Who is God?

Understanding the complexity of Hindu Gods

The very act of asking who God is the most challenging of questions synonymous with asking where our universe and all life came from? For many the idea of a Creator God who has existed for all time and simply constructed the universe and the life it contains as a simple description is enough. But ultimately, if there is a God we did God come from?

I should qualify this article by saying that there is no right answer and every idea about God maybe equally valid. However since so many of us keep asking and searching, some answers have come to light and are accepted. In this search for God there is a general recognition that there are two sides to life, an inside and an outside, Yin and Yang, positive and negative, masculine and feminine, light and dark.

Therefore our universe is plural and within Hinduism gods and goddesses are part of this plural story. For instance, Shiva and Parvati other two sides of an idea expressed in quantum physics to represent the potentiality of existence. This has been demonstrated in scientific experiments where for instance a vacuum is created within a container to the point that emptiness has been almost achieved yet substances continue to appear within that space after all are removed.

It seems that the understanding of God and quantum physics are mutually supportive but for the moment, let's focus on the many gods. Within the yogic understanding that gave rise to Hinduism, Shiva is the potential from which the universe and life came from while Parvati (shakti) is the female element that created the movement towards life. A common understanding refers to Shiva as the great destroyer because the universe at the end of its life cycle returns to him to be reborn. Shiva is also seen as the source of both good and evil although in fact these two ideas only exist in human consciousness.

From potential of Shiva and Parvati, the universe is created and activity passes to Brahma and Saraswati. Here Brahma is the intelligence that shapes the universe and the life within it whereas Saraswati is the energy (shakti) that moves the intelligence of Brahma to create or shape the universe.

"Mother of the universe from who comes forth the creation, sustenance and dissolution of all beings and all worlds. She is Chit-Shakti, the power of consciousness, out of which the cosmos coalesces as matter, life and mind." ~ David Frawley

We could also say that Shiva and Parvati produced the seed of creation as energy and consciousness. Energy is the feminine aspect and consciousness is the masculine aspect from which the dance of life emerges and yet energy and consciousness pervade the entirety of our universe giving it shape and diversity. Even as you read this, within your body, atoms are appearing from the potentiality to become you and atoms are disappearing back into that potentiality to be no longer a part of you yet energetically all remain interconnected.

In this understanding, Hinduism is monotheistic because Brahma is seen as the creator and this is where the idea of God and Judaism, Christianity and Islam originated. It is rather sad that some of those early thinkers became sufficiently irritated by the women in their lives that the feminine aspect of creation was cast out and a patriarchal civilisation evolved which has caused many of the problems in today's world.

Within Hinduism there are thousands of gods which are really elements of human creation and a way of appreciating the divine and all life. Continuing from Shiva and Parvati as the potential of creation then Brahma and Saraswati shaping the world, we have Vishnu and Lakshmi maintaining the status quo. Perhaps they could be seen as a harmonising and sustaining influence.

I cannot possibly mention all the different gods but I must mention Lord Krishna. Contrary to popular disbelief in the Western mind, Krishna was an actual fully realised human being who lived some four and a half thousand years ago and his conversation with the warrior Arjuna is contained within the Bhagavad-Gita that is available at most bookstores and online.

Krishna is thought to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu the sustainer of life in part because he advises that people should stand up for themselves yet somehow manage to pass innocently through life and celebrate the divine within. The Hindu gods represent aspects of reality that many find confusing despite the simplicity. Some people like to ask which came first, the chicken or the egg? Will the answer is that they came later because first there was the potentiality that we call Shiva and Parvati.

These gods are not sitting in some wonderful heaven looking down on us in amusement, pity or judgement. They are principles of life that permeate all existence including our own being. They exist within every atom of every cell in our bodies because they are actually elements of nature as proved in quantum physics experimentation. To this point hopefully I have shed some light to alleviate that confusion but now I may confuse you even more as I attempt to give further context:

So what about prayer?

The Christian idea of some God sitting up in heaven to whom one prays asking for favour and expressing thanks for good fortune is unfortunately present within the Hindu population. A great many pray to various gods for good portion, relief from suffering and other favours. Praying for things does not work but what sometimes happens when you pray is that you become a little more mindful and begin to learn that if you behave a little differently in your life, better things may come your way.

When you realise that the gods are actually a part of your chemistry and your psyche, they become a little more tangible. An artist may contemplate the creative nature of Brahma and Saraswati to become more creative. Those who wish to know the ultimate nature of existence may meditate and seek to embody the nature of Shiva and Parvati.

