The Gita develops around the concept of a universal God who can be envisioned, though not understood on a human level, and around the idea that life’s purpose is to attain unity with God. This precept is implicit as are other fundamental beliefs like reincarnation. When the Gita makes explicit references to such ideas that are a familiar part of Hinduism, It does so for emphasis or analogy rather than for evaluation. It reiterates them and alludes to them in different contexts, but the beliefs themselves are treated as givens, not as theories. They considered beyond question, though not beyond interpretation:
She who always worships God faithfully
Crossed past the world
And becomes a part of God.
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. God 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 likes the sun
far beyond the darkness of ignorance.
Faith is belief in the existence of something we cannot demonstrate and reason is belief in a conclusion that derives from a chain of data. I think the two go hand in hand. Together, faith and reason are the foundation of our world view, our behavior and our values.
I think these two components of human thought are mutually dependent. As different as they are, neither can exist without the other. Faith is trust in people, in our teachers, in our predecessors and in our destiny. Faith distances fear of the parade of horribles that lurks in our minds. It enables us to reason that we are likely to avoid the odds of random disasters that might wipe us out. Our reason causes us to take steps to protect ourselves, to strengthen ourselves and to inform ourselves.
Faith and reason together create the spark that encourages us to be as smart, as knowing and as kind as we can. They lead us strive to better ourselves and to be a force for good in our world.
Read more from Irina Gajjar at www.irinaspage.com
Often I wonder about the God or gods in whom atheists disbelieve.
Do they disbelieve in truth, in nothingness, in energy or in the unknowable?
Do they disbelieve in nature?
Some of us think God has certain forms, powers or manifestations. Some of us are tentative in our belief or agnostic while others are unwilling even to consider questions associated with the notion of God. Yet others blame God for all the atrocities we humans have committed in His or Her name.
I deeply respect all belief and no belief, but I wonder what disbelievers think when they go beyond denial.
Organized chaos might be order or a party. It might be the universe or multiverse. It might be evolution or devolution. It probably exists though this expression or notion, like that of a giant shrimp is oxymoronic.
Managing organized chaos requires multi-tasking. It requires the ability of an artist who views everything as a canvas. It starts out as a mess and a blur and ends up as a beautiful painting.
For those of us who think in more linear manner, functioning in the throes of organized chaos is difficult if not impossible.