Even before Nietzsche announced the ‘death of God’, people had begun to accept that perhaps God was just a human invention. The concept of God had no real significance except to keep society under control and allow some people to wield power over others. The mixing of religion, politics and God have led to much delusion and confusion about what God really represents. Also, the way in which we speak of God, as a patriarch having human tendencies, has led to many disputes between groups over what God really ‘wants’ from us.

In yogic terms, God is not an individual force; it is the ultimate uniting force and origin of the universe. Through social conditioning, we have been referring to God as ‘he’ for centuries, although God is neither male nor female. For me, the use of this pronoun is just a technicality. I feel that every religion has a true, mystical side which recognises the true essence of God, but the overlay of social practices has clouded this essence and created divisions amongst people of different faiths. That is why I prefer not to think of God in terms of any religion at all, but try and see the essential teaching in every faith. Although I value yogic teachings for their logic and health benefits, I do not adhere particularly to the conventional Hindu take on God.

I think God has a place in our lives because it brings about an awareness of our spiritual identity. It reminds us of the inevitability of death and teaches us to live a more meaningful life. Even with abounding physical health, mental prowess and access to life’s pleasures, living is incomplete without the experience of love. And God represents the highest and most universal expression of love.