Who or What is God? - Basudev Mishra


आकाशात् पतित तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम् । सर्वदेवः नमस्कारः केशवं प्रतिगच्छति ।

“Like the rain water that falls all around ultimately has one destination – sea, salutations to divinity in any form reaches one destination – the same God by any name”.

People generally have a vague idea about God when they say they believe in God. Others who say they do not believe in God have absolutely no idea of what they are talking about. One can deny about something only if one has knowledge about that thing, and do not find it at here-now. When someone denies the existence of the horns of a horse, he/she admits that he/she has seen horses and horns on some animals, but he/she has not seen their combined existence in one place. Thus, what they deny is actually a relation and not existence of the objects. Similarly, if one denies the existence of God, he/she must have knowledge of “something”, which he/she is denying. What is that “something”? That is God.

Because it is so confusing, the Ishopanishad says: अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽविद्यामुपासते. It literally means, those who chase information enter a dark terrain, because information is related to worldly objects and their time is spent on actions (कर्म) of collecting information about those subjects through various technologies that they call science. But truly, it is not science, because science does not deal with objects, but object neutral mental concepts that explain all information not only about it, but also about all deformations and variants of it (यथा सौम्येकेन मृत्पिण्डेन सर्वं मृण्मयं विज्ञातगं स्याद्वाचारम्भणं विकारो नामधेयं मृत्तिकेत्येव सत्यम् – छान्दोग्य उपनिषद – once you understand baryons, you can explain all objects that are constituted of various combinations of baryonic matter. The combinations are unlimited but temporary, whereas the baryons are permanent and the truth). Hence it is truly ignorance (अविद्या), because finding more and more objects which are different combinations of baryonic matter, will not lead one to the knowledge of the basic constituents. For this reason, the “particle zoo” of modern particle physics is leading practically nowhere – many new particles and sparticles have been proposed without any coherent theory to explain their origin, mass and functions that resemble reality.Those who enter the path of knowledge (pure theory) enter into a darker terrain – ततो भूय ऽइव ते तमो य ऽउ विद्यायाग्वंरताः (ibid), because one comes across confusing and misleading ideas. Imagine a person well versed in all subjects without any practical experience. You ask him about the taste of cherry and he will tell you sweet. But ask him to describe sweetness, and he will be speechless. You also cannot explain him the sweetness of the cherry. It has to be practically realized. Thus, pure concept (theory) or pure technology (action) are incomplete and need each other. Theory is lame without technology and technology is blind without theory. Why it is so? The reason is, technology can lead to perception only through our external senses that receive only partial information. When we are holding an apple and looking at it, what we “see” is not the apple itself, but the component of reflected radiation coming out of it. What we are “holding” is the apple that radiates the reflected radiation. Thus, what we see is different from what we touch. Either way, we cannot describe the object fully using only one feedback (अनवर्णे इमे भूमिः – तैत्तिरीय आरण्यकम्). Only when these individual feedbacks are mixed in our mind and compared with the memory of previous such perception, do we know that the object we are looking at, is the same as that we are holding. Information is related to perception through outwardly directed senses. Knowledge is an inwardly directed process. Thus, the Upanishad concludes, if you can discriminate between the causes of darkness and light, you can overcome the changing perceptions of darkness and shadows, and enter the unchanging effulgence of continuous illumination that is the ultimate reality.Some people say there is only one God without a second. Conceptually, this is wrong. A devout Muslim lady once asked how a person like us could believe in so many Gods. Our conversation went on like this:“How could you believe in so many Gods?”

“How many Gods do you believe?”


“Then you must believe in two, three, four… many, Gods.”

“Not at all. Why do you say so?”

“Because one is only a number out of the sequence of numbers one, two … n. When you say East, without mentioning West, North or South, you imply the existence of these directions, as there cannot be East without the existence of West, North and South. Similarly, by telling the number of God as one, you imply the existence of two, three, four … n Gods. Where are they?”

“It is all weird. Till now you are talking sense. But now you are talking some weird things.”

“It is simple, either God is beyond numbers – hence not even one, or He is many. When we talk of the Absoluteness of Him, we say He is beyond numbers (न एकोऽहं यत् द्वितीयः कुतः स्यात्). But when we talk of His manifestations in different forms to bless us for different reasons and in different ways, we say He is many (एको वहुधा).”

“It is all beyond me.”

“Let me explain it this way. What is a number? It is a property of matter particles that is perceptible through differentiation between similars. When we perceive some object, if we can differentiate between similars, we call these objects as many. If we cannot differentiate, we call it as one. There is nothing similar to God. Hence He should be called as one. However, He also fulfills the definition of infinity. Infinity is also the perception that could not be differentiated from similars. However, while one and many are related to others, infinity is characterized by its non-relatedness and infiniteness. It can have simultaneous existence without being affected by others. The attributes of God are not limited and are unaffected by others. God is also infinite. A thing cannot be one and infinite at the same time. Thus, God has to be beyond numbers. What we call as many Gods, are really His different attributes. This is because in His absolute manifestation God is devoid of any action or property (निष्क्रियः – निर्गुणः). Hence He is beyond numbers. Only in His manifested form (सगुणब्रह्मम्) He is expressed as many.”

