Arjun’s journey from doubt to faith symbolizes mankind’s journey. The journey is premised on a belief in a principle greater than ourselves and on a belief that we can ultimately transcend our human limits. Meanwhile, as we travel on the road to enlightenment, we can improve our human condition. But the journey must begin with the idea or hope that the end will have meaning.
God is The Gita’s premise. Its message is that life’s purpose is to attain enlightenment and eternal bliss merging into God. This message is a familiar one. However, its new and concise formulation coalesced Hindu thought and its fresh expression has guided Hindu behavior into the twenty-first century. In the revelation that is the Gita, God delivers His word with beauty and simplicity. This scripture contains eighteen chapters and seven hundred verses upon which uncounted commentaries have been written and continue to be written.
In the course of responding to Arjun, God as Lord Krishna unclouds Arjun’s vision, opens his mind and touches his heart. He speaks of His own nature and power, of human nature and human duty, or worlds, knowledge, of what is knowable, of the universal and human cycles of birth, life, and death and He speaks truth. Questions related to these matters intersect and overlap and they give rise to further questions and answers. In the end, the Gita paints an integrated picture of our human role in the vast scheme of things that is beyond us but not beyond our wonder.
In Chapter 11 of The Gita, in answer to Arjun’s request, God gives Arjun a divine eye. Thus empowered, Arjun sees God in His powerful beauty, with multiple faces, eyes and mouths, and with magnificent jewels weapons, garlands and clothes. His form is covered with fragrant pastes and glows with the light of a thousand suns.
Arjun perceives the entire endless universe and contained within God and he sees God without beginning, middle or end. He sees nothing but God’s overwhelming brilliance.
The verses describing this vision of the Lord put into words the emotions and thoughts of believers and devotees who try to imagine and explain their certainty about the existence of a benevolent Creator and Preserver to whom they are devoted. The descriptions bring to life ideas that are beyond description or explanation but self-evident to many.
In my opinion, the notion of God evidences a truth that is real because it lives in human hearts and minds though it cannot be quantified or qualified in expressions or images. Human notions, howsoever inexplicable, are powerful. They do not arise from nowhere and cannot be dismissed as nothing.
Many of us want answers to questions of our existence, the reality of God, eternity, the soul, the meaning of truth and other such matters.
On the other hand, most of us know or realize that these answers are not available to our human minds. Still we persist in our quest. I think we do this to a large extent because the exercise is mentally fun. Most of us who pursue such truths intellectually are not really prepared for revelations that evade or defy the limits of our understanding.
Lord Buddha taught that we should not worry about understanding that which is beyond our grasp, but should focus instead on virtuous behavior and our karma. Early Buddhism did not consider God at all, but later Buddhist could not manage without a deity and decided that Lord Buddha embodied God Himself.
If the core of Hinduism had to be summed up in a single word, that word would be truth, perhaps more appropriately Truth with a capital letter.
The holy syllable “Om” represents the totality of the absolute, the infinite spirit and truth.
Om is defined by the phrase Om Tat Sat meaning “Om That True.” However, each of these words represents a concept. Thus rendering Om Tat Sat in English requires a judgement call. I think a good way to say Om Tat Sat in English is “Om is the real and true infinite spirit.”
The totality of Hindu philosophy and thought is subsumed under the notion of Om Tat Sat. While the notion these words encompass may seem complex, it is really quite simple and most Hindus grasp it easily. The underlying belief of Hinduism is that only truth is real and worthy of our devotion.
The Hindu concept of God as ultimate truth is comparable with Biblical explanation given to Moses. In Exodus 3:14 God says I AM WHO I AM. SAY THIS TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL. I AM HAS SENT ME TO YOU.
See Chapter 9 of On Hinduism by Irina Gajjar to explore the meaning of Truth in Hindu philosophy.
The three words Om Tat Sat represent the essence of Hindu philosophy.
Om means the absolute, endless, eternal spirit of God and Truth. It is a powerful term in meditation. Sometimes in meditation we can feel this word ringing within. Hindus assert that the word Om has the power to wake up our spirit and reveal our inner light.
Tat is a complex word meaning simply that or more deeply “That” that is. In the phrase OmTatSat, the word Tat implies thatGod is a truth or a force.
Sat means true or real. Sat says that what is true is real and what is real is true. PureSat is light and happy and lasts forever. Hindu philosophy views the temporal world we perceive as illusionary or as maya. Although the world of perception is measurable and verifiable, it is not real because it is mutable and subject to destruction. Sat transcends the universe.