It is a difficult question to answer whether I believe in God or not. The difficultly arises not from my uncertainty. It is rather the difference in the conception of God that makes it difficult to answer this question at times.
I once remember that I was talking to someone about something. And in the course of our conversation, I said something which made that someone to say something like “you mean you believe in God?”. And I didn’t know what to say. What to say when there are as many definitions of God as the number of people around. And when it is believed that believing in God is non-scientific. And when I knew that my saying “yes” will only complicate his understanding and my saying “no” will not be correct.
Let me put it this way. I believe in the God as portrayed in Vedantic philosophy. So far, that’s the most rational, reasonable and experiencable conception of God that I have found. The God as Sat-Chit-Anand. The God which is inseparable from us. The God which is our very essence. The God that manifests itself as the whole of universe. The God that is the observer, the observed and the act of observing. The God that is so subtle that our senses cannot reach it and our mind cannot perceive it. The God that is beyond time, space and causality. There are so many ways in which God has been described in the Vedantic philosophy, it is difficult to include everything here. Suffice it to say that according to this philosophy, we all are part of God (note: it implies that we are not a separate entity from God). Just the way there are waves in an ocean, God is the ocean and we are the waves. The waves are not separate entities from the ocean and yet they all appear to be different. Eventually, everything is just ocean. There is one more implication here. The ocean can always say that these waves are not different from me and everything is just ocean. Similarly, the waves can also say that the waves are nothing but everything is just ocean. Which implies that the waves can also raise their status to that of the ocean. That’s what Yoga is all about. It’s about a wave raising its status to that of ocean.
Now, most of the people who can potentially ask me this question do not know this philosophy. So, it becomes difficult to answer this question as you can see. However, this philosophy is very powerful. It can reconcile in itself the other conceptions of God as we shall see in sometime.
Even though I believe only in the Vedantic conception of God, I do worship Krishna and others in the same league. This adds another twist in this whole story of believing in God and it requires its own explanation. The thing is that I conceive everything through my mind which has its own limitations. First, to perceive anything, it needs a handle. I mean all this stuff about formless, nameless, all pervading God is fine but can my mind work with that concept. It needs a concrete form and a name to conceive something. Let’s say I have put a screw in the wall and I need to remove that screw. I cannot remove that screw just with my hands. Because I don’t have any grip on it. I don’t have a handle on it. But then I can get a screwdriver and unscrew using that. It will be foolish on my part to struggle with my hands when I can get a screw-driver to do the work for me. The screw-driver is connected to me at one end and to the screw to the other end. So, now once I have got a connection with the screw in the wall through the screw-driver, I can accomplish my work.
That’s precisely why I worship Krishna and others in the same league. And that’s precisely why all others do worship (knowingly or unknowingly). Different people may have different screw-drivers. Or they may choose different things for unscrewing (some may use a credit card corner like an ad that used to come earlier). But the ultimate goal behind any form of worship (which is done without desiring any result) is the same. Krishna is a connection between me and that formless God which I completely believe in. Some may choose Durga, some Shiv, some Jesus, some their Guru and some may choose something else altogether. But they all are connections to the ultimate God.
There is a lot more to this than what I have talked about here. I have just given a superficial idea without diving into details. May be some other day, I’ll talk more about it.