Do all Hindus agree with idol worship?

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by Suraj, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Suraj

    Suraj New Member

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    Apologies for this belated reply:

    Buddha's god is very much like Kapila's God. Buddha believed in a supreme, universal and eternal self. Like Kapila, but did not believe in a personal god.

    It is very interesting that Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita gives Kapila the most respect among the sages.

    Yeah, the soul is finite, but within the ocean, it is infinite. What do you think?

    Yes and No. I don't think we are forced to do anything, after all we have free will, and there is nothing limiting us other than ourselves. I think our past karmas, only make it more difficult to attain liberation, but out presents karmas are far more important.

    I think, there is only one way you can go in spiritual evolution and that is up. Could all the good karmas I've done in past life be supplanted by bad karma in this life? No, and this is why I think so; those good karmas of the past, are a part of the personality we have developed over our many lifes, and how we act today is affected by these past samskaras. For example, if I am a saint in this life, then how could I become a tyrant in the next? If am wise and knowing in this life, how could I be unwise and not knowing in the next?

    I do not believe the soul is the self. The self is the unity of the soul with that ocean of universal cosciousness - that infinity. The soul itself is a finite part of that ocean.

    Would you and I? No.

    Would a soul, where a life on earth would seem like a single moment in the astral. I think it is important to ask yourself why would any soul want to incarnate on this Earth? What is here, that isn't in those subtle/astral planes?

    In the BG, Krishna says to Arjuna that the Earth is the "Karma Bhumi" which you know means the land of karma. I think this illuminates a very important reason why we incarnate here; here to earn karma. Here we learn the hardest lessons. It is baptism through fire so to speak.

    Why should our free will end with our material life? If our consciousness continues on, then so do our ability to will. If we are forced into a life we do not want to live, then that denies our free will. If we accept we do have free will, then we must also accept that we choose ourselves whether we want to incarnate here.

    When we choose which life we want to lead, we don't know if that life will be of happiness and suffering. That will depend on our past samskaras. We may choose to live as beggars, but become kings. We may choose to live as kings, but become beggars.

    Their personality. Every soul has made a string of life choices through all their lives, and everyone is unique. We cannot all have made the same life choices. God essentially experiences reality through all of us infinite souls.

    There is a verse in the Rig Veda(1.164.20) that says this, and I really think it beautiful:

    Two Birds(God and Soul)
    With their beauteous wings
    Associate in intimacy
    Perch on the same tree
    Of them, the soul tastes the fruit
    The other, god, enjoys without tasting

    Do the demons contain Brahman? Does Hell contain Brahman? I think Yes and No.

    If the spirit of Brahman pervades all this universe, then he is the core of everything in this universe. He is the core of you and me. Yet, you and me, or at least the ego of you and me, have those pranic currents flowing in different proportions. So it is also true that god does not exist in this state - he cannot exist in this state. That is why he too has to incarnate in mortal form. In the lowest astral planes(or hells) he cannot exist.

    Prakriti and Purush are eternal. Matter has always existed, in it's undifferentiated/Avyaktum state, but as soon as Purush fuses with it, matter comes alive. So I think, I am wrong in thinking that Purush does not pervade matter. I think again, as above, it is more about matter in it's gross state cannot support the infinite energy of Purush. It is very interesting to note, that at the casual, matter can no longer exist in duality, it completely merges, just like the soul, into this oness.

    So, now to be extremely confusing, it is both right and wrong that matter is pervaded by god!
     
  2. Agnideva

    Agnideva Member

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    Namaste Suraj,

    Thanks for the reply. I find your views highly interesting.

    The Sankhya Vedic philosophy expounded by Sage Kapila is quite intriguing indeed. What makes it even more interesting is that Sankhya is probably the oldest school of organized Indian philosophies. The Sankhya Sutra is believed to be codified before Buddha and Mahavira, around 700 BCE. Sage Kapila does not admit to any personal God, and says that the concept of a personal God is unnecessary. If purushas (souls) and prakriti (nature) are eternally existent, one needs no God to make them come into existence, does one? For Kapila, the divine liberated state for the purusha was beyond association with prakriti. I can see similarity between this Hindu system and Jainism in particular. Jainism, like Sankhya, strongly believes in dualism, is without Ishvara, and considers the liberated soul essentially a god.

    I must say, however, that I’ve never heard of Buddha’s God, or that Buddha believed in a supreme universal and eternal self. Buddhism teaches that there is no permanence in anything, so there are no concepts of eternal God/Brahman or self/soul in any sense of the term. Or is it that you believe that the Buddhists have misunderstood the Buddha?

