Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

  1. #1

    GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    Namasthe,

    I am a strong believer and follower of Sanathana Dharma.
    When I am listening to Ramayana, Bhagavtam I get really confused.
    If God is only one, why do we pray so many forms.
    I do pooja but is doing pooja really way to God. Would God like us to spend time praising him or would he want us to do something else.
    Are poojas really path to God? If so, what matters in pooja.
    I have no favourite form. I believe in every form. Is something wrong with me?
    Also, would God want us to do service to mankind over doing poojas?
    I have so many more questions? Am I a bad hindu?
    Thanks,
    Divya

  2. #2
    Join Date
    June 2011
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Age
    59
    Posts
    1,651
    Rep Power
    1494

    Re: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    Namaste.

    Since no one has answered yet, I'll give it a shot. These are only my own thoughts and are no way authoritative.

    Quote Originally Posted by vedadivya View Post
    Namasthe,

    If God is only one, why do we pray so many forms.
    Well, different people like different colors or different flavors of ice cream, right? People see God in ways meaningful to them, the form most appealing. I'm sure there are some people who pray to only one god or goddess, and no other, which is no sin. I have a couple of stories that I think make the point. Here's one (I don't know where it originally comes from):

    A person worshipped Lord Krishna, Lord Hanuman, Maa Durga, and Lord Shiva etc. However he was always confused over who was the most powerful and whom to call when in distress. It so happened that he went to take a bath in a river and he started drowning. He started calling Lord Krishna but due to his fear of death he soon thought that "maybe Hanuman can come sooner" and he called "Hanuman" ... but he was not so sure about that too and started calling "Lord Shiva" ... and soon after "Maa Durga" ... and in the process, there was no help coming through and he was swept away by the strong current of the river.

    When he reached heaven on death, he was in front of Chitragupta who was taking stock of his Karmas but he was looking for God to complain over this injustice. God appeared there in front of him in the form of Krishna (which was this person's first favorite form). God asked him smiling, "My dear son, you appear quite sore. What happened?". This man was pretty angry with God. He said, "Hey, I kept on worshipping you day and night and you didn't come to rescue me from getting drowned when I called you again and again? You just don't take care of your Bhakta when the entire world considers you as the "lover of the devotees".

    God smiled and said, "You were changing your mind so fast that I could not make it, though I was trying to come to save you! ... and you are blaming me ... it is not fair. See, first you called me in "Krishna's form". As soon as I was getting ready in Krishna's form to come to you, you called Me in Hanuman form. I threw off my form of Krishna and immediately arranged for a monkey face and tail. When I was about to leave to rescue you, you called me in the form of Shiva. So immediately, I threw off my monkey's body, tail, and mace, and took the form of Shiva ... but by that time you had called me in form "Durga”! Now, you know, it takes time to wear a Sari and by the time I was ready wearing Sari and other ornaments and all, it was too late! So, how can you blame me? "

    The moral of the story is:

    You can worship God in any form. It doesn't matter. All forms of God are Supreme. You choose whatever suits you. Please note that in the above story, the fellow did no mistake by worshipping various forms of God but he failed because he didn't have complete faith in any of the forms.

    Personally I pray to everyone at one time or another, because I believe God/dess will take the form you need him or her in at a particular time. For strength, I may call on Lord Hanuman. When I set out to travel I call on Lord Ganesha to remove obstacles (usually the obstacle of my own stupidity when driving), for courage I may pray to Maa Durga, for learning something or music, it's Maa Saraswati to the rescue, and so on. Some people may think that's wrong, but it works for me.

    I do pooja but is doing pooja really way to God. Would God like us to spend time praising him or would he want us to do something else.
    Are poojas really path to God? If so, what matters in pooja.
    I have no favourite form. I believe in every form. Is something wrong with me?
    Also, would God want us to do service to mankind over doing poojas?
    I have so many more questions? Am I a bad hindu?
    Thanks,
    Divya
    I think there's nothing wrong with you. There's another saying "nar seva narayan seva", service to man is service to God.

