Doctrinal Resonances on Truth in Scriptures across Religions

(This article is based on a research paper in theology and religious discourse, and supplemented with spiritual insights and perspectives. It has arisen from months of interactions with spiritual leaders, academics and others)

Satya (Truth, in Sanskrit) is what is said to be truly eternal about Sanatan Dharma (the eternal way of life), which we regard as Hinduism today [1-6]. Satya, transliterated, means ‘Truth’. But Dharmic traditions do not talk about just any Truth. This is the truth as Vedic seers saw it of the Universe. The Truth of Life, Universe and everything within [7]. The essence, theologically and spiritually and philosophically speaking of everything there is. And this is the primary elements that matters, not only in Hinduism but certain other Indic and oriental traditions and even beyond [8], at the end of the day, when it comes to ideas of ‘God’ and the universe. It is interesting to see how the conflict between propositional truth, which relies on the absence of spoken or enacted falsities (an act dependent on the accurate perception in the first place), and ontological truth, which encapsulates the idea of ‘reality’ has been the focus of traditions such as Buddhist schools of philosophy and spirituality [9-11]. In this paper, I shall be looking at textual evidence to extend this to other traditions too. Whether the conception of the Ultimate Reality is that of a personal, loving God [12] or a nirakara (formless), uncaring deity [13], the manifestation is just a nuance of a greater reality, there are resonating elements in the greater conceptions of divinity and God-head that are fundamental [14-26]. And this is not just something that we arrive at by reflection and meditation of spiritual leaders but something that is supported by scriptures and religious texts across the world. This core, fundamental Truth is what I would like to deliberate on here, and in this paper I propose that even the apparent polarities of conceptions of God are different sides of the same Truth.

1. Introduction

As per the scriptures, this reality, this Truth is both mysterious and knowable [27, 28], immanent and transcendent [29, 30], dynamic and unchanging [31-36]. This Truth manifests as the personal and the impersonal, the loving and the uncaring. In fact, it manifests as neither being nor non-being [37, 38]. As tough as these statements are to comprehend and realize, this is the Truth I would like to discuss and the Truth seers and sages, maulvis and monks, have discussed for centuries, nay millenia. It is a Unity, which has many manifestations. Religions have denoted this ultimate reality in various ways: there is a personal God in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, while one has an impersonal Absolute in Advaita Vedanta, in what I see as different and distinctive ways of apprehending the Absolute. There is a seven-part typology that can be used to understand these distinctive ways.

We can see the ultimate reality of Satya as a personal God, as in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and the theistic traditions of Hinduism [12, 39]. We can have an image of the ultimate reality of Satya as an impersonal transcendent being and the ultimate source of all existence, as in Brahman in some Hindu traditions [40], Tao or the Primal Unity in Chinese traditions [41], the Christian image of God as the Unmoved Mover [42], the Sikh One without Attributes and the Mahayana concept of Tathata (suchness) [43, 44]. We can also have the ultimate reality of Satya as immanent in each person, as in the Hindu Atman [45], the Mahayana Enlightening Mind or Buddha Mind (Bodhi) or Tathagatagarbha (Womb of the Tathagata) [46] and the Christian concept of the indwelling spirit [47].

Besides this, we can also have the ultimate reality of this Truth, of Satya, as the ultimate goal or the ‘blessed state’, as in the Buddhist concept of Nirvana (Liberation) and the Jain ideal of Paramatman (the soul in its most divine and purified state) [48]. We can even have the ultimate reality of Satya as the common solidarity of many spiritual being which work with a single purpose, as in the Native American spirits (Sioux wakan) [49], the Shinto kami and Taoist deities [50-52]. Not to forget, we can have the ultimate reality of Satya as manifestation of the Founder (of the Universe and everything there is), as in Buddhist Dharmakaya (Buddha in his eternal, cosmic manifestation) [53, 54], the Christian image of the Cosmic Christ as in the Book of Revelation [55], the cosmic manifestation of Krishna (consciousness) in strands of Hinduism [56] or the Jain Paramatman as revealed through the Tirthankara. Last but not the least, we can view the ultimate reality of Satya as the eternal law and order, as in the Hindu Dharma and Rta [57-61], Buddhist Dhamma [62-63], Taoism’s Tao [64], Christianity’s Word (Logos) [65, 66], Jewish Torah [67] and so on.

Although this typology can be useful in looking at the various manifestations and ways of looking at the ultimate reality of Satya, the concept in fact overlap. For example, the goodness of God can be understood in any of these ways: the impersonal grace of Brahman, the loving kindness of a personal God, the absolute bliss of Nirvana, the solidarity of the kami for the promotion of purity and beauty, the compassionate nature of this reality of Satya as revealed in the compassion of the Buddha or the tenets and ideas put forth in an eternal law and order that promote harmony, peace and love. Therefore, the way to find the essence of the one Truth that all these traditions speak of, we have to look at themes and ideas and characterisations, be it the traces of God’s existence in nature and ourselves, transcendence of Satya, goodness of God or omniscience of the ultimate Reality, that cut across all religions and orders (as many as can be easily accessed and are prevalent today).

I will try to approach this research question from a point of scholarship and by looking at scriptures of various religious traditions. The major caveat and point of importance is that I believe in the idea of ‘infinite paths to infinite realities’ and it is the idea of Truth that matters more than the approaches to it, and therefore every individual must have freedom to pursue whatever suits them. 

2. The Conception of Truth in the One

The Unity of God has been described in various scriptures and texts over the millenia. Absolute Reality of Satya is one, unique and absolute, as per most of these texts. While monotheistic traditions identify this Reality as God, Confucian and Taoist texts identify this with the Primal Absolute that lies at the root of all phenomena, Buddhism as Nirvana or Suchness that transcends any being, while Hindu traditions recognise an underlying One that manifests as many deities. In this section, I shall present some excerpts and texts from various scriptures to highlight this point better.

2.1. Hinduism

इन्द्रं॑ मि॒त्रं वरु॑णम॒ग्निमा॑हु॒रथो॑ दि॒व्यः स सु॑प॒र्णो ग॒रुत्मा॑न् ।
एकं॒ सद्विप्रा॑ बहु॒धा व॑दन्त्य॒ग्निं य॒मं मा॑त॒रिश्वा॑नमाहुः ॥

They called him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni; and he is heavenly Garuda, who has beautiful wings. The truth is one, but the learned ones call it by many names or describe him in many ways; they called him Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.

Rig Veda Mandala 1 Hymn 164 Verse 46

ॐ नद्वितिये न त्रितीयश्चतुर्थो नप्युच्यते |
न पञ्चमो न षष्ठः सप्तमो नाप्युच्यते ||
नाश्तमो न नवमो दशमो नाप्युच्यते |
तमिदं निगतं सः सएष एक एकवृदेक एव||

He is called neither the second, nor the third, nor yet the fourth. He is called neither the fifth nor the sixth nor yet the seventh. He is called neither the eighth nor the nineth nor yet the tenth. He takes care of all that breathes and all that does not breathe. He has all this conquering power. He is one, one alone and only one.

Atharva Veda Book 13 Hymn IV Verse 16-21

एकोदेवः सर्वभूतेषुगूढः
सर्वव्यापी सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा।
कर्माध्यक्षः सर्वभूताधिवासः
साक्षी चेता केवलोनिर्गुणश्च ॥

He is the one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the self within all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one, free from qualities.

Svetasvatara Upanishad Adhyaya 6 Verse 11

अथ हैनं विदग्धः शाकल्यः पप्रच्छ, कति देवा याज्ञवल्क्येति; स हैतयैव निविदा प्रतिपेदे, यावन्तो वैश्वदेवस्य निविद्युच्यन्ते—त्रयश्च त्री च शता, त्रयश्च त्री च सहस्रेति; ओमिति होवाच, कत्येव देवा याज्ञवल्क्येति; त्रयस्त्रिंशदिति; ओमिति होवाच; कत्येव देवा याज्ञवल्क्येति; षडित्य्; ओमिति होवाच, कत्येव देवा याज्ञवल्क्येति; त्रय इति; ओमिति होवाच, कत्येव देवा याज्ञवल्क्येति; द्वाविति; ओमिति होवाच, कत्येव देवा याज्ञवल्क्येति; अध्यर्ध इति; ओमिति होवाच, कत्येव देवा याज्ञवल्क्येति; एक इति; ओमिति होवाच, कतमे ते त्रयश्च त्री च शता, त्रयश्च त्री च सहस्रेति ॥

Then Vidagdha, the son of Śakala, asked him. ‘How many gods are there, Yājñavalkya?’ Yājñavalkya decided it through this (group of Mantras known as) Nivid (saying), ‘As many as are indicated in the Nivid of the Viśvadevas—three hundred and three, and three thousand and three.’ ‘Very well,’ said Śākalya, ‘how many gods are there, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘Thirty-three.’ ‘Very well,’ said the other, ‘how many gods are there, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘Six.’ ‘Very well’ said Śākalya, ‘how many gods are there, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘Three.’ ‘Very well,’ said the other, ‘how many gods are there, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘Two.’ ‘Very well,’ said Śākalya, ‘how many gods are there, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘One and a half.’ ‘Very well,’ said the other, ‘how many gods are there, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘One.’ ‘Very well,’ said Śākalya, ‘which are those three hundred and three and three thousand and three?’

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Chapter III Section IX Verse 1

2.2. Judaism

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד׃

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Shema Yisrael (Deuteronomy 6.4)

 אֲנִי יְהוָה וְאֵין עוֹד, זוּלָתִי אֵין אֱלֹהִים; אֲאַזֶּרְךָ, וְלֹא יְדַעְתָּנִי

I am the Lord, and there is none else, beside Me there is no God; I have girded thee, though thou hast not known Me

Isaiah Chapter 45 Verse 5

אלוה זה אחד הוא ואינו שנים ולא יתר על שנים אלא אחד שאין כיחודו אחד מן האחדים הנמצאים בעולם לא אחד כמין שהוא כולל אחדים הרבה ולא אחד כגוף שהוא נחלק למחלקות ולקצוות אלא יחוד שאין יחוד אחר כמותו בעולם אילו היו אלוהות הרבה היו גופין וגויות מפני שאין הנמנים השוין במציאותן נפרדין זה מזה אלא במאורעין שיארעו בגופות והגויות ואילו היה היוצר גוף וגוייה היה לו קץ ותכלית שאי אפשר להיות גוף שאין לו קץ וכל שיש לגופו קץ ותכלית יש לכחו קץ וסוף ואלהינו ברוך שמו הואיל וכחו אין לו קץ ואינו פוסק שהרי הגלגל סובב תמיד אין כחו כח גוף והואיל ואינו גוף לא יארעו לו מאורעות הגופות כדי שיהא נחלק ונפרד מאחר לפיכך אי אפשר שיהיה אלא אחד וידיעת דבר זה מצות עשה שנאמר ה’ אלהינו ה’ אחד:

This God is one. He is not two or more, but one, unified in a manner which [surpasses] any unity that is found in the world; i.e., He is not one in the manner of a general category which includes many individual entities, nor one in the way that the body is divided into different portions and dimensions. Rather, He is unified, and there exists no unity similar to His in this world.

If there were many gods, they would have body and form, because like entities are separated from each other only through the circumstances associated with body and form.

Were the Creator to have body and form, He would have limitation and definition, because it is impossible for a body not to be limited. And any entity which itself is limited and defined [possesses] only limited and defined power. Since our God, blessed be His name, possesses unlimited power, as evidenced by the continuous revolution of the sphere, we see that His power is not the power of a body. Since He is not a body, the circumstances associated with bodies that produce division and separation are not relevant to Him. Therefore, it is impossible for Him to be anything other than one.

