In pursuit of the holy Question
– WHO IS GOD?
By Brahma Kumari Meera assisted by Brahma Kumari Chanda
Our knowledge tends to comprehend things as per the sense of sight, sound, tast, touch or smell. Our life culture revolves around the experience of ‘Seeing is believing’ or on a ‘hands on’ experience and hanec are always used to perceiving things through the same way. And when we talk about the Supreme Bieng, due to the reason that we cannot see, hear, taste, touch or smell HIM, the question arises in our mind – Who is GOD? In the following write-up, B K Meera of the Brahma Kumaris Institute attempts providing you with a satisfying answer to the holy question.
Man tends to develop a natural curiosity to understand the significance of God. Who is HE, What is HIS form, What are HIS attributes, Where is HE, What are HIS acts or Where do I stand in relationship with HIM, are a few questions that certainly cross our mind in trying to decipher the true meaning of God. These are also a set of questions that for the vast majority remains unanswered and therefore the experience of God remains unfulfilled. There is an endless stream of human theories and concepts which appear to create a confusion or an ill feeling when opposed to each other, but ultimately one must ask himself or herself how far ‘He’ or ‘She’, the individual, has had the experience of HIS powers and qualities. The very basis of forming any relationship with anyone is with the knowledge of who they are, what they look like, where they are from, and what they do.
Similarly, when one sets out in quest of the identity of the Supreme Being, it becomes extremely confusing, as at every direction, one receives varied perspectives with different answers. A multitude of conflicting scriptures are thrust upon our minds, and one reaches a situation where on begins to speculate on the very existence of GOD. If any such question has ever crossed your mind, then there is only one answer, “YES, there is GOD.”
Once an atheist was very keen in proving the non-existence of God. In the course of his lecture, he provided all sorts of arguments supported on the basis of mere logic to prove that there is no God. So much so that he had nearly convinced everybody, that logically, there existed no God. But during his concluding speech to his willing audience, he said, “Thank God, I have proved that there is no God.” When we tend to look more deeply into this particular incident, we realise that although the man came prepared consciously to prove that there is no God, in due course of his speech he inadvertently thanked the Almighty as he went onto express his sub-conscious mind. This goes on to say a lot about the fact that though we consciously may not believe in God, deep down subconsciously everyone has faith in the Supreme Power. Thus, we all believe in God, who is the Supreme Power, Supreme Energy or the Supreme Soul and is certainly a much Higher Being. Even in the field of medical science, doctors say that ‘I treat and God cures.’ This eternal truth is that the existence of God is a fact. He is the truth. If one has nto seen America, one certainly can’t say that America does not exist. Similarly if one has not seen or experienced God, he can’t deny the existence of God. In fact, God is beyond the perception of sense organs and His exact nature can only be known through the Super-sensual faculty of intellect. God is metaphysical – can’t be proved in a physical laboratory but you can realize God with your real eyes. Spiritually, the definition of God is in two simple words, “that which is eternal and that which is unchanging.” Though it is universally accepted that God is one, there are yet many contradictory beliefs. There are so many opinions that paradoxically, it is these that have curbed us from truly understanding God. God being one, there can only be one true concept of God. It is due to the absence of a true knowledge about God that so many divergent faith have emerged.
We have until now all heard, read, learnt some aspects about God but the complete concept is yet not clear. Remember the legendary tale where five blind men in their attempt at describing an elephant provided varied responses depending on what they felt. Though none of the five erred totally, neither of them was totally correct. Similarly, as we cannot see God, we tend to express Him depending on what we feel about Him. The great Saints, Sages, Gurus whosoever tried to be in touch with God expressed what they experienced. Suppose, if you ever need an introduction of a person, you can acquire it though his family, friends, relatives or neighbours but his ‘real introduction’ can only be acquired from the person himself. Similarly, only God Himself can reveal His real nature. No human being can perform this divine role.
Further in this article we will give you the self-revealed introduction of God. In our attempt to finding the truth about the Almighty, we shall move from the unknown to the known. Thus, in trying to discover the truth about the almighty, the unknown is – Who is God? Whereas the known are His universal attributes such as, Him being the Highest, Omnipotent, absolutely Just, Supreme Benefactor, Purifier, Saviour of souls, Creator, Preserver, being One and being the Light.
