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Is God Personal or Impersonal?
Whether God is personal or impersonal has been a sub ject of raging controversy throughout the ages. You are a person, I am a person, even the butterfly is a person. In fact, every living entity is a person. When all of us are persons, then how can God, the one from whom all of us have originated, not be a person? Your father is a person, his father is a person, his father is also a person, then how can the supreme father not be a person'.'by definition God is perfect and complete. Being the complete whole. He must contain everything both within and beyond our experience, otherwise He cannot be complete. Therefore, to be perfect and complete. God must be both personal and impersonal.When we are all persons, why should someone consider that jue Absolute Tiulh in the ultimate sense is nut a person? The mentality that leads to this sort of impersonal conception is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita 4th chapter 10th verse.
It is very dttticuit for a person who is too materially affected to understand the personal nature of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Generally, people who are too attached to the bodily conception of life cannot understand that there is a transcendental body, which is imperishable, full of knowledge and eternally blissful. In the materialistic concept, the body is perishable, full of ignorance and completely miserable. Therefore, people in general keep this same bodily idea in mind when they are informed of the personal form of the Lord. Consequently they feel that the supreme cannot be personal.And because they are too materially absorbed, the conception of retaining the personality after liberation from matter frightens them. When they are informed that spiritual life is also individual and personal, they become afraid of becoming persons again, and so they naturally prefer a kind of merging into the impersonal void. The truth that God is a person whose bodily effulgence is the impersonal brahmajyoti can be well understood from several scriptural statements. According to the ShrimadBhagavatam(] .2.11), God exists in three aspects: Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan:
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam vaj jnanom advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti shabdyate
"The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understand ing by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan." These three divine aspects can be compared to the sun, which also has three different aspects, namely the sunshine, the sun's surface and the sun planet itself.
Brahman is the impersonal all-pervading brahmajyoti which is actually the effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It can be compared to the sunshine or the energy of the sun. In trying to understand the sun, the ordinary students are satisfied by simply understanding the sunshine - its universal pervasiveness and the glaring effulgence of its impersonal nature. Such students can be compared to the jnanis or the mental speculators who can realize only this Brahman feature of the Absolute Truth.
Paramatma is the all-pervading localized aspect of the Absolute Truth. He is the four-handed form of Vishnu, present in every atom as well as in the hearts of all living beings. The students who have advanced further in the study of the sun can know the sun disc. They can be compared to the yogis or the meditators who perceive this Paramatma feature of the Absolute Truth.
Bhagavan is the ultimate ealization of the Absolute Truth and is the last word ;n transcendence. The students who can enter into the heart of the sun planet are compared to the bhaktas or the devotees who realize the personal features of the Supreme Absolute Truth. This Bhagavan aspect is the all-glorious, all-beautiful threefold bending form of Lord Shri Krishna holding a flute in His hands. Realization of this Bhagavan feature automatically includes the realization of the Brahman and Paramatma features just as a person who has understood the sun planet automatically comes to know that the sun is the source of both the sunshine and sun disc.