When we come to the divine for the first time, it’s often through form. This can be a very profound experience. It may trigger major heart opening, insight, devotion, and/or deep humility. Yet it may also bring confusion, circumspection, or reconsideration. If we’ve developed an atheist philosophy, for example, that can certainly be disrupted. But even if we’re a person of faith, the divine won’t necessarily show up as expected.
Often people experience representatives of the divine first; what are commonly called angels or devas. (not to be confused with astral beings) But we may also experience the divine much more subtly, such as love without an object or causeless happiness.
The expressed divine itself is so vast and powerful that we cannot take it all in. Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita illustrated this, when Krisha, by request, shows all of himself at once. Everything in all space, all time, and all levels simultaneously. Arjuna is quite overwhelmed. Normally, we experience some primary aspect or style of God, like Jesus or Krishna. Something we can relate to and take in.
The divine is also not limited to a single appearance. We will experience the divine in multiple ways. This is easy to understand if we recognize everything is in and of the divine. The Vedas, for example, describe ‘pancha devata’ or 5 primary forms.
Some lean away from experiencing God in form, the personal. They experience the divine more impersonally as principles and underlying intelligence.
Once we know the Self in Self Realization, then we have the stable platform to unfold our experience of the divine in a much fuller way. This I describe as the process from God Consciousness through God Realization. This is unfolding the depths of our awareness to the divine underlying this creation. Even the overwhelming Ch.11 experience above embodies this creation alone. The divine is not limited to that in the slightest.
Brahman (meaning the Great) is beyond even everything. And Pure Divinity (ParaBrahman) beyond the Great. Without the veil of form and consciousness, the ParaBrahman stage greatly surpasses the recognitions of the expressed divine prior.
It has been said that Brahman looks upon pure ParaBrahman but I’ve found Brahman cannot without embodying some pure Divinity. Just as only Brahman knows Brahman, so too is ParaBrahman needed to know ParaBrahman.
Another way this is said is Shiva looks upon Divine Mother. In the dynamics of consciousness, Shiva is the observer, that which is conscious of. But in Brahman, we are moving past that. We can say Shiva is conscious of Divine Mother but without the prior dynamics. “Mother” is often used for pure Divinity or supreme Divinity because She is the source. Without Her, there is no Shiva to know.
But the Mother we’re talking about is the formless supreme. Mother Divine is the expressed Mother, the bestower of grace, the expresser of Shakti(s). Divine Mother is the source, even of Mother Divine. (English rather lacks language for this)