Hinduism: Finding the Formless in the Form

There are numerous instances when Hinduism is compared to Paganism. A lot of people choose to look at this religion with a bias because we seem to worship “stones and trees.” Idol worship, an integral part of this school of thought, appears childish and even blasphemous to some.  A prevalent question raises itself from time to time: How can a religion which cannot even decide which God to worship out of millions, teach the world about spirituality?   Well, I think the answer lies right there , quite blatantly, in the question. Why does the Hindu pantheon consist of millions of representations of Gods and Goddesses?  Why does it solicit worshiping almost every little thing that exists? Once you really think about it, it is rather obvious isn’t it? By giving uncountable forms to God, Hinduism actually asserts on the formlessness of the Universal Spirit.

The sages and seers of the Hindu tradition were astute. They knew that the only way to keep faith alive for eternity among humans, come what may, was to keep them guessing. And that is why our scriptures are inundated with heavy symbolism. If you choose to read it like a story, it would seem illogical, even absurd. But if you choose to interpret the absurdity, you will be surprised at the simplicity of it all. The continuous interpretation is supposed to keep us engaged with the scriptures. The process of decoding elaborate myths is designed to bring us closer to the hidden truth.

Coming back to formlessness, the greatest God of Hindus ( though I personally believe He is not limited to one religion)  Shiva, is said to be formless.  The Shivlinga represents the shapelessness of God.  It has no beginning and no end. It just is.  It represents your core and all the energy of the Universe lies in it: dormant. When you worship the Linga(Shiva), you are trying to wake up the dormant energy  there, with the energy within you (Shakti) .  That’s meditation.  When a flow of  energy between Shiva and Shakti is established, you experience what we call the meditative bliss.Image

Shiva is also worshiped in a human like form. But before you smirk at yet another contradiction in Hinduism, stop and read ahead. The form of Shiva leads yet again to his formlessness.

The huge blue body  of Mahadev is mirrored in the boundless blue sky . The half crescent moon on his head  is the same moon you see when you look up at the evening ceiling of clouds.  And when you spread your gaze to the outlines of the unending black mountain ridges along the skyline, wild and dark yet formidable, you see the long tresses of the Jatadhari.  The Rudraksha beads on his body represent the flora  in the Universe: The seed is where life chain starts.  His skirt made of a tiger skin represents the Fauna, for God resides in animals too. The snake on his neck says he is present even in the most evil minds: All they need is to look at him with the reverence of Vasuki( the snake on his neck), and he can turn them into a bit of Himself.


God is formless because He is present in every pore of the universe. He is what the whole creation is made of. God is the empty space between galaxies and He is the galaxies. He is the fabric of your DNA. He is what mud is created out of and He is what the gold is created of. Hence, the true message to be derived out of Hindusim is:  Find the formless in all forms. Feel the palpating energy which runs through a random stone and a tender heart and worship that. Make zillions of Gods out of your devotion and worship that.  Worship every emotion and worship every phenomenon. Because there is nothing out there which is beyond His All -Pervading Existence.  He is all there is.

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About TulikaD
A full fledged dreamer. I prefer to see life pass by from a train window rather than trying to catch up with it. P.S I write if I feel like it!:)

12 Responses to Hinduism: Finding the Formless in the Form

  1. Sirisha says:

    What a beautiful article T! Especially coming on the wake of recent ignorant potshots taken at “Shiva” and Hinduism on social networks.I can now and in fact will quote this article to anyone with questions on Hinduism and the Essence of Shiva!
    I really liked your explanation on the significance of “Shiva” and his attributes and how we can associate them to everything surrounding us. Mahadev is really all around us. Omniscient, Omnipotent.
    Hoping this article educates people into refraining from passing comments and judgement on God and Faith. Religion after all is only a communication path to God.
    Thanks T once again!

  2. Priyanka says:

    Superb article Tulika.. Even i never realised what you hv mentioned about the idol worship.. We Hindus knw so less bout ourselves.. Thanks for such a beautiful article.. I think you should seriousle take up writing..

    • Dr. G N Murthy says:

      Priyanka is not right in saying WE HINDUS KNOW SO LESS ABOUT OURSELVES ..Rather a small child knows now , He is not the body but HE is the athman dwelling in the body be it in any being, and a small spark emanates from a big ball of fire spreading those particles and again falling in it. The entire COSMOS is filled with DIVINE enegy as even when an ATOM is, when split produces heavy quantm of ENERGY. Scientists,scholars and the like subscribe to the thought. So the universally prevalent GODHOOD.. in the concretised form, appearing to different persons in different forms…!!!

  3. Rupali says:

    hinduism is a religion that needs to be experienced, not just followed..It needs to be understood and interpreted..Thats the only way its truth can be discovered..
    Beautiful Work again T..:)

  4. Maith says:

    Beautifully said T. To add, most humans need something to focus on for worship/meditation – in that respect, Hinduism’s polytheism is useful in that it allows for a wide variety of choice in the forms people choose to deify.

    • Dr. G N Murthy says:

      Hinduism is a way of LIFE..The Hindus’s worship the almighty in both formless and also in many forms as the ancient holy persons conceived . They also see HIM in every atom of cosmos, which includes mother nature. Above all it is based on practising SANATHANA DHARMA ( Very old rather age old DHARMA = RIGHTEOUSNESS whih is almost a nearer meanig,) and SATHYA = TRUTH ) , these Hindus lead a life based on these 5 cardinal principles of truth,righteousness,peace, Love , Non violence which consists of speech,thought,and actions. This is the way….!!!!

  5. umang says:

    Wow di Such an enlightening article.. The depiction of mahadev’s human avataar ws the best part acc. To me.. Nd the core message find the formless in the countless forms.. Amazing.. The real msg. Tht He is present everywhere..is superbly put up. :).. And the style of writing well “mai tareef karte ni thakta” ;)..

  6. A Passerby says:

    Nice article but i think God is beyond logic. If by logic i can make a person a theist, then another strong logician can make him/her atheist or something else. Btw i m just a passerby.

  7. andrej says:

    Dear Mrs. Tulika,
    DKDM is such a heartbreaking film, which completely shattered my heart and soul. Dou you know if it strictly follows the original Puranic source? Did Shiva factually accepted human body for Sati’s love? And the He took back His divine body on the request of Sati after she had died?

  8. Anonymous says:

    beautifull description !

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