Sunday, December 14, 2014

Equality in Hinduism - Bhagavat Gita based Analysis

It has been alleged by many sickulars in India that the Bhagavat Gita propagates casteism and therefore caste based discrimination and untouchability based on Bhagavan's statement that "Chaturvarnyam maya srishti". Some even allege that it propagates violence since it asks Arjuna to take up arms against the Kauravas! They are selectively looking at fragments of statements than looking at the whole message.  In the same Bhagavat Gita, in Chapter 5, Shloka 18, Bhagavan declares,

"VidyA vinaya sampannE brAhmanE gavi hastinI | suni chaiva svapAkE cha paNditA: sama darshina: ||

PanditA: refers to the learned person. sama  darshina: refers to "sees as equal." So what all does the learned person see as equal?  He takes examples of living beings that are diverse - from a man born as a brahmin to animals such as elephant, cow, and dog, to a man born in the caste of dog-eaters.  How can, the Bhagavad Gita that says that even the animals are equal to human beings of diverse births be a source of discrimination? It can only be seen as a great equalizer that is propagating Universal Equality for all - including animals, all over the globe and not merely India.  Such is its Universal Message, that there is nothing wrong in declaring it a Universal Scripture rather than merely India's national scripture. Every Indian, no matter which religion he/she is born into should be proud of the fact that such a scripture originated in this land. On the contrary, it is Abrahamic religions that differentiate the religious beliefs of people and call for "conversion of non-believers".  Not Hinduism.

One has to acknowledge however, that there is huge diversity in the world by birth.  Even if we cast aside religious, national, and caste differences there is vast economic differences. While governments of the world can work towards harmonizing these material inequalities, true equality can only be established spiritually.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Karma, the cause and effect

  1. Purpose of life is evolution or growth.  
  2. Evolution refers to evolution of intellectual ability and physical capabilities we achieve thereof. For example, we are presently able to fly from one location to another - however, we strive to innovate in order to be able to fly faster. We are presently able to fly and send objects to outer space - even beyond this solar system - we want to be able to send objects to other galaxies.
  3. There is life on other planets and they are much more evolved in terms of their intellectual and physical capabilities. For example, they are able to travel to cosmic destinations (including earth) simply by desiring to do so. They are able to change their physical form to any type of body they want to take on. 
  4. While these life-forms are capable of appearing in front of human beings, by their desire, they are staying away. They choose to reveal themselves only to selected human beings that have achieved some basic qualifications through a rigorous path described in the Hindu Holy scriptures.
  5. These extra-terrestrials with higher capabilities than us differ in their capabilities from each other. There are some that are more evolved than the others. For example, the Devas are more accomplished than the human beings; Brahma, Rudra, Skanda, Vinayaka etc. are more accomplished than the Devas; The Mukta-Atma's residing in SriVaikuntham are more accomplished than Brahma, etc.
  6. The Mukta-Atma's living in Srivaikuntham represent the highest form of intellectual evolution we can achieve. That is the final destination - there is no evolution beyond that. Mukta-Atma's therefore may be described as the "MOST Perfect Beings".
  7. God is higher than the "MOST Perfect Beings" and has capabilities that He does not share with anyone. For Example: He alone can Create worlds of existence for all beings.  He alone can absolve the Karma (noun) of the less perfect beings, thereby opening up the possibility of the less perfect being to evolve into the Most Perfect Being.
  8. Karma (Noun) is the blocking factor that deters us from achieving the higher intellectual evolution. 
  9. Life has been given to us in order to achieve these higher intellectual forms by spending the balance of Karma we have accumulated and thereby stimulating the intellect to achieve these higher forms.
  10. Out of His compassion, He has given us, the less perfect being,  a chance to spend our Karma, grow intellectually, and attain the state of Most Perfect Being.
  11. Balance of Karma (Noun) is the reason we are born into this life. 
  12. It is not an accident that you have got a human body while an animal has got that animal body. It is all based on one's Balance of Karma.
  13. Once born, every one HAS to perform karma (actions ) (verb). No human being is exempt.
  14. As a result of performing actions, one acquires Karma (noun) - as Punya or papa (Positive or Negative).
  15. When one enjoys/suffers consequences of ones karma (actions) (verb), he/she spends Punya/Papa Karma (Noun).
  16. The Balance of Karma (Noun) has to be exhausted in order open up the opportunity to higher intellectual evolution. Whilst exhausting Balance of Karma (noun), one should carefully perform karma (actions) (verb) such that he/she does not acquire additional Karma (noun) in the process!!!
  17. It is a trick or knack one has to understand. It is attitudinal. A change in attitude when performing karma (action) (verb) can ensure that the actor does not accumulate Punya or Papa for whatever he/she has done.
  18. The beginning Balance of Karma (noun) chosen for this birth is called Prarabdha Karma.  There is a bigger Balance of Karma - A huge accumulation since zillions of birth each human being has taken - this is called Sanchita Karma.
  19. By doing appropriate actions and living within the framework described in the shastras one does not get punya or papa karma.  However, not living the framework described in the shastras and doing actions that are forbidden in the shastras, one gets papa karma. For example, Shastra's mandate the human beings belonging to the first three varnas to perform nithyakarma. Performing them the way it is stated in the shastras will not attract any Karma (noun). Not performing them, will attract papa karma. "Do" what shastras tell you to do. Stay away from doing what the shastras tell you "not to do." 
  20. Shastra Vashyatvam - the mandate to live within the framework described in shastras is applicable only to human beings - not to animals. (Animals cannot read/learn the shastras and live according to them). Therefore, Punya and Papa karma are also applicable only for those born as human beings.
  21. It is the individual human being's duty to know which varna he/she is born into, and live according to the varna-ashrama dharma prescribed by the shastras.  
  22. The objective of life is to endure happiness and sorrow to exhaust the punya or papa in the prarabdha karma one is born with. When prapabdha is completed, one will NOT stay even a second longer on earth. When you are happy, punya Karma (noun) is being spent; When you are suffering, papa Karma (nounc) is being spent. 
  23. Karma (noun) accumulated during this birth - both punya and papa karma are called agami karma. they are stored along with sanchita karma for future use.
  24. Based on the balance of karma for next life, the body one will take in the next life is determined. It is also determined based on the desires one has had in this life. 
  25. If one so desires, during this life time itself, one can spend all the accumulated karma (Prarabdha, and Sanchita) and achieve the highest form of evolution to become the Most Perfect Being. Prapatti is the only path that lets one to accomplish this at the end of this life itself. All other paths lets you to accomplish this goal over several future births (innumerable).
  26. Prapatti needs to be performed only through a qualified guru/acharya. The guru/acharya cannot be by-passed and God does not accept prapatti performed by individuals out of their own realization.