Giving Thanks to Whom? by Mahesvara Das


At the end of this month the people of America celebrate the event called “Thanksgiving”. As the title implies, the whole purpose of this event is to stop and become consciously grateful for the things we have each been given. Traditionally people take this time to give thanks to God for the gifts of the bountiful harvest and the blessings of family, friends, and good health etc.
Of course, the holiday assumes an acceptance that there is a God to give thanks to. But for all those who reject the Vedic conclusion that the three stages of God realization culminate in the Personality of Godhead referred to there as Lord Sri Krishna, the whole concept of Thanksgiving becomes an absurd event.
There is absolutely no rational reason to go through the motions of giving thanks to God if one truly believes that the one who is apparently doing the “thanking” and the one who is apparently doing the “giving” are the same individual or just sardonic cosmic illusions!
Old Man God ?
When Michelangelo first painted “Creation: The Touch Of God” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, in the early 1500’s, it was immediately problematic. The high priests of that time were very upset about having a larger than life full frontal nudity portrait of Adam painted on the most prominent part of the most important church in the Catholic empire. But what was even more controversial was that, according to the Bible, God had specifically told Moses it was impossible for humans to see his face! (Ex 33:18-33) Yet Michelangelo was not only painting his face but his whole aged body in full Technicolor on the same ceiling with the naked Adam! How did Michelangelo know what God looked like?
When the priests converged on him, Michelangelo convinced them to allow the paintings to stay by pointing out that God also said he made man in his own image. Therefore, he reasoned, that if God created the universe and our galaxy was very old, then God himself must also be a very, very old man! It all apparently made sense at that time, but still nobody can say that just because Michelangelo painted what he thought God looked like, his spectacular rendition of how the Supreme Lord looked, it was still limited to his own fanciful guess. The Vedas warn about the pitfalls of this type of faulty reasoning particularly because it seems so reasonable, and yet it is very misleading.
Contrary to Michelangelo’s speculation about what God looks like, the Vedas make it very clear that even though Krishna appeared on this planet for approximately 125 years, he never aged past the blooming youth of 16 years! This of course makes a lot more sense then what Michelangelo concluded for the obvious reason that old age is not a pleasant experience and God is not subjected to the laws of nature like we are!
One Universal God Addressed by Many Names
It’s not so important what name you use to call out to God, all He would like to know is that you haven’t forgotten Him or take Him for granted! That is the real meaning behind “Thanksgiving”. The world is sustained and totally dependent on a brilliant sun that burns several hundred million tons of hydrogen every second in an atmosphere that has no oxygen. Just how magically inconceivable is that? Where does all that hydrogen come from and how can it burn in the vacuum of outer space?
Let’s not take all of this for granted or reduce it down to a game of chance like a Vegas Roulette wheel.

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