Monthly Archives: April 2013

Relationship cannot be replaced

‘We are caught in a vicious circle of busyness and we don’t know how to come out of it’ (particularly in IT sector) was the question addressed to me when I went to Bangaluru for a function on April 14th.  The same evening in Vijay TV (Neeya Nana) discussing on the advantage and disadvantage of gadgets (blessings and problems) the same kind of issue is discussed from various angles; ‘we are trapped and we don’t know how to come out of it’ etc.

Though few people tried to give some solution yet for those who are trapped and become ‘addicted’ to such devices’ (particularly to mobile and computer) their solution won’t work for them.

But my simple answer is this: NOT THAT YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO COME OUT OF IT.  BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO COME OUT OF IT.  THEN IT IS YOUR FUNERAL AND NO ONE CAN HELP.

We often say that we can wake up one who sleeps but not one who pretends to sleep.

When I was reflecting on this topic this morning the following points came to my mind:

Count the cost that you have to pay.

Think which can be replaced and which cannot.

Seek the help who can help you—particularly those who once were trapped (or get addicted) but now successfully come out of it.

In all these solutions for me if all could work on one point we can successfully overcome this issue: which can be replaced and which cannot.

For me gadgets can be replaced but not human relationship.  Any material thing which cannot enhance and serve to celebrate human relationship never served their real purpose for which they are created.  When a man is replaced by material we all will lose human touch in every area of our life. This is not a big subject need to be further elaborated with lots of examples.  One simple old story but relevant for all the people and in all time—particularly highlighting the importance of human relationship is good to end this thought:

One rich but very proud and arrogant man in a village never respected others. So when he was invited for any occasion he used to send his hand stick through his servants.  The same he did when someone died.  So when his servants went to inform about his death, all send their hand stick through the servants.  And he was buried only by his servants without anyone attending his funeral.

Dayanand Bharati. Gurukulam, April 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship formulas

Though a single person, I always celebrate relationship.  But I have my own formulas which I worked out (AS A SINGLE PERSON) in handling my relationship with others.

In my request for others help and co-operation (as a sing person I cannot demand or expect—particularly like family people [more specifically between husband and wife]) I think more of their limitation to help me than my requirements.

Without think others limitation if I request others help and co-operation, they might do it for various reasons.  But when they do it with their limitation then it will add more problems and further complicate my work.  Then I will end up in rectifying the complication by spending more of my energy and time (and cost). So I not only count the cost of my own but also that of others when I seek their help and cooperation for me.

Let me give one example from my life.  When I am need of a loan, instead of asking one person the entire amount, I generally divide it in small parts and request more people.  Then it was not only easy for them to help but also easy for me to repay.  I will first return to those who are in need of that money immediately than others.  And some time I also use another trick.  Suppose if I promise to return the loan within three months and if I cannot do that, then I will take a loan from another person and honestly return the money as I promised to the first person.  Sometime I will end up in a circle that finally after a year or two I have to borrow from the very first person to whom I returned the loan as I promised to pay another person to keep my promise to him.  As I honestly return the money in stipulated time, all will help and co-operate with me in right time and not out of their limitation.

The same I do in all my other requirements.  One time I need to admit my mother in a hospital for two days.  Though others come forward to go and stay with my mother to take care of her, yet I refused to accept their help.  Because, I know that I can manage that time easily and spared (or saved) their help for my future requirement when I cannot manage on my own.  Just because others come forward to help I never take advantage of it.  At the same time I have seen several people take advantage of others help and generosity where they can manage on their own. And when they end up in a situation where they desperately need their help, already they might have exhausted all of them.  One good old story will help me to convey my thought.

Most of you might have heard or read about the story of: ‘tiger comes.  Though the moral of that story is bit different yet it could also help us.  One shepherd while taking care of his herds shouted that a tiger has come. So others rushed to help. But as it was not true they get irritated.  That foolish shepherd could have done it to test or tease others.  This he has done repeated few more time. Finally when one day a tiger actually came, no one rushed to help him to save his sheep.

Though family people (particularly husband and wife) have every right to take advantage of their partner’s help to rest and relax (sometime even for a romance) yet one golden formula that I devised (as a single person) is: Know others limitation too.

Dayanand Bharati. Gurukulam. April 15, 2013.

 

Meaningful life

I feel that my life will make much more meaning when I get to know Him. I admit I don’t know much and maybe there might be some misconceptions about Him in my mind too.

–Already that ‘meaning’ for your life has started.  The moment one feels that she is in need of God, that is a good beginning.  But it is an ongoing process for which we have to work till the end of our life.  This is the tapasya in spirituality.  All have their own conceptions about God and so who can say whether one’s conception about God is right or wrong?  But we have to search within us to know whether we are proceeding in the right direction or not?  And for this we need mutual seva.

Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam,March 17, 2011

Is God a Person?

Does God have a humanely form? because according to the bible, human beings are the image of God while in the Gita, it seems like God exists in some metaphysical state.–ss

–Again what Muktiveda talks about the ‘image’ of God is completely different from what Gita talks about God in metaphysical state.  It is a big subject and to give a simple view about both is that, both believe God as a Person and also a Personal God.  Both talks about incarnation and avatara (and basically there is some difference between ‘incarnation’ and ‘avatara’, though we can use avatara to understand about incarnation).  Regarding ‘Muktiveda’s claim that we have created in the Image of God means that we can ‘Know Her’ but we never share in Her ‘essence’.  Whereas regarding Gita, from Vishishtadvaita school of thought our soul is the minute part of God and therefore the entire creation is the body of the Lord.  It is known as ‘parinamavada’, viz., God is not only the efficient cause but also the material cause.  Whereas, according to Muktiveda, God is not the material cause, and only the efficient cause.  But this is a big subject and several volumes of books have been written.

Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam,March 17, 2011

Where to find?

  1. Where do I find the real Him? Is he Jesus? Is he Lord Krishna or someone else?–SS

–See my response to the question @.  Even if you are sure of God someone who you choose, yet keep the search alive.  Because one who finds satisfaction about her search and need about God and spirituality is a dead person.  The day one thinks that she is satisfied, then she began to dig her own grave.  One saint in his record about his search in spirituality says that one day he told God, ‘I am not sure whether I know the truth and you.  I still have doubts about you and also my experience and I am not sure’.  For this God said to him, ‘what would you know if you are sure, then do it now’.  This is my conviction.  Regarding God and spirituality, we have to live ‘one day at time’.  But even for this we need a firm foundation which a guru alone can give.  Once we found that guru and have faith in Her, then we should begin to live ‘one day at a time’ still searching about God and growing in spiritual life.

Religion and God

@It has also let me to ask myself that, are God and religion different? Can it ever happen that religion might miss out some aspect of God and there might be more about God that we may never know? Do we have to follow a religion to know God?–ss

–The word ‘religion’ derived from the Latin word ‘relegare’ which means that which binds together.  Religion is invented by us to set some boundaries for our rituals and conviction.  It is like traffic rules.  It is like law.  Before we make law we have some freedom to make them and debate a lot.  Once we made it, then we are obliged to follow it.  And when they become out of date, then we bring amendments.  But in most cases, religious boundaries rather than providing security try to exclude others so that we may not feel threatened by their presence and views.  Religion always created ‘the Other’ and by comparing and contrasting with them, we either feel comfort or challenged/threatened.  Religion is the womb of fundamentalism also.

There never comes the question of ‘religion might miss out some aspect of God’.  Because no religion holds the monopoly to know all the truth about God.  As I have already said, till the end we won’t  know all about God and there will be more about God that we many never know.  If we can know all about God, then we can become greater than God.  Though religion can provide some guidance but it can never help us to know God.  At the same time we cannot live without its influence and service in one form or the other.  Most of the time, like computer, it becomes a necessary EVIL.

Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam,March 17, 2011

Who is God?

who is He?–ss

–There is a Tamil saying, ‘Whoever has seen God cannot explain Her and whoever has explained Her, not yet seen God.’  Muktiveda says, ‘No one has seen God and no one can see God’. (I Tim. 6:16).  As I have already shared with you ‘Our God is too small’.   To confess the truth, I don’t know who God is.  If we began to summarize all the scriptures in the world talk about God, then we have to end up in several volumes.  Sometimes, I think that it is good that we don’t know who God is?  Once if we have clear understanding about Her, then all our jikjasu (curiosity or desire to know) and anxiety will come to an end.  Even those who claim to have realized God or have experience with Her, have to live with the question and anxiety whether their realization and experience is true or not?  I too believe in God, but my search is not to find Her, but know the way to begin the process of ‘Knowing God and also Known by Her’.  And I think for this we all need a guru and my search for that guru began and now ended in Muktinath.

Dayanand Bharati,March 17, 2011.

Why Muktinath?

My mother, for instance, is a very righteous woman. She is very truthful to God and worships Him in truth and spirit. She has always believed in Krishna and literally felt Him work in her life without believing in Christ. Even some of the people, who lived before Christ was born, were good believers of other faith. Weren’t they closer to God? So, why Christ?—SS.

