Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Divine Form

Understanding God to be sakar is a cornerstone of our upasana, and to say it any other way would be a grave understatement. Shriji Maharaj has repeated countless time just how pertinent this idea is to us achieving moksha, so let's take some time to strategize how we plan to present this topic to our sabha.

Step 1: Synthesize the simple statement.
  • God possesses a divine form.
  • God's divine form enhances our bhakti.
  • A limited God lacks form.
Step 2: Start off with a shakeup.
  • Play-Doh Time! - Refer to the syllabus for this activity. 
  • Shape-Shifting Mobile Phone - Fabian Hemmert has prototyped a phone that changes shape, weight, and even "breathes" to give a more organic feel of the phone. God too gives us an organic feel when He assumes a form appropriate to our sense of perception.
  • Bear Hunter - Just as the hunter is able to interact with the bear, God takes on a human form to enable us to interact with him. The possibilities are endless in this interactive Youtube video and so too are they for us when we are able to serve the divine form of God.
Step 3: Support the simple statement with stories filled with details (concrete) and backed with validity (credibility). We decided to go with the second simple statement, "God's divine form enhances our own bhakti."
  • NOTE: The syllabus is NOT stating that the Satpurush is God but rather the Satpurush's form is divine since God resides in him fully without any traces of maya. In Vachanamrut Sarangpur 5, Shriji Maharaj says, "As separate and beyond all of them, Akshar is said to contain as sharir only Lord Purushottam and does not sustain even a trace of the ignorance attached to Prakriti and Purush.” In other words, the Satpurush is the closest entity to Shriji Maharaj Himself, so his form too is divine. 
  • Opportunity to Serve - Yogiji Maharaj's illness enabled others to serve him and thereby offer seva to him. If God lacked a form, our seva would be severely limited in its scope. Let's think about it for a second. What seva has to happen whenever Pramukh Swami comes for vicharan? Reporting, A/V, parking, decorations, and the list proves infinite. All of that would eliminated if we did not believe in God having a divine form. Prefacing this prasang with this example could serve to illustrate it well.
  • Accepting Bhakti - Offering devotion in the form of puja, thaal, arti, etc. requires that we have faith; after all, our devotion becomes tainted when we expect to receive something in exchange for it. Hence, having a God with divine form enhances this bhakti because we have the opportunity of actually witnessing God's satisfaction firsthand. That sweet memory only supercharges our wish to serve and offer devotion!
  • Tied to Taste - Our bhakti is limited by how easily we get distracted by the panchvishays - sights, sounds, smells, etc. - that pervade our environment. The Nagar devotee felt this obstacle firsthand, yet only the divine form of God awakened his awareness: If he can dine so simply as the mahant of this mandir, why can I not as a mere devotee? Swamishri too awakens our awareness to our own bhakti. When we see him do puja, arti, thaal, we realize just how focused we need to be in offering bhakti to God. The divine form thus provides with a model by which we can enhance our own bhakti.
As we can see, such a simple concept can have such lasting implications on our spiritual progress. Let's make a point to formulate our presentation before walking into sabha; it would certainly be hypocritical to discuss the benefits of a God with form without actually providing one for our presentation (i.e. winging it on the spot). 

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