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Is God a person?
October 4, 2010  |  radhanath-swami
While wandering in the forests, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) came upon Sita Rama Baba, ‘the standing baba’. Over sixty years of age, Sita Rama Baba followed extreme vows, far beyond the vow of celibacy. He vowed to always stand on his feet and never sit or lay down. For almost fifty years, he had observed this penance. Along with his begging pot and prayer beads, he carried a rope and a wooden plank that he would hang from a tree branch like a swing. At night, he would lean on this and sleep standing up.

He immediately treated Richard (now Radhanath Swami) with the love of a father for a son. During Richard’s stay with him, he never saw the Baba eat anything more than a handful of cheap peanuts given to him while begging. Although Richard could not understand his strange vows, still he had attracted Richard’s sincere love and trust. It is said that artificial austerity makes the heart hard. But his heart was soft and filled with humility, compassion, and devotion.

In Sita Rama Baba’s company, a question brewed in Richard (now Radhanath Swami)’s mind. Most of the yogis he had encountered meditated on God as an impersonal force while the Baba and others meditated on the Lord as an all-loving person. Rama Sevaka Swami served Lord Rama in such a personal way. Srila Prabhupada, too, expressed such genuine love for Lord Krishna, as an all-attractive person. As a child, Richard had naturally prayed to God in a personal way. One day, Richard enquired of Baba, “Is God ultimately impersonal or a person?” Sita Rama Baba sighed, “How could our Lord have less personality and form than we have? He has everything without limit.” He shook his head, “This misunderstanding breaks my heart.”

Radhanath Swami’s interactions with many holy men have revealed to him that for practitioners of Bhakti Yoga, God’s ultimate existence as impersonal is not only unacceptable, it’s also deeply painful. This is because a bhakti-yogi experiences constant reciprocation from God, and shares a sweet loving relationship with Him.

Radhanath Swami also offers a simple definition of God that is in agreement with all theistic traditions of the world, “God is cause of all causes and source of everything.” Then Radhanath Swami proposes if God is the source of everything that we see in this world, then God Himself should contain the essential attributes of everything, else He would be lesser than His creation. In this world, there exist both persons and impersonal forces, so both these aspects should be present in God. If God were not a person, then He would be incomplete. In other words, the Complete Being would be incomplete, which is totally illogical. Radhanath Swami also presents this logic in a simpler way: if we as the children of God are persons how can our father God not be a person?

I would sometimes wonder if a personality or form of God would restrict God. Radhanath Swami explains God’s form is restricted if we superimpose a material conception of God. For argument’s sake, even if we grant that form limits a thing, does divesting it of form make it unlimited? We may be sitting in a room, which has a form and is limited. If its form were destroyed by say the explosion of a bomb, will the formless debris be limited or unlimited? Therefore Radhanath Swami’s clear thinking reveals that what causes limitation is not form, but matter. Due to its very nature, matter is limited, whether it exists with form or without form. When we conceive of God’s form, we subconsciously project our experiences with matter on the form of God and so think that a form would limit God. Radhanath Swami speaks on the basis of scriptures that, “God is not material; He is entirely spiritual. Spirit has characteristics different from matter ; that which is spiritual has the potential to be all-pervading, irrespective of whether it has form or not.” This presentation of Radhanath Swami convinced me that God can have a form that is spiritual and therefore His form is unlimited. Radhanath Swami thus resolves the confusions, “God is a person with a form, but with an impersonal aspect to his personality as well.”

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134 Comments


  1. It is the personal form which ultimately satisfies everyone irrespective whether one is personalist or impersonalist in the beginning.

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  2. Thank you very much for shairing this with us .Personal aspect is superior than impersonal aspect .

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  3. A nice story.A Person is happy when reciprocation is with personal only.No one can deal with impersonal thing.But God has both personal as well as impersonal form.But when we have our forms then why not God? He is a creator,creator implies an intelligence and behind intelligece there is a person.Therefore what Radhanath Swami says is correct.The God is a Person.Thank you.

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  4. Radhanath Swami’s logic in explaining God as a personality is penetrating and very cogent. Truly, if God is not a person, but a formless, attributeless, emotionless substance, then the material world with all its color and variety is more attractive than God! But, that can’t be true as God is all-attractive, that’s what the word ‘Krishna’ means. Truly, Radhanath Swami is saving us from the insidious fall outs of impersonalistic philosophies.

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  5. Radhanath Swami’ explanations for a Lord with a form are so lucid.

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  6. Thank u for wonderful article

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  7. Sanjiv Chandnani

    This is such a convincing point that god is a person.
    Thank you

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  8. it really make sense that if we have personality then our creator or father has to have personality too

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  9. Very nice point: Because we unconsciously project our experiences with matter on the form of the Lord, we think form limits the Lord. But actually its the material conception that in limiting. That’s why Lord’s form is spiritual makes full sense. Jai and thanks for sharing this.

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  10. Thank you Radhanath Swami for enlightening us about God’s form. God is generally considered to be formless and assigning a form to Him seems to contradict God’s greatness. However Radhanath Swami with his profound wisdom gives us the perfect understanding of God’s real form.

