Thursday, November 09, 2006

Answers to some questions of a Christian

The following is the reporduction of a discussion with some Christians in a orkut community:

Emralda's Question:
Dear Hindu friends, I'd like to know your answers to the below questions. If you could take a few minutes to think about them, I'd be thankful.

What is the object of worship?

What is the purpose of prayer?

What is a human person?

What is sin?

What is salvation?

What is "good" conduct in society?

What happens after death?

How is one converted into the religion?

Thanks guys. Take care and God Bless!!


My Reply:
These are my views about Hinduism

>> What is the object of worship?

Idols are the preliminary means of worship. Higher include mental worship, yoga and meditation.

>> What is the purpose of prayer?

Strengthening the will. The Hindu idea is that man is the creator of his own destiny… and constant remembrance of an ideal either in the form of a god or saint strengths the human will to archive it.

>> What is a human person?

Divinity is the essential nature of humans… so is of all other creatures. Off-springs of humans will be humans and off-springs of a elephant will be an elephant. In the same manner, divinity and not sinfulness is the essential nature of children of god.

>> What is sin?

That which makes us more individualistic and selfish and thus makes us limited.

>> What is salvation?

Complete freedom… freedom from suffering, freedom from limitations of the world, freedom from one’s own desires.

>> What is "good" conduct in society?

this is based on the concept of Dharma. That which is unselfish and that which sustains the society is good. That which is selfish and destroys the society is bad. There are no hard and fast rules about god said like this, so this is bad or good.

>> What happens after death?

If he has not yet attained salvation, he takes birth again.

>> How is one converted into the religion?

how do i become a singer? - sing songs; how do i become a cricketer? - play cricket;
how do i become a hindu? - practice hinduism. That’s all there is fixed formal way of ‘converting’ to Hinduism. (see this blog entry of mine if you want more info)


Effulgent's Response:
Surya,
I have a few questions to your answers. If you don't mind, I'd appreciate some explanation on the following.

1) man is the creator of his own destiny

What is God's part in "destiny"

2) If he has not yet attained salvation, he takes birth again.

How will he "attain salvation"?


My Reply:
>> [1) man is the creator of his own destiny]

>> What is God's part in "destiny"

The Hindu-Buddhist-Tao-Sikh-Jain religions are not centered around belief in God, but rather centered around the concept of Dharma.

The god in Hinduism is not above Dharma, but he who has a role to play in the smooth running of Dharma. We don’t say “Rama is our god, so what Rama did is correct”. Rather we say “because Rama followed Dharma, he is great.”

To give a crude example, we humans can be compared to small pieces of ferro-magnetic iron pieces and God a huge magnet. Just like the ferro-magnetic material gets magnetic properties by rubbing to that big magnet, the humans become more and more Dharmic by constant remembrance in the form of worship and meditation of God. The inherent quality of magnetism can be compared to Dharma here.

So the God in Hinduism does not directly interfere with the ‘destiny’, but is rather a part in the functioning of Dharma.


>> [2) If he has not yet attained salvation, he takes birth again.]

>> How will he "attain salvation"?

Complete freedom is the idea of salvation. Complete freedom is gained when there are no limitations on us. There will be limitations on us as long as there is something beyond ourselves. There will be something beyond ourselves as long we have the idea of “not-I”. The idea of “not-I” will be there as long there is an idea of “I”. So remove this idea of “I” and you will attain salvation. Thus salvation means to completely annihilate the idea of “I” (ego). He who does so attains salvation.


Geetika's Response:
So it is the duty that is "rightness", neither external or internal, and one figures out this duty through prayer and meditation, right? So how is this duty then fulfilled exactly?

I guess the main difference between Christianity and Hinduism is the nature of God. In Hinduism there doesn't seem to be a "God" with His own character, separate from His creation, but rather a universal sense of the divine that exists in all creation.

Anyway, so my other questions are: what is the purpose/meaning of life, what is the purpose of salvation and where does the idea of love fit into all of this?


Effulgent's Response:
Surya, Can a person really anhiliate 'I'? According to you, can a person attain salvation (in your terms)?


My Reply:
@Geetika
>>So it is the duty that is "rightness", neither external or internal, and one figures out this duty through prayer and meditation, right? So how is this duty then fulfilled exactly?

If you are thinking duty as social obligations, then let me add that social duties are just part of the Dharma. Duty means that which needs to be done for the smooth functioning of Dharma.. it may be internal or external or in society.

Though prayer and meditation are helpful, they are not a necessity. A sincere atheist may be better placed than a religious-hypocrite in my view. There is no fixed book or prophet who is needed to help ppl figure this out. Different ppl may get though different means. The crucial things is not how they get it, but how sincere and determined they are to get it. If they are sincere, things are bound to come some way or other.

>>In Hinduism there doesn't seem to be a "God" with His own character, separate from His creation, but rather a universal sense of the divine that exists in all creation.

Hinduism and other Eastern religions does not believe in creation (in the sense that God decided to create the world on one fine day). So there is no creator god in Hinduism, so there is no question of it being separate from “creation”.

Also God is not an individual, but a quality... a divine perfection if we can put it that way, to which every human can also attain. The Buddhahood is the essential nature of all beings and everyone can attain it. If some thing is once possible, it must be always possible again. Universality is the basic requirement of any law to be true (else there will be anomalies). Repeatability is a corollary of universality.

If it is possible for one to see God, it should be possible for all to see God. If Meera saw Krishna, I too should have the potential to see Krishna. If one can be a son of God, any other person also should have the potential to be son of God. ('potential'- meaning- may not be immediately, but surely has a chance, provided he is determined). This may sound blasphemous according to AR.

>>what is the purpose/meaning of life

The word “purpose” presupposes that there is some intelligent being who created the life and as he did some act, his actions must have a purpose. When there is no creation, there is no purpose of creation. The word purpose also presupposes a personal god, which need not be the case.

So the question should be “what is the aim of life” (hope you understand the subtle difference between aim and purpose). The aim of life is freedom or salvation.

>>what is the purpose of salvation

Finding the fundamental human motive to all actions has been always been the complex question before thinkers. Marx tries to explain everything in terms of money, while Darwin tries to explain it as “survival instinct” (Freud unable to explain suicide also introduces another thing called “suicide instinct”). Like that different possibilities are given as per what is the basic human motive…. What drives men to do something and not to do something?

In Hindu view, the most fundamental of all is “freedom”. In what ever ppl do, you can see that they this is the one factor are work always. Whether it is survival instinct (freedom from pain) or suicide instinct (freedom from unavoidable pain) or craving for money (freedom from limitations and dependability) or concept of hell and heaven (freedom from death) or unselfishness (freedom from limited ‘ego’)…. Whatever be the action, you can see that this is one motive which is present in one way or other. Concept of Mukti(salvation) is based on this idea only.

>>where does the idea of love fit into all of this?

I never actually tried to fit in things, rather I study them as they are. So I can only talk about what is the role love plays in Dharma.

As we have seen earlier, Dharma is in the inherent order. So “what binds things together and does not allow them to go into chaos thus maintaining the order” is just another form of putting Dharma. It is in this context loves comes. Love is the means in which one thing binds to the other… binding an individual to another individual; individual to society; society to society; individual to god; god to individual… so on.


@ Effulgent
>>Can a person really anhiliate 'I'? According to you, can a person attain salvation (in your terms) ?

To be honest, I have never attained that state, so what I say in this regard will only be secondary knowledge and not direct knowledge. Many many Saints claim to have attained that state and they say that everyone can attain it.

Though one may not have totally annihilated ‘I’, times will come in one’s life where you catch glimpses of such ego-less state as if the doors of the infinite have been opened, which makes you feel that there is truth in the claim of the sages.

So if you ask me my personal opinion, yes I think it is possible.

1 Comments:

Blogger jas_tech said...

Great replies...

http://dharma.indviews.com

12:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home