Atheism in Hinduism


Prince Of Truth
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For those who are not familiar with atheism within Hinduism, check out this article as an intro;

Atheism in Hinduism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm not surprised all that much at all that atheism exists within Hinduism. After all the label "Hinduism" is a very big misnomer and overgeneralizing label by westerners for what is widely different religions within this umbrella.....and the fact that it is a catch all term for a wide variety of spiritual traditions that exist in India.......much like Buddhism is a wide umbrella term as well. And speaking of Buddhism in this is widely known that atheism is an obvious position of many Buddhists in many of the differing traditions.

Anyways.....the central tenant often attributable to being a Hindu is the belief in the impersonal Brahman. Brahman in many ways is like Spinoza's and Einstein's conception of a cosmic monist spirit that pervades the universe, although the Brahman is often seen as a more panentheistic form of this sort of belief. Either way you look at it you can "believe" the notion of Brahman without literally believing in the existence of the various Ishvara deities. I'm thinking this might be the future of Hinduism as well....if science and reason were to become more of the norm in India for example....although Indian culture often doesn't distinguish between their science and religion (which of course doesn't matter that much but yeah).

Any Hindu atheists here? I personally do not like to label myself.....although my spiritualality does involve an ultimate Supreme Reality that the definition of Brahman (or Dao) describes in some ways I can be considered a Hindu atheist.....although like I said I reject labels. "Belief" in Dao within Taoism and none of the other mythological beings can also be described as a Daoist form of atheism.

What are your thoughts?
hi yeh l think the preponderance of idols/manifestations of attributes of the 'one' in the hindu tradition is purely a focus, a customary convention very much localised within the caste system [therefore familial]; probably those 'pure' athiests still respect and give offerings-arti- to their local deities as well as the 'mainstream' ones. the belief that they can help in worldly matters is endemic and not separated as in the west, and why even in buddhism/taoism forms are still used ritually,such is the need for a focus. like icons/saints they are appealed to. the glance-darshana-is that point of contact between the sacred within/without which while writing this reminds me of satre's 'gaze' between the 'being for itself' and the other 'being for itself' ie intersubjectivity between humans-realisation-namaste, with no need of scepticism of other minds prevelant in anal-ytic philosophy. l like the fact that nature is centrally placed in these 'religions' and not emasculated in the west with the rise of rationality-masculine-yang and demise of the [divine goddess] feminine-yin-nature, oops sorry getting feminist there!
The logic of atheists is based on perception (Pratyaksha Pramana), which was propagated by the sage Charvaka. Perception means the knowledge derived from the observation with the naked eyes. Infact in the logic (Tarka Sastra) all the means of knowledge are based on perception only. In the inference (Anumana) also, the fire on the hill is inferred by its smoke. But the relationship between the fire and smoke is perceived with the naked eyes only. Similarly other means of knowledge are also based on the perception only. Thus Charvaka forms the basic of the entire logic and without logic there is no knowledge. The statement that the God is above logic must be proved only by perception. The divine miracles performed by the human form of Lord prove that there is a power above the logic. These miracles are seen by the naked eyes.

The atheists must be allowed to prove whether the miracles are simply magic tricks. When they cannot prove, they must accept the existence of super power above the logic. If they do not accept this they are contradicting their own basis, which is the perception. The divine miracles are experienced by the devotees and the experience cannot be contradicted. If the experience is contradicted, the experience of the atheists is also contradicted. Therefore atheists must be open-minded and should not be conservative. If they are conservative they have no right to criticize the religious conservatism.

The theory of Vedas and Bhagavath Gita never contradicts the perception and therefore the logic of atheists becomes the basis of the spiritual knowledge. The Lord comes in human form and this human form is perceived by the naked eyes. Even the miracles performed by demons establish the existence of super power. Therefore to convince the atheists the miracles of the Lord are not necessary. When they are convinced about the existence of the Super power (Maya), the possessor of the Super Power, the Lord, coming in human form must be also accepted because the form is seen by the naked eyes. The salvation is breakage of the bonds in this world. Since the bonds of this world exist based on the perception, the salvation is also existing based on the perception. Since the family members and the money are perceived by the eyes, the bonds with them are also perceived. Thus the salvation (Moksha) must be accepted by the atheists. A single bond with the human form of the Lord is called ‘Saayujya’ or ‘Kaivalya’.

