In this world, if you have studied engineering, people call you an engineer; and if you diagnose, prescribe and treat a patient, people call you a doctor, isn’t it?
Similarly, the One:
people call such a person, God.
However, for our right understanding, Lord Krishna, Lord Mahavir, Lord Rama have very precisely clarified that:
‘What you can see with your eyes is not God. To whom you refer as God is mortal; God is not this body at all. The body is only the outer packing which is temporary and is bound to perish one day. The one which is within in the form of an eternal element i.e the Supreme Soul - is whom we call God.’
Soul is an eternal element present in every living being. God is the Pure Soul!
The God within Lord Mahavir, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, and the Self-Realized One (the Gnani Purush) is awakened. In Their mortal body, They have seen, known and experienced the immortal God! Therefore, they are called the enlightened beings.
To worship God, we must first know God. To know God, we must first recognise who is the real God...
These enlightened beings, whom we worship with so much of love, faith and reverence, always emphasize one thing, Know thy Self [know the Soul, know God]. Dissolve your karmas, free yourself from all pain and suffering and attain salvation.
They themselves walked on the path [Self Realization] and showed people the way, but since then people have diverted from that path. They have created different religions and groups in the name of God.
Only when we have recognized God, we realize that ‘Lord Rama is within me only, my Pure Soul is the real Lord Rama, my Pure Soul itself is the real form of Lord Mahavir, Lord Krishna (or any other God that you daily worship).’
When you believe ‘I am John (the reader should insert his own name here)’, you are said to be an ordinary living being, in a state of ignorance regarding your true Self. But when you realize that “I am not John, I am a Pure Soul. I am not in the form of this body or this name, I am in the form of the Pure Soul”, you recognize God. This is the ultimate knowledge through which one becomes God.
In this world, only an enlightened One can make us realise who is God. As we know, Lord Krishna made Arjun realize God. However, to meet such an enlightened One and attain His grace to gain this real knowledge from Him is not easy. One needs to have tremendous merit karmas in order to do so, only then the circumstances of meeting a living enlightened One (Gnani) come together.
Therefore, although it is absolutely essential and beneficial to meet an enlightened One, it is one of the most difficult occurrences in our life.
To make it happen, while worshipping the God we believe in, as a ‘devotee’ we must surely and constantly express our earnest desire that we want to meet a Gnani, the enlightened One in person; and attain Self Realization from Him.
Once that happens, we will rightly understand who is God. Thereafter, as an ‘enlightened devotee’, as we start walking on the shown path following the directives of the Gnani, the enlightened One, we learn to worship God in the Real form; and one day become Absolute God ourselves!