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Who is God?

by Swami Sivananda

God is Truth. God is love. God is Light of lights. He is an embodiment of eternal bliss, supreme peace and wisdom. He is all-merciful, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He has neither beginning nor end. He is the Supreme Being or Paramatma. The Gita styles Him as Purushottama or Supreme Purusha or Mahesvara. He knows everything in detail (Sarva-vit). He is the support for this world, body, mind, Indriyas and Prana. Without Him not an atom can move. He is the womb for the Vedas. Indra, Agni, Varuna, Vayu and Yama are His assistants. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are His five powers. Maya is His illusive Sakti.

Brahma, Vishnu and Siva are the three aspects of God. Brahma is the creative aspect; Vishnu is the preservative aspect; and Siva is the destructive aspect. There are three other aspects: Virat is the manifested aspect; Hiranyagarbha is the immanent aspect; and Isvara is the causal aspect. Virat is the sum total of all physical bodies; Hiranyagarbha is the sum total of all minds-He is the cosmic mind; and Isvara is the sum total of all causal bodies (Karana Sarira).

Srishti (creation), Sthiti (preservation), Samhara (destruction), Tirodhana or Tirobhava (veiling), and Anugraha (grace) are the five kinds of activities of God.

God is the exquisite taste in vimto. He is the sweetness in the words of a beautiful, young lady. He is the strength in a Pahilvan (wrestler). He is the beauty in the Himalayan landscape. He is the thrilling melody in music. He is the fragrance in jasmine and Champaka. He is the softness in a velvety cushion and silk-cotton. He is the Prana in body, and intelligence in Antahkarana.

Earth denotes His all-supporting nature. Water proclaims the message of His purity and sanctity. Fire indicates His self-luminous nature. Air signifies His omnipotence. Ether heralds His all-pervading nature. Maya is under His perfect control. This is the Upadhi or subtle body of Isvara.

He has the six attributes of divine wisdom (Jnana), dispassion (Vairagya), powers (Aisvarya), strength (Bala), wealth (Sri) and fame (Kirti). Hence He is called Bhagavan. He is the absentee landlord of this world. He is the wire-puller (Sutradhara) of all these physical bodies of beings. He is the inner Ruler (Antaryamin) of all beings.

He dwells in your heart. He is in you and you are in Him. He is quite close to you. You were thinking in the beginning that He could be found only in Mount Kailasa, Ramesvaram, Mecca, Jerusalem, sky or Heaven. You had very vague ideas. This body is His moving temple. The sanctum sanctorum is the chambers of your own heart. Close your eyes. Withdraw your Indriyas from the sensual objects. Search Him there with one-pointed mind, devotion and pure love. You will surely find Him. He is waiting there with outstretched arms to embrace you. If you cannot find Him there, you cannot find Him anywhere else.

God-realisation alone can put an end to the Samsaric wheel of birth and death with its concomitant evils such as birth, growth, disease, death, sorrow, pain etc. Eternal happiness can be had only in God. That is the reason why sages and saints, scriptures and Srutis make a very emphatic statement and lay great stress on the importance and necessity of God-realisation. Bhakti or devotion can help one in the attainment of this God-realisation. So I have described in this book the various methods to cultivate Bhakti and come face to face with God, taste the nectar of God-consciousness which alone is the summum bonum of human life and human endeavour. Purify. Control the Indriyas. Sing His Name. Feel His Presence everywhere. Repeat His Mantra. Meditate on His form. Realise Him. Rejoice in Him. Attain peace, bliss and immortality.


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