By Atul Sehgal
Jun 9, 2012
Rigvedic hymns offer a succinct account of the nature of God in true, scientific terms. They describe God as a spiritual substance pervading the entire, infinite universe. As a spiritual entity, God is omnipresent and every material object of the universe is contained in this spiritual substance or medium. The terms that denote this are `sarvavyapak` and `vyapta'.
Imagine a small piece of chalk dropped in a glassful of water. Within seconds, water will percolate the chalk piece. Once water has been fully absorbed by the chalk, it can be said that water pervades all space within the glass tumbler including the chalk piece and also that the chalk piece is contained in water. Water represents the spiritual substance called God and the chalk piece, a material object of the universe.
Rig Veda and Atharva Veda describe God as the most subtle substance existing throughout the universe. They talk of three cardinal entities in the infinite universe. These are: i) inanimate and eternal material nature (matter) composed of five elements — earth, water, fire, air and ether; ii) countless souls existing as animate eternal spiritual finite entities; and iii) one eternal, animate infinite spiritual entity called God.
The soul is subtler than matter and God is subtler than soul. Matter is made of particles — electrons, protons, neutrons and positrons. The soul being subtler than matter can reshape, relocate and work upon finite portions of matter, but God as the most subtle spiritual substance holds complete control over matter and souls. This control comes through centrifugal action which is directed from within outwards. God regulates the existence of soul by providing it physical body and enabling it to refine itself and evolve through enlightenment. The process of enlightenment culminates in salvation of soul. The process of refinement and evolution involves association of soul with a physical body through a process of birth, growth, ageing and death which repeats itself.
If God is understood as supreme, infinitesimal, all-pervading spiritual substance, his power over matter and soul becomes clear. Then, we would not need to regard God as an object of obeisance through blind faith; rather we would understand God scientifically. Superstition would yield place to scientific enquiry and curiosity, which would be satisfied rationally. This would make way for true communion with God.
The soul, Vedas say, is endowed with limited knowledge, understanding and intellectual prowess. God, on the other hand, is omniscient. Because the soul is limited by understanding, souls residing in human bodies perceive God in multifarious ways. Out of their ignorance about the real nature of God, they begin to view the formless God through totems, images and forms. This ignorance further creates multiple schools of religion and faith, many of which differ sharply on basic precepts and premises. This is precisely the reason why there is so much strife and discord in the world in the name of religion.
If only we human beings began to understand the simple, matter-of-fact metaphysical truths expounded in Vedas, they would easily converge to a common, shared understanding of God and God`s relationship with matter and living beings. That would enhance peace, harmony and empathy among human beings and would surely make this earth a much better to place to live in, thus facilitating the physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual evolution of us human beings towards the goal of salvation.