Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

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ramana
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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby ramana » 21 Sep 2016 00:57

X-Post from GDF....

ramana wrote:A few background reading materials:

1) Treaty of Westphalia (TOW)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Westphalia



The main tenets of the Peace of Westphalia were:
All parties would recognize the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, in which each prince would have the right to determine the religion of his own state, the options being Catholicism, Lutheranism, and now Calvinism (the principle of cuius regio, eius religio).[11][12]
Christians living in principalities where their denomination was not the established church were guaranteed the right to practice their faith in public during allotted hours and in private at their will.[15]
General recognition of the exclusive sovereignty of each party over its lands, people, and agents abroad, and responsibility for the warlike acts of any of its citizens or agents. Issuance of unrestricted letters of marque and reprisal to privateers was forbidden.
....
The treaty did not entirely end conflicts arising out of the Thirty Years' War. Fighting continued between France and Spain until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659. Nevertheless, it did settle many outstanding European issues of the time. Some of the principles developed at Westphalia, especially those relating to respecting the boundaries of sovereign states and non-interference in their domestic affairs, became central to the world order that developed over the following centuries, and remain in effect today.


It ended the Thirty years War in 1648

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_Years%27_War
The Thirty Years' War was a series of wars in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. It was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history,[16] and the deadliest European religious war, resulting in eight million casualties.

Initially a war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it gradually developed into a more general conflict involving most of the great powers.
These states employed relatively large mercenary armies, and the war became less about religion and more of a continuation of the France–Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence. In the 17th century, religious beliefs and practices were a much larger influence on an average European than they are today. During that era, almost everyone was vested on one side of the dispute or another.

The war began when the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, tried to impose religious uniformity on his domains, forcing Roman Catholicism on its peoples. The northern Protestant states, angered by the violation of their rights to choose that had been granted in the Peace of Augsburg, banded together to form the Protestant Union. Ferdinand II was a devout Roman Catholic and relatively intolerant when compared to his predecessor, Rudolf II. His policies were considered heavily pro-Catholic.

These events caused widespread fears throughout northern and central Europe, and triggered the Protestant Bohemians living in the dominion of Habsburg Austria to revolt against their nominal ruler, Ferdinand II. They ousted the Habsburgs and instead elected Frederick V, Elector of the Rhenish Palatinate as their monarch. Frederick took the offer without the support of the union. The southern states, mainly Roman Catholic, were angered by this. Led by Bavaria, these states formed the Catholic League to expel Frederick in support of the Emperor. The Empire soon crushed this perceived rebellion in the Battle of White Mountain, but the Protestant world condemned the Emperor's action.

After the atrocities committed in Bohemia, Saxony finally gave its support to the union and decided to fight back. Sweden, at the time a major military power, soon intervened in 1630 under the great general Gustavus Adolphus and started the full-scale great war on the continent. Spain, wishing to finally crush the Dutch rebels in the Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, intervened under the pretext of helping its dynastic Habsburg ally, Austria. No longer able to tolerate the encirclement of two major Habsburg powers on its borders, Catholic France entered the coalition on the side of the Protestants in order to counter the Habsburgs.

The Thirty Years' War devastated entire regions, with famine and disease significantly decreasing the populations of the German and Italian states, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Southern Netherlands. Both mercenaries and soldiers in fighting armies were expected to fund themselves by looting or extorting tribute, which imposed severe hardships on the inhabitants of occupied territories. The war also bankrupted most of the combatant powers. The Dutch Republic enjoyed contrasting fortune; it ended its revolt against Spain in 1648 and subsequently enjoyed a time of great prosperity and development in which it became one of the world's foremost economic and naval powers. The Thirty Years' War ended with the treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, part of the wider Peace of Westphalia. The war altered the previous political order of European powers. The rise of Bourbon France, the curtailing of Habsburg ambition, and the ascendancy of Sweden as a great power created a new balance of power on the continent, with France emerging from the war strengthened and increasingly dominant in the latter part of the 17th century.


In short it limited the power of the Pope and ushered in secular Europe.

But how was the Pope's power curtailed?

Leads us to the Concordat of Worms (COW)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concordat_of_Worms

The Concordat of Worms (Latin: Concordatum Wormatiense),[1] sometimes called the Pactum Calixtinum by papal historians,[a] was an agreement between Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V on September 23, 1122 near the city of Worms. It brought to an end the first phase of the power struggle between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors and has been interpreted as containing within itself the germ of nation-based sovereignty that would one day be confirmed in the Treaty of Westphalia (1648); in part this was an unforeseen result of strategic maneuvering between the Church and the European sovereigns over political control within their domains. The King was recognised as having the right to invest bishops with secular authority ("by the lance") in the territories they governed, but not with sacred authority ("by ring and staff"); the result was that bishops owed allegiance in worldly matters both to the pope and to the king, for they were obligated to affirm the right of the sovereign to call upon them for military support, under his oath of fealty. Previous Holy Roman Emperors had thought it their right, granted by God, to name Church officials within their territories (such as bishops) and to confirm the Papal election (and, at times of extraordinary urgency, actually name popes). In fact, the Emperors had been heavily relying on bishops for their secular administration, as they were not hereditary or quasi-hereditary nobility with family interests, thus adding further suspense to the struggle. A more immediate result of the Investiture struggle identified a proprietary right that adhered to sovereign territory, recognising the right of kings to income from the territory of a vacant diocese and a basis for justifiable taxation. These rights lay outside feudalism, which defined authority in a hierarchy of personal relations, with only a loose relation to territory.[4] The pope emerged as a figure above and out of the direct control of the Holy Roman Emperor.

Following efforts by Lamberto Scannabecchi (later Pope Honorius II) and the Diet of Würzburg (1121) in 1122, Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V entered into an agreement that effectively ended the Investiture Controversy. [b]By the terms of the agreement, the election of bishops and abbots in Germany was to take place in the emperor's presence as judge between potentially disputing parties, free of bribes, thus retaining to the emperor a crucial role in choosing these great territorial magnates of the Empire. Beyond the borders of Germany, in Burgundy and Italy, the Emperor was to forward the symbols of authority within six months.
Calixtus' reference to the feudal homage due the emperor on appointment is guarded: "shall do unto thee for these what he rightfully should" was the wording of the privilegium granted by Calixtus. The Emperor's right to a substantial imbursement on the election of a bishop or abbot was specifically denied.

The Emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics with ring and crosier, the symbols of their spiritual power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration. The two ended by granting one another peace.

The Concordat was confirmed by the First Council of the Lateran in 1123.

The Concordat of Worms was a part of the larger reforms put forth by many popes, most notably Pope Gregory VII. These included celibacy of the clergy, end of simony and autonomy of the Church from secular leaders (lack of autonomy was known as lay investiture).
....


In other words the COW gave the Kings and Pope power to appoint bishops. TOW on the other hand by giving the right to freedom of religion thus limiting the right of external powers(Pope) to interfere (appoint bishops) in sovereign states ushered in Secular State.


So this is how the secular state came about.

Between COW and TOW, the kings ushered in various reforms to reduce the power(economic, judicial, political) of the Clergy in their domains.

In India the new Popes are the CJI.

The power is judicial power. Its now being expanded with leaps and bounds into other areas especially Hindu law.

In other words the Supreme Court is becoming non secular with respect to Hindus.

The Kings are the modern day politicians like NaMo who are in pre-COW state.

So how does India come up with its own COW and TOW?


What COW did is it reduced bishop appointments to a game theory. Let me explain.
In every bishopric, the Pope has a choice: 1) appoint a bishop favorable to himself, 2) neutral to him or the King, and 3) favorable to the King.
The King similarly could 1)accept the Pope appointment, 3) reject the appointment. He has two choices vs. three for the Pope. He could stall the choice hoping the Pope or the candidate leaves! But not a real choice all the time.

Mostly it was not the bishops but the bishoprics that decided the appointment.

If the bishopric had low economic value (in end its all about money) the king would accept the Pope's choice. If it was high value, the King would insist on his own choice!!! Pope would insist on is own choice there too. As the Pope was far away the appointments were neutral or favorable to Kings.
At same time the King would work to reduce the power of the most valuable bishopric!

So in India think of Judges as the secular Bishops. Now modern power is judicial power.
The least powerful to most powerful appointments range from State High Courts to Supreme Courts.
The Collegium is the College of Cardinals who are already out of secular or politician power.

