On The Nature of God

Nārāyana, the Supreme Being, possesses the three transcendental features of sat, cit and ānanda. He is pure-bliss, self-differentiated and the ground of all life. He is infinite in nature and attributes. He is omniscient, omnipotent, creator, destroyer and sustainer of all. He is all-pervasive.

Just as water, air, earth and sky are pervading the world, in a like manner, God is pervading mind, intellect and vital breath (prāna) of things and beings. He is pure, qualityless (gunahina) and conscious self. In Him the world exists and yet He is beyond the world.

Nārāyana is the ultimate cause of creation and dissolution; there is no God superior to Him. He remains a sāksi in all the activities of the world, in deep sleep as well as in the state of dreaming and awakening. It is He who infuses life and vitality in all beings and causes jivas to suffer and enjoy the fruits of their activities. Brahmā, Hari (Visnu) and Hara (Mahesha) carry out His orders and therefore, He is the God of all gods.

When He directs and controls the senses, He is known as Paramātmā; when He appears to Yogis in their meditation, He is known as Brahman, and when He is looked upon as the creator, sustainer and preserver of this world, He goes by the name of Bhagavat. These, viz, Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavat are but names of the same Supreme Nārāyana.

He is not comprehensible to the mind, senses and intellect. Just as sparks separated from fire cannot illuminate its source, similarly mind and other senses, though originated from God, do not know Him, owing to the overpowering influence of Māyā. Even the Vedas, unable to grasp fully the real nature of Nārāyana, have tried to *indicate* His nature by a negative method. Without Whose aid, nothing could be achieved and the knowledge of Whom marks the culmination of all activities and spiritual urge, know Him to be Nārāyana.
[Sankaradeva, Bhāgavata]

But Nārāyana is spoken of in innumerable passages as a loving God, as well as a lovable God. He is described to be in possession of all auspicious attributes which attract devotees towards Him. Not only does He possess metaphysical qualities like non-duality, omnipotence, omniscience, etc. but such virtues as mercy, love and compassion. In order to favour His devotees and redeem them, He comes into this world in the form of various incarnations. karunāmaya (compassionate), dinabandhu (friend of the lowly), bhakata-vatsala (beloved of devotees), patita pāvana (redeemer of sinners) and many others are His attributes by which He is designated.

Attitude towards incarnations

God descends on this world from time to time in order to redeem the world. Excepting Krishna, who is considered the Supreme Being Himself, all other incarnations are regarded as partial manifestations.