    Yes, the BG does begin with Sankhya. However, you will notice that the Sankhya of the BG is somewhat different from Sage Kapila’s system. What happened over time is that the Sankhya began to absorb theistic elements from other systems, and a new brand of Sankhya emerged called sa-ishvara Sankhya (Sankhya with Ishvara). This is believed to have happened especially when Sankhya and the Yoga systems were appended together. Later, Shaivite yogis took the 25 Sankhyan categories or evolutes (tattvas) and introduced eleven more tattvas above those 25. So, now we have 36 tattvas in Shaivism built upon the original 25. In modern Hinduism, we use plenty of Sankhyan terms like sattva, rajas, tamas, manas, buddhi, ahamkara, purusha and prakriti, but the essential understanding of Sankhya is that of sa-ishvara Sankhya.

    Very interesting opinion! The reason I asked this question of you is because those who speak of infinity would say that infinity cannot have bounds, and therefore cannot be composed of parts. If infinity is made up of parts, then there are boundaries between the parts, so none of the parts nor the "whole" are really infinite. So, if you believe in that logic, then you cannot have an infinity made up infinite number of finite parts. In other words, infinity is necessarily a unity.

    Karma is quite a complex, as you already know. I think we can agree on the above points you raised. I do not interpret karma as fate either. However, certain elements of our lives are determined by our prarabda karma, the rest would be determined by our kriyamana karma. Often times we think of karma only on the individual level, but really it is more of an interconnected phenomenon. A Hindu master once said that samsara is nothing more than the sum totality of the sanchita karma of all beings.

    Depends on what you do in this life. Presumably, you’ve already worked off part or maybe all of your karma from previous lives in one of the heavenly realms, should you have performed good works with desire of reward, correct?

    Traditional wisdom would tell us that this is only possible if we let our wisdom and power get to us to the point of delusion and take us down the wrong path.

    This is exactly what we call the koshas or sheaths that comprise the jivatman :). And the samskaras are impressions on the koshas.

    Yes, a beautiful verse indeed. Thanks for that.

    Or could it be that those living in the lowest realms are in ignorance of their true nature? It is not that Brahman does not exist there, but that existence is not to be realized in that state. If Brahman is all-pervasive, then Brahman should exist in all realms, in all things, otherwise we cannot use the term all-pervasive and have to say Brahman’s pervasiveness is limited.

    Vedantins negate this Sankhyan position, and ask where were the purushas before they became associated with prakriti? What were purusha and prakriti contained in? And what made the purushas fuse with prakriti, instead of remaining independent? Does this imply some external force? Or do the purushas, which are independent, desire to experience prakriti only to desire independence from prakriti once associated? And if so, is it a never ending cycle of desire?

    Ah, so you don’t speak from a pure Sankhyan perspective! :)

    OM Shanti,
    A.
     
  3. Suraj

    Suraj New Member

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    Yes, I think a lot of Buddhists have misunderstood Buddha. Buddha did not create a new religion, he simply refined Hinduism by doing away with the ritualism, just as Guru Nanak did. Buddha believed in a state called maha-nirvana, which he called the eternal, supreme and blissful self and ONE, which is no different from the Brahman.

    I have a question. If Krishna refers to Sage Kapila in the BG, then wouldn't that mean that Sage Kapila existed during or before Krishna's time? Traditional estimates put the Samkhya school around 700BC. But Krishna is put around 3000BC?

    I think that is limited. Unity means, everything is one. Take the human body for instance, it is one, yet it is comprised of innuerable atoms, trillions of cells, hundreds of bones, dozens of organs. It thus can exist in two states, as one and as many. Likewise, I believe that god is infinite(one) formed of finite parts(many)

    I subscribe to a pecular god as well, like Kapila and Buddha. A god that is both sat and asat, a god that is true and also false, a god that is living and also inert, a god that is moving but also not moving. For me god is like a spinning wheel.

    I absolutely agree. I think there are three types of karma 1) individual 2) social and 3) physical. They are the effects of causes. An individual karmas is his actions; a societies karmas are the actions of the sum total of individuals; and the physical karmas are due to the laws of nature, such as creation and dissolution e.g. the death of the sun would lead to the death of life on Earth, irrespective of our karmas. A volcano due for an eruption will erupt irrespective of our karmas.

    But, wouldn't that mean that a state of ignorance, cannot allow knowledge. A state of darkness cannot allow light. A state of hate cannot allow love. If god is knowledge, love and light, then he cannot exist as darkness and ignorance. He thus cannot be omnipresent, but he could project these states from his own being.

