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    Hinduism, the philosophy ..

    A very interesting post in one of the other threads. And as it was a little off the subject I wanted to start another thread about it.

    India has values that have survived centuries of change. These
    values have their roots in the Vedas, blossomed in the Upanishads
    and were made perennial in the Bhagavad-Gita. Hinduism is not a
    religion in the strictest sense. It is a mighty river of human
    endeavor, too large to be contained in a set of dogmas or in a
    book. It gives man absolute freedom to seek knowledge, to unfold
    the mystery of man and his environment. It places greater emphasis
    on honest disagreement than on blind conformity. Well-known
    astrophysicist, Carl Sagan states, "The Hindu religion is the only
    one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that cosmos
    itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite number of deaths &
    rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales
    correspond to those of modern cosmology ... And while our
    intelligence has recently provided us with awesome powers, it is
    not yet clear that we have the wisdom to avoid our own self-
    destruction." And as recently as 1970, Dr. Arnold Toynbee observed
    after surveying the history of the human race, "It is already
    becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will
    have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-
    destruction of the human race. If human race has to be saved, it
    has to embrace the Hindu way." Polytheism, the worship of many
    gods, constantly reminded the faithful that the divine could never
    be confined to any one human expression. The mystery which
    underplay the fragilities of life was pictured in gods and
    goddesses who resembled human beings, images that expressed a sense
    of affinity with the sacred. Such a many-faceted vision of the
    sacred is still preserved in Hinduism. Monotheism, however, would
    permit only one symbol of the divine. There was always therefore
    the possibility that its vision would be more limited a risk
    against which creative monotheists were on guard. Imagination must
    be a religious faculty, since it enables people to envisage the
    eternally absent and elusive God. Creative monotheists have
    associated female images, redolent of peace, of healing with the
    sacred. Perhaps this type of spirituality can counteract the
    cruelty and hatred that monotheism has so often been party to. If
    so, let God (rather than 'the Lord') be praised. The Hindu Way is a
    democratic and secular way of living. It is probably the only faith
    which can coexist with all other faiths when practiced in the right
    way. The beauty of it is one is not confined to a prophet or a
    book. It has an Universal appeal. Thus said Will Durant, "India was
    the mother of our race and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's
    languages. She was the mother of our philosophy, mother through the
    Arabs, of much of our mathematics, mother through Buddha, of the
    ideals embodied in Christianity, mother through village communities
    of self-government & democracy. Mother India is in many ways the
    mother of us all."
    I have the following questions:
    • 1. Is it a consensus among all Hindus that Hinduism as a philosophy is 'thoughtfully created' & not 'divinely revealed' or are there Hindus who believed it to be a revealed religion?

      2. If I understand it correctly from the above expert, the answer to any question of theology must be sought after within one-self? If so, then what value do the Vedas/Gita & other traditions hold, if any?

      3. What authority an individual has in Hinduism?


    More will come later.

    Note: If you are going to post a cut/paste answer or a cut/paste article that is hate driven, then please don't bother. This is a serious discussion.
    I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    - Robert McCloskey

    #2
    religen is simply seeking the truth and
    continous process.

    Comment


      #3

      1. Is it a consensus among all Hindus that Hinduism as a philosophy is 'thoughtfully created' & not 'divinely revealed' or are there Hindus who believed it to be a revealed religion?
      I don't know if it is a consensus, but I personally believe, very strongly, that Hinduism IS a 'thoughtfully created' and 'continually evolved' philosophy, rather than a 'revealed' one.

      3. What authority an individual has in Hinduism?
      In simple terms, a Hindu can question his scriptures, and is not forced to think within a box. (But that doesn't mean every Hindu is educated and free thinking. Gujarat stands a proof, that the right to free thinking doesn't ensure free thinking)

      Comment


        #4
        kumarkakn,

        According to Hinduism how does one questions a 'free thought' and how are the arguments weighed?

        For example, you claim 'Its spiritual to do yoga' ... I disagree, as from my own conscious I can say 'spirituality does not depend on the physical flexibility, but on moral higher grounds'

        How would we forward such an argument? What would be the corner stones for both of us to base our version of belief on? If scriptures are not bound to have the answer, nor does traditions, then who do we turn to?

        p.s: The question is not on yoga or spirituality, but on the fundamentals of Hinduism & its philosophy.
        I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
        - Robert McCloskey

        Comment


          #5
          Ahmadjee,
          your questions just stirred up me into deep thought. I will just try to put forth my views.

          1. Is it a consensus among all Hindus that Hinduism as a philosophy is 'thoughtfully created' & not 'divinely revealed' or are there Hindus who believed it to be a revealed religion?

          Here the concept of Hinduism has to be said.
          All the Preachers of Hinduism right from Sage Agathysa to the current Shankaracharya's do stress that there are many ways of reaching God. It may be through devotion, through service or through truth. The concept of God is same, but the way you imagine your God is left for you. You are free to assume any form you desire and pray in any manner you like. All the revelations that come to us are divine messages, and to understand the concept of Hinduism you need to think a bit differently from Islam. We always wonder why there are religion, there is no need for God to create a religion and there have been many sages / sants who have had the divine experience and propogate his message. The concept of truthfulness and a good life are revealed to us by our Guru's and that is the path to attain Moksha.
          All Hindu's believe that there is nothing called revealed religion for us.

