Who is God?

Is He the divine person up in the heaven and dispenser of our karmic results

Or Is He the person in his divine abode who favors us when we offer him and punish us when we do not offer him

Or Is He the deity we worship in the temples

Or Is He different from us

Or Are we existing in Him

Or is He existing in us;

Who is God in reality?

It might be a difficult question to answer; because all these ideas come and cloud our mind when we think about God and every point I quoted is true; only thing is they are the different levels of realization.  Definition of God depends on the mind that defines it.

Every religion begins with faith.  We believe that God is a person like us and has similar emotions and form like us.  It is true but our understanding must go beyond the elementary level of understanding God.  Worshipping God as a different person with divine form and interacting with God in that level is not the goal of life.  We must improve our understanding and must realize God as the universal Consciousness.  There is no grain in this universe without God.  He is present in every form and in the transcendental level.

Any form worship, chanting mantras, devotion, yoga, saguna meditation will help us purify the mind and prepare the mind for the next level of realization.  It is not the ultimate.  God must be realized as the truth in our self and in everything else.  He is the underlying Consciousness of all our experiences.  It is by His presence that we are able to see, hear, touch, speak, remember etc.  All our activities either good or bad are based on Him.  We act according to our karmic tendencies however all our acts are possible because of that underlying Consciousness.  What we say as God is the pure undivided Consciousness and it is showing its presence through our actions.  Just like electricity is present throughout the wire but we are able to realize its presence when we switch on the light.  Consciousness or in Vedantic terms Brahman is present everywhere, but we realize its presence through our actions.

The same point is emphasized in Kenopanishad in many ways.  It says that Brahman is different from the known and it is beyond the unknown.  The ultimate is beyond the known and unknown.  Upanishad says that worshipping God as another object or as deity means we are objectifying the universal Consciousness.  The presence of God is realized by the people who are either very devotional or people who lead ascetic life.  The concept of temples and deities came in to being just to make the layman feel the presence of God.  However, what turned out in the end is people started to believe that what they worship in temples as deities alone is God and they are unable to feel His universal presence. 

Upanishads differentiates the universal Consciousness that has form and attributes as saguna Brahman and its formless and attributeless nature as nirguna Brahman.  The pinnacle of every religion is the realization of God as the universal principle.  This is very clearly explained in the Kenopanisad chapter 1, verses 5,6,7,8,9.  Kenopanisad says, “Man cannot describe it beyond a certain limit.  Man cannot think about it, speak about it, see it, hear it, touch it or perceive it; but That by which a man thinks, speaks, sees, hears, touches, perceives etc, know that to be Brahman and not what people worship as an object”  Brahman is not an object to see it as separate from us or to search for it.  It is the Consciousness by which we perform all activities.  Every experience happens in life because of Brahman.  Upanishad is not against any form worship or rituals; however it says that it is not the ultimate.