Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.In their new book, America's Four Gods, Baylor professors Paul Froese and Christopher Bader claim that America's cultural diversity goes back to our competing views of God. There is the engaged, judging Authoritative God; the loving, supportive Benevolent God; the observant but not punishing Critical God; and the stand-apart Distant God.
In essence, we are at war over who God is, which leads to this week's question:.
How do you view God?
Do you fit into one of those four categories? A blend of them? Something quite different than these categories? Or do you not see God at all?
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), DallasVedas teach, "If I have a personality, a form, personal relationships, personal characteristics, and personal activities then positively Krishna, my source, has these attributes in fullness and perfection." God is not to be relegated to be simply an impersonal energy.
From the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita, and other sacred Vedic texts it understood that God is realized in three stages. These three stages are known technically as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Brahman is the impersonal feature of the Lord, the energy of the Lord. Paramatma is the localized form of the Lord that accompanies the soul within the heart to give the soul guidance. The final and full form of the Lord is known as Bhagavan meaning the personal form of God. Bhagavan, the personal full form of God, is also realized also in two stages. The first stage is His aisvarya, His opulence, and the second His madhurya, His sweetness.
Our tradition emphasizes the sweet aspect of the Lord as the most attractive. This is to the extent that the intimate associates of God in the spiritual world do not care about His lordship over the various planets and galaxies, His power, or His support for a beings. Rather they are attracted to the sweet character of the Lord, the soul-mate of every being. What someone is looking for in a husband, wife, friend, brother, sister, son, daughter, and so on, all those desires to find a perfect beloved is fulfilled in the loving relationship that one has with Krishna.
Individual karma from previous lives is the cause of the various sufferings in this world, it is not due the mismanagement of a passive observant god or due to the lack of empathy from a cruel powerful being. Rather God is all sweet.
"His lips are sweet, His face is sweet His eyes are sweet, His smile is sweet His heart is sweet, His gait is sweet-Everything is sweet about the Emperor of Sweetness!" Madhurastaka 1
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here