A group Conversation : Form and Formless


Somesh
during Rigveda- the most ancient scripture-people worshipped Sun and other natural elements like Fire, Water, Earth and Space. They worshipped what they saw and what they could comprehend as something beyond their imagination. Those days they did not worship forms. Later some sages and great meditators brought the very force in the forms so as to give the ordinary folks a paradigm of what God is like. The forms -the color, the shape,be it faminine, masculine or what they wore- all had great significance.

Not intending to hurt anybody's feelings, it is my conviction that all the forms that we worship are our own creations( I am talking about the forms and not what they represent).The forms are our own efforts to describe/define that limitless ever expanding omnipotent, omnipresent consciousness.

So what I am trying to ask is that can one attain moksha with his own creations? Isn't the creation(the form) a step/path to have a glimpse and finally communion with that ongoing supreme consciousness? Isn't there a need to move beyond forms and experience the supreme consciousness itself?

Mary Ann
My immediate response to this is that when you die, you move beyond form. Since everyone born dies, maybe that makes moving beyond form a "need," but why aspire to death while living? Live!

Akka_108
You speak of a force. Is it not possible that this force (I think you mean the Supreme Consciousness) reveals itself to sincere devotees? Such people may then have what is called "a vision".

And when this Supreme Consciousness then takes on a particular form according to the mental dispositions of the devotee (which also include cultural background), we have the different forms of the gods and goddesses of Hinduism (and other religions).

This does not mean that these forms are creations of those who describe them in the scriptures, it just means that God (or the Goddess) has choosen to reveal himself (herself) in those forms in order to give the human beings the possibility to communicate with him (her).

You see, not everyone has the necessary mental dispossitions for meditation about the formless Nirguna-Brahman, most people need a form they can concentrate on.

peNkaLai k‚talikkiRÍn
We human beings live in a milieu of forms. We aspire to attain the highest reality, the Formless. Are we like Superman that we can leap tall buildings with a single bound? Well, maybe some of you can, I can't speak for everyone. But I think most of us find it more practical to ascend by means of a ladder of some sort. The Kabbalah's Tree of Life diagrams one such ladder, steps gradually ascending from this world of forms to the Supernal formless ultimate divinity. The seven heavens of Prophet Muhammad's Mi`raj (ascent), the concentric ascending levels of Heaven in Dante's Divine Comedy, and Jacob's dream of the ladder connecting earth and Heaven all echo the Tantric ladder of the cakras from muladhara step by step up to brahmarandhra. A spiritual aspirant may find it works better to take things one step at a time, because if you try to gain the ultimate all at once, you may fall short and then become discouraged from trying again. But if you really are a spiritual Superman, then go for it!

An alternative, skeptical point of view comes from Kabir, who says: Where are you going? There's no place to go to. Right here is where it's at. You're here already. Sahaja

Neha & Rajat
I am in no ways proficient enough to respond to your mail ( guess very rare would anybody be here) as its only who has REALISED would be knowing the actual truth... rest is what I/we might have heard or analyzed....anyways.., firstly, friend, although I agree completely that its our visualizations which we have given names to GOD/DESS but there can be an argument & that is the siddhas/realised ones who have given us these forms , had REALISED GOD/DESS in the specific form , thus we can say , that GOD/DESS himself/herself/itself took this form for the bhakta... while on contrary .. I too personally agree that its not only impossible to bind THE SUPREME IN ONE FORM BUT EVEN IN GUNA/GUNAS/CHARACTERISTICS, we have to remember that not only general life but even SPIRITUALITY is full of paradoxical truths.

