Friday, May 24, 2013

Some aspects that other religions may never understand!

This is again in response to Dr. Naik's commentary on 'Hinduism' from the perspective of Islam. He unfortunately presents his perspective as if it is the only true fact - the only possible truth. It is unfair for anyone to compare one ideology based on the principles of another. The assumptions, the definitions, the boundaries, the prejudices, the contexts, and almost everything differ. In his case, Dr. Naik inappropriately attempts to compare 'Hindu' ideology within the confines of Islamic framework. Islam may be a 'glorious' religion, as Dr. Naik claims, but has its own framework. The attempt to equate it with something else is inappropriate. Here is my perspective about some of the aspects that are beyond the frameworks of most other religions, particularly the Abhramic ones.

Vedantic texts discuss ideas that other religions, philosophies, ideologies do not discuss. For example, the idea of punarjanma or divya-janma or avataara (incarnation or rebirth). These are alien to the Islamic framework in which one dies and waits endlessly to reach the heavens or hell. As such, one cannot argue against these concepts based on Islamic or other religious texts that do not speak this language.

Dr. Naik even claims that 'avatara' and 'punarjanma' are alien to Hindu texts too. I feel sorry for his ignorance on 'Hinduism' because this is discussed across all the Vedantic texts. Particularly in Bhagawad Gita Sri Krishna brings this up in many places. For example:
Gita 7.19
bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah
bahunam--many; janmanam--births; ante--after; jnana-van--he possessing knowledge; mam--unto Me; prapadyate--surrenders;vasudevah--cause of all causes; sarvam--all; iti--thus; sah--such; maha-atma--great soul; su-durlabhah--very rare.
After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.

Gita 8.15
mam upetya punar janma
duhkhalayam asasvatam
napnuvanti mahatmanah
samsiddhim paramam gatah
mam--unto Me; upetya--achieving; punah--again; janma--birth;duhkha-alayam--a place of miseries; asasvatam--temporary; na--never;apnuvanti--attain; maha-atmanah--the great souls; samsiddhim--perfection; paramam--ultimate; gatah--achieved.
After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

abrahma-bhuvanal lokah
punar avartino 'rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate
abrahma--up to the Brahmaloka planet; bhuvanat--from the planetary systems; lokah--planets; punah--again; avartinah--returning;arjuna--O Arjuna; mam--unto Me; upetya--arriving; tu--but; kaunteya--O son of Kunti; punah janma--rebirth; na--never; vidyate--takes to.
From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.

Regarding the idea of 'avatAra' (incarnation), below are a popular and spectacular verse from Bhagawad Gita, that highlights an idea that cannot be comprehended using other religious perspectives. The inconceivable nature of the Lord needs to be understood here, which is beyond other ideologies:

Gita 4.6 
ajo 'pi sann avyayatma
bhutanam isvaro 'pi san
prakrtim svam adhisthaya
sambhavamy atma-mayaya
ajah--unborn; api--although; san--being so; avyaya--without deterioration; atma--body; bhutanam--all those who are born; isvarah--the Supreme Lord; api--although; san--being so; prakrtim--transcendental form; svam--of Myself; adhisthaya--being so situated;sambhavami--I do incarnate; atma-mayaya--by My internal energy.
Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham
yada--whenever; yada--wherever; hi--certainly; dharmasya--of religion; glanih--discrepancies; bhavati--manifested, becomes; bharata--O descendant of Bharata; abhyutthanam--predominance; adharmasya--of irreligion; tada--at that time; atmanam--self; srjami--manifest; aham--I.
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion--at that time I descend Myself.

paritranaya sadhunam
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge
paritranaya--for the deliverance; sadhunam--of the devotees;vinasaya--for the annihilation; ca--also; duskrtam--of the miscreants;dharma--principles of religion; samsthapana-arthaya--to reestablish;sambhavami--I do appear; yuge--millennium; yuge--after millennium.
In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.

These above shlokas (and there are many like these) may appear conflicting or contradicting for other religious ideologies or scholars. This often results in a typical and natural response "If He is unborn, how can He be born? This is utter non-sense". But it is not for a Vedantic mind; for a Vedantist this is wonderful, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, profound, crystal clear and tastes like nectar. 

One's perception of sense and non-sense depends on a number of things - degree or level of spiritual intelligence, education, consciousness, awareness, comprehension, inclinations, nature, environment, associations and so on. One cannot comprehend this without a spiritual awareness, and and Bhagawad Gita is all about 'spirituality' and no 'religiosity'. You cannot analyze spiritual texts within the frameworks of religious texts (such as the Islamic ones); this would be like analyzing aspects of physics using the frameworks of chemistry, or the "koopa mandooka nyAya", i.e. attempting to scale or measure an ocean using the dimensions and limitations of a well.

Above are just a few handful verses, and there are many one I wish to compile here, over time. This is for a start. Contemplate and you grow.

All glories to Sri Narasimhadev because it is Narasimha Chaturdashi today. Hare Krishna. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brahmic (Hindu, Venantic) Vs Abrahamic

Most 'knowledgeable' 'Hindu's do not find it appropriate to call 'Hindu' a religion because it is not a communal system, unlike the Abhramic ones. Now, some 'scholars' of Abrahmic religions also claim something similar but that needs us to look into what 'communal' means. In brief 'Hinduism' does not have an originator; it does not have a marked beginning. So, everything that ever was, was infact "Hinduism" (unlike the 'regional' tag given much later by some foreigners). Sects started to appear as new 'religions' were founded. But, 'Hinduism' remained open to the multiple possibilities; in fact, nothing stops a 'Hindu' from adopting Islamic or Christian or Jewish or Buddhist ideas and yet remain open to all possibilities, but this cannot be said of any other religion, because such openness to possibilities is beyond the scope of other religions. As such, most other religions become communal unlike the much open minded 'Hinduism'. Anyway.

One is helplessly forced to adopt the tag of a 'Hindu' or a 'Vendantist' or 'Sanatana Dharmi' etc, because that is the only way to differentiate one system from the other. So, for the argument sake here, I will use the tag 'Hindu' or the 'brahmanical' (not to be confused with the caste brahmin, but the divine Brahma) to refer to the vedic or the vedantic system.