The knowledge of this concept fulfills a positive commandment, as: “[Hear, Israel,] God is our Lord, God is one.”

Yesode Ha-Torah 1:7

2.3. Islam

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ

اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ

لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ

وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

Say: He, Allah, is One,

Allah, the Eternal,

He begets not, nor is He begotten,

And there is none like unto Him.

Qu’ran Surah 112

مَا ٱتَّخَذَ ٱللَّهُ مِن وَلَدٍ وَمَا كَانَ مَعَهُۥ مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ ۚ إِذًا لَّذَهَبَ كُلُّ إِلَٰهٍۭ بِمَا خَلَقَ وَلَعَلَا بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ سُبْحَٰنَ ٱللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

عَٰلِمِ ٱلْغَيْبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِ فَتَعَٰلَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Allah has not taken any son, nor has there ever been with Him any deity. [If there had been], then each deity would have taken what it created, and some of them would have sought to overcome others. Exalted is Allah above what they describe

[He is] Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, so high is He above what they associate

Qu’ran Al Muminun [23] Verses 91 and 92

وَلَهُۥ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ وَمَنْ عِندَهُۥ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِهِۦ وَلَا يَسْتَحْسِرُونَ

يُسَبِّحُونَ ٱلَّيْلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ لَا يَفْتُرُونَ

أَمِ ٱتَّخَذُوٓا۟ ءَالِهَةً مِّنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ هُمْ يُنشِرُونَ

لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَآ ءَالِهَةٌ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا ۚ فَسُبْحَٰنَ ٱللَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَرْشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ

To Him belongs whoever is in the heavens and the earth. And those near Him are not prevented by arrogance from His worship, nor do they tire.

They exalt [Him] night and day [and] do not slacken.

Or have men taken for themselves gods from the earth who resurrect [the dead]?

Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.

Qu’ran Al Anbiya [21] Verses 19 – 22

2.4. Taoism

Yield and overcome;
Bend and be straight;
Empty and be full;
Wear out and be new;
Have little and gain;
Have much and be confused.

Therefore wise men embrace the one
And set an example to all.
Not putting on a display,
They shine forth.
Not justifying themselves,
They are distinguished.
Not boasting,
They receive recognition.
Not bragging,
They never falter.
They do not quarrel,
So no one quarrels with them.
Therefore the ancients say, ‘Yield and overcome.’
Is that an empty saying?
Be really whole,
And all things will come to you.

Tao Te Ching 22

2.5. Confucianism 

Absolute truth is indestructible and is ceaseless. Not ceasing, it continues long. Continuing long, it evidences itself. Evidencing itself, it reaches far. Reaching far, it becomes large and substantial. Large and substantial, it becomes high and brilliant. Large and substantial;– this is how it contains all things. High and brilliant;– this is how it overspreads all things. Reaching far and continuing long;– this is how it perfects all things. So large and substantial, the individual possessing it is the co-equal of Earth. So high and brilliant, it makes him the co-equal of Heaven. So far-reaching and long-continuing, it makes him infinite. Such being its nature, without any display, it becomes manifested; without any movement, it produces changes; and without any effort, it accomplishes its ends. The way of Heaven and Earth may be completely declared in one sentence.– They are without any doubleness, and so they produce things in a manner that is unfathomable.

The way of Heaven and Earth is large and substantial, high and brilliant, far-reaching and long-enduring. The Heaven now before us is only this bright shining spot; but when viewed in its inexhaustible extent, the sun, moon, stars, and constellations of the zodiac, are suspended in it, and all things are overspread by it. The earth before us is but a handful of soil; but when regarded in its breadth and thickness, it sustains mountains like the Hwâ and the Yo, without feeling their weight, and contains the rivers and seas, without their leaking away. The mountain now before us appears only a stone; but when contemplated in all the vastness of its size, we see how the grass and trees are produced on it, and birds and beasts dwell on it, and precious things which men treasure up are found on it.

The water now before us appears but a ladleful; yet extending our view to its unfathomable depths, the largest tortoises, iguanas, iguanodons, dragons, fishes, and turtles, are produced in it, articles of value and sources of wealth abound in it. It is said in the Book of Poetry, “The ordinances of Heaven, how profound are they and unceasing!” The meaning is, that it is thus that Heaven is Heaven. And again, “How illustrious was it, the singleness of the virtue of king Wan!” indicating that it was thus that king Wan was what he was.

Singleness likewise is unceasing.

Doctrine of the Mean 26

2.6. Buddhism

At that time Mahamati again made a request of the Blessed One: Pray tell me, Blessed One, about the causation of all things, whereby I and other Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas can see into the nature of causation, and by getting rid of the discrimination [which issues in the philosophical views of] eternalism and nihilism, we may no more discriminate as to the gradual or simultaneous rising of all things.

Replied the Blessed One: Mahamati, there are two factors of causation by which all things come into existence: external and inner. Mahamati, the external factors are a lump of clay, a stick, a wheel, thread, water, a worker, and his labour, the combination of all of which produces a jar. As with the jar, Mahamati, which is made of a lump of clay, or a piece of cloth made of thread, or a matting made of fragrant grass, or the sprout growing out of a seed, or fresh butter which is produced from sour milk by a man churning it with his own labour, so it is, Mahamati, with all things which, governed by external causes, appear one after another in continuous succession. As regards the inner factors of causation, Mahamati, they are of such kind as ignorance, desire, and action, which make up our idea of causation.

Born of these, Mahamati, there is the manifestation of the Skandhas, Dhatus, and Ayatanas. They are not separable [realities] but discriminated [as such] by the ignorant.

Lankavatara Sutra 83

Tathagatas certainly do not come from anywhere, nor do they go anywhere. Because Suchness does not move, and the Tathagata is Suchness. Non-production does not come nor go, and the Tathagata is nonproduction. One cannot conceive of the coming or going of the reality-limit, and the Tathagata is the reality-limit. The same can be said of emptiness, of what exists in accordance with fact, of dispassion, of stopping, of the element of space. For the Tathagata is not outside these dharmas. The Suchness of these dharmas and the Suchness of all dharmas, and the Suchness of the Tathagata are simply this one single Suchness. There is no division within Suchness. Just simply one
single is this Suchness, not two, nor three.

Suchness has passed beyond counting, because it is not. A man, scorched by the heat of the summer, during the last month of summer, at noon might see a mirage floating along, and might run towards it, and think ‘there I shall find some water, there I shall find something to drink.’ What do you think, son of good family, has that water come
from anywhere, or does that water go anywhere, to the Eastern great ocean, or the
Southern, Northern or Western?

Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā (Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines) Dharmodgata (Chapter 31) Verse 1

2.7. Christianity

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Epistle to the Corinthians Chapter 12 Verses 4-6

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Epistle to the Corinthians Chapter 8 Verses 4-6

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Gospel of Mark Chapter 12 Verses 29-30

2.8. Sikhism

ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥

One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru’s Grace

Guru Granth Sahib Mool Mantra

2.9. Zoroastrianism

Then Zarathushtra said: ‘Reveal unto me that name of thine, O Ahura Mazda! that is the greatest, the best, the fairest, the most effective, the most fiend-smiting, the best-healing, that destroyeth best the malice of Daevas and Men; ‘That I may afflict all Daevas and Men; that I may afflict all Yatus and Pairikas; that neither Daevas nor Men may be able to afflict me; neither Yatus nor Pairikas.’ Ahura Mazda replied unto him: ‘My name is the One of whom questions are asked, O holy Zarathushtra!

Ohrmazd Yasht Verses 5-7

3. Transcendence and Immanence of Truth in Scriptures

Scriptures tell us that Satya is transcendent and beyond all phenomenal existence, and yet all-pervasive and immanent. It is spoken of as the basis for all being, the source of all energy in the minutest of particles and life in every creature. The immanence of Satya in no way limits its transcendence.

3.1. Hinduism

अनेजदेकं मनसो जवीयो नैनद्देवा आप्नुवन्पूर्वमर्षत् ।
अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽविद्यामुपासते ।

तदेजति तन्नैजति तद्दूरे तद्वन्तिके ।
पूषन्नेकर्षे यम सूर्य प्राजापत्य व्यूह रश्मीन् समूह तेजः ।

यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतान्यात्मन्येवानुपश्यति ।
यस्मिन्सर्वाणि भूतान्यात्मैवाभूद्विजानतः ।

यस्मिन्सर्वाणि भूतान्यात्मैवाभूद्विजानतः ।
वायुरनिलममृतमथेदं भस्मांतँ शरीरम् ।

स पर्यगाच्छुक्रमकायमव्रण- मस्नाविरँ शुद्धमपापविद्धम् ।
सम्भूतिं च विनाशं च यस्तद्वेदोभयँ सह ।

Unmoving, It is one, faster than the mind. The senses cannot reach It, for It proceeds ahead. Remaining static It overtakes others that run. On account of Its presence, Matarsiva (the wind) conducts the activities of beings. 

It moves; It moves not. It is far; It is near. It is within all; It is without all.

He who perceives all beings in the Self alone, and the Self in all beings, does not entertain any hatred on account of that perception.

When a man realises that all beings are but the Self, what delusion is there, what grief, to that perceiver of oneness?

That (Self) is all-pervading, radiant, bodiless, soreless, without sinews, pure, untainted by sin, the all-seer, the lord of the mind, transcendent and self-existent. That (Self) did allot in proper order to the eternal Prajapatis known as samvalsara (year) their duties.

Isha Upanishad Chapter 1 Verses 4-8

यत्र नान्यत्पश्यति नान्यच्छृणोति नान्यद्विजानाति स भूमाथ यत्रान्यत्पश्यत्यन्यच्छृणोत्यन्यद्विजानाति तदल्पं यो वै भूमा तदमृतमथ यदल्पं तन्मर्त्य्ं स भगवः कस्मिन्प्रतिष्ठित इति स्वे महिम्नि यदि वा न महिम्नीति ॥

गोअश्वमिह महिमेत्याचक्षते हस्तिहिरण्यं दासभार्यं क्षेत्राण्यायतनानीति नाहमेवं ब्रवीमि ब्रवीमीति होवाचान्योह्यन्यस्मिन्प्रतिष्ठित इति ॥

स एवाधस्तात्स उपरिष्टात्स पश्चात्स पुरस्तात्स दक्षिणतः स उत्तरतः स एवेदं सर्वमित्यथातोऽहंकारादेश एवाहमेवाधस्तादहमुपरिष्टादहं पश्चादहं पुरस्तादहं दक्षिणतोऽहमुत्तरतोऽहमेवेदं सर्वमिति ॥

अथात आत्मादेश एवात्मैवाधस्तादात्मोपरिष्टादात्मा पश्चादात्मा पुरस्तादात्मा दक्षिणत आत्मोत्तरत आत्मैवेदं सर्वमिति स वा एष एवं पश्यन्नेवं मन्वान एवं विजानन्नात्मरतिरात्मक्रीड आत्ममिथुन आत्मानन्दः स स्वराड्भवति तस्य सर्वेषु लोकेषु कामचारो भवति अथ येऽन्यथातो विदुरन्यराजानस्ते क्षय्यलोका भवन्ति तेषां सर्वेषु लोकेष्वकामचारो भवति ॥

Sanatkumāra said: ‘Bhūmā [the infinite] is that in which one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, and knows [i.e., finds] nothing else. But alpa [the finite] is that in which one sees something else, hears something else, and knows something else. That which is infinite is immortal, and that which is finite is mortal.’ Nārada asked, ‘Sir, what does bhūmā rest on?’ Sanatkumāra replied, ‘It rests on its own power—or not even on that power [i.e., it depends on nothing else]’.

