One thing I have trouble with is understanding the nature of God. I personally enjoy the belief that there is one God and his traits are just shown through other gods, and that is why there are various gods in the dharma.
Though, regarding the Trimurti, I have never understood if it is believed that Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are actual intelligent beings with physical, energetic or astral bodies, or just physical properties of the universe: Creation, Preservation and Destruction.
I assume some believe that and others believe they are physical?
Furthermore, in the religions that believe Shiva, and Vishnu and the Goddess are the supreme Godheads, do they feel as if they are the only "true" gods, or is it more so that the personality of those gods better suit their needs and they can relate to lets say, shiva over vishnu?
Also, in Smarta, do they venerate all gods? If so, what mantras do they use? different ones?
Personally, I believe that God is one, and that he is seen in many, and because of my Christian upbringing, I find it hard to pray to individual gods, because in my mind god is bigger than all of that.. Also, with Mantras, I feel more comfortable using an English mantra, or a mantra to Christ..
Even though I am not Christian I do think he is a god realized man, and maybe an incarnation of God. I also am familiar with his teachings and parables, and love--so mantras such as Om Christave Namaha, I can relate to.
Also, if I do mainly Vishnu mantras, is it okay to say some to Shiva as well? I know some traditionalist tell me that I can only stick to one, and that I must be initiated to a mantra.
When I say my mantras to Shiva I feel as if I am saying it to awaken the potential and God energy within me, when I say a mantra to Christ I feel as if I am asking myself to allowing me to love like Christ.
This is all so overwhelming, but exciting.
Thank you so much, I know this is a bit long.