There are some trivia that I want to mention here before I proceed. Are these mere coincidences? Now, whether we call this an 'coincidence', or 'inheritance', or 'natural progression', or 'inspiration', or 'plagiarism', or  'design', or 'intentional distortion' or whatever, the fact remains that the Vedic texts existed since time immemorial, and as such there is little doubt which have inspired which?:

1) 'Abrahamic' religions originate from Abraham, and the Vedic system from 'Brahma'? Again, is it a coincidence that Abhram's wife's name is Sarah, and the companion of Lord Brahma is Saraswati? In Sanskrit "abrahma" means "Not Brahma", and "aabrahma" means "upto and including Brahma"!

2) Yahova or Jahoa or Yahweh is the 'Name of God of the old testament'. In Sansksrit "yahvu" means "great", and 'yahva' means "the great, the magnificent, the powerful; an epithet of heaven and earth".

3) Jesus, actually is "yEsu" or "yeshuva", "eeshua". In Sanskrit, 'eesha' means the "ruler, the Lord" and "Ishvara" actually means "the Lord, the controller, the all powerful, the Supreme Soul".

4) Allah, the God of Islam; is conceptualized as who is one without a second; one who cannot be seen; one who is out of this world, out of this creation, and there is nothing like him in this world etc. In Sanskrit:

  • "alOka" which means that which does not have a space, that which cannot be seen, one who/that does not belong to this created worlds, the resident of a spiritual world. "Allah" is NOT the name of God, it just means God and thus a divine bundle of divine attributes that no "created being" can have. 
  • अल् ("all") means "to adorn, to be competent, to be able", and "alam" means "self sufficient". Quran, when describing "Allah" says repeatedly "Allah is over all things competent"!
  • अल्लाय (allAya) means "an epithet of Indra".
  • अल्ला (allA) means Supreme Goddess 
5) Adam, is the first human; "aadi" in Sanskrit means first, and "aadima" means First, original, primitive

These are just a cursory look at few of the most significant words in the Abhramic religions in the light of Sanskrit. The intention is not to claim that all religions are the same, but that other religions may have derived inspiration from the Vedic texts and then improvised on them.

What are some primary differences between Vedantic ('Brahmanical') system and the Abrahmic religions?
To show the differences I specifically take the example of a Muslims because they attempt to follow Quran verbatim, unlike many Christians who have learnt to live beyond (not without) the Bible, i.e. they do not take the texts too literally, they are more secular now. As such there are very few 'extreme' Christians; this applies to a majority of the Jews as well. However, Muslims generally continue to 'religiously' live by the 'word of God', as they have no choice; they are obligated to.

  • Differences in the concept of God. Most 'abhramanic' religions are monotheistic - there is only one God and nothing else. Brahmanical system talk about one ultimate truth but then affirm that there are multiple reflections of that one truth.
    • There is a far better writing on this matter (thanks to Dr. Bhargava for the link)
    • For a Muslim, God is a dictator waiting to punish the wrong doers. God is to be feared. God is non-spiritual; God seems to have many 'human like qualities', and is partial:
      • Allah does not listen (which is a human quality) to disbelievers,
      • Allah will show wrath (human emotion) upon disbelievers,
      • Allah is partial (like humans are) to the disbelievers; Allah seals their hearts, ears and sight, and expect them to feel, hear and see - unjust (like humans)! 
      • Allah has a very complaining tone ("do they not see this", "tell them this") 
      • Allah has a limited purview of the world - it seems that Allah did not know much beyond the middle-east (human limitation) 
      • Allah is limited in space - He sits in His throne in the heavens somewhere and cannot come down at all (according to most Islamic Scholars). 
      • According to Islamic Scholars (viz Dr. Zakir Naik), Allah is Omniscient but not  Omnipotent or Omnipresent; He cannot lie, cheat, come into the world he creates etc etc. He can be in one place at a time, because Islamic Scholars question the 'avatara' concept because if God has come down He cannot be there. He cannot be there and here simultaneously. So, for a Muslim God has limitations. 
      • A Muslim has to continuously fear committing a Shirk (unforgivable sin)
    • However, the God of the Hindus is variegated. He is Spiritual. He can be everywhere at the same time. He can do ANYTHING. There is nothing He cannot do. 
      • God and his beings share similarities spiritually in some respects (check Gita for more). He resides in the heart of everything; He is in everything and everything is in Him but nothing controls Him; He can descend to His creation whenever He wants to. He is both formless and with form etc etc. 
  • Differences in the idea of Liberation - Salvation: 
    • For a Muslim Salvation is possible only by believing in one God, believing in Prophet Mohammed, following the Principles of Islam etc. And there is a Day of Judgement. Muslims will go to Jannat (Heaven) and rest are destined for Hell - eternally. 
    • For a Hindu liberation can happen in a number of ways; there are multiple paths for salvation; there are multiple levels of liberation; Heaven and Hell (which are argued to be non-physical, but there are both sides of argument, which is allowed in Hinduism) are not permanent destinations but temporary; anyone can attain heaven or hell according to one's own deeds; there is repeated birth until perfection is attained; one has to complete the 'karma' cycle before getting liberated. 
    • Both the cases are thesis topics summarized in a paragraph each.
  • Spiritual Vs Religious differences: 
    • The brahmanical System is SPIRITUAL in nature while the Abrahamic are very RELIGIOUS. 
    • Because of its religious nature, most Muslims simply, blindly follows something that is given in Quran. However a Hindu has the freedom to choose good from bad by logic. A Muslim is obligated (and thus blindly follows, because according to him Allah knows best, so no logic or reasoning is applied). It is more or less a RULE in most cases for a Muslim, all of which can be figured out by the human mind, and does not need a divine intervention - according to logic, science and a Hindu. Some examples: 
      • Personal Level: There is a debate on how long the beard should be, how long should a pant be; beard is not to be shaven and the mustache is to be trimmed; pants have be above the ankles and women should cover their head etc etc. A Hindu does have such RULES, at best they are guidelines and the rest is left to the practitioner to find his own best, and the belief is he can.
      • Food and Choice of Recreation: what to eat, what not to eat, how to kill an animal etc. A Muslim cannot listen to Music; whereas as a Hindu is told what are good and what are not and the guidelines are enough, he can figure out the right and the wrong; for a Hindu Music could be used to glorify the Lord instead of rejecting it; the idea is to dovetail everything the service of the Lord. 
      • Social Level: Quran will tell how many a man can marry, how to beat wife, not marry people from other religions without converting, 
      • Religious level: friendship is often between fellow Muslims; one who decides to relinquish Islam is to be killed; believe that Satan resides in one's nose or whatever, to perform the wudu ritual exactly the same way without deviations etc etc. 
      • A Muslims relies entirely on Quran for his day-to-day activities, it is a rule and not a guiding principle.
    • However, a spiritual 'hindu' has the choice, the freedom to choose - by scriptural injunction too (yAni anavadyAni karmAni tani tvayOpAsyAni, na itArani; yAni asmAkagaM sucharitAni tAni tvayOpAsyAni nOyitarAni). As said before, for a Hindu, the scriptures are "guiding principles", and he lives by the spirit and not verbatim. 
    • A knowledgeable Hindu understands everything from Spiritual perspective and is thus often more broad minded and open than most Muslims can ever be. Example, for a Muslim, his religious circle is of key significance - rest are all khafirs, the disbelievers. Whereas a Hindu guided by the principle "ayaM nijaH parO vEti gaNanA laghuchetasAm |udAracharitAnAM tu vasudhaiva kuTumbakam" “This is mine and others are not”, is the consideration of the less intelligent (narrow minded), but for an open minded (charitable) person, the entire world is family (responsible for the society).
    • Religious Extremism Vs Spiritual Extremism: More 'fundamental' or 'extreme' a Hindu becomes spiritual, calmer, peaceful, open and loving he tends to become. Because of his spiritual perspective, he views and treats everyone equally. He will learn to let others be who they are; he becomes more welcoming and respectful of all the differences and learns to see similarity in the differences. He becomes more flexible and accepting. 
    • However, more 'fundamental' or 'extreme' a Muslim becomes, more religious he becomes and thus dangerous he becomes to the society: he is bound to become anti-social and restless; examples of which can be seen in the society. He will learn to love his 'religious brethren' but ridicule, look down upon and mock those outside; more he feels like 'converting' others to Islam. He will look to kill the 'khafirs' and establish a Islamic Law.
    • It is better than a Hindu is extreme, on the contrary it is better that a Muslim is moderate. Sam Harris aptly says in his talk "The only problem with Islamic fundamentalist are the fundamentals of Islam". 
    • So, 'religious extremism' is not the problem but it is the direction a religion leads one to in that 'extreme' mindset that is. I am not referring to the scriptures themselves but the effect they may have on those who follow them. The danger is in following things 'religiously' and not living by the spirit of the scriptures; in now using a scripture as a reference or a guiding principle but a verbatim word of God.
  • The religoin, culture, history, politics etc etc are all mixed up in Islam. Everything is by the order of Allah and as such they are static, hard and closed to changes in the times; as such many aspects become irrelevant and outdated over time  However, there is a clear distinction between spirituality, 'dharma', culture, and traditions in the brahmanical system, which makes it more open to the changing times and situations. A Hindu can remain upto date and yet be spiritually independent of the changes. 
This is not an end to things. This is just a beginning.

