The Connection Between Believing and Blaming
Bhagavad Gita 9.11
Resorting to a human form, foolish people insult me, not knowing my supreme nature as the overlord of all beings.
I recently started watching a new show called “God Friended Me”. The show starts out with the main character, a young millennial who grew up with a pastor as a father, running a successful podcast promoting atheism.
In one episode the father and son have a heart to heart about faith and believing in God. When the son was young, his mother had cancer, and after a long drawn out struggle with many treatments, she went into remission. But on the day that she was finally released from the hospital, she got into a car accident and died.
The father admits to his son that after that happened he struggled to continue believing in God because it didn’t make sense that ‘God’ would do this to him or his family. His lack of faith led him to consider leaving the church. Only after a conversation with his brother, where his brother told him to continue preaching and ‘fake it till you make it’ did he decide to stay.
After that conversation, the father stopped trying to intellectualize and blame God to soften the pain of his suffering. Instead, he continued his daily prayer and preaching until his faith naturally returned.
In chapter 9 of the Bhavagad Gita, Krishna explains to Arjuna that he is not literally a man sitting above deciding exactly what happens to us. The ‘mudha’, or the deluded and confused ones, believe that there is some outside entity constantly deciding what happens to them.
Krishna goes on to explain the complicated way that things come to be. To human logic, the explanation is somewhat contradictory, but Krishna reminds us that he is beyond human understanding.
And that’s the whole point. Maybe things do happen for a reason we don’t understand, or maybe they don’t.
The easy way out is to try to explain what we don’t understand. We can console ourselves by believing that there is a human-like God watching over us, and that if we just do the right thing he will appreciate our efforts and give us what we want.
Believing this means that when we encounter pain or suffering, we have someone to blame. Blaming gives us an escape. A place to channel our pain.
But trying to simplify and explain away things that we don’t understand keeps us feeling powerless and stuck. It keeps us resistant to the reality that everything is impermanent and will change.
We always have the option to sit with what we can’t understand and just let it be messy and uncomfortable. Over time, each subsequent disappointment becomes a tiny bit easier to handle.