Voices of faith: Has anyone seen God, and if so, in what form?

08/25/2012 5:00 AM

08/25/2012 10:23 PM

Realize God in your soul

A.M. Bhattacharyya, an active member of the Hindu community: An intellectual, inquisitive, college-educated young man named Naren, driven by a passionate inner urge, was looking for someone who had seen God.

After a futile search for some time, he met Ramakrishna, an unassuming temple priest and a saintly man, and asked him, “Sir, have you seen God?”

Ramakrishna calmly replied, “Yes, I have seen God. I have seen him more intensely than I see you.”

Naren was so impressed by Ramakrishna’s candid and sincere manner of talk that he became his disciple. He launched his own spiritual journey under his guru’s guidance and became ordained as Swami Vivekananda.

Throughout the long history of Hinduism, to saints and seers like Ramakrishna, simply believing in God was not enough; God must be realized. To realize God, they did not look up in the sky beyond the clouds; they looked deeper and deeper into their own hearts and they found divine presence in their soul.

This is no ordinary experience. It transcends normal sensory, intellectual consciousness. A God-realized person sees divine presence in all beings, lives a simple, peaceful life of non-attachment and treats all with utmost kindness and compassion.

Mandukya Upanishad describes the profoundly elevated state of God realization this way: “It is pure unitary consciousness, wherein awareness of the world and of multiplicity is completely obliterated. It is ineffable peace. It is the supreme good. … (“The Spiritual Heritage of India,” by Swami Prabhavananda)

Believe in the unseen

Syed E. Hasan, Ph.D., Midland Islamic Council: Belief in the omnipotent, unseen entity — called Allah in Islam — is one of the central articles of the faith. All followers of Islam believe that Allah is the creator of the universe and the master of the Day of Judgment.

Who is Allah, what is his form and what are his attributes? These were questions people repeatedly asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) during the time he was conveying the message of Islam.

The answer came through the divine revelation which comprises Chapter 112 of the Qur’an and reads: “Say (O Muhammad), he is Allah, the one and only; Allah, the eternal, the absolute; he begetteth not, nor is he begotten; and there is no one like him.”

According to Islamic theology, no human being can ever see Allah, but the Qur’an tells us that Prophet Moses did ask Allah to reveal himself: “And when Moses arrived at our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (yourself) that I may look at you.’ (Allah) said, ‘You will not see me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, he rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, ‘Exalted are you! I have repented to you, and I am the first of the believers’ ” (7:143).

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