Concept of God – Hinduism
In general Hinduism considers God not just as the Supreme All-powerful Gigantic One, Who commands the humanity to tread the way He/She/It says, but also a personal God Whom the individual can worship out of love and not necessarily out of fear ! The fear brings one only upto certain point and beyond that it repels, but love takes through to the point. Devotion or bhakti as often referred to is a very key concept in Hinduism, even for the philosophically inclined ones. While the shashtras – be it vedas, Agamas, purANas – describe the Glory of God, one finds abundance of stotras that praise the God in love.
God is Formless or with Form ?
For Hindus God, as is, is beyond any attributes of form, color, shapes … That is, God does not have any specific form or name. In this state God is referred to as nirguNa brahman(attributeless god). However God takes forms as perceived by humans and this perceived form is called saguNa brahman (god with (good) attributes). These forms could range from calm to fierce to yogic (1). Each form has its significance. For example when one is depressed and sees the form of God Strong and Powerful, the seeker feels the moral boost that God would definitely be the support for the right thing. Similarly when in an auspicious ceremony would like the God to be the calm provider of boons. In a spiritually elevated state, the choice would be the yogic form of God. The forms provide a basis for the Hindu worshipper to easily pursue the otherwise incomprehensible Supreme. So Hinduism supports both form as well as formless worship of the God. Whether one worships in saguNa or nirguNa way, it is ultimately the same God.
Let us hail the God, Who does not have a name or a form or anything like that, by singing thousands of Its names!
Is there an evil force against God ?
God is the Almighty and Supreme. So how can there be anything good or bad against It ? If the good things are the creation of God and bad things of some other evil force, will the gravitational force of the earth be attributed to God or the other force, as it is vital good element for us to live at the same time kills somebody who falls down from a high-rise building! In the system made by God, normally one gets to enjoy the good or bad things based on what have been their inclinations and the actions they made because of that. (This is calledkarma). There is no evil (satan type) against God. In fact atharva veda puts it very clearly,
“na dvitIyo na tR^itIyashchaturtho nApyuchyate
na pa.nchamo na ShaShThaH saptamo nApyuchyate
nAShTamo na navamo dashamo nApyuchyate
ya etaM devamekavR^itaM veda”There is none second to It, neither third not even fourth.
There is none fifth to It, neither sixth not even seventh.
There is none eighth to It, neither ninth not even tenth.
It is the only Supreme. This is to be known.
The concept of good and bad things is at a lower level and that too in a different way than strictly good and evil. The divines called devas are the protectors and the essentials who support the worlds. For example, air, sun, moon, water, fire etc. Those who disrupt the life supporting mechanism are the daemons called asuras. The conflicts between the two often arise and the Hindu epics talk in detail about them. However it should be kept in mind that as specified in purANas all the devAs are not the perfect beings and the asuras the worthless evils.
Is God in some heaven beyond ?
God is not just something that stays in a far off heaven, who would be met with after death, if one gets to heaven etc. God is omnipresent. It is right in front of us. Oh, It is right inside us too. Well, It is in each and every minute of the minute particle present/void anywhere! Does It stay in a world beyond ? Of course It does there too. (Very renowned gAyatri mantra hails the Supreme to be the earth, the world around and the skies beyond). One need not wait for the whole lifetime to get to meet God. The important concept in Hinduism is that God can be realized right here in this world and the God is not just Magnificent Almighty, but is also a sweet lovely One, with whom you can have a relationship – devotee, spouse, sibling, child, parent… God is not just in some heavens, It is right in us. It is both transcendental as well as intermixed in everything. Those who realize Its presence reap the grand reward.
Those who say He resides up in the sky, say so;
Those who say the Lord of divines residing down in the world beneath, say so.
I would say, the Lord of wisdom, Who got His throat brightly adorned with the stain of poison, is residing in my heart ! (2)
Is God a He ?
Hinduism says, God is not just a He. It is beyond the created contours of gender. For this reason the scriptures very often use the term “It” to refer to God apart from using He and She. Especially when it comes to the Supreme in the natural state (Formless, Attributeless), they prefer It to He or She. The form of Lord ardhanArIshvara(3) clearly conveys that God is masculine, feminine and neuter. When the God is called the Lord of all creatures, It is the God irrespective of the gender, animal race, or whatever other differentiation one could think of.
God is understood not only postulated
The beauty of Hinduism is that the concept of God is tried to be understood, experienced. There are purANas that elaborately tell through the voice of the divines the glory of God. These are one part. On the other hand the scriptures like upaniShads analyze through questioning and reasoning the concept of God. These two types go very much hand in hand. Neither the divine glory limited to the reaches of the human mind with the purANa like scriptures telling the things beyond the normal human reach. At the same time they do not command a blind following of some super-human texts, but also very much permit analysis. The presence of a range of philosophies in Hindu system is the testimony of this. There are texts like yogasutras that cover the scope from reasoning to divine glory too. So the total and complete spectrum of human verification to super-human wisdom is richly available for the smooth progress of the follower in Hinduism. No need to be blind-folded, explore your way to the Supreme !!