–Closer to God is a relative term and each one can fix her own criterion and also respective scriptures give various lists.  If one reads Gita alone, about the mark of a true ‘yogi’ (sthitahprajnata) spread over several chapters from 7 onwards, no one can claim to follow them all to call oneself a ‘yogi’ or ‘righteous’ person and there by come closer to God.  So according to Muktiveda ‘no one stands righteous’ either by the standard that it given by the scripture or based on one’s own standard (Romans chapter 2 & 3).  ‘All have sinned and gone away from God’ is its universal claim: ‘janami dharmam na cheme pravrthi; janami adharmam na cheme nivriti; kenapi devena hrdayas thithena; yada niyuktosmi tata karomi’—I know what is dharma, but there is no advancement in it; I know what is adharma, but there is no deliverance from it; whatever god has put in my heart (viz. my nature, pravarti), I act accordingly.

However, if one feels that she is righteous then it is left to her to believe and continue to live up to that righteousness.  At the same time we have to accept the fact that ‘no one ever lived above her (own) creed’.  So if you believe that your mother is a very righteous woman, I respect your opinion about your mother and I have no issue about it.  But whether your mother can declare the same is a thousand dollar question.  And if she believes so, then again I respect her faith in her and I have no issue about it.

Everyone has the right to believe in any particular deity and trust Him/Her as true in her life.  That is the way faith/bhakti works in religious world and every one need not and could not believe in Muktinath.  But both God and my conscious is not going to ask account for others faith/bhakti or even righteousness but only about mine.  So according to Muktiveda faith is both personal and collective.  And each one has to stand before God for her own faith/bhakti and life and none can become an interlocutor for others to God.  That is why all the people on this earth—past, present and future first has to give account to God the way She works first through their conscience.  God has revealed Her righteousness in their conscience first and each one is accountable for that all the time.

So to the question about good believers in other faith and their closeness to God is left to them, I have no right to judge them in any way.  Here the Christians quoting from the Muktiveda could point out the eternal condemnation outside their faith/church/community and I respect their view.  However according to me, my answer is: ‘I don’t know’.  Thankfully God is not going to ask my view about it at any time, though based on Muktiveda I am have the responsibility to share the ‘subhsandesh’ in the Lord to everyone.  I am first responsible to me and then I have a debt those around me and I cannot avoid it by arguing about certain issues on which I have no right or control—here about the good believers in other faiths and those who lived in the past or will in future.

Regarding my response to those who strongly believe in other deities, I would say, ‘Good.  Keep that faith and bhakti as you like.  But if any time in your life if you feel that you still lack something within you to ‘know God and also known by Her’, then give a chance to Muktinath and He will never fail you.  Or, still keeping your personal faith on your ‘ishtadevata’ give a chance to Muktinath also and if you feel that He can help you in every way in the life both for here (on earth) and hear after (eternity), then decide according to your conviction’.  One can bring the horse the pond but none can force it to drink the water.  So to the question ‘why Christ’ to such good people in other faiths of past, present and future my answer is: by giving Him a chance you are not going to loose anything in your life.  And if He proves Himself worthy to be followed, you have gained a simple and a natural way to ‘know God and known by Him’.  And if He fails, the loss is not His.  This is the way I too took decision, when I came to know about the Lord.  I said, ‘well, all these days I tried various ways and let me give Him a chance.  And if He proves to be the guru whom I seek, then I gain.  And if He fails, at least I would have gained some knowledge about Muktiveda and Muktinath.’  So taking some risk for a worth and noble cause is not wrong as Jim Elliot said: He is no fools who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose.  And in that gamble there are only two players: God and that individual and no third person can do anything more than encouraging the individual to take that risk.  And once God gives that chance to every individual, no excuse on the part of the individual will work further.  One has to sincerely try even before give up.  But arguing on some other issues which is not relevant to her decision on hand about the Lord won’t help.  God accepts our weakness but not excuses.  Once she is convinced about her need and commit to the Lord, then God will work slowly to reveal all Her plan not only for her but also about others—past, present and future.  When one cannot understand about oneself completely, then where come the question of demanding the answer for everything under the Sun.  And even if one demands the answer for everything before finding personal answer, a wise person has to say, ‘sorry I don’t know’.  And only an arrogant person will try to give all kinds of answers which will convince no one.

So, my answer to your this question, ‘I don’t know’.  But once you try to find the answer to the question of your personal need, then God will give answers to other questions.  ‘Dharm and dharmikta angan me suru hotahai’—faith (bhakti, religion, duty) and righteousness first begin at home.  Here the ‘home’ is oneself first.

Regarding my point of ‘simple and natural way to “know God and Known by Her”’, my experience is that, in Muktinath, to know God and also to known by Her I need not do anything physically or mentally beyond within my reach.  Neither by karma (rituals, religious observances, vows, alms, pilgrims and name anything that one can do or has to do physically) nor by jnana not even by bhakti I have to do anything to find out that ‘simple and natural way’.  God in Muktinath has already done everything for me (on the cross) and I simply have to believe and accept it.  But this is the serious point of contention among faiths.  ‘If one can simply believe this and could be saved, then you people made salvation so cheap’ was my father’s response when I shared the subhasandesh to him.  Of course what looks foolish to the wise God revealed to the humble.  For those who believe this is not a religious formula but both a historical fact and personal reality.  However those who try to understand or argue over this ‘formula’ first and then ready accept it won’t get success.  But those who first accept this and then try to understand based on their need will find the ‘natural and simple’ way that God has prepared for the humble.  FAITH STANDS BEYOND REASON, but never remain UNREASONABLE for those who believe.

