The nature of God, Immanent and with Supremely Transcendant Personality, Vedic Philosophy

The nature of God, Immanent and with Supremely Transcendant Personality, Vedic Philosophy.

If one studies the Vedic philosophy of India, one finds a very profound conception of God.  Perhaps the most effective translator and conveyor of the Vedic Scriptures (to the West) in modern times was Srila Prabhupada (also known as A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada).  He wrote many short books and pamphlets in addition to lengthy translations of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita (roughly translated as The Song of The Lord).

Disclaimer: This essay cannot do justice to the sublime teachings from India on the nature of God.

Briefly, as I recall from Srila Prabhupada’s books, there are three key aspects of  God’s nature.  First, He permeates and sustains His creation.  This material universe is not all that there is.  There is a spiritual universe in addition to this material one.  God is the source and sustenance of this creation.  This is the impersonal aspect of the nature of God.

Secondly, there is the Paramatma or Supersoul which dwells within the heart of each of us.  The relationship between our individual souls and the Supersoul has been likened to two birds sitting on the same branch of a tree.  Our little soul is active while the Supersoul sits quietly observing all that we do in our lives.  Qualitatively, our little souls are like God’s soul.  (As in Christianity, we are made in the image and likeness of God.)  But, quantitatively, our souls are infinitesimal in mystic power, whereas God’s soul is infinite in mystic power.

The third aspect of God’s nature is that He has a supremely transcendant personality.  In other words, God is a person.  This is referred to as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (known as Krishna).  God stands above, so to speak, His creation.  God is immanent within the universe in the Supersoul aspect of His nature, yet He is also transcendant to creation in His Supreme Personality aspect. 

This is not pantheism, nor is it polytheism – which are what we in the West think of when the word Hinduism is mentioned.  At the village temple or local shrine, there are many “gods”.  But, at the deepest level of Vedic philosophy, there is only one God.  All the “gods” are but representations or manifestations of the one God.


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