daily devotional

Is God a person?

If one decorates oneself, one’s reflection in a mirror will also appear decorated. Similarly, since we are reflections of Kṛṣṇa, if we decorate Kṛṣṇa we also shall be decorated. In the Bible it is said that man was made in the image of God, and this means that we are reflections of God’s image. It is not that we invent or imagine some form of God according to our own form. Those who adhere to the Mayavada philosophy of anthropomorphism say, “The Absolute Truth is impersonal, but because we are persons we imagine that the Absolute Truth is also a person.” This is a mistake, and in fact just the opposite is true. We have two hands, two legs, and a head because God Himself has these same features. We have personal forms because we are reflections of God.

Kṛṣṇa has a completely spiritual body (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha), but we do not have the eyes to see what that spiritual body is. We are accustomed to seeing material, gross things (jada). We can see stone, metal, wood, and other elements, and because Kṛṣṇa is everything, to be visible to our imperfect eyes He appears in a form of these elements. It is not that Kṛṣṇa is stone or that we are worshiping stone. We are worshiping Kṛṣṇa, but because we cannot see anything except material elements like stone, Kṛṣṇa kindly appears in a form carved from stone.

Just as we are all living beings, Kṛṣṇa, God, is also a living being. Kṛṣṇa is not impersonal. Because we are all individual persons but our knowledge and opulence are limited, the impersonalists cannot adjust to the idea that the Supreme, the original, unlimited cause of everything, can also be a person. Because we are limited and God is unlimited, the Mayavadis, or impersonalists, with their poor fund of knowledge, think that God must be impersonal. Making a material comparison, they say that just as the sky, which we think of as unlimited, is impersonal, if God is unlimited He must also be impersonal. But that is not the Vedic instruction. The Vedas instruct that God is a person. Kṛṣṇa is a person, and we are also persons, but the difference is that He is to be worshiped whereas we are to be worshipers. The king or president is a person, and the citizens are also persons, but the difference is that the president or king is an exalted person who should be offered all respect.

Source : A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Teachings of Queen Kunti”, Page 87, 88, 161, 213

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