So NaMo has to reduce judicial power by getting new laws passed which limit the power of the judges. For this he needs to get more of his own elected that is acquire political power. Same time he needs the Collegium throw up a suitable candidate.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby ramana » 07 Jun 2019 00:48

Up.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 00:32

Continuing a discussion that started in the 2019 Strategic and Political Analysis-1 thread.

chaitanya wrote:
sudarshan wrote:My idea was as follows. It is impossible to reduce the fundamental truth (which is the goal of Sanatana Dharma) to logical axioms, since that fundamental truth is defined as being beyond logic itself, beyond axioms. It just IS.

However, you can reach that truth by persistent efforts (sadhana). This sadhana takes the form of bhakti marga, gyana marga, or karma yoga. A subset of gyana marga would be this logical effort of reduction of SD to axioms.

The idea is that ordinary folk, who have undergone a STEM education, have already performed some sadhana, though not with the goal of attaining moksha - their goal was more along the lines of making a living, with maybe 1% of those folk being truly motivated by scientific achievement and curiosity or the upliftment of the world at large. However, at least a fraction of them have certainly undergone the discipline of rigorous study. Can those years of study be employed in some way to get a slight headstart at true spiritual sadhana? IOW, can the scientific training, which is based on axioms of science and mathematics, be converted into some little "extra credit" to get some spiritual insight? How would we go about doing that?

By coming up with axioms which relate to Sanatana Dharma itself. Note, once again, that the fundamental truth is beyond these axioms, so all that the axiom view affords, is a little reduction in the spiritual effort, by redirecting "STEM sadhana" towards "moksha sadhana." It also serves as a gentle introduction to people unfamiliar with SD - they too can employ their STEM training to get a little insight and familiarity with SD.

I had come up with three fundamental axioms, and tried to show that all the dharmic paths of India - SD, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism were consistent with these axioms. That the differences in interpretation between these paths, were more like the differences between the ensemble view and the Copenhagen view of quantum mechanics, rather than like the difference between Newtonian and quantum physics.


I know its OT, but I would love to learn more about your axioms sudarshan-ji.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 00:33

DharmaB wrote:Me too want to know about them sudarshan ji. I recommend admins open a new thread if they think it is a value add to the nation building in a different way...

It is becoming common experience that our culture is being attacked for its practices by leftist, atheists, and abrahamic people. We only have our Swamis/Sadgurus to defend. But most of them are not officially connected with STEM studies. Or most of the STEM scholars are not have gone deep into studying these philosophies. It is a very bold statement to suggest that, but the effort to aligning those principles with STEM studies by and large is missing or may be not coming to mainstream. Some times even most of the educated go mum not knowing how to defend our ritualistic practices of Dharma and taking that to higher level of Vedanta philosophy explaining the ultimate goal of life. It is a vast subject and hard to sustain till the end and could be easily lost in the conversation. Whereas the axioms of western religions are based upon a lure of achieving similar to materialistic pleasures in its purest/perfect form in so called heaven and can be easily convincing to masses. That is the danger Yindoo (or all eastern) religion is facing.

Like Adi shankara who roamed all over the country to revive SD millennia ago, there is a need in present society to evolve, understand and redefine the essence of Sanatan Dharma in the context of the evolution of modern Science & Technology (at least convincing about the essence or goal of Sanatan Dharma to some extent). Or else we cannot stand for long. Before SD goes, the abrahamic religions will be first to go to the onset of new age of science, if sanity prevails in the world. This is where I believe Swami Vivekananda & Swami Ramtirth predicted about India becoming Vishwa Guru in this century along with becoming a super power economically & militarily. Otherwise we will be just another China a boring robotic society with materialistic comforts, not knowing what next... may be Mars or Star Trek..

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 00:36

The previous time I started this discussion on this forum (>10 years ago), I wrote up my material in the form of multiple posts with many paragraphs in each. Like essay writing. Later I was told that it was a very off-putting format, very dense and difficult to read. So this time I'm going to try a bulleted format. Hopefully that will make it easier to follow.

First a little background material.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 01:57

  • Muslims all agree on the basics of their faith - ask 1000 Muslims of any denomination, and they will all give the same answer about their fundamental belief
  • Ditto with Christians
    • In fact, given that these fundamentals of these religions have stayed the same over hundreds of years, and that they have been incessantly messaged to the world, even most non-Muslims and non-Christians can tell you the fundamentals of these two faiths
  • Ask ten Hindus to define the basics of their faith, you will get ten different answers (maybe more!)
    • Ask 100 or 1000 or 10,000 Hindus, and it is very likely that you will get at least as many different answers as the number of people you ask
    • Hindus are actually proud of this! (Wow, our faith is so complex, we can all agree to disagree onlee)
  • Does it have to be this way? Is there a fundamental set of axioms that all Hindus can agree on?
    • That all Dharmic faiths (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism) can agree on?
    • Even if Dharmic people don't accept a common set of axioms - is there, at least, a limited set of axioms which can be shown to be consistent with the practices prevalent in Dharmic faiths? With their basic doctrine?
    • When questions arise such as:
      • How could Sri Rama violate Dharma by shooting Vali in the back?
      • How could Sri Krishna violate Dharma by:
        • Getting Arjuna to fight Bhishma from behind Shikhandi?
        • Getting Yudhishtra to lie to Drona about Ashwattama's death?
        • Getting Bhima to whack Duryodhana in the thigh (below the navel) in a mace-fight?
        • Violating Kshatriya Dharma by running away to Dwaraka, rather than staying on in Mathura and fighting against Magadh?
        • Etc. (Sri Krishna indeed has a lot of accusations against him!)
      • Why did Shiva, if he really is the all-powerful destroyer, run away from Bhasmasura, couldn't he just take back his boon?
      • Is there a common set of fundamentals that we can point to, to show that the behavior of Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Durga Mata, Kali Mata, etc. are consistent with these principles?
        • Note: I am talking about stating the fundamentals up-front and then being able to trace the answer to any such question as above to the same set of fundamentals
      • When a non-Hindu (non-Dharmic - i.e., somebody not Buddhist, Jain, or Sikh either) asks one of us:
        • What is your faith's stance on evolution?
        • How does your Dharmic faith reconcile with quantum mechanics?
        • What do you folk think about being gay/lesbian?
        • What do you folk think about adultery?
        • Etc. etc.?
      • Can we point to the same set of fundamentals and give a clear, precise answer?
      • If any of us is called upon to provide a clear, one-line description of our faith, do we have a consistent message to the world?
        • Like "La Ilaha IlAllah..." or "Christ is the only savior"?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 09 Jun 2019 02:18

....their fundamental belief...


I think that we infidelators don't understand "belief" very well. Remember, Satan knows that God exists, and thus in our parlance, "Satan believes in God". But that is not true. If Satan believed in God, Satan could be also be saved, but Satan is beyond redemption. IMO, the "Sara dharma sama bhava" arises from this misunderstanding about what Abrahamic belief really is.

Is there a fundamental set of axioms that all Hindus can agree on?


Indian mathematics didn't go the axiomatic way. Not sure Hindus can do so for what is a wider subject area. Maybe Hindus can agree on a few thousand rules like those that Panini provided :D It provides a coherent grammar, a full language, but not some "fundamental set of axioms".

That all Dharmic faiths (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism) can agree on?


My twitter summary of them is that they are of the "Omkaar, karma, punarjanma" school of thought.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 02:41

Inductive logic vs deductive logic

  • Inductive logic
    • Example: Three princes of Serendip ("Swarnadwipa" used to refer to Sri Lanka, and the Western world shortened this to "Serendip")
      • The word "Serendipity" is derived from this fable
    • Best known example of inductive logic: Sherlock Holmes
  • Deductive logic
    • Scientific method usually employs this type of logic
    • Start with axiom(s), build your theory, look for observations which corroborate or falsify
    • Is there any point in questioning an axiom?
      • For example, the axiom of special relativity being "the speed of light is identical to any inertial observer" - what if somebody goes - "but but but - you haven't proved that there really exists something called "light" or "speed" or "observer"! You can't proceed until you prove these."
      • It doesn't matter - the axiom is an accepted starting point, we only look to corroborate or falsify the axiom through observation
      • Or the other approach is the Biblical one - "you better believe that there was something called a Garden of Good and Evil, such and such a tree, and two initial nudes - or else!"
    • For example: general relativity was corroborated by observations of the perihelion of Mercury, and of light bending during a total solar eclipse
    • In fact, quantum mechanics doesn't even have physical axioms, only mathematical ones
    • If any observation falsifies the axiom, then the axiom is false
    • If no known observation falsifies the axiom, that does not mean the axiom is true, it just means that it has not yet been falsified
    • Even if a theory (based on its axioms) doesn't explain some known observations, the axioms could still be accepted, just because there is no better competing theory
      • In this case, we rank theories by their truth score - what fraction of known observations does the theory predict correctly?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 09 Jun 2019 02:43

Sudharshan,

Very ambitious effort - wishing you success in your posts. Given Law is in the ambit of these discussions I’ll play when I can :mrgreen:
I shall restrict my comments to Dharma in its applicability to the nature of the cosmos, righteous order and law.
IMHO it is outside the scope of my understanding to bring in Dharma as it applies to Moksha - an individual concern.
That caveat aside...