TO Somesh Bhargava: 'Hindu' devata Vs Abrahamic God/god

This post is in response to a comment by Dr. Somesh Bhargava. I hope to make a separate posting on my perspective of ABRAHAMIC AND 'HINDU' CONCEPTS OF GOD.

Thanks Dr. Bhargava, I sincerely appreciate such comments, as they lead to discussions and debates, which I believe help us grow and connect with one another at a deeper level.

We may have differences in opinions and inferences or comprehensions but our intentions seem similar. I would invite you to please refrain from using strong words and making sweeping statements. Please educate me, I would be happy to, but please do refrain from passing prejudiced judgments. We can respect each other despite our differences :)  "sangacchadvam samvadadvam" :)

Here is Dr. Somesh Bhargava's objection:
"Just as "Puja" is not worship similarly "Devta" is not God/god of Abrahamic religion. U must be aware of something called non-translatable as introduced by Rajiv Malhotra in his book "Being Different:An Indian challenge to Western Universalism". Your problem is self inflicted due to your acceptance of western frame work as universal frame work and then trying to fit yourself into that. Get yourself cured for colonial consciousness and you won't have such artificial problems.

One God vs many Gods is problem of theology not spirituality."

Before I continue this posting, I would like to provide the 'dictionary' references to a few key words here (these are not my own definitions, and I am not very exhaustive here; I have provided only a few primary associations of these words):
1) दॆव ('deva' - दिव्-अच्; div-ach): 1) Divine, 2) shining; यज्ञस्य दॆवमृत्विजं; 3) fit to be worshiped or honored; दॆवांशः - partial incarnation of god; दॆवरं - a temple; अधिदॆवः, अतिदेवः - the supreme Lord, an epithet of Shiva, Vishnu; दॆवाधिपः - 1) an epithet of Indra, 2) the supreme god; देवान्नं - the food of the gods, divine food, ambrosia, 2) food that has been first offered to a deity, 3) sacred or dedicated to a deity; दॆवालयः - heaven, a temple; दॆवॆशः - 1) Indra, 2) Siva, 3) Vishnu, 4) Brahma; दॆवर्षिः - a deified saint, divine sage such as अत्रि, भृगु, पुलस्त्य, अंगिरस्, नारद;

2) दिव् (दिव्यंत्यत्र दिव्) - 1) The heaven, 2) The Sky, 3) A Day, 4) Light, brilliance, 4) Fire, glow of fire; दिवस्पति - epithet of Lord Indra; दिवौकस् - 'inhabitant of the heaven', a god; दिवस्पृश -the one who reaches and pervades the sky - the supreme being; दिवन् - the heaven, a day;

3) दॆवः - 1) a god, deity (एको दॆवः केशवॊ व शिवॊ वा); 2) a cloud, the god of rain, an epithet of Indra (द्वादश वर्षाणि देवो न ववर्ष); 3) a divine man, brahmaNa, 4) a king, a ruler, as in मनुष्यदॆव; 5) a title affixed to the names of brahmaNas, as in गॊविंददॆव, पुरुषॊत्तमदॆव; 6) (in dramas) a title of honor used in addressing a king (my lord, your majesty); 7) quick silver, 8) the supreme spirit, 9) a fool, 10) a child, 11) a man following any particular business, 12) a lover, 13) emulation, 14) sport, play; दॆवं - an organ of sense

4) दॆवता - 1) divine dignity or power, divinity; 2) a deity, a god; 3) image of a deity; 4) an organ of sense

So, deva and devata can have many many inferences that fit in according to context and circumstances. And, I have provided the context of the thread elsewhere too: 1) it was in response to Dr. Zakir Naik's talk, 2) It was an outcome of a conversation with a four year old.

