Monotheism, Polytheism and the Divine Personality

The original anthropomorphic concepts of the Divine have been subjected to intense intellectual scrutiny by the analytical mind. In fact, much of the modern day debate between science and religion stems from the debunking of some of the more juvenile conceptions that arose in the development of the idea of a personal God. Sri Aurobindo observes: “It is not surprising that the philosophical and sceptical mind should have found little difficulty in destroying it all intellectually, whether in the direction of the denial of a personal God and the assertion of an impersonal Force or Becoming or in that of an impersonal Being or an ineffable denial of existence with all the rest as only symbols of Maya or phenomenal truths of the Time-consciousness. But these are only the personifications of monotheism.” The very idea of one supreme God, sitting on some heavenly throne, and dispensing out judgments on each individual being for acts that were more or less pre-determined by that selfsame God, is difficult for the modern mind to accept.

There are, however, also various polytheistic religions. They may accept the idea of some supreme form or conscious existence, but they also see the divinity in all things, and in most cases, personify the consciousness of each thing as a divinity. “…but where the inner sense of spiritual things became clearer, the various godheads assumed the appearance of personalities of the one Divine,–that is the declared point of view of the ancient Veda. This Divine might be a supreme Being who manifests himself in various divine personalities or an impersonal existence which meets the human mind in these forms; or both views might be held simultaneously without any intellectual attempt to reconcile them, since both were felt to be true to spiritual experience.”

Obviously the modern mind of science has an equally hard time accepting the concepts of polytheism; however, the polytheists have a spiritual sense of the Oneness of all existence, and the divine nature of Reality which carries the weight of truth once the doors of spiritual experience have begun to open and the seeker sees with the spiritual intuition or the Divine sight.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 5, The Divine Personality, pp. 558-559

1 thought on “Monotheism, Polytheism and the Divine Personality

  1. It is a question of understanding that monotheism and polytheism both bring you to the divine knowledge and spirituality which is one truth.

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