From Guru to God - The Experience of Ultimate Truth, by Michael Graham
Michael Graham is an Australian who was among the first Westerners to seriously submit himself to the spirituality of India's most respected gurus. His 28 years of disciplined - and dramatic - practice of Eastern (New Age) religion led Michael to a surprising conclusion.
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What Hindus Believe In general Hindus believe God is everywhere in nature, and godly men can perceive the truth revealed within or around them. Scriptures are viewed as truths these godly men have perceived from their own study.
Hindus believe that God is ultimately an impersonal, eternal force, essence, or power of existence, which has none of the attributes or characteristics of persons (such as knowing, thinking, loving, etc.). This force is called Brahman. Brahman is present everywhere in everything in nature, especially in all living things: every plant, every animal, and especially every man. Brahman can be thought of as a sort of spirit force which has no personal qualities, but which pervades everything in the Universe. The attributes of personality are believed to exist only in physical, material things. But God, in pure form, is impersonal and has no personal characteristics. This impersonal essence, pervading all things, is also found within us. Hence, the “spirit” within us is Divine. It is part of God. The real inner you is God. Your inner essence is the essence of Deity.
This Divine Essence manifests or expresses itself in the physical world in the form of physical beings that have personality. As such, Deity is manifested in many gods of many forms.
Hindus believe that there are 3 supreme gods:
- Brahma, the creator
- Vishnu, the preserver
- Siva, the destroyer
Some sects, emphasize one or the other as being higher in status than the others (although still recognizing the others), but in general they are recognized as equal.
Avatars are incarnations of these gods who have come to earth as men. The best known are avatars of Vishnu (Rama and Krishna). There are also numerous lesser deities having different levels or realms of authority. Some rule over certain areas of the earth or certain aspects of nature, such as fire, sun, wealth, water, etc. These can be reincarnated to various higher or lower positions.
Dead ancestors and religious teachers are also worshiped and this worship often involves the use of many images. The concept of the all-pervading Brahman is mainly theoretical among the religious leaders. Hinduism has no concept of Creation in the Biblical sense. To Hindus, God forms physical beings from things already existing or from Himself, but He did not create out of nothing.
For man to be God is Satan’s original lie! You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5) Man CANNOT earn or “realize” salvation through any works, meditation, or worship of created images.
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 ) There is one God. “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6) “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” – Isaiah 42:8