By Prashant Saxena
Hexagonal, triangle, square, fat, large, small etc are all having a definite shape, a definite form. A human body has a definite shape, so does the sun when viewed from the earth. Thus, if one analyzes the fundamental definition of shape and form, then one would realize that these are only the attributes observable by the eye. If one can see or observe something, then only he can tell what shape, size and form it is. How can one observe from a distance, of the shape, size and form of something if he is blind? The ability to visualize enhances the perception of form and shape. Do knowledge, spiritual experience, energy, empty space or vaccum, thoughts, sound that we hear etc have any shape, size or form?
The ONE/ the Brahman in the Vedas: He is One and only One, Sustains entire universe, Omnipresent, Formless, All-Powerful, Perfect, Omniscient, Unborn, Eternal and supports us always.He alone should be worshipped. (Yajurveda 40.8)
In Gita, Krishna reveals clearly that the true definition of "him" or the ultimate reality is unmanifested, unborn, impersonal, inconcievable, fixed, eternal, unchanging and immovable. How can the "unmanifested, unborn, inconcievable" have a form, shape or a definite name? Naturally, a name is given by those who try to comprehend a concept or something.
BG 12.3-4: But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, unchanging, fixed and immovable — the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth — by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me.
BG 12.5: For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.
BG 12.6-7: But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pṛthā — for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.
BG 12.8: Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.
BG 10.2: Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages.
BG 10.3: He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds — he only, undeluded among men, is freed from all sins.
BG 10.12-13: Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest. All the great sages such as Nārada, Asita, Devala and Vyāsa confirm this truth about You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.
BG 9.4: By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them
BG 9.10: This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
Some people feel that formless does not have any potency of having a form. Gita clearly tells about the manifestations of the supreme nature (inconcievable, unmanifested and unborn). Naturally, the manifest can contain both form (like material nature, mass, matter etc) and the formless (like knowledge, air, energy. consciousness etc). "Potency" doesn't only mean the masculine strength to lift heavy weights. It can also means the ability to give birth to a child (feminine ability), ability to understand and memorise (mental ability) etc. It can also mean the ability to have eternal knowledge, manifest in any form, in any color and yet the true form which is formless being unknown. One can breathe air around which is present everywhere (omnipresent), but it is formless. A person has a definite shape like sun as we see from earth, but it is "not omnipotent" as we can neither see that person or the sun everywhere and everytime, whereas the energy is an omnipotent concept which is all around us and yet formless. One cannot live without air and energy.
Brahman, the universe or the ultimate consciousness, is all around us. It touches all the individual consciousness and contains all the bodies in the universe. If we imagine of Brahman, we cannot concieve of its form in both in its physical aspect and the mental aspect . Therefore formless, yet omnipotent and omnipresent. Anything percievable by one's limited senses is limited in nature. The fact that we can identifiy a being with a form outright limits it. How can a "limited' being be omnipotent and omnipresent? And hence the understanding of the unmanifest aspect of the supreme truth is difficult (BG 12.5).
An analogy with this manifestation from the unmanifest could be thoughts which appear out of nowhere. In a deep contemplative state, one might get a thought of his relative or a friend, to play a musical instrument, to have fame and name. People might see dreams which are hardly connected to their real life. A human mind contains scattered bit of knowledge and thoughts which keeps on changing and some which manifest randomly out of nowhere. During exam time, one might manifest that knowledge and write something that he might not usually think of. According to many sages, the Veda is also a revelation to many rishis in their heightened state of consciousness. Gita teaches us how one can heighten his consciousness and touch the supreme consciousness. But one might ask what form, shape or size does consciousness have?
BG 9.11: Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be.
BG 9.22: But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form — to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.
BG 10.8: I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.