Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
10th October 2008
There are numerous books about Hinduism and every other religion known to man, but religion has not brought him any closer to God or given him permanent peace or love that he so longs for. Any hope that it might happen in the future cannot be true for man had hoped in the past too, but he has remained the same ever since he knew religion. So, another treatise on any religion, let alone Hinduism, would prove no point.
If religion really refers to God as the almighty creator, which is a universal belief, man should not hesitate or recoil from embracing any religion. But he only embraces the religion which has been introduced to him after his birth as his own, and he refrains from showing the same enthusiasm to other religions. Man, though born without a religion, obtains one from the family he is born into. If religion were real, he should have been born with one, but he is not. Therefore, every religion is acquired and not innate to man.
Primitive man had neither a religion nor a mind to defend it. Mind and religion grew into man as a sophistication-process of life. Religion has to be illusory if the world is illusory as proclaimed by the enlightened beings. Illusory means that which changes and is temporary.
If Hinduism were real, it should be the only religion to prevail, while surely it has not, for real means that which does not change and is eternal. But religions have mushroomed since the first one and man should enquire how this happened. If the God or Gods which Hinduism has within its scriptures were real, then surely that God would have created the God of every other religion. If a particular religion claims that their God is the creator, then surely that God would have created the first religion and its God too. If so, would the first God created by another God be unreal?
Science, which is life’s sophistication, has proved that life is a transformation-process of energy. If so, God and the world cannot be separate from this energy. If God were separate from man, he would not survive. Every moment is God, which is energy. Why are many religions present in the world? Would not a single religion be enough or do all religions make up a single religion? If there were just a single religion, God would not be remembered. There are many religions in the world so that God may be remembered. Because of duality remembrance is possible. Different religions provide a contrast to each other and this enables man to remember God.
If a belief of one religion is not found within the scriptures of another religion, it does not mean that the belief is wrong or not true. It only means that belief is written in a different religion, which is nevertheless a religion of God. Life is one, and every religion speaks of this oneness in different ways and accepts it. Religions appear separate because every belief is present in every other religion either subtly or strongly. The strong beliefs make up a religion, which nevertheless are present in a subtle manner in another and vice versa.
Hinduism has many Gods with forms and shapes and also a single God without a form and shape. God has many forms to indicate that anything with a form and shape in this world is a reflection of the fundamental energy, which is God without a form and shape. Deformed children are born, some with multiple arms and legs, some are born conjoined, deformed etc. That they are a reflection of God is signified by Gods having deformity, abnormal forms, multiple extremities etc. In Hinduism animals appear as God just to remind man that they too are a reflection of this energy called god. God having both animal and human forms reminds man that human form is a sophistication of animal form. Hinduism carries stories that God is found in trees to remind man that vegetation too is a reflection of God or energy.
There are many names for God in Hinduism and He is also nameless as well in it. There are many names to God to demonstrate that anyone or anything with a name is a reflection of God. If every name were His, it would be impossible to determine accurately which could be God’s real name, and multiple names mean that God cannot be named; this signifies that He is nameless. So, man with a god’s name is as significant as man without one, for all names are God’s. The belief that God has a name maintains the illusory nature of God with a name as real. It is all a matter of understanding that all names of matter, vegetation, animals and human beings are His while He remains nameless.
Ritual literally means a religious or solemn ceremony involving a series of actions performed according to a set order. This can only mean that any ceremony or actions that are performed according to a set order are religious. Therefore, any profession in any country, primitive or sophisticated, household chores of any tradition or culture, administration of any kind anywhere, each performed according to a set order, is a ritual too, including any actions to demonstrate abeyance to God or His praise. Life in its entirety is a magical ritual.
Hinduism utilises incense, fruits, fire, water, air, bells and a series of bodily movements to signify that God is present in all the five senses: shape to signify sight, fruits to signify taste, incense to signify smell, bells to signify sound and bodily movements to signify that life is a singular movement and that an action is an optical illusion of light, which is energy or God. Idol worship signifies that all matter is a reflection of God or energy and that matter can not only assume shape to represent God, but it can also assume objects of daily use, scientific use, household items, or any object big or small.
To consider a particular form to be God is illusory, for all forms and shapes are His and are nothing but an optical illusion of light. Therefore, if God is praised or abeyance is paid to Him in a single manner or in multiple ways, it does not mean that one manner is right and the other wrong. They are all right and in the rightful place. What needs to be understood is that, since God is everywhere, man cannot exist separate from God to pray or pay abeyance to Him. Understand that man, action and thought is an illusory manifestation of light and sound, which is God.
Religion means to unite with the true self, but religion, as it stands, disunites not only man from man, but also man from nature. Man is nature and is not separate from it. There is no separation anywhere and can never be either, for life is energy.
A Hindu means he has a Hindu mind and Christian a Christian mind, etc., and a religion can be changed if man accepts the beliefs of any religion. If religion were real this could not happen. Therefore, religion is in the mind and not in life, which is timeless and thoughtless. If man does not understand the illusory nature of his conditioned mind, he will remain a man and one who does understand remains no longer a man, but an enlightened being.
All teaching and the concept of a teacher and traditions are illusory for they are in the mind as thoughts. Man needs to understand that though he thinks, speaks and does, he does not make them happen, but they happen to him. He needs to understand that life is a singular movement, which is timeless and thoughtless. This movement transforms spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably. This means that neither the mind, action nor an individual can exist in life. Advaita is not a subject to be part of Hinduism or India. Advaita is what life is. Nobody needs to go anywhere to understand what life is. Life is everywhere and it can be understood wherever anyone is.
Hence, the world, religion and God are not what the mind says they are. Whatever the mind says the world is, including religion and God, all disappear in the sleeping state of man, and this also proves that it is illusory and not real. No religion is better than the other or truer. All religions are the same for they are all in the mind as beliefs and all beliefs make up one single religion. The world, man and mind are an optical and auditory illusion of light and sound. Understanding this reveals a truly religious man, united with God.
© Copyright V.S. Shankar 2008