Questions about God
Questions from Neela Saraswati – 4th Grade
Question: If God is everywhere, why do we go to the temple to pray?
Answer: Even though God is indeed everywhere, we often find it difficult to recognize His presence in all places. God is just as present in the middle of a busy highway as He is in the temple. But do you feel God’s presence driving down the highway? Probably not. On the other hand, when we enter a temple and see the Lord’s sacred form on the altar, we can certainly feel God’s divine presence. So, going to the temple makes it easy for us to feel God’s presence.
Question: Why are there so many forms of God if there is only one God?
Answer: We have many forms in which we worship God because it allows people to choose a form of God they prefer. If you went to a restaurant, would you be happy if the menu had only one item, and that item was creamed spinach?! Wouldn’t you prefer a restaurant with a large menu of items from which you could choose? The menu has many forms of food because different people prefer different dishes. In the same way, Hinduism has many forms of God so people can choose the form they prefer for prayer and worship.
Question: When we worship God, why do the priests sometimes sit around a fire, and sometimes sit in front of deities on an altar?
Answer: Just as we can choose the form of God we worship, we can also choose the manner in which we worship God. We have two basic kinds of worship: puja and yagna. In yagna (also called homa or havan), we offer ghee and other things into a sacred fire. The fire consumes our offerings and symbolically transports them to the Lord. In puja, we invite the Lord to be present upon our altar and then we offer flowers, fruits, incense, arati and our prayers to Him. Both kinds of worship bless us by invoking God’s grace upon us.