In this world it is said that cattle, horses, elephants, gold, servants, wives, farmlands, and houses are a person’s glory. I do not mean this type of glory, for these things are not independent of each other. This is what I am talking about—

That bhūmā is below; it is above; it is behind; it is in front; it is to the right; it is to the left. All this is bhūmā. Now, as regards one’s own identity: I am below; I am above; I am behind; I am in front; I am to the right; I am to the left. I am all this.

Next is the instruction on the Self: The Self is below; the Self is above; the Self is behind; the Self is in front; the Self is to the right; the Self is to the left. The Self is all this. He who sees in this way, thinks in this way, and knows in this way, has love for the Self, sports with the Self, enjoys the company of the Self, and has joy in the Self, he is supreme and can go about as he likes in all the worlds. But those who think otherwise are under the control of others. They cannot remain in the worlds they live in, nor can they move about in the worlds as they like [i.e., they are under many limitations].

Chandogya Upanishad Chapter 7 Section 24-25

सहस्रशीर्षा पुरुषः सहस्राक्षः सहस्रपात |
सभूमिं विश्वतो वर्त्वात्यतिष्ठद दशाङगुलम ||
पुरुष एवेदं सर्वं यद भूतं यच्च भव्यम |
उताम्र्तत्वस्येशानो यदन्नेनातिरोहति ||
एतावानस्य महिमातो जयायांश्च पूरुषः |
पादो.अस्यविश्वा भूतानि तरिपादस्याम्र्तं दिवि ||
तरिपादूर्ध्व उदैत पुरुषः पादो.अस्येहाभवत पुनः |
ततो विष्वं वयक्रामत साशनानशने अभि ||

A thousand heads hath Purusa, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet.

     On every side pervading earth he fills a space ten fingers wide.

This Purusa is all that yet hath been and all that is to be;

     The Lord of Immortality which waxes greater still by food.

So mighty is his greatness; yea, greater than this is Purusa.

     All creatures are one-fourth of him, three-fourths eternal life in heaven.

With three-fourths Purusa went up: one-fourth of him again was here.

     Thence he strode out to every side over what cats not and what cats.

Rig Veda Mandala 10 Hymn 90 Verses 1-4

भूमिरापोऽनलो वायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च।

अहङ्कार इतीयं मे भिन्ना प्रकृतिरष्टधा।।

अपरेयमितस्त्वन्यां प्रकृतिं विद्धि मे पराम्।

जीवभूतां महाबाहो ययेदं धार्यते जगत्।।

एतद्योनीनि भूतानि सर्वाणीत्युपधारय।

अहं कृत्स्नस्य जगतः प्रभवः प्रलयस्तथा।।

मत्तः परतरं नान्यत्किञ्चिदस्ति धनञ्जय।

मयि सर्वमिदं प्रोतं सूत्रे मणिगणा इव।।

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and egoism thus is My Nature divided eightfold.

This is the inferior Prakriti, O mighty-armed (Arjuna); know thou as different from it My higher Prakriti (Nature), the very life-element, by which this world is upheld.

Know that these two (Natures) are the womb of all beings. So I am the source and dissolution of the whole universe.

There is nothing whatsoever higher than Me, O Arjuna. All this is strung on Me, as clusters of gems on a string.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7 Sloka 4-7

श्री भगवानुवाच

पश्य मे पार्थ रूपाणि शतशोऽथ सहस्रशः।

नानाविधानि दिव्यानि नानावर्णाकृतीनि च।।

पश्यादित्यान्वसून्रुद्रानश्िवनौ मरुतस्तथा।

बहून्यदृष्टपूर्वाणि पश्याऽश्चर्याणि भारत।।

इहैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नं पश्याद्य सचराचरम्।

मम देहे गुडाकेश यच्चान्यद्द्रष्टुमिच्छसि।।

न तु मां शक्यसे द्रष्टुमनेनैव स्वचक्षुषा।

दिव्यं ददामि ते चक्षुः पश्य मे योगमैश्वरम्।।

सञ्जय उवाच

एवमुक्त्वा ततो राजन्महायोगेश्वरो हरिः।

दर्शयामास पार्थाय परमं रूपमैश्वरम्।।

अनेकवक्त्रनयनमनेकाद्भुतदर्शनम्।

अनेकदिव्याभरणं दिव्यानेकोद्यतायुधम्।।

दिव्यमाल्याम्बरधरं दिव्यगन्धानुलेपनम्।

सर्वाश्चर्यमयं देवमनन्तं विश्वतोमुखम्।।

दिवि सूर्यसहस्रस्य भवेद्युगपदुत्थिता।

यदि भाः सदृशी सा स्याद्भासस्तस्य महात्मनः।।

तत्रैकस्थं जगत्कृत्स्नं प्रविभक्तमनेकधा।

अपश्यद्देवदेवस्य शरीरे पाण्डवस्तदा।।

ततः स विस्मयाविष्टो हृष्टरोमा धनञ्जयः।

प्रणम्य शिरसा देवं कृताञ्जलिरभाषत।।

अर्जुन उवाच

पश्यामि देवांस्तव देव देहे

सर्वांस्तथा भूतविशेषसङ्घान्।

ब्रह्माणमीशं कमलासनस्थ

मृषींश्च सर्वानुरगांश्च दिव्यान्।।

अनेकबाहूदरवक्त्रनेत्रं

पश्यामि त्वां सर्वतोऽनन्तरूपम्।

नान्तं न मध्यं न पुनस्तवादिं

पश्यामि विश्वेश्वर विश्वरूप।।

किरीटिनं गदिनं चक्रिणं च

तेजोराशिं सर्वतोदीप्तिमन्तम्।

पश्यामि त्वां दुर्निरीक्ष्यं समन्ता

द्दीप्तानलार्कद्युतिमप्रमेयम्।।

त्वमक्षरं परमं वेदितव्यं

त्वमस्य विश्वस्य परं निधानम्।

त्वमव्ययः शाश्वतधर्मगोप्ता

सनातनस्त्वं पुरुषो मतो मे।।

अनादिमध्यान्तमनन्तवीर्य

मनन्तबाहुं शशिसूर्यनेत्रम्।

पश्यामि त्वां दीप्तहुताशवक्त्रम्

स्वतेजसा विश्वमिदं तपन्तम्।।

द्यावापृथिव्योरिदमन्तरं हि

व्याप्तं त्वयैकेन दिशश्च सर्वाः।

दृष्ट्वाऽद्भुतं रूपमुग्रं तवेदं

लोकत्रयं प्रव्यथितं महात्मन्।।

अमी हि त्वां सुरसङ्घाः विशन्ति

केचिद्भीताः प्राञ्जलयो गृणन्ति।

स्वस्तीत्युक्त्वा महर्षिसिद्धसङ्घाः

स्तुवन्ति त्वां स्तुतिभिः पुष्कलाभिः।।

रुद्रादित्या वसवो ये च साध्या

विश्वेऽश्िवनौ मरुतश्चोष्मपाश्च।

गन्धर्वयक्षासुरसिद्धसङ्घा

वीक्षन्ते त्वां विस्मिताश्चैव सर्वे।।

रूपं महत्ते बहुवक्त्रनेत्रं

महाबाहो बहुबाहूरुपादम्।

बहूदरं बहुदंष्ट्राकरालं

दृष्ट्वा लोकाः प्रव्यथितास्तथाऽहम्।।

नभःस्पृशं दीप्तमनेकवर्णं

व्यात्ताननं दीप्तविशालनेत्रम्।

दृष्ट्वा हि त्वां प्रव्यथितान्तरात्मा

धृतिं न विन्दामि शमं च विष्णो।।

दंष्ट्राकरालानि च ते मुखानि

दृष्ट्वैव कालानलसन्निभानि।

दिशो न जाने न लभे च शर्म

प्रसीद देवेश जगन्निवास।।

The Blessed Lord said Behold, O Arjuna, forms of Mine, by the hundreds and thousands, of different sorts, divine, and of various colours and shapes.

Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Asvins and also the Maruts; behold many wonders never seen before, O Arjuna.

Now behold, O Arjuna, in this, My body, the whole universe centred in one including the moving and the unmoving and whatever else thou desirest to see.

But thou art not able to behold Me with these thine own eyes; I give thee the divine eye; behold My lordly Yoga.

Sanjaya said Having thus spoken, O king, the great Lord of Yoga, hari (Krishna), showed to Arjuna His supreme form as the Lord.

With numerous mouths and eyes, with numerous wonderful sights, with numerous divine ornaments, with numerous divine weapons uplifted (such a form He showed).

Wearing divine garlands (necklaces) and apparel, anointed with divine unguents, the all-wonderful, resplendent (Being) endless with faces on all sides.

If the splendour of a thousand suns were to blaze out at once (simultaneously) in the sky, that would be the splendour of that mighty Being (great Soul).

There, in the body of the God of gods, Arjuna then saw the whole universe resting in one, with its many groups.

Then, Arjuna, filled with wonder and with his hair standing on end, bowed down his head to the God and spoke with joined palms.

Arjuna said I see all the gods, O God, in Thy body, and (also) hosts of various classes of beings, Brahma, the Lord, seated on the lotus, all the sages and the celestial serpents.

I see Thee of boundless form on every side with many arms, stomachs, mouths and eyes: neither the end nor the middle nor also the beginning do I see, O Lord of the universe, O Cosmic Form.

I see Thee with the diadem, the club and the discus, a mass of radiance shining everywhere, very hard to look at, blazing all round like burning fire and the sun, and immeasurable.

Thou art the Imperishable, the Supreme Being, worthy to be known. Thou art the great treasure-house of this universe; Thou art the imperishable protector of the eternal Dhrama; Thou art the Primal Person, I deem.

I see Thee without beginning, middle or end, infinite in power, of endless arms, the sun and the moon being Thy eyes, the burning fire Thy mouth, heating the whole universe with Thy radiance.

This space between the earth and the heaven and all the arters are filled by Thee alone; having seen this, Thy wonderful and teriible form, the three worlds are trembling with fear, O great-souled Being.

Verily, into Thee enter these hosts of gods; some extol Thee in fear with joined palms; saying ‘may it be well’, bands of great sages and perfected ones praise Thee with hymns complete.

The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, Visvedevas, the two Asvins, Maruts, the manes and the hosts of celestial singers, Yakshas, demons and the perfected ones, are all looking at Thee, in great amazement.

Having seen Thy immeasurable form with many mouths and eyes, O mighty-armed, with many arms, thighs and feet, with many stomachs and fearful with many teeth the worlds are terrified and so am I.

On seeing Thee (the Cosmic Form) touching the sky, shining in many colours, with mouths wide open, with large fiery eyes, I am terrified at heart and find neither courage nor peace, O Vishnu.

Having seen Thy mouths fearful with teeth (blazing) like the fires of cosmic dissolution, I know not the four arters, nor do I find peace. Have mercy, O Lord of the gods, O abode of the universe.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 11 Sloka 5-25

3.2. Christianity

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah Chapter 55 Verses 8-9

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John Chapter 1 Verse 14 

Christ, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

Philippians Chapter 2 Verse 6

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

Deuteronomy Chapter 4 Verse 39

For this is what the high and lofty One says – he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. 

Isaiah Chapter 57 Verse 15

“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord“and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah Chapter 23 Verses 23-24

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist.

