A lot of people seem to think that all Hindus see God as ultimately impersonal. Most Hindus see God as primarily personal, though possibly having transcendent or impersonal aspects.
I am currently studying with the Himalayan Academy, who believe that Shiva has both personal and impersonal aspects, but is primarily our personal God
As Absolute Reality, Siva is unmanifest, unchanging and transcendent, the Self God, timeless, formless and spaceless. As Pure Consciousness, Siva is the manifest primal substance, pure love and light flowing through all form, existing everywhere in time and space as infinite intelligence and power. As Primal Soul, Siva is the five-fold manifestation: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; Rudra, the destroyer; Maheshvara, the veiling Lord, and Sadashiva, the revealer. He is our personal Lord, source of all three worlds.
- Dancing With Shiva, Chapter 4
It seems that in the West many people have heard the impersonalist view, that God is an impersonal force and Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are just another level of illusion. Some are convinced that this is “Hindu belief”, and that belief in a personal God must be a minority view.
I decided to try to find some figures to show how common each belief is. Figures with credible references are difficult to find, but one that has credible references is Adherents.com. They reference, “The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1997(K-111 Reference Corp.: Mahwah, NJ), [Source: 1996 Encyc. Britannica Book of the Year]; pg. 646, and give the following figures for the number of followers of each branch of Hinduism:
70% Vaishnavites, 25% Shaivites, 2% new-Hindus and reform Hindus.
Vishnava are not impersonalists. Shaivas may be personalist or impersonalist; I believe the vast majority are personalist but have not been able to find any figures. The new Hindus may be. The unaccounted for percentage are Shaktis (not impersonalists) and Smarta (who generally are impersonalists).
The figures show that at least 70% of Hindus see God as personal. I would say that the figure is probably nearer 90%, but I don’t have the figures to prove it.