|One GOD, Many FORMS|
The fundamental concept in Hinduism is that God is one but has many attributes and many functions and hence is called by many different names. Hinduism gives freedom to believe that God is formless and also allows us to worship God in diverse forms. These forms include complimentary attributes of male and female deities, some in human and some even in animal form.
God is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the Universe
These three aspects are attributed to the trinities - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.
God pervades the entire universe
God is equally present in every one and in every thing.
God is beyond gender
Hindus worship both male female forms of God.
Hindu scriptures also point out that whilst God is one, God cannot be fully defined. To define is to limit. Whatever is limitless defies definition. Total knowledge about God is beyond human comprehension and expression, so for this reason Hinduism allows use of various symbols and images to allow people to discover God in whichever way they want to. This freedom of thought and worship is unique to Hinduism and has been misunderstood by many who claim that Hindus worship many Gods.
The Vedas declare that: 'Ekam Sat Vipraah Bahudhaa vadanti' (Truth is one and the sages call it by different names) - RIG VEDA, 1-164-46
We can take example from daily life, where one person is given different names by different people. A man can be father to his children, husband to his wife, son to his father, and grandfather to his grandchildren. Similarly God is known by different names depending on how people relate with God. One may worship God as mother, a child, a father or a friend. The following prayer illustrates how devotees relate to God.
Twameva maata ca pitaa twameva
Twameva bandhushca sakhaa twameva
Twameva vidyaa dravinam twameva
Twameva sarvam mama deva deva ||
Go to top
Story of Kanakadasa: God id everywhere
Kanakadasa was a devotee of Bhagvan Krishna. He was a disciple of Vyasaraya. Once the Guru called all his disciples and told them - "today is Ekadashi and we are supposed to fast. But, it's difficult not to eat any thing. So, I will give you one banana each. But, you should eat in a place where no one would see you." All the disciples left the place and when they came back next day, the Guru asked them how they managed to eat. One student said, "I covered myself in a blanket and ate it". Other said, "When it was dark in the night, I switched off the light and ate it." Every one explained how smart they were, except Kanakadasa. Kanakadasa said, "Guruji, I could not eat it. I could not find a place where God was not present."
The story of 'The Elephant and Six Blind Men' can be told to drive home the point that each might experience and realize different aspect of the divinity.
Once six blind men came across an elephant. They had no idea what an elephant looked like, so they started to explore. The first blind moved his hand around the elephant's side and exclaimed, "the elephant is like a big wall." The second, who was holding one of the legs, disagreed, "No, it's like a thick pillar." The third interrupted, "I think it's like a big flag." He was near the elephant's big flapping ears. The fourth, who had caught the tail, insisted that it was like a rope. The fifth felt the tusks and announced that it was like a pestle or rod. Finally, the sixth could not remain silent and yelled, "You are all wrong. The elephant is like hose-pipe." He had felt the animal's trunk. They all started to argue about the shape and size of the elephant, until a sighted person came along to show them around it.
Back to Hindu Dharma Topics
Go to top