Acts Chapter 17 Verses 24-28

3.3. Islam

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ۚ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ ۚ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ ۚ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۖ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Allah! There is no God but He,
the Living, the Self-subsisting, the Eternal.
No slumber can seize Him, nor sleep.
All things in heaven and earth are His.
Who could intercede in His presence without His permission?
He knows what appears in front of and behind His creatures.
Nor can they encompass any knowledge of Him except what he wills.
His throne extends over the heavens and the earth,
and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them,
for He is the Highest and Most Exalted.

Allah, the Most High, speaks the truth.

Qu’ran Al-Baqarah [2] Verse 255

3.4. Sikhism

ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਤਾਣੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਕਿਸੈ ਤਾਣੁ ॥ ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਦਾਤਿ ਜਾਣੈ ਨੀਸਾਣੁ ॥

ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਗੁਣ ਵਡਿਆਈਆ ਚਾਰ ॥

ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਵਿਖਮੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥

ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਸਾਜਿ ਕਰੇ ਤਨੁ ਖੇਹ ॥ ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਜੀਅ ਲੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਦੇਹ ॥

ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਜਾਪੈ ਦਿਸੈ ਦੂਰਿ ॥ ਗਾਵੈ ਕੋ ਵੇਖੈ ਹਾਦਰਾ ਹਦੂਰਿ ॥

ਕਥਨਾ ਕਥੀ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਤੋਟਿ ॥ ਕਥਿ ਕਥਿ ਕਥੀ ਕੋਟੀ ਕੋਟਿ ਕੋਟਿ ॥

ਦੇਦਾ ਦੇ ਲੈਦੇ ਥਕਿ ਪਾਹਿ ॥ ਜੁਗਾ ਜੁਗੰਤਰਿ ਖਾਹੀ ਖਾਹਿ ॥

ਹੁਕਮੀ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਚਲਾਏ ਰਾਹੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਵਿਗਸੈ ਵੇਪਰਵਾਹੁ ॥

Some praise taking benedictions received as signs of the Almighty’s benevolence – and acknowledge it.

Some praise marveling at the awesome virtues and greatness of the Master.

Some pray to get enlightenment for understanding Divine virtues which are difficult to understand through personal reflection/contemplation.

Some praise the Creator as one who creates the creatures and then destroys them – the phenomenon of births and deaths is awe-inspiring.

Some are awed seeing It’s powers to take life and then restore it. 

Someone who acknowledges the Master, perceiving It right before him/her – s/he lives by Hukam or Divine commands.

Countless people give countless descriptions of the countless virtues of the Almighty, i.e. it is not possible to comprehend the virtues and powers of the Almighty..

The Almighty keeps giving even though the recipients get tired of receiving, i.e. the creatures die but the treasures of the Master never run out.

They benefit from the benedictions age after age, i.e. birth after birth.

The Master passes commands to every creature and places him/her on path, i.e. lays down the roles for every soul.

It is happy to watch the creation but It-self remains carefree – untouched by it.

Adi Granth Japji Pauri 3

3.5. Buddhism

In all atoms of all lands

Buddha enters, each and every one,

Producing miracle displays for sentient beings:

Such is the way of Vairocana….

The techniques of the Buddhas are inconceivable,

All appearing in accord with beings’ minds….

In each atom the Buddhas of all times

Appear, according to inclinations;

While their essential nature neither comes nor goes,

By their vow power they pervade the worlds

The body of [Vairocana] Buddha is inconceivable. In his body are all sorts of lands of sentient beings. Even in a single pore are countless vast oceans.

Avataṃsaka Sūtra

3.6. Judaism

The Emperor said to Rabban Gamaliel: ‘Ye maintain that upon every gathering of ten [Jews] the Shechinah rests:  how many Shechinahs are there then?’ Rabban Gamaliel called [Caesar’s] servant, and tapped him on the neck,  saying, ‘Why does the sun enter into Caesar’s house?’  ‘But,’ he  exclaimed, ‘the sun shines  upon the whole world!’ ‘Then if the sun, which is but one of the countless myriads of the servants of the Holy One, blessed be He, shines on the whole world, how much more the Shechinah of the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself!’

Talmud, Sanhedrin 39a

בִּשְׁנַת־  מֹות֙  הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ  עֻזִּיָּ֔הוּ  וָאֶרְאֶ֧ה  אֶת־  אֲדֹנָ֛י  יֹשֵׁ֥ב  עַל־  כִּסֵּ֖א  רָ֣ם  וְנִשָּׂ֑א  וְשׁוּלָ֖יו  מְלֵאִ֥ים  אֶת־  הַהֵיכָֽל׃

שְׂרָפִ֨ים  עֹמְדִ֤ים  מִמַּ֙עַל֙  לֹ֔ו  שֵׁ֧שׁ  כְּנָפַ֛יִם  שֵׁ֥שׁ  כְּנָפַ֖יִם  לְאֶחָ֑ד  בִּשְׁתַּ֣יִם  יְכַסֶּ֣ה  פָנָ֗יו  וּבִשְׁתַּ֛יִם  יְכַסֶּ֥ה  רַגְלָ֖יו  וּבִשְׁתַּ֥יִם  יְעֹופֵֽף׃

וְקָרָ֨א  זֶ֤ה  אֶל־  זֶה֙  וְאָמַ֔ר  קָדֹ֧ושׁ  קָדֹ֛ושׁ  קָדֹ֖ושׁ  יְהוָ֣ה  צְבָאֹ֑ות  מְלֹ֥א  כָל־  הָאָ֖רֶץ  כְּבֹודֹֽו׃

וַיָּנֻ֙עוּ֙  אַמֹּ֣ות  הַסִּפִּ֔ים  מִקֹּ֖ול  הַקֹּורֵ֑א  וְהַבַּ֖יִת  יִמָּלֵ֥א  עָשָֽׁן׃

וָאֹמַ֞ר  אֹֽוי־  לִ֣י  כִֽי־  נִדְמֵ֗יתִי  כִּ֣י  אִ֤ישׁ  טְמֵֽא־  שְׂפָתַ֙יִם֙  אָנֹ֔כִי  וּבְתֹוךְ֙  עַם־  טְמֵ֣א  שְׂפָתַ֔יִם  אָנֹכִ֖י  יֹושֵׁ֑ב  כִּ֗י  אֶת־  הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ  יְהוָ֥ה  צְבָאֹ֖ות  רָא֥וּ  עֵינָֽי׃

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.

hen I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

Book of Isaiah Chapter 6 Verses 1-5

וַיֵּצֵ֥א  יַעֲקֹ֖ב  מִבְּאֵ֣ר  שָׁ֑בַע  וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ  חָרָֽנָה׃

וַיִּפְגַּ֨ע  בַּמָּקֹ֜ום  וַיָּ֤לֶן  שָׁם֙  כִּי־  בָ֣א  הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ  וַיִּקַּח֙  מֵאַבְנֵ֣י  הַמָּקֹ֔ום  וַיָּ֖שֶׂם  מְרַֽאֲשֹׁתָ֑יו  וַיִּשְׁכַּ֖ב  בַּמָּקֹ֥ום  הַהֽוּא׃

וַֽיַּחֲלֹ֗ם  וְהִנֵּ֤ה  סֻלָּם֙  מֻצָּ֣ב  אַ֔רְצָה  וְרֹאשֹׁ֖ו  מַגִּ֣יעַ  הַשָּׁמָ֑יְמָה  וְהִנֵּה֙  מַלְאֲכֵ֣י  אֱלֹהִ֔ים  עֹלִ֥ים  וְיֹרְדִ֖ים  בֹּֽו׃

וְהִנֵּ֨ה  יְהוָ֜ה  נִצָּ֣ב  עָלָיו֮  וַיֹּאמַר֒  אֲנִ֣י  יְהוָ֗ה  אֱלֹהֵי֙  אַבְרָהָ֣ם  אָבִ֔יךָ  וֵאלֹהֵ֖י  יִצְחָ֑ק  הָאָ֗רֶץ  אֲשֶׁ֤ר  אַתָּה֙  שֹׁכֵ֣ב  עָלֶ֔יהָ  לְךָ֥  אֶתְּנֶ֖נָּה  וּלְזַרְעֶֽךָ׃

וְהָיָ֤ה  זַרְעֲךָ֙  כַּעֲפַ֣ר  הָאָ֔רֶץ  וּפָרַצְתָּ֛  יָ֥מָּה  וָקֵ֖דְמָה  וְצָפֹ֣נָה  וָנֶ֑גְבָּה  וְנִבְרֲכ֥וּ  בְךָ֛  כָּל־  מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת  הָאֲדָמָ֖ה  וּבְזַרְעֶֽךָ׃

וְהִנֵּ֨ה  אָנֹכִ֜י  עִמָּ֗ךְ  וּשְׁמַרְתִּ֙יךָ֙  בְּכֹ֣ל  אֲשֶׁר־  תֵּלֵ֔ךְ  וַהֲשִׁ֣בֹתִ֔יךָ  אֶל־  הָאֲדָמָ֖ה  הַזֹּ֑את  כִּ֚י  לֹ֣א  אֶֽעֱזָבְךָ֔  עַ֚ד  אֲשֶׁ֣ר  אִם־  עָשִׂ֔יתִי  אֵ֥ת  אֲשֶׁר־  דִּבַּ֖רְתִּי  לָֽךְ׃

וַיִּיקַ֣ץ  יַעֲקֹב֮  מִשְּׁנָתֹו֒  וַיֹּ֕אמֶר  אָכֵן֙  יֵ֣שׁ  יְהוָ֔ה  בַּמָּקֹ֖ום  הַזֶּ֑ה  וְאָנֹכִ֖י  לֹ֥א  יָדָֽעְתִּי׃

וַיִּירָא֙  וַיֹּאמַ֔ר  מַה־  נֹּורָ֖א  הַמָּקֹ֣ום  הַזֶּ֑ה  אֵ֣ין  זֶ֗ה  כִּ֚י  אִם־  בֵּ֣ית  אֱלֹהִ֔ים  וְזֶ֖ה  שַׁ֥עַר  הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃

Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran.

He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.

He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.

“Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

Genesis Chapter 28 Verses 10-17

4. Traces of the existence of Truth highlighted in Scriptures

How can human being identify the existence of the transcendent reality of Satya? This is the fundamental question that most have, in this age, with a number of people opting for atheism or agnosticism. I have no intention of convincing people of God’s presence in this article, since such realisation comes from contemplation and personal experience. However, what I will like to highlight is that there are some (oft-resonating) arguments put forth in the various scriptures. For the discerning, there are traces of evidence for this, as per these texts. Some of them include contemplation, looking at the universality of moral law that reflects the law of nature, looking at the glories of creation and the cosmos, and finally the testimony of great prophets, sages and founders of various religions.

4.1. Hinduism

को अद्धा वेद क इह पर वोचद देवानछा पथ्या का समेति |
दद्र्श्र एषामवमा सदांसि परेषु या गुह्येषु वरतेषु

What pathway leadeth to the Gods? Who knoweth this of a truth, and who will now declare it? Seen are their lowest dwelling-places only, but they are in remote and secret regions.

Rig Veda Mandala 3 Hymn 54 Verse 5

न चक्षुषा गृह्यते नापि वाचा नान्यैर्देवैस्तपसा कर्मण वा ।
ज्ञानप्रसादेन विशुद्धसत्त्वस्ततस्तु तं पश्यते निष्कलं ध्यायमानः ॥

He is not grasped by the eye; nor by speech; nor by other senses; nor by tapas; nor by karma; when one’s mind is purified by the clearness of knowledge, then alone he sees the indivisible (Brahman) by contemplation.

