My Vision of God

 

Youth Sections
"The Braves Arise"

Shirin Razdan
(11th Grade)
My Vision of God

God. Atman. Brahman. Bhagvan. All of these are just some of the countless ways we refer to that seemingly incomprehensible Being that is the cornerstone of Hinduism. Others refer to Him as Allah or Christ, while others just keep it simple: God. Regardless of what name we use to speak to Him, there must be a general consensus of what this God actually is. Is He a person? Is He a spirit? Does He even exist? Although I’m no Swami, I have strong convictions regarding my image of God. While I originally thought of God as simply energy, something I adamantly felt permeated the entire universe, I’m slowly coming to realize that God cannot be something so mechanical and apathetic. Energy itself must have something that dictates its expression. There’s no other way it could be so precise.

God is Supreme Consciousness. In other words, He’s the intelligence that is present in all people, plants, animals, rocks, planets, and automotive vehicles. Imagine a universal mind, something that isn’t bound by the confines of a brain or a substrate in general. This universal mind is capable of infinite acts, infinite expression, infinite creation, preservation, and destruction. Our own minds can imagine so many possibilities, but they are still limited and cannot completely comprehend the universe in which we live. However, this universal mind has infinite potentiality. It’s limitless and knows no bounds. It is what we can call intelligence—goal-oriented potentiality. While energy is present in every nook and cranny of this universe, Einstein’s E=mc2 even goes as far as saying that matter is energy, it is not responsible for the precise orbits of our planets, the orientation of electrons around a positively charged nucleus, nor the regulation of systems on Mother Earth (for example, the Gaia hypothesis). Did I mention oxygen concentration in the atmosphere has been a solid 21% for as long as living memory? Truly, some other forces must be at work to keep the pattern, to keep the order (paradoxically, even in disorder).

My mom told me about the concept behind Shiv-Shakti, and her explanation put many of my doubts to rest. Shiv is married in a holy union to Shakti. Shiv represents the universal consciousness and Shakti is precisely what her name means: strength, or energy. In other words, Shakti is the expression of Shiv, just as energy is simply an expression of a universal intelligence. I then conjectured a pretty neat theory. There are different types of energy: mechanical, chemical, light, potential, kinetic, etc. However, all of these different energy types are still expressions of one source, one “energy mastermind” in a sense. Ram, Krishna, Vishnu, Saraswati, and Lakshmi are all expressions of one Reality, Brahman. These images that we worship at Temple, these statues, are just personified forms of that one Consciousness. As I previously stated, this Consciousness has universal potentiality—why can’t He come off as a cow-herder or a noble prince? All of these forms are just our way of imagining God. Just like Bank of America allows customers to personalize their accounts, Hinduism allows for such leeway in the worshipping of this Atman. Expecting mothers tend to worship the baby Krishna, with the hopes that their own children become like Him. Students tend to venerate Goddess Saraswati, expecting her knowledge to result in 100s on biology and calculus tests. I also fall under that umbrella; I utter a quick Saraswati prayer before every quiz and test I take at school.

Everything is goal-oriented. I like that idea, because I feel that life has a purpose. The Universal Mind, which we know is God, continuously expresses itself in different forms. God doesn’t just come on the earth to put an end to the tyranny of the Kauravas or to vanquish evil ten-headed kings. He finds His way through everything and is the Ultimate Reason. We discussed in class whether evolution relates to Hinduism. I say that it very well has everything to do with our faith. Just as God expresses Himself as Shakti to attain a particular end, the ultimate “goal” of evolution is the greater expression of consciousness. As Dr. Shaykher rightly said, Darwin only explained the physical aspects of evolution. Hinduism explains the metaphysical and spiritual aspects. Think about the first life forms—little prokaryotic bacteria. Needless to say, those critters didn’t have much mental grease. They probably didn’t even know they were bacteria. Over the span of millions of years, life has gradually evolved into a being that is aware of itself and its environment. This being is capable of thinking about God and God’s purpose. This being, Homo sapiens, is so close to ultimate realization, but still falls short. If man was already fully Aware, then reincarnation would be pretty pointless. The aim of reincarnation, after all, is to attain a higher state of consciousness—moksha. When a person finally comes within grasp of such profound Self-Realization, then he or she escapes the bondage of the body. That person’s spirit, Atman, Soul, what have you, becomes part of the Universal Consciousness that pervades Reality. He becomes God, because he is God. Soham. Better yet, Aham. I am.

The concept of God is pretty mindboggling. Sometimes I ask whether I’m just trying to convince myself to think a certain way, because I’ve been told to think that way. Then I remember that no person can force me to think in a particular manner. I am firm in my convictions that a God does exist, having spent a long time pondering over this concept of a Supreme Being. Although I find it much easier and expedient to pray to actual murtis (they help me focus all my concentration on a single thing), I know in my heart of hearts that that idol of Krishna, or that painting of Saraswati isn’t the true essence of what God really is. Those deities are just small representations of certain aspects of His magnificence. Of course, whatever I just said isn’t set in stone. Come to think of it, twenty years down the road I might radically change my outlook on God and Hinduism, and that’s okay. Religion is a process. Just as Mahatma Gandhi said, “faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.”

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