Sunday, September 10, 2006
RANDOM RAMBLINGS ---- ON HINDUISM
For most of my life, I have an interest in religion including the broader term --spirituality.
This morning I've decided to start, which may, or may not, develop into a series of occasional blogs on Hinduism.
Hinduism, in general, is a very tolerant religion. This is what Mahatma Gandhi said:
"Religions are different roads converging on the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads as long as we reach the same goal? I believe all religions of the world are more or less true. I say 'more or less' because I believe that everything the human hand touches, by reason of the very fact that human beings are imperfect, become imperfect."
(Of course there are religions that feel otherwise. For example, to my knowledge Islam, generally, considers itself the culmination of the only really correct path to God -- the Abrahamic tradition which includes Judaism, followed by Christianity and then God's last word on the subject of the "true" religion --- Islam.)
(Some writers instead of Gandhi's metaphor use the peak of the mountain as the goal, and the many trails up to the summit the various religions.)
(Somewhere in the New Testament, I believe in John's Gospel, it is said that Christ is the only gate or path through one reaches the Father/God. Some Christians may assume because of this passage that all other religions are false. However, this is not the attitude of either Hinduism or Buddhism.)
(Finally, I am always a little wary of using the words perfect or imperfect. I don't know whether they can be defined except by having some supposed standard that the mind has worked out as "the Perfect". Can the human mind deduce "The Perfect?" I doubt it although I suspect it might be experienced. )
In the Rig Veda one of four Vedas or ancient scriptures upon which the Sanatana Dharma, commonly known as Hinduism is grounded, composed, perhaps, 3000 B.C. (B.C.E.)---- is found that most common expression of Hinduism's tolerance:
"Faith is One and the wise call it by many names."
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Another feature of Hinduism (and Buddhism) is the belief in the primary place of experiencing the Absolute (God, Brahman, Yahweh, Allah.....). The only way to really "know" God is experientially. Analyzing the nature of God with the intellect will simply be inadequate.
"What can be gained by thinking about the scriptures? What fools? They think themselves to death with information about the path, but never take the plunge."
---Ramakrishna - revered religious figure or saint (1836-66 CE)
(This quote makes me think of Christians who believe if they know the scriptures backwards and forwards, and have studied commentaries on them-------they have come very close to God. Their activity may be one tiny step towards God --- or possibly, even a digression.)
(In Zen there is the oft quoted saying: "Words are only fingers pointing to the Moon.")
"Illness is not cured by saying the word 'medicine,' but by taking medicine. Enlightenment (salvation) is not achieved by repeating the word 'God' but by directly experiencing God."
---Sankara - one of Hinduism's greatest religious teachers and philosophers (788-820 CE)