What Epithets Can We Give God?

Evening darshan, Rajpur, September 19, 1970
(Light of Kirpal, chapter 12)

Master: Silence speaks more than words. In silence many things are revealed … Why not ask God if there was anybody before Him? You go to Him and ask Him this question, “Where were You before?” In Sanskrit it is said,

“I am One and wish to be many.”
[Eko Ham Bahu Shyam]
— Vedas and Upanishads

Disciple: Will we ever be in a position to ask God that question? “Why did You create the material world?”

Master: That is only when you are able to ask Him.

Disciple: I know, but will we ever be in a position to ask Him?

Master: Then there’ll be no intellect. When out-going faculties are controlled, mind is stilled, then the intellect also ceases to work; it is you who gives strength to the intellect. This question will then not arise.

As I told you the other day, we are not happy here. We are in a burning house (the human body, which is very short-lived). We should come out and then inquire why the house has been set on fire, who did it and why. Everybody is after happiness, permanent happiness.

Like an onion, we have covers, one, two, three, four — go within and taste it. What is the soul? She is all covered. So that is why I say God is a mystery — all have become silent there. They have spoken of God with so many words, in so many ways. “How wonderful,” that’s all right. Simply keep quiet. The more you speak about Him, the more you belittle Him, excuse me.

In 1909, I was reading in a Christian mission school, as a teacher, the missionary used to come and preach. I asked him, “We find in the case of other Saints, ‘Shri Maharaj,’ and ‘Holiness,’ and this and that, so many epithets we attach to them. How is it that there has been no epithet given to Jesus Christ? Nobody says, ‘His Holiness Jesus.’ You simply say ‘Christ.’ ” He gave me a very good reply. He said, “Do you put any epithet to God? Do you put, ‘His Holiness God’; do you ever say that?” No epithet. Because God, Christ Power, and the God-into-Expression Power are all the same.

The Guru Granth Sahib is very voluminous; more than one thousand three hundred pages, and nowhere will you find any epithet added to God. Because we are finite, we always speak in finite terms… Guru Arjan says, “We are God.” If we say, “I am Mr. So and So” — the reason is, because we are finite: we have to speak in finite terms, that’s all.

They say once the district officer, known as Deputy Commissioner, happened to visit a remote village and camped there for two days. The village folk came to meet him and greeted him in every possible manner. When the time to leave came, they bade him goodbye and invoked blessings of God, saying thereby “May God make you a Patwari.” A Patwari is a government official in the village who keeps the land records, and the simple villagers had never had the chance to see any higher official than the Patwari. Little did they know that the Deputy Commissioner who was just leaving them was the appointing authority of such officials, and the whole district abounds with hundreds of such Patwaris!

So what epithets can we give God?

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