QUESTIONS ABOUT GOD    Post settings Labels upanishads Published on 12/17/22 2:49 PM Permalink Location Search Description Options Custom Robot Tags

 Ātman, the “ real me, ” is ever-free, ever-pure and ever-perfect — and yet I find that I'm not so free, not so pure, and not so perfect. The “ real me ” is joyful and yet I suffer in all kinds of ways. Why does — and, more importantly, how can — the ever- joyful “ real me ” suffer? We reflected on this in the former post. 


 It's the pain of suffering which forces us to search for ways to overcome it. While there are quick fixes available, none of them seems to bed out the problem fully. One ancient and time- tested way to get a endless fix to the problem of suffering is to seek God’s help. Not everyone does this, of course, but some of us do. When a sapient mind begins to suppose of God, it's natural for questions to arise. Any number of questions are possible. Beginning with the egregious 


 Who's God? 

 One possible answer God is one from whom everything originates, on whose support everything depends, and to whom everything returns( see Taittirīya Upaniṣad3.1- 6, Brahma- Sūtra1.1.2). This bare- bones answer accounts for not only the presence of the world but also how it's supported and where it ends up. What the answer does n’t explain is how everything originates from God, what God’s support really means, and what going back to God entails and, most importantly, who God really is without reference to you, me and the world. 

There has n’t yet been a widely respectable explanation, and nearly clearly there noway will be. Has there been anything at all which is respectable to everyone, far and wide? What we do have rather are several different answers handed at different points in history by different people from different corridor of the world, which is how different religious traditions have surfaced. 


 It’s no surprise that the answers are different. What to speak of enterprises, indeed answers backed by a disclosure or direct experience of God are bound to be different. When an experience is clothed in words using language and culture-specific symbols, conceits and imagery, it's bound to have a distinct texture and color. What's important to admit is that, in malignancy of the answers that occasionally look radically different from one another, they represent sincere mortal sweats to understand and describe God. The sweats are noway completely successful, but that's only to be anticipated. After all, how can you ask for a perfect description of a transcendent being who's basically inexpressible? 


 Is God particular or impersonal? 

 Some view God in abstract terms, as the each- percolating reality, the godly source, or the horizonless being. Others view God as a person, not simply as a principle. Both of these views — God as a principle and God as a person — are from a mortal perspective. They represent a quintessentially mortal way of thinking. God as a person is mortal in numerous felicitations but also preternatural. God is viewed as being loving, kind, and compassionate, but also universal, almighty and human. Since God as a person is described in mortal terms, we tend to see in God a father- figure or a mama - figure. Hence the frequence of God the Father, God the Mother — further of the former, reflecting the gender bias that still exists in utmost societies around the world. 

Others go further and, in addition to attributing rates and gender to God, also suppose of God in visually further charming ways, making God’s personality indeed more personable. There's an egregious limit to the rates we can imagine in God, but to suppose of God in visual terms opens up a lot further openings. When I'm in the presence of God, who'll I see before me? Hindus have been historically veritably good at making the utmost of exploring these possibilities. 


 Thinking of God in an abstract, impersonal way or thinking of God in a most particular way is only a way of thinking. God always remains who God is, no matter how we suppose of God. Just because my friend thinks of me in some way does n’t change who I am. I'm who I am. My friend’s thinking about me does n’t change me. Likewise, God does n’t change. God is who God is. All dissensions about the nature of God have nothing to do with who God is. Those are dissensions about who people suppose God is. It's egregious that God has been imagined by the mortal mind in numerous different ways, which are occasionally mutually antithetical. 

Until we directly stand face to face with God, what can any of us do other than imagine how God is? rather of jarring about the superiority of one view over another, or claiming with no egregious substantiation that one view is right and other views are wrong, it's better to ask a more practical question will the way I imagine God take me close enough to God, so I can corroborate for myself who God really is? 


 Not all of these mortal imaginations are arbitrary and accidental. It isn't helpful to dismiss them as products of immature minds or overheated smarts. numerous of these descriptions of God, in both particular and impersonal aspects, have been handed by those who had a direct experience of God. The expression of an experience can noway equal or substitute for the experience itself, but it does have the power to lead a person to the experience. Both a particular God and an impersonal God can lead me to God as- God- really- is. 


 Does God really live? 

 Faced with multiple answers about God’s identity, each claiming to be right and none uncontested, it's natural to wonder if God really exists or is only a “ belief, ” a nebulous reality who can be propped up only on the strength of faith. numerous affirm that God exists, but this can not be objectively proved on the strength of their stopgap, belief or faith. Others feel too confident that God does n’t live, although their assertion is as much a statement of faith as of those who feel that God does live. A many others claim that no bone

 knows and no bone

 can ever know — whether God exists. We're left with the feeling that both veneration and dogmas have moment come persuasions of feathers. 

