The Problem of God.

Ahimsananda's picture

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In the Judaic/Christian Bible, within the Book of Genesis, is the statement about the creation of mankind: " So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

The reality here is more like the reverse; man created god in his own image. I realize that the Hindu Gods represent a variety of forms and meanings, but I know little of the gods of India, having my upbringing in Western Christianity. From an absolute standpoint there is only One, both our"selves" and God being lost in it's "isness".

From a relative standpoint, God is separate, yet we intellectually understand "he" is "our" "selves". Advaita would say, not two. From a relative standpoint, we can practice devotion. But we must always keep our hearts on the "pearl of great price"; that Oneness of the Absolute.

I recently read some advice that said that "householders" and "beginners" on the spiritual path should stick with Bhakti and the Gods, as non-dual, self inquiry was not for them. Those with true earnestness, regardless of position, station, or birth can engage both Jnana and Bhakti in this "search for God".

When I was a boy, I lived with my family halfway up a steep hill. Everyday I would walk home from school, and look up at that hill, and think how steep and far it was. One day, when walking home with my Brother, I mentioned how awful climbing that hill was, and he pointed out that we only lived halfway up the hill, and that every day he imagined he had to climb to the top. This caused him to double his effort, and he came to the house before he knew it! I found that this method worked for me too, not only on the hill, but in life and the spiritual search.

The realization of the Absolute seems like quite a struggle. Devotion to God is much easier by comparison. Our minds understand a "physical" God. Our minds understand "submission" to a "higher power". Yet our minds also understand the "I AM", and the concept of the Oneness of reality. Devotion to God, if complete and self sacrificing, will lead to the ultimate Truth. But it is the devotion that leads to the Truth, not God. For only if we recognize that there is something beyond, that requires devotion, because it IS Devotion, can we sustain ourselves until it is uncovered.

We must see and desire only the top of the hill, to muster sufficient effort to reach halfway.

When we lose our "selves" in devotion to God, we lose our "selves", and that is the point of worship; to lose the "self". This applies when we "lose ourselves" in helping others, or in silent meditation. But somewhere along the line, we need to reconcile the separation we create in the act of worship and devotion.

We need to understand that worship has to become, not just what we do, but what we ARE. Our substance is Love. We are created by it, sustained by it, and swim in a "sea" of it. Love, in it's universal and impersonal functioning, is the Absolute. Like the perpetual opening of a perpetual Rose, the manifestation, and it's underlying reality, unfold into the wonder of "life". Both our "selves" and God unfold in this wonder, but only arise when consciousness is aware of itself. Separation begins with the "I AM" when we mistake the "I" for the body/mind. But how do we reconcile this separation?

Bhakti; the devotion to God is the starting place. The devotional practice toward an "other" gets us to step out of our egocentric self long enough to become "empty". Emptiness of this kind attracts grace, and the emptiness becomes filled with Love.

This impersonal Love is the soil in which true Jnana grows. When the mind reaches it's limit at the "I AM", the question arises; why is there love and devotion for a God, an Absolute? And what draws those who seek beyond, some to extreme asceticism and struggle?

And in that struggle, the mind and Love itself, come together and you realize that God and yourself are flowing with the Love, not the other way round. The Love being the only reality. Love is the One. Tat Tvam Asi.

bonya basu's picture

Mind is Concept!........"GOD" is LOVEeeeeee..............

I think MIND and LOVE are not two different identity.When mind looses its entity then it becomes Love.......which is ever present and covered by Mind(self conceptualised).

Different forms of 'GOD' are concepts of mind.We start our journey by 'CONCEPT' may be of different concepts for different person......with sincere effort and devotion.
EFFORT supported by DEVOTION works as a fuel to the JOURNEY........

CAUSE(Deep desire for TRUTH)----->EFFECT(Effort+Devotion)-------->RESULT(LOVE,BLISS,NOMIND)

Inner wisdom.....
GOD bless all!!!!!

bonya basu | Fri, 09/10/2010 - 08:04
Leon's picture

God as Self, God as Other: both are One

While it's often true that our ego-self forms it's own god based on itself, it's delimited definitions of God, "God is this, He can't be that", etc, still the Image of God is- and we are made in 'that' Image.

Christ is the Image of God, and He became what we are so that we might 'become' what He is- "We become by grace what God is by nature" - St. Athanasius.

Or, as the apostle Paul said, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" - 1Cor 15:10a.

The coming of Jesus Christ was to introduce a powerful truth, that we may become One as the Father is in Him, and He in the Father (as in John 17). We are called to be One, even as the Father and the Son are One.

What this means in this discussion is that, while Oneness is affirmed, otherness need not be denied. While we may seek jnana-knowledge in Advaita Vedanta, the beauty and love of Bhakti Yoga need not be denied. As Ramana Maharshi taught, they both come to the same, Self-inquiry or self-surrender. Both lead to absorption in the One.

Within Christ- we see that we share the same Ground of Being as do the Father and the Son. We are One within, the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son, and we in them. There is, within Christianity, the truth of duality and non-duality. As is true of the Trinity, where the "Three are One", so also it is true between God and the Cosmos. What is true of God according to the divine nature, so it is by true of the creature by virtue of the Image being the 'truth' of our being. We manifest within duality as was His purpose, but we subside and abide in the One as our True Nature.


Leon | Wed, 02/02/2011 - 01:49
bonya basu's picture

Thank you!!!!!

Thank you!!!

Truth what you disclosing....and what i accept...which is within me...and very much within ONE...that is "GOD"
the only thing is to go deep up to that level....

The differences appears to us due to...We all are residing at different level of Consciousness....that can be removed by practicing MEDITATION...where all is..... "ONE"~~~~~~~LOVE.~.~.Blissssss.....

bonya basu | Wed, 02/02/2011 - 05:08
Leon's picture

You're Welcome.

You're welcome, Bonya.

There will always be the Oneness of Being and the manyness of knowledge. Differences will arise, and even when we know the One, are established in the Self, these apparent differences will arise- but as we no longer identify with them, but see them as they are we may enjoy them in the Bliss of God's Dream.


Leon | Wed, 02/02/2011 - 19:53