Is God Formless or with Form?

is god formless or with form

The Vedanta and Bhakti Approach

In the Gita, there are 2 modes of worshipping the Ultimate Reality, the Absolute.

The first is considering God as apart from ourselves and the second approach is to consider God, as our Real Self, within.

The fruits of both approaches are the same but not identical.

We shall try to explore the truth of the statement “same but not identical” to some depth.

Experience of God with Form

For him, who considers Lord, as someone who is apart from oneself, other than oneself, the Lord is one with attributes.

He is one with a minefield of superlative adjectives that describe subjective goodness.

He is the Lord with form.

Although such a Lord is not oneself, He remains to be the version of our own highest possibility.

When the worshipper devotes and commits himself to such a Lord, the devotee attains or ascends to the abode of that Lord, which is celestial and non-material.

This abode is different from any of the abodes that we know of, on the physical or even the dream planes.

serving-radha-krishna-with-form

It transcends all imaginable “great” abodes.

This abode is supra-mundane and “Real”.

It is real in the true sense of the word.

All that we know of, on the mundane platform is ephemeral, short-lived, momentary, and fleeting.

The abode of the Lord with Form is permanent, non-fleeting, eternal, and non-transient.

Once, a living entity attains the Lord and His abode, he attains it for eternality.

He shall never be displaced from that abode.

Although it may be apparent that such a living entity takes to travel through other dimensions of living conditions, he shall not be, for a moment separated from the Lord or His abode, once having entered it, even in the literal sense.

There shall be no sense of detachment or separation from the Form and Abode of the Lord.

Experience of the Formless

On the other hand, for a man who worships the Lord, as his own self, the final abode of such a living entity shall be the undifferentiated, formless, causeless Brahman.

Such a person becomes one with the Absolute, similar to the merging of the individual personality into the endless domain of Brahman, a dissolution into the causeless ocean, where the experiencer and the experience merge.

There shall be no experience of separateness and hence there shall be no experience of the “experience”.

This state is also changeless and once having attained it, there is no losing it.

Where there is a Lord and an Abode of the Lord, which is separate from individual experience, there shall be an “experience” of a blissful state.

There shall be a separate experience of feelings, emotions, and volition in the supramundane state.

On the other hand, when one unites with undifferentiated Brahman, there is nothing to state or represent.

The form of God-realization varies in every individual according to the faith and sentiment of the worshipper.

This one realizes during the period of his spiritual discipline.

Those who worship Him as one’s own self, realize Him as one’s own identity, in Oneness.

This is the basis of Advaita Philosophy.

Purpose of Panchikarana

However, those who worship Him as the Supreme Absolute personified God of all supreme attributes, receive Him, while maintaining their individuality.

Their individuality is not mundane.

Instead, the Lord endows them with a permanent supra mundane individuality which does not change for eternity.

They receive a spiritual form, attribute, and mood from their Lord.

Hence, different strivers according to their respective conditions, realize God differently.

Reality of God: Form or Formless?

Be it in terms of identity or diversity, the worship of God is possible in both cases.

So, God is attributeless as well as full of attributes simultaneously.

He is with form or formless, based on the way one may conceive it, following the direction of the Scriptures.

He is unmanifest and supremely manifest.

Now one may have the question that if God is realized differently by people of two different conceptions, one with form and another without form, how can the fruit of these two realizations be one?

In both these realizations, the Lord says in the Gita that, both forms of realizations as attained by the form and formless practitioner results in the attainment of Supreme Peace and Eternal state.

The results of both paths ultimately lead to a permanent state of happiness.

After having attained it, it does not reverse.

These states are permanent and irreversible.

Thus, these two states are the same and yet non-identical.

References to Prove Reality of God

is-spiritual-experiences-a-fiction

The result of these states is that of ultimate peace and freedom of worries Chapter 18, Verse 62).

It is also mentioned that these states are Amrita (अमृता Deathless, of Supreme Bliss) (Chapter 15, Verse 6).

Also Chapter 18, verse 45 of the Gita declares that these two states confer one with the highest perfection.

Both of them are also referred to as the imperishable supreme state (Chapter 15, Verse 5).

In a nutshell, there are a dozen places in the Gita where both these states represent the same ultimate fruit and hence it follows that the states, although appear to be different, give the results of the same blessed state.

Moreover, mere words and descriptions cannot entirely succeed in transmitting the reality of these states.

How can hearing about the taste of mango and tasting it actually, be the same thing?

He alone, who has attained the object, knows it.

But he too can never describe it.

Thanks for reading!