To me, there's no evidence that God exists, not in the sense of an all-knowing, all-powerful personal consciousness, or something of the sort.
So I can't wrap my mind around the question, "What would it feel like to be God?" However, I do wonder what it's like to be a human who is considered to be God in human form: GIHF.
As some Vedanta folks point out, there are quite a few historical contenders for a GIHF appellation.
Jesus, Buddha, Rama, Krishna, Moses, Muhammad, Chaitanya, Ramakrishna are cited, though some of these names are questionable candidates. (Buddha didn't teach there was a God, and I don't think many Christians recognize Moses as God in human form.)
However, there's no doubt that quite a few people alive today are considered by devotees to be GIHF. For example, a central tenet of contemporary Sant Mat movements is that the "perfect living master," or guru, is an incarnation of God who has divine powers.
I was initiated by such a guru, Charan Singh, in 1971. I went to India in 1977 and spent two weeks at the headquarters of his organization, Dera Baba Jaimal Singh in the Punjab. In 1998 I returned for another couple of weeks and saw Charan Singh's successor, Gurinder Singh. I've also seen Gurinder Singh a number of other times, both in personal meetings and large gatherings.
Previously I've pondered the question, "Who is the guru?" I discounted the possibilities raised by Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman: liar, lunatic, the Lord, or legend. Loyalist made the most sense to me.
Perhaps when a successor is appointed to fill the shoes of a highly-regarded guru, loyalty both to his predecessor and to the surrounding organization prevents the newcomer from crying out, “Hey, I’m not God! I’m just a man filling the role of a guru.”
This still seems reasonable to me.
However, when I try to imagine what it's like for a guru to sit on a dais in front of tens of thousands of people who consider him to be God in human form, I'm still left with some uncomfortable questions.
Which are founded on a basic assumption: either the guru (1) knows that he is divine, possessing miraculous powers, or (2) he doesn't.
If (1) is true, the usual theological quandries concerning God pop up.
Why does God choose to remain so well hidden? Why does God allow pain, suffering, ignorance, war, disease, and all the other ills of humankind to persist? Why doesn't God explicitly reveal himself, herself, or itself and put an end to all of the divisive religious wrangling?
As noted before, I think the "guru is God" theory is exceedingly unlikely. For one thing, there are lots of gurus in the world, many with contradictory teachings. What are the chances that one guru among many is genuinely divine, while the others are fakes?
So I'm drawn to option (2): the guru knows that he isn't God in human form, but carries on with a role that demands that he act as if he is.
All I can do is imagine how I'd feel in such a situation. Most likely, somewhat guilty. Well, probably more than that: considerably guilty. In part I base this prediction on my ill-fated Kirby vaccum-selling experience in college.
I was desperate for a summer job. I responded to a notice saying I could make good money in some sort of undisclosed fashion. When disclosed, it turned out to be selling Kirby vacuums door to door.
I never sold any. For which I'm glad.
The closest I came was after I got an elderly lady on the edge of agreeing to buy one of these over-priced vacuums. As instructed, I used her phone to call my supervisor and pretend that I was asking him for a special deal, just for her, because she was such a special, wonderful, deserving person, blah, blah, blah.
I dialed the number. Made my spiel for the lady's benefit. Listened to the Kirby supervisor laugh and urge me to go for the sales kill.
I didn't make the sale. After I left her house I turned in my stuff to Kirby central, saying I was quitting. Probably I spent the rest of the summer smoking pot -- a better use of my time than trying to con old ladies.
I'm not saying that Sant Mat gurus are con artists. Only that if people are saying you're divine, and you know you aren't, this isn't all that different from selling a product under false pretenses.
No money is charged for initation by the guru. But initiates buy into Sant Mat with a lot of emotional, intellectual, and devotional commitment. I know I did.
Much of that commitment stemmed from a belief that the guru was who he was held out to be: God in human form, someone who had taken on the task of saving souls from karmic imprisonment and returning them to the highest spiritual realm, Sach Khand.
It's difficult for me to believe that a guru would accept people for initiation knowing that he wasn't able to to fulfill that promise, that it was a sham.
Yet it's also difficult for me to believe that I used to believe what I did. So I'm left not knowing how to look upon the guru.
I don’t know which is true: God-man or Asshole. All I know is that for me, seeing is believing. I’ll believe someone is God when I see unequivocal evidence of this (as to what that might be, all I can say is that I’ll know it when I see it). Until then, if you say you’re God, I’m going to use my alternative title for you.