Know him to be enshrined in your heart always
Truly there is nothing more in life to know.
---The Shvetashvatara Upanishad
Happy Father's Day to all fathers and fathers-to-be!
As a woman who grew up in a patriarchal religious tradition, I have always struggled with the concept of God as father. The bearded, white-haired man of the Bible who destroyed the earth by flood, tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his own son, and created a son of his own only to order him to suffer and die to expiate for humanity's sins was not a God I could understand or relate to. As I grew into adulthood I rejected my childhood faith and did not regain it until I could envision God in other ways. For the past few years, however, I have called to mind my own father--a wise, kind, and generous man who not only kept bread on our table and a roof over our heads, but guided me, taught me, and loved me unconditionally. I depended on him, learned from him, and loved him dearly. Although he has been gone from this life for more than 20 years now, I still feel his presence within me every day of my life.
The Upanishads refer to God in masculine terms, but often use the phrase Lord of Love to describe him. All of life emerges from him and flows back to him. He is the creator and ruler of the universe, but he also
lives in each of us. And all we need to do in this life is realize his presence and surrender to his infinite love. This is the image of God as father I am able to hold these days--the image of a parent, holding us in his loving, protective hands and living in our hearts as an inseparable part of each one of us--the image of my father.
Come honor all those who have been fathers in your life at this Sunday's sadhana, 5:45 p.m., Ruscombe Community Health.