I have treated 'deva' and 'dEvata' within the context of these inferences. I cannot get exhaustive but still keep the post small enough, and I can write in English and not Sanskrit. As such these are not intended to be "PERFECT" but then we are limited by a language, and I am limited by my knowledge :)

Now, coming to Dr. Bhargav's objections:

1) 'dEvta' is not God/god of the Abrahamic religion
I am not sure what your understanding of 'God'/'god' is, and how you see these from the angle of the 'Abhrahamic religion's. We need to look at these from perspective of one another, particularly when we are conversing via social media.

The Abhrahamic religions have a 'definition' for God, which is more or less - "the supreme being, one without a second, one who is the source (creator) of everything, one who has neither a beginning nor an end, one who witnesses our thoughts and actions, one who is all competent, just, merciful etc".

At this level, how is it significantly different from the Vedic definition of God? The Lord is described in a number of ways - "paramAtma", "paramEshvara", "AnAdiH", "AdiH", "avyayaH", "puruShaH", "sAkShi", "kshetrajna","sarva kAraNa kAraNam", and Sri Krishna says in Gita "aham sarvasya prabhavaH mattah sarvam pravartate", "aham aadir hi dEvanAm, manuShyANam..." etc etc.

I do agree that these are just few of the 'definitions' and that it is quite impossible to define the divine Lord, but then if we are to work with each other, within the limitations of a common language - English - then we are limited by what the language provides, and what each other can understand. And, ekam sat viprAh bahudA vadanti, and as such the very system - based on which you make the comment - provides the leeway and flexibility to adapt and adopt a 'definition' and comprehension.
"ye yatha mAm prapadyante tAmstativa bhajAmi",
"yOyO yAm yAm tanum bhaktaH",
"dEvAn devo yajo yAnti mad bhakta yAnti mAmapi";

"dEvAn bhAvayatAnEna te dEva bhAvayantu vaH parasparam bhAvayantaH sreyaH paramavApsyata", which can be interpreted in so many ways and different aacharyas have interpreted it differently.

So, we need to acknowledge that there are many interpretations of one word according to one's understanding, comprehension, consciousness etc. How we express depends on the language we use and the association of those words in that language. There are always dilutions in translations but we have work within those limitations. This is also probably why most of the commentaries of the aacharyaas are in Sanskrit, in order to avoid dilution in translation :)

2) "U must be aware of something called non-translatable as introduced by Rajiv Malhotra in his book "Being Different:An Indian challenge to Western Universalism". "
Yes. I myself make this a point in most of my posts - that it is virtually impossible the experience the richness of Sanskrit via English. But, I also acknowledge that we need to work within this limitations at times, as we are doing here.

3) "Your problem is self inflicted due to your acceptance of western frame work as universal frame work and then trying to fit yourself into that"
I would LOVE to read something from you and see what frameworks you employ :) I would love to see you write about how you would talk to a four year old (mine was not imaginary).

4) Get yourself cured for colonial consciousness and you won't have such artificial problems.
Please advise me how to get 'cured' :) Even though I disagree with your judgement, I respect your opinion. I would love to discuss and debate with you further about these :)

5) One God vs many Gods is problem of theology not spirituality
I have never categorized my post as spiritual or theology or philosophy. I just write how I see things; my perspectives. Whether spiritual or theological, in both cases the truth is one, and unchanged. Spiritually speaking, you may claim that there is no 'God', but then neither are you there; spiritually speaking, there is no meaning to all these conversations, but since we are having this let us not get overly philosophical. The spirituality-theology split is only superficial, academic, and artificial.

This is my opinion.

Please enlighten me and I am open to it, but please do not pass judgment; make an argument and we can debate over that :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why are there so many 'gods' in Hinduism

One of the most commonly asked question about Hinduism is "Why are there so many 'gods' in Hinduism". There are many answers to this questions, each of which is as speculative, and as enigmatic, as the other. There are numerous differences and agreements on the number of 'gods'. The following statement is one such from Wikipedia (which appears authentic given the Sanskrit reference from shatapatha-brahmaNa: 
"A popular but unfounded belief has been spread that Hindus have 33 crore (330,00,000) gods. It is a misunderstanding of the Vedic concept of the State, and hence a misinterpretation of the word koti. Thirty-three divinities are mentioned in the Yajur-veda, Atharva-... Tibetan masters who translated Sanskrit texts into Tibetan, rendered koti by rnam which means 'class, kind, category'. The thirty-three supreme deities are specified in the Satapatha-brahmana as: 8 Vasus + 11 Rudras + 12 Adityas, Prajapati, and Indra")

aṣṭau vásavaḥ ékādaśa rudrā dvā́daśādityā́ imé eva dyā́vāpr̥tʰivī́ trayastriṃśyaù tráyastriṃśadvaí devā́ḥprajā́patiścatustriṃśastádenam prajā́patiṃ karotyetadvā́ astyetaddʰyámr̥taṃ yaddʰyámŕ̥taṃ taddʰyástyetádutadyanmártyaṃ  eṣá prajā́patiḥ sárvaṃ vaí prajā́patistádenam prajā́patiṃ karoti tásmādetāścátustriṃśadvyā̀hr̥tayobʰavanti prā́yaścittayo nā́ma 

  • Twelve Ādityas (personified deities) – MitraAryamanBhagaVaruṇaDakṣaAṃśaTvāṣṭṛPūṣanVivasvatSavitṛŚakraViṣṇu
  • Eleven Rudras, consisting of: 
    • Five abstractions – Ānanda "bliss", Vijñāna "knowledge", Manas "thought", Prāṇa "breath" or "life", Vāc "speech",
    • Five names of Śiva – Īśāna "ruler", Tatpuruṣa "that person", Aghora "not terrible", Vāmadeva "pleasant god", Sadyojāta "born at once"
    • Ātmā "self"
  • Eight Vasus (deities of material elements) – Pṛthivī "Earth", Agni "Fire", Antarikṣa "Atmosphere", Vāyu "Wind", Dyauṣ "Sky", Sūrya "Sun", Nakṣatra "Stars", Soma "Moon"
  • Other sources similar to the Vedas include the two Aśvins (or Nāsatyas), twin solar deities. 
    • Indra also called Śakra, lord of the gods, is the First of the 33 followed by Agni
    • Prajāpati "Master of creatures", a creator deity.

