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Understanding Scriptures

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 Blooming Stars

Indian Scriptures

             In Hinduism, realization is making the unreal real. The realized soul is the person who experiences self as one with the Supreme, the undivided person. Division and duality result from knowledge covered by ignorance. Thunchath Ezhuthachan (Malayalam Poet) sang: Njanenna bhavamathu thonnayka venamiha, thonnunnathakil akhilam njan ithenna vazhi thonnename, varada Narayanaaya nama (I should not see myself as existing here; if I do, I should think of the whole [universe] as being myself, giver of boons, God, I bow). Sri Narayana Guru put it differently from the perspective of God who alone matters: Neeyallo daivame srushtiyum, srushtavayathum, srushtijalavum, srushtikkulla samagriyayathum; neeyallo mayayum, mayavium, mayavinodanum, mayayeneekki sayuujyam nalkumaryanum (God, you are the creation, the creator, the net-work of creation, and the material of creation; you are the illusion, the illusion-maker, the enjoyer of illusion, and the noble one that removes illusion and gives liberation).

            In Nirvanashtakam, Shri Shankaracharya put it very clearly and forcefully the signs of a realized soul: Manobuddyahankara chitthani naham…Chidananda roopa, Shivo ham, Shivo ham. Na punyam, na papam, na dukham, na saukhyam, na manthro, na thirtham, na veda, na yajna; aham bhojanam nyva bhojyam, na bhokta; Chidananda roopa, Shivo ham, Shivo ham. Na mruthyurnashanka, name jyathibhedaha, pitha nyvame, nyvamatha, na janma; nabandhurnamithram, gururnyvasishyam, Chidanandaroopa, Shivo ham, Shivo ham. …The main points are: I am not the doer, feeling, thought, or memory; I am not good deed, neither sin (obstacle), nor sorrow, nor wellness; nor verbal formula, nor technical design, nor knowledge, nor sacrifice; I am not food or what is consumed, nor consumer; I am not fear of death, nor caste difference, nor father, nor mother, nor birth; neither relative nor friend, neither master nor disciple. I am pure being. In brief, I am not any role or function or ritual or sacrifice, but I am Pure and Beautiful being.

            The Upanishads begin with “Srunvanthu sarve, amruthasya puthrah (Listen all, oh children of immortality). This is a very lively and positive salutation in great contrast to Christianity that considers everyone to be an unworthy sinner. In Isa Vasya Upanishad what is highlighted is perfection: “Aum purnamadah, purnamidam, purnath purnamudachayate; purnasya purnamadaya purnamevavasish-yate” (This is perfection that is perfection; from perfection, perfection arises; only perfection remains even when perfection is taken away from perfection). Not lack or defect that is emphasized. The important thing that needs to be kept in mind with regard to holiness is that the law of karma is at work.

            Everyone is responsible for one’s behavior. Sooner or later one can achieve holiness and salvation or liberation. In the process it may take many re-births or re-incarnations. Gods and goddesses can help. In Hinduism history is cyclic: human is born, dies, and is re-born. Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita advises Arjuna to do his duty (dharma) without being attached to its fruits even if that duty means killing one’s near and dear ones for a righteous cause in a battlefield. “The Eternal in human cannot kill; the Eternal in human cannot die” (Bhagavad Gita, II: 19). The technicalities related to how the law of karma works out is sheer speculation; so is the law of karma itself. All theological speculations emanate from belief systems. And the human mind is very fertile and clever indeed. For all who believe in the immortality of the soul, the law of karma does make good sense.


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