    Here is a post I made in a recent thread about puja: http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...728#post128728

    Here is another story about puja (the translation is a bit odd):

    As an example, there is a story in Mahabharatha. Arjuna was performing regularly pooja for Athma lingam, but his brother were not doing the same. He felt very proud of his devotional worship to God. As Sri Krishna wanted to control his ego, took him to Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva.

    Arjuna saw large number of baskets of flowers being carried by the Boothaganas. When Arjuna asked Sri Krishna about it, He asked Arjuna to check himself with those carrying the flowers. He stopped one of them asked about it. He got the reply that one of the Pancha Pandavas named Bheema who has been offering these flowers in a pure heart to the lord which they are carrying.

    Arjuna asked Sri Krishna that if the pure heart flowers of Bheema who does not ever sit down to worship is this much, how much will it be for his own Athmalinga pooja which is performed every day. Sri Krishna asked the Bhoothagana to show Arjuna his portion of the flowers offered. They showed a small mound of flowers lying in one corner.

    Arjuna asked Sri Krishna to explain this disparity. Sri Krishna explained that, Bheema is thinking of God at all times and whenever he sees a flower garden, he mentally offers all the flowers to Siva as his offering and so it reaches Siva the very next moment. Thus, Sri Krishna explains the Inner self pooja called antharyagam.

    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    December 2007
    Age
    56
    Posts
    3,170
    Rep Power
    4542

    Re: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    Namaste Divya,

    Quote Originally Posted by vedadivya View Post
    If God is only one, why do we pray so many forms.
    Very well answered by Jainarayan. I would simply say, "Jaaki rahi bhaavnaa jaisi, prabhu moorat dekhi tin taisi" ==> One perceives / sees God's form depending upon his idea of God. On this Mudgala Upanishad says, "He becomes whatever He is worshiped as".

    I do pooja but is doing pooja really way to God. Would God like us to spend time praising him or would he want us to do something else.
    Are poojas really path to God? If so, what matters in pooja.
    I have no favourite form. I believe in every form. Is something wrong with me?
    Also, would God want us to do service to mankind over doing poojas?
    These are very good questions. "Does pooja really lead us to God ?". Yes. But the question is what is God and what is pooja ? Is God some being sitting up high in the sky badly wishing to be worshiped by His creation below ? No. God is neither being nor not-being. God can't have any desires even a desire to be worshiped. Otherwise, God will be an unsatisfied being seeking something for His own happiness. But is omnipotent and God is Bliss. Then what is God and why this poojs ?

    MAndukya Upanishad tells us some very important attributes of God. It says :


    a) God is the origin and end of all beings in two states (Gross state where we are alive and subtle state when we are not-born or where we are after death) of relative existence.
    b) God is the Controller of the above two states, i.e. nothing can happen in these two worlds what He doesn't want. In other words, He is Omnipotent.
    c) God is Undifferentiated (Unified) mass of Consciousness. This means that God is not a separate entity from Its creation. God pervades the two states of existence in such a manner that Creation and the Creator can't be separated in reality. He is equally there in consciousness of all beings and everything.
    d) God is desireless
    e) God is omniscient
    f) God is full of bliss. It experiences bliss with mouth of Consciousness.

    Now, how can we reach God ? God is already within us. God is not separate from us. So, is there any need to reach God who is already within us ? If He is already within us, why don't we feel His presence within us ? Why can't we talk to Him ? Why can't we touch Him ? Why can't we hear His voice ? Why don't we see God, because we are too blinded by the world we are in. We keep seeing world, we keep seeing ourselves a separate hapless being, we keep ourselves busy in keeping ourselves happy with worldly happiness that we miss God's presence. The world separates us from God. The trick to see God is to look God where world is seen /perceived, to look God within us, within all beings and all things. When the world vanishes from mind, when the shackles of desires are broken when the ahamkaar of being separate from God is left aside, God is seen.


    You may ask me, "OK, Devotee ! This is all philosophy of Upanishads but how does it answer my question ? Do I need to perform pooja for reaching God / revealing God (whatever it means) ?"