    This is how I imagine god to be

    1111111111
    111111111
    11111111
    1111111
    111111
    11111
    1111
    111
    11
    1

    Take the top line and extrapolate so that it diverges towards infinity, take this to be the realm of matter(the gross) and take bottom line to be the point source, the realm of god(the casual)

    We can see clearly now, that the entire universe is a projection from this single point and diveges out towards infinity. It could never converge back into unity this way, thus god could not exist here. Yet, at the same time if we regress back out of this state(converge) we go back to the point source. So god is still present within everything, but he is not everywhere. I hope that made sense.

    This is why I say god is like a spinning wheel. At the beginning of the first revolution, the universe manifests, at the end of the revolution the universe dissolves. It is not because of desire or will, but the nature of existence. The creation verse in Rig Veda says that god breathes without extranerous breath, he breathes by his nature/power/energy. The Tao is something very similar to this supreme and self-contained state, it is like an ocean that you can take from, but it still will not need refilling.

    I am in agreement with Kapila, that a god who is self-sufficient, perfect and supreme, will not will or desire. After all, aren't we suppose to be liberated of desire, to attain the supreme? But a spinning wheel does not desire, it has to spin simply because it's the nature of it.

    But does that mean god is a machine? No, not in my opinion, because it means that before the universe was created, there was always a motion and energy, and within that motion and energy was unmanifest life. A machine is designed by an intelligence, but who designed this god-machine? Nobody, it is intelligent by it's own nature.

    It's a very difficult concept to grasp, but this uncased and casual state of the universe is completely self-contained, it is intelligent, it is conscious and it is perpetually moving. A dynamic life and supreme energy that lies beyond our comprehension. It is a state of being that we cannot rationalize, simply because we cannot experience this supreme conscousness.

    We think of consciousness as our awareness of the universe, as emotions and desires, as intelligence. But what is supreme consciousness? If we were to go into's god's mind, what would we experience? That's enough to give me a headache :D
     
  4. Agnideva

    Agnideva Member

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    Namaste Suraj,
    Somehow Suraj, I knew you’d ask this question ;). But, it’s a good question and something we should all be asking ourselves. The issue kind of goes back to our previous discussion about the dating of Hindu texts and events.

    The traditional answer to this question would be to say that Krishna is an avatar, so He knows everything, past, present and future.

    Another answer to this question is that the Sankhya is much older than its codifier, Sage Kapila. This is probably true of most of the philosophies. For example, Yoga is much older than Sage Patanjali. But then how does that answer Krishna’s reference to Kapila in the BG? Well, Swami Prabhupada of ISKCON was of the opinion that Kapila mentioned by Krishna is a different Kapila. Swami Prabhupada, in fact, calls the Kapila we know today an “imposter” and an “atheist.” He believed that the true Kapila was the person mentioned in the Bhagavat Purana, and was an avatar from the distant past.

    There is also a non-traditional answer to this question. Historians date Sankhya Sutra around 700 BCE, and the BG (and Sage Vyasa who brought it out in written form) to 400 BCE. So, it’s not a surprise that Kapila’s name is found in the BG. But, that brings up another question: did Sage Vyasa edit the BG, and did the BG exist before Vyasa only as an oral tradition? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but according to historians, Krishna Vâsudeva lived around 1500 BCE. I suppose it is possible that Krishna’s original teachings came down to Sage Vyasa through the oral tradition, and he expanded on them. This, of course, is contrary to puranic histories which place both Krishna and Vyasa before 3000 BCE.

    While this is true, the human body is still limited and finite. Infinity is not a number or a “whole one” composed parts, but a concept. No matter how many parts or pieces you bring together, you can never get to infinity, can you? Regardless, I can agree that at some level both are valid interpretations, and both positions are found in different schools of Sanatana Dharma.

    So, what do you think of the Hindu doctrine of omnipresence of Brahman? And the Advaita Vedanta belief that Brahman is the efficient, instrumental and material cause?

    Do you think that Brahman is to be found somewhere in specific then? If so, where?

    So, here’s my question: do you believe that liberated purushas are recycled back into this universal machine when a new cycle begins? If not, is there an unlimited supply of purushas available for reassociation with prakriti, in addition to an unlimited number of liberated purushas that make up this peculiar god?

    Yogis would say that yoga is all about experiencing the supreme consciousness ;).

    Some say we are already within that universal mind :). So, even the headache we get thinking about it is an experience within the universal consciousness.

    OM Shanti,
    A.
     
  5. PrachandaChandikA

    PrachandaChandikA New Member

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    They are not just a little biased but intentional mis-translation in an attempt to preach that islam is the only truth~pls. don't quote Islamic sites on hinduism. Just an example of politcal abrahamism in action I was talking about in another thread. I have seen such stuff many many times before.

    Such stupid lie propagation does make counter attack justified.

    Ofcourse greater blame lies we us who remain ignorant of our philosophies
    and it's language.
     

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