Quick notes:

Ask ten Hindus to define the basics of their faith, you will get ten different answers (maybe more!)
Ask 100 or 1000 or 10,000 Hindus, and it is very likely that you will get at least as many different answers as the number of people you ask
Hindus are actually proud of this! (Wow, our faith is so complex, we can all agree to disagree onlee)


Faith is Abrahamic, so causes grave confusion amongst the Dharmic. If you meant define Dharma and people struggle I can sympathize.
Dharmics are seekers and as such faith and belief are not dogmatic, but similar to Mosuo women may just be walking marriages.
The complexity is really in the “others” misunderstanding the native!

Can we point to the same set of fundamentals and give a clear, precise answer?


Why should one? I am not being argumentative, merely asking so what, why does this matter?

Does it have to be this way? Is there a fundamental set of axioms that all Hindus can agree on?


Why should they? You go to the Tulu regions in Karnataka or the Kerala or Maharashtra coasts,
there are būtas like Panjurli that mainstream city dwelling Hindus may know nothing about, why confirm to one set of axioms?

What is your poorva paksha on the use of Vidhis and Nishedhas - the mechanism closest to axioms or commandments in the Smriti and Shastras?
Last edited by Pulikeshi on 09 Jun 2019 03:00, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 02:49

A_Gupta wrote:Indian mathematics didn't go the axiomatic way. Not sure Hindus can do so for what is a wider subject area. Maybe Hindus can agree on a few thousand rules like those that Panini provided :D It provides a coherent grammar, a full language, but not some "fundamental set of axioms".


Nope, I'm talking of three rules, and tracing the other thousand or so back to those fundamental three.

That all Dharmic faiths (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism) can agree on?

My twitter summary of them is that they are of the "Omkaar, karma, punarjanma" school of thought.


Ooh, we are so close in our thinking :). Let me state my view of the fundamentals below, it's very close to what you have, but I don't want to stop with stating the basics, I also want to trace the principles in the epics, Puranas, etc. to these principles. More, I want to trace evolution, quantum mechanics, etc. to the same fundamental principles, and show that there is no "Schroedinger's paradox" etc. More, I want to trace any question directed at Dharmics such as "what do you think of this LGBTQ+++-- stuff" or "what are your views on adultery" to the same principles.

Thank you Pulikeshi ji. It may look ambitious, but I'm not doing anything new, I believe that the principles in the epics and Puranas are indeed very consistent, that they do adhere to fundamentals, just that they don't state these fundamentals explicitly. I believe that the genius of Indian spiritual literature is that, with the wide variety of topics they cover and their seeming contradictions, they are still consistent with the same basics.

Also, I submit and humbly accept that the fundamental truth is beyond any such logic, that the aim of this logic is simply to get a starting point, given that we already have some "STEM sadhana" to our credit, and also to provide a consistent front to external threats, and also to external curiosity.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 03:03

Pulikeshi wrote:
Why should one? I am not being argumentative, merely asking so what, why does this matter?



Short answer: Because we can! I am not being sarcastic or flippant here. I believe we indeed can present a clear, precise answer to external probing. More: I also believe that all the Dharmic faiths can be consistent, in the sense that even though their answers to the same question are different, that it can be shown that those different answers are still derived from the same fundamentals, and that it is just a question of interpreting those fundamentals. Sort of like the Copenhagen view vs. the ensemble view of quantum mechanics - the fundamentals are the same, the interpretation is different.

It makes us Dharmics look good instead of confused, so if we can do it, why not?

It is true that our beliefs can be widely divergent across (or even within) Dharmic faiths, it is also true that not being able to present a clear, precise answer should not be construed as weakness or inconsistency, (it could simply mean that the questioner is not in a state of mind to accept the answer so it is pointless to try).

But like I said: I believe that it is very much possible to also give a clear, precise answer which is traceable to fundamentals, so why should we deny ourselves the pleasure of convincing a genuinely curious outsider?

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 09 Jun 2019 03:11

A_Gupta wrote:
....their fundamental belief...


My twitter summary of them is that they are of the "Omkaar, karma, punarjanma" school of thought.


Sanathana (Eternal) at the mercy of a tweet retention period! :mrgreen:

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 09 Jun 2019 03:19

sudarshan wrote:
Pulikeshi wrote:
Why should one? I am not being argumentative, merely asking so what, why does this matter?



Short answer: Because we can!

It makes us Dharmics look good instead of confused, so if we can do it, why not?

It is true that our beliefs can be widely divergent across (or even within) Dharmic faiths, it is also true that not being able to present a clear, precise answer should not be construed as weakness or inconsistency, (it could simply mean that the questioner is not in a state of mind to accept the answer so it is pointless to try).

...so why should we deny ourselves the pleasure of convincing a genuinely curious outsider?


You see - you have answered the question - it is only to convince and perhaps proselytize an outsider. To look good and appealing to the other.
To also provide a moat to defend from the other and perhaps offend the other. Therefore ambitious and the risk enormous.
But look forward to your try! :mrgreen:

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 03:44

What to do saar :). I've had several close relatives go the EJ way, and then come and try to convert yours truly and family. The things they said about SD were truly ridiculous, showing a lack of understanding of even the basics of SD. I fended them off by showing them the mirror about their side (not that they relented), but maybe if I had been able to do this "trace back to fundamentals" back then, who knows. That's how all this started.

As to proselytize, if I went door to door with my message, that would be a valid charge. I have no intention of doing that, but I have no intention of looking foolish either when a genuinely curious (or even openly hostile) outsider (or former insider turned outsider) comes up to me. Nothing wrong with turning them over if possible, I don't think of "not proselytizing" as some kind of ideal in SD. Buddhism was very much into proselytizing, again nothing wrong.

Not sure what you mean by "risk enormous" though.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 04:12

Pulikeshi wrote:
Why should they? You go to the Tulu regions in Karnataka or the Kerala or Maharashtra coasts,
there are būtas like Panjurli that mainstream city dwelling Hindus may know nothing about, why confirm to one set of axioms?

What is your poorva paksha on the use of Vidhis and Nishedhas - the mechanism closest to axioms or commandments in the Smriti and Shastras?


I am not saying that they *should* conform to one set of axioms, I am postulating that they *do* conform to the same axioms. That even the beliefs of folks like that whom mainstream Hindus don't know about, are still consistent with the same fundamentals. Just that their interpretation of those fundamentals could be different.

Bottomline - all Dharmics don't have to conform to one set of axioms, but I am postulating that they do anyway. I could be wrong of course, but that is the nature of axioms, that they are falsifiable - I accept that the axioms I identified are also falsifiable, and more importantly, I accept that my postulate of "all Dharmics implicitly accept these axioms" is also falsifiable.

I am not that well read on the principles you listed above, but I am not comfortable with your use of the word "commandments." Is it possible that you've misunderstood where this is going? I don't think of these axioms as commandments, but as guiding principles which have led to a wide variety of beliefs - but all conforming to the same guiding principles.

It is not a commandment that people have to fall in love and multiply, but most people take it as axiomatic that romance is a good thing, and given that so many people agree on this, rules have evolved about marriage and bearing children and so on, which conform to that axiom. If tomorrow, a majority of all people felt that romance was no longer a good thing, then their customs and traditions would change accordingly (maybe this is what LGBTQ+*- is after all).

Likewise, I'm saying that there is a common (and limited) set of fundamentals that all Dharmics implicitly agree with (not something decreed by commandment, but just accepted universally by Dharmics), and that their variegated beliefs are all consistent with these fundamentals.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 09 Jun 2019 05:18

Exciting - look forward to your exposition! :mrgreen:

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 06:50

Ground rules of deductive logic (there could be a little bit of repetition here, with what has been posted earlier):

  • An axiom is only a convenient starting point
    • Questioning the axiom is meaningless - as in - "why should we believe that all matter is made of atoms?" or "why should we believe that the speed of light is absolute, and that it is space and time which are relative? If it comes to that, how can we even be sure that there is something called "light" or "speed," and that "light" has "speed?""
    • This kind of questioning is futile, deductive logic just accepts the axiom, and then looks to corroborate or falsify it by observation
    • If even a single observation falsifies the axiom, the axiom is rejected, full-stop
    • Even if every known observation corroborates the axiom, that is still not "proof" that the axiom is valid
      • It only means that the axiom, not yet having been falsified, is a legitimate way to explain the universe (or the chosen subset of the universe)
      • By "legitimate" way, we do not mean "the true" or "the right" way, we only mean that the axiom is good for the purposes of science - it might differ from the real fundamental principle behind the universe, but that is not important, because the predictions of the axiom match our observations of the universe
      • Feynman's analogy of the universe as a "closed watch" comes to mind
        • We don't know how the watch works
        • We can theorize that a tiny caged rat is driving it
          (or)
        • There is a goblin with a wrench in his hand inside the watch
          (or)
        • <Insert your favorite axiom here>
        • It doesn't matter if this axiom is right or wrong, so long as we can explain whatever we observe of the workings of the watch using this axiom, since we can't open the watch to see how it "really" works
        • Likewise, relativity or quantum mechanics are accepted as valid ways to explain the universe, because:
            a) they have not yet been falsified by observations of the universe
            or, failing which,
            b) even though some observations of the universe falsify these theories, we don't have any better theories
            • In this case, we look for the "truthiness" of the theory - what fraction of the observations of the universe does the theory successfully explain? A better theory is one which has a higher truthiness (ideally, 100%, but none of our current theories of the universe achieve this ideal)
            c) since we can't "open up" the universe to see how it "really works," we have to be content with these theories

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 07:00

  • Theories start with axioms
  • The base of the theory is its axiom set
  • Modifications to the theory are possible, without modifying the axiom set
  • However, the really fundamental changes in science come from modifying the axiom set itself
  • For example:
    • The heliocentric theory of Copernicus, which discarded the axiom of geocentricity and replaced it with the heliocentric axiom
    • The adoption and development, by Albert Einstein, of the Maxwellian axiom of "speed of light being identical for all inertial observers," which led to the discarding of the Newtonian axioms of absolute space and time, and which led to the theory of special relativity
    • The axiom, proposed by Einstein, of "accelerated motion being indistinguishable from gravity," which led to the theory of general relativity
  • Once the axioms are set, modifications to the theory are not as revolutionary
  • For example:
    • The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which is, that physical systems only have measurable properties after they are observed and their wave function collapses
    • The ensemble interpretation of quantum mechanics, which is, that the probabilistic description of physical systems does not apply to individual physical systems, but only in a statistical sense to an ensemble of similarly prepared systems
    • This is kind of like the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims, or Catholic and Protestant Christians

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sanjaykumar » 09 Jun 2019 08:42

Muslims all agree on the basics of their faith - ask 1000 Muslims of any denomination, and they will all give the same answer about their fundamental belief
Ditto with Christians
In fact, given that these fundamentals of these religions have stayed the same over hundreds of years, and that they have been incessantly messaged to the world, even most non-Muslims and non-Christians can tell you the fundamentals of these two faiths
Ask ten Hindus to define the basics of their faith, you will get ten different answers (maybe more!)
Ask 100 or 1000 or 10,000 Hindus, and it is very likely that you will get at least as many different answers as the number of people you ask
Hindus are actually proud of this! (Wow, our faith is so complex, we can all agree to disagree onlee)


A commendable effort. However this set of axioms is not true. There seems to be bias in the interpretation, possibly to favour an axiomatic derivation of Hinduism (subconscious teleological reasoning perhaps). There is a vast difference between Catholicism and Unitarianism or Russian Orthodox etc. The Ibadi school of Islam is something a Hindu can recognise (Oman allows mandirs and churches); there is no love lost between any of the four Sunni and two Shia schools.

Just because a Christian offers you salvation, the process does not and should not end there. Ask your well meaning relatives whether you should convert to the charismatic churches in the South (USA) and handle snakes, speak in tongues or convert to Coptic Christianity.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 09 Jun 2019 21:03

sanjaykumar wrote:Muslims all agree on the basics of their faith - ask 1000 Muslims of any denomination, and they will all give the same answer about their fundamental belief
Ditto with Christians
In fact, given that these fundamentals of these religions have stayed the same over hundreds of years, and that they have been incessantly messaged to the world, even most non-Muslims and non-Christians can tell you the fundamentals of these two faiths
Ask ten Hindus to define the basics of their faith, you will get ten different answers (maybe more!)
Ask 100 or 1000 or 10,000 Hindus, and it is very likely that you will get at least as many different answers as the number of people you ask
Hindus are actually proud of this! (Wow, our faith is so complex, we can all agree to disagree onlee)


A commendable effort.


Thanks!

However this set of axioms is not true. There seems to be bias in the interpretation, possibly to favour an axiomatic derivation of Hinduism (subconscious teleological reasoning perhaps). There is a vast difference between Catholicism and Unitarianism or Russian Orthodox etc. The Ibadi school of Islam is something a Hindu can recognise (Oman allows mandirs and churches); there is no love lost between any of the four Sunni and two Shia schools.


Not sure which set of axioms is not true? There definitely is a vast difference between Catholicism and Russian Orthodox or Coptic Christianity. But there is a fundamental point of convergence (fall from grace and redemption through Christ) which is common to all these. That is the axiom. The rest is interpretation of the axiom.

I looked up the Ibadi school of Islam: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibadi

In particular, I looked up the section (in the above link) titled "Doctrinal differences with other denominations." Yes there are doctrinal differences. But the fundamental axiom is the same - there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger. Their holy sites are still Mecca and Medina, they still go on Haj.

An extract from this site:

https://lesserknownreligions.wordpress. ... n-of-oman/

Al-Walayah and Al-Baraah – Love and the Not-Love

Ibadism has strong concepts of loving Allah and his teachings, his angels, the Prophet – Al Walayah. It also obligates hatred of the infidels – Al Baraah. These concepts resound the general attitude that the Ibadis are supposed to follow towards their fellow Muslims and non-Muslims.

There is also al-wuquf – reservation of any attitude until an Ibadi is sure of his fellow being’s faith. An Ibadi is not to pass any judgement unless he is sure of what his fellow being believes in and to try and understand absolutely clearly what his attitude towards faith is. After that is the Ibadi to choose the attitudes of either al walayah or al baraah.


These are just differences in interpreting the axiom, not a difference in the axiom itself. The original axiom of no God other than Allah and Mohammed as his messenger still stands, it is still something all Muslims define as the fundamental tenet of their faith. Likewise with Christians.

Am I wrong in saying that if you, as an outsider, ask 1000 Muslims to define their faith, they will all start with this first principle, and then go on to their specific beliefs?

By contrast, what is that bare minimal set of axioms that all Dharmic people can agree with?

Just because a Christian offers you salvation, the process does not and should not end there. Ask your well meaning relatives whether you should convert to the charismatic churches in the South (USA) and handle snakes, speak in tongues or convert to Coptic Christianity.


I agree, in fact I advised one of my relatives that if he wanted to be Christian, he could at least become a Mormon because then he could have as many wives as he wanted :).

But the point is, within their particular sect, or even within the broader umbrella of Xtianity/ Islam, they all agree with some well-recognized basics. Even if the argument is that they do not - at the very least, they put up a united front based on their commonalities when confronted with a pagan and idolator, whereas that is the last thing Dharmics do.

I still feel that it would be a useful exercise to define the axioms of Dharmic faiths, there's some benefits. Let me go on with this exercise, and then maybe the benefits will become obvious.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sanjaykumar » 09 Jun 2019 22:14

I look forward to reading more as you develop this project.