          2. If I understand it correctly from the above expert, the answer to any question of theology must be sought after within one-self? If so, then what value do the Vedas/Gita & other traditions hold, if any?

          It is true that the ultimate 'Karma and Kreeya' rests with the individual as only his actions will count for him. But, having said that I would like to add that Gita and others are divine revelations, which we Hindus take it too spiritually and it is the message of the lord Krishna to Human kind. Vedas are a bit different as it is basically the source of knowledge for us. Vedas are the scriptures that guide us in leading a better life. But, the concept of religion here takes a separate turn. i.e. even if you do not know the veda and if you are leading a truthful life, then you are bound to attain 'Moksha'.

          3. What authority an individual has in Hinduism?

          An Individual is responsible for his own acts. He has to face the consequences for his deeds. However, he needs to try to elevate himself to a super level of mental state to get detached from the earthly desires and get equipped to face the ultimate reality of God.


          Comment


            #6
            As I understand, there are certain questions that scholars in Islam have declared to be Shaitan inspired. A lot of what transpires as theological philosophy falls under this category. What hinduism considers philosophical inquiry also falls under this category. For example are the falling questions in the domain of religion:
            Why did God need to create? Why does He demand worship? Is it possible to have Good without evil? Why does man have Free Will?
            Is it Godly to punish a man for eternity for a finite time of doing wrong? etc.
            I think semantically it might be incorrect to use the word religion for hinduism and Islam. It might be comparing apples and oranges.

            Comment


              #7
              Old lahori
              The concept of Shaitan is absent in Hinduism. We believe that God has given us the free will and knowledge to understand and realise the existence of the creator and enjoy the beauty of his creation. But, in order to get rid of these worldly cycle of birth and Death, we need to attain 'Moksha'. The shaitan is similar to the evil mind.
              Majority of the hindu philosophical probing goes into exploring the myth of 'Maya' and the path leading to eternal salvation.

              Comment


                #8
                Quote:
                According to Hinduism how does one questions a 'free thought' and how are the arguments weighed?

                ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Ahmadjee,
                Normally in arguments for various branches of hinduism, 'Tarka' or logic is used to explain or substantiate the evidence of thought.
                There is also a science known as 'Tarka Shastra' where pundits base their logic upon.
                Arguments are weighed on the basis of the inference obtained from the main scriptures.
                Because Hindu scriptures do not define rules for many aspects of our life many time the interpretation of the rules are left to individuals.

                Comment


                  #9
                  There is no religion higher than the truth."
                  -- H(elena) P(etrovna) Hahn Blavatsky (1831-91), Russian-born theosophist

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ahmedjee, the Vedas are a collection of thoughts of seers and people who have realized the ultimate goal of human birth. And thus it is an unending collection. Also the yoga exercises are different from the different yoga paths of attaining the Creator. There are basically three major paths to attain GOD,
                    1)Gyan Yoga - This path advocates removing our ignorance about ourselves by pure reasoning. It suggests go deep into reasoning and peel out layers of ignorance to know your true self. For example, who am I, what is the real reason behind my birth, how is a human birth better than other animals if it does not go beyond fulfilling animal instinct etc etc. This was the path followed by seers in the earlier eras.
                    2) Karma Yoga - This path suggests doing your duties dilligently. Following all good things and serving your fellow brethren and thus achieving God.This path too is said to be very tough during this era.
                    3) Bhakti Yoga - This path suggests undying devotion to the Lord. You think about him day and night and kind of swim in devotion for GOD. This yoga is said to be the easier path for this era, so it is written in the Shastras.

                    Also in hinduism we believe in rebirth. We suffer all the consequences of our actions but sometimes people die before suffering or enjoying the full consequences of their actions in one life. Thus depending on how bad or how good you have been you are born in certain situations in your next life. Thus it is not God that differentiates between humans by making someone born rich and other poor, it is us who define our future. Also human birth is not guaranteed, if you have been very evil, you go back as being born as an animal. For ex, if you have been too greedy and have been looting people you are born as a pig in the next life and if you are lecherous and have a highly immoral life you are born as a dog. If you are a good person you have progressive good lives. But you cannot break the cycle of birth unless you reach the ultimate goal and that is realisation of God. Also in hinduism, the soul transgresses into three realms. The first realm is called the Chandra-loka (realm of lesser light). This is where a soul goes once the persons body is no more. It is here that he stays for a while until his next birth. If a soul of a person is very pure ( that person has done very good deeds) then the sould goes to Surya-Loka(the realm of higher light). This is kind of heaven where a soul stays for a long period and enjoys the fruits of his good deeds. All the different gods (not the creator) like Indra, Agni, Varun are positions and not a particular person. Thus if you have done many good deeds than you can take the position of Indra itself and remove the soul that enjoys that position right now. But even from there you have to come back to earth once you have enjoyed the fruits of all good deeds. In Hinduism the human is said to be above all gods (not creator) because it is only through human birth that we can attain our Creator. For that you have to have deep love of God. It is said that if you combine the love a mother has for a child, a chaste wife has for his husband and a greedy man has for his money, if you have love for God when you combine these three loves than you would surely reach him in this life. So each life is a golden opportunity for us to reach Him or we shall be lost in the cyles of birth, enjoyment, sorrow and death.