Since the human form is perceived, Sayujya or Kaivalya is also perceived and must be accepted by the atheists. The Bliss is derived by the devotee from the divine knowledge of the human form of the Lord. Therefore the Bliss is also true according to atheists. Thus the goal, the means to please the Lord (Sadhana) and the fruit of Sadhana (Moksha and Kaivalya) are perceived and exist in this world itself.

Veda says ‘Yat Saakshat Aparokshaat’, ‘Pratyagatmana Maikshat’ which mean that the Lord in human form is perceived by the naked eyes. Veda also says ‘Ihachet Avedeet’, which means that everything is true as seen in this world itself. This is called ‘Jeevanmukthi’, which means attaining the salvation while one is alive and not after death. The salvation after the death is not true because that has no basis of perception. Thus if the atheists are little bit patient and leave their aggressive nature of criticism, they are best fitted in the true spiritual knowledge of Vedas. In fact Swami Vidyaranya included the philosophy of Charvaka in his book as one of the logical philosophies (Darsanaas).
Atheism and theism are two sides of the same coin, Brahman is not a being it is an absense, a non-existence, a void. Brahman cannot be directly conceived as something personal like the other God's of Hinduism are posited. Advaita practitioners uphold the personal character of Ishwara, but even here it is a maya - why have they stalled here? The point is escaping maya, not finding a more profound maya.

This is the nature of what you call atheism, in reality it is merely the rejection of those worshiped personalities and an ignorance to ultimate truth. They have rejected the personalities, contented themselves with this conclusion and ignored the wisdom contained.

No, both atheism and theism is flawed, you can tell because they are always at odds. Extremes are emphasized to highlight their absurdity, their equal fallacy. Truth is always between the extremes, only limited perception can group so simplistically as either "is" or "is not", go deeper.
It is flawed if the conclusion is not supported by logical AND physical evidence.

This creates of spiritual quests something materialistic... I prefer the word "experience". Often, logical is our enemy, we can justify almost anything logically if the right parameters are established. The whole of spirituality is the study of that which isn't physical though, so this is strange.

In the East, spiritual has been pursued diligently and mastered; in the West, material has been pursued. In each case the effects are clear, both are only growing half a person. This is quite strange, justifying spiritual through material. Grow both half's, but how can you know the inward by looking out? As each is strengthened, the other will be more fruitful, they are very complimentary. It is a strange approach though.

Ved gives us a very clear procedure as to how to arrive at the truths of our universe. The vedic kuls (schools) of ancient India give us such procedures like

1> to sense,
2> to question / inquiry (mimansha)
3> to meditate / deep thought (dhyana)

- to help us conclude well.

I agree with these, and yet am still puzzled by your prior statement... perhaps if I understand what you meant by these?

I can sense that there is a pattern to things, an undercurrent which says something important - this can help spiritual growth. Does touching a thorn bush assist though? It will only provide pain. Sensing is only useful to an extent, it provides the questions for you to answer.

Then you have separated this source of questions, and grouped it with inquiry. These are different to me, inquiry is asking a question, but my senses have already provided the question so why do I need another? One and two should not be separate, they are the same for me.

Of course, meditation is the only true provider of answers, what do you mean by deep thought though? It seems like you are referring to contemplation not meditation. Advaita masters have told me contemplation is a type of meditation, but for me contemplation is just thinking to see where thought takes you. Meditation is something else, it is asking and waiting for a reply, querying existence itself for insight. I have never found answers in contemplation, only more complicated questions.

I think we are getting our wires crossed somewhere, it would help to straighten them out in our own words I think, rather than referencing things which can mean different things to everyone.
This is the problem with Advaita though, it is as far as mind can take you, but the goal is not of the mind - it transcends mind. Running Advaita philosophy through Buddha's meditation can be fruitful - Advaita is more direct than the language of Buddha, while meditation sets the environment for its concepts to be met directly.

That you cannot say God either is or is not, neither are true, yet both are true. Logical cannot take you here, it is completely against logic, but then life itself is not logical so this is quite fitting. Why should the answer to something with no logic be logical?

Logical can only explain the meaningless, logic does not care about truth at all, it is completely ambivalent to it. Only experience can present truth...
Is that advaita philosophy?

Is that advaita philosophy? Is eactly Like asking:
Q: Is the quotation, "All-is One" the definition of advaita philosophy?
A: Yes.

The question is a classic, as asked by Arjuna:
Gita 12.1:
Arjuna inquired: Which are considered to be more perfect, those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?

All is one; and by the "neti-neti" intellectual analysis of jnana-yoga we arrive at the conclusion that nothing is beyond "neti-neti" except Brahman.