Any model of monotheisms needs to account for the five way warfare of the true believers: Catholic-Protestant, Christianity-Islam, Islam-Judaism, Christianity-Judaism, Sunni-Shia.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 11 Jun 2019 00:55

  • Science allows axioms to be revised as needed
  • Most religions do not allow any revision of their axioms - the original axiom is "the truth" and needs to be upheld at any cost
  • Ideally, we would like to align SD with science, i.e., allow the axioms to be falsifiable
    • Is this desirable or doable? I don't know
    • My idea right now is to simply identify axioms which are consistent with the practices of Dharmic faiths, and which are consistent with the principles and stories presented in the epics and Puranas
    • SD has already allowed multiple "revisions" to the theory - the Buddha, Guru Nanak, Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, etc.
    • Were these revisions to the theory, or did they change the fundamental axioms?
      • I humbly and respectfully submit that the axioms to be presented below have not been revised by any of the stalwarts above, only the theory built on top of the axioms has been revised

So basically:
  • I am postulating that there are three axioms which define (and are common to) all our Dharmic faiths,
    or, failing which,
  • That there are three axioms which are consistent with our Dharmic beliefs, and/or with the principles and stories presented in our Dharmic literature
  • The second statement above is of course much weaker than the first, but this might be all that I am really able to show
  • Please note the difference between what I refer to as "my postulate" and as "three axioms"
    • My postulate is that these axioms define our traditions
    • This postulate is of course falsifiable
    • Similar to the analogy of the universe as a "closed watch" above, it is not feasible to "open up" any of our Dharmic traditions and show what is its "real basis or axiom set"
    • Therefore, I plan to follow the deductive logic approach - first state the postulate (which I already did above), then present the axioms (to be done shortly), then take observations from our scriptures and show the match with the postulate (i.e., show that the selected observation from the scriptures can be derived from the three axioms to be presented)
    • I plan to go further, and show that "modern science" also follows from these axioms - principles like evolution, quantum mechanics, etc.
    • Lastly, I plan to show the practical utility of these axioms
      • Questions from external observers or skeptics regarding "what is your stance on XYZ issue" can be redirected to the axioms, to show that there is a consistent logical basis for why we believe what we believe about XYZ
      • Since the axioms themselves are pretty intuitive and reasonable, and since it can (hopefully) be shown that even "scientific" principles as above can be derived from the same axioms, hopefully the observer/ skeptic has no basis to say that the stance is bigoted

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 11 Jun 2019 01:46

The axioms I had in mind were these:

    1. God is all-powerful, but disinterested* in materializing any of His (Her - doesn't really matter) potential
    • This is the same as the "Omkar" principle that Gupta ji mentioned above
    2. We**, on the other hand, desire to materialize our abstract potential
    3. We are allowed to materialize our abstract potential, but will be subject to the consequences of our actions
    • This is the same as the "karma" principle that Gupta ji mentioned above
    • The "punarjanma" principle that Gupta ji mentioned, is a consequence of axioms 2. and 3.

*Na mam karmani limpanti na me karma-phale sprha
Iti mam yo 'bhijanati karmabhir na sa badhyate

There is no work that affects Me; nor do I aspire for the fruits of action. One who understands this truth about Me also does not become entangled in the fruitive reactions of work.

BG: 4.14

**Who are "we?" Tracing this to its source is like having to fully define "light" and "speed" in Einstein's special relativity axiom. It is futile, and more to the point, this is the "self realization" that is defined as our goal in our tradition, with the caveat that this goal is beyond logic, beyond axioms. Defining "we" in any way is unnecessary here - the aim is to falsify or corroborate the axiom through observation, not to fully trace every term in the axiom to some source.

But, loosely, "we" is all of us - not just all Hindus or Dharmics, not even just all humans, but all living beings (sarva bhuta) - from the lowest germs, plants and trees, to reptiles and lower mammals, to humans, and beyond - Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, Yakshas, etc. etc.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby tandav » 11 Jun 2019 02:51

https://www.religiousforums.com/threads/core-axioms-of-hinduism.97248/


Brahman) Brahman is Conscious Objective Reality. It's an undifferentiated, featureless, timeless, spaceless Consciousness. It's the essence of Reality. In the ultimate level of consciousness one merges with or becomes Brahman. [Note: there are several orthodox but dualistic schools of Hinduism that do not subscribe to this concept]

Maya) "Illusion." The world as we perceive it is illusory and subjective. It's an abstract representation of Reality created in our own minds. "Reality is structured in consciousness" -- Rik?

Levels of consciousness) The subjective representation of reality we perceive can be reformatted to more accurately depict "real," objective Reality. Reality is perceived differently in different "levels of consciousness".

Enlightenment/Samsara) The ultimate goal of Hinduism is to wake up, ie: achieve a level of consciousness beyond subjectivity, where Objective Reality is directly experienced; where one is merged with/identical to Brahman.

Dharma) Dharma's the life 'blueprint' one's born with which most efficiently advances one spiritually, ie: advances one's level of consciousness or lays the groundwork for the achievement of higher levels of consciousness.
There is a great emphasis on following one's dharma in popular Hinduism, though it often devolves to a slavish obsession with social minutiae.

Re-incarnation/transmigration) Time is illusory and Consciousness is not bound by it. The One Universal Consciousness (Brahman) "peeks/leaks out" through various "incarnations" eternally, giving the subjective impression of a time and space bound individuality.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby tandav » 11 Jun 2019 02:55

This is a very interesting topic to most of us... and the quote above is something I searched for just now and constitute a first pass which may need to be modified to make it more relevant to our times

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 11 Jun 2019 03:49

Thanks Tandav ji.

One of the statements above is identical to the first axiom that I posted. The rest can be derived from the three axioms (in fact, I was going to derive some of those statements when building the theory from the axioms I posted).

...though it often devolves to a slavish obsession with social minutiae.


I strongly suspect this is more "caste system" rhetoric from the poster you're quoting.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby SriKumar » 11 Jun 2019 07:39

sudarshan mian... 3 questions and 1 comment:

1. About your axiom 1, if God is disinterested in material world or the outcomes that occur in it, what is the need to have a God in your theory/list of axioms.

2. Axiom # 2 and # 3 do not seem to depend on ax. # 1 and can stand alone (unless you posit that God enforces Ax # 3 i.e. create consequences of action, which means he is actually playing a role and not a disinterested observer.)

3. Can you say that experiences in your own life validate theories that follow from the axioms, or perhaps the axioms themselves? A couple of illustratory examples would help.

4. STEM karma: About your comment of STEM training/sadhana giving us a headstart in the quest for karma of some sort- I think the answer would be 'yes', if one were to take the path of gyana yoga specifically, which specifically deals with an enquiry into one's one mind using logic and systematic rigor (Among other things) to attain the deeper knowledge of self. But STEM training alone may not be sufficient :D , so other paths e.g. karma yoga might be the prescription.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 11 Jun 2019 08:28

SriKumar wrote:sudarshan mian... 3 questions and 1 comment:


Aren't you the one who was trying to get the admins to ban you from BRF so you wouldn't be tempted to browse for a few days? :-?

1. About your axiom 1, if God is disinterested in material world or the outcomes that occur in it, what is the need to have a God in your theory/list of axioms.


Ex-cellent question (and I'm not saying that because I have no response) with awesome timing. You, saar, cannot be accused of dozing off in the back bench onlee :).

You have hit upon one of the points of difference between SD and Sikhism on one hand, and Jainism and Buddhism on the other. SD and Sikhism explicitly define the existence of God (SD even has "Gods", while Sikhism is strictly monotheistic). OTOH, Jainism and Buddhism don't concern themselves with whether or not God exists. They don't say God *doesn't* exist, but they don't see the need to propitiate God either - in short, it doesn't matter whether God exists or not.

2. Axiom # 2 and # 3 do not seem to depend on ax. # 1 and can stand alone (unless you posit that God enforces Ax # 3 i.e. create consequences of action, which means he is actually playing a role and not a disinterested observer.)


Yes, axioms 2 and 3 standing on their own would be in line with Jainism and Buddhism. I was going to come to that. Axioms 2 and 3 are the common point for all four faiths/ religions (whatever you prefer to call them). Axiom 1 is not a point of difference - just that SD and Sikhism adhere to it, while the remaining two faiths are indifferent to it (they don't negate it, they just don't care about it). At least, this is my understanding, I'm willing to be corrected.

Now in SD and Sikhism - just because God is disinterested, doesn't mean he doesn't play any role. If you were the parent of a pair of children who wanted to play some weird game in which you have no interest, what would you do? You would set up their game out of indulgence, you would even enforce rules or play the role of an umpire, despite your lack of interest. The idea is that God set up this material universe out of indulgence for our desires, (S)He enforces the impartial principle of karma to keep things in check, but (S)He leaves the way back to Him/Her open through the scriptures, for whenever we tire of our silly material pursuits. (S)He very much has a role, without Him/Her, we don't get to play our games at all. That would be SD and Sikhism. And Moksha is when we a) finally realize that our happiness doesn't reside in endless material pursuits, and b) when the accumulated consequences of past actions fully runs out. Even if we attain a) by ourselves (Hinduism and Sikhism see a role for God even in this), we still have to depend on God for b).