 According to Vedanta, God not only exists but is actuality itself. This means, claiming that God does n’t live is tantamount to saying, “ Actuality does n’t live. ” Funnily enough, this brings into question indeed the actuality of the person who claims that God does n’t live. See Taittirīya Upaniṣad(2.6.1) 


 असन्नेव स भवति, असद्‌ब्रह्मेति वेद चेत् । 

Asat eva sa bhavati, asat brahma- iti veda cet. 


 still, he himself becomes absent, “ If a person knows Brahman as absent. ” 

It's significant that the tutoring of God as actuality( sat) isn't laid down as a dogma or an composition of faith. It's simply a disclosure set up in the Upaniṣads. Everyone is welcome to study what it means, to examine it precisely, to ask questions about it, and to determine whether it fits well in the Vedanticworldview.However, its verity can be vindicated through particular experience, If God as actuality resonates with our own exposure to the godly. 


 Vedanta goes a step further God not only is actuality itself but God alone exists. There's nothing differently piecemeal fromGod.However, that too is nothing but God, If commodity differently appears to live. See Chāndogya Upaniṣad(3.14.1) 

सर्वं खलु इदं ब्रह्म । 


 Sarvaṁ khalu idaṁ brahma. 

“ All this is indeed Brahman. ” 


 The word for God that's generally used in Vedanta is “ Brahman. ” Brahman is neither a person nor a power nor anything that can be described through words. Literally, “ Brahman ” simply means the vast, the horizonless — which is how actuality itself is. What we can say with absolute certainty is this God is. Any description we add after “ is ” may be helpful, but it also ever circumscribes God’s infinitude and compromises God’s ineffability. 

Which means, indeed “ God is actuality itself ” isn't a perfect description. What it really implies is that God isn't absent( asat). In other words, God isn't fantastic . Likewise, when God is viewed as pure knowledge( cit or caitanya), what's really inferred is that God isn't a material( jaḍa) object. In other words, God isn't subject to “ the six variations ”( ṣaḍvikāra) birth, growth, metamorphosis, decay, complaint, and death. When God is viewed as horizonless( ananta), what's really inferred is that God isn't finite. In other words, God alone exists. 


 Put simply, if we want an accurate description of God, we can only say what God is not, noway what God is. After barring everything that God is not, whoever remains is God. 

In times of difficulty, how can I admit help from an inexpressible God whom I've neither seen nor known? 
 The answer is this when there's a need, God becomes the fulfiller of the need and no longer remains inexpressible. God becomes a coadjutor- God when the “ real me ” becomes a being in need of help. God simply is as long as I simply am. The moment I come a candidate, for me God becomes the sought. When I come a child, God becomes my father or my mama . When I feel lost, God becomes my companion. When I need company, God becomes my friend. When I'm in trouble, I need someone to deliver me. The prayers of the “ worried ” Ātman are answered by the “ troubleshooter ” God. 
 The subject and the object are stoutly related when the subject changes, so does the object. God’s getting someone differently is as real — more directly, as “ supposedly real ” — as the Ātman’s getting someone differently. The water coming to my bed is of no use when I'm thirsty in my dream. Only dream- water can quench my dream- thirst. In order for me to admit God’s help, the God I turn to must belong to the same position of reality as mine. When the Ātman is supposedly converted, there's also an apparent metamorphosis in the God whom the Ātman worships and adores. 

 God therefore takes numerous forms. When the Ātman becomes an individual tone( jīvātman), God becomes the supreme tone( paramātman). When the Ātman becomes a sucker( bhakta), God becomes one endowed with godly rates( bhagavān). When the Ātman becomes a critter, God becomes the creator. When the Ātman becomes a occupant of God’s area, God becomes the sovereign ( īśvara) or the supreme sovereign ( parameśvara). 
 When the Ātman stops getting anything, so does God. That’s the moment the duality ends. Since it noway really was, duality’s end is as apparent as its actuality. God alone continues to live, the way God always has. Which is same as saying that the Ātman alone continues to live, the way it always has. Both these statements aren't only accurate but identical, because Brahman and Ātman are one and the same reality. When the reality is viewed with reference to an individual, it's Ātman. When the same reality is viewed with reference to no bone
 in particular, it's Brahman, or God, who's further all names, forms and generalities. 

 Religion can be viewed as a dynamic relationship between the supposedly changed Ātman and the supposedly changed God. The thing of religion is reached when this relationship reaches its capstone with the consummation of total identity the “ sleeping ” Ātman wakes up and the dream vanishes. The boundaries that separated the Ātman from God and from everything differently dematerialize. Forms vanish, names vanish, limitations vanish. What remains is the verity — call it Ātman or Brahman or by any other name or by no name at all. Who cares? What’s in a name anyway? 
 All of this can be confusing. God is said to be inexpressible and yet descriptions of God pullulate in religious textbooks. God is said to be one and yet I see people worshiping a God who seems to be different from my own. 