I have my own take on the 'gods' of the vedic system. Following is a conversation that I had with my four and half year old son - Shambhu, who keeps me engaged through his curiosity. One of his recent doubts and inquiry was “Why are there so many ‘maami’s (gods or God) appa?”, a question that could have waited a few years. I believe it is relevant here because Dr. Zakir raises this question too. 

Setting the context of the conversation: In India, or may be in South India, or may be in Karnataka, or may be South Karnataka, or may be in our communities, we have the habit of tagging a ‘maami’ (deity or 'god') to most aspects of life; for example, book (maami), food (maami), fire (maami), sun (maami), Indra (maami), Krishna (maami). So, it is but natural that my curious son got curious about what the concept of maami and why so many! This also is sometimes a criticism of Hinduism by those who know very little about it, or is not even interested in knowing about it.
Now, before I could answered his inquiry, I thought it was worth helping him explore the answer instead of providing him with one. I thought I will start with what we meant by ‘maami’ in the first place. I hoped that in this attempt to understand the idea or concept of maami, he may find the answer himself.
Me: “What do you think is ‘maami’ (God or god)?”.
Shambhu: “I do not know”
Me: “OK. hmmmm now … can you live without water?”
Shambhu: “No”
Me: “Can you live without air?”
Shambhu: “No”
Me: “Can you live without fire or earth or sun or moon”
Shambhu: “No, we cannot”
Me: “Ok. Now, what about ‘KNOWLEDGE’”? (there was a discussion about what ‘Knowledge’ was, what I meant, and what he understood)
Shambhu: “No”
Me: “Where do we gain ‘knowledge’ from”?
Shambhu:”Books, school, teachers, you, amma, akka everyone”
Me: “Right. Now, should we respect them because without them we cannot live or we cannot exist?”
Shambhu: “yes, we should”
Me: “So, there are things without which we cannot exist! how should we, how can we, show our respects to such”?
Shambhu: “I dont know. May be by doing "namaskaara” to them?”
Me: “Good. May be yes. We do ‘namaskaara’ to something that we respect. Right?”
Shambhu: “Yes”
Me: “Now, what should we call them?”
Shambhu: “I dont know, may be ‘maami’ (god)?”
Me: “hehe Yeah. You are right. We have a word to describe those without who we cannot exist. We call them maami (‘god’s). So, now, do you understand why there are so many maamis”?
Shambhu: “Yes”
Me: “Now, who is that maami from who all these different maamis come from”?
Shambhu: “Krishna”
Me: “Yes. If everything comes from Krishna, can we live without Krishna?”
Shambhu: “No. So, Krishna is the maami of all the maamis”?
Me: “hahaha  Yeah. Krishna is the maaami of allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll......l the maamis, of everything – including us”.
Shambhu smiles and goes back to work and I get back to my work. In the process I realized some key lessons in having a conversation with my four year old. 
The reason I share this here is, it does not matter how maamis (deities) we worship, but we need to realize the ultimate truth - there is Only One God from who everything manifests. There is no doubt about this conclusion in the Vedic texts or the Gita or the commentaries of the 'aachAraAyas'. 
"aakaaShAt patitam tOyam yatha gacchati sAgaraM sarva dEva namaskAraH kEShavam prati gacchati" (just as a drop of rain water eventually reaches the ocean, all prostrations to all the deities eventually reach the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna). Sri Krishna confirms this in Bhagawad Gita. This is also why all auspicious events end with Sarvam Sri KrishNarpaNam. So, there is only one supreme Lord from who everything manifests. This is one thing that most religions have in common.
Sri KrishNArpaNam :)  

Dr. Zakir Naik: There is no mention of REBIRTH in the Vedas

Dr. Naik makes yet another claim that there is no mention of  rebirth in the Vedas. Let us see what the vedic texts have to say. I hope that Dr. Naik knows that Upanishads are part of vedic texts; and that upanishads provide the real glimpse of inner spiritual truths. I present below some of the instances and mentions of the cycle of birth and death, and of rebirth. In most cases references are indirect hints, which prescribe choosing the permanent over the temporary, and choosing liberation over the cycle of birth and death. However, I focus only on some of those statements that clearly and directly mention the cycle of life-and-death, and rebirth.

kaThopanishad: 3rd valli, verses 6 and 7. 
"yastu avijnAnavAn bhavati amanaskaH sadA ashuchiH | 
na sa tatpadamApnOti saMsAraM chAdhigacChati ||"

One who lacks the [spiritual] knowledge, lacks self control, and is 'impure' (foul), will not attain liberation but attains 'saMsAra' (birth in the material world).

yastu vijnAnavAn bhavati samanaskaH sadA shuchiH | 
sa tu tatpadamApnOti yasmAdbhooyO na jAyate ||

[However,] one who is learned (has spiritual knowledge), has self control, and is 'pure', will attain liberation, and does not take birth again (this is an example of the 'indirect' reference that I was talking about, which is the pursuit of 'liberation' and bypassing the cycle).

The subsequent verses clarify what 'padam' implies in the above verses - the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu, which implies liberation. It is clear that one may or may not take rebirth according to the factors mentioned above. There are repeated indirect reference to bypassing rebirth in the 6th chapter where qualities to attain liberation are explicitly discussed, the consequence is, if liberation does not happen then one becomes part of samsAra again.

muNdakOpanishad: khaNda 2, verse 7: 
... etatcChrEyo yEbhinaMdati mooDhA jarAmrUtyuM tE punarEvApi yaMti ||

.... those foolish people who pursue the impermanent aspects enter the cycle of birth and death.