So really, you can beseech the gods all the favours you like and you are mostly wasting your time. But if you turn your mind toward the nature of God and seek to embody that nature within your own life, then you are on the right track to creating a successful and divine life. Here we tend to think about worship and the role of idols. Worship is about being with and recognising that what is outside is a reflection of what is inside of ourselves. Therefore the idol is an external representation of an internal reality. Here worship and prayer is seeking to awaken and motivate the divine potentiality, seeking to know the true nature of existence which releases an internal joy and happiness that is independent of external phenomenon making worship a celebration.

If you are inclined to pray to God, please don't stop on my account but as well as praying, contemplate what God means to you and embody those ideas within your own thoughts and actions. I should caution here that some people are mentally unhinged, so for an action to be considered divine, it must in the least be harmless toward oneself and other life.

There have been many cults that have evolved over the centuries that destroyed life in the name of their gods through war and sacrifice. These ideas may provide short-term rewards for the elite but they are antilife whereas anything divine supports all life and including that of the planet we call home. We all have the option to believe or to know.

Namaste and God bless


12 comments to Who is God?

  • Jacob

    According to Christianity, God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and perfect in his goodness, wisdom and power. Nothing is outside of his control. Yet the God lets everything get so fucked up – like this God is so irresponsible it ain’t worthy of respect as it’s failed on sustainability. Better we think of God within – and we are the creators and sustainers who have chosen to believe in an external failure and daily sacrifice the son – nature to an endless death

  • Patrick

    In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. … In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God, consubstantial in three persons, is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

  • Steven

    Thanks for helping people like me to realise that I am God

  • Just me

    “How totally different did the world appear to medieval man! For him the earth was eternally fixed and at rest in the center of the universe…Men were all children of God under the loving care of the Most High, who prepared them for eternal blessedness; and all knew exactly what they should do and how they should conduct themselves in order to rise from a corruptible world to an incorruptible and joyous existence. Such a life no longer seems real to us, even in our dreams.” — Carl Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man

  • Justen

    The great lesson is, that unity is behind all. Call it God, Love, Spirit. Allah, Jehovah – it is the same unity that animates all life from the lowest animal to the noblest man.

  • Levern

    Greetings, I have learned and it as took me years that you gotta rely on God and not your friends, your mom, Your dad, your sister, & your brother. You must rely on God that way you won’t keep getting disappointed when others can’t be there for you when you need them most. Because you realise God is always there for you when you need Him most. Rely on God!

  • Else

    If there is something that God has spoken into my life over and over again, it is that He always has my best interest in mind. God paints a picture in His Word about what is right and what is wrong, for a reason. The non-believer may think that Christianity is all about rules. But I would like to offer another side. I’ve found that the things in life that lead me away from God, always lead to self-destruction. That rings true in my life, and the lives of people around me whom I’ve seen stray away and do their own thing. A god who lets you do what ever you want and get away with it, is not a loving god. But guys… our God cares about us SO much, that He’s made it clear about what will prosper us, and what will destroy us. Sometimes that looks like conviction, and sometimes that looks like Grace. With that, let me say… there is a reason why He wants our lives to line up with His Word. He has a reason.

  • Ethan

    Because God is all powerful (omnipotent) and all knowing (omniscient), He is also able to be present at all places at all times (omnipresent). God is absolutely holy—without any moral or character defect. In fact, the Bible says that God is incapable of doing any evil, despite being all powerful yet he lets us do all sorts of evil so I wonder.

  • Mischevous

    Please don’t mock God, he is the omnipresence, eternal and unknowable. If you don’t believe, you are totally lost

  • Arthur

    No human has ever seen God because he is a Spirit, which means that he is a higher form of life than the physical creatures who live on earth, (John 1:18; 4:24). Nevertheless, we can discern God’s personality from the things he has made. For instance, the variety of fruits and flowers tells us of his love and wisdom. The size of the universe tells us of his power (Romans 1:20). Yet he or she as the case maybe is unconcerned about applying value to life as he/she allows all manner of suffering to the point you have to ask if God’s only a figment of our inagination

  • Michael

    Hi, the Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God; rather, it assumes His existence from the very beginning

  • Jaqui

    Hey, this is a pretty good description to provide insight into the world’s most unanswerable question because the real answer is beyond the mind.