Video: Does God Exist? - Sadhguru

This is a story I picked up from the above video (watch from 4.25):

  • A man confused about the existence of god asks Buddha if god exists. Buddha gives a straightforward "NO".
  • After a while another man asked the same question and the Buddha, surprisingly, said "YES".

First of all I do not know whether this is a true story. If (or assuming that) it is true, I want to know what made Buddha give contradicting answers?


6 Answers 6


I have never read or heard of this story before. The Buddha did not teach Buddhists to seek or worship 'god' (Brahma). Further, the scriptures report the Buddha said to Brahmans that no Brahman teacher has ever seen god (Brahma) & also taught Brahmans that the way or path to Brahma is to radiate love in all directions (refer to Tevijja Sutta on the internet). For the Buddha, 'god' or 'the gods' are states of mind. In the Mulapariyaya Sutta, different gods are equated with mental states of meditation. In the Brahma-Nimantanika Sutta & Culatahnasankhaya Sutta, the Buddha visits 'gods', who are obviously human beings with super-normal spiritual attainments.


When Stephen Hawking makes it clear that there is no God, here comes Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh, saying that in fact there is God, and says that the Buddha said so. BTW…. There is no place for God in the Mahayana traditions of Buddhism as well. When you get a chance try to read “Brahma-nimantanika Sutta”: The Brahma Invitation (MN 49).


In all of the 18,000 + Suttas, the closest thing to the God concept is this Baka Brahma who once challenged Buddha.

Also as per Access to Insight: "From a study of the discourses of the Buddha preserved in the Pali canon, it will be seen that the idea of a personal deity, a creator God conceived to be eternal and omnipotent, is incompatible with the Buddha's teachings. On the other hand, conceptions of an impersonal godheadof any description, such as world-soul, etc., are excluded by the Buddha's teachings on Anatta, non-self or unsubstantiality. In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator God (issara-nimmana-vada) is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world."

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/godidea.html Buddhism and the God-idea – by Nyanaponika Thera

  • Yes I am aware of Buddha's stance on a creator/god. What this Yogi is saying is not that Buddha claims that there is a god. In the end he explains what Buddha wanted people to realize is that there is no point in believing or disbelieving I guess. Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 4:08
  • Having an opinion may be Right View in our usual , sleep walking and sleep talking "conceptual approach only" way to reality but in the moment by moment, fundamental approach to experiencing reality, Right View is no beliefs at all. No beliefs that there is or there isn't God.
    – Lowbrow
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 6:31

The speaker explains his story at the end:

What's the game Gautama is trying to play? See if you believe there is God, or if you believe there is no God, you're in the same boat: you believe something that you do not know. "I believe this", "you believe that", it doesn't make any difference. You can believe whatever you want, yes? Everyone can believe whatever they want, it need not have anything to do with reality as such. If you say "I do not know", the longing to know will arise. If the longing arises then the seeking arises. If the seeking arises then the possibility of knowing, exists.

During the story I noticed he said that the men asked the questions because "a little doubt" had come into their minds. That reminded me about these topics, on the subject of the role of "doubt" in (Zen) Buddhism:

I've seen "doubt" elsewhere: it's one of the fetters, vicikicchā, which a stream-enterer is free from. Note though that that's free from "doubt about the Dhamma".

If the story is true (or rather, "assuming for the sake of argument that the story is true"), maybe it's saying that "existence of God" is not knowable. You can't, for example, use the standards given in the Kalama sutta to assess whether or not there's a God.

Another thing I noticed from the story-as-told is that:

  • The first man uses only one word ("Ram") to say everything/anything. Gautama replies to him accordingly, with one word: "No".
  • The second man is an expert arguer and missionary, no matter which of the Gods you believe in he can prove you wrong within ten minutes of formal argument. Instead of getting into an argument, Gautama answers him too with one word: "Yes".

Maybe "does God exist?" is a question that belongs in the same category as other questions in the Avyakata Samyutta.

Maybe, using the logic in SN 44.10, Gautama gave the answer which would least confuse (or best unconfuse) the person who is asking:

  • The devotee was confused by their belief in God, so Gautama answered "No" (e.g. you need to see through, see beyond, see more than that belief).
  • Similarly the atheist, the materialist, was confused by their belief in only-materialism, and so Gautama gave him a corresponding answer.

A bit off-topic but it does remind me of this, which I read in a non-Buddhist collection of aphorisms:

Fais que je me contredise souvent: afin d'être simple et vrai.
- Prière paienne

(my translation from the French)

Make me contradict myself often: in order to be simple and true.
- Pagan prayer


About the truth of the story, nobody can know. But one thing is for sure. The answers given by the Buddha are contextual. By simply asking "Does God exist?", I don't feel like giving you a serious answer to be honest. This is what I meant by "trolling". I think there are many spin-off questions that the questioner has to observe for themselves. Possibly by starting off with defining God and suchlike questions. Now that's another matter altogether.


It is very simple. He thought that arguments relating to the existence of god does not solve the problems and suffering in this world.

For example :

If you had been shot by a poisonous arrow,what would you do? Would you waste time trying to find who shot the arrow or would you try and heal yourself?

The answer is and should be to heal yourself obviously. (If you think otherwise, well.. that is a serious mistake.)

Imagine this scenario, for the atheist if He said that there is God and to the theist there is no God. Both of situations would cause an unnecessary argument and the day would end up with anger on the person and ultimately not understanding Dhamma.

Now Lord Buddha was intelligent and possessed with divine powers. Hence he was able to predict if the person was a theist or atheist.Then what He basically did was, He responded in such a way that wouldn't cause conflicts and taught them Dhamma. End of the day winning an argument about a God is obviously futile but knowing the Dhamma and the truth about this world is much worthwhile.


I have read this story and have felt that Buddha answered each with love. As he saw into the heart of each man, he answered in a way that would help lead them to their own enlightenment. To Buddha worrying about such questions as whether God exists or not was beside the point when the person was still suffering. Suffering is ignorance, and so my first task should be to release myself from such ignorance.

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