Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment