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Worship Of God In Human Form – Teachings From Hinduism

Worship Of God In Human Form – Teachings From Hinduism is an extract from the editorial  of Prabuddha Bharata Magazine January 2002 Issue.

Adoration means to love something deeply and with respect. Everyone in this world has something to adore. While most people adore the world and its enjoyments, there are a few who adore something different, something higher.

As long as we feel that our body-mind complex is real, we see the external world as real and it occupies our whole being. When such a person prays to God, he does it mostly to be freed from some physical or mental affliction, or for worldly prosperity: name, fame, power, and position. These, according to the Bhagavad Gita, are two of the four types of people who worship God. Such people adore God as a human being and even conceive of Him as married and having children, if that suits them!

Swami Vivekananda throws light on an important truth: the constitutional necessity for such people to worship God with a human form. He says, ‘Suppose a cow were philosophical and had religion, it would have a cow universe, and a cow solution of the problem, and it would not be possible that it should see our God. Suppose cats became philosophers, they would see a cat universe and have a cat solution of the problem of the universe, and a cat ruling it.’

The point to be noted is: As long as cats and cows are conscious of their cat or cow form, they are constitutionally obliged to think of a God with their respective forms. Even so with a human being. As long as one’s identity with the body and the mind is strong, adoration of a human God alone is possible and just. For those who feel attracted to the world and its objects, religion can be only a form of ‘sanctified shop keeping’.

But Sri Krishna considers even such worshippers as noble-hearted. For, after all, it is God whom they approach for their worldly wants instead of manipulating men and matter, depending on their puny ego.

It will be pertinent to examine the view of people who do not believe in worshipping God with a human form. Such people may be strongly attached to the world and to their own limited personality. Only adoration of a God with a human form is taboo for them! As long as they continue to adore their own body, this attitude cannot hold water. They need to purify their mind and be free from their own body consciousness before trying to negate God with a human form.

Says Swami Yatiswarananda, ‘Before you apply the concept of formlessness and impersonality to God, apply it first to yourself. It is an important law that our concept of Reality depends upon our concept of ourselves. So in order to meditate on the formless God, we must consider ourselves to be formless. We must depersonalize ourselves before we try to depersonalize God’.

Source - Excerpts from Prabuddha Bharata Magazine January 2002 Issue page 2 to 3.