Well, 2nd argument I have learnt is, its not easy for every soul to meditate on LIMITLESS thus comes the form of DEITY to help one meditate & then the path from FORM TO FORMLESS. Basically what I believe is its REALISATION. I stress REALISATION ...its not achieved but realized & realization comes on its own thus that might be possible those meditating on FORM without realizing would get towards formless ...as to MOKSHA .., well can't comment anything except what my brain could tell me.. now MOKSHA IS NOT MY GAME WHO WANTS TO BE ONE WITH BHAGWATEE/MAHAMAYA /SUPREME ONE .... that would finish the essence of relation for me .. I would love to take births over & again, with every birth much deeper love feelings for BHAGWATEES feet & play & enjoy her Maya .. hey nothing offensive towards you please.

regards,
JAI AMBEY MAHAKALI SHREE KAAL BHAIRAVYA NAMAH,

Shankara

I am really happy to read your query and the answer of Mary ann.

True,there is a need to go beyond forms of worship and to identify oneself with the Para Brahman.

Yet it is not easy for the lesser intellect and the commoner. Though Mary has suggested Omar Khayyam's philosophy, it is also a part of Srividya, and one can achieve what one is, just by knowing thy self. As not many people will understand the true depth of this query, and its answer, I am not explaining further.

The vedas have suggested Murthy worship (Forms) for a human being to realise himself in the process that is all. A guru can only help the seeker the ultimate truth of self.Moksha is only a stage for you to enjoy and rest and again take rebirth, as per your karma.

Ton of love, by the Grace of Hamsananda nada,

Sri Gurupadaravindarenu,

Omprem

Om Somesh Siddapura Math

So what I am trying to ask is that can one attain moksha with his own creations? Isn't the creation(the form) a step/path to have a glimpse and finally communion with that ongoing supreme consciousness? Isn't there a need to move beyond forms and experience the supreme consciousness itself?

Yes there is a need and a necessity eventually to move beyond all names and forms and experience Brahman directly. But, at the same time, names and forms such as a spiritual path, provide the means to purify one's consciousness so that one is able to move beyond nama/rupa to Brahman. A spiritual path develops the subtle consciousness, tames the ego, moves one past ignorance, desire and aversion and even past attachment to life itself. At that point, one becomes ONE, self becomes Self.

Perhaps one can attain moksha with his own creations but only if he/she eventually gives up those creations. The way will be difficult is one relies on his/her own creations and does not have a Guru. Without a Guru, failure is always close at hand because ego is rampant. One can experiment with various ways of establishing his/her own spiritual practices, but the likelihood is that without a Guru one will not stick to one path nor go into it deeply enough to arrrive at a direct experience of Brahman.

OM Namah Sivaya

Somesh

Dear Omprem
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
You agree that one has to drop all the forms/names to experience the Brahman directly. One also has to drop 'Guru' in the end because Guru can also be an attachment. I strongly believe that in each one of us there is a light, a thread that is in direct communion with the Brahman already. It is just that we should try to be in touch with that part of ourselves that is already in communion with the Brahman or for that matter, which is already a Brahman. It is that light in each of us that can take us to that eternity. Guru invokes the light in us. The light takes us further.

By the way, I havn't found a Guru yet.

Dear Akka,
Thank you for your reply. I always carried the belief that the forms of Gods/Goddesses are our own creations. You have given me a new realization that it is the supreme Consciousness that revealed itself in the form that suits the mental settings of the devotee. Amazing! I shall contemplate upon this. Your response will difinitely dilute my reluctance to worship forms (although I worship!).

I visualize as the supreme consciousness present in everything from the sand grains, to the rain droplets on the leaves, to the mightiest of the stars. By doing so I feel the expansion of my own consciousness and sometimes I experience brilliant flashes of light being thrust upon me with newer realizations, newer perspectives. Of course, this does not happen easily. But, it is worth giving a try.

OptOnline

Forms are merely to assist one who cannot worship Formless (bad term: not "formless" as in "lacking form" - but you understand). Far better to do without them. The question is, how many truly can worship the Formless with all their heart (i.e. how many do need that crutch). Pretty much every Sage I was blessed talking to, agreed that it's a crutch - they differed only in to what degree and how widely it is necessary...

Note - there is a difference between revering the forms (seeing all of them as manifestations of Formless) and worshipping the forms...

Regards,

Omprem

OM Somesh Siddapura Math

I agree with you entirely. Each of us is already in contact with Brahman. The problems are (1) that most of us don't recognize this and (2) those of us that do recognize this connection do not have the strength and discipline to maintain and enhance that connection without the guidance of a piritual path and Guru.

Yes, in the end one leaves behind the Guru too. Any Guru who tells you this is not so is not an authentic Guru. The Guru's job is to create in you the conditions to experience Brahman directly and constantly. But He/She can only guide you, the actual work is up to you.

Om Namah Sivaya

Somesh

Dear Rajat,

Thank you for your response.

I agree with you now that the Supreme Consciousness took certain form/forms so as to communicate with devotees.

Although it is difficult to experience the formless Supreme Consciousness. It is not impossible either. In the form we limit the supreme consciousness. While worshipping the form we should be aware that we are worshipping the symbol for what it represents and not the symbol itself. It is like trying to understand the whole from the part.

I had a near death experience few years ago. I painfully realized what it is like dying. For years I had not prayed. I always thought prayers were weak man's weapons. I prayed just once in the deep pain. My prayers were immediately answered and I miraculously came back to life. So you see I cannot think of more lives(although it is not in my hand). More lives mean more deaths - the experience has left a deep impact on me.

I am in my own way putting my sincere efforts to understand the force that not only brought me back to life but also gave me a glimpse how life can be in its company.

Your response is quite enlightning, not at all offensive!

Neha & Rajat

Totally agree with you on remembering the SYMBOL for what it represents & not the SYMBOL itself , but from my little experience I repeat happens gradually ...Ii mean the REALISATION ..Ii would again like to mention SHREE DEVYA ATHARVA SHIRSHAM here where by BHAGATEE tells us what she is actually. At the same time I would again paradoxicaly mention that , no symbol or representations can actually DEFINE THE SUPREME ONE.

As to your experience all I can say is definitely you are a stronger soul to have such strength, even I had once a fatal accident & could see my death before my eyes, but man very mystically not only I was alive but rarely any harm deepening on the fatality. Well, also, I know it's easier said then done for me, but still, death, is again paradoxical. It is ending & it is beginning too. If we forget the unknown & rebirths etc. well still ones death is livelihood to many people looking cremation grounds, selling goods of cremation, Brahmins who do last rites blah blah and I have seen condition of many families of those working in cremation grounds & can say that for many somebody's death is not just livelihood but a new life to them & their families... well, here would like to share a very funny incident , last year I came in contact with a Brahmin who owns a cremation ground in a small town near Delhi & well, he was upset as he said HIS BUSINESS IS DOWN as not many people die daily lol & wanted somebody to do some ritual etc to help him increase his business... hehehe imagine asking somebody for prayers so that LORD SHANKAR in his MAHAKAAL FORM would present death at least ,if not daily, once a week in a town.

regards...,

JAI AMBEY MAHAKALI SHREE KAAL BHAIRAVAYA NAMAH,

Somesh

Dear Rajatji,
What a coincidence you too had a near death experience! I am sure it has changed your life/lifestyle/beliefs permanently.
The incident you narrated is really an eye opener although bit funny. Someone's death is living for someone else! Circle of life! Well my first experience came at a time when I thought I was invincible. Only after the incident when I came back to life I started contemplating death and what happens after that. So I am mentally prepared now to accept it when it comes. After that incident I am not attached to things as I used to in the past.

You know my first wonderment was why did divine or some super natural force help me when I hardly prayed in the past. The more I contemplated upon this question my life took a totally different course. I realized for the first time whether I am awake or asleep a superior force( could be part of myself) is always watching me. It knows precisely what to do from the simplest of the things to the most complicated of the things. It is a long journey trying to understand the unknown!

I am sure you too must have had similar experiences.

Regards,
Somesh

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