It’s a pleasure to be able to share with you all once again yet another interesting topic. Last week we had the chance to deliberate on a thought-provoking matter and needless to say we were able to gain a lot more insight on tests in our spiritual journey.
Today however topic of deliberation is different and beyond the regular, before we delve into it, allow me to give a brief preamble. If you are new to this blog space and would like to have a background information on what I’ll be discussing today then please do read this blog >God’s descent<. Having said that, today we shall be discussing about the form or formlessness of God. It might sound somewhat bold to try to “depict or describe” God, however there is no cause for alarm or panic as whatever I present here today will be backed by references from scriptural texts and in this way we can appease the minds of my readers who are from various religious backgrounds.
The reason why I have chosen to deliberate on this topic today is because; tomorrow the world over many Gaudiya Vaishnava will be celebrating the advent of the Supreme Lord on this planet over 5000 years ago.
So first question is why would God want to come here to this planet in the first place?
In the Bhagavad Gita Chap 4 text 7 and 8, the Lord gives the reason why he descends. He says whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious principles he descends, and when he does he comes with the objective of re-establishing religious principles, protecting his devotees and annihilating the miscreants. Sometimes the Lord doesn’t descend himself but sends his emissary to do his bidding. This emissary could be the Lord himself in the form of an incarnation or of a being invested with spiritual potency to carry out his mission. The Bible confirms this in John 3.16 where it says for God so loved the world that he sent his Son, that whomsoever believed in Him would not perish but have ever lasting life. So by accepting the Lord or his incarnations when they descend puts us under their protection. When we are protected by the Lord we definitely will have ever lasting life.
Does God really have a form?
Many people ascribe various attributes to God, and in this light describe Him as the great Light, the Great sound, the great energy etc. In as much as He is all these, He is also more. He is the great light but also the source of that light, he is the great sound but also the source of that sound. He is described in an ancient text known as the Brahma Samhita, or hymns by Brahma; one of the demigods working under the Lord’s direction. In this text it is mentioned that “the lord has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all, and has no other origin. He is the prime cause of all causes. This means that despite the fact that He has a body his body is not subject to the laws of material nature like ours. We have a body that grows, falls sick, gets diseased, grow old and eventually dies off. These attributes do not occur in the body of the Lord, thus his body is eternal, blissful and spiritual. His body doesn’t deteriorate in any way form or manner. He never gets old and there is no question of death for him, as he is death personified himself.
In the Bible in Genesis 1:26, God says “let us make Man in our image and likeness” which means we have a form similar to his. In the Hadith, it is mentioned that on the day of resurrection, Allah will come to those who worship Him and He’ll say I am your Lord”, they reply: we’ll stay here till our Lord comes to us and when he comes to us we will recognize him, then Allah will appear in such a shape that they can recognize.
If God has a form why is that form not spoken about, or why is He treated as formless by many religions?
In all sincerity, many people are hesitant to speak about the form of the Lord due to inadequate information on this subject matter. This is because not many scriptures have a detailed description, and thus there is hesitation to discuss that which is not properly explained. However those who have access to revealed scriptures like the Vedas, which are the oldest scriptures known to Mankind, have no difficulty in getting the right information. Second is they find it difficult to actually discuss the subject because they are limited in understanding and feel the Lord’s form is like theirs; which is full of limitation. The human mind finds it difficult to discuss about the absolute or anything absolute because it is finite in nature. Naturally whenever there is a discussion in that direction and there is inadequate guidance then the immediate response is to try to negate the concept so as to remain “safe” in their limited conception.
More so, one cannot speak about what one has no information on. In order to speak about the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord, one needs to have access to the information and the right attitude to get it. Also, because this concept has been abused by many people who claim to be “god”, because they know it is valid and exists, many religious do not even teach it ( for those of them who know).
The form of the Lord is definitely not one we can cover in one dissertation, however this is just a sneak peek into the concept of the nature of the form of God. When we make a genuine effort to try to serve the Lord in truth and surrender to a bona fide representative or spiritual guide, then we can hope that the necessary information needed is revealed to us. By the mercy of the spiritual master one gets the benediction of the Supreme lord, and without his mercy one cannot make advancement.
I hope this dissertation helps shed light on this matter. Till next week, do share, read and internalize. Follow for more.