As with kaThopaniShad, here also the discussion is more around the positive aspect of attaining liberation, i.e. escaping from the cycle of birth and death.

shetashvatara Upanishad: 1.11
jnAtvA dEvaM sarvaoAshApahAniH ksheeNaiH klEshair janma-mRutyuprahANiH |

Upon understanding the Lord, all bondage is destroyed (one becomes free), all the distress is weakened (destroyed) and one is released from the cycle of birth and death.

prashNOpaniShat, 1.10
.... yetadvai prANanAm-Ayatanam-Etad-amRutam-abhyaM-Etat-parAyaNaM-EtasmAt-punarAvartataM ... |

(upon controlling / winning-over the senses, inquiring and meditating on self and God) immortality, fearlessness, and liberation can be obtained after which there is no coming back.

athaikaryOrdhva udAnaH puNyEna puNyaM lOkaM nayati pApEna pApamubhAbhyAmEva manuShyalOkam

Now, via the one (suShumnA nAdi), one moves upward towards the puNyalOka due to the puNyAs, pApalOka (narka) through pApa, and by a combination of both into the 'manuShyalOka' (earth; which symbolizes the cycle of birth and death).

tEjO ha vA udAnastAsmAdupashAMtatEjAH | punarhavamiMdriyairmanasi saMpadyamAnaiH ||

'tejas' is udAna, due to which the one who has lost 'tejas', along with the mind and senses, takes rebirth (punarbhavaM)

sOmalOke vibhootim anubhooya punarAvartate
One after experiencing the riches and pleasures of the higher 'soma' planet comes back into this world (takes birth again)

And, then there are mantras to instruct how to escape this path of repeated rebirth, the path of liberation.

Complementing the above statements are the statements from the PurANAs and Bhagawad Gita. Dr. Naik tries to bypass Bhagawad Gita because it is one scripture that provides the best and the most clear answers to the question on hand. There is no debate on the authority of the vedas but all the 'aachAryas' (greatest vedic scholars) have insisted on the authority of Bhagawad Gita as well, because a) it is directly from the Lord (nArAyaNEna svayam), and b) it is the essence of all the vedas/upanishads. And, in Bhagawad Gita Sri Krishna says in several places that unless 'liberated' one takes birth again and again in a cycle:

1) bahunAm janmanAm ante jnAnavAn mAm prapadyate
      .... after multiple births, the intelligent soul approaches me
2) mAm upEtya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate
    .... if you approach me, there will be no rebirth....
3) aabrahma bhuvannAlloka punarAvartinOrjuna
   ... from the highest material planets (brahma loka) one takes rebirth upon completing the credits.
4) te tam bhuktva svarga-lokam visAlam ksine punye martya-lokam visanti
         After exhausting the enjoyments of the higher planetary systems (heaven etc), they descend down to the earth (which is the planet of of birth and death). 
5) mAm upetya punar janma duhkhAlayam asAsvatam nApnuvanti mahAtmAnah
         After attaining Me, the great souls never return to this temporary world 

Again, these are just some of the examples where it is clearly mentioned about rebirth. It is inappropriate of Dr. Naik to claim that Sri Krishna never mentions about rebirth in Bhagawad Gita or that the vedas do not talk about rebirth or that it is a recent concoction. Irrespective of whether or not the Muslims, and the others can comprehend, understand, acknowledge, appreciate and accept the concept of rebirth, the truth remains clear from the vedic scriptural point of view.

