a post from johneeG
from "Indian Interests"
All the Vedic/Hindu social rules are to encourage and facilitate individuals to reach that upanishad levels of consciousness. But until they reach that levels, the interactions are judged based on varna-Asrama dharma rules.
So since your HIndu/ HIndutva is stuck at Varna, Ashrama levels and not at God Realization, then why blame Buddhists, Jains or who so ever if they practice penance and meditation and come to whatever realization? They are certainly then way above you both in Dharmic sense and God realization. Since you're stuck at the bottom of the heap how can you even comment on them?
The difference between Hinduism and other creeds('dharmic' or otherwise) is that they have a single 'solution' that they try to foist upon all of humanity. All the non-creeds come up with a one size fits all philosophy. A single book, a single prophet(or saviour or guru or avatar) will guide all of the humanity.
In Hinduism, on the other hand, there is something called: adhikara(competence/qualification). Based on the seeker's(saadhaka's) adhikara(competence/qualification), there are different solutions. One size does not fit all.
Most people are in basic level only. For such people, the path of karma has been prescribed. Karma means rituals, rites, duties as prescribed in shastras(vedas and associated scriptures).
There is also another path of bhakti(devotion). Those who cannot perform karma for some reason can take up bhakti marga. Even those who perform karma can use bhakti to make their karma more impactful.
Finally, there is a gyana marga. This marga is called Raja Marga. It is a straight-forward to realization. Realization of self/Atma == realization of God/Goddess/Universal/Brahman. But, it is the most difficult of methods. It is reserved for only the most advanced saadhakas(seekers).
In the following post, I try to explain why gyana marga is not suitable to all saadhakas.
Oh, I left out a juicy bit. My brother's question - "if this 'Brahman' is so important to Hinduism, how come there are no temples for this 'Brahman,' even after so many thousand years? See how stupid Hindus are?" What would your answer be to my brother, Murugan? Do you think your view of SD could convince him any better than I could?
I don't know whether the answer would convince him but regardless:
Aham brahmasmi ----------------- I am Brahman.
Tat tvam asi --------------------- It(Brahman) is you.
Ayam atma brahma --------------- This self is Brahman i.e. self(Atma) and Brahman are same.
Prajnanam brahman -------------- Brahman is supreme Consciousness-Knowledge.
Ekam evadvitiyam brahma --------- Brahman is one, without a second
Sarvam khalvidam brahma --------- All of this is brahman
Brahma satyam jagan mithya ------- Brahman is eternal(real); the world is temporary(illusory)
satyam jnanam anantam brahma ---- Brahman is eternal(true), knowledge(consciousness) and infinite.
Brahman is Sat(Ever existent), Chit(Consciousness) and Ananda(Bliss).
Brahman is formless and qualityless.
yato vAcho nivartante aprApya manasA saha
Neither words nor mind can reach it i.e. Brahman is beyond description and imagination.
Such a Brahman cannot be loved or hated, praised or condemned, worshiped or disregarded. It is beyond all of this. Yet, all exists because of it. Just as without Sunlight one cannot see anything. But Sun is unaffected by everything.
As you can see, no one is capable of worshipping such a Brahman(in temple or outside). The only way is to realise Brahman as self(Atma).
There is method for this realisation: Since Brahman cannot be directly described, or imagined. A negative method is employed in analysis. It involves, a careful analysis while disqualifying(rejecting) everything which is not Brahman. This is the famous 'Neti Neti' approach. Neti means not this. Here, everything that is not Brahman is rejected. Brahman cannot be seen, touched, tasted, heard, or smelled. So, everything that can be seen, touched, tasted, heard or smelled is rejected(Neti). So on the analysis continues until everything that is not Brahman is rejected. So, what is left unrejected must be Brahman.
Eg: If you boil the salt-water, all the water will evaporate and you will be left with salt.As you can see, this is a very difficult approach. This approach is called Jnana Marga(Path of Knowledge). It is unfeasible for ordinary folk. And spirituality would become a domain of few select elites.So, to facilitate everyone, Brahman(the formless, infinite, eternal being) acquired forms, performed some Leelas, exhibited qualities. Essentially, Brahman which is unaccessible to people has now become accessible. The people can meditate on these beautiful divine forms, imagine these leelas, understand these qualities. People can worship these forms and chant the names. It is these various forms that have temples.