The relationship between parent and child, husband-wife; among friends, brothers/sisters, relatives all works well when we first accept that relationship and work it out slowly in life than after having a clear intellectual understanding about the relationship.  The same is with faith/bhakti.  Even if it is an imaginary theory that God through Muktinath reconciled us by offering Herself as a prayaschitta for my sins, then those accept it by faith and try to work it out slowly within first and then try to understand it through other scriptural, historical etc. evidence found that it was not an imaginary theory or formula but a historical fact, however it was interpreted variously throughout the history.  At least it worked that way well for my life and million others around the world.  And if others like your mother believe the same about Krishna, Rama, Siva, Allah, Buddha etc., I respect their faith and bhakti.  But the assurance of that bhakti, faith and even mukti is the final test for every individual to further proceed in her chosen faith or to seek further as per the chance given by God.  And here Muktinath gives that assurance in a different way than the claims of other faiths and deities.

This will naturally lead to another question:Krishnagives the same kind of assurance in Gita 18:66 and many other deities and scripture give the same assurance.  Then why only ‘Muktinath’?  For this I wrote a long chapter in my unpublished (and also unedited) book: Living Dialogue: Why Only Jesus?  And here I would like to share with you a part of it, again warning that one need to read not only the entire chapter (Why Only Jesus) but also the book: Living Dialogue to understand the following extract from that chapter.  As there is no hope for publishing this book in immediate future, I would like to share a part of this chapter to answer to my own question: Why Only Muktinath?

Uniqueness of the Muktiveda (Bible) for me:

Unlike the modern Hindu apologetic I do not need to explain the contradictions and shortcomings in a rationalistic and so called scientific way.  This is true with the Muktiveda also.  I can with honesty, at least to myself, accept the contradictions, reject the shortcomings, integrate good things and wait upon Him to reveal the clarity that I need to follow Him—taking help both from the Muktiveda and Hindu scriptures.  At the same time, if I need to give any spiritual and moral authority to one scripture, then without any hesitation, I will give it only to the Muktiveda because of the way it is written—not as a fiction; ancient story (purana); mystical; esoteric; book on social code (dharma sastras) or even as history, but it evolved among the people with their limitations, struggles, and failures revealing god’s character and purpose for his creation.

A comparison:

But if the question is still asked seriously, why not Rama orKrishnaor Siva etc., then not to condemn them or to glorify Muktinath, I have to share my view of it.  However one tries to prove the historicity of all the Hindu gods, except those deified historic gurus of a sampradaya, they are still on slippery ground with mere speculation.  Then regarding their character, I cannot selectively take those good aspects of their character, leaving out the bad side of their stories. Of course several such stories, which are immoral according to human standards, are explained differently.17 For example, all the dalliance ofKrishnawith Gopies is explained philosophically as portraying the relationship with jeevatman (individual soul) and paramatman (god).  I respect their right to explain them in that way or any other way.  However, my expectation of god is different.  Though the personification of various natural forces and characters serve our purpose, yet for me, they all are human endeavors and anybody can do such things with any ideals.  For example, for several Neo-Hindus, Muktinath is the personification of ‘ethics’, ‘love’, ‘a cosmic Christ’ etc.18  They all acknowledge Muktinath as ‘Christ’ of their own expectation and understanding, but they never have accepted His authority as guru and god.

Take for example, Siva.  This adjective, which means ‘kind, auspicious’, was used for various deities in the Vedas.  Later in an attempt to incorporate a Dravidian deity, the vedic deity Rudra was superimposed on Siva and made part of the Vedic pantheon and the latter, the supreme deity in Siva sects.  Forget the historicity, but all the later claims about Siva and his plays in various Siva Puranas and Tamil Saiva scriptures have never appealed to my reason as the aspect of a god of my expectation.

When I recently completed the Tamil Saiva Purana, ‘Periyapuranam’, the story of the 63 Saiva Saints by Sekizhar, the life of some bhaktas of Siva really shocked me.  Though everywhere in the world, in the name of religion, the religious authorities (with the help of the state) have committed several atrocities against humanity in the name of faith.  Christianity stands the worst followed by Islam.  However, the way a bhakta of Siva can do some acts in the name of his bhakti to the lord really shocked me (see in Chapter on Morality).  Of course Hindu apologetics like Dr. Sivapriya explain them in their expected line: as lila (divine play of Siva; or to test their bhakti etc. (see notes no. 5 in Chapter on Morality).  Whereas, a bhakta of bhagavan Muktinath cannot do the same kind of act, even in the name of bhakti—as it will violate the very teaching and life of his Lord (see above Julian’s words).  I need not further explain this point, as my aim is not comparison.  Therefore, each scripture needs to be evaluated in its religious, social, cultural contexts.

