God’s Power and Grandeur

 

Perhaps the most awesome verses in the Gita are those that speak of God’s power and grandeur, depicting Him in all aspects and all forms. God is earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason, the seed of all beings, Om, and the Self. Gold lives in the heart of all living things. Everything that is glorious or brilliant or strong is a spark of His brightness. He is the essence of life. God is Brahma, the Creator who caused the world to be and from whom all things come. He is Vishnu, the Preserver. In this form God is a wonderful sight adorned with jewels and weapons, and heavenly garlands, and covered with fragrant paste. He holds the whole world by just a flicker of His divinity. As the Destroyer, He is Shiva who makes all the worlds afraid. He appears in multiple colored forms. He has large shining eyes and a wide open mouth filled with terrible teeth. His awful brightness burns the universe.

Yet, howsoever the ancients described God millennia ago and however we may visualize God today, the Bhagavad Gita explains:

God is beyond what your mind can understand.

God shines like the sun

Far beyond darkness of ignorance.

(Gita 8:8)

This excerpt is from On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar. To read more or to purchase the book, visit Irina’s website at www.irinaspage.com.

A Dialog Between God and Arjun

The Gita is structured as a dialog between God and Arjun. The first chapter describes Arjun on the battlefield facing his enemies. Earlier, both he and his opponents called upon Lord Krishna for help. Krishna offers his entire army to one side and Himself as charioteer to the other. Arjun chooses Lord Krishna. But even with God by his side, Arjun feels dejected and filled with doubt. His mind starts spinning. He sees his wise old uncle, his teacher, and his cousins facing him and he cannot make himself fight:

How, Krishna, can I fight Bhishma and Drona with arrows on the battlefield?

I respect them.

It is better to live as a beggar, but without killing, because after killing them our hands will be stained with their red blood.

(Gita 2:5,6)

This excerpt is from On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar. To read more from On Hinduism or other of Irina’s books, visit www.irinaspage.com.

The Forward March of Science

The forward march of Science without spiritual awareness is bound to become a self-defeating march, because the more we bite off the pie of knowledge, the bigger the pie becomes leaving our portion smaller and smaller. The more humankind learns, the more remains to be learned. As our knowledge of the universe expands, our understanding contracts. The better our information, the more apparent become its flaws. The universe is infinite, but our capacity to know it is not. The further afield we go to seek knowledge, the deeper we must probe within ourselves to find it:

 

You will see the whole world

In your heart

And then in God

(Gita 4:35)

Read more from Irina Gajjar’s blog at www.irinaspage.com.

Hindu Texts

Hindu texts contain the oldest documented repository of modern day philosophical and scientific knowledge. Vedic tradition distinguishes eternal unchanging reality, which begins with a breath, from temporal ever-changing unreality, which begins with infinitesimal particles of matter. It recognizes the existence of multiverses. Ideas that today float between science and science fiction—precursors of scientific discovery—abound and astound in ancient Hindu scriptures and legends.

In Hindu thought, God alone creates, sustains, and destroys time. God also has the power to expand and contract time. As time cannot be realized apart from God, God is time. Brahma sleeps, the universe ceases to be.

 

When He awakens, He recreates it.

Brahma’s day lasts a thousand ages

And Brahma’s night lasts a thousand more.

Only the wise

Know this truth

About Time

(Gita 8:17)

This excerpt is from On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar. You can purchase the book from Amazon or read more from Irina at www.irinaspage.com.

Incarnations of Vishnu

Ten incarnations emanate from Vishnu. The last, Kalki, is yet to come. Rama, Krishna, and Buddha are His seventh, eighth, and ninth incarnations respectively. All three were originally historical personages, though the dates of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna’s lives are not established.

Rama and Krishna’s stories are told in the two grand Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These works came to full fruition after the Vedic era introduced by the Aryans, but they were centuries in the making. Many components of the epics antedate Aryan predominance in India, be they of Vedic or of indigenous origin. The chronology of the Aryan cultural sweep does not put the age of the Vedic literature at issue because its roots antedate its appearance in India.

Rama, the son of a King, is the hero of the grand Ramayana, which tells of his early life, his exile in the forest, and his battle to rescue his wife, Sita, who was abducted to Sri Lanka by the demon Ravana.

Lord Krishna was a cowherd, much-beloved from the time he was a baby filled with mischief. He was flutist and a charmer who teased the gopis milkmaids and who won the hearts of all whose hearts he touched. Krishna’s devotees worship Him with single-minded love, finding ecstasy in simply uttering his name. His dark blue skin comes from absorbing the poison of a five-headed snake he killed. Many worship Radha, Krishna’s beloved, as one with Him because her devotion both controlled and reflected His divinity.