But I'm coming to all that as and when the theory is developed.

3. Can you say that experiences in your own life validate theories that follow from the axioms, or perhaps the axioms themselves? A couple of illustratory examples would help.


You're trying to out me on this forum?

I don't know about "validate," but I did gain some insights. I used to be rather obsessive/compulsive about getting things just right, going back and redoing things to get them just the way I wanted. Like if I walked past a puddle and saw something floating in it, I'd have to go back a couple of times before I was sure that I'd identified the object.

Then, with these axioms and stuff, there were insights. "Don't waste your karma-phala on trivialities and trinkets, let them go, and some big windfall will come your way - if you fritter away your karma-phala on getting little things exactly your way, you lose out on the biggies." Like when some guy wins the jackpot, and then goes blowing up his money on trinkets and silly parties - a well-meaning person would advise - invest your money, you don't have as much as you think you do, get a steady income stream going or spend the money on something you really want.

Little voices whispering insights like this - when little things go wrong, I used to fret about them, now I'm like - if your bad karma-phala is being reduced little by little in smaller ways, that's a good thing, it will hopefully keep that karma-phala from bringing you a big misfortune.

4. STEM karma: About your comment of STEM training/sadhana giving us a headstart in the quest for karma of some sort- I think the answer would be 'yes', if one were to take the path of gyana yoga specifically, which specifically deals with an enquiry into one's one mind using logic and systematic rigor (Among other things) to attain the deeper knowledge of self. But STEM training alone may not be sufficient :D , so other paths e.g. karma yoga might be the prescription.


Of course, I think Swami Vivekananda also recommended following the appropriate mix of all three paths that is right for you.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby SriKumar » 11 Jun 2019 09:10

1. Guilty as charged. Trying to stay away from browsing, but this is exactly why. Your set of posts brought up some questions I had a while ago.
2. Not trying to out you... my motive is far simpler than that. For me anyway (STEM training and all that), the 'proof' of a theory is in the experiment, and in this case, first hand experience (yours or anyone else's) is the 'experimental data'. I was just trying to see if you had had first-hand experiences about facing 'consequences of actions' most of the time (if not all of the time). I assume 'actions' from which consequences derive, are actions from this life and not a previous life.
3. At some point when you get there, let me know if you can derive 'dharmo rakshati rakshitahah (i.e dharma protects those who uphold it) from your axioms. Thanks.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 11 Jun 2019 13:39

sudarshan wrote:The axioms I had in mind were these:

    1. God is all-powerful, but disinterested* in materializing any of His (Her - doesn't really matter) potential
    • This is the same as the "Omkar" principle that Gupta ji mentioned above
    2. We**, on the other hand, desire to materialize our abstract potential
    3. We are allowed to materialize our abstract potential, but will be subject to the consequences of our actions
    • This is the same as the "karma" principle that Gupta ji mentioned above
    • The "punarjanma" principle that Gupta ji mentioned, is a consequence of axioms 2. and 3.



Thanks for talking turkey! :P

With Axiom #1 - you have to define this God (with big G) a very deep rabbit hole mind you....
With Axiom #2 - you have to define the ‘We’ not just some collective, what is materialize and what is abstract about the experience of this we?
With Axiom #3 - you have to define and demonstrate the conquence and counter factuals and show independent cause, etc. painful rabbit holes

Ps; not all Indian schools view karma and rebirth the same way... some do not even accept it.

Please do not be dissuaded by my response - all I am asking you is what has been asked before to me, no more...

If you find time do read on why the various India schools of thought got on with arguing about the means to knowledge and not knowledge or truth claims themselves. This is the only tenable position I have found - arguing truth claims and even axiomatic knowledge is subjective, but arguing the means to knowledge and what are acceptable ways is more fruitful. The book religions I suspect have a book gaping hole here...
if you or others have come across formal argumentation by theologians or other scholars would love to get links and get educated.

Now the truly attained come to realize that all knowledge is experiential.
Therefore - Baja Govindam and all that jazz! :mrgreen:

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 11 Jun 2019 17:39

Pulikeshi wrote:Thanks for talking turkey! :P


You thought I was going to beat around the bush with generalities forever? :)

With Axiom #1 - you have to define this God (with big G) a very deep rabbit hole mind you....


Yes it's a deep rabbit hole. This being an axiom or starting point, it should not be necessary to fully trace the concept of God - after all, realizing God is the goal, and we're not going to get there through logical contortions. Nor do other scientific theories get called up on to fully define all the terms in their postulates or axioms, nor do other religions do it (like "Yahweh" which means "I am what I am").

However, some amount of definition is certainly called for. I would like to define God as the sum total of all possibilities. If you can think of or imagine a possibility or concept, that means that possibility exists, and it can only exist in God. Anything like "space" or "time" or "ability to time travel" or "a metal which is 20 times lighter than steel, but 20 times as strong" or that still elusive "cancer cure." Or how about "multiple universes" or "X gazillion monkeys with X gazillion typewriters typing away for Y bazillion years." All these possibilities exist as abstractions (hence - potential, not manifest).

If you are familiar with Object Oriented Programming, I would like to offer a rough analogy. In OOP, we have a base class, which we extend to derive useful classes. The base class contains the base functionality in the form of fields, properties, or functions, and we add on top of that.

With God, I would like to define Him as a "super-class" - this class already has all the functions, properties, fields, etc. that we can dream of, that are beyond our dreams and imagination, that just *are*. But these are all in the abstract, spiritual, non-manifest domain (avyakta, adrisya). When these are materialized for some reason (vyakta-rupa), they are sub-classed, i.e., a minute subset of the potential attributes of the super class are given material definition within the material universe. This materialization could be of the form of a "dog" or a "tree" or a "rock" or a "sudarshan on BRF" or even "BRF" itself. In fact, the material universe itself is a manifest sub-class of the God super-class.

What is the reason for this material manifestation? Not some desire on God's part to materialize (since by axiom 1, God is defined as being indifferent to this material manifestation), but actually axiom 2 - *our* desire and thirst for material enjoyment.

With Axiom #2 - you have to define the ‘We’ not just some collective, what is materialize and what is abstract about the experience of this we?


Again, like I said, fully tracing the term to "basics" is futile, nor is any scientific axiom called upon to do it.

However, to offer a rough definition - since all of the "potential" (non-manifest possibilities) mentioned above are just that - non-manifest - the idea was that some of "us" (please bear with this term for a moment) become curious about what it would be like to materialize and enjoy this potential. Basically, we are also a collection of possibilities and potential, we have infinite senses of humor, infinite capacity for art or craft, infinite ability to enjoy good food or *ex, although our infinite possibilities and potential are still a minute subset of God's infinite potential. But we become curious about materializing it, i.e., "what's the point of being abstract and unmanifest? wouldn't it be nice if....?"

To put it in the OOP sense - each of us is an instance of a unique sub-class of the original super-class.

So the material universe is a simulation for our benefit, where we get to materialize our capabilities - but - axiom 3 - only to the extent that is defined by the principle of "karma." This materialization is, in some sense, unnecessary, because we are already everything we yearn to be, we already experience the end enjoyment of the materialization we crave, but in the abstract, non-manifest sense. And this of course leads to the notion of "moksha," where we no longer crave materialization, but just *are* whatever collection of possibilities we are. Merge back with God in that sense.

But who are "we" to begin with? Ah, there we get into advaita/ dvaita/ vishishtadvaita. How does the individual soul relate to the super soul? My best definition right now is that since all possibilities exist in God, therefore the possibility of "individuality" also exists in God, and we are expressions of this "individuality." The possibility of "materialization" and "yearning for materialization" also exists in God, and we are expressions of that! Is this what Swami Vivekananda meant when he said "Man is an infinite circle, whose circumference is nowhere, and whose center is at a fixed point. God is an infinite circle, whose circumference is nowhere, and whose center is everywhere."? That "fixed point" of man's center is the center of our individuality, the circumference encompasses all the infinity of possibilities and potential that the man is capable of. God however is centered in all our individualities, and also in points which extend way beyond the notion of individuality.

With Axiom #3 - you have to define and demonstrate the conquence and counter factuals and show independent cause, etc. painful rabbit holes


Not sure I fully understand this.

Ps; not all Indian schools view karma and rebirth the same way... some do not even accept it.


Could you give me some examples?