Dr. Zakir Naik: Prophet Mohammed in the Hindu scriptures

1) Mohammed in AtharvavEda: narasamsha in Arabic mean Mohammed
  1. OMG! was my first reaction upon hearing this one!  
  2. First of all, Dr. Naik translates an adjective 'narAshamsa' to a proper noun :) He translates narasamsha as praise worthy, and that 'Mohammed' means praise worthy in Arabic, so narasamsha refers to Mohammed in the vedic texts. Oops what a logic - certainly 'praise worthy'!!!!  
  3. First of all it is an adjective; it is an attribute of a person being discussed/praised in the Hymn. It is inappropriate to translate an adjective in Sanskrit to English and then that to Arabic as "Mohammed". 
    1. He is VIOLATING the very rule that his own 'Guru', Ahmed Deedat, condemns repeatedly in his talks  (; that this is a sickness; that one has no right to translate the names of people, they should be as they are - why this dichotomy? 
    2. Adjective should be treated like an adjective, even Manmohan Singh is narasamsha in the eyes of some, but that does not mean that one can equate Manmohan Singh with Mohammed.
  4. Second, Dr. Naik assumes (thinks) that these are all prophecies. These are NOT. These are praises in glory of Lord Indra and other devatas (agni, soma etc).
  5. Dr. Naik claims 'He will be a camel riding rishi'. Ustra does mean camel but it can also mean 'a bull with a hump, a cart, a wagon, a buffalo'. There is reference to cows along with the ustras, which implies it probably was a bull or a buffalo that is being talked about here. And then, there is a chariot that almost touches the heavens. Such a mention does not describe Mohammed at all, and moreover it is NOT a prophecy, even if it was it does not unequivocally refer to Mohammed.
  6. Dr. Naik says that "the reference cannot be to an Indian Rishi because a Brahmin cannot ride a camel, so it has to be a foreigner"! really? how are those related? Why should a rishi be a Brahmin; many of the rishis were rajarishis! This reflects the ignorance of Dr. Naik.
  7. 'Rebha' is translated as "one who praises", and as before, this supposedly refers to Mohammed. Rebh actually means "to make noises, (as cows), to crackle, to sounding loudly, a praiser, a talker". Now, we know that there were chariots, cows, buffaloes, all the gold etc, if so then what are we referring to here? Even then,many people can be a considered as 'praiser's (it does not come with any special qualification), and then many are 'praise worthy' (narasamsha), so it is ridiculous to stretch them to infer to Mohammed. None of these attributes are unique to Mohammed and do not seem to indicate Mohammed by any stretch.
  8. None of the claims till now are valid, even upon stretching they are not unequivocal. None uniquely describe Mohammed in anyway. On the contrary, since they are in praise of Indra or other deities it is inappropriate to associate these with them and not take them out of context;  
  9. Dr. Naik very intelligently says "due to lack of time we will discuss only the first four", but the truth is the subsequent verses make it clear that it is talking about the times of, and in the praise of, the worthy king Pareekshith, and not Mohammed. This again is Dr. Naik's cheap trickery. 
    • Verse 7. Listen ye to the high praise of the king who rules over all peoples, the god who is above mortals, of Vaisvânara Parikshit
    • Verse 8. 'Parikshit has procured for us a secure dwelling when he, the most excellent one, weat to his seat.' (Thus) the husband in Kuru-land, when he founds his household, converses with his wife. 
Dr. Naik's such misplaced references of Mohammed continue, and it starts to get more and more ridiculous and funny.
  1. Dr. Naik mentions Atharvaveda, Book 20, Hymn 21, and Verse 6 as referring to Mohammed, as the 'praise worthy'. Ufff!!!! This very Hymn is all about Indra: "We will present fair praise unto the Mighty One, our hymns to Indra in Vivasvān's dwelling-place". And it is Indra who is being praised here, of having won the battle by his might, not Mohammed. Where in the world does Naik find such references?
  2. He then refers to verse 7, and says that it refers to Mohammed, but this verse clearly refers to "Indra"; "namyA yad indra sakhyA parAvati nibarhayo".
  3. He then refers to Rigveda, Book 1, Hymn 53, Verse 9. The word is taken to be 'sushrama' to supposedly mean "praise worthy", and as such referring to Mohammed. First of all, it is 'sushrava', and it looks like the name of a PERSON, not an adjective. Again, it is inappropriate to translate names across languages, or interchange adjectives to names, as discussed in point 2 above. 
    1. (तवमेताञ जनराज्ञो दविर्दशाबन्धुना सुश्रवसोपजग्मुषः |  षष्टिं सहस्रा नवतिं नव शरुतो नि चक्रेण रथ्या दुष्पदाव्र्णक ||)
  4. Dr. Naik then quotes Samaveda Agni matra 64, that Mohammed was not fed by his mothers milk and this verse supposedly supports that. First of all, these verses are in praise of the Agni, the Deity of Fire!!!!!!!!!! Even if we were to ignore that fact, there have been millions before and after Mohammed who may not have been fed by the mother's milk. There is no mention of 'he goes on to become a prophet', this is Zakir's improvisation. God only can help Mr. Zakir. 
  5. I tell myself "why am I wasting my time on this idiot", but then I am getting to know more of this fake 'scholar', who claims to be a 'student of comparative religion'. I am losing respect for him with every reference he provides. 
  6. The Most Hilarious of all is this one: Dr. Zakir claims that Samaveda Uttarchika, Verse 1500 mentions about Mohammad, that this prophecies that "Ahmed" will be given the Eternal Law - the Quran. Dr. Naik further says "Since 'Ahmed' is not a Sanskrit word, the translators could not understand the meaning of 'Ahmed', so they broke the word into two - ah and meti, which they translated as 'I alone'. Now it reads as 'I alone have been given the eternal law' but it should actually be read as 'Ahmed has been given the eternal law' referring to Quran" ... hahahhaaaaa ... "ah" and "meti"?  aaaaahaaaa .... Sorry, but I cannot help but laugh here. This is ridiculous! Oh My God! This is height hahahaha .... cannot stop laughing :) 
    1. Here is the verse from Samaveda: अहमिद्धि पितुष्परि मॆधामृतस्य जग्रह. ANYONE who knows the BASICS of Sanskrit will tell that AHAM means "I" (self). iddhi means 'kindle or light-up', so there is no confusion as to what this verse means. A basic translation would read "I have been awakened by the kindling of the eternal wisdom (which some have translated as laws) of my father". 
    2. First of all, it is ridiculous to say that Sanskrit scholars did not know how to translate this simple verse. Second, it is even more ridiculous to say that this refers to Ahmed. 
  7. Should we really continue analyzing Dr. Naik? This has turned out to be more of an entertainment than enlightenment :)  Anyway, Dr. Naik continues quoting and exhibiting his sense of humor. 
  8. There is one more place where "अहमिद्धि" is found in the samaveda text, and Dr. Naik is excited.  
  9. All his subsequent references are all as fake as the above. There is no mention of Ahmed or Mohammed or anything in any of these verses, and thus is superficially brushes it aside without explaining much other than generalizing that the word Ahmed is in mentioned in SEVERAL PLACES. I have now looked at every other source he has provided till now, and each turns out to be as inaccurate as the other. It is not just distorted but I think he is guilty of religious contempt and should be tried in court for trickery and cheating.
    1. If narasamsha was uttermost non-sense, 'अहमिद्धि' is hilarious.  
I had some respect to this man, but a basic / superficial check was enough to dismiss him as a fake scholar. He has consistently twisted the text and using unethical methods. He seems to quote verses after verses but each is a fake as the above verses are. He mesmerizes and enchants people by rutting the references like a parrot, none of which are right.

Dr. Naik on avatAra

Dr. Naik starts well with the idea of avAtara, by appropriately quoting the Gita and Bhagavatam, but then goes back to his limiting Quranic perspective. He says:
"avatAr is not in the vedas, so it refers to a man that the Almighty God has sent".

With this, he sets the false premise that an avatar is actually a man sent by God, and builds on that. He says that the vedas talk about the Rishis, who are God 'sent' to guide the humankind. He then compares this idea with the prophethood as mentioned in the abhramanic religions, and then connects the two dots - that avataras are actually rishis who are sent by God, in parallel with Quran.  Uff. This is called arm twisting of the truth.

This is the another great example of Dr. Naik's koopa maNduka nyAya - a frog from the well attempting to comprehend the ocean with its understanding of the width and depth of the well it was part ofOn the surface it appears logical but is infact absolutely misplaced. This is similar to a popular riddle we used to play with during our highschool days: "More you study, more you know. More you know, more you forget. More you forget, less you know. Then why study". It appeared very logical, but is absolutely illogical. But this riddle is for fun but Dr. Naik's claim is not very far from the humor and logic of this riddle. 

First of all, to understand 'avatar' he needs to have a good spiritual understanding as discussed in the vedas, upanishads and Gita, which he lacks poorly. He may need to develop a thorough understanding of the concept of soul, supersoul, and the relationship between those. This may need him to read Bhagawad Gita thoroughly before even commenting on this concept. However, Dr. Naik bypasses all these, poses like an expert and reduces the argument by setting a wrong premise. 

Here is a quick note on this topic: for a Hindu, there are authorities of the scriptures. The most prominent of them is Sri VedavyAsa, about who I have already discussed [about the smritis and the shrutis]. Then there are the 'aacharyas' - Sri Shankara, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva to name a few. The conclusion of the acharays and the marishis is unambiguous - Gita, Upanishads and Brahma Sutras are the three authoritative texts. From the Gita it is very clear that 'avatAra' is NOT a messenger of God, but the God Himself. The same is true from the perspective of Upanishads.

In the Gita, Sri Krishna says in several places that He is the Supreme Lord: example "aham sarvasya prabhavaH, mattaH sarvaM pravartate" (I am the Lord of everything and everything comes from me); that He is "mahEshvara"; that He and His true nature "cannot be perceived by the tained/naked eyes because the intelligence is covered by the illusory energy"; that He is the only one to be worshiped; that every action is to be submitted to Him alone. A prophet cannot make such claims, only an avatara can.