                    [This message has been edited by Brahmos (edited April 18, 2002).]

                    Comment


                      #11
                      i dont belive that our present lives
                      are influensed by our past deeds in previous
                      life. that is easy way explain you dalits are
                      hight cast opressors in your former life
                      now in your present life you pay for it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        So do you mean to say God is unjust and makes someone born in a mansion and have all the good thing of life and make others born in huts and live miserable lives. And not all dalits live a miserable life and not all upper caste have a enjoyable life.And even if though some people are less fortunate than others does not mean you should discriminate against them.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hinduism is an ancient religion. With the passage of time many flaws did creep into it. Silt gets accumulated at the bottom of an everflowing river even. Self interests and ulterior motives do eclipse good things but it is a temporary phase only. Hinduism is very comprehensive and it embraces almost all departments of human life. Many unwanted things became part and parcel of Hinduism but its soul remained pure. Unwanted things were simply superimposed. All subsequent religions played reformatory roles so to say. Retaining good things they suggested ways and means to get rid of the unwanted things. They advocated changes according to changed circumstances. But spirit and essence of Hinduism remained intact. For example Buddhism advocated burning of incense. It is oblation in miniature form only. New things do creep into with the dawn of new religious but time tested eternal values remain impregnable. This is the case with Hinduism also. New religious have helped it in its purification. It will not be high talk and hyperbolic to say that the fundamental principles of Hinduism and Buddhism are identical. now it only serve the purpose of hight caste did not yet integrate lower castes.

                          [This message has been edited by rvikz (edited April 18, 2002).]

                          Comment


                            #14
                            To that dude who is trained to think within a box, and classify thinking outside thge box as shaithani thinking.

                            The concept of Hindu god is NOT like Muslim god. It is totally in a different plane....to know more read this:

                            Definition of “God”:
                            To understand the world of Hindu gods, we need to be sure that we are in the same plane in our definition of Gods. In Christianity, God is a person who has feelings, who can love or sometimes get angry. In Islam, (I should be very careful here) it is an entity that is merciful and loving and at the same time, will punish some sinners. In Islamic or Christian beliefs, god loves humans, has given us a code of conduct and expects humans to follow it. In essence, in Islam and Christianity, God has properties and can possibly demonstrate some behavior.

                            Hindu God:
                            In Hindu belief, God is absolute consciousness, the primordial, non-dual reality. It is abstract, contained in itself, has no properties or behavior, and is unperceivable to human sensory organs. God is not the Creator as well, and does not control anything nor expect humans to stick to any code or behavior. "It is subject, and not object, and consequently cannot be an object of cult or worship "[1]
                            It is because of this, you will never see any temples for this supreme consciousness (also referred as Brahmn).

                            Definition of “Consciousness”:
                            Consciousness can be explained to be as "The ability to have subjective experience. The ability of a being, animal, or entity to have self-perception and self-awareness. The ability to feel (visualize, imagine and experience)" [2]. There is no parallel to this Hindu concept of god in Western or other religions and hence a comparison is impossible and ineffective.

                            As this absolute consciousness remains inaccessible to human comprehension, Hindus associate certain features of this indescribable entity as god(s). A quick example - As knowledge (knowledge of Supreme reality) cannot be visualized, anything that gives knowledge is sacred in Hinduism - as it can potentially open the door of self-realization and supreme enlightenment. Books, paper, computers, calculators are all sacred, to name a few. At the same time, nothing is blasphemy. A true Hindu will not be offended when somebody burns the book of Gita. I am digressing here!

                            Thus, this concept of Hindu god has nothing to do with neither the Islamic concept of God nor any Christian belief - and comparisons are almost always misleading. Hinduism has never been monotheistic or polytheistic. It has exhibited the characteristics of these at the same time and at times it is even pantheistic.
                            Thus, this absolute 'God' without properties, contained in it, cannot be comprehended. Hindus however believe that one must always turn towards God's 'reflections' in our relative plane so that we can be conscious of the supreme consciousness. Hence came idols. (And truly, these need not be restricted to idols). It can be pictures, tools and equipments, even symbolic entities, anything you see, hear, smell, speak, feel or imagine. Hinduism is truly undogmatic. There is nothing that is wrong!

                            And these Hindu gods are not in competition with one another. Any reflection you choose as 'ista devatha' (reflection of personal choice) is equal to any other. That is why; it seems to outsiders, that Hinduism is Polytheistic.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thats very intersting and I am very happy for you and the 350 million gods of the culture known today as "hinduism".

                              We are thus in consonance that it is not a religion but a cultural generalization which tries hard to pass itself off as a beleif system like budhism, zoroatarianism and Islam.

                              ------------------
                              Thus, spake the Sword...

                              Comment

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