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  11. This proves that God is not Impersonal…

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  12. “what causes limitation is not form, but matter”
    because of imposing our limited concepts on God, people think God is impersonal. But if we understand the difference between matter and spirit, then it is very easy to understand how GOD has form in His ultimate nature

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  13. Very enlightening article. Most of the people think of God as divine power and do not believe in His personal form.
    Here Maharajah explains” God’s form is restricted if we superimpose a material conception of God”.

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  14. Radhanath Swami explains this complex subject of personal form of in very simple and logical terms. As very clearly explained by Radhanath Swami, how can God have one aspect short which we have, i.e., form. If so God is lesser in one aspect in comparison to us which is not only obsurd but also making God limited and cheap. Thank you Radhanath Swami for this wonderful meditation and surely we will meditate on the beautiful form of Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna.

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  15. All Glories To.H.H.Radhanath Swami Maharaj

    What an wonderful understanding of God.

    Hare Krishna

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  16. Radhanath swami reveals thatultimately Gos has a from and one always has an opportunity to reciprocate with him.

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  17. hrishikesh mafatlal

    Understanding that God has a form is not only logical but also blissful.

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  18. Radhanath Swami gives a good explanation about the form of the Lord.

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  19. Radhanath Swami ki Jai

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  20. Radhanath Swami explains this complex subject of personal form of in very simple and logical terms. As very clearly explained by Radhanath Swami, how can God have one aspect short which we have, i.e., form. If so God is lesser in one aspect in comparison to us which is not only obsurd but also making God limited and cheap. Thank you Radhanath Swami for this wonderful meditation and surely we will meditate on the beautiful form of Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna and tell others too.

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  21. This is a brilliant explanation by Radhanath Swami of the unlimited spiritual nature of God’s form as the Supreme Person.

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  22. This question haunts so many like me and Radhanath Swami very clearly states out here that the impersonal is not only unacceptable, it’s also deeply painful. I will have to meditate a long time to understand this

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  23. Radhanath Swami’s experiences with so many spiritual practitioners has enriched his understanding and he is lovingly sharing it with us.

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  24. I love this blog. The author presents from scriptural understanding and grounds his arguments on sound logic.

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  25. We have never had an experience of something impersonal showing a personal characterstic, but we have seen a personl exhibiting impersonal characterstic. Radhanath Swami has learned the same from Sita Ram Baba.

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  26. In several discourses, I have been fortunate to hear from Radhanath Swami he brings forth so nicely the limit of our understanding and when we think and introspect than we realize, that because of our educational system our thinking is limited to, kilometers, kilograms etc, so even if we want to accept the infinity of the Divine our mind immediately puts an restriction.

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  27. One of the most classical debate in spiritual circles is so beautifully explained here by Radhanath Swami. From the explainations we can see Lord cannot be less than His creation and the limitations remains with matter. Supreme Lord is completely Spiritual and unlimited. Beautifully concluded by Radhanath Swami – “God is a person with a form, but with an impersonal aspect to his personality as well”

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  28. To understand the unlimited form of the Lord is beyond our Limited intelligence. Radhanath Swamis experiences bring to fore what approach should one have when approaching the Lord

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  29. Thank you Maharaj !!

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  30. Radhanath Swami gives a vivid meaning and understanding about personal aspect of the Lord

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  31. Such nice revelations are made by Radhanath Maharaj who is a pure devotee of the Lord.

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  32. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharj for helping us understand how personal & loving GOD in such a easy way else we might have been carried away with so many misconceptions!

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  33. Hearing this clear explanation of God as a Person by Radhanath Swami would clear the cobwes in the minds of even the hard core impersonalist to undertsand the fact that Lord is a person- “The Supreme Person”

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  34. These statements by Radhanath Swami proves beyond doubtr That God is a person

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  35. Radhanath Swamis experiences bring to fore what approach should one have when approaching the Lord.
    Thank you Maharaj !!

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  36. Thank you for the wonderful insights that give me conviction that ultimately the Absolute Truth must be a person.

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  37. This is really a very convincing presentation of the form of Lord. This is really a great meditation. Thanks for sharing.

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  38. Radhanath Swami’s arguments definitely make one convince about the personal feature of God……

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  39. Mangesh Kulkarni

    so nice and simple. After reading this my confusion is what is the need of this great confusion between personal and impersonal philosophies when it can be so simply understood.

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  40. It gives so much relief to know that GOD is a person.

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  41. Wonderful Article!!!

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  42. shyam bihari das

    I once read that God is personal with those who see Him in His personal form and impersonal to those who worship His impersonal form. In the BG, Lord Krishna says that of all the yogis, the one who worships His Personal form is most dear to Him. Hari Bol!

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  43. very nice article from this article we come to know that god is not a person

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  44. Radhanath Swami has presented a very convincing argument in favour of the existence of the Supreme Personal Form of God.

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  45. Wonderful conclusion.

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  46. Manish Raikundalia

    Nice article.

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  47. CS Sandeep Shinde

    Thank you very much for such a nice article. From this article i understood that GOD is really a person.

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  48. Woderful Article thank you for sharing with us….

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  49. Siddharth Hindlekar

    Very true..A simple & nice understanding of the Personal form of the Lord

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