Mundaka Upanishad Mundaka III Khanda I Verse 8

हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम् ।
तत्त्वं पूषन्नपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये ॥

पूषन्नेकर्षे यमसूर्य प्राजापत्य
व्यूह रश्मीन् समूह ।
तेजो यत्ते रूपं कल्याणतमं तत्ते पश्यामि
योऽसावसौ पुरुषः सोऽहमस्मि ॥

By the lid of the golden orb is the face of the Truth hidden;
Please remove it, O Thou, Nourisher of the world
So that I may see Thee — I who am devoted to Truth.

O, Nourisher, O lonely Courser
of the heavens, O Regulator,
O Sun, thou offspring of Prajapati,
Remove Thy rays, gather up thy effulgence,
So that I may see that which is
Thy most auspicious effulgence.
The Person that is in Thee, That am I.

Isha Upanishad Verses 15 and 16

रूपं-रूपं परतिरूपो बभूव तदस्य रूपं परतिचक्षणाय |
इन्द्रो मायाभिः पुरुरूप ईयते युक्ता हयस्य हरयःशता दश ||

In every figure he hath been the mode: this is his only form for us to look on. Indra moves multiform by his illusions; for his Bay Steeds are yoked, ten times a hundred.

Rig Veda Mandala 6 Hymn 47 Verse 18

4.2. Christianity

For that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

Epistle to the Romans Chapter 1 Verses 19 and 20

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

John Chapter 1 Verse 18

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19 Verses 1-4

4.3. Islam

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

We will show them Our manifest signs in the horizons of the universe and within their own selves, until it will become manifest to them that the Qur’an is indeed the truth. Is it not sufficient as proof that your Lord is a witness over all things?

Qu’ran Fussilat [41] Verse 53

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ فَالِقُ ٱلْحَبِّ وَٱلنَّوَىٰ ۖ يُخْرِجُ ٱلْحَىَّ مِنَ ٱلْمَيِّتِ وَمُخْرِجُ ٱلْمَيِّتِ مِنَ ٱلْحَىِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤْفَكُونَ

فَالِقُ ٱلْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَعَلَ ٱلَّيْلَ سَكَنًا وَٱلشَّمْسَ وَٱلْقَمَرَ حُسْبَانًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلْعَلِيمِ

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلنُّجُومَ لِتَهْتَدُوا۟ بِهَا فِى ظُلُمَٰتِ ٱلْبَرِّ وَٱلْبَحْرِ ۗ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا ٱلْءَايَٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنشَأَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَٰحِدَةٍ فَمُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمُسْتَوْدَعٌ ۗ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا ٱلْءَايَٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَفْقَهُونَ

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِۦ نَبَاتَ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ فَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهُ خَضِرًا نُّخْرِجُ مِنْهُ حَبًّا مُّتَرَاكِبًا وَمِنَ ٱلنَّخْلِ مِن طَلْعِهَا قِنْوَانٌ دَانِيَةٌ وَجَنَّٰتٍ مِّنْ أَعْنَابٍ

وَٱلزَّيْتُونَ وَٱلرُّمَّانَ مُشْتَبِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَٰبِهٍ ۗ ٱنظُرُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ ثَمَرِهِۦٓ إِذَآ أَثْمَرَ وَيَنْعِهِۦٓ ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكُمْ لَءَايَٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

Indeed, Allah is the cleaver of grain and date seeds. He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living. That is Allah; so how are you deluded?

[He is] the cleaver of daybreak and has made the night for rest and the sun and moon for calculation. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

And it is He who placed for you the stars that you may be guided by them through the darknesses of the land and sea. We have detailed the signs for a people who know.

And it is He who produced you from one soul and [gave you] a place of dwelling and of storage. We have detailed the signs for a people who understand.

And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees – of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.

Quran Al-Anʻām [6] Verses 95-99

وَمِنْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦٓ أَنْ خَلَقَكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ إِذَآ أَنتُم بَشَرٌ تَنتَشِرُونَ

وَمِنْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦٓ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَءَايَٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

وَمِنْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ خَلْقُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَٱخْتِلَٰفُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَٰنِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَءَايَٰتٍ لِّلْعَٰلِمِينَ

وَمِنْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ مَنَامُكُم بِٱلَّيْلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ وَٱبْتِغَآؤُكُم مِّن فَضْلِهِۦٓ ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَءَايَٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ

وَمِنْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ يُرِيكُمُ ٱلْبَرْقَ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَيُنَزِّلُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَيُحْىِۦ بِهِ ٱلْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَآ ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَءَايَٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

وَمِنْ ءَايَٰتِهِۦٓ أَن تَقُومَ ٱلسَّمَآءُ وَٱلْأَرْضُ بِأَمْرِهِۦ ۚ ثُمَّ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ دَعْوَةً مِّنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ إِذَآ أَنتُمْ تَخْرُجُونَ

And of His signs is that He created you from dust; then, suddenly you were human beings dispersing [throughout the earth].

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.

And of His signs is your sleep by night and day and your seeking of His bounty. Indeed in that are signs for a people who listen.

And of His signs is [that] He shows you the lightning [causing] fear and aspiration, and He sends down rain from the sky by which He brings to life the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that are signs for a people who use reason.

And of His signs is that the heaven and earth remain by His command. Then when He calls you with a [single] call from the earth, immediately you will come forth.

Qu’ran Ar Rum [30] Verses 20-25

وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُرِىٓ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ مَلَكُوتَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَلِيَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلْمُوقِنِينَ

فَلَمَّا جَنَّ عَلَيْهِ ٱلَّيْلُ رَءَا كَوْكَبًا ۖ قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّى ۖ فَلَمَّآ أَفَلَ قَالَ لَآ أُحِبُّ ٱلْءَافِلِينَ

فَلَمَّا رَءَا ٱلْقَمَرَ بَازِغًا قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّى ۖ فَلَمَّآ أَفَلَ قَالَ لَئِن لَّمْ يَهْدِنِى رَبِّى لَأَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

فَلَمَّا رَءَا ٱلشَّمْسَ بَازِغَةً قَالَ هَٰذَا رَبِّى هَٰذَآ أَكْبَرُ ۖ فَلَمَّآ أَفَلَتْ قَالَ يَٰقَوْمِ إِنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ

إِنِّى وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِىَ لِلَّذِى فَطَرَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَآ أَنَا۠ مِنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ

And thus did We show Abraham the realm of the heavens and the earth that he would be among the certain [in faith]

So when the night covered him [with darkness], he saw a star. He said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “I like not those that disappear.”

And when he saw the moon rising, he said, “This is my lord.” But when it set, he said, “Unless my Lord guides me, I will surely be among the people gone astray.”

And when he saw the sun rising, he said, “This is my lord; this is greater.” But when it set, he said, “O my people, indeed I am free from what you associate with Allah.

Indeed, I have turned my face toward He who created the heavens and the earth, inclining toward truth, and I am not of those who associate others with Allah.

Qu’ran Al Anam [6] Verses 75-79

4.4. Taoism

The greatest Virtue is to follow Tao and Tao alone.
The Tao is elusive and intangible.
Oh it is intangible and elusive, and yet within is image.
Oh it is elusive and intangible, and yet within is form.
Oh it is dim and dark, and yet within is essence.
This essence is very real, and therein lies faith.
From the very beginning until now its name has never been forgotten.
Thus I perceive the creation.
How do I know the ways of creation?
Because of this.

Tao Te Ching 21

4.5. Confucianism

子曰。鬼神之爲德、其盛矣乎。視之而弗見、聽之而弗聞、體物而不可遺。使天下之人齊明盛服、以承祭祀、洋洋乎如在其上、如在其左右。詩曰。‘神之格思、不可度思。矧可射思。’夫微之顯、誠之不可掩如此夫。

Confucius said: “The overabundance of the power of spiritual beings is truly amazing! Looking for them, they cannot be seen. Listening for them, they cannot be heard. There is nothing that they do not embody. They cause the people of the world to fast for purification, and wear beautiful clothes in order to participate at the sacrifices. They are overflowing, seeming to be above, seeming to be on the left and on the right. The Book of Odes says: ‘Trying to investigate the spirits, we cannot reach them. How could we possibly grasp them with our thoughts?’ The manifestation of the subtle and the impossibility of concealing of sincerity is like this.’”

Doctrine of the Mean 16

4.6. Buddhism

There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.

Udana 80 (Nibbāna Sutta: Parinibbana)

4.7. Judaism

W hen Abraham saw the sun issuing in the morning from the east, he was first moved to think that that was God, and said, “This is the King that created me,” and worshipped it the whole day. In the evening when the sun went down and the moon commenced to shine, he said, “Verily this rules over the orb which I worshipped the whole day, since the latter is darkened before it and does not shine any more.” So he served the moon all that night. In the morning when he saw the darkness depart and the east grow light, he said, “Of a surety there is a King who rules over all these orbs and orders them.”

Zohar Genesis 86a

5. Omnipotence and Omniscience of Truth in Scriptures

Most religious traditions speak of omnipotence and sovereignty of God over worldly matters. The doctrine of predestination highlights how God determines everything that happens in the world, both good and evil. As per most traditions, the sovereignty of Satya over worldly (particularly human) affairs includes complete knowledge of thoughts and actions. Nothing is hidden from Satya, and its justice can be reposed confidence in. In some traditions, it is not by God’s agency but the workings of karma that the functions of omniscience and omnipotence to judge human affairs is fulfilled.

5.1. Hinduism

श्री देवो नारायणो नाम जगतस्तस्थुषस्पति : |
आत्मा च सर्वलोकानां षाडगुण्यानन्दविग्रह ||
सर्वप्रकृतिरिशान : सर्वज्ञ सर्वकार्यकृत |
निरनिष्ठोsनवद्यच्श्र सर्वकल्याणसंश्रय ||

Narayana is lord over all things, movable and immovable. Embodying the six attributes and bliss. He is the self (essence) of all worlds , the material cause of all created things, the sovereign ruler, omniscient, omnipotent, free from all misfortune, flawless and the repository of all that is beneficial. Being self-luminous , he illuminates both darkness and light. He is self abiding in every being, the controller manifest in both positive and negative phenomena.

Lakshmi Tantra

स पर्यगाच्छुक्रमकायमव्रनमसनाविर शुद्धमपापविध्म ।
कविर्मनीषी परिभुः स्वयम्भुयीथात्थ्तोर्थान व्यदधाच्छः श्रव्र्ताभ्यः समाभ्यः।।

The Supreme Soul is omnipresent, omnipotent, without body, without any flaw, pure, sinless, visionary poetic creator and omniscient, existent in the heart and mind of all, transcendent, self-existent, who for the infinite ages of eternity creates, organizes, reveals and sustains all the forms of existence as they are and ought to be.

Yajur Veda Chapter 40 Verse 8

5.2. Judaism

יְהוָ֥ה  יִמְלֹ֖ךְ  לְעֹלָ֥ם  וָעֶֽד׃

The Lord shall reign forever and ever.

Exodus Chapter 15 Verse 18

זִכְרוּ רִאשֹׁנוֹת, מֵעוֹלָם:  כִּי אָנֹכִי אֵל וְאֵין עוֹד, אֱלֹהִים וְאֶפֶס כָּמוֹנִי.

