Zero = Infinity    *****    If you can enjoy sadness, then nothing can stop you from being happy always    *****    Love is the flow of positive energy from one soul to another   *****    An atheist can realise God more easily than the staunchest theist
March 21, 2007

Is God an abstraction or a reality?

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.

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22 Comments:

Anonymous Avinaash said...

I must say this is an amazing coincidence. Why I say this is because, just couple of hours ago, I was on a similar thought process. Reason being, someone asked me whether I believe in ghosts!

Even though I have answered that question many-a-times impulsively (which was a NO), this time for some reason I gave it a thought. And this led me on a thought process as to 'the reason for that belief - and any belief as a matter of fact' and then came - 'its because I have not experienced it' (better put across by you as abstract vs reality)

This leads on to the question 'what experience is?', which as again put across by you is that feeling obtained by the 5 known senses.

The example about numbers actually being abstract and not 'experiencable' is an interesting point, even though we all (don't like to be generalizing here though) 'believe' in numbers as being 'real'.

I guess I had to rush back to work, so could not give it much though. (I'm still at work at the moment.. saw you come online and your status message pointed me to this blog of yours).

Still getting thoughts on this, but as usual, not finding the motivation to pen it down.

I guess thanks for that!

03:00  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

good to know that you are going through this thought process.. I am sure, that soon you would realise that we base our lives a lot on various kinds of beliefs, for our convenience. We make judgements, and choices based on them. But never do we pause to verify them.

That will eventually lead us to seek real experience and throw away our crutches called "beliefs" and "faith".

09:43  
Anonymous dhaarini said...

interesting. also think about truth Vs reality. If u post something, that would make an interesting read.

06:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As a child, we all are injected with the idea of “God”, which remains an abstraction."

That's all there is. Mental stuff. Realization of God is realization of (conditional) narcissism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism

Science and technology, now. Romantic dwelling is useless.

05:57  
Blogger Sense in non-sense Aditya said...

God regardless of being an asbtration or reality, god has been perceptive. when you say that you experience god, either in the 5 senses or moving out of those five, you are telling me that god is a reality in yours.
that means he is truth to you, he has moved from abstraction to a reality in your mind.
even this movemnt from abstraction to reality is an abstract thing where in it is something that you feel, and it is based on past experiences and thought processes.
god as a concept is more powerful when there is blind following rather than reasoning of his existence. ultimately to each his own.

01:05  
Blogger pushkala said...

abstraction to those who understand the reality and a reality to those who prefer to let the realisation remain abstracted.

06:19  
Blogger amused said...

nice post! how can you be sure that what you sense is absolute reality and not subjective? it's something i have been pondering about.

23:42  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

@Amused

You will know when you know.

Btw, What's your real name?

09:38  
Blogger The Inquirer said...

Well,
Have u seen God? If not, then it is still an abstraction to you. And if is an abstraction to you, then how can you talk abt its reality?

So, what you are saying are all second hand information!

Also, if you have still not got smething and still want it (infact u can ant that which u have not yet got, for if u have got it, then y will u even want it)... so if u have still not got it but still want that, then, as of yur present reality, how do u absolutely ascertain that what u want actually exists, for unless u have got it u have not actually tasted it?
(i can carry the conversation but I am keeping it short for sake of brevity... there is so much more to say on this)

13:15  
Blogger The Inquirer said...

Btw, if u do ask for something real bad & if enuf frustation creeps in but u still dont wanna give up, then u usually end up self-deluding yurself that u have go it... lol!

And, the Desire 9called Seeking) to attain the Desireless state (the state called Nirvana) is still a desire!! So can u ever break out of the cycle?
And y in the first place, do u even want to break out?

13:18  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

@Inquirer

Have u seen God?

I have a problem with intellectuals. They want everything to be proved. So, if I say I have seen God, you will ask me to prove something which cannot be proved to you. I know I have seen, but there is no way on earth I can prove it to someone who hasn't, simply because he/she hasn't. Is there anyway you can prove to a bushman in Africa that there is a computer? You can, only by making him see it. I can't make you see God over the internet. But if you are truly willing, I can definitely help you.

But if I say I have not seen God, I will be lying.

Btw, "seeing" is not "seeing" through one's physical eyes.

[i]And, the Desire 9called Seeking) to attain the Desireless state (the state called Nirvana) is still a desire!! So can u ever break out of the cycle?[/i]

Any desire is a seed for misery. But then, every desire also will be fulfilled.