    The answer is Yes and No. It depends upon what path you choose. You may choose the path of meditating on Self without worshiping God and attain Brahman. This is what the advanced Nirguna Yogis do and also what the Buddhists do. But this path is not for everyone. If one is not spiritually advanced enough, there are great chances of falling (though Guru helps in such situation and Guru acts as God here). As I have quoted Mudgala Upanishad above, "He becomes whatever He is worshiped as". This is a great clue. He acts as Father, if you worship Him as your father. He acts as Mother if you worship Him as mother. If you worship Him as your master, He becomes that. If you worship Him as fearsome He becomes that and if you worship Him as benevolent He acts as that. How does it become possible ?

    This is the power of MAyA of Brahman. This mind-boggling power of Brahman is unimaginable by mind and beyond comprehension by any logic applicable to our mental realms. Actually, Brahman acts in two dimensions of existence simultaneously in completely different manner. The Brahman in dimension of Absolute existence is non-dual, without parts, unchanging, utterly peaceful, auspicious and blissful (Turiya of MAndukya Upanishad), Nirguna Brahman. However, the same Brahman in dimension of relative existence of two worlds gives rise to the multitude of the two worlds and also acts as the origin, end and Controller of the worlds. So, you can choose to meditate on Nirguna Brahman or worship God of the universe. When a devotee starts worshiping Him in any chosen form with chosen attributes, He starts reciprocates accordingly towards the devotee and helps the devotee in his/her spiritual pursuit. So, loving/worshiping God as Father, Mother or Master helps.

    However, it should not be misunderstood that He would help us the way we want. Why ? ==> Because of Bhagwad Gita's verse, "God doesn't create the doership or the actions or the results arising out of such actions. It is the Nature that works." Whatever we get in our lives of relative existence depends upon what our Karma are. Yes, within that constraint, God helps with His grace by creating some favourable circumstances when we are in really difficult situations.

    Does it help and please God if you engage in service of people ? Yes, very much. God resides in all beings and therefore serving any being is akin to serving God and it accrues good Karmas.

    I have so many more questions? Am I a bad hindu?
    Hindu Dharma doesn't ask you to believe blindly. Out of six PramANs accepted by Hindus for accepting a truth one is Logical inference. If you don't reason and apply logic, you are in danger of becoming a believer of dangerous and spiritually harmful doctrines.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    June 2011
    Location
    NJ, USA
    Age
    59
    Posts
    1,651
    Rep Power
    1494

    Re: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste devotee

    Very well answered by Jainarayan. I would simply say, "Jaaki rahi bhaavnaa jaisi, prabhu moorat dekhi tin taisi" ==> One perceives / sees God's form depending upon his idea of God. On this Mudgala Upanishad says, "He becomes whatever He is worshiped as".
    I love that saying and can't believe I didn't use it this time, as I always do. In fact, I think I got it from you a long time ago.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

  5. #5
    Join Date
    September 2006
    Age
    64
    Posts
    7,590
    Rep Power
    381

    Re: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté


    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post

    You may ask me, "OK, Devotee ! This is all philosophy of Upanishads but how does it answer my question ? Do I need to perform pooja for reaching God / revealing God (whatever it means) ?"
    OM
    If I may I'd like to contribute one idea to the notion of pūja. The highest & most sublime pūja (yajña) is pouring the Self into the self...
    The great saint samaratha rāmdās has said if there is any one religion in the world that is noblest of all, it is svadharma स्वधर्म .

    To the casual observer this svadharma may be viewed as 'one's own duty'. Yet śrī siddharameśvara maharāj¹ the satyavachāh (one who speaks truth) says this svadharma is to live in own's true nature.

    So, if you are living one's true nature
    svadharma ( some would call svātman) then each and every action is an offering to the Supreme; each and every perception , touch, taste and the like is an offering to the Lord. Now how can this be? There is no ego in-between SELF and the Lord. That means one has a 'direct deposit' To the Lord; Your senses are an extension , an offering to Him.