מַגִּיד מֵרֵאשִׁית אַחֲרִית, וּמִקֶּדֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-נַעֲשׂוּ; אֹמֵר עֲצָתִי תָקוּם, וְכָל-חֶפְצִי אֶעֱשֶׂה.

קֹרֵא מִמִּזְרָח עַיִט, מֵאֶרֶץ מֶרְחָק אִישׁ עצתו (עֲצָתִי); אַף-דִּבַּרְתִּי, אַף-אֲבִיאֶנָּה–יָצַרְתִּי, אַף-אֶעֱשֶׂנָּה.

Remember the former things of old: that I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me.

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying: ‘My counsel shall stand, and all My pleasure will I do’.

Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My counsel from a far country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass, I have purposed, I will also do it. 

Book of Isaiah Chapter 46 Verses 9-11

אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ, שִׁבְתִּי וְקוּמִי;    בַּנְתָּה לְרֵעִי, מֵרָחוֹק.

אָרְחִי וְרִבְעִי זֵרִיתָ;    וְכָל-דְּרָכַי הִסְכַּנְתָּה.

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off.

Thou measurest my going about and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Psalm Chapter 139 Verses 2 and 3

5.3. Christianity

See now that I, even I, am he,

And there is no god with me:

I kill, and I make alive;

I wound, and I heal:

Neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 32 Verse 39

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Gospel of Mark Chapter 10 Verse 27

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Hebrews Chapter 4 Verses 12-13

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

Psalms Chapter 138 Verses 1-4

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Proverbs Chapter 15 Verse 3

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

Chronicles Chapter 28 Verse 9

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

Peter Chapter 1 Verse 20

5.4. Islam

لِلّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا فِيهِنَّ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

To God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. And He has full power over everything.

Qu’ran Al Maida [5] Verse 120

سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ

لَهُۥ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ يُحْىِۦ وَيُمِيتُ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

هُوَ ٱلْأَوَّلُ وَٱلْءَاخِرُ وَٱلظَّٰهِرُ وَٱلْبَاطِنُ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

هُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلْعَرْشِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا ۖ وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

لَّهُۥ مُلْكُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ ٱلْأُمُورُ

يُولِجُ ٱلَّيْلَ فِى ٱلنَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ ٱلنَّهَارَ فِى ٱلَّيْلِ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلِيمٌۢ بِذَاتِ ٱلصُّدُورِ

He causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night, and he is Knowing of that within the breasts.

His is the dominion of the heavens and earth. He gives life and causes death, and He is over all things competent.

He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing.

It is He who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth and what emerges from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing.

His is the dominion of the heavens and earth. And to Allah are returned [all] matters.

He causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night, and he is Knowing of that within the breasts.

Qu’ran Al Hadid [57] Verses 1-6

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ بِٱلْحَقِّ ۚ إِن يَشَأْ يُذْهِبْكُمْ وَيَأْتِ بِخَلْقٍ جَدِيدٍ

وَمَا ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ بِعَزِيزٍ

Have you not seen that Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth? If He wills, He can do away with you and produce a new creation.

And that is not difficult for Allah.

Qu’ran Ibrahim [14] Verses 19-20

بَدِيعُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ وَإِذَا قَضَىٰٓ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُۥ كُن فَيَكُونُ

Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is.

Qu’ran Al Baqara [2] Verse 117

رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ تَعْلَمُ مَا نُخْفِى وَمَا نُعْلِنُ ۗ وَمَا يَخْفَىٰ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مِن شَىْءٍ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ

Our Lord, indeed You know what we conceal and what we declare, and nothing is hidden from Allah on the earth or in the heaven.

Qu’ran Ibrahim [14] Verse 38

وَلِلَّهِ ٱلْمَشْرِقُ وَٱلْمَغْرِبُ ۚ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا۟ فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

Qu’ran Al Baqara [2] Verse 115

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُۥ عِلْمُ ٱلسَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ ٱلْغَيْثَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلْأَرْحَامِ ۖ وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا ۖ وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌۢ بِأَىِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌۢ

Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.

Qu’ran Luqman [31] Verse 34

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَٰثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ وَلَا خَمْسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُهُمْ وَلَآ أَدْنَىٰ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَآ أَكْثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كَانُوا۟ ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُوا۟ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَٰمَةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Have you not considered that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is on the earth? There is in no private conversation three but that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them – and no less than that and no more except that He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did, on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, of all things, Knowing.

Qu’ran Al Mujadila [58] Verse 7

6. Formlessness and Incomprehensibility of the Truth

The ultimate reality of Satya is incomprehensible, formless, mysterious. It is not something that can be defined by shape or form or even a concept of being. Prohibition of images in some traditions is to assert the ultimate transcendence of Satya. It is beyond all duality or multiplicity, which are just manifestations of Satya. All attempts of thinking of it as a thing separate from other things are naturally impossible, since the nature of this Satya is emptiness, not as much as a cognitive idea but as something beyond form and comprehension.

6.1. Hinduism

यदि मन्यसे सुवेदेति दभ्रमेवापि नूनं त्वं वेत्थ ब्रह्मणो रूपं
यदस्य त्वं यदस्य देवेस्वथ नु मीमांस्यमेव ते मन्ये विदितं

नाहं मन्ये सुवेदेति नो न वेदेति वेदच
यो नस्तद्वेद तद्वेद नो न वेदेति वेदच

यस्यामतं तस्य मतं मतं यस्य न वेद सः
अविज्ञातं विज्ञातं विग्नातमविजानतां

If thou thinkest that thou knowest It well, little indeed do you know the form of the Brahman. That of It which is you, that of It which is in the gods, this you have to think out. I think It known.

I think not that I know It well and yet I know that It is not unknown to me. He of us who knows It, knows That; he knows that It is not unknown to him.

He by whom It is not thought out, has the thought of It; he by whom It is thought out, knows It not. It is unknown to the discernment of those who discern of It, by those who seek not to discern of It, It is discerned.

Kena Upanishad Chapter 2 Verses 1-3

यत्तदद्रेश्यमग्राह्यमगोत्रमवर्णमचक्षुःश्रोत्रं तदपाणिपादम् ।
नित्यं विभुं सर्वगतं सुसूक्ष्मं तदव्ययं यद्भूतयोनिं परिपश्यन्ति धीराः ॥

That which cannot be perceived, which cannot be seized, which has no origin, which has no properties, which has neither ear nor eye, which lias neither hands nor feet, which is eternal, diversely manifested, all-pervading, extremely subtle, and undecaying, which the intelligent cognized as the source of the Bhutas. 

Mundaka Upanishad Mundaka 1 Khanda 1 Verse 6

यत्र हि द्वैतमिव भवति तदितर इतरं पश्यति, तदितर इतरंजिघ्रति, तदितर इतरं रसयते, तदितर इतरमभिवदति, तदितर इतरं शृणोति, तदितर इतरं मनुते, तदितर इतरं स्पृशति, तदितर इतरं विजानाति; यत्र त्वस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत्, तत्केन कं पश्येत्, तत्केन कं जिघ्रेत्, तत्केन कं रसयेत्, तत्केन कमभिवदेत्, तत्केन कं शृणुयात्, तत्केन कं मन्वीत तत्केन कं स्पृशेत्, तत्केन कं विजानीयात्? येनेदं सर्वं विजानाति तं केन विजानीयात्? स एष नेति नेत्यात्मा, अगृह्यो न हि गृह्यते, अशीर्यो न हि शीर्यते, असङ्गो न हि सज्यते, असितो न व्यथते, न रिष्यति; विज्ञातारमरे केन विजानीयात्, इत्युक्तानुशासनासि मैत्रेयि, एतावदरे खल्वमृतत्वमिति होक्त्वा याज्ञवल्क्यो विजहार ॥

Because when there is duality, as it were, then one sees something, one smells something, one tastes something, one speaks something, one hears something, one thinks something, one touches something, one knows something. But when to the knower of Brahman everything has become the Self, then what should one see and through what, what should one smell and through what, what should one taste and through what, what should one speak and through what, what should one hear and through what, what should one think and through what, what should one touch and through what, what should one know and through what? Through what should one know that owing to which all this is known?

This self is That which has been described as ‘Not this, not this.’ It is imperceptible, for It is never perceived; undecaying, for It never decays; unattached, for It is never attached; unfettered—it never feels pain, and never suffers injury. Through what, O Maitreyī, should one know the Knower? So you have got the instruction, Maitreyī. This much indeed is (the means of) immortality, my dear. Saying this Yājña-valkya left.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Chapter 4 Brahmana 5 Verse 15

6.2. Islam

فَلَا تَضْرِبُوا۟ لِلَّهِ ٱلْأَمْثَالَ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

So do not assert similarities to Allah. Indeed, Allah knows and you do not know.

Qu’ran An Nahl [16] Verse 74

لَّا تُدْرِكُهُ ٱلْأَبْصَٰرُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ ٱلْأَبْصَٰرَ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱللَّطِيفُ ٱلْخَبِيرُ

Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted.

Qu’ran Al Anam [6] Verse 103

فَبَدَأَ بِأَوْعِيَتِهِمْ قَبْلَ وِعَآءِ أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَخْرَجَهَا مِن وِعَآءِ أَخِيهِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كِدْنَا لِيُوسُفَ ۖ مَا كَانَ لِيَأْخُذَ أَخَاهُ فِى دِينِ ٱلْمَلِكِ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَٰتٍ مَّن نَّشَآءُ ۗ وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِى عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

So he began [the search] with their bags before the bag of his brother; then he extracted it from the bag of his brother. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not have taken his brother within the religion of the king except that Allah willed. We raise in degrees whom We will, but over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing.

Qu’ran Yusuf [12] Verse 76

فَاطِرُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًا وَمِنَ ٱلْأَنْعَٰمِ أَزْوَٰجًا ۖ يَذْرَؤُكُمْ فِيهِ ۚ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِۦ شَىْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْبَصِيرُ

[He is] Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you from yourselves, mates, and among the cattle, mates; He multiplies you thereby. There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

Qu’ran Ash Shura [42] Verse 11

6.3. Judaism

אָכֵ֕ן  אַתָּ֖ה  אֵ֣ל  מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר  אֱלֹהֵ֥י  יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל  מֹושִֽׁיעַ׃

Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!

Book of Isaiah Chapter 45 Verse 15

וַיֹּאמַר:  הַרְאֵנִי נָא, אֶת-כְּבֹדֶךָ.

וַיֹּאמֶר, אֲנִי אַעֲבִיר כָּל-טוּבִי עַל-פָּנֶיךָ, וְקָרָאתִי בְשֵׁם יְהוָה, לְפָנֶיךָ; וְחַנֹּתִי אֶת-אֲשֶׁר אָחֹן, וְרִחַמְתִּי אֶת-אֲשֶׁר אֲרַחֵם.

וַיֹּאמֶר, לֹא תוּכַל לִרְאֹת אֶת-פָּנָי:  כִּי לֹא-יִרְאַנִי הָאָדָם, וָחָי.

 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי; וְנִצַּבְתָּ, עַל-הַצּוּר.

וְהָיָה בַּעֲבֹר כְּבֹדִי, וְשַׂמְתִּיךָ בְּנִקְרַת הַצּוּר; וְשַׂכֹּתִי כַפִּי עָלֶיךָ, עַד-עָבְרִי.

וַהֲסִרֹתִי, אֶת-כַּפִּי, וְרָאִיתָ, אֶת-אֲחֹרָי; וּפָנַי, לֹא יֵרָאוּ.

