Higher Teachings of Sri Swamiji

Form of God

For a bhakta, God is both transcendental and immanent. When He is transcendental, He is beyond the mind and senses, beyond name and form, beyond time, space and causality, beyond all limitations, beyond all things animate and inanimate. But when He is immanent, He is in everything, in a tree, in you, in me. He is all-pervading, all-permeating, from core to core. He is present in diverse forms from the most subtle to the most gross. He manifests in many forms. He pervades many forms, yet He is complete in Himself.

God is both sakara, with form, and nirakara, formless too. God is beyond everything, beyond time, space and matter, and God is present in all beings. We have to accept both concepts of God, not just the transcendental. The immanent form of God is all embracing, all encompassing, total. Therefore, His love is not merely restricted to the transcendental aspect of divinity. His love is without boundaries. He loves everyone. His compassion, mercy and affection flow for everyone. When your mind is submerged in this attitude, you do not behold yourself or anyone. You behold only the glory, the magnificence, the brilliance.

The whole world is God’s manifest form. We are all forms of God. He reveals Himself in different forms within each being, from the most ordinary to the most talented. God exists in many forms, from the microbe to the towering tree, from the limited mind to the universal mind. God is in the person who needs your help, God is in the animal that needs your protection. In this universe there is no place or object or thing in which God is not present.

The best way to depict Him is to say that every form is His form. The entire universe is the manifestation of God. It is pervaded by one power. It is the essence of God that is important, not the name. Tulsidas says,

No difference exists between the formless God and the God of form.
Thus speak the Vedas and Puranas, the munis and the wise.
The same formless, unseen, unborn and attributeless God
Takes the form created by the love of the devotee.

Kabir Das has also said,

The formless God is my father and the God of form my mother.
Whom to praise and whom to denounce?
Both sides of the scales are in equilibrium.

Cotton has no form, but a thread, a length of cloth, a shirt or trousers are all forms of cotton. Gold has no form but all the forms it takes are the form of gold. None of these forms is the one and only form. A form is everlasting and unchanging. Every form is His, whether it is Christ, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Guru, Krishna, Rama, Devi or Durga. Just as a light bulb, a microphone, light, cold and heat are all forms of electrical energy, every form is a form of divine energy. Whatever you see in this world belongs to God. If electricity alone has so many forms, then God Almighty is bound to have millions. Whichever form of God catches your attention, sticks in your mind and eventually manifests before you is the form of God.

One can worship God in any form one likes. All those around you who are suffering, unhappy and floundering in darkness are all different forms of God. You cannot ignore the form of God which is immanent and all pervading. You cannot just go running after the transcendental God.

If you want to realize God, try to also know the God who lives in every living being and also in non-living things. Only then can you know Him fully. Just knowing a part of Him is not enough. You should know Him in all His forms. Your inner awakening can really take place one day. God is always with you. Nothing is difficult for Him, only He should be convinced that you are totally honest in whatever you are thinking and doing.

The immanent form of God is everywhere and in everything. If you serve a tree, the earth, a river, the atmosphere, you are serving God. If you help the needy, you are serving God. I do not object to the transcendental God that, but realization of God must be a total experience, not a partial one. Just as the intense emotion of desire, hatred or aversion arises in your mind, in the same way the deep emotion of true love for God arises within. Not just for God, but for all humanity, because God has no form, yet every form is His form. There is nowhere in this universe where God is not!