God with form or without? The debate continues...
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
God with form or without? The debate continues...
Normally, we are dealing in this world with duality keeping our interests at our heart and remain indulged in fulfilling our aspirations. This leads to disgust when our interests are in conflict. The road map to divinity is from this kind of dualism to realize non-dualism through self-realization and then again adopt dualism, keeping compassion at heart for the blossoming of absolute love.
Once I happened to meet a gentleman professing non-dualism. I humbly admitted his view and he was happy to know that finally it is non-dualism. He had not reached the stage of divine love, which is possible only through duality. His conclusion was based on his study of philosophy, not on the basis of his own experience through
After witnessing the Samadhi state one happens to feel that only consciousness exists and the phenomenal world disappears altogether, and thus, one realizes non-dualism.
A carrying mother has a sort of love towards the child in her womb but a born child is a matter of great joy, though she has to take more care then. Similar is the case with the views of non-dualism and dualism. The love, which is hidden in the Samadhi state, has to
prosper through duality.
It is said that all souls have to reach the state of bliss in this or in a future life and it is also believed in eastern religions that after attaining self-realization one happens to love mankind in real terms and leave an example for future aspirants.
As long as our body lasts we cannot do anything without adopting a dualistic view. Even after self-realization we have to remain in the world and deal with others. No one can remain in that state of non-dualism for a long time. Also the purpose of taking up this body is not served by a non-dualistic view while living and dealing with others. One cannot utter a single word when there is nobody else other than one's own self and its expansion. How will one pass the time and manage even food for one's sustenance? Hence one has to deal with others in duality, keeping the non-dualistic view inside. A hero and a villain in a film have opposing roles but at their heart is a common interest and that is to act according to the theme of the film.
Sometimes, it happens in the life of an egoistic person that he finds himself trapped in a situation and feels there's no way out on his own. Some may opt to commit suicide to escape from the situation while others may turn to spirituality, getting a guide (spiritual teacher), and complete
their mission of life perfectly. It depends upon the situation, which in turn depends upon past deeds and aspirations (luck/destiny!).
In Hinduism, the Srimad Bhagavad Gita is considered a summation of all earlier philosophical views. Here I would like to present the
situation that was created for his enlightenment and bring home a sense of duty in the great warrior, Arjuna. The situation was that
while the war was about to be started (about 5000 years back), Arjuna expressed his desire to have a look at the opposite party. In opposition were his kinsmen like grandpa, cousins, relatives, teacher, and above all a more powerful warrior Karna. Thus, he was trapped in a very difficult situation because he even didn’t know who would win in the end and how to fight with the respected ones and kinsmen. Then Lord Krishna justified his participation and encouraged him in the righteous war explaining various paths, namely, action, knowledge, and devotion paths. But he was still reluctant to take up the fight.
Arjuna was still coaxed to remain in the field because his running away alone wouldn’t make much difference in the cosmic game of Nature and Consciousness (N & C). He was shown a cosmic vision by Lord Krishna through yogic powers where Arjuna saw the annihilation of great warriors of both sides in advance. He understood his position in such a friendly cosmic game between N & C. Finally, it was through his surrendering to the Lord and knowing that it was a cosmic will to wage this war that he could fight and win the war.
Thus, Lord Krishna was God in a form for the benefits of Arjuna when he needed Him in a most critical state of mind.
In fact, unknowingly each of us is doing an assigned duty here, according to our past deeds, but we have taken it for granted that it is I who is doing this. Mid-way we want to change the course of action thinking that the other course of action would be a better choice. Usually we forget that we are mere conscious chessmen for the pleasure of N & C, and we cannot run away from our duties.
It can be concluded that this duality in the form of N & C is for the purpose of the cosmic game, and those who understand this fact, through self-realization, turn to derive the nectar of innocent love as a witness. This love is possible through duality in various forms.
Of course when one submerges in divine love after gaining true knowledge then various intriguing questions, such as duality and non-duality, God in a form or formless, no more bother the devotee’s mind.