“You must admit that God is the repository of all powers. Since the creation reflects His image, all powers on Earth must exhibit the same principle that is inherent in Him. Let us take the example of electricity, which is also a force. Sometimes we call it power because we get things done through it. We have not seen electricity just like we have not seen God. All we see is the effects of electricity. Electricity in itself can be of no use unless we attach specific gadgets to tap its power to our advantage. If we want light, we attach a bulb to electricity. If we want heat, we use a heater. If we want fresh air, we use a fan. If we want ice, we use a freezer. Each of these functions could be performed only when a specially designed implement is attached in a specific way to the electricity supply point. Mere availability of electricity without the implements will not serve our purpose. Similarly, we use different forms of secondary Gods (implements) and perform the different types of worship (attach the implements in a specific way) to the Absolute God (to the electricity supply point). This is the only scientific way of getting His blessings. All other ways are inferior.

Others say there is only one God without a second. They quote:

एकमेवाऽद्वितीयोसन्नामरूपविवर्जितम्। सृष्टेपुराधुनाप्यस्य तादृक्त्वं तदितिरुच्यते।

But why did it say: एकमेवाऽद्वितीयोसन्? It would have been enough to say एकम् or अद्वितीयम् only, as both mean the same thing and repetition is prohibited in our scriptures, unless there is a specific reason. Further, why the word सन् was added to it, that too followed by सृष्टेपुराधुनाप्यस्य? Nothing in scriptures can be without meaning.Similarly, पाशुपतसूत्र says, “शक्तिप्रचयोऽस्यविश्वम्” – the universe is the totality of the different forces. Thus, देवता stands for the constituent causes for all matter and energy in the universe, which are different from matter and energy, as we generally know, but which control matter and energy in a regulated manner.महर्षि शौनक, one of the greatest authority on the Vedas, says in his book बृहद्देवता that those desirous of any specific (configuration of material) objects should invoke the special types of fundamental forces (use appropriate energy) and prime-radiating mediums (quantum interactions) as may be required in each case. Since there are numerous categories of prime radiating mediums – all variants of the same fundamental source – they are named after the class of medium that is most predominant. He defines स्तुति, which often is interpreted as prayer, as classification and nomenclature, physical characteristics, chemical properties and interactions with other particles (अर्थमिच्छनृषिर्देवं यं यमाह्वायमस्तु इति । प्राधान्येन स्तुवन्भक्त्या मन्त्रस्तद्देव एव सः । स्तुतिस्तु नाम्ना रूपेण कर्मणा वान्धवेन च ।).

The scriptures repeatedly proclaim the number of Gods as thirty-three. Rhk Veda 1-45-2 talks of these 33 Devataa that are responsible for all interactions. Ramayana of Valmiki (वाल–40-5 and आरण्य 14-14/15) proclaim the number of Gods as thirty-three.

A field is a region of space, upon entering which, we experience a force. Modern science designates the field based on the nature of that force – thus multiple fields. But like you can play different games in the same field, there can be different forces in the same field. For example, electric, magnetic and gravitational forces can exist in the same field. Thus, we accept only two types of fields: physical or gross field and conscious or sentient or subtle field (स्थूलसूक्ष्मविभागेन द्विधा क्षेत्रमवस्थितम्). Radiating sub-atomic particles that are not perceived directly (भावप्रत्यय), but are only inferred indirectly from their effects (उपायप्रत्यय), are called quantum (देवाः) and beyond quantum (प्रकृतिलयाः).


The issue regarding the number of Gods has been discussed elaborately in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.  It says, the number of Gods is the same as the number of stanzas describing their nature. It further says this number is “three and three hundred and three and three thousand” (त्रिच त्रिशतश्च त्रिच त्रिसहस्राणिच). This has been interpreted by various people to mean thirty-three crores or thirty-three lakhs or three thousand three hundred and six. The Upanishad further goes on to add, the number of Gods is thirty-three, six, three, two, one and a half, and one respectively. Then it goes on to identify these Gods. Out of the thirty-three Gods are eight ‘वसु’ – same as gluons of modern science, eleven ‘रुद्र’ or different types of electro-magnetic fields that are responsible for the solar cycle, twelve ‘आदित्य’ or different star types, इन्द्र or the central point that resolves into different forces, and प्रजापति – the three-fold structure containing प्रजा-प्राण-पशु. Elsewhere, these have been called as the pair अश्विनीकुमार – the neutrino (दस्र) and the antineutrino (नासत्य).

Indra (इन्द्र) has been described by शतपथब्राह्मणम् as मध्यप्राण, whose function as described by Shaunaka are: रसादान, वृत्रस्य निर्वहण, वलस्य निखिलाकृतिः । According to Vedas, action starts with तुल्यबलविरोध । All systems can exist only when all forces acting on it are in equilibrium. If somehow one of the forces is removed, the system moves in that direction with a proportionate speed, which creates an equal and opposite reaction (तुल्यबलविरोध) in the opposite direction. In other words, when one central force resolves into two equal and opposite components (since energy is always conserved), action starts due to non-linear interaction with the medium. This is the universal principle of force – वलस्य निखिलाकृतिः।.In this process, it pushes out and destroys (निर्वहण) the outer boundary – covering (वृत्र – as explained in the main post) that confines the radiation of the nucleus. In sub-atomic level, it is a continuous process, which changes the down quark to up quark to change neutrons to protons inside the atom. The reverse process of covering the up-quark by a negative charge to make it a down quark continues – as is the process of वृत्रस्य निर्वहण. Thus, killing of the Vritra is not a one-time process, but is a continuous process that binds the atoms together. Without this central force – मध्यप्राणः, nothing could materialize. The force that controls these is thus called देवराजः. This is responsible for the weak nuclear interaction (रसादान). When this universal principle is referred to only in the context of fluids that cover solids if not contained, it is called वरुणः. For this reason, the Taittireeya Aaranyaka says: पटरो विक्लिधः पिङ्गः एतद्वरुणलक्षणम् ।

Details on these will be discussed separately.

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