So, lets say you desire a big bungalow, beautiful wife, lovely children, a BMW, the post of a VP in your company etc. Now you have 5 miseries. All of them will be fulfilled, if not in this birth, in some other birth. (oh god.. you will now question rebirth..let it be there aside.. no probs). Once it is fulfilled, there is no guarantee you won't have further desires a.k.a. miseries.

But if you have a desire to reach the state of the desireless state, then, that is just 1 misery. Compared to 5 miseries, 1 is better. Plus, that will also be fulfilled. Once it is fulfilled, you have no more desires, hence no more misery.

So, you can now compare a desire for material things to desire for desirelessness. Which is better?

[i]And y in the first place, do u even want to break out? [/i]

Well, i have given my answer above. But the more important question is, DO YOU WANT TO BREAK OUT AT ALL? Why is not at all important. It is something that YOU, THE INQUIRER must ask himself/herself. I can't give you the answer for which you alone can give.

22:11  
Blogger The Inquirer said...

Sir,
If you have already seen God, what are you seeking then, now that u r already there (as they say)?

And desire, be it for this or that, is still a desire & as long as there is still a single desire, the same cycle goes. Desire, be it expressed through that of wanting this or that or even wanting nirvana is ultimately the same thing... the forms may differ, but fundamentally, it is still the same.

Btw, what is the root of all desire?

23:02  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

If you have already seen God, what are you seeking then, now that u r already there (as they say)?

Two things:

1. Who said I am seeking?
2. Is it enough if you see your wife/girlfriend? What about love, understanding, relationship? So, people who say that seeing God is the end of everything, they are misinformed. In one sense, they are right, because, once you start seeing, you never stop seeing. The act goes on, always in present continuous. What you see keeps varying. Just as, you are seeing a movie, when it starts, as well as when it ends. The act is the same. But what you see differs.

And I am sure you know that the movie is best enjoyed when you have no idea of what is to come. Same with God. The whole idea is to just enjoy life by seeing God till some day you kick your bucket.

And desire, be it for this or that, is still a desire & as long as there is still a single desire, the same cycle goes. Desire, be it expressed through that of wanting this or that or even wanting nirvana is ultimately the same thing... the forms may differ, but fundamentally, it is still the same.

Well.. first desire desirelessness and then speak. No point in plain intellecualisation without walking the path. Do it and then say they are all the same. I will accept.

Now, if your reply is, "I desired desirelessness, and failed in getting it", then my next question is, "if you desired, what did you do to get what you desired?".

Root of all desire?
Non-fulfilment.

11:50  
Blogger The Inquirer said...

Now, do you mix Theology with Psychology?

Desire desire instead, & that in itself ends the very cycle of desire... but u simply can't desire desire... Instead the reality is that, all desires are ultimately driven towards desirelesness, even those which u wud call as "material" desires are driven towards it, & hence no desire is satiable... lol!

PS. All that talk abt God & movie watching & enjoyment, is just plain "dope talk"... ever met a drug addict?

00:12  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

@The inquirer.

Ok. So be it. I will fall at your feet for opening my eyes. Thanks.

02:19  
Blogger The Inquirer said...

Sir,
I am sorry but I really didnot get your last post. Would you kindly enlighten me on that?

02:43  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

I generally prostrate before all those who know more than me.

03:24  
Blogger The Inquirer said...

Sir, if you would be kind enough so as to get back to the discussion, that would indeed be nice. What say u?

Btw, I wonder in what way is "postration" related to the perception of knowing more/less?

23:12  
Blogger Shelly said...

Hi, I really enjoyed reading your blog. Was wondering if you
would like to add it to my directory?
Weblog index

Thanks, Shelly

18:36  
Blogger Vivek said...

good way of writing on the topic...btw do u create the content completely urselves or based on other sites..?

21:36  
Blogger Jaishree said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:25  
Blogger Jaishree said...

Wow, so many responses..I'll add my 2 pence..you are absolutely right when you described that certain saints "perceive" God in a way that we cannot through their "higher order senses". This has been described by Vallalaar, as well as even in Kabbalah (Judaic wisdom), where they say that The Truth lays covered by several veils or layers, and each veil dissapears with a higer realisation or ascension. Thus we are led to a higher understanding step by step and we flower into awakening and we begin to perceive God as a real entity versus just as an abstract concept.

10:28  

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