God is both formless and can come in any form the devotee choose!
From formless Brahman, everything came!
Water can become ice as well as vapor; God too is formless but can choose any form!
God is subtlest and hence we cannot visualize him with our eyes which are capable of perceiving only gross objects. Water is the best example. When cooled, it becomes ice. Now, ice is a solid but its state is not permanent. When the ice is kept outside in the atmosphere, it melts and become water again. Now heat the water above normal temperature, it becomes steam! Ice is solid and subtler than ice is water and hence it flows in any direction and occupies the vessel. The subtle characteristic gave it flexible quality. When it becomes steam, it becomes more subtle and sometimes it may not be visible. What happens to the steam? It goes in all directions in the atmosphere! Hence it is possible for a subtle thing to become gross object by altering the temperature or condition. In a similar manner, the invisible power called god can assume any form, the devotee worship. There is no fixity regarding the form and hence people in different regions of the world conceive god in different form and worship him in the same form. They call their chosen deity in different names like Jesus or Mary, Jehovah, Shiva or Narayana, Rama or Krishna and even as Sai. In Islam, god is worshipped as formless entity and given a name “Allah”. The formless god can assume any form the devotee worships.
Fine quotes from Vivekananda!
God is omnipresent and he could choose to come any form!
Consider God with a fixed form. Then we limit His omnipresence. Hence like the water vapor and air, he remains all pervasive and when there is a necessity, he comes in form as an Avatar. None can define or limit the all pervasive power. Many scriptures aver that God is love and we could see love manifesting in each being in a different manner. Even insects, reptiles, birds and animals love their offspring. Since love of god is manifest at all places, the same love is seen in distorted forms like affections, attachments and even lust. These constitute the lower forms of pure love. When there is selfishness, ego and greed, love get soiled. The rainwater is pure till it reaches the earth. Once it reaches the earth, it gets various colors according to the nature of soil. In red earth, it shows red water. It alluvial soil, it gets the appropriate color. But, rain water is pure and only the contact with various soils, its attributes is changed. In new born babies, the love of god is expressed in joy and bliss. Children are born pure. As they grow up and move with others in the world, they imbibe the qualities of others easily. Hence utmost care is needed in bringing up children along moral and righteous ways! Creation is multifaceted but love is the basis for creation. God loves his creation and hence he enabled varieties of things of various colors and hues not only in flowers and leaves, but also in the birds and their plumage. We observe the dark crow as well as the peacock. See the beautiful combination of colors in peacock! It is the mindless destruction of nature by greedy man which resulted in severe natural calamities around the world. Human beings should respect nature and they should not transgress the limits set up for the various species. Birds and animals have not been created as feed for mankind. Only beast will kill other animals and eat their flesh. Man has got plenty of items in leaves, grains, fruits, vegetables and other milk products. Since he has become a slave to taste, he started hunting fishes, birds and animals to appease the taste buds.
The colorful peacock!
The natural food of human being is only vegetarian!
There are some places on earth where nothing will grow like the Iceland and Arctic areas. There, the people had no alternative except to feed on the flesh of animals and fishes. In all other places, there are plenty of naturally available products which are vegetarian. Flesh eaters reveal more cruel tendencies since the qualities of each animal are ingrained in its flesh and blood. Even after protracted boiling and cooking, these natural tendencies never leave the fleshes. Those who eat such forbidden food acquire mean nature quickly. If we do research on the food type and qualities, it will be seen that those who eat the naturally available leaves, fruits, tubers and vegetables maintained a serene mind. Hence in the ancient time, those who are intent on severe austerities moved to forests and caves to practice the spiritual disciplines. House holders have ample opportunities to practice spiritual disciplines even while living with families. By remaining detached from the senses, they can remain in their families and look after the needs of families while practicing meditation etc. They need not retire to the forests. Majority of the people are home dwellers. It is the responsibility of the house holder to cater to the needs of poor destitute who comes to his door. The responsibility of feeding the wayfarers and guests lie with the householder. Hence recluses go the village to seek alms from the householders. It is a great merit for the house holder since he shares his resources with others who are in need. A recluse cannot entertain any since he himself depends on others for his food.
Thus said, Vivekananda!
Ancient practices were meaningful though it may look superstitious!
In ancient Indian villages, there was a practice. The inmates will not take food until they feed a guest in the noon. For that reason, they will search for some wayfarers or pilgrims who walk their way to holy places through their villages. Sometimes finding none, they may even skip their meals! The idea is holy. The mother of Gandhi used to take her food only after seeing the moon. On cloudy days, the moon won’t be visible and Gandhi used to wait outside to report his mother once the moon become visible. Such strange practices were adopted by womenfolk in the villages. On the eleventh day of new moon day and full moon day, they will fast for the entire day drinking only water. The next day after performing worship of Lord Narayana, they will take their food. Thus, they were maintaining good health and they had full control over the senses. Outwardly, these strange practices may seem superstitious but they contained many unknown reasons. We must perform our duties with devotion and discipline so that we will attain self-realization!