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Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 15 Dec 2019

     

How can Hindus explain the multiplicity of Gods to people of other religions?

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: One of my Christian friends asked me “Why does Hinduism have so many forms of Gods and Goddesses? We have only Jesus Christ. Muslims have only Allah. Buddhism has only Lord Buddha and so on. How can one keep up with so many forms? Are you supposed to just pick whom you like and focus on that form”? How should I answer such questions?

Swami replied: The above question regarding the multiplicity of Gods in Hinduism itself contains the answer because the questioner asked “Are you supposed to just pick whom you like and focus on that form?” Hinduism is a micro-model of the macro-world. What you see in the world, you also see in the Hindu religion at a micro-level. In the world, you have picked up the form of Jesus since you liked it and you are focusing on it. Did you ask other people in the world, “Why are there so many forms of God existing in the world when Jesus alone is God?” Some other person has picked Allah, who has no form. Some other person picked Buddha. Note that even Allah is a mediated form of God because the unimaginable God entered in a medium of formless light. The external form chosen by the devotee is as per the devotee’s personal taste. The external form does not merely mean the physical features of the body. The external form includes the internal mental qualities, in the case of the Human Incarnation of God. Both the body and the qualities constitute the external form because the internal form existing in any Human Incarnation of God is the same unimaginable God. Human Incarnations differ in their external forms in terms of the physical features and the colour of the body along with the mental qualities. But the internal unimaginable God in all of them is one and the same. If you take two ordinary human beings, God does not exist in them. In that case, the body is external and the mental qualities are internal. But in a Human Incarnation, God exists in the human medium. God is internal and both the body and the mental qualities become the external medium. Of course, the noble qualities are commonly present in all Incarnations, but their modes differ. There are three modes, which are sattvam (peaceful), rajas (active) and tamas (dormant). Human beings differ in their tastes for these modes. The divine qualities present in an Incarnation can be expressed in any of the three modes mentioned above. So, when I said that the internal qualities in Incarnations differ, it means that the modes differ. Rāma was very calm and peaceful, whereas Krishna was very dynamic. But both have the same divine qualities.

| Shri Dattaswami | Rama Raama

 
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