There were no religions when rishis proclaimed these Truths: atat Tvam Asi' , 'ham Brahmasmi',


The Wheel of Religion: Looking Beyond the Tragedy

Religion percolates from above downwards - from a Seer (Incarnation, Prophet, Saint, Man of God or the Founder) to ordinary masses. While the Seer speaks from the transcendental standpoint (the state He has experienced in his life) the masses, who receive his message and teachings, are immersed in ordinary human consciousness. Thus, the original knowledge and teachings get diluted, and even distorted, in flow of time for want of requisite qualifications in the receivers. While experiences of the Seer are at superconscious plane, his words are at ordinary life consciousness.

The second important problem relates to the disciples and followers of such a Seer who erroneously think they have fully understood and acquired the knowledge from their Teacher. An occasional disciple might have had attained to such exalted state as his preceptor had, agreed, but such disciples are exceptions rather than the rule. The Seer has not one or ten, but thousands of followers and devotees. All these people, out of faith and devotion, claim to have understood the principles of religion. But is it really so?

Here comes the main difficulty. The Seer is like the ocean, and his followers come to the shore of this ocean to take away whatever little knowledge they can carry in their small vessels. Thus, everyone gains at least something, but at the same time leaves a large portion behind! Knowledge gained by the followers remains incomplete. Over a period of time, the decreasing stores of knowledge trickles down from one disciple to a group, getting further diminished at every stage.

Ultimately what remains is a caricature of original religious truths. Decline in religion (Dharma Glani) manifests as ritualistic monotony, crass materialism, and excessive engagement in sense pleasures with resultant lack of discrimination and renunciation. Values of kindness and generosity, forbearance and simplicity take backseat, contracting to the narrowness of nationalism and sectarianism. Selfishness replaces altruism, and religious fanaticism erupts as a legitimate weapon to spread the atrue religion' and destroy the 'false beliefs'. The priests and the rulers, the rich and powerful with vested interests become custodians of religious truths!

In such a hapless state of decline of righteousness, a Man of God comes on the scene to destroy wickedness and reestablish the path of dignified truth. These great seers and teachers come to 'set in motion the wheel of dharma' as did Lord Buddha 2500 years back. Such incarnations come from time to time, in every era, in every land and help revive the noble path of transcendental realization as the source and proof of Knowledge and Truth. They give the sagging wheel of spirituality a powerful push to move it again in right direction. Today the world faces such a situation.

Looking Beyond

Recent events in USA and all over the globe point to one fact: Unless we accept the truth of every religion (and faith) in the world, we stand to lose peace. The clashes would increase and untoward incidences would continue to plague humanity till we understand and accept 'harmony and co-existence of religions,' a phrase coined and used by Swami Vivekananda in the World Parliament of Religions one hundred and eight years back. Those words were not mere rhetoric, not mere a concept; those words were proved in the life of his master, Sri Ramakrishna as truths borne out of unusual sadhanas including those of Muslim and Christian faiths.

Subsequently, great scholars, peacemakers, and preachers insisted (and are still insisting) upon such necessity, but unfortunately had negligible audience. Why does this happen? Why are people not ready or interested in listening to the wise words of truth and sanity! Why such an apparently simple but true concept of 'harmony of religions' meets with resistance and blind eye and deaf ears? One should try to find answer to these questions.

I feel the reason lies in the foundations on which the religions base their principles. For instance, most religions are dualistic in their convictions. They proclaim separateness of individual being and Supreme Being: God. The name of Divine Being varies from one religion to the other, but important point to note is that every such named Supreme Being differs from the Supreme Being of the other religion! The statement of supreme truth that 'I am Brahman' and atruth is One, but sages call it by various names' are relegated to background of casual forgetfulness. Some religions even call such statements to be blasphemous, leading to further problems in accepting 'unity in diversity'. Some other religions are silent about the highest unitary principle that their founder saint has had alluded to, and are happy to adhere to dualistic teachings only. They are happy to accept 'the Father in Heaven', but reluctant to lend serious ear to 'My Father and I are One'.

Such dualistic approach posits one Supreme Being for each religion; and it follows that no one would like his or her 'Supreme Being' to be called inferior to other. Thus, unnecessary ideological clash sets in and the truth takes backseat in the quarrel over superficialities. In fact, what is not true is projected as truth. And it follows that a strong desire sets in the minds of such believers to convert others to their faith, which they believe to be the only true faith. The world gets divided into religious compartments, when there should have been none. Economic, military, and cultural factors add to the discomfort in such waywardness and erroneous analysis.

