“And at the end of the kali yuga, the great destroyer of the worlds, God manifested as the destructive principle Shiva, does a dance called the tandava, and he appears, blue-bodied with ten arms, with lightning and fire appearing from every pore in his skin, and does a dance in which the universe is finally destroyed. The moment of cosmic death is the waking up of Brahma, the creator, for as Shiva turns round and walks off the stage, seen from behind, he is Brahma, the creator, the beginning of it all again. And Vishnu is the preserver, that is to say, the going on of it all, the whole state of the godhead being manifested as many, many faces. So, you see, this is a philosophy of the role of evil in life which is rational and merciful.
If we think God is playing with the world, has created it for his pleasure, and has created all these other beings and they go through the most horrible torments—terminal cancer, children being burned with napalm, concentration camps, the Inquisition, the horrors that human beings go through how is that possibly justifiable? We try by saying, ‘Well, some God must have created it; if a God didn’t create it, there’s nobody in charge and there’s no rationality to the whole thing. It’s just a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. It’s a ridiculous system and the only out is suicide.’
But suppose it’s the kind of thing I’ve described to you, supposing it isn’t that God is pleasing himself with all these victims, showing off his justice by either rewarding them or punishing them, supposing it’s quite different from that. Suppose that God is the one playing all the parts, that God is the child being burned to death with napalm. There is no victim except the victor. All the different roles which are being experienced, all the different feelings which are being felt, are being felt by the one who originally desires, decides, wills to go into that very situation.
Curiously enough, there is something parallel to this in Christianity. There’s a passage in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians in which he says a very curious thing: ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not think identity with God a thing to be clung to, but humbled himself and made himself of no reputation, and was found in fashion as a man and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.’ Here you have exactly the same idea, the idea of God becoming human, suffering all that human beings can suffer, even death. And St. Paul is saying, ‘Let this mind be in you,’ that is to say, let the same kind of consciousness be in you that was in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ knew he was God.
Wake up and find out eventually who you really are. In our culture, of course, they’ll say you’re crazy or you’re blasphemous, and they’ll either put you in jail or in the nut house (which is the same thing). But if you wake up in India and tell your friends and relations, ‘My goodness, I’ve just discovered that I’m God,’ they’ll laugh and say, ‘Oh, congratulations, at last you found out’”Alan Watts…
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