I am the Oblation, the sacrifice and the worship.... I am the father of the universe and its mother; I am its Nourisher and its Grandfather; I am knowable and the pure; I am Om; and I am the sacred scriptures. I am the Goal, the Sustainer, the Lord, the Witness, the Home, the Shelter, the Lover and the Origin; I am Life and Death.... I am death and immortality; I am being and not being. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Life Everlasting)
I am the Seed of all being, O Arjuna! No creature moving or unmoving can live without me. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 The Divine Manifestations)
I am the Omniscient self that abides in the playground of Matter; knowledge of Matter and of the all-knowing Self is wisdom. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 Spirit and Matter)What is God? What characteristics does God have? How do we know God? Lord Krishna, in the Gita, gives me some answers fairly directly. He tells Arjuna directly what he is and what he is not. I am death and immortality. I am the seed of all being. These particular lines sum up well what Krishna is. In him everything is found. In him the cycle of life continues until one becomes one with him. The ultimate goal of a human being should be to become one with Krishna, one with the define. In order to do this Krishna advocates knowing yourself purely and fully.
The divine portrait painted in the Gita was like a refreshing fall breeze to me. I don't know that I currently have any understanding of divinity. Having grown up first Catholic and later Evangelical my sense of the divine prior to college had been whatever my church had taught. God to me had been an old man with a flowing white beard (much like Gandalf) with a staff of some sort. As I've progressed on my own journey I've begun to see everything as a manifestation of the divine. Before reading the Gita I couldn't really put words to the idea of divinity. I like in Chapter 8 when Krishna says I am the goal, life's purpose is to reach the divine. He not only gives purpose but also knowledge. I've searching for an interpretation of God that valued knowledge. Krishna refers to himself as the ultimate self, making him a product of an individual finding the pure light within him/herself. Krishna gives life and sustains it. My former portrait of a God so often took it away and cast away those who did not believe in him. In Krishna their seems to be unlimited mercy and unlimited grace. Underlying all human experience Krishna seems to acknowledge that mistakes are made in life and that it takes time and practice to achieve the pure self that is one with him. What a great notion. A view of God that sees his mercy and grace as not only limited but freely given. Upon death in Hinduism an individual has another shot at life, another chance to reach towards union with Krishna. I like the idea of this. I like that the human condition is acknowledged and that practical applications are provided to reach past it. I still don't have a view of what the divine might be but this book has been formative in the journey.