 How do I make sense of all this? 
 The first thing to flash back is that none of God’s descriptions is perfect. An amiss description is nonetheless better than no description, since that’s about the stylish we can do, considering our limited expressing chops and the essential limitation of language. still amiss God’s description may be, it still gives us enough idea to make a morning in spiritual life. 

 The alternate thing to flash back is that, all said and done, our descriptions of God, our explanations of who God is, are all “ mortal ” explanations. This is necessary. Our all- too- mortal minds are trying to make sense of the world, its origin and its purpose. We can not but see everything from the mortal perspective. No wonder we tend to put mortal beings on top of the evolutionary graduation and look at everyone differently as ever inferior or at least less able. A canine or a cat may have different ideas. Who knows what creatures suppose of us and what their ideas of God are! 
 The third thing to flash back is that we mortal beings do n’t have an idea of God on which we all agree. This is because our minds do n’t suppose in an identical manner. nonetheless, none of the ways in which a sincere floundering soul thinks of God is wrong. The God I worship is the God I need in my present state of elaboration. As I evolve, my conception of God evolves too. For further perceptivity on this, please read Swami Vivekananda’s talk delivered in London on October 20, 1896. It's named “ Maya and the elaboration of the generality of God ”( CW 2. 105- 117). See also Robert Wright’s The elaboration of God( New York Little, Brown and Company, 2009). 

 At every stage in my spiritual growth, God responds to me in a way that's applicable in our relationship and in a way that helps my elaboration. So every way in which God is approached deserves respect, since they all represent ways to reach the same godly being. Every one of us is unique in our own way, so the godly we worship is also unique for us on our own internal horizon. God is one. Our comprehensions of God are numerous. 
 In the morning, God may appear to be a being far removed from me, staying in a distant place and controlling the macrocosm like a governor, awarding the good and chastising the wicked. Over time, when my ideas evolve and my love overcomes fear, God becomes a benign figure and comes closer to me. The love that connects me with God makes me feel that I belong to God if God represents the whole, I'm a part of that whole. 

 similar is the power of love that it sluggishly absorbs and engulfs everything. When my love for God blossoms into its absoluteness, it reaches a point when I no longer feel I'm simply connected with God. Indeed the bond that connects me with God begins to feel like a hedge. The mindfulness of my separate identity becomes a burden at that stage. It's also that the two individualities combine and all distinctions evaporate. The trip frequently begins with dualism( dvaita), passes through the intermediate stage of good nondualism( viśiṣtādvaita), and ends with nondualism( advaita). 
When will I know, beyond any mistrustfulness, that God exists( or doesn't live)? 
 Absolute certainty about God’s corporeality is insolvable to achieve. We're noway going to find the kind of objective substantiation we may want to see, because God isn't an “ object, ” like the effects we find in the world. The absence of substantiation, however, isn't the substantiation of absence. What's possible is to raise dubieties about God’s actuality. Whoever finds similar dubieties to be reasonable is likely to question the actuality of God and believe that God is a myth. 
 We can only raise dubieties about what we know, generally from whatever we've heard, read or been told. For delicacy’s sake, thus, it must be said that God- deniers aren't really denying God but only the idea of God with which they're familiar and which does n’t make sense to them. For utmost people, God is more an idea in the head than a real being, so when the idea of God is rejected, it feels as if God has been rejected. 

 Absolute certainty about God’s actuality is possible only through a direct experience( aparokṣa anubhūti) of God. It's good but not enough to have only faith in God, or a strong feeling or an intellectual conviction that God exists. What's demanded is a direct experience, an experience not filtered through the mind and the senses. similar gests are possible and, when they do, all dubieties about God evaporate( Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad2.2.8, Bhāgavata1.2.21), all fear vanishes( Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad4.2.4), everything that constricts freedom vanishes for ever. Once I witness God in that way, no bone
 in the macrocosm can convert me that God does n’t live. 
 It's to know whether passing God is really possible that a teenager named Narendranath( who latterly came Vivekananda) met the religious leaders of his time, asking them not about God but whether they had seen God. To his maximum amazement and joy Sri Ramakrishna said that he'd and, what’s more, Narendranath could see God too. Which he did a many times latterly, through the grace of his practitioner and his own grim struggle. That's why his words are as important moment as when he first uttered them. We must, he said, “ realize God, feel God, see God, talk to God. That's religion ”( CW 4. 165). 
Source:Vedanta society,Wikipedia

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