Advaita philosophy can solve the problem to some extent; I say to some extent because howsoever one may hammer the truthfulness of this philosophy the humanity is not yet ready to accept it, for it has not reached the state of full comprehension. This Advaita is not the property of Indian thought; it is the basis of every religion, whether one is ready and mature enough to see or feel it or not. This caveat should allay all doubts and fear about 'Hindu Superiority' etc.

What is this Advaita Principle?

Advaita says and maintains that 'each soul is potentially divine; religion is to manifest this divinity within. Do it by work or worship, by philosophy or psychic control (either singly or by any combination of these four paths) and be free.' This neo-Brahma-sutra of Swami Vivekananda is not a figment of imaginative brain; it is a spiritual fact visualized by ancient Rishis when no religion was born! There was no Hinduism, no Islam, no Christianity, no Judaism, no Sikhism, no Buddhism, no Jainism, when the Rishis of ancient Upanishadic period proclaimed these Truths: atat Tvam Asi' - Thou Art That; 'ham Brahmasmi' - I am that Supreme Being; 'Prajna-nam Brahman' - Knowledge is Brahman, and 'yam Atman Brahman' - this Atman in individual self and Brahman as the Supreme Self are one.

Conclusion

Sincere emphasis to decipher such meanings hidden in the Teachings and Books of one's religion is the need of the hour. Let us give a boost to religious unity by firing the rocket of knowledge to get established in the higher orbit of spirituality. Then there is a chance to get rid of some of the problems posed by religious fanaticism. Why should I love and serve others? Every religion calls for compassion, service, kindness, and help, but none can give reason why should one do so or be so. Only Advaita gives us the reason for all such noble gestures. Because you and I are one! Because everything is divine, because everybody is one God!

c s shah




Dear All,

i regard the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad's narration of the nature of The Indweller (Antharayamin) to be a most important revelation and realization. After years i have finally found the most lucid and intelligible explanation the holy scriptures have come to confirming and identifying The Indweller (Antharayamin). It is the very proof i needed to vindicate that a most profound reality Kash, Arwinder and Lalita have been experiencing for years is the flawless witnessing of The Indweller (Antharyamin).

Esa ta atma: In short, this is the Atman. What we call the Antaryamin, or the Immanent Reality, is the Atman, the Self. When we say it is the Self, we mean it is Consciousness. We mean both things in the same, sense. It is an awareness which cannot be the object of another awareness. Therefore, it is not capable of being seen. Adrsto drasta: This Reality is the unseen Seer of all beings. You cannot see it, but it sees you. It sees everyone, but no one can see it - adrsto drasta. Asrutah srota: It can hear everything, but no one can hear it. Amato manta: You cannot think it, but it can think you. Avijnato vijnata: You cannot understand it, but it can understand you. Nanyo'to'sti drasta: There is no other Seer but that. Nanyo'to'sti srota: There is no hearer other than that. Nanyo'to'sti manta. There is no thinker but that. Nanyo'to'sti vijnata: There is no understander but that. So, if anyone thinks, it is that which thinks; if anyone hears, it is that which hears; if anyone sees, it is that which sees. If anyone understands anything, it is not you or I that understand, it is that which understands. If anyone does anything, it is that which does.

Esa ta atmantaryamy amrtah: "This is the Self; this is the internal
Ruler; this is the Reality. This is immortal, O' Uddalaka.
Everything else is useless. Other than this, nothing has any sense
or meaning - ato nyad artam. This is the only Being that is
worthwhile considering and approaching and realizing."

Today it has become clear and lucid to me that all their spiritual journeys within themselves were that of their individual souls meeting, meditating and merging with the Universal Soul. What they have experienced as Truth and provided evidence is no different from that of ancient rishis:

'Tat Tvam Asi' - Thou Art That;
'ham Brahmasmi' - I am that Supreme Being;
'Prajna-nam Brahman' - Knowledge is Brahman, and
'yam Atman Brahman' - this Atman in individual self and Brahman as the Supreme Self are one.

To realize the same you must advance beyond all rival religions and their petty, exclusive dogma that cause so much contradiction, confusion and conflict. The four Truths of the above paragraph are the most profound secrets of Self-knowledge and Self-realization. Having known this you will be freed from the miseries of worldly existence and, breaking the ceaseless cycle of rebirths, attain the immortal afterlife ........ free to take a human birth again if ever the need or desire arises.

Jai Shri Ganapathi,

jagbir


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