The world “God” can be thought of as a symbol or placeholder for a subjective truth which cannot be fully conceptualized or articulated through the limiting constraints of words.
How can the finite conceptualize the infinite? How can a mind that resides within the temporal conceptualize that which is eternal? And yet this is the challenge of a mind oriented toward God, to open the finite mind toward the infinite and the temporal toward the eternal.
This is a subjective experience. It is a personal knowing that arises out of attuning to one’s feelings and spiritual yearnings. It is an internal discovery. The Hindu Upanishads say that to know God we should contemplate the eternal nature of God, as deity or concept. This contemplation is called upasana, meaning to “sit near, attend to”. Upasana is a subjective experience of God which takes us toward unity with God, through meditation on the formless, infinite nature of God.
Mantra 8 of the Isa Upanishad speaks to the formless nature of the Supreme Self (God):
sa paryagat sukram akayam avranam asnaviram suddham apapaviddham kavih manisi paribhuh svayambhuh ryathatathyato’rthan vyadadhat sasvatibhyah samabhyah || 8 ||
The Self pervades all. Resplendent, bodiless, without a wound, pure, untouched by sin; far-seeing, omniscient, transcendent, self-sprung. Duly allotted to the various eternal creators their respective functions.
Upasana is a state of contemplation where ones identifies with and absorbs into the formless eternal, realizing it as the very nature of the Self.