The schools of thought in Indian philosophy never make any explicit not indirect proclamation that "Therefore, there is no Godhead" ---Never.

Rather they avoid this topic and simply stick to the intellectual analysis known as jnana-yoga ---thus, the conclusion of such intellectual explorations is that Brahman is Impersonal. The term impersonal is only spoken & utilised by Personalist Yogis.

Only through silent mantra meditation is Brahman preceived as "Pure-Consciousness" as the stimulai of the senses is withdrawn [as a turtle withdraws its limbs] by the still-unwavering self-recognition of one's own center of Awareness aka, "Pure-Consciousness without distubances of sense-stimulai nor stored memories" ---silent mantra meditation brings one into an 'on-guard'/ zen-like/ present-in-the-moment awareness devoid of material distractions ---this takes practice to calm the ever-wavering & un-focused mind.

"Pure-Consciousness" preceived through silent mantra meditation awards one with "Atma-rama" (lit. Pleasure of the soul) aka, Self-satisfaction.

The Conclusion of the Vedas (aka, Vedanta) is attainable only through a Guru who is a bonefide representative of the Science of Self-realisation.

Arjuna examplified this maxim for all posterity in the Gita.

The example is given as such:
Q: "How does one know who their real father is?"
A: "Ask your mother"

So, bonefide translations of Hindu Scriptures by bonefide Spiritual Master who is authentic representative of the Science of Self-realisation.

We should be so fortunate as Arjuna was with Krishna; or as Brahma was with Little Krishna; or as Narada & Brother Shiva was with Brahma; or Vivasvan and his son Manu; or as Pariksit was with Sukadeva; or women & the Labor class with the epic MahaBharata, et al.

Atheism in "Hindu Schools of Logic" do not deny the topic God ---they just talk past the topic. Since the soul is made of Brahman-Stuff, the conclusion for such schools is all about the rationale that who ever is Brahman-realised has realised a God-state.
So if you define spirituality as that which is not physical, so it is the study of logic? Am I getting you correctly.

Science today agrees that physical matter is a perception or projection of our minds onto what is real - they call the real quanta. If even the most scientific and logical systems of inquiry are discovering today that physical existence is not necessarily real, why hold to this perception when pursuing spirituality?

For me, spirituality might be defined as a direct encounter of what science calls quanta, and more than that, the pursuit of making this the permanent reality rather than the projections we call reality normally.
Is that advaita philosophy?

Advaita says "God is all there is, and I am part of that", or various incantation of this statement. I am not concerned with how it arrives here, I only know that it does. The path is very complicated, and not interesting to pursue when you know the conclusion and its simplicity.

And isn't something with no logic a very logical "That is illogical, hence proved false / untrue. For what is neither logical nor physical, does not exist.
(I am guessing that is not advaita?)

This is exactly what I say is wrong with Advaita, always these conclusions are restricted to mind or body, yet we are not these so this is not useful. It can facilitate trust in later meditation, but all too often it is never taken to meditation and so they continue disputing.

Again, I just could not understand that, sorry. Meaningless is something without meaning, that which is incoherent. How is logic to explain the meaningless.

Logic can be followed to any conclusion you wish it to arrive at, this is why logic is meaningless. It does not care about truth, it only cares about comprehension. I can logically explain anything I want, I can be so convincing that you will want to accept it as fact, but it does not assist you in knowing truth - it is just another flawed explanation of something meaningless. This is all logic can do though, because even if you are correct, there is no experience of the conclusion through logic.

I would recommend watching some Papaji videos on YouTube, he is probably the best Advaita teacher we have known - little of what he says though is logical. By best, I mean he is responsible for more enlightened people than any other.

I am convinced that experience consists of both sense and thought, and both are essential to get at the truth, and since thoughts are logical entities (though harbored in the mind which is a physical entity), logic thus becomes essential for getting at the truths of our universe. And so also to ved.

Why are you convinced of this, do you think? It is because you are seeking with ego, and it wants to be the champion of truth - in reality, ego is exactly the veil from truth. Ego is a projection of programming that fundamentally says "I am mind and body", so to discover you are neither is not something the mind wishes to allow.
Is there a Yukti or Sutra that supports this?

Why not 'ALL IS TWO'
Why one.
Is there a bias towards one here?
Do you think the nubmer One is special?

Advaita literally means "not two", if you believe in duality you are not an Advaita practitioner. It is really that simple... there is nothing that says you must accept Advaita, you are free to be wrong if you'd like. For me, though, nothing else about religious scriptures is even remotely useful. They are just stories with no relevance, just something you have been told is sacred.