There are various such forms: Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu, Parvati, Lalitha, Surya, Ganapati, Subrahmanya...etc. All of these forms are Brahman.
Several ponds and rivers may exist. But all of them are water.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gave an example(I don't know if I remember correctly):
Water does not have a shape. Similarly, Brahman is formless. But to aid the people, Brahman obtained forms. Just as water condenses into an ice crystal(which has a form). This is Karuna(Compassion) of the God(s).
The people can worship these forms and be benefited. This is Bhakti(Devotion).
Then, once devotee has acquired enough maturity, he realises that the forms, he worshiped are nothing but Brahman. This is similar to ice melting to liquid and then to steam. This is Jnana(Realisation-Knowledge).
----The forms acquired by Brahman are not similar to our forms. Brahman has acquired forms by the power of Maya which is in its control. While Jeevas(Ordinary mortals) are in the grip of Maya, Brahman controls Maya.The Leelas are not similar to our actions. Our actions are Karmas, while actions of God/Goddess are Leelas because they are not bound by their actions unlike us.
In short, God(s)/Goddess(es) are absolutely independent and free. Unlike us. By worshiping their forms, chanting their names, meditating on them, we can benefit.
At somepoint, we will acquire to the maturity to implement the 'Neti, Neti' method to reject everything but Brahman. Then, we will 'know' Brahman. Such a person is called 'Brahmavit'.
Brahmavit Brahma eva bhavati.
One who knows Brahman becomes Brahman.
(Corollary: Only Brahman can know Brahman)
But, there is no Moksha(liberation from cycle of birth and death) without Gyana.
What is the impediment in acquiring the Gyana?
A karma(action) has two reactions:
a) a result of the action
b) a mental impression on the doer of the action.
If a karma(action) is repeatedly performed, than the doer of that karma(action) becomes habituated to the karma(action). Roughly, this mental habit/obsession is called vasana. Strictly speaking, vasana is a mental impression in the doer of any passive or active karma(action).
These mental impressions(vasanas) propel people to act in a certain manner. They manifest as desire, anger, ...etc. Mental impressions(vasanas) can be both 'good' and 'bad', just like habits can be 'good' and 'bad'.
The ultimate step is to remove all vasanas(mental impressions), so that the mind is free from all bondage of past actions(and associated mental impressions).
How to stop vasanas(mental impressions)?
All mental impressions(vasanas) manifest as karma(actions). If you are habituated to smoking, then that habit will force you to smoke. How to stop it? By not indulging in smoking anymore. Similarly, to stop mental impressions, one will have to stop indulging in the associated karmas(actions).
But, all vasanas(mental impressions) cannot be stopped in one go. Attempting such a thing can be counter-productive, generally. A heavy chain-smoker cannot quit smoking suddenly.
What to do then?
To quit smoking in a phased manner. Slowly, in a calibrated manner, cut down on the number of smokes. Similarly, slowly and in a calibrated manner, one will have to reduce the vasanas(mental impressions) by control of sensory organs(Indriya nigraha).
For this purpose, Ashramas have been designated. Brahmacharya(bachelorhood), Grihastha(marriage), vanaprastha(retirement), sanyasa(renounciation) are the four ashrama(stages) which gradually 'de-addict' a person from his vasanas(mental impressions).
Once the person is free of mental impressions(vasanas), and has cultivated vairagya(detachment for the pleasures of life and after-life), then the person is ready for gyana marga(path of knowledge).
This is the structure of Hinduism. The essential goal is to take everyone to Moksha(liberation). But the method is not always same because different people have different needs, desires and temperaments.
Hinduism is comprehensive set that contains all the valid methods. All the other 'religions' in the world have directly/indirectly taken one or some of these Hindu methods and created a new creed.
johneeG wrote: VikramS wrote:
If you have not understood why, you have made much use of your time on BR. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism_a ... ifferences
Do you believe Khushwant Singh or Mcleod? KS is almost 100 years old and has been alive for almost a one third of the existence of the Khalsa 1699.
Sikhism is the latest refinement of Dharma. In most progressive systems, newer iterations tend to be a more appropriate and relevant version than the old. This cycle will hopefully continue.
