existence, but your conditional existence arises in That One. All of this appearing here is a modification of That One, a play upon That One. To Realize That One, you must enter profoundly into the Divine Self-Position, but not by means of the traditional method of inversion or of turning attention inward, which is simply one of the ego-based solutions to the presumed problem of existence.
That Which is to be Realized is in the Divine Self-Position. And it is to be Realized not by appealing to Something outside yourself or by entering into childish dependence on some great Principle but by transcending the limits on the Divine Self-Position and Realizing the Ultimate Potency of That in Which you inhere.
You do not become truly religious unless you truly reach this understanding and awaken to its point of view. The Parental God of childish religion cannot be proven. That One does not exist. The struggle to prove the existence of such a One is a false struggle. It is an expression of the common disease, the problem-consciousness of threatened egoity. This does not mean that people should all become like atheistic psychiatrists and throw religion away— although on the basis of a very intelligent "consideration" much of what is called "religion" should be thrown away, because it is just a consolation for rather childish egos. But there is much more to true religion than what is contained in these childish propositions. It is That Which goes beyond these childish propositions that I Call you to "consider" in the form of My Wisdom-Teaching and also in the evidence of the Great Tradition, or the total global inheritance of human culture.
There is the Great Being, the Great Divine Reality. There is that Truth. And there is a Way of entering into the Realization of That One. That Way requires great maturity, not childishness, not adolescence, not egoity, and it involves the transcendence of everything conventionally religious that is associated with your childish and adolescent personality. You do not enter into that Realization by appealing to the Other Power, the objective Parental Deity outside you, as proposed by conventional religion. The Way of Adidam does not even involve appeal to that Great Other One in the form of mystical or subtle* objects of any kind.
God is not the white-bearded Character of the Old Testament myths (or, more precisely, of popular Judeo-Christian mythology), but neither is God a kind of all-pervading Parent-like Essence. God is not even present as a separate Personality in any exclusive sense anywhere in cosmic Nature. Nor is God to be identified with any subtle object in cosmic Nature, or with any of the lights observable via mystical consciousness.
You only Realize and, therefore, ultimately prove the existence of the One that is God by entering most profoundly into the Divine Self-Position, the Domain of your True Existence, Is-ness, Being Itself.
The God of conditional Nature, the "Creator-God", cannot be proven, because that One does not exist as proposed. But the Great God is Transcendental (and Inherently Spiritual) and Exists in the Divine Self-Position. In other words, That One exists at the level of your eternal Existence and not at the level of the objects related to your conditional existence, your manifested independence. This same One is also present to you in the form of all others, all objects, all states of conditional Nature—not as Other, but rather as That One in Which you inhere.
That One is present as the Divinely Self-Realized Spiritual Master, the human Transmitter of the Divine Being, but not in any exclusive sense, not as the Holy Other but as That Which Manifests the Power of the Divine Self-Position. That One is Present as Spiritual Force, Transmitted through the Spiritual Master's Spiritual Baptism and Good Company.
The purpose of your reception of My Spiritual Heart-Transmission, therefore, is to lead you into the Realization of That Which is in the Divine Self-Position. Its purpose is not to call you to conform to an apparent Power outside yourself that requires you to engage in activities very similar to the childish social routines of conventional religiosity.
Thus, the Truth that is to be Realized may be summarized simply as the Realization that no matter what is arising, no matter how many others are present, there is only One Being. This is precisely different from the childish proposition that even when you are alone there is always Someone Else present.
[February 7, 1983]