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I have tried to read Bhagavad-gita, the Upanisads, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, etc. The philosophy is very hard to internalize, to say the least. I was born into the "Hindu" religion and have almost blindly followed the customs and traditions of Hinduism for fifty years.
Difficulty has started since I started trying to interpret and read the philosophy behind Hinduism and the great books like the Gita and the Mahabharata, etc. The more I read I get more confused and it becomes even harder to undergo realization. At this point in time I feel I am grossly deluded. Hope your help will clear some of this confusion. Thank you.
Dr. H. K. Sinha
OUR REPLY: I can understand your confusion in trying to understand the philosophy of the Vedic literatures. It seems that everyone who reads the Bhagavad-gita has his own interpretation, and unfortunately many people try to present their interpretations as the absolute truth. The fact is, however, that we can learn the absolute truth only from the Absolute Truth Himself.
In other words, we cannot hear from just anyone. We have to hear from God of His representatives. Krsna clearly says in Bhagavad-gita that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Absolute Truth. And many saints and sages confirm that He is God. Why should we try to interpret Krsna's words? He is God, and He can speak clearly for our understanding. Those who interpret Krsna's words actually misinterpret them. We should hear only from those who give us Krsna's teachings without any adulteration. Only such persons are qualified gurus. Krsna's unadulterated teachings have the potency to change our hearts and give us full realization.
This we have seen by the work of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Because he presented Bhagavad-gita "as it is," he was able to create many devotees of Lord Krsna all over the world. As a result of seeing things clearly by the mercy of Krsna and His pure representative Srila Prabhupada, these devotees are enthusiastically engaging in the service of the Absolute Truth, for the benefit of themselves and all humanity.
Please continue to read Srila Prabhupada's books and associate with the devotees. I'm sure your confusion will soon clear up.
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I've wanted to ask you this question for some time, but I didn't have enough inspiration or inquisitiveness until now. What if someone says, "My scripture doesn't tell about God having a personal form, so I don't believe God has a personal form"? We can try to tell him or her all about the Vedic scriptures, but still the question will come again: "I was only taught the Bible…" Many people had the same viewpoint before they came to Srila Prabhupada. What did he say to them?
OUR REPLY: We have logical arguments to show that it is perfectly reasonable for Got to have a personal form. We'll give you one of those arguments in a moment.
As far as the Bible is concerned, Genesis states specifically that God made man in His own image and likeness. This cannot be interpreted to mean anything except that our form is fashioned after the Lord's own form.
That does not mean the Lord's form is made of material substances, such as flesh, blood, and bone. His form is completely spiritual. A mannequin is not made of the same substances as your body, but like your body it also has a form. Similarly, our form is like Krsna's, but it's not exactly the same. His form is made of spiritual energy; ours is made of material substances. We also have a spiritual form, but it is now covered by our flesh-and-blood form.
It is somewhat difficult to make a completely reasonable case for the existence of God's form strictly on the strength of the Bible. Lord Jesus, the foremost preceptor of the biblical line, said, "I have much to teach, but you are not ready to hear it." No one can reasonably assert, therefore, that merely because something is not mentioned in the Bible (Krsna's name, for example) it's automatically a falsehood. That would be very narrow, sectarian religious chauvinism, especially when a little objective study would show anyone that the Vedic science of God continues long after the Bible has stopped. Any sincere person can study that science and gain immense benefit.
Now here is the argument for the Lord's personal form: God is the Absolute Truth and the source of everything. That means that every quality, every element every manifestation everywhere originates in Him. Otherwise, the Absolute Truth, God, could not be described as perfect, complete, unlimited, and so forth. Now, if everything in creation originates from the Absolute Truth, the quality of personhood must also originate in Him. In other words, He must be a person.
Personhood is one of God's unlimited qualities. If you say, "No, not possibe," you immediately impose a limitation on the unlimited, which, obviously, you cannot do. To fulfill the literal meaning of Absolute Truth, we must accept the God is a transcendental person.
Our material minds find it difficult to accept such a transcendental person. But all the scriptures of the world portray God as a person, and great saints and devotees, having realized God's personality after sincere practice of devotional service, glorify Him in music, art, and poetry.