Four End Points In Time For Understanding God

[Vishnu's lotus feet]“Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.33)

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अहम् एवासम् एवाग्रे
नान्यद् यत् सद्-असत् परम्
पश्चाद् अहं यद् एतच् च
यो ऽवशिष्येत सो ऽस्म्य् अहम्

aham evāsam evāgre
nānyad yat sad-asat param
paścād ahaṁ yad etac ca
yo ‘vaśiṣyeta so ‘smy aham

A head-first dive is not required into what is mistakenly tagged as Hinduism, as if it were just another option in the basket of faith-based systems. There is a scientific basis to the principles presented in the Vedic tradition, also known as sanatana-dharma. This means a person should apply their intellect. Questions are not shunned away as too difficult to answer. The “trust us and everything will be alright” assurance is absent. Gain some practical realization, vijnana, to have confidence that this life is not the only one and that the soul continues to live on, despite the changes to the body.

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरो ऽपराणि
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्य्
अन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ‘parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.22)

Without referencing the personal side of the Divine, His different visual manifestations and His transcendental features [gunas], even the most skeptical person of the idea of religion can understand the concept of God through an important factor of nature: time.

1. Adi

This Sanskrit word means “the beginning.” The keen observer will note that the description can only be relative to another period in time. Kala, which is the Sanskrit word to describe the great devouring enemy to progress and attachment to material objects, is infinite in both directions.

When we refer to adi in general conversation, the idea is to think of what existed prior to the universe and its population. Only a fool would deny that such a time period occurred. That would be like saying to someone that they were never born, that they never emerged from the womb of their mother.

[the universe]The skeptic can take the adi time period to be God. It is synonymous with Him. Just think of the beginning of the creation. That is the Divine. Whether you believe nothing existed or that there were only a few chemicals, that is your basis for creation.

2. Anadi

This is a negation of adi. It means “without a beginning.” Lord Vishnu explains to Lord Brahma in the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Before there was anything, at that adi stage, there was the Supreme Lord. Again, a person need not be a true believer to understand the concept. Something had to be around before the beginning. We cannot think of a single thing that emerged from nothing. There is always a cause. When you find the cause of all causes, you have found God.

3. Anta

This is on the opposite side of the previously discussed time period; when nothing else will be around. We also have confidence in this principle, that when there is birth there must be death. What goes up must eventually come down.

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च
तस्माद् अपरिहार्ये ऽर्थे
न त्वं शोचितुम् अर्हसि

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)

Take that endpoint as a concept and you have one way of understanding God. He is both the beginning and the end. The person who provided the potency for creation also draws everything back into Himself at some point in time.

4. Ananta

Another negation, know that there is a timeless principle. It continues on after the arbitrarily defined end to existence. We say arbitrary because the lack of a manifest world has no impact on the existence of something. The living principle remains intact, simply shifting to a different space.

[Vishnu's lotus feet]God is without an end. No one can reach the limit to His glories, since the Vedas continue to sing of His gunas. He is not confined to any space nor to any span of existence. He is before time and after it. Acknowledging just these basic principles of an existence creates so much auspiciousness. The consciousness is then poised for full and complete purification, which brings the reward of timeless service to the one who is Himself eternal.

In Closing:

From basic knowledge auspiciousness,

Clearing path for pure consciousness.

Taking concepts of time,

For proof of God to find.

Existed at creation prior,

Infinity a concept higher.

Around also at end,

And beyond to extend.

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