Friday, October 3, 2008

Awesome Truth

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.     
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. 
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.  
The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it" 
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Answers To the Questions about Relegion

It is true that it is believed that God is supposed to be an Omnipotent, Omniscient and personal being. In our philosophy there is one major God (Ishwara). He is assumed to be the creator and controller of all. Basically he can summon whichever power he wishes to and perform any task. Also there are Gods of different powers individually. They are reffered to as deities in the western cultures.

The concept I was trying to inculcate is still unclear with the above explanation. I was trying to explain that our scriptures talk about henotheism. This is a concept meaning devotion to a single primary god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.

So while there is one single God (Ishwara), there are a lot of deities with unique powers and they in turn are responsible for the various acts of nature. For example, agni(fire), vayu(air), et cetra. We all believe that God is within us all. A person can become a Devotee and then a deity. As the book says, Ishwara lies within us all. So there is no need to become Ishwara. You already have Ishwara within you. In our concept it is more like you may use Ishwara to either do good deeds or do bad deeds and they will be repayed to your sons and daughters in time. There is a concept of Hell (Narak) and Heaven (Bhagwaan's place) as well.

So as we said the concept of omniscience is there. As God is always with us, since he exists in us and everything around us. The trees, birds, air, everything. And he knows all that is happening in the world. All that is planned to happen and all that has previously happened. It is even said that there is a person designated on the gates of death who keeps record of all the activities a living thing has performed, so that his/her/its place in heaven or hell can be determined at the time of death.

I hope this answers the first part of the question. The rest I'll answer in further posts.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Good adventure movie. Only thing is lot of it does not make sense. For example there is a lot of content in the movie that does not self justify how or why it is there. But at the same time it is a good break from reality, and gets the viewer a good laugh. So it can be seen as an example of a form of alien attack film. Not too much sense of what or why is happening but the picture as a whole makes good entertainment.

Hindu Religion

I am just trying here to explain whats good about my religion(Hinduism). So basically all religions are the product of a lot of reading through various epics. Its what written in the epics followed that decides what the people follow. So if the Epic says there was a God, people believe that there actually was a God, who did divine things. Let us assume for the time being that there actually exists a God (I have a joke to share in this context. Once there was a war between Russia and USA where Russia claimed that God does not exist and USA believed that God does exist. Both countries sent out their best people - scholars, scientists, explorers, et cetra to find about the truth. A month later Russi called a press conference and said that God does exist. The reason they cited was that their scholars came to India. And it is only by the grace of God that this country is running they cited. So therefore God must exist. I know I'm bad at jokes).

The feature that stands out in the religion is the concept of multiple Gods for different tasks. It is like a whole community of Gods up there in the sky, performing diffenet tasks. Which makes it simmilar to the board of directors concept in any company. So over here the company reffers to the world and each director performs a different task. For example, let us consider Indra. This God is the God of rain. There is Shiva, Rama, Hanuman (God of Monkeys - follower of Rama), Bhramha (God of thought), Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity), there is Saraswati - Goddess of Studies/Intelligence. Now it is more logical a framework for so many Gods to be managing people rathere than a unified God managing all activities of all people. Makes more sence to me this way.

All people are not the same. Some like prosperity, some like fame, some like truth. Next feature that stands out in this religion is that people have the free will and choice to choose what God of the relion they intend to follow. For example many people follow Hanuman. They keep fasts for this God. This is done so that their future mate is good, or for other strong good wishes for their families as well. There is Tirupathi in the south and his name is mentioned in the Kannada language scriptures. In our sanskrit text we have references to Ram, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Indra, Vayu, et cetra. So its a more versatile concept. People can choose what God they like most and worship them.

We have different festivals for different Gods, making life all the more exciting, as in we see more happy faces all the time. Not everyone waits for a unified date or season to worship their God the most. For example there is Shiv ratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Maha Lakshmi Ashthami, then there is Diwali, Holi. All of these festivals are related to different Gods and there are lots of stories about each event. The whole history is not based on one God, but one God reaching out for help to the other God for help to solve a problem. One God blessing someone for something and the other Gods helping him.

People have the free will to switch from one God to another any time. There is no concept of switching your idols or favourite Gods making trouble in your life. So it is a very clean concept as such. The fundamental truth being that God exists within us all.

There is one good thing about our Religin for which I firmly stick to it in all faces of deserting it and that is it taught man that whatever you have is a loan you have from your children and not an inheritance from your forefathers. What you do is to be good for them. Only then will you repay your eternal loan. If every person on the Earth knew this concept then there would not be so much fighting, so much enimity, so much terror. It is painful to know what has already been taught by one religion is not accepted by other religions only because their texts do not speak about any such thing. It is painful to know that we humans are causing our own death due to ignorance and that too ignoring what we will face in our future definately.

Buddhism for instance talks about not hurting or hating others. Hinduism does not talk about this at all. What it says is that you must do what will create enough for your children that they can carry your loan to themselves and repay it off to their children. So this concept was made with the understanding that children does not reffer to your imeediate family. It reffers to an entire generation of people after you. Unfortunately people do not understand it this way because this is hard. It is the right path, but it is hard. So they mess up the entire cycle by believing what they can achieve and in process make lives terrible for other people sometimes. There would be no concept of beggars in todays streets if this concept was followed by the intention it meant.

I hope that clarifies a little as to what drives me to believe my religion is good. But at the same time my God is always changing from one to the other. Some days I worship Vishnu, some days it is Shiva, then there is Saraswati and Bhramha that I worship with all devotion. And with Diwali coming up, I guess Lakshmi also deserves praise this time of the year. So worshiping which God you feel like is a choice and free will, and it makes people be educated more often than not. People love to find out what is the hidden truth at all times even if they intend to find very little. That in process educates them. Since our texts and religious history is so vast, if a person starts following even a little and gets inquisitive, then he/she is bound to learn a lot and become more educated than he could get in school. I mean it is beyond the ABCD that we learn here. So many different languages, ideas and theories.

I wish there was more time. I'd be writing further to this topic. I have made a label called religion in my notes and this post and the further upcoming ones will be classified under it.