On the basis of these attributes, we shall be able to decide whether the form of God is Corporeal or Incorporeal. A Corporeal form does not possess all the above attributes. It can’t be the Highest because they come within the cycle of birth and death can’t be All knowing because the natural law is that a bodily being can’t know the past and future, and it can’t be a bestower because he has his own needs to be fulfilled.
So why do people worship the different corporeal forms? Who are they? They are higher than a human soul.
Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu are known as Devatma (Deity Souls)
Abraham, Christ, Buddha, Shankaracharya are known as Dharmatma (Religious Souls)
Gandhiji was known as Mahatma (Great Soul)
Until today we have worshipped / remembered the Deity Souls, Charitable Souls, Great Souls, Pure Souls, Religious Souls, Spiritual Souls but not the SUPREME SOUL. We have forgotten the message and started remembering the image of the messenger. Because thes Souls possess some attributes of God, we consider them as Gods and Goddesses. They are like God but not God. They are the messengers of God; they are the children of God. Any soul can be like God but not God because God – the Supreme Soul is only One. The word Supreme itself signifies only One.
God’s form is extremely subtle, it is the form of the Supreme Soul. Mystics throught the ages have had visions of God as ‘light. In a self-introduction, the Supreme reveals, “I am Incorporeal or Nirakar.” Many people misunderstand the word ‘Nirakar’ as formless, but in reality, anything that exists certainly has a form. Though, attributes or qualities are formless, the quality to which these attributes or qualities belong cannot be formless, however subtle the form may be. For instance, fragrance has no form, but the flower from which the fragrance emanates must possess a form. Similarly, God’s attributes such as love, peace, bliss and knowledge may not have a form as such but God who is the Possessor and the source of all these attributes cannot be formless. He certainly has a form, which is entirely different from any corporal or subtle form that one knows of and ‘Nirakar’ (Incorporeal) is relative term.
The Almighty is considered as ‘Nirakar’, only in comparison with objects having gross or subtle physical form. Incorporeal (Nirakar) only means that god neither has a physical form (body) like human beings nor a subtle form like astral deities. In English terminology, the equivalent of the word ‘Nirakar’ is incorporeal or non-anthropomorphic i.e. one who does not have the form of a human body or limbs and is bodiless. Thus God is Bodiless but not Formless. His form is an infinitesimal, indivisible, invisible point of golden red light and All – EFFULGENT.
When a lamp is lit or a candle is burning, the form of the light emitted is in the shape of an oval, i.e. Shiva Linga. God is a Divine Flame; He has a form, which is subtler than the subtlest. We can’t see it with the physical eye. It needs the divine eye to see it. Even seeds and eggs, i.e. all creators also have oval forms. So, God, who is the Creator of his Human world – also has an extremely subtle and minute, seed like form, i.e. He is an oval point of light. The incorporeal image of God has been universally recognized in almost all religions of the world. The concept of God as a form of light is universal in character. You may have observed that all religions and faiths have images, idols or memorial that represent this form of light.
The connotation of this ‘form of light’ in different religions can be understood throught the image to the right. For instance, in the Old Testament, Moses had a vision of light as a “burning” bush in the desert. Paul had a vision of light while on the road to Damascus. Jesus referred to God as light. In some Christian ceremonies, during the proceedings, an ostensorio is held up. It is a golden ball with many rays emanating from it. Perhaps it is a symbolic representation of God. The worship of fire God as advocated by Zoroaster, the prophet of Parsees. That ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun as God. The Jews have the Menorah which when lit is a memory of this form. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism called Him “Ek Omkar”, the one Incorporeal Being.
