Abstraction v Reality.
Numbers are abstraction. Mathematics is an abstract subject. Why? Because they have no existence that can be experienced through any of the senses (all 5 + 1 senses). They are all concepts built by the human mind, to understand, describe and interpret his surroundings. No matter what we do, there is no way we can sense the presence of a number like 1, 2, or 3.
However, an object like chair has an existence in reality, because we can touch it.
So, that's the difference between abstraction and reality. We can sense reality (by some means), but abstraction cannot be sensed.
Is God an abstraction or a reality?
It is an abstraction till it becomes a reality. That is why we say "God realisation". "God realisation" therefore means to make "God real" (Realisation is to be understood as "to make real" and not as "to understand"). Hence, God which is just an abstract concept in all our minds should become something which we can feel and sense. That is the meaning of "God realisation".
Hence, God is not something that can be realised through the intellect, but to be experienced through some kind of a sense. This is because, the intellect can deal only with abstract ideas and concepts. But to perceive the presence of something, one needs some sensing “device”. It is well established that the 5 known senses cannot perceive this "God". Whatever this abstraction called God is, to realise it (to feel it), we need a different kind of a sense. One may call it the 6th sense. To my own understanding, there are higher senses than the 6th sense, like 7th, 8th and beyond. Most of this is unknown to us. God can be realised only through these higher order senses.
As a child, we all are injected with the idea of “God”, which remains an abstraction. Unless we make efforts to make it a living reality, it will continue to remain an abstraction. Life is the opportunity to convert God from an abstraction to reality. Different methods have been discovered over the years, time and again to assist man in achieving this conversion.
Consequences of God being an abstraction:
When God is an abstraction, it becomes a subject to be understood similar to physics, chemistry and mathematics. You study the subject. How? By reading books. The more you read, the more you understand (the subject of God). One would therefore read a lot of texts like the Vedas, Upanishads, Geetha etc. to deepen one’s understanding of God. Thus has arisen the subject called Philosophy, which is taught in universities.
Just as in algebra we use variables like x, y, z, God becomes a variable in the hands of man to describe and interpret the world, in his own way. Since it is a variable, it can take any form and shape. So, each one gives his own definition of God to suit his own understanding of the universe. It is more of a force-fit definition of God, than a fundamental understanding of God. Hence, it would tend to be inaccurate.
Since each one force-fits a definition for God, we are at war with those whose conceptualisation of God is different from our conceptualization of God. Tarka, vada is the result of it. In this is generated a great deal of fanaticism, leading to animosity and violence.
It also happens that there is a deep truth which eludes us; that all the texts which we study are knowledge that descended upon saintly persons. Those saints, by adopting certain means, achieved a state where through their higher order senses, were able to perceive greater truths, including God. All these texts are mere documentation of such events, and their teachings. By reading/listening to those teachings, we develop our own understanding of what they say. But it can never match what they actually mean simply because they “see” something as they speak, while we “don’t see” that same thing as we hear. If you go to a tribal and talk to him about a computer, he will have his own idea of the computer, which in most probability is not accurate. But if you show him a computer, he will have a more accurate understanding of what a computer is.
This results in a great deal of misunderstanding, and confusion. We read so many things from so many places, and some of them apparently contradicting. But we fail to realise that all this confusion is a result of our inability to “see” THAT, by seeing which, those seers spoke.
We will say God is omnipresent (because that’s what we have studied in all texts), that He is present in all living and non-living things, but we are not in a position see Him anywhere. We will say God is Omnipotent, but we can’t understand why we are so helpless in so many situations. We will continue to repeat what is said in the texts we have read, like parrots, without having the least bit of understanding of what we are saying.
Most importantly, by adopting an intellectual approach, one can never know what God is, or understand Him. Just as we can never know or understand Mahatma Gandhi as well as those people who lived with him can, no matter how many biographies of Gandhi we may read, we will also never be able to know or understand God as well as those saints who have “seen” God, by merely reading all these texts. It doesn’t matter how many texts we read. We cannot understand because we have “not seen”, and “not been with God”, unlike those saints.
(A warning: If you are disagreeing, it is probably because you are currently having God as an abstraction. Because, so far, I have not described God, but by reading what has been written till now, it could be that you have developed your own idea of what my idea of God is, which could possibly not be the same as yours.)
P.S: At this stage, I became too sleepy to continue. Hence, the thought flow just stopped.
Labels: abstraction, God, reality