--> Skip to main content

The Terrible Side Of God

We are afraid to acknowledge the terrible side of God. We are scared by the terrific aspect; we fear death. ‘The deadly frightful sword, reeking with blood, / they take from Her hand, and put a lute instead!’ as Swami Vivekananda puts it.

We shrink back in fright at the thunder of Mother’s awful laughter, at Her nudeness, at the dripping sword. We dare not acknowledge that it is She who scatters plague and sorrow and disease. We cheat our selves; like the ostrich we hide our face in the sand when danger approaches. And therefore we do not progress spiritually. Our fear, our cowardice, holds us back. Our beautiful images are smashed to pieces. Our God of love and all-goodness receives a few knocks, and then we are stranded. We tremble. That is the common experience.

The first experiences in the religious life are usually of a peaceful, enjoyable nature. Many converts mistake this for the highest state and they never strive for anything higher. They are afraid to lose that little bliss. They think that when that goes, everything is lost. But the courageous soul, the true bhakta, does not stop at a little pleasant, peaceful feeling. He wants God, the Truth, as it is. He pushes on and then he may meet the Mother in Her terrible form. There, many recoil in fear. But great treasures of Truth await those who persevere. They do not ask for a God of just favours; they are ready to meet what comes, destruction as well as good times. Passing through that state of terror the strong be hold the Highest, the resplendent One. The fire has burned the dross. The mind has become crystal clear. They have passed the ordeal, come out sanctified and are ready for the highest samadhi.