    Now, when one does pūja before this occurrence of svātman it is practice; It is the practice of becoming absorbed in Self. That is why the proper way of doing pūja is important; the 16 offerings are important, the frame of mind, the outlook, all that , adds to the offer of the self to the SELF. If one is doing pūja and in between offers their mind is at the market, making lists, taking notes ( don't forget to do this or that) then one has decreased the effectiveness of what is to occur. And what is that ? Absorption. When I mentioned absorption it is known as samāpatti. This word is worth looking at because it can be viewed as sam-āpti .

    • sam = 'intensity', or 'together with'
    • āpti = abundance, gain

    So intense abundance = absorption, some like to call it engrossment. This is the fruit of pūja.

    More on
    pūjā & abhiṣeka here on this post:
    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?7048-p%C5%ABj%C4%81-amp-abhi%E1%B9%A3eka ( cut and paste into your browser - the direct link is not working for some reason)


    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ


    1.
    Śrī siddharameśvara maharāj , guru of śrī nisargadatta maharāj
    Last edited by yajvan; 09 August 2016 at 11:32 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #6
    Join Date
    December 2007
    Age
    56
    Posts
    3,170
    Rep Power
    4542

    Re: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    Namaste,

    Thanks Jainarayan ji for your beautiful contribution!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yajvan
    If I may I'd like to contribute one idea to the notion of pūja. The highest & most sublime pūja (yajña) is pouring the Self into the self...
    The great saint samaratha rāmdās has said if there is any one religion in the world that is noblest of all, it is svadharma स्वधर्म .
    .....
    Now, when one does pūja before this occurrence of svātman it is practice; It is the practice of becoming absorbed in Self. That is why the proper way of doing pūja is important; the 16 offerings are important, the frame of mind, the outlook, all that , adds to the offer of the self to the SELF. If one is doing pūja and in between offers their mind is at the market, making lists, taking notes ( don't forget to do this or that) then one has decreased the effectiveness of what is to occur. And what is that ? Absorption. When I mentioned absorption it is known as samāpatti. This word is worth looking at because it can be viewed as sam-āpti .
    · sam = 'intensity', or 'together with'
    · āpti = abundance, gain
    So intense abundance = absorption, some like to call it engrossment. This is the fruit of pūja.

    More on pūjā & abhiṣeka here on this post: http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...hi%E1%B9%A3eka ( cut and paste into your browser - the direct link is not working for some reason)
    You are right, Yajvan ji ! Yes, that is the highest form of Pooja, for sure. Kathopaishad advises us : "Wise men should merge speech into mind; the mind should be merged into the intellect. The intellect should be merged into the Collective Self/the Hiranyagarbha. That, one should then merge into the Tranquil Self. "
    In the above verse, speech term has been used symbolically for all sense organs. Hence, the advice is : The seeker should dissolve sense organs into mind i.e. the source of their arising i.e. the focus should shift from the gross sense organs to mind as all sense organs are nothing but modifications of mind. So, let us concentrate on how mind functions and letting all desires related to different sense organs be merged into mind. And then meditating on Cosmic Self and feel one-ness of our self with the Cosmic Self.
    This offering of Self into Self has been considered the highest offering/Pooja to Brahman/God. We get echo of this instruction in Bhagwad Gita in Chapter 12 verse 8 : "Firmly Establish your mind onto me, merge your intellect into Me, and then undoubtedly you will reside within Me alone."

    This instruction has come from God in Bhakti Yoga section of Bhagwad Gita i.e. Chapter-12. Let's understand what mind is : Mind consists of past impressions and instrument of gathering new impressions on its interaction with the world and it is the place where various thoughts keep arising powered by the gathered past / present impressions. This wandering of mind makes us forget our tranquil nature, it makes us forget that we are nothing but Self. So, this restless mind must be tethered to God to stop it from wandering here and there in objects of senses. And that is the first instruction that the mind must be tethered to God so that it doesn't think anything except God, God and God all the time (firmly established). Now, the tethering the mind is a great job done but what about our intelligence ? This intelligence may make me think that I am a separate being and this is what I should do or what I should not, what I should like and what I should hate, what I should desire and what I should not .... This is another source of disturbance born out of ahamkaar very closley associated with the intellect. This intellect may lead us astray with its biased reasoning etc if not well guided by Guru or God's grace. To safeguard against that we must merge our intellect into God. Let God be my Guide, let He power my intellect. This is the highest form of Pooja.

