The modern world is disenchanted. God remains dead. But our need for transcendence lives on. How should we fulfill it?
Eleven centuries before [Matthew] Arnold heard the roar of faith’s tide [receding] and Nietzsche declared that God was dead, the Hindu sage Adi Shankara recounted a parable in his commentary to the Brahma Sutras, a text that was [then] already a millennium old. Shankara writes that the great teacher Bhadva was asked by a student what Brahma – the ground of all Being – actually was. According to Shankara, Bhadva was silent. Thinking that perhaps he had not been heard, the student asked again, but still Bhadva was quiet. Again, the student repeated his question – ‘What is God?’ – and, again, Bhadva would not answer. Finally, exasperated, the young man demanded to know why Bhadva would not respond to the question. ‘I am teaching you,’ Bhadva replied.
Ya either got faith or ya got unbelief and there ain’t no neutral ground