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Hindu Concept of God
(Hinduism A Perspective)
In general Hinduism considers God not just as the Supreme All-powerful
Gigantic One, Who commands the humanity to tread the way He/She/It says, but
also a personal God Whom the individual can worship out of love and not necessarily out
of fear ! The fear brings one only upto certain point and beyond that it repels, but
love takes through to the point. Devotion or bhakti as often referred to is a
very key concept in Hinduism, even for the philosophically inclined ones. While the
shashtras - be it vedas, Agamas, purANas - describe the Glory of God, one finds
abundance of stotras that praise the God in love.
God is Formless or with Form ?
For Hindus God, as is, is beyond any attributes of form, color, shapes ...
That is, God does not have any specific form or name. In this state God is referred to
as nirguNa brahman (attributeless god). However God takes forms as perceived by
humans and this perceived form is called saguNa brahman (god with (good)
attributes). These forms could range from calm to fierce to yogic (1). Each form has
its significance. For example when one is depressed and sees the form of God Strong
and Powerful, the seeker feels the moral boost that God would definitely be the support
for the right thing. Similarly when in an auspicious ceremony would like the God to be
the calm provider of boons. In a spiritually elevated state, the choice would be the
yogic form of God. The forms provide a basis for the
Hindu worshipper to easily pursue the otherwise incomprehensible Supreme. So
Hinduism supports both form as well as formless worship of the God. Whether one worships
in saguNa or nirguNa way, it is ultimately the same God.
Let us hail the God, Who does not have a name or a form or anything like that,
by singing thousands of Its names!
Is there an evil force against God ?
God is the Almighty and Supreme. So how can there be anything good or bad against It ?
If the good things are the creation of God and bad things of some other evil force, will
the gravitational force of the earth be attributed to God or the other force, as it is vital
good element for us to live at the same time kills somebody who falls down from a high-rise
building! In the system made by God, normally one gets to enjoy the good or bad things
based on what have been their inclinations and the actions they made because of that. (This
is called karma). There is no evil (satan type) against God. In fact atharva
veda puts it very clearly,
"na dvitIyo na tR^itIyashchaturtho nApyuchyate
na pa.nchamo na ShaShThaH saptamo nApyuchyate
nAShTamo na navamo dashamo nApyuchyate
ya etaM devamekavR^itaM veda"
There is none second to It, neither third not even fourth.
There is none fifth to It, neither sixth not even seventh.
There is none eighth to It, neither ninth not even tenth.
It is the only Supreme. This is to be known.
The concept of good and bad things is at a lower level and that too in a different
way than strictly good and evil. The divines called devas are the protectors and
the essentials who support the worlds. For example, air, sun, moon, water, fire etc. Those
who disrupt the life supporting mechanism are the daemons called asuras. The
conflicts between the two often arise and the Hindu epics talk in detail about them. However
it should be kept in mind that as specified in purANas all the devAs are not the perfect
beings and the asuras the worthless evils.
Is God in some heaven beyond ?
God is not just something that stays in a far off heaven, who would be met with
after death, if one gets to heaven etc. God is omnipresent. It is right in front of us.
Oh, It is right inside us too. Well, It is in each and every minute of the minute particle
present/void anywhere! Does It stay in a world beyond ? Of course It does there too. (Very
renowned gAyatri mantra hails the Supreme to be the earth, the world around and the skies
need not wait for the whole lifetime to get to meet God. The important concept in Hinduism
is that God can be realized right here in this world and the God is not just Magnificent
Almighty, but is also a sweet lovely One, with whom you can have a relationship - devotee,
spouse, sibling, child, parent... God is not just in some heavens, It is right in us. It is
both transcendental as well as intermixed in everything. Those who realize Its presence reap
the grand reward.
Those who say He resides up in the sky, say so;
Those who say the Lord of divines residing down in the world beneath, say so.
I would say, the Lord of wisdom, Who got His throat brightly adorned with the stain of
poison, is residing in my heart ! (2)
Is God a He ?
Hinduism says, God is not just a He. It is beyond the created contours of gender.
For this reason the scriptures very often use the term "It" to refer to God apart from using
He and She. Especially when it comes to the Supreme in the natural state (Formless,
Attributeless), they prefer It to He or She. The form of Lord ardhanArIshvara(3)
clearly conveys that God is masculine, feminine and neuter. When the God is called the Lord
of all creatures, It is the God irrespective of the gender, animal race, or whatever other
differentiation one could think of.
God is understood not only postulated
The beauty of Hinduism is that the concept of God is tried to be understood,
experienced. There are purANas that elaborately tell through the voice of the
divines the glory of God. These are one part. On the other hand the scriptures like
upaniShads analyze through questioning and reasoning the concept of God. These two types
go very much hand in hand. Neither the divine glory limited to the reaches of the human
mind with the purANa like scriptures telling the things beyond the normal human reach. At the
same time they do not command a blind following of some super-human texts, but also very
much permit analysis. The presence of a range of philosophies in Hindu system
is the testimony of this. There are texts like yogasutras that cover the scope from
reasoning to divine glory too. So the total and complete spectrum of human verification to
super-human wisdom is richly available for the smooth progress of the follower in Hinduism.
No need to be blind-folded, explore your way to the Supreme !!
Those who did not get the deeper sense out,
keep lecturing out the book-confined knowledge.
- aRpudhath thiruvandhAdhi
1. Forms of Lord Shiva
2. shivalinga - Worship of the Beyond comprehension God by simple symbol
2. Where is God - ThirumuRai Series
3. ardhanArIshvara - Half male half female God
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