Why doesn't God just say what's on his (or her) mind and let it spread to every people? The contradiction in holy messages arose because of our own limitations. Let's assume that God is infinite. Our minds are not equipped to perceive the infinite. We perceive what we are prepared to see and know. Infinity reveals itself in bits and pieces tailored to each society, epoch, and habit of mind. We label as God mere glimpses of higher reality, like seeing one figure in Da Vinci’s Last Supper. A glimpse fills us with wonder, but the whole thing has been missed.

With that in mind, I've turned this novel into a meditation about God in us. Only half is fictional, devoted to ten visionaries entranced by the words that God spoke to them. The other half consists of reflections on what God meant when he singled out these sages, seers, prophets, and poets. The message wasn’t the same each time—Job in the Old Testament heard something very different from what St. Paul in the New Testament heard—yet one sees a pattern.

God evolves. That's why he keeps speaking and never grows silent. The very basic fact that God has shifted between "he," "she," "it," and none of the above shows how changeable the divine presence is. But to say that God evolves implies that he began in an immature state and then grew into fullness, when every faith holds that God is infinite to begin with. What actually evolved was human understanding. For thousands of years, perhaps as far back as cave dwellers, the human mind held a capacity for higher reality. Sacred paintings and statues are as ancient as civilization, preceding written language and probably even agriculture.

Nearness to God is a constant, not just in human history, but in human nature. If we are connected to our souls, the connection is permanent, even if our attention falters. We think that God changes, because our own perception waxes and wanes. The messages keep coming, though, and God keeps showing different faces. Sometimes the whole notion of the divine gets hidden, when secular forces snatch the steering wheel and attempt to drive alone. But the force of spirituality never fully surrenders. God stands for our need to know ourselves, and as awareness evolves, so does God. This journey never ends. At this moment somewhere in the world a person is waking up in the middle of the night hearing a message that feels uncanny, as if arriving from another reality. Actually, there must be many such visitations every night, and the people who step forth to announce what they’ve heard form a motley crew of crazies, artists, avatars, rebels, and saints.

I've always wanted to join this motley crew, and in the following pages I get to imagine that I belong with them. Don’t we all, at some level, want to join the outsiders? Their stories tear at our hearts and uplift our souls. The lessons they learned took the human race down unknown roads. One could do worse than to jump the track of everyday life and follow them.

—Deepak Chopra, April 2012