And he said: ‘Show me, I pray Thee, Thy glory.’

And He said: ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.’

And He said: ‘Thou canst not see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.’

And the Lord said: ‘Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock.

And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand until I have passed by.

And I will take away My hand, and thou shalt see My back; but My face shall not be seen.’

Exodus Chapter 33 Verses 18-23

כִּ֣י  לֹ֤א  מַחְשְׁבֹותַי֙  מַחְשְׁבֹ֣ותֵיכֶ֔ם  וְלֹ֥א  דַרְכֵיכֶ֖ם  דְּרָכָ֑י  נְאֻ֖ם  יְהוָֽה׃

כִּֽי־  גָבְה֥וּ  שָׁמַ֖יִם  מֵאָ֑רֶץ  כֵּ֣ן  גָּבְה֤וּ  דְרָכַי֙  מִדַּרְכֵיכֶ֔ם  וּמַחְשְׁבֹתַ֖י  מִמַּחְשְׁבֹתֵיכֶֽם׃

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Book of Isaiah Chapter 55 Verses 8 and 9

6.4. Christianity

Canst thou by searching find out God?

Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do?

Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

The measure thereof is longer than the earth,

And broader than the sea.

Job Chapter 11 Verses 7-9

 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

John Chapter 4 Verse 12

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

John Chapter 1 Verse 18

who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Timothy Chapter 6 Verse 16

Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice

Deuteronomy Chapter 4 Verse 12

 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables

Mark Chapter 4 Verse 11

 6.5. Sikhism

ਸਰਗੁਨ ਨਿਰਗੁਨ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰ ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧੀ ਆਪਿ ॥

ਆਪਨ ਕੀਆ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਫਿਰਿ ਜਾਪਿ ॥

The Creator is without any physical form. In that form It is without attributes and displays no material nature, but is also with attributes because It is present in every one and every thing, and they are what It has made them, but It-self stays in motionless contemplation and maintains one unshakable position of authority. It It-self created the creatures and when they remember It, the Creator It-self does that through them. 

Adi Granth Gauri Sukhmani M.5, pp. 290

6.6. Buddhism

Here then,
Form is no other than emptiness,
Emptiness no other than form.
Form is only emptiness,
Emptiness only form.

Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya 

།གལ་ཏེ་འདི་དག་ཀུན་སྟོང་ན།
།འབྱུང་བ་མེད་ཅིང་འཇིག་པ་མེད།
།གང་ཞིག་སྤོང་དང་འགགས་པ་ལས།
།མྱ་ངན་འདའ་བར་འགྱུར་བར་འདོད།།

།གལ་ཏེ་འདི་ཀུན་མི་སྟོང་ན།
།འབྱུང་བ་མེད་ཅིང་འཇིག་པ་མེད།
།གང་ཞིག་སྤོང་དང་འགགས་པ་ལས།
།མྱ་ངན་འདའ་བར་འགྱུར་བར་འདོད།།

།སྤངས་པ་མེད་པ་ཐོབ་མེད་པ།
།ཆད་པ་མེད་པ་རྟག་མེད་པ།
།འགག་པ་མེད་པ་སྐྱེ་མེད་པ།
།དེ་ནི་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པར་བརྗོད།།

།རེ་ཞིག་མྱ་ངན་འདས་དངོས་མིན།
།རྒ་ཤིའི་མཚན་ཉིད་ཐལ་བར་འགྱུར།
།རྒ་དང་འཆི་བ་མེད་པ་ཡི།
།དངོས་པོ་ཡོད་པ་མ་ཡིན་ནོ།།

།གལ་ཏེ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་དངོས་ན།
།མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་འདུས་བྱས་འགྱུར།
།དངོས་པོ་འདུས་བྱས་མ་ཡིན་པ།
།འགའ་ཡང་གང་ན་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན།།

།གལ་ཏེ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་དངོས་ན།
།ཇི་ལྟར་མྱང་འདས་དེ་བརྟེན་མིན།
།དངོས་པོ་བརྟེན་ནས་མ་ཡིན་པ།
།འགའ་ཡང་ཡོད་པ་མ་ཡིན་ནོ།།

།གལ་ཏེ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་དངོས་མིན།
།དངོས་མེད་ཇི་ལྟར་རུང་བར་འགྱུར།
།གང་ལ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་དངོས་མིན།
།དེ་ལ་དངོས་མེད་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན།།

།གལ་ཏེ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་དངོས་མིན།
།ཇི་ལྟར་མྱང་འདས་དེ་བརྟེན་མིན།
།གང་ཞིག་བརྟེན་ནས་མ་ཡིན་པའི།
།དངོས་མེད་ཡོད་པ་མ་ཡིན་ནོ།།

།འོང་བ་དང་ནི་འགྲོ་བའི་དངོས།
།བརྟེན་ཏམ་རྒྱུར་བྱས་གང་ཡིན་པ།
།དེ་ནི་བརྟེན་མིན་རྒྱུར་བྱས་མིན།
།མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་ཡིན་པར་བསྟན།།

།འབྱུང་བ་དང་ནི་འཇིག་པ་དག།
།སྤང་བར་སྟོན་པས་བཀའ་སྩལ་ཏོ།
།དེ་ཕྱིར་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པར་ནི།
།དངོས་མིན་དངོས་མེད་མིན་པར་རིགས།།

།གལ་ཏེ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་ནི།
།དངོས་དང་དངོས་མེད་གཉིས་ཡིན་ན།
།དངོས་དང་དངོས་པོ་མེད་པ་དག།
།ཐར་པར་འགྱུར་ན་དེ་མི་རིགས།།

།གལ་ཏེ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་ནི།
།དངོས་དང་དངོས་མེད་གཉིས་ཡིན་ན།
།མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་མ་བརྟེན་མིན།
།དེ་གཉིས་བརྟེན་ནས་ཡིན་ཕྱིར་རོ།།

།ཇི་ལྟར་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་ནི།
།དངོས་དང་དངོས་མེད་གཉིས་ཡིན་ཏེ།
།མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་འདུས་མ་བྱས།
།དངོས་དང་དངོས་མེད་འདུས་བྱས་ཡིན།།

།ཇི་ལྟར་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་ལ།
།དངོས་དང་དངོས་མེད་གཉིས་ཡོད་དེ།
།དེ་གཉིས་གཅིག་ལ་ཡོད་མིན་ཏེ།
།སྣང་བ་དང་ནི་མུན་པ་བཞིན།།

།དངོས་མིན་དངོས་པོ་མེད་མིན་པ།
།མྱ་ངན་འདས་པར་གང་སྟོན་པ།
།དངོས་པོ་མེད་དང་དངོས་པོ་དག།
།གྲུབ་ན་དེ་ནི་གྲུབ༌་པར་འགྱུར།།

།གལ་ཏེ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་ནི།
།དངོས་མིན་དངོས་པོ་མེད་མིན་ན།
།དངོས་མིན་དངོས་པོ་མེད་མིན་ཞེས།
།གང་ཞིག་གིས་ནི་དེ་མངོན་བྱེད།།

།བཅོམ་ལྡན་མྱ་ངན་འདས་གྱུར་ནས།
།ཡོད་པར་མི་མངོན་དེ་བཞིན་དུ།
།མེད་དོ་ཞེའམ་གཉིས་ཀ་དང།
།གཉིས་མིན་ཞེས་ཀྱང་མི་མངོན་ནོ།།

།བཅོམ་ལྡན་བཞུགས་པར་གྱུར་ན་ཡང།
།ཡོད་པར་མི་མངོན་དེ་བཞིན་དུ།
།མེད་དོ་ཞེའམ་གཉིས་ཀ་དང།
།གཉིས་མིན་ཞེས་ཀྱང་མི་མངོན་ནོ།།

།འཁོར་བ་མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་ལས།
།ཁྱད་པར་ཅུང་ཟད་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན།
།མྱ་ངན་འདས་པ་འཁོར་བ་ལས།
།ཁྱད་པར་ཅུང་ཟད་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན།།

།མྱ་ངན་འདས་མཐའ་གང་ཡིན་པ།
།དེ་ནི་འཁོར་བའི་མཐའ་ཡིན་ཏེ།
།དེ་གཉིས་ཁྱད་པར་ཅུང་ཟད་ནི།
།ཤིན་ཏུ་ཕྲ་བའང་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན།།

།གང་འདས་ཕན་ཆད་མཐའ་སོགས་དང།
།རྟག་ལ་སོགས་པར་ལྟ་བ་དག།
།མྱ་ངན་འདས་དང་ཕྱི་མཐའ་དང།
།སྔོན་གྱི་མཐའ་ལ་བརྟེན༌་པ་ཡིན།།

།དངོས་པོ་ཐམས་ཅད་སྟོང་པ་ལ།
།མཐའ་ཡོད་ཅི་ཞིག་མཐའ་མེད་ཅི།
།མཐའ་དང་མཐའ་མེད་ཅི་ཞིག་ཡིན།
།མཐའ་དང་མཐའ་མེད་མིན་པ༌་ཅི།།

།དེ་ཉིད་ཅི་ཞིག་གཞན་ཅི་ཡིན།
།རྟག་པ་ཅི་ཞིག་མི་རྟག་ཅི།
།རྟག་དང་མི་རྟག་གཉིས་ཀ་ཅི།
།གཉིས་ཀ་མིན་པ་ཅི་ཞིག་ཡིན།།

།དམིགས་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་ཉེར་ཞི་ཞིང།
།སྤྲོས་པ་ཉེར་ཞི་ཞི་བ་སྟེ།
།སངས་རྒྱས་ཀྱིས་ནི་གང་དུ་ཡང།
།སུ་ལའང་ཆོས་འགའ༌་མ་བསྟན་ཏོ།།

།མྱ་ངན་ལས་འདས་པ་བརྟག་པ་ཞེས་བྱ་བ་སྟེ་རབ་ཏུ་བྱེད་པ་ཉི་ཤུ་ལྔ་པའོ།།

If everything were empty, there would be no arising and perishing. From the letting go of and ceasing of what could one assert nirvana(-ing)?

If everything were not empty, there would be no arising and perishing. From the letting go of and ceasing of what could one assert nirvana(-ing)?

 No letting go, no attainment, no annihilation, no permanence, no cessation, no birth: that is spoken of as nirvana.

Nirvana is not a thing. Then it would follow that it would have the characteristics of aging and death. There does not exist any thing that is without aging and death.

 If nirvana were a thing, nirvana would be a conditioned phenomenon. There does not exist any thing anywhere that is not a conditioned phenomenon.

If nirvana were a thing, how would nirvana not be dependent? There does not exists any thing at all that is not dependent.

If nirvana were not a thing, how could it possibly be nothing? The one for whom nirvana is not a thing, for him it is not nothing.

If nirvana were nothing, how could nirvana possibly be not dependent? There does not exist any nothing which is not dependent.

Whatever things come and go are dependent or caused. Not being dependent and not being caused is taught to be Nirvana.

The teacher taught [it] to be the letting go of arising and perishing. Therefore, it is correct that nirvana is not a thing or nothing.

If nirvana were both a thing and nothing, it would follow that it would be a thing and nothing. That is incorrect.

If nirvana were both a thing and nothing, nirvana would not be not-dependent, because it would depend on those two.

How could nirvana be both a thing and nothing? Nirvana is unconditioned; things and nothings are conditioned.

How could nirvana exist as both a thing and nothing? Those two do not exist as one. They are like light and dark.

The presentation of neither a thing nor nothing as nirvana will be established if things and nothings are established.