Please do not be dissuaded by my response - all I am asking you is what has been asked before to me, no more...

If you find time do read on why the various India schools of thought got on with arguing about the means to knowledge and not knowledge or truth claims themselves. This is the only tenable position I have found - arguing truth claims and even axiomatic knowledge is subjective, but arguing the means to knowledge and what are acceptable ways is more fruitful. The book religions I suspect have a book gaping hole here...
if you or others have come across formal argumentation by theologians or other scholars would love to get links and get educated.

Now the truly attained come to realize that all knowledge is experiential.
Therefore - Baja Govindam and all that jazz! :mrgreen:


No worries :). But do you think the other religions are fully able to define every single term that is the basis of their books or their beliefs? They just brazen it out. I would suggest some brazening out on the part of Hindus also. If we feel the need to fully define all of our basics, that is a defensive mindset by itself, "this is what we believe" is, very often, a good enough response. Material enjoyment (bhoga) is something all humans, maybe even all living beings, instinctively understand and crave. The second axiom refers to this craving itself. To anybody who wants a full definition of this "craving for materialization" I would say "what is it that *you* enjoy doing?" Well, that is the desire which you crave to materialize. If the answer is "nothing," then why not just die right now? "Living for friends and family." Well, then *that* is your desire.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby DharmaB » 11 Jun 2019 20:41

Pulikeshi wrote:
sudarshan wrote:The axioms I had in mind were these:

    1. God is all-powerful, but disinterested* in materializing any of His (Her - doesn't really matter) potential
    • This is the same as the "Omkar" principle that Gupta ji mentioned above
    2. We**, on the other hand, desire to materialize our abstract potential
    3. We are allowed to materialize our abstract potential, but will be subject to the consequences of our actions
    • This is the same as the "karma" principle that Gupta ji mentioned above
    • The "punarjanma" principle that Gupta ji mentioned, is a consequence of axioms 2. and 3.



Thanks for talking turkey! :P

With Axiom #1 - you have to define this God (with big G) a very deep rabbit hole mind you....


Agree with you. The first axiom has to be more deeper so that it satisfy (or concur) all belief systems and all doubters or fence sitters except exclusive atheists. :wink:

What I feel is we cannot attribute any characteristics to God (or what IS). It should be like Zero or Infinite. Both are same in a way... Infinite come from Zero. Or Zero expands to Infinite... And Infinite deducts to Zero sooner or later. Hence IMO no arguments appear to be meaningful on this Axiom sooner or later after some brainstorming... It is so in almost all religions. But this need to be mentioned as a starting point since the question always be there as what is the root cause of all that we see and experience. We have to keep coming to this axiom and realize soon that it is futile to stuck here and go back to our practical approach of "what is my duty and where is my salvation if at all I aspire to :eek: ".
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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby DharmaB » 11 Jun 2019 21:00

Sudharshan ji, what about below few inputs to frame first axiom in a more altruistic way. Sorry if I disturb your flow of thought...

1) There is seemingly an all-powerful, all-pervading, all-knowing Almighty God who is the root cause of all the known and UN-known phenomenon and responsible for all this related to what is known as Existence.
2) Neti-Neti principle is more logical here. For example saying like: IT is neither a Man nor a Woman (related to words God or Godess). Neither Good nor Bad. Neither Righteous nor UN-Righteous in its pure essence. Neither is confined to any Form nor totally Formless. It is more like indescribable but IS... No word or attribution can do justice to IT.

This is to some extent similar to the description of God in all mono theistic (may be including Abrahamic) religions too...
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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby DharmaB » 11 Jun 2019 21:05

Upanishads go on describing for pages on explaining this Neti-Neti principle. I quoted precisely some. Even for the Upanishads this is a contradiction in its own statements trying to describe the un-describable (but rather seen as a compulsion to explain what IS...) :)
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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby DharmaB » 11 Jun 2019 21:24

IMO, there is no need to put words related "(S)He is disinterested" in first axiom... Please give your reasoning. Would like to know more about your intent to put these words in it... Greatly appreciate your efforts Sudarshan ji...

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 12 Jun 2019 06:14

Will get to answering specific points raised by posters (mostly DharmaB :mrgreen: ) soon, when I read and digest the points.

But for now:

I was approaching this from a STEM perspective. When you write a book, fiction or non-fiction, the first thing to do is to identify your target audience, and focus on addressing their needs or tastes. If the book pleases other segments of the population, that is a bonus. My target being a STEM perspective, I was going with the approach of defining postulates or axioms and then tracing the implications of the axioms and showing that experimental observations do support the axioms.

In the deductive approach to science, the axiom is the starting point. When Newton proposed that there is a universal force called gravitation, he did not trace gravitation to fundamentals and show where it came from. When Einstein chose the Maxwellian axiom of "speed of light being the same for any inertial observer," he did not, and was not compelled to, fully trace the notions of "light" and "speed" or "inertial" and "observer." The axiom is accepted as is. If an experimental observation falsifies the axiom, the axiom is rejected. If no experimental observation falsifies the axiom, then the axiom is accepted as a valid description of the system of interest (not as a "true" or "real" description, just "valid" description).

This does not mean that no definition is necessary for the axioms of Dharmic faiths which I proposed. While the approach is from a STEM perspective, a STEM audience is a restricted set, and the general population would still like some definition of the fundamental terms (not being familiar with the deductive approach, their instinct is to distrust any terms which they don't feel is fully defined). So we do want some description or definition of terms like "God," "we," etc.

However, a full, intuitive, satisfactory description which appeals to all of humanity is an exercise in futility. At some point, it is preferable to let go of this desire for an exhaustive description of these terms, and to be content with a relatively reasonable description. This is why I balk when I see these demands for "fully describing God to target all fence sitters," or "you have to define and demonstrate the conquence and counter factuals and show independent cause, etc.". We can't target all segments of the population. Nor do other religions feel compelled to fully trace their fundamentals to a first principle which everybody is comfortable with.

"God" is an intuitive enough term for all of humanity, whether they accept the existence of God or not. "We" usually means all of humanity, I was expanding the definition to "sarva bhuta" to make some specific points later, and also because I do believe that Dharmic faiths address all of creation in their world-view, not just humans, and especially, not just humans who conform to the faith. Likewise, "consequences of actions" should also be an intuitive enough term, in fact, much of the western world is very familiar with the notion of "karma."

Upanishads go on describing for pages on explaining this Neti-Neti principle. I quoted precisely some. Even for the Upanishads this is a contradiction in its own statements trying to describe the un-describable (but rather seen as a compulsion to explain what IS...)


You see? I don't feel that there is a contradiction in the Upanishads, it is just that the aim of bringing all listeners on board is unachievable in practice. If you try to please all segments of the population, you will end up pleasing none - this is a cardinal rule in fiction writing. Not to pander to the full segment of the population, but to pick a target audience and try to get them fully on board, even if it means displeasing some other segments. If even the Upanishads can't bring all listeners on board, that should be a lesson to us lesser mortals.

For now, my goal is to propose axioms (the way one states assumptions when solving a math problem), and then show the match with observations, and try to calculate a truth score. The truth score speaks for itself in science. Einstein's special and general relativity were accepted based on their success in predicting the perihelion of Mercury and the bending of light during a solar eclipse, even though no scientist at the time (or even today) truly understood what "light" or "gravity" or "acceleration" were. The quest for fully defining these terms is still ongoing, and this is a quest which improves upon the original theory.

Let the initial theory stand or fall with its axioms based on experimental corroboration or falsification, the quest to trace the axioms to more fulfilling fundamentals is actually a quest for a new and better theory, which can't be done all at once - science is incremental.

IOW, let me keep the axioms for now, and show what can be done with them. If the axioms are falsified, then there is no need to refine or further "fundamentalize" them. If they are not falsified, then the quest to refine them can begin, and that will be another exciting quest by itself.
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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 12 Jun 2019 06:18

DharmaB wrote:IMO, there is no need to put words related "(S)He is disinterested" in first axiom... Please give your reasoning. Would like to know more about your intent to put these words in it... Greatly appreciate your efforts Sudarshan ji...


Thank you saar, appreciate your interest and encouragement.

The "disinterested" bit in the axiom is the most important part of it, with multiple implications that show the Dharmic world-view to advantage. I will try to explain this in a subsequent post.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 12 Jun 2019 08:27

DharmaB wrote:Sudharshan ji, what about below few inputs to frame first axiom in a more altruistic way. Sorry if I disturb your flow of thought...

1) There is seemingly an all-powerful, all-pervading, all-knowing Almighty God who is the root cause of all the known and UN-known phenomenon and responsible for all this related to what is known as Existence.
2) Neti-Neti principle is more logical here. For example saying like: IT is neither a Man nor a Woman (related to words God or Godess). Neither Good nor Bad. Neither Righteous nor UN-Righteous in its pure essence. Neither is confined to any Form nor totally Formless. It is more like indescribable but IS... No word or attribution can do justice to IT.

This is to some extent similar to the description of God in all mono theistic (may be including Abrahamic) religions too...


Dharma ji, further refining the axiom does have value, and the Neti principle is actually more practical than the attempts to define what God IS.

For the purposes of the current "STEM-focused" exercise, this refinement of the axiom could be (initially) unnecessary, since the preference in science is usually to have as simple axioms as possible. "All objects attract each other" is the axiom. The subsequent definitions of the inverse R^2 law or the proportionality of the force to the masses of the two objects are definitely necessary to quantify the law, but if the exercise is qualitative and the aim is to falsify or corroborate the axiom by observation and experiment, then the quantitative aspects can wait a while (not saying that the quantitative aspects are not necessary).

Likewise, let's get done with the qualitative assessment of the truthiness of the current axiom set, then the refining part can be taken up.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby DharmaB » 12 Jun 2019 12:33

Fair enough Sudarshan ji. I can wait till you are done with your qualitative assessment and on what you want to express. I am sure you might have already prepared on this extensively, and I understand that any interruption hinders the flow. Please let us know when you are ready and feel the right time for an interactive approach (yes, STEM way as primary goal. But sooner or later the philosophical aspect will kick in as the subject is more philosophical than scientific. After all Science is a sub set of Philosophy :mrgreen: ).

Please note that my intention is to contribute to whatever possible extent in a positive way but not to drag the subject for the sake of argument. We have to remember that the purpose could be lost easily in the ocean of words... :D . Thank you & Good luck.

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Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby sudarshan » 13 Jun 2019 07:04

Rationale behind the "disinterested" description for God: [1] - (this number is inserted here for later referring to this post)

  • When the question comes up as to "what is the purpose of life according to your belief?"
    • With the Abrahamic faiths, it immediately becomes a question of "God's will" and "why did God put us in this world?"
      • The answer is most often that "we don't know His will, but we must submit to it"
        • And the way to "submit" is also made fully clear, just not the "why" part of it
        • So LGBT stuff is labeled "against God's will," because it is against the "natural order envisioned by God"
        • IOW, we have the ability to thwart God's will, but we must not! If not, we are faced with eternal hell
        • This God of the Abrahamics seems to be extremely attached to His own H&D
      • Some interesting logical conundrums result from the Abrahamic world-view of God and His reason for putting us here
        • If God is all-powerful, then before He even puts us in this world, He will know whether or not we will end up in hell (or heaven), and also what we are going to do to end up there
        • Supposedly there is "free will," but He already knows what choices we are going to make!
        • And He arbitrarily (or according to some grand master plan) makes some of us dumb or deaf or blind, or poor or rich, etc.
        • Us - of course means humans - animals and plants don't even figure in any of this, they are just here to serve humans (God gives humans dominion over the lesser creatures)
        • So why put us here if our end is known to God? Just create us, and send us directly to heaven or hell!
      • In the Dharmic world-view, God is totally disinterested in the material plane
        • The immediate question is "then why create?" (And this is a very desirable question)
        • Answer: the second axiom - to indulge our desires
        • God is simply the indulgent mother, who knows that we don't need to materialize our potential in order to be happy, but who allows us to do so anyway out of affection
        • We (all-inclusive we - from the lowest germ to humans to beyond) really are the most important thing in this material plane, our selfish desires really are the sole criteria for creation [1.1] - (this number is inserted for later referring to this point) (this will later tie into quantum mechanics)
        • Go enjoy, indulge to your heart's content, pursue any desire you please in any way you please
          • This is the only purpose of material existence - God doesn't have any grand plan
        • But there is the counter-balancing principle of Karma - as you do, so will nature act upon you, and the consequences of past actions can and will work to temporarily curtail (or enhance) your current enjoyment
          • This is simply an impartial and consistent principle, which gives every one of us a fair chance at enjoying our desires (again - not some grand "will of God")
          • And this of course, is Dharma - how to maximize your own long-term enjoyment by not falling foul of the law of Karma [1.2] - (this number is inserted for later referring to this point)
            • Dharma is a principle derived from axioms 2. and 3., not a fundamental principle, and it is in our own selfish interest to follow this principle [1.3] - (this number is inserted for later referring to this point) (this point will repeatedly become relevant in future posts, and the significance of the "disinterested God" will be further revealed later)
          • So God is not interested in differentiating Herself into creator, preserver, and destroyer - She only does all this for our pleasure
  • But there is more to it than just that
    • The Abrahamic world-view, with its "deep-purposed" God whose vision we can't fathom, has this axiom of "fall from grace"
      • In one particular instance, the world-view has even come up with the axiom of "original sin"
    • Meaning that the initial state of all of mankind is loss of favor with God (or even outright sin in many of these faiths), and the default end state is hell - unless steps are taken to avoid hell (and we know what those steps are)
    • Whereas, the "disinterested God" of the Dharmic world-view, together with axiom 2, naturally leads to the notion -
      • That the initial state of all of creation (not just mankind) is divinity
      • That the end state (not just the default end state, but the *only possible end state*) is also divinity
      • That all of creation is never separated from divinity, but only forgets its divine nature while indulging in pursuit of material desire (the veil of Maya)
        • Why does God subject us to the veil of Maya? So that we can indulge in our material desires without shyness or inhibition
          • So, far from being a curse, Maya is a favor that Vishnu does for us - and this favor is of course provided in a disinterested way! (You wanted it, you got it)
        • So - why do you folk worship cows and rats and snakes?
          • Why just cows and rats and snakes - we worship all of creation as divine, because that is our world-view
        • IOW, the Dharmic world-view is the antithesis of the Abrahamic one
          • That there is nothing any of us can do to negate our eventual bliss - we can only postpone it one lifetime at a time, and if the consequences of our actions dictate certain outcomes for us, we will have to experience them for the prescribed duration, but salvation in the end is guaranteed for all of us
            • God, being disinterested in the material plane, does not tie this salvation to whether or not we believe in Her while we are in the material world
  • There is a natural tie-in to the concept of Moksha
    • When we overcome the desires which brought us here, we become disinterested with materialization as well, and recognize that our original abstract existence is a full "uninterrupted and simultaneous" (this is within quotes, because these terms are bound by the notion of time, whereas the abstract existence is not) experience of all of our potential rather than the limited materialization permitted by the law of Karma
    • Since we become disinterested with materialization, we become God-like, merge with divinity (or rather - realize our divinity)
      • Again - Na mam karmani limpanti na me karma phale sprha, Iti mam yo 'bhijanati karmabhir na sa badhyate
  • More - as SriKumar pointed out, the notion of the "disinterested" God can be regarded by some as making the first axiom almost unnecessary
    • True - and this has been recognized and upheld in the Dharmic worldview, in the form of both Jainism and Buddhism
      • Neither path is overly concerned about whether or not God exists (they don't negate God, they just don't care whether She exists or not)
      • These paths find the remaining two axioms perfectly sufficient to define our origin, our end, and as a guideline to life in between
        • I.e., regardless of whether or not God exists, if you work to overcome the reason for your material existence (your own desire) and to overcome the consequences of past actions, then you will attain salvation
          • God, if She exists, being disinterested, will not hold any grudge against you for not believing in Her (compare and contrast with the Abrahamic view here)
      • This fully ties these paths to the Dharmic fold (being the antithesis of the Abrahamic one) and prevents poaching attempts
        • Such as - showing Buddhism as some kind of "rebellion against casteist Hinduism"
        • Or showing the Buddha as some kind of proto-Christ figure
    • This also fully ties Sikhism to the Dharmic fold, and prevents poaching attempts such as:
      • Trying to show that Sikhism was derived as a compromise between Hinduism and Islam, adopting the monotheism of Islam and rejecting the foul casteism of Hinduism, while maintaining some rudiments of Hinduism
        • Of course, this is why Sikhs wear turbans, being a compromise between Hindu and Muslim headgear
      • The "disinterested God" axiom establishes the Dharmic notion of God as being fundamentally different from the Abrahamic notion, and that negates Sikhism as some kind of compromise


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