    Usually, by the term Pooja, we tend to understand rituals of offering flowers, sweets, keeping fast, singing bhajans. However, if we closely watch what these rituals make us do, it s : Fixing our mind to God through these activities. And that is the aim of these rituals and this aim should not be lost when we are performing these rituals. The aim is "Mind has to be tethered to God" ... and if offering flowers to deity / sweets to deity, keeping fast helps, it is OK. If you achieve the same thing through meditation ... it is OK. Pooja means tethering our mind to God and investing our intellect into God --- and we are free to have our own choices of forms, rituals, practices as it suits us.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    March 2012
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    204
    Rep Power
    1315

    Re: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    Namaste Vedadivya Ji.

    This is how I view it.

    We have a difficult task with processing what our senses- with their limitations - report to us. Upanishads tell us that our mind can not comprehend the real truth due to these limitations. The sages also have declared the pervasiveness of this divinity in the universe that we sense, see and feel. Given that , God exists everywhere , in the air we breathe , the food we eat , the soil we tread on and of-course within us. Several realized sages have stated how they 'felt themselves everywhere' at their point of quantum jump into this super conscious state.

    In short, you are free to choose what you want to view as God - in truth God is there everywhere. If that confuses you, stick with a limited set of names & forms. Usually we choose great beings like Sri Ram , Sri Krishna, Durga , Shiva.. for this. That is fine too.

    In time, you may reach that state of super consciousness - even if that time spans several forms & lives.

  8. #8

    Re: GOD - confusion about multiple forms

    Hi Divya,

    Offering my two cents -
    I believe that the many forms of Gods in Hinduism is simply a reminder that God is in everything and anything around you. It is a way of remembering that everything that exists in this world was created by God directly(trees, animals, people, intelligence etc.) or indirectly (technology etc. which was created through human intelligence). This is the reason why we pray so many forms of God.

    There is nothing right or wrong in believing more in one form or believing equally in all forms of God. It does not matter if you pray more to Lord Ganesha or to Lord Krishna. I think these different deities also exist to appeal to human nature which varies wildly from person to person. Someone identifies more with God in a Motherly form (Goddess Durga, Goddess Kali etc.) while someone else thinks of God as a Force of nature (Ganesha, Narasimha etc.). At the end of the day, you have to make the independent choice of identifying what appeals to your spirit the most and use that to stick to a righteous path.

    Coming to pooja, my personal belief here is that poojas are just a reminder for us to keep making an effort to take the right action in life and be kind and respectful to people around us. I think it is no co-incidence that even people who are fighting throughout the year come together and participate in poojas and festivals cordially. I feel that if you strongly believe that you can continue to do God's work and take righteous action(including service to mankind), you can even skip poojas! An example here is this - Bengalis celebrate Durga Puja on a large scale while Marathis celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi on a large scale. Does this mean one group is more favored by God vs. another? No. It is just different ways of expressing our spirituality.

    Find peace within yourself. Your standards of right action should be driven more by your connection with God than what people tell you. Just because you do not do a puja does not make you a bad Hindu. Maybe you have helped people much more than a priest ever will. And the Supreme being sees everything.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Multiple Deities
    By Who am i in forum Advaita
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 16 May 2014, 02:12 PM
  2. One supreme god, multiple facets..
    By IcyCosmic in forum God in Hindu Dharma
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 03 March 2014, 05:12 PM
  3. Namaste to all forms of my self
    By Ekoham in forum Introductions
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 18 July 2011, 12:00 AM
  4. How does devotion to multiple gods work?
    By Ao in forum God in Hindu Dharma
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 26 October 2010, 07:48 AM
  5. Many forms, yet same sap
    By yajvan in forum God in Hindu Dharma
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13 January 2007, 12:31 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •