To understand God, begin with definition, not depiction
On seeing God depicted in temples, we may get the question, “Who created God?”
This question arises from a fundamental misunderstanding about God’s nature. To avoid such misunderstandings, we need to begin with his definition, not his depiction. God is defined as the cause of all causes; he is the being who is the basis of all being, the foundational existence that makes all existence possible. If we understand this definition of God, we recognize that the question “Who created God?” is incoherent – it’s like the question, “Why is a circle circular?” Circularity is, by definition, intrinsic to a circle. Similarly, God’s very definition implies that he can’t have any cause – he is the causeless cause of all causes.
We may question, “But God is not depicted that way in temples – he is depicted as a finite form.”
Yes, that’s because in his infinity, God is beyond depiction. But he also manifests a finite-seeming form for reciprocating love with his intimate devotees in the highest spiritual stratum of reality, his personal abode. And whenever he descends in this material world, he manifests that form and reveals vignettes of those eternal pastimes. Based on such revelation, he is depicted in temples.
However, the same revelation also gives us the philosophical definition of God. If we neglect that definition and equate him with the depiction alone, we blunder. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (04.09) states that we can attain Krishna when we understand him in truth. That is, we need to begin with definition before progressing to depiction. Then we appreciate Krishna’s infinite loving nature is manifested in his sublime reciprocations of love with his devotees and recognize that entering into those loving exchanges will supremely fulfill our longing for love. Thus becoming attracted to him, we devote ourselves to him and ultimately attain him.
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