I am curious as to your perception of the value of the Vedas though if you insist they infer duality is real? What makes them any different from any other fiction tale if they do not point to anything of value? Why revere something that offers you nothing?
Vedic Rationalist,

Advaita teaches of a basic non-duality, is that right?

The very meaning is "not two", so fundamentally it is non-dualistic. You only attach it to a particular stream of thought by labeling it as such, for instance "advaita vedanta" - not two, end (goal) of the vedas (scriptures). For those that know, this is all religion need say.

We can also say that non-dualism and advaita are merely the same thing said in two languages. Going by obvious patterns, I would predict that "dvaita" is the Anglicization of the Sanskrit "two", while "a" in front usually signifies the negative. For examples, kasuna means skillful, while akasuna means can translate as unskillful.

So we can say: non-dualism is the goal of scriptures - according to this group, and indeed most mystic branches of faith including: advaita, sufism, zen, hasidism, kaballah, theosis, etc. The flaw in each is that they cling to tradition still, but it is difficult to teach unless you work with prior knowledge of the student - you have to deprogram them first. Trouble is, they go on clinging when the prescription is no more than let-go. This is a strange type of mystic, that believes he knows and yet still differentiates. These can only serve as doorways, the true knower understands their feebleness.
Why not 'ALL IS TWO'
Why one.
Is there a bias towards one here?

a] the manifest cosmos is an expression of duality in action.
Black/white, large/tiny, male/female, stars/space, outside/inside etc etc.

b] taken together the dual polarities from a wholistic Complete whole.


The Issue is not inre the above maxims ---the debates are inre the nature of the soul.

The nature of the soul is not an Proper Topic for advaita logistics and semantics.

Advaita seeks to show that everything is UNIFIDE.

But, by extention, the advaitists seek to (mistakenly) show that the Nature of the soul is somekind of omni-present overlord.

The "Nature of the soul" is a topic that is beyond the perview of advaita logistics and semantics.

There is a bias against the "Nature of the soul" as the POV of an eternal individual "Living Entity" aka a Soul, aka, jiva-atma (individual-soul being).

This is the source & Goal of the Hindu Advaita logistics and semantics.

Hindu Advaita logistics and semantics are true and correct . . . except in the topic of the "Nature of the soul" ---thus, the Bias.

I wish a stuanch advaitist would debate me ---without their showing fear that I will show them their self; and the Supreme-Self Godhead too, into the bargain.
I wish a stuanch advaitist would debate me ---without their showing fear that I will show them their self; and the Supreme-Self Godhead too, into the bargain.

Might be able to arrange that, if we can get him passed the moderation queue here. Lemme know if you are serious about it, and I will find out if the advaitist I know is willing. :)
Originally Posted by bhaktajan
I wish a stuanch advaitist would debate me

I may need their coaxing for me to avoid veering into Vrindavana Das territory.

Brijabasi never die, they just fade away,

I may need their coaxing for me to avoid veering into Vrindavana Das territory.

Brijabasi never die, they just fade away,

I know of a couple of advaitists I can invite over to debate you. One is rather settled in his beliefs, and is a polite debater. The other is more muddied in his beliefs, and loves to argue for the sake of arguing.

Lemme know if you want me to invite one or both over. :p
I know of a couple of advaitists I can invite over to debate you. One is rather settled in his beliefs, and is a polite debater. The other is more muddied in his beliefs, and loves to argue for the sake of arguing.

Lemme know if you want me to invite one or both over. :p

Yes. Also, an floating moderator would be great too [ie: yourself etal] in order to occassionally be reminded to: STAY ON TASK, thus avoiding tangential digressions.

Or someone can occassionally "recap" what topics had been touch upon and which topics have not yet been fleshed out thoroughly.

My pledge is to be academic for academics' sake.
I do not seek to be a victor in One-Up-manship.

I see the discussion as a Yogic exercise to clarify my own apprehension of the subject ---as a service to others.

I must say beforehand that ---aside from the need to cite the texts chapter & verse ---common sensibilities & logic must be explored to find the wholistic common ground.

BTW, What would the Title or main Topic or starting Point for such a discussion?

Maybe: as would alway assert:

Upon realisation of Unified Brahman via the Vedic Yoga Texts . . . there is the higher levels that a Yogi MAY pursue.

Or {this question of mine, does IMO, seem to be a set-up question meant to stump the reader . . . maybe that's just my bloated ego}