Names are essential for all people and all other things in the world. They make it possible to identify one another, and to identify other things that we need to deal with. It is through names that we can discuss things and make sense to one another. But you may see that all names refer to tangible things that we can perceive through our sense organs. The question then arises that how can we name God who is not perceptible as the other things are? Yet we give names to God according to our conception or our religion. So are we really naming God?


There is no shortage of the name of God in the world today, as was the case over six hundred years ago when Satguru Kabir (1398-1518) commented upon it: “anant nām hein brahm kā tāke wār na pār; man māne so lījiye, kahe kabir bichār (God the Absolute has countless names; Kabir advises to choose whichever name you like.” No wonder there are so many names for God! He is being preached about, in many languages, in all the continents of the globe. There are countless religious and other spiritual groups teaching the concept and names of God. There are countless books available, in many languages, on the subject of God. There are millions of temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, shrines and other holy places for the worship of God. The world is overflowing, even more today, with the name of God than in the past, due to mass media such as radio, T.V., newspapers, magazines, internet, etc. One big question though is: Although God’s name is everywhere, how many godly people are there in the world?


It is easy to be godly if you adhere to the basics. All one has to do is follow the teachings of the scriptures. The teachings one should follow are left to the good judgment of the sincere seeker, who eventually will settle on the right path after all detours have been traversed. Basically, all scriptures have the same goal, which is, “do good, and be good.” It is also difficult to be godly because godliness is constantly in conflict, or competition, with materialism and excessive sense gratification. The mystic saint, Satguru Kabir, has one advice for people, and that is: follow a practical and simple path (sahaj marg). This simple path is to remain in harmony with nature, life and God include: Carry on an honest profession; take special care of the body as outlined in the Gyān Gudadi (Knowledge about the body); have compassion for all living things, do not hurt any; show respect to teachers, holy persons and elders, accumulate only reasonable security; enjoy the good things in life earned by one’s own efforts; share good fortunes with others less fortunate; think upon things, i.e. be mentally alert; control the mind concerning kām, krodh, lobh, moha, and ahamkār (lust, anger, greed, attachment, egoism); speak the truth; be just and fair with everyone, and try to have the realization that God is within oneself.


The important thing in life is not the name of God, but to experience God’s presence within. As Satguru Kabir questioned, “Where are you searching for me? I am already within you.”


Dr. Jagessar Das

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