Diwali

 

May the joy, cheer, mirth and merriment of this divine festival surround you forever. May the happiness, that this season brings… Festive occasions fill our lives with a new charm and happiness. May this Diwali prove to the beginning of something great in your life!

 

Shiva

Representations of Shiva, also called Maheshvara, often show him sitting cross legged in meditation or else dancing. Shiva is Lord of Dance, Nataraja, and Lord of Animals, Pashupati. He is sexual energy symbolized by the phallus. The Destroyer is white in color, has multiple faces and a third eye filled with visionary and destructive power. The Ganges River flows from his matted hair, the moon adorns his head, a cobra garlands his neck, and he carries the trident.

Shiva’s wife, Parvati, is the great mother goddess. She is the personification of female energy known as Shakti and revered as the power behind all creation.

God as the force of destruction appears in the Gita as a frightening power beyond reality and beyond unreality. This manifestation induces both terror and ecstasy. It makes demons flee and saints bow down in awe.

This excerpt is from On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar. To read more or purchase the book, visit the website at www.irinaspage.com.

 

 

Nothingness

Belief in the world’s illusory nature gives rise to belief in the reality and greatness of nothingness. AN understanding of nothingness relates to the understanding of mathematics which embodies the concept of zero. At the same time, belief in nothingness is a significant aspect of Hindu belief in God. Nothingness is greater than creation which comes and goes as worlds appear and disappear in cycles. Nothingness existed before God undertook creation and God alone transcends nothingness. Devout Hindus seek to attain enlightenment which is akin to becoming lost in the supreme blissfulness of God who is as much nothing as He is everything.

Some people revere God as an infinite force requiring no further definition. But others find it difficult to work the idea of an intangible, unfathomable, all powerful God into worship or life. Thus, Hinduism facilitates faith by giving God a multitude of physical forms that represent his multiple attributes. It is next to impossible to know these countless forms and names. In ritual ceremonies, priests recite as many names as the worshipers have the patience to repeat or hear while they toss a leaf or a petal for each name into a vessel as a symbol of their acknowledgment.

This excerpt is from On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar. Read more from Irina or learn where to buy the book at www.irinaspage.com.

The Idea of God

Hindu philosophy is premised on the idea of God, not on a belief in God. Thus, the divine force, howsoever it may be perceived, or even if it is disregarded, is ever-present. Hinduism does not demand faith in God. Rather it provides links to the idea of God. Those interested can click on a link at any time.

What then describes Hindus if not faith in God, or acceptance of the tenets of Hinduism, or following the dictates of Hindu scriptures, or performing specific rituals? Responses often given to the question “Who is a Hindu?” include: followers of Hindu traditions, believers in Vedic philosophy, persons who follow dharma (a complex inclusive terms representing maintaining balance, staying on the path of truth, and fulfillment of duty), persons of righteousness, persons who will perform Hindu sacraments, persons who live a Hindu lifestyle, persons who uphold Hindu values, seekers of God, and persons who profess themselves to be Hindu.

The above replies are all correct, but none is definitive, given the wide diversity in individual beliefs. The last statement is probably the closest to the best answer. Nobody can judge the belief of a particular Hindu, but persons who believe themselves to be a Hindu know what they believe. Thus, a Hindu may be best described as someone who calls himself Hindu and who does not adhere to any other religion.

This excerpt is from On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar. To learn more about the book, visit the website at www.irinaspage.com. You can purchase the book directly from Amazon by clicking this link.

God’s Multiple Roles

Hinduism sets forth a comprehensive world view. However, the breadth, depth, and boundlessness of this view may perplex those unaccustomed to following alternative trains of thought. For example, though Hindus take God’s multiple roles of Creator, Preserver, Destroyer for granted, others may consider these roles in conflict, failing to take into account that they represent the cycles followed by the universe.

Similarly, non-Hindus may consider worshipping an absolute God incongruent with worshipping the many gods in the Hindu mythological pantheon. These super beings illustrated in books and posters and on big and little screens live in the other worlds or in the imagination. But shouldn’t we wonder at our imagination? Isn’t imagination also a world? Isn’t the source of human thoughts and ideas as real as the universe? Isn’t the output of the human mind as real as the world which is illusory in itself?

This excerpt is from On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar. Read more at www.irinaspage.com.