I don't subscribe to the simplistic view that the latest is the best version. There are several factors that can give rise to the newer versions and make them popular. Just because a newer version has come into existence, does not mean it is better than the previous version. If a system has already attained the maximum peak, then the newer iteration can only be inferior. As far as I am concerned, Hinduism(along with the Vedantic part) is the zenith of philosophy, spirituality, Dharma and religion. All other versions(dharmic or otherwise) are inferior to Hinduism.
Anyway, even the claim that Sikhism is the latest 'refinement' of Dharma is debatable. There are several more 'Gurus' who keep manifesting with their messages and 'refinements'. The latest 'Guru', that I can think of, is Satya Sai Baba. Maybe there is a more newer 'refinement' than him. So, according to your theory, Satya Sai's version must be superior to all the previous iterations.
I think this whole business of the latest is best is silly. A better method is to investigate the pro and cons of each ideology/philosophy regardless of their antiquity.
The wiki link that you provided enumerates the differences between Sikhism and Hinduism. I could not see how sikhism was any better than Hinduism from that link. That link also has some mis-info.
the link claims that "Sikhs do not believe that going on pilgrimages or bathing at holy rivers will give you mukti (salvation) but only meditation on the naam (name) of Waheguru will." It needs to be clearly mentioned that going to pilgrimages or bathing at holy rivers is not the only way to Mukti/Moksha(Liberation) according to Hinduism. Chanting the names of Gods/Goddesses, worshipping them, doing good karma like Dana(charity), Tapa(Austerity), Yoga, ...etc also lead to eventual liberation. As Bhagavad Gita clearly explains, there are 3 ways:
a) Karma Marga: Ritualistic Approach,
b) Bhakti Marga: Devotional Approach,
c) Gyana Marga: Philosophical Approach.
And then, there is Yoga which enables one to increase the physical and mental abilities which will enable a seeker to better practice one of the above 3 methods.
Anyway, the Advaita Vedanta firmly proclaims that Moksha can be attained only through Gyana.
Similarly, each of the points mentioned can be countered.
If one accepts that that Sikhism has its roots in Hinduism, then Sikhism just happens to be one more. It is neither the first, nor is it likely to be the last. Many branches have sprung forth from Hinduism. These branches have emphasized a certain aspect and have rejected some other concepts. For example, Arya Samaj.
Each such branch believes that they have 'refined' Hinduism. But it is simple their mistake. They have taken the concepts that are agreeable to them and rejected the others. Just because the other concepts did not find favour with them, does not mean that they are inferior or irrelevant. Hinduism contains all the various concepts that all the multitude of humanity need. As there are diverse human beings with diverse needs, Hinduism contains all the diverse concepts to help them. Each person or group is free to pick the concept that they think suits them. But it does not mean that other concepts are discarded. The whole is better than the parts. The branches will wither away, if they are not connected to the tree.
it seems clear to me that you have a problem with Hinduism, and not just the term 'Hinduism'. The whole debate on the origin of the term 'Hinduism' was merely a strawman. You real intention is to deny the very existence of Hinduism(or Santana Dharma). You are saying that there are only various schools/communities/castes/philosophies, but no Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma. You do not even acknowledge that these schools/communities/castes/philosophies themselves proclaim that they are part of Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma.
When it was pointed out to you that Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma was a clear definition, you retorted that this definition will not be acceptable to other 'Dharmic strands'. I replied that whether it is acceptable to others('dharmic' or otherwise) is of no concern. I also said that all indic religions can work with each other to defend themselves from the onslaught of non-indic religions because of the common interests.
You ignored all that and continue to question the existence of 'Hinduism' using all sorts of disingenuous logic. At the same time you are propping up 'Dharma'. I have repeatedly asked you which 'Dharma' you are referring to. You did not give a straight-forward answer.
So, instead of this cloak and dagger stuff, why not cut to the chase?! I think that when you talk of 'Dharma', you refer to Sikhism. Am I right?
You are essentially saying that there is no Hinduism, only 'dharmic strands' and they must reject the label of Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma and form a new union under the label of 'Dharma'. Of course, the existence of Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma is a hindrance to this new project, so Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma would have to be denied/taken out, right?!