Worship as Metaphor and Personification

Since ‘God’ is what pervades all beings, it can be understood as that which is in you and that which is in me. From this concept of ‘God’ therefore rises the ultimate Truth “That Thou Art” or “Tat Tvam Asi” meaning ‘God’ is not there or somewhere, it is within you, in this sense ‘It’ is What You are (within you) – That Thou Art. It does seem at the outset, that this is a very arrogant statement, since it leads to the bottom line is man is ‘God’. But, if one delves a bit deeper into this concept of God, it can be understood that this is not so.

This is because, according to this statement “That Thou Art” – you a human being is “God” but the same is true for stones, dogs cats and all animate and inanimate things in the universe. Hence ‘God’ is to be understood as the Ultimate Reality that is the base component of all things, animate, inanimate, seen and unseen. The proof of this comes in the Svetasvataropanishad (6/11), “God who is concealed in all beings is One. He pervades everything. He is the inner soul of every being and the overseer of all activity. He dwells in all forms of life.

He is the eternal witness, the Conscious Being within, standing apart from that in which He abides and unqualified”. This “Real Self” is realized, just like in Buddhism, by constant effort on the part of the individual, and the final state wherein the “jivan” (the individual soul) is one with ‘God’ or the “Paramatman” or the “Brhman” (Over-soul), ‘Moksha’ or release from the bondage of the Karmic-cycle or birth-death and re-birth is attained. This is called “Advaita” – no two things, that is the merging of the “Seer and the Seen” the Higher Being and the Lower Being.

As can be understood, Buddhism and Hinduism, both agree with the Karmic-cycle, but, differ in the end result or definition of “Nirvana”. The latter, states clearly, that this is Unison with “God” or the “Ultimate Reality”. Hinduism and Christianity are similar in some aspects like believing in one ‘God’. But, there are many differences, for example, while Hinduism accepts that there are many ways to attain ‘God’, Christianity holds that Christ is the only way to attain ‘God’. Hinduism is a way of life or “the Sanatana Dharma” while, Christianity is a religion.

Conclusion There are some similarities in these conceptions and many differences between the three religions, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. Rising beyond the differences and being able to see the unified spirit of goodness underlying all the three religions, shall go a long way to make the world a better place to live in.

Bibliography

Casebolt, James. (2003). “Prayerfulness and Playfulness: Worship as Metaphor and Personification of an Ideal. ” Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Ohio Valley. Retrieved on 27 August, 2006.