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. 

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