From the Islamic perspective, the above are the claims made by 'Allah' in Quran, so Muslims should not have much issues in accepting Sri Krishna as the Supreme Lord - God Himself. I respect them if they cannot acknowledge and accept this as truth, because as Sri Krishna Himself says - that is their intelligence level and He provides that which matches their level. 

I can quote references after references in support of the argument that Sri Krishna is not a rishi as Dr. Naik claims. If Dr. Naik had truly read the Gita or the Upanishads, he would not have had this doubt. But, given that he quotes them so well, I can assume that he knows, and that means that intentionally slides through without discussing what Sri Krishna mentions in the Gita. He quotes only that which supports his quranic perspective, but is that the way to understand a religion which has very litle in common with Islam? I am surprised that he claims himself to be a 'student of comparative religion' - you cannot be one if you are so closed Dr. Naik.  

So, prophet-hood is a conception of the abhramanic religions, which we can respect. But please do not attempt to understand Hinduism from the eyes of Islam, it is absolutely inappropriate. Do not reduce the 'avatAra' to the level of a prophet, it is an insult, as much as reducing Quran [with all due respects to this amazing scripture] to be a 'timepass' book, concocted in the middle east. Please do not dilute.

Part 5: Dr. Zakir's absolutely Misplaced references and inferences

Continuing from the previous section ...

1) Dr. Naik provides a very simplistic translation of 'Brahma' in English ('Creator'), translates that to Arabic as 'khalik', correlates that with Quran, and then claims that Muslims have no objection with that. He says that Muslims take exception if Brahma is described as one with four heads etc. 
  • First of all, to support this viewpoint, Dr. Naik quotes his favorite verse from shevatashvatara upanishad "na tasya pratima asti" [which I have shown elsewhere - part 1 - to be an illogical and inappropriate application of the statement, taken completely out of context]. His understanding of "na tasya pratima asti" from the material perspective of form is incorrect. 
  • Secondly, it does not matter if a Muslim has an objection, or takes an exception, or not, that should not be the criteria for comprehending truth and the true nature of God. 
    • It appears that Muslims are simple minded and need direct instructions, as they do not seem to understand symbolic language of the 'hindu' ideology, as such the Lord provides that which matches their intelligence - Quran. 
    • Muslims and Dr. Naik should not to attempt to understand (and thus criticize) 'Hinduism' from the eyes of Islam or Quran; it is just as inappropriate as the attempt to understand the planetary systems using a stethoscope or a microscope, just because that is all you have. It needs a deeper analysis than the superficial treatment that Dr. Naik provides.
  • Thirdly, this word to word translation is too immature because a rich language like Sanskrit renders itself to the context; the word brahma has virtually limitless definitions, so it is inappropriate to provide such a simplistic translation and then authenticate it using Quran, which is not a litmus test.
2) The same issues of 'translation immaturity' applies to other 'attributes' Dr. Naik discusses from the vedic scriptures. Example, Vishnu is simplistically translated as "one who sustains", so that it fits with the Arabic equivalent of 'rubb' described in Quran. Again, if Dr. Naik were to take the primary meaning of Vishnu (which is from the root word 'viSh' which means to pervade, to spread, to embrace, and as such VishNu is all pervading, omnipresent) it would be haram for him from the Quranic perspective, so he seems to deliberately skip the real meaning. You need not force yourself to come to 'common terms', we can be at peace as long as you have the heart to acknowledge and appreciate the differences. 

3) Wow! here is Dr. Naik's greatest blunder number 1! He claims that the word ALLAH is in all religious texts. This is an interesting claim because this is akin to saying that "ALLAH" is the NAME of God, which is untrue!!!! This is a very important point where Dr. Naik badly trips because he himself says elsewhere that Allah is NOT a NAME of God but an Arabic word that MEANS God. He has argued that the Muslims prefer to use the Arabic word 'Allah' over the word 'God' so as not to confuse the conceptions of God from other religious conceptions. So, now to say that ALLAH's name can be found in all religious scriptures is totally absurd and ridiculous. 

4) Blunder number 2, where his credibility goes for a toss. 
Dr. Naik claims that the name of Allah (which itself is illogical at the outset; a discussed in the earlier point) is mentioned in the Vedic texts. He provides examples from Rigveda Book 2, Hymn 1, Text 11: तवमिळा षतहिमासि दक्षसे तवं वर्त्रहा वसुपते सरस्वती || Where, iLA is said to refer to Allah. Dr. Naik needs to note that this is a book in praise of Agni, who is praised as "the hundred-wintered Iḷā to give strength". iLA here is supposedly feminine, a shakti dEvate - umA (consort of Lord Shiva). Interestingly, in Sanskrit, 'अल्ला’ means Mother or Supreme Goddess

Mr. Naik, caution: If this were to be accepted as referring to 'Allah' then it would be harAm and shirk. So this reference is inappropriate even from the Islamic perspective. So not sure why you make this futile attempt, but that also exposes your ignorance of vedic texts and ideologies. 

5) Next, Dr. Naik refers to RigvEda Book 3, Hymn 30, verse 10: "अलात्र्णो वल इन्द्र वरजो गोः पुरा हन्तोर्भयमानो वयार" (He who withheld the kine, in silence I yielded in fear before thy blow, O Indra). This is a hymn in praise of Indra, where 'अलातृन' implies 'miserliness' or 'not granting anything', which is being 'in silence'. I am in utter shock at Dr. Naik jugglery. 

6) He then refers to Book 9, Hymn 67, and verse 30: "अलाय्यस्य परशुर्ननाश तमा पवस्व देव सोम" (Lost is alAyya's (an epithet of Indra) axe. O Soma, God do thou send it back hither in thy flow), where Dr. Naik hints that "अला" here refers to Allah. Again, Dr. Naik needs to be aware that these verses are in praise of Indra, a demigod, a partner of Allah, and is involved in Shirk. 

Dr. Naik then intelligently concludes saying "similarly, the name of Allah is mentioned in several places in the Vedic texts". We have already looked at all the references he has provided, and how absurd - and anti-Islamic, un-islamic, unbecoming - they are. These references are not only objectionable and worthy of laughter for 'Hindu's but also highly objectionable to Muslims, Islam and Quran. 

Come to think of this, some people trust him! I feel sorry for his ignorance but appreciate his courage, discipline, dedication, and hardwork.