If nirvana is neither a thing nor nothing, by who could “neither a thing nor nothing” be perceived?

After the Bhagavan has entered nirvana, one cannot perceive [him? it?] as “existing,” likewise as “not existing,” nor can one percieve [him? it?] as “both” or “neither”.

Even when the Bhagavan is alive, one cannot perceive [him? it?] as “existing,” likewise as “not existing,” nor can one percieve [him? it?] as “both” or “neither”.

 Samsara does not have the slightest distinction from Nirvana. Nirvana does not have the slightest distinction from Samsara.

Whatever is the end of Nirvana, that is the end of Samsara. There is not even a very subtle slight distinction between the two.

Views about who passes beyond, ends etc. and permanence etc. are contingent upon nirvana and later ends and former ends.

In the emptiness of all things what ends are there? What non-ends are there? What ends and non-ends are there? What of neither are there?

Is there this? Is there the other? Is there permanence? Is there impermanence? Is there both permanence and impermanence? Is there neither?

Totally pacifying all referents and totally pacifying fixations is peace. The Buddha nowhere taught any dharma to anyone.

Mulamadhyamaka Karika Chapter 25

7. Eternity and Transience of the Truth

Ultimate reality of Satya is eternal and unchanging. This is true for monotheistic religions, as with other conceptions of the Absolute: Nirvana, Dhamma, Dharmakaya, Tao and in I Ching to the ground of Change itself. The complementary side to this is seen in Buddhism and other Eastern religions but also found in some monotheistic faiths, where all phenomena and beings are impermanent, transient and conditioned. I would like to present both sides as two poles of a single truth, that of Satya.

7.1. Hinduism

स वा एष महानज आत्माजरोऽमरोऽमृतोऽभयो ब्रह्म; अभयं वै ब्रह्म; अभयं हि वै ब्रह्म भवति य एवं वेद ॥

 That great, birthless Self is undecaying, immortal, undying, fearless and Brahman (infinite). Brahman is indeed fearless. He who knows It as such becomes the fearless Brahman.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Chapter 4 Khanda 4 Verse 25

या एको वर्णो बहुधा शक्तियोगाद् वर्णान अनेकान् निहितार्थो दधाति|
वि चैति चान्ते विश्वं आदौ स देवः स नो बुद्ध्या शुभया संयुनक्तु||

He, the One and Undifferentiated, who by the manifold application of His powers
produces, in the beginning, different objects for a hidden purpose and, in the end,
withdraws the universe into Himself, is indeed the self-luminous. May He endow us
with clear intellect!

Svetasvatara Upanishad Chapter 4 Verse 1

दिन- रात ब्रह्मा की, सहस्रों युग बड़ी जो जानते ।
वे ही पुरुष दिन- रैन की गति ठीक हैं पहिचानते ॥

जब हो दिवस अव्यक्त से सब व्यक्त होते हैं तभी ।
फिर रात्रि होते ही उसी अव्यक्त में लय हों सभी ॥

होता विवश सब भूत- गण उत्पन्न बारम्बार है ।
लय रात्रि में होता दिवस में जन्म लेता धार है ॥

इससे परे फिर और ही अव्यक्त नित्य- पदार्थ है ।
सब जीव विनशे भी नहीं वह नष्ट होता पार्थ है ॥

कहते परम गति हैं जिसे अव्यक्त अक्षर नाम है ।
पाकर जिसे लौटें न फिर मेरा वही पर धाम है ॥

They who know (the true measure of) day and night, know the day of Brahmâ, which ends in a thousand Yugas, and the night which (also) ends in a thousand Yugas.

At the approach of (Brahmâ’s) day, all manifestations proceed from the unmanifested state; at the approach of night, they merge verily into that alone, which is called the unmanifested.

The very same multitude of beings (that existed in the preceding day of Brahmâ), being born again and again, merge, in spite of themselves, O son of Prithâ, (into the unmanifested), at the approach of night, and re-manifest at the approach of day.

But beyond this unmanifested, there is that other Unmanifested, Eternal Existence—That which is not destroyed at the destruction of all beings. 

What has been called Unmanifested and Imperishable, has been described as the Goal Supreme. That is My highest state, having attained which, there is no return.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 8 Verses 17-21

जो है असत् रहता नहीं, सत् का न किन्तु अभाव है ।
लखि अन्त इनका ज्ञानियों ने यों किया ठहराव है ॥

यह याद रख अविनाशि है जिसने किया जग व्याप है ।
अविनाशि का नाशक नहीं कोई कहीं पर्याप है ॥

The unreal never is. The Real never is not. Men possessed of the knowledge of the Truth fully know both these. 

That by which all this is pervaded,—That know for certain to be indestructible. None has the power to destroy this Immutable.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verses 16-17

7.2. Christianity

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Book of Revelation Chapter 4 Verse 8

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Book of Revelation Chapter 22 Verse 13

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 8

7.3. Judaism

לְפָנִים, הָאָרֶץ יָסַדְתָּ;    וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ שָׁמָיִם.

הֵמָּה, יֹאבֵדוּ–    וְאַתָּה תַעֲמֹד:
וְכֻלָּם, כַּבֶּגֶד יִבְלוּ;    כַּלְּבוּשׁ תַּחֲלִיפֵם וְיַחֲלֹפוּ.

וְאַתָּה-הוּא;    וּשְׁנוֹתֶיךָ, לֹא יִתָּמּוּ.

Of old you did lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They shall perish, but you shall endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall pass away;

But you are the selfsame, and your years shall have no end.

Psalms Chapter 102 Verses 26-28

קֹ֚ול  אֹמֵ֣ר  קְרָ֔א  וְאָמַ֖ר  מָ֣ה  אֶקְרָ֑א  כָּל־  הַבָּשָׂ֣ר  חָצִ֔יר  וְכָל־  חַסְדֹּ֖ו  כְּצִ֥יץ  הַשָּׂדֶֽה׃

יָבֵ֤שׁ  חָצִיר֙  נָ֣בֵֽל  צִ֔יץ  כִּ֛י  ר֥וּחַ  יְהוָ֖ה  נָ֣שְׁבָה  בֹּ֑ו  אָכֵ֥ן  חָצִ֖יר  הָעָֽם׃

יָבֵ֥שׁ  חָצִ֖יר  נָ֣בֵֽל  צִ֑יץ  וּדְבַר־  אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ  יָק֥וּם  לְעֹולָֽם׃  ס

A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

Book of Isaiah Chapter 40 Verses 6-8

7.4. Islam

كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ

وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ

All that is on the earth is perishable.

But there remains forever the “Face” of your Lord, the One of Majesty and Munificence.

Qu’ran Ar Rahman [55] Verses 26-27

لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فِي الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخِرَةِ لاَ تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

 For them are the glad tidings (of prosperity) in the life of this world and in the Hereafter. No change can there be in God’s decrees. That indeed is the supreme triumph.

Qu’ran Yunus [10] Verse 64

7.5. Buddhism

The Dharmadhatu (Absolute Truth) abides forever, whether the Tathagata appears in the world or not.

Lankavatara Sutra Chapter 61

Subhuti, if any person were to say that the Buddha is now coming or going, or sitting up or lying down, they would not have understood the principle I have been teaching. Why? Because while the expression ‘Buddha’ means ‘he who has thus come, thus gone,’ the true Buddha is never coming from anywhere or going anywhere. The name ‘Buddha’ is merely an expression, a figure of speech.

Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra Chapter 29

The much ornamented royal carriages do wear out, the body also grows old, but the Dhamma of the Virtuous does not decay. Thus, indeed, say the Virtuous among themselves.

Dhammapada Verse 151

This major and long work of comparative theology and spirituality is not an attempt to influence anyone to take any strong lines but rather to highlight and appreciate the truth and beauty of this Truth that resonates across scriptures, across civilisations, across ages.

8. Discussion

While this paper highlights nuances of faith and theology that have fundamental resonances, there are points of difference that make many of these faiths inherently exclusivist. Without naming any particular tradition, the question that remains with the reader is two-fold: checking the veracity of the points of divergences and differences, and secondly to make an individual choice about the manner of interactions that the faiths must have, given that they identify and characterise a certain Truth, in different forms, in each of their traditions. Whether the ultimate reality is Sunya, as per Buddhism, or a proactive oneness, as in Advaita Vedanta; whether one seer or messenger of this Truth is considered more important or not, these are not questions I would like to address here. A cosmopolitan approach that involves not only tolerance but active learning from other cultures and traditions seems to be optimum for a harmonious coexistence of these disparate traditions today. However, I am aware that matters of faith are not based only, if at all, on points of scholarship and debate, but rather on spiritual experiences and faith.

Regardless, I would like to highlight what John Hick had to say in this regard. Hick opted for a limited number of incarnations of the Truth with different messages for different people of different races, cultures and languages, and thereby supported `a theology of religions which stresses the infinite nature of the Godhead, exceeding the scope of all our concepts, and the salvific efficacy of the variety of ways formed around the different incarnations that have occurred throughout human history’ [68].  According to Hick, the ultimate transcendent reality of the Truth, or God, is beyond the scope of human concepts, constructs or forms. Due to this, he cannot be directly experienced by human beings `as it is in itself but only as it appears in terms of the various human thought-forms’ [68]. In this way, Hick likens God to the Kantian noumenon – the being in itself that cannot be completely explained, described or understood. According to him, the variant religions are nothing but different and distinct expressions of an ever-encompassing Truth and God. I would go one step further in asserting that all religious truths about this Truth are not absolute in themselves but are complementary to one another, both due to the mystery surrounding this Truth and its incomprehensibility and also the limited understanding and perception of man, with respect to this ultimate Reality, which thereby transforms the image of God received either in terms of words of spiritual leaders, socio-cultural and historical contexts, or political gameplay unfortunately.

The question of one faith’s word of the Truth being absolute is redundant and unnecessary since there is no one way or form or construct or conception by which to describe that which neither exists nor not-exists. No religious tradition can and should claim absolute and sole salvific efficacy of its beliefs and tradition. The Truth is personal and impersonal, immanent and transcendent, one and many. No one religion, even if hypothetically begun by the Truth itself personified, embodies the whole truth that may be able to help humanity of all races, times and cultures, simply because of the lack of divine immanence in the receptors a similar to the ideal founder of the faith and the lack thereof also of those who compose and interpret the doctrinal elements of the faith. Some faiths do not even have human founders and are based on revelations. Therefore, due to the lack of a reason for absolutism, all faiths must come together, given their overwhelming fundamental resonances to help humanity from selfishness, blind consumerism and immorality. The journey put forth in every religion and faith is one of inner transformation, wherein the individual goes from being self-centred to being based in a more universal, transcendent Truth.

9. Conclusion

In this paper, I have deliberated on the element of salvific efficacy in disparate religions and how there are fundamental doctrinal resonances in their scriptures, with an extensive survey and compilation based on themes addressed in each. I have gone on to discuss John Hick’s idea of pluralism and suggested a model of cosmopolitanism that recognizes the greater incomprehensibility of divinity, as supported by all the Scriptures, and therefore the lack of a need for absolutism when it comes to salvific efficacy of their belief-systems and faith. I hope that this paper can help with creating a sense of harmony and true understanding based on scholarship as well as spirituality.

10. Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge Dr. Ankur Barua (Lecturer, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge) and Dr. David Gosling (Faculty Member, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge) for our interactions that led to this paper. I would also like to acknowledge Swami Sarvasthananda, Minister-in-Charge, Ramamkrishna Mission, United Kingdom for his inputs and interactions as well.

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