How We Visualize God

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.

(Gita 12:26)

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.

(Gita 8.8)

 

Ramayana and the Mahabharata

The crown jewels of Hindu mythology are its two grand epics, Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These reflect Vishnu’s incarnations as Rama and Krishna. Both epics are literary masterpieces containing a wealth of history, legend, philosophy, and ideology. They are post Vedic works considered smiriti or recollection rather than sruti or revelation.

The Ramayana was composed by Valmiki, a bandit turned saint and poet. Lord Brahma inspired him to write the Ramayana, a dramatic poem consisting of seven books divided into five hundred stanzas and 24,000 verses. It is believed to have been recorded about 500 BCE or earlier. The story is an intricate one with a large cast of characters including gods, demons, humans, super humans, animals, and birds who personify good, evil, or both. The well-developed characters act out their karma with elegance and might. The master plot containing intricate subplots takes many twists and turns and contains many diversions designed to keep its listeners riveted to every adventure and full anticipation up to the very end.

—Excerpt from On Hindusim, by Irina Gajjar

Read more from Irina at www.irinaspage.com.

 

God Is God’s Home

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In the last verse of Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, states:

I am Brahma’s home.

I am everlasting and unchanging.

I am unending goodness and unending joy.

Though these few beautiful words are open to interpretation, they embody an important concept: Lord Krishna is the home of Lord Brahma. How is this true?

Hindu Scriptures teach that Lord Brahma, the Creator, Lord Vishnu, the Preserver and Lord Shiva, the Destroyer all emerge from Brahman, the idea of an unfathomable God, beyond the grasp of humankind. This momentous idea gives rise to more easily imaginable ideas about more fathomable aspects or forms of God. The invisible, unimaginable, all powerful and all knowing Brahman is the source of Lord Brahma. Brahman is the first idea, the origin and hence the home of Brahma, the Creator.

Thus, we see how the notion of God led to the visualization of God and how an extraordinary superhuman concept has empowered human devotion, thought, and action throughout living memory

See The Gita, A New Translation of Hindu Sacred Scripture by Irina Gajjar.

God’s Three Acts

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Act One – Brahma, the Creator

While God is beyond human understanding or perception, Hindu scriptures have conceptualized the force that gave rise to our universe. When God sleeps the universe disappears and when He wakes, it appears.

Brahma is Act One of on the drama that creates the universe. Lord Brahma, the Creator, lights the spark of existence at His pleasure.

See On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar