God is, with or without form

God is, with or without form

By SWAMI SHANTATMANANDA | 19 November, 2017

Mahendra Nath Gupta, the chronicler of the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, who was affectionately known as Master Mahashaya among devotees, had a strange encounter with Sri Ramakrishna. He was so disturbed by the quarrels and bickering in his family that he had decided to commit suicide. He left his home and moved into the house of his nephew. Soon after, he and his nephew took a day off for visiting some places of interest in Kolkata. Towards the end of the day, his nephew suggested that there was a garden-temple at Dakshineswar in the suburbs of Kolkata and that there lived a Paramhamsa (great saint). He asked his uncle whether he would like to visit that place. Master Mahashaya reluctantly agreed and both of them reached Dakshineswar. Thus began his life-transforming association with Sri Ramakrishna. Once, Sri Ramakrishna asked him whether he believed in God with or without form. Master Mahashaya was stunned. He wondered how both could co-exist. If God was with form, obviously the idea He was without form could not exist and vice versa. Sri Ramakrishna further amazed him by stating that God was with form and without form and much more than all that. But, Master Mahashaya, who considered himself to be educated and rational, started telling that people who worship the image of God made of material such as clay or metal should be made to understand that such images are only representations of God. Sri Ramakrishna came down heavily on him, saying that it is the nature of the people of Kolkata to explain and make others understand when they themselves were in ignorance. It was a severe blow to Master Mahashaya, but slowly over a period of time he came to understand that both aspects of God were equally valid and what was really necessary was spiritual striving or Sadhana through which one could realise the Ultimate Truth through both the paths.

 

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