Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm
Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part IV
For the human form of God, there are also two kinds of understandings prevailing: Paroksh bhāv and Pratyaksh bhāv. Paroksh (para + aksha) means beyond our vision or eyesight, when He does not remain in front of our eyes. Paroksh bhav means the feelings created in common people’s mind that God has left this world bared without His protective presence, when God leaves this ordinary human form and goes back to His abode. Some even have feeling that “their God” has come last and no God will come or appear now or afterwards. Pratyaksh (prati + aksha = in front of our eyes) means the feelings created in learned person’s mind that God never leaves this world unattended and He is always present in this world to guide us. Pratyaksh bhav means the feeling of God right in front of our eyes, not even a slightest distance away from our eyes. Paroksh form of God means the form, revelation, or manifestation of God that has previously happened on this earth. Pratyaksh form of God means the present form of God in our own time for our own sake of fulfillment of our wishes, bliss and happiness, and ultimately our liberation. Shri Krishna Bhagwan in Bhagvad Gita says that, “Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bhārata, abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmanam shrujāmi aham ||” (Bhagvad Gita: 4.7) Meaning, “Whenever there is a decline in religious practices, O Arjun (the descendent of King Bharat), I by myself manifest in this world and outroot the evil.” God or God-realized sant is always present on this earth to reestablish and revitalize the transcendental religious practices (Sanātan or Ekāntik Dharma) and to liberate the souls (jiv) that are following the said religious practices. The feeling of God present right in front of our eyes is very important in worshiping.
The form of God is very difficult to understand, but we have to trust the words of the scriptures – the words of God Himself. We can say that, God on Earth and God in His abode are like difficult-to-understand yet unhesitatingly accepted wave-particle duality or uncertainty principle of the science. We, as an inexperienced people, have to believe it. In Hinduism, sakar and nirakar forms are described mainly for Brahm only. Whenever nirakar form is described in the scriptures it is in reference to Brahm only. In Hinduism, God is always described as sakar. He is omnipotent or all-powerful. He can take any form whatever He wants, as many as He wants, and as many times as He wants. If He says He will appear and He may not. If He says that He wouldn’t and He may appear. Obviously, we do not have any control over that and we cannot put any limitations over that too. God is independent. He can do whatever He wants. “Hari, chāhe jo kare so hoye,” meaning, whatever God does it happens. Sometimes it looks like we have the control over His form. When God takes the form or avatar, it doesn’t mean He transforms Himself to that form but He “appears” to us in that form. He never changes His original form, nor does He leave His abode. In Hinduism, sakar forms of God (avatars) are described parallel to the evolution of living beings on Earth. Initial avatars are described in animal forms, such as, Matsya (the fish), Kurma (the tortoise), and Varah (the boar). All latest forms or avatars are in human forms to show the similarity or likeness with us, such as, Vaman, Parashuram, Ram, Krishna, and Buddha. If, we had a form different than human, then God also would have taken that different form for our salvation. Thus, the human form of God is most closely related to us. Now, what does sakar mean in Hinduism? Sakar means human like but divine form with all His divinity and without any of the worldly attributes of the body, such as, aging, gender difference, changes of maturity, personality traits, psychological problems, etc. God is never described as nirakar or even as an abstract entity. God has definite but an absolute form.
Though, in spiritual language He is transcendental to us, in worldly language, He is a reality like us, so His messengers or representatives are also like us. His language is like our language. His way of communication is like our way of communication. He can listen to our prayers. He can feel our pain. He can fulfill our wishes. He can accept our services and worship. This is all because He is like human beings, but He is not human being. He is divine being. He is master and we are His servants. He is boss and we are His subordinates. He is king and we are His subjects.