In the case of Krishna, going along with the view of Gandhi, unless one has emotional and sentimental devotion to him, the rest of the stories and lilas (plays) related to him, though they entertained me, never appealed to me to accept him as my god.  Of course all the philosophizing about his lilas are correct from the sectarian and apologetic point of view, which others need not accept.  The same can be said about Muktinath and god of the Muktiveda.

In the case of Rama, the imaginary character of the Ramayana or deification of some historic figure really attracted me.18a  Yet, being a Tamilian, my approach to Rama’s character based on Kamba Ramayana and some personal study of his acts of killing Vaali and banishing Sita to the forest based on the rumours etc., portrays him as a human being struggling with duty and morality (dharma and ethics).  However, one can learn many good lessons, and this imaginary story and the central character can be anybody’s ideal.  Though such ideals are appealing, yet I am not impressed to take him as my guru or god.

There is no point of sharing my view about all of the other major and minor deities.  Isolating any one aspect of these deities and rejecting other parts, which are against any ideals, is not acceptable to me.  For example, I cannot reject the Krishna of the Mahabharata and take only that of the Gita or a cosmic Christ and not that of the historical Muktinath.19  Even if Muktinath is merely an imaginary character of the Uttara Veda (New Testament), what appeals to me is his total personality.  I would prefer to strive to reach that ideal stage with the help of god, rather than accept every deity as the representation of that one invisible, unfathomable, non-comprehendable god.

Notes:

17. The following story told by Nirad C. Chaudhuri shows how common people can easily explain such incidents against any criticism of their gods:

 

When I was young a neo-Hindu sadhu came to preach in my town.  He spoke of Krishna, and referring to the accusation brought forward by the Christian missionaries that he was licentious, the champion of Hinduism said something in Hindi whose equivalent I give in English: ‘That showed that Krishna was a mighty hero.  If you had to carry on with sixteen hundred lusty young women like Krishna, in one night your face would look like a baked apple’.  The roar of laughter and the approving murmur that followed showed that the Hindu crowd was satisfied that the blasphemous missionaries had been answered in the way they deserved. — The Continent of CIRCE: An Essay on the Peoples of India, Twelfth Jaico Impression,Mumbai,1999, p. 98   58

 

18. For a complete survey of Neo-Hindu’s view of Christ and the way it is evaluated by Christian critics see:  M.M. Thomas, THE ACKNOWLEDGED CHRIST OF THE INDIAN RENAISSANCE, S C M Press Ltd.,London, 1969.

 

18a. …The Epic heroes, Rama, Krishna, etc., became incarnations of the god Vishnu, and the Epics, which had been essentially bardic poetry, were now given the sanctity of divine revelation.  The Epics had originally been secular and therefore had now to be revised by the brahmans with a view to using them as religious literature; thus, many interpolations were (p.133) made, the most famous being the addition of the Bhagavad Gita to the Mahabharata.— Romila Thapar, A HISTORY OF INDIA, vol. One, New Delhi, Penguin Books, (1966), Reprint, 1990. pp. 133-34

 

19.  See my Review on Badrinath Chaturvedi’s two books.  The following is the final part of that review:

 

Every perception has its own limitation, because most of the time it is bound by the experience of the person concerned with Reality or Truth etc.  If Jesus’ disciples ever understood him wrongly, then there is no hope for us to claim that we can understand Him rightly better than His disciples.  Even if we forget the importance of a Historic Jesus Christ to uphold the Church doctrines, we cannot deny the historicity of His first disciples understanding based on their personal experience with Him.  No doubt, all the Church doctrines and theologies of an organized Christianity may not help one to have that personal encounter which His disciples had with Him.  But in order to PROMOTE A COSMIC Christ, to say that His disciples personal understanding of Him based on their experience is improper is wrong.  Because they never said that He was ‘a symbol of a reality greater than his individual self or not a Person but a state of being.’  At least for them, He Himself was that Great Reality—the very God in flesh in His PERSON.  Definitely there was a progressive understanding about this among His disciples, which  was completed only after his crucifixion and resurrection.  It is equally true that ‘What Jesus was saying, was that it is truth and love, and not the satisfaction of physical appetites alone, that make man fully human.  What he was saying, was that it is love, and not the laws, that has the redeeming power.’ (pp.184-5)  But it is a wrong perception to say that, ‘Seen in this light, neither his crucifixion nor his resurrection is to be understood in its gross physical sense, although that is how they have mostly been understood.’  Because at least for the first disciples of Jesus, all that happened in gross physical sense in the life of Jesus has become a historical event for us now.  Because history is not ‘mere records of events’ (p.166), but also its interpretation.  Most of the time, the interpretation alone made an event a historic one.  For me at least, the criteria for history is not the event, but the interpretation of that event by those who have directly encountered it.  However, we agree with the author’s perception about the historic dharmic vs. ‘Christianity in history’, at least in India, it is not that ‘Christianity in history’ with its all verities of believes will help us to understand Jesus Christ as a PERSON, but the relationship which we have with Him,  because of our faith—both as a gift of god and our conscience response to that gift.

Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam,March 16, 2011

Why I need

It also then brings up the question in me that why do I need to come to Christ?—SS.

–You cannot come to Muktinath, but He has to come to you.  This is fact with God.  No one can find God but She has to reveal Herself to us.  Any God whom we try to comprehend through our reason, emotion, sentiment, faith, bhakti, tradition, theology etc. will be of our own God.  That is why J. I. Packer said (in his book ‘Knowing God’) that ‘your God is too small’.  The very concept of avatara also clearly says the same fact, as the word itself means ‘coming down’.  Here I have to share again my personal experience which could speak more clearly than any of my intellectual explanation.  Before that I would like to share one thing.   While millions of people are in the world and in India, and several hundred and thousands are in your city and many hundreds are in your campus, why you alone show some interest to discuss even about Muktinath?  This is the first beginning to allow God to reach us through Sadguru Muktinath.  Here is my story how that Guru found me in the Person of Bhagavan Muktinath:

My search for a guru finally ended in Bhagavan Muktinathan  who was called as ‘Yehoshua’ in Hebrew, ‘Iasus’ in Greek, ‘Jesus’ in English, ‘Yesu’ in Tamil, ‘Jesu’ inBengal, ‘Isa’ in Hindi; so I call him ‘Muktinathan’ as his name means one who gives salvation.  As a Tamil Brahmin boy I was searching for an answer to a simple question related with moral issues: Why can I not live a perfect life, even for a single day, up to my expectations? In those early days, without much maturity and with several limitations, I searched for the answer in my family tradition of doing pujas, rituals (like Sandyavandanam, etc.), reading and memorizing scriptures (like Abirami andadi, Sowdarya lahari, Sivapuranam to name only few) and mantras (like Gayatri and a few other mantras related to gods).  I attended satsangh (called ‘katha kalakshebam’ in Tamil), read Tamil scriptures (Sivapuram, Devaram and several sectarian scriptures).  Yet I could not find an answer to convince my simple rational mind. I also observed grownup people’s lives and asked them questions; but the answers which they gave were to justify all moral lapses by blaming the yuga (this is Kali) or Karma or even God (as Goswami Tulsidas rightly said: ‘kalahi, karmahi ishwar par mitya doshu lagayee=they falsely accuse Time [here Kali yuga], karma or even god]).  Sometimes I was encouraged to do more rituals, chant more mantras, visit more temples and observe other vows. (I was not taught in a systematic way as I present these thoughts now).

I never searched through hair splitting, mind twisting philosophical ideas. Because, being brought up in the advaitic tradition, I had often heard such philosophies which never relate to reality in life. I did come to realize (as taught by own tradition) that without a guru I would not find the right answer to such questions. So I began to search for that guru by various means.  It would take me several pages to write about all the gurus I investigated. Finally, through one of my friends (who along with his parents had recently become a ‘Christian,’ though he never told me about this) I met few Tamil missionaries who were working among the tribes in Periyamalai (the same area where later Veerappan become very active). Though these missionaries shared with me their traditional gospel message (speaking against idol worship, etc.), they also could not give answers to my questions.  But their life greatly challenged me. So when I left them after a three day visit they gave me a New Testament and asked me to read it with a sincere heart and prayerful mind.

When I had been in high school I used to go to church and Sunday school with a Christian friend. I won most of the prizes in the Sunday school.  But after three years one of my friend’s comments made me not only stop going to the church but also created an aversion in me. He said, ‘All the gods which you are worshiping are fallen angels, but Jesus is the only True God’.  I thought, ‘If my gods are fallen angels (or ‘devil’ in their terms) and only your god is true, then I don’t want it’.

So when I later met these missionaries and received the New Testament, I began to read it with reservation. However, I said ‘I have tried several things to find my guru, so let me try this also. If I find my answer and guru in Jesus, then I am going to gain.  If not, then I am not going to lose anything, but at least will gain some knowledge about the Bible’.  To make the story short, finally I found my guru in Muktinathan through the verses in Romans 7:15-24.  But I did put one condition to him, that even though he gave the answer to my question and  I would indeed follow his path as he had become my guru, yet in the future if he ever disappointed me I would give him up.  But for the last 28 years he has never disappointed me, and I trust that he will continue to be my guru till the end of my earthly journey.

As I found my guru in Him, he also became my god as I cannot understand a god beyond my guru. Though initially I, too, became a Christian, yet soon I realized that I need not give up my birthright as a Hindu by leaving my birth community and joining another sociological community called Christianity in Indiain order to follow my guru and worship him as my god.  Both theMuktiveda ( Bible)  and my Hindu tradition gave me all the freedom to be a Hindu (in every sense) and be a bhakta of bhagavan Muktinath without compromising my convictions.  Of course, this is not acceptable both to some Christians and some Hindus.  But thankfully as my guru accepted me as a Hindu as his bhakta, though I still struggle a lot with that identity (because of misunderstanding by both communities), yet he helps me to live a meaningful life as his bhakta.

The answer that I found for most of my moral struggles was related to relationship issues. The Muktiveda sets both forgiveness and reconciliation as preconditions to follow and worship my guru bhagavan.  Though Hinduism in several ways insists on both these, yet one can also keep his religious life (through all kinds of rituals) and spirituality (through various philosophies) without fulfilling those two conditions.  Here I found my answer to the question of why I cannot live a perfect life even for one day.  As god forgave me and reconciled my guru with me, if I too do this in every walk of life, I can also become perfect but this is a continuous process in life.  This may look like a philosophy, but those alone who receive that forgiveness from god and are reconciled to him can understand the simple spiritual ethics that finds solutions to all moral problems. For this one need not give up his birth right of his/her community identity or need join another community or go to any church, but can live as a bhakta of bhagavan Muktinathan without compromising his/her faith (sadhana dharma) and social identity (samajic dharma).  As I am not alone and as there are several such bhaktas in various Hindu (caste) communities we celebrate our bhakti in him through our life.  We welcome other who wishes to join us without became a ‘convert’ to join the caste based Christian communities or denominational churches.

Finally, however one tries she cannot find that guru who alone can remove the ‘darkness from us’ and ‘lead us from unthruth to truth’ and ‘from death to Mukti’.  But with sincere heart and prayerful mind when one seeks that guru S/he will come to her and then it is left to that individual to accept or reject that guru as God immensely respects individual freedom and choice.  So if one knocks the door will be opened; seeks will find and asks will get.  So unless we do our part God cannot even do Her/His part.  But any desire in any individual to seek, knock and ask is the symptom to find that Guru.

Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam, March 14, 2011.

Gita and Bible (Muktiveda)

Dialogue with SS

I have lots of questions inside me and I so want to know more about God and the truth. I am going to be very frank with you…Please guide me through and forgive me if I write something wrong and teach me out of it.


In the gospel of John 14:6, Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In the Bhagavad Gita, 14:4, Lord Krishna says,”“It should be understood that all species of life, o son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed giving father”.
He also says in 10:39 ,”I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being, moving or unmoving, that can exist without me” and in 18:66 “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”
…if we look at both their statements, it brings out the fact that the way to know more about God is just one and exclusive. If one is to be believed, the other stands wrong. I want to know which one is closer to the Truth?  It also then brings up the question in me that why do I need to come to Christ? My mother, for instance, is a very righteous woman. She is very truthful to God and worships Him in truth and spirit. She has always believed in Krishna and literally felt Him work in her life without believing in Christ. Even some of the people, who lived before Christ was born, were good believers of other faith. Weren’t they closer to God? So, why Christ?

…I do believe that there is a God. It is God, who made us and everything else on this universe and that He loves as His own children but the thing that I want to know is, who is He? Where do I find the real Him? Is he Jesus? Is he Lord Krishna or someone else? It has also let me to ask myself that, are God and religion different? Can it ever happen that religion might miss out some aspect of God and there might be more about God that we may never know? Do we have to follow a religion to know God? Does God have a humanely form? because according to the bible, human beings are the image of God while in the Gita, it seems like God exists in some metaphysical state.

…these are the questions that I haven’t found any answer to yet. Its in the hope of an answer that I put my questions in front of you. I feel that my life will make much more meaning when I get to know Him. I admit I don’t know much and maybe there might be some misconceptions about Him in my mind too. I want you to show me the light, the truth.

Yours sincerely

SS

Dear SS,

Shanti!

Thanks for sending your mail and asking so many questions.  Before answering your questions I would like to share a bit about me so that you can have some kind of understanding about my responses.

First of all the language.  I am a Tamilian and never studied in English medium school.  So if you find my English is not communicating or answering your question properly, you have to ask it again.

