Hindu devotees often feel perplexed about the true nature of God. Is God formless or has He got any form? Further, even if He has form, why does He reveals Himself in so many ways? Such questions continue to torment the devotees’ minds unless one realizes God. Sri Ramakrishna used to explain this phenomenon of God with and without form through a beautiful illustration.
A man had kept a solution of dye in a tub. Many people came to have their clothes dyed. He would ask the customer as to which colour would he like to have his clothes dyed. If the customer opted for red colour, then the man would dip the cloth in the tub and return to the customer saying that the cloth had been dyed red. In fact it would be truly so. If another customer wanted to dye his cloth yellow, the man would dip the cloth in the same tub and return the cloth coloured in yellow dye to the owner. Similarly, if a customer wanted his cloth dyed blue, the man would dip it once again in the same tub and return the cloth dyed in blue colour to the owner. Thus he would dye the clothes of his customers in different colours dipping them in the same solution. One of the customers watched all these with amazement. When the man asked him as to what was the colour of his choice, he replied, “Brother, dye my cloth with the colour of dye in your tub”. The moral of the story is that if a person approaches God and surrenders himself completely, then God reveals Himself to such a person in all His glory. He reveals to such a devotee that He is with form as well as formless. The devotee realizes that God assumes different forms and reveals Himself in different ways for the sake of His devotees.