Speaking further on the oval-shaped image, we realise that in India, God’s form of light is worshipped and known as ‘Shiva Linga.’ The twelve famous Jyotirlingams (self-luminous Lingas) are spread all over India. The ‘Sanskrit texts’ of Sir Williams Jones depict that the Absolute God or the Supreme Soul is venerated in Egypt in the name of ‘Osiris’ and ‘Ishis’ which are only modified form of God’s name in Sanskrit – ‘Ishwara’ and ‘Ish’. There also used to be a bull before the Ling ‘known as Osiris’ as we have ‘Nandi’ in India before the Shivalinga. A Buddhist sect in Japan namely Shintoisim preaches to focus the mind on a small oval shape. They call it Chin-Kon-Seki, a peace giver. Muslims believe God or ‘Allah’ to be ‘Roohani Rooh’ (Supreme Soul) who is ‘Noor’ (light). In Mecca, where Muslims go for “Haj” there is a holy stone called ‘Sang-e-Aswad’, the holy shrine of Islam kept at ‘Khana-e-Kaba.’ The Jews used to worship Bailfego in the form of Shivalinga similar to the name of Shiva as Baleswara in India. There is enough ample archaeological evidence to show that the ancient Egyptian, Phoenicians, Arabs, Greeks, American, Indians and Indonesians, worshipped the Oval shaped stone. The fact that so many of our ancient traditions seem to be pointing to the same being entire race of humanity together as one. We have all been worshipping and trying to discover the same God. ‘There is only one God, and His form is light.’
Now that we know that God has a form, and that of Light, we know that He must also have a name.
GOD’S NAME IS UNIQUE. In the case of human beings, it is the body that bears a name, which changes from birth to birth. God is beyond the cycle of birth and rebirth. Human names are labels for the perishable body, but His name is eternal, unchanging and is based on His attributes and divine acts. Our names do not speak of our qualities and actions; they are simply proper nouns and are not attributive names. His self-revealed attributive name is ‘SHIVA.’
The ancient names of God such as ‘Shiun’ in Babylon; ‘Seva or Sevajiya’ in Syria, Egypt and Fiji; ‘Sibru’ in the land occupied by the progeny of Ahraham ‘Jehovah’ to Moses and his followers, and so on, seem not so different and dissimilar from the Sanskrit word ‘Shiva’ which according to few scholars, is the confluence of two phonetic parts, ‘Shi’ and ‘Va’ which mean ‘redeemer’ and ‘liberator.’
In this context, one must not associate the word Shiva with the religion of Hinduism. The word Shiva has a universal meaning. Also “Shiva” refers to Incorporeal God and is not to be confused with the figure of Hindu Mythology who is also called “Shanker” , who is subtle deity, a corporeal being.
Shiva means, the Benevolence, Benefactor and Benign. In the Jehovah of the Old Testament ‘Shiva’ means the Benefactor. Only the Supreme amongst all, the Father of all Souls, the Father of deities, angels and prophets can be given this title. Because being completely enternally perfect, only His acts are of absolute benevolence for others, without any motivation for the self. “Shiva” means ‘Doer of good.’ God always does well to all and therefore is called Shiva. Shiva also means ‘point’ a reference to His eternal forms. As we know in mathematics, it is said that a point does not have an dimensions, similarly, when we describe the Supreme as a point, it connotes that He has no dimensions. Shiva is also considered as a seed, just as in seed is the creator of the whole tree, a point in geometry is the creator of the circle, likewise God, who is a point is the creator of the whole universe.
When we turn our minds to God, wherever we may be and form whichever culture, the first thing we normally do is to close our eyes in order to go beyond the world of people and objects. Intuitively we know that God exists beyond matter. If we ourselves are souls and not bodies, our real and eternal existence is on another plane. It’s in this dimension that God exits. It doesn’t mean that He is millions of light years away from us. One can reach Him through one’s thought, just as a dialed phone call connects instantly. He is only one thought away from us.
It is also through Meditation, which is a Link of Love that one can connect with God. The main purpose of meditation is to be able to communicate with God in order to be able to experience a relationship with Him. If one makes the effort to take one’s consciousness away from worldly things, then one is able to start receiving from the Supreme Soul. The experiences are not just of filling the self but of self-transformation. The idea of God as the absolute source is very appealing. In meditation, the awareness dawns that one is in connection with the source of love, who shall never expect anything in return. He is the only soul who has not need! God shares knowledge which gives the understanding of love and hatred, happiness and sorrow, and victory and defeat, but He does not make our choices for us. God’s love is to strengthen the will of the soul to free itself from the poverty caused by the vices such as greed, anger, lust, ego and attachment. The soul is free to choose – ‘to be or not to be’, ‘to love or not to love’. God’s power is to help the soul recognize its highest potential and to aim for perfection by practicing the art of living. This practice brings a change in the whole of humanity.