I am a Hindu and a bhakta of Bhagavan Muktinath, whom the Christians and others call Him ‘Jesus’.  It will take several pages for me to give the reason for calling Him as ‘Muktinath’ and not Jesus.  But to give some basic understanding I have to explain them a bit.  First Jesus is an Anglisized term for His name first in Hebrew as Jashua and then in Greek Yehesu (or something like that).  But His name Jesus means ‘one who saves’.  So I prefer to call Him using Indian term and I translated that meaning in Sanskrit/Hindi and use ‘Muktinath’ or ‘Mukteswar’ or ‘Taraneshwar’ etc.  In the same way I call Bible as Muktiveda etc.  So in my responses you should keep these terms in understanding them.

In giving my response to your question, I should be bit careful, as you are an IIT student, who will approach the answers more analytically.  This in fact is good for me, as I can give, some time more an academic answer than merely sharing some sentiments in the name of bhakti/faith etc.

Finally, thanks for asking such deep and wonderful questions.  This helped me to think about my own faith/bhakti in God and Satguru Muktinath.  So in my responses, I will share more of my conviction based on faith/bhakti, which several time looks more unreasonable.  However I have my own doubt about the ‘rationality of the very reason itself’, which often stands on shaky ground.

Now turning to your questions, which I have divided as follows and I will give my answer to each one separately, though there will be some overlapping and repetition.  As you are busy with your examinations and studies, I would like to post my responses one by one so that when you have some time, you can read and take time to reflect and ask further questions or clarification.

1. In the gospel of John 14:6, Jesus says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
In the Bhagavad Gita, 14:4, Lord Krishna says,”“It should be understood that all species of life, o son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed giving father”.
He also says in 10:39 ,”I am the generating seed of all existences. There is no being, moving or unmoving, that can exist without me” and in 18:66 “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”

…if we look at both their statements, it brings out the fact that the way to know more about God is just one and exclusive. If one is to be believed, the other stands wrong. I want to know which one is closer to the Truth?—SS

DB response:  Exclusivism is trade mark of every religious faith.  And when we read any such exclusive claims as the only ‘way, truth life’, then we should try to understand them in the context in which they are said or quoted.  There is no point of doing any comparative theology among such claims.  All look true and relevant considering their context.  Above all, the followers of the respective faith/God take these claims literarily and believe it.  So I would like to take those sayings of both Lord Krishna and Bhagavan Muktinath in their context to clarify your doubt.

First to Gita.  Here also we have to separate 14:4 &10:39from 18:66.  Because what Krishna says in10:39& 14:4 is in the context of explaining the relation between ‘prakriti’ and Purusha’.  The entire Gita should be understood only in the context of Sankhya school of thought, which was elaborated in Mahabharata (Mbh.) to which Gita is a part.  However several acharyas have interpreted Gita to prove their particular philosophical/theological view.  Here the context is that in creation God is not only the efficient cause but also material cause.  For example,Krishnasays in 14:4 clearly that ‘prakriti’ is the mother and he is the seed giving father.  And the context is not exclusivism or faith but explaining the creation.  And one should be careful to super impose one’s faith/bhakti/theology on such verses and began to compare with other such claims within Hinduism or outside Hinduism.

Next is 18:66 which is called ‘charama sloka’.  As the entire context of the Gita is to urge Arjuna to do his dharma based on Varnashramadharma (varna + ashrama+ dharma) concept, here, exhorting Arjuna after giving a long discourses and answering several of his questions, finally Krishna says, ‘if you have still any confusion and doubt regarding about your dharma as a Kshatriya’, then even surrender that dharma (duty) to me.  As your preceptor and friend I will take the responsibility (already he took by saying that Arjuna is only a ‘nimit’ as all those soldiers were already killed by Him) and therefore surrendering all your dharma carry on your duty.  Here also the context is not any exclusivism in faith.  It is important to note that however Krishna asks Arjuna to surrender even his dharma and take refuge in him, yet three verses before it in 18:63 he urges him to ‘thinking properly all the teaching that so far he parted with him and do whatever he likes’.

Having said this, I have to accept the fact that all won’t accept my interpretation and explanation of these verses.  Because from the beginning several achryas have interpreted Gita to fix for their particular school of thought like Advaita, Vishishtadvaita and Davita etc. However as a student of scripture, I personally feel that keeping our personal faith and conviction, we have to approach the text in its immediate and total context.  Otherwise we will end up in doing ‘text torturing’.

Now coming to the claim of Muktinath 14:6 of ‘I am the way, truth and life’ etc.  Here I am going to share a part of my long response to a question asked by a Christian.  Some of my answers to his question may go beyond the context of your question.  However I believe that those extra materials might help you to clear some of your doubts in over all context of all your questions that you have asked in your mail.  Now the question asked by that Christian to me is:

On the basis of ‘pluralistic inclusivism’ in Hinduism, is Lord Muktinath superior to Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita? This is the core issