Jai: How was our whole universe formed, Grandma? Does it have a creator?
Grandma: There is a creator behind any creation, Jai. Nothing can be created without somebody or some power behind it. Some power is needed, not only to create it, but also to support and run it. We call that power God, the Absolute, the Supreme in English, and Krishna, Ishvara, Bhagavan, Shiva in Sanskrit. Other religions call that power Allah, Father, Jehova, Devi and many other names. In a real sense, God is not the creator of the universe, but He Himself becomes everything in the universe. He manifests as Brahma, whom we call the creator. Actually, Brahma and all other deities (gods and goddesses) are just names of different powers of the one and only One God. People think Hindus worship many gods and goddesses, but that is due to lack of true knowledge. The entire universe is a manifestation of God. This is the highest philosophy that you may not understand completely now.
Jai: How does one God become so many things in the universe?
Grandma: According to the Samkhya theory of creation, God’s energy (Atma or Spirit) itself becomes Nature or matter, made up of the five basic elements. The entire creation is born and sustained by different combinations of these two energies: Spirit and Matter. (Gita 7.06) He is in the form of light in the Sun and the Moon; He is in the form of mind and strength in human beings. He digests our food and supports our life. We are all connected by the same Spirit as jewels in a necklace are connected by the same thread. (Gita 7.07)
Jai: If God is everywhere and in everything, why doesn’t everyone understand and love and worship Him?
Grandma: That is a good question, Jai. Generally, people have a false idea of God because everyone is not given the power to understand Him. Just as some people can’t understand calculus or even elementary mathematics, so people who have no good Karma, can’t know, understand, love, or worship God.
Jai: Then who are the ones who understand God?
Grandma: There are four types of people who worship or seek to understand God: (1) those who are sick or in some kind of trouble or seek help in doing well in their studies or work, (2) those who are trying to get the knowledge of God, (3) those who want money, and (4) the wise ones who know God. (Gita 7.16) Lord Krishna considers all four types of people as devotees. The wise one is the best because a wise person worships God without wanting anything from Him. Even such wise ones completely know God only after many births. (Gita 7.19)
Jai: If I worship Krishna, can I get good grades in an examination or get rid of sickness?
Grandma: Yes, He fulfills the desires of all who believe in Him and who always worship and pray with firm faith. God is both our Father and Mother. You should ask God what you want in a prayer. He fulfills the desires of His sincere devotees. (Gita 7.21)
Jai: Then why doesn’t everybody worship Krishna? Why do we worship Lord Ganesha, Shri Hanumana, Mother Sarasvati and many other deities?
Grandma: Lord Krishna is the name of the Supreme God. Some sects of Hinduism call the Supreme God as Lord Shiva. People of other religions call Him Buddha, Jesus, Allah, Father, etc. Other deities (gods) are a part of His power. Just as all rain water goes to the ocean, so worship of any deity goes to Krishna, the Absolute. But a beginner should chose just one of the many deities and establish a personal relationship by doing Pooja, or at least Namaskara, everyday to the chosen deity. The personal deity then becomes your personal guide and protector. The personal deity is called IshtaDeva or IshtaDevi, your personal god.
Jai: You said that the entire universe is only another form of God. Is God formless or can God take forms?
Grandma: This big question not only confuses children, but also puzzles adults. Answers to this question created various sects or groups in Hinduism. One sect, called Arya Samaj, believes that God cannot have forms and is formless. Another group believes God has a form. A third group believes God is formless and takes forms. Still others believe God is both with form and without form.
I believe everything has a form. Nothing in the world is formless. God has a form, which is invisible to our physical eyes. He cannot be understood by the human mind or described by words. Supreme Being has a transcendental (or out of this world) form and a Supreme Personality. He has no origin but is the origin of everything. He has no beginning or end. The invisible God is the cause of the visible world. Invisible does not mean formless. Everything we see is another form of God.
Here is a story about practical application of seeing the Supreme in all beings as mentioned in Gita 7.19.
7. See God in All Beings
In a forest lived a holy man who had many disciples. He taught them to see God in all beings and to bow down before them. One day a disciple went into the forest to get wood for fire. Suddenly he heard a shout.
“Get out of the way! A mad elephant is coming!”
Everyone but the disciple of the holy man ran away. He saw the elephant as God in another form, so why should he run away from it? He stood still, bowed before the elephant, and began meditating on God in the form of the elephant.
The mahout (trainer) of the elephant shouted: “Run away! Run away!”
But the disciple didn’t move. The animal grabbed him with its trunk, threw him to one side, and went on its way. The disciple lay unconscious on the ground. Hearing what had happened; his god-brothers came to him and carried him to the hermitage. With the help of some herbal medicine, he regained consciousness.
Then someone asked, “When you knew the mad elephant was coming, why didn’t you leave the place?”
He answered: “Our guru has taught us that God is in all beings, animals as well as human. Therefore, I thought it was only the elephant-god that was coming, so I didn’t run away.”
At this the guru said: “Yes, my child, it is true that the elephant-god was coming; but the mahout-god asked you to get out of way. Why didn’t you trust the mahout’s words? Also, the elephant-god does not have the Self-knowledge that all are God!”
God dwells in all beings. God is even in the tiger; but you cannot hug the tiger on that account! Be close only with good people, and keep away from the evil-minded. Keep away from the unholy, the evil, and the impure.
One day a 6-year-old girl was sitting in a classroom. The teacher was going to explain evolution to the children.
The teacher asked a little boy: “Manav, do you see the tree outside?”
Teacher: “Manav, do you see the grass outside?”
Teacher: “Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.”
Manav: “Okay. (He returned a few minutes later.) Yes, I saw the sky.”
Teacher: “Did you see God anywhere?”
Teacher: “That’s my point. We can’t see God because he isn’t there. He just doesn’t exist.”
A little girl spoke up and wanted to ask the boy some questions. The teacher agreed, and the little girl asked the boy:
“Manav, Do you see the tree outside?”
Little Girl: “Manav, do you see the grass outside?”
Little Girl: “Did you see the sky?”
Little Girl: “Manav, do you see the teacher?”
Little Girl: “Do you see her mind or her brain?”
Little Girl: “Then according to what we were taught today in school, she must not have one!”
God cannot be seen with our physical eyes. He can be seen by the eyes of knowledge, faith, and devotion only. (Gita 7.24-25) For we walk by faith, not by sight. He answers our prayer!