The Nature of God in Hinduism

Essential Properties of Brahman

Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma
Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma. Amit Basu Photography/ Getty Images

What is the nature of God in Hinduism? Swami Sivananda in his book 'God Exists' describes the essential properties of Brahman - the absolute almighty. Here's a simplified excerpt.

God is Satchidananda

Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, and Bliss Absolute.

God is Antaryamin

He is the Inner Ruler of this body and mind. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.

God is Chiranjeevi

He is permanent, eternal, perpetual, indestructible, immutable and imperishable. God is past, present and future. He is unchanging amidst the changing phenomena.

God is Paramatma

He is the Supreme Being. The Bhagavad Gita styles Him as 'Purushottama' or Supreme Purusha or Maheswara.

God is Sarva-vid

He is ever-knowledgeable. He knows everything in detail. He is 'Swasamvedya', that is, he knows by Himself.

God is Chirashakti

He is ever-powerful. Earth, water, fire, air, and ether are His five powers. 'Maya' is His illusive Shakti (power).

God is Swayambhu

He is self-existent. He does not depend upon others for His existence. He is 'Swayam Prakasha' or self-luminous. He reveals Himself by His own light.

God is Swatah Siddha

He is self-proven. He does not want any proof, because He is the basis for the act or process of proving. God is 'Paripoorna' or self-contained.

God is Swatantra

He is Independent. He has good desires ('satkama') and pure will ('satsankalpa').

God is Eternal Happiness

Supreme Peace can be had only in God. God-realization can bestow supreme happiness on humankind.

God is Love

He is an embodiment of eternal bliss, supreme peace, and wisdom. He is all-merciful, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

God is Life

He is the 'Prana' (life) in the body and intelligence in 'Antahkarana' (fourfold mind: mind, intellect, ego and the subconscious mind).

God has 3 Aspects

Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva are the three aspects of God. Brahma is the creative aspect; Vishnu is the preservative aspect; Shiva is the destructive aspect.

God has 5 Activities

'Srishti' (creation), 'Sthiti' (preservation), 'Samhara' (destruction), 'Tirodhana' or 'Tirobhava' (veiling), and 'Anugraha' (grace) are the five kinds of activities of God.

God has 6 Attributes of Divine Wisdom or 'Gyana'

'Vairagya' (dispassion), 'Aishwarya' (powers), 'Bala' (strength), 'Sri' (wealth) and 'Kirti' (fame).

God Lives in You

He dwells in the chamber of your own heart. He is the silent witness of your mind. This body is His moving temple. The 'sanctum sanctorum' is the chamber of your own heart. If you cannot find Him there, you cannot find Him anywhere else.

Based on the teachings of Sri Swami Sivananda in 'God Exists'