There are numerous instances when Hinduism is compared to Paganism. A lot of people choose to look at this religion with a bias because we seem to worship “stones and trees.” Idol worship, an integral part of this school of thought, appears childish and even blasphemous to some. A prevalent question raises itself from time to time: How can a religion which cannot even decide which God to worship out of millions, teach the world about spirituality? Well, I think the answer lies right there , quite blatantly, in the question. Why does the Hindu pantheon consist of millions of representations of Gods and Goddesses? Why does it solicit worshiping almost every little thing that exists? Once you really think about it, it is rather obvious isn’t it? By giving uncountable forms to God, Hinduism actually asserts on the formlessness of the Universal Spirit.
The sages and seers of the Hindu tradition were astute. They knew that the only way to keep faith alive for eternity among humans, come what may, was to keep them guessing. And that is why our scriptures are inundated with heavy symbolism. If you choose to read it like a story, it would seem illogical, even absurd. But if you choose to interpret the absurdity, you will be surprised at the simplicity of it all. The continuous interpretation is supposed to keep us engaged with the scriptures. The process of decoding elaborate myths is designed to bring us closer to the hidden truth.
Coming back to formlessness, the greatest God of Hindus ( though I personally believe He is not limited to one religion) Shiva, is said to be formless. The Shivlinga represents the shapelessness of God. It has no beginning and no end. It just is. It represents your core and all the energy of the Universe lies in it: dormant. When you worship the Linga(Shiva), you are trying to wake up the dormant energy there, with the energy within you (Shakti) . That’s meditation. When a flow of energy between Shiva and Shakti is established, you experience what we call the meditative bliss.
Shiva is also worshiped in a human like form. But before you smirk at yet another contradiction in Hinduism, stop and read ahead. The form of Shiva leads yet again to his formlessness.
The huge blue body of Mahadev is mirrored in the boundless blue sky . The half crescent moon on his head is the same moon you see when you look up at the evening ceiling of clouds. And when you spread your gaze to the outlines of the unending black mountain ridges along the skyline, wild and dark yet formidable, you see the long tresses of the Jatadhari. The Rudraksha beads on his body represent the flora in the Universe: The seed is where life chain starts. His skirt made of a tiger skin represents the Fauna, for God resides in animals too. The snake on his neck says he is present even in the most evil minds: All they need is to look at him with the reverence of Vasuki( the snake on his neck), and he can turn them into a bit of Himself.
God is formless because He is present in every pore of the universe. He is what the whole creation is made of. God is the empty space between galaxies and He is the galaxies. He is the fabric of your DNA. He is what mud is created out of and He is what the gold is created of. Hence, the true message to be derived out of Hindusim is: Find the formless in all forms. Feel the palpating energy which runs through a random stone and a tender heart and worship that. Make zillions of Gods out of your devotion and worship that. Worship every emotion and worship every phenomenon. Because there is nothing out there which is beyond His All -Pervading Existence. He is all there is.