Hello again @Mary Beth,
Broadly speaking for a pantheist, God is all and all is God. In other words, there is no difference between God and the universe. However, under this broad category, there are those who (within pantheism) hold slightly different views from each other. For instance, Shankara would hold to the view of an absolute pantheism (absolute unity with no division or layers at all) whereas Radhakrishnan subscribes to the view of a multilevel pantheism which means that the Absolute is found at many levels (also called as manifestational pantheism).
So, according to the multilevel pantheism, the supreme or God appears in four levels of reality and they are as follows:
- Brahman, the absolute is beyond personality and impersonality.
- Isvara, the personal god and creative spirit.
- Hiranya-garbha, the world-soul. An omnipresent spiritual power.
- Viraj, is the world, not illusion. It is the manifestation of Brahman.
According to Radhakrishnan’s view, all that exists expresses at its own level and to its own degree the being of the Absolute. In a sense they are all manifestations of the ultimate supreme, hence, in its true sense, they are neither inferior nor superior to the other. They are mere manifestations…!
To your question on, “are the characteristics of the deities involved in yogic practice linked to the asanas?”
Well, if you mean postures of the deities and yoga practice, my simple and straight forward response would be YES. They are intimately linked. That is why for friends who ask me on ‘yoga’, ‘to do or not to do’. I would say, ‘please be careful or be cautious because the path can lead one into slippery slope’.
Hope this is helpful.