"I had once been told by a friend that in India you have the right to approach a stranger and ask that person to be the incarnation of God. It is a startling custom in Indian religious life where one may approach another person — man, woman, old, young, known, unknown — and ask that person such a profoundly religious question. This person may refuse the request, but generally it is considered a sacred duty to accept the role if he or she possibly can because it is an honor and such a profound experience. From that time on, the adored person will be treated like God and will be revered as if God were present in the form of that person. Strict rules apply for the protection of both persons concerned, and one may not make friends or a casual companion of this bhakti master. Only worship and reverence are appropriate in such a relationship; you must not ask for anything else from the person but that he or she serves as the incarnation of God for you."
— Robert A. Johnson in Balancing Heaven and Earth
God: A Story of Revelation is the fourth volume in Deepak Chopra's bestselling Enlightenment Series. He is the founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, and one of the master teachers of Eastern philosophy in the Western world. Chopra is the author of more than 55 books and is featured at Spirituality & Practice website as a Living Spiritual Teacher.
Blending fictional accounts of ten extraordinary people in history he respects with commentary on their lives and works, Chopra has created a medium for us to ponder the evolution of God. These prophets, saints, mystics, poets, and martyrs are living icons of the Great Spirit. They demonstrate different aspects of the divine nature which is always creating and always changing.
Here are the ten faces of God for Chopra:
1. Job: "I am the Lord Thy God"
2. Socrates: "Know Thyself"
3. St. Paul: "I Am the Light of the World"
4. Shankara: "Life is a Dream"
5. Rumi: "Come with Me, My Beloved"
6. Julian of Norwich: "All Shall Be Well"
7. Giordano Bruno: "Everything Is Light"
8. Anne Hutchinson: "Spirit Is Perfect in Every Believer"
9. Baal Shem Tov: "To Love is to Serve God"
10. Rabindranath Tagore: "I Am the Endless Mystery"
Since every reader will have different impressions of these ten emblems of God, the end result will be a fresh sense of divine diversity. Chopra opens many new doors to revelation and its manifold meanings.
In her wonderful book A Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God, Joan Chittister, a member of the Benedictine Sisters, salutes 30 saints who challenge us to heed the voice of God within and to incarnate the imperatives of justice and compassionate service in our weary and war-torn world. At the same time, she asks for a new image of God. Both Chittister and Chopra lead us to refresh and reframe our views of the Holy One. Here’s how Chittister describes this quest; we are pretty sure Chopra would agree with it.
'"We need a new image of God.
We need a new respect for the poor and exploited.
We need a new model of woman.
We need a new kind of man.
We need new models of holy madness,
and wisdom, and justice, and fire.
We need a new kind of conscience,
and a new sense of
God's righteous anger.
We need a commitment to non-force
and a sense of gentle strength.
"We need examples of all these
things — or how shall we ever come
to them ourselves, in our time, at
our age, with our greatest needs."