Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Is God with form or without form?

(Sri Ramakrishna to the Goswami) “It is no use just saying that the Lord has a form. It is right that He assumes a human body, as in the case of, say, Sri Krishna. He appears before the devotees in different forms. This is true. But it is also true that He is the formless Akhanda Sachchidananda. The Vedas say that He is both with form and formless , with attributes as well as attributeless.

“Do you know how it is? Sachchidananda is like an infinite ocean. When it becomes cold, ocean water freezes into ice, which floats on the surface in different shapes. In the same way, when the cold of bhakti affects the ocean of Sachchidananda, one sees God with form. For the devotee He is with form. But when the sun of jnana rises, the ice melts; it becomes water as before – water above, water below, water everywhere. That is why they pray in the Srimad Bhagavata, ‘Lord, You are with form, and You are also formless. We see you wandering around like a human being, though the Vedas say that You are beyond mind and speech.’

“So one can say that for some devotees He assumes eternal forms. There are places where the ice never melts – it assumes the form of crystal.”

Kedar: Thakur ji, in the Srimad Bhagavata Vyasa Deva prayed for God’s forgiveness for three misgivings. At one place he says, ‘Oh Bhagavan, You are beyond mind and speech. But I am narrating Your lila (worldly play) – that is only Your aspect with form. Pray pardon me.’

Sri Ramakrishna: Yes, God is with form and He is also formless. Furthermore, He is even beyond form and formlessness. There is no limit to Him.

Source: Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita, Vol II, Section 2, Chapter V

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