Hello everyone! I know most of you guys believe in God (or Gods). However, if the God exists, then he (or she) must be a part of this universe itself... That makes the universe as a superset that has everything in it, even God. So does that mean the universe or (Brahmaand as in Sanskrit) is even superior to the god as if the universe was not there, the God himself would have been non-existent. And if you say that the God is the most supreme, even more supreme to the universe, then that means, universe and everything in it (including us) are part of the God!
Sorry for such a weird introduction to what I believe is the crux of Hinduism, but I feel that this is how the Sanaatana Dharma (Hinduism) should be understood. So, coming back on the track.
In our universe, three things happen all the time : Something is created, and after creation, it exists for some time, and finally, it is destroyed. Science has shown to us that universe had a beginning and there is a major evidence that it will surely end (perhaps after trillions of years) after its steady(?) existence for such a long period. So does that mean that when the universe (which has everything in it, including time itself) come to an end, the God will also cease to exist? (Oops!).
This is the concept of “Pantheism” wherein everything in this universe is nothing but a part of the universe (or should I say God). We all are nothing but parts of God. We make up God!
In Hinduism, there are many instances of pantheism. Let me start with ‘AUM’ (or OM). It is a mystical or sacred syllable in the Indian religions, i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
I will now be quoting from Wikipedia.
“The syllable aum is first described as all-encompassing mystical entity in the Upanishads. As the creation began, the divine, all-encompassing consciousness took the form of the first and original vibration manifesting as sound “AUM”. Before creation began it was “Shunyakasha”, the emptiness or the void. Shunyakasha, meaning literally “no sky”, is more than nothingness, because everything then existed in a latent state of potentiality. The vibration of “AUM” symbolizes the manifestation of God in form (“saguna brahman”). “AUM” is the reflection of the absolute reality, it is said to be “Adi Anadi”, without beginning or the end and embracing all that exists.”
If you have noticed, the reference to shunyakasha or emptiness or void before the universe even began is what our physics tells us. Before the universe began there was nothing but pure energy that existed into a very tiny nothingness(?). That energy or vibration before the creation of the universe is AUM. The spiritual gurus who want to understand everything in this universe meditate on that nothingness (AUM) as the entire universe before creation was in it. Physicists call it the Primeval Atom (you can google it). And we all know subsequently, the universe came into existence because of Big Bang when all this energy came out and took the form of matter and light (and its entire spectrum) as we see today.
Most of you might be knowing Brahma is not worshiped by Hindus because he married his daughter Saraswati. However, have you ever wondered why Saraswati is worshiped? In this post I will elaborate on what is the meaning of worship in Hinduism. Brahma is not worshiped by the Hindus not because he married his daughter, but because Brahma is a symbol for our Universe itself. Since we are a part of the same Universe, we practically cannot imagine worshiping everything (including ourselves) in this vast universe (just try to concentrate on everything in this universe that you can think of and your mind will go blank).
In Hinduism, every "God" (or goddess) is a symbol of certain entity that humans need. Saraswati is a symbol for knowledge, Lakshmi is a symbol for wealth, Ganesha is a symbol for knowledge as well as persistence (that is why he is worshiped before beginning any work), and so on...
Hindus worship those entities in form of God so that they are always focused towards obtaining them. That is, if a person wants money and he wants it very much, he will be a strong devotee of Lakshmi. Similarly, if a person seeks knowledge, he will worship knowledge itself in form of Saraswati.
So, in Hinduism, worshiping is actually appreciation of the particular entity that the "God" represents. So does that mean Hinduism rejects the idea of God. What I believe is, YES. In Hinduism, we believe that Universe has everything. We are a part of it. All of us strive for something that we want to obtain (and hence we worship "demigods"). Those who have realised this truth are known as "sanyasis" who don't want anything in life and hence they do not worship a god in particular but will rather practice Dhyana on the universe itself (AUM).
I know this might be difficult for us to accept that Hinduism does not emphasize on the existence of God since we have been used to believing that in our religion, there are many gods. Please understand, as humans we have many wants. So we see all those wants as the driving force of our life. If we don't have these wants, we become sanyasis who are no more into living this life. So we perceive these wants (or needs) as Gods. Hence, God is a metaphorical term that represents all our needs. In my next post, I will make this more clear by citing examples from Bhagwad Gita.
How do you perceive something that has no identity or form? Let us take a number, such as 3. Do we see the number 3 when we look at three objects? No. We perceive '3' as an abstract pattern common to three occurrences of an object. Also a person believing in “one God” (here I am referring to Muslims and Christians in particular - no offense meant though and I hope none taken) is likely to hold a mental “image” for that God. He is worshiping that image believing it to be God. In this frame of mind he looks at someone who is worshiping a physical image, and condemns him for doing so. It never occurs to him that the physical image may just be a prop in one’s effort to experience God.
The idea, “God is One,” thus, misleads the “believer” into thinking that God must have an identity. It further serves to generate the claim, “My God is true, your god is false.” This claim provides a wonderful excuse to the ignorant to indulge in violent and barbaric crimes.
To a Hindu, the idea of quantifying God is misleading in the first place. It is a result of ignorance. In this post I will be talking about the nature of God in Hinduism. Some descriptions of Hinduism wrongly state that Hindus do not believe in a one Supreme Being but worship a multiplicity of supreme Gods. A common way that this misconception shows up is in the idea that Hindus worship a trinity of Gods: Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Siva, the Destroyer. Well they are partially right when they say Hinduism does not believe in one supreme God. Instead we believe in Pantheism, wherein everything in this universe is a consequence of manipulation of the energy or the vibration (AUM) that was released during the beginning of the Universe (e=mc2 equation proves matter is nothing but a highly condensed form of energy). Thus we all (and everything around us) is basically different reverberation of the same energy that makes up our universe itself (String Theory?).
Hinduism give credence only to the formless Absolute Reality as God or the Universe (Brahmaand - also written as Brahman, but this spelling may lead to confusion in pronunciation).
God is unimaginably transcendent yet ubiquitously immanent in all things. He is creator and He is the creation. He is not a remote God who rules from above, but an intimate Lord who abides within all as the essence of everything. There is no corner of creation in which God is not present. He is farther away than the farthest star and closer than our breath. If His presence were to be removed from any one thing, that thing would cease to exist. And yes, demigods whom we worship are not the universe itself but are a part of this universe and represent various elements in this universe. The more we have a desire for a particular thing, the more we "worship" (or strive for) it. The elephant-faced Lord Ganesha is among the most popular, and is perhaps the only Deity worshiped by Hindus of all denominations. There are (demi)Gods and Goddesses of strength, yoga, learning, art, music, wealth and culture. There are also minor divinities, village Gods and Goddesses, who are invoked for protection, health and such earthy matters as a fruitful harvest. These denominations indicate the wants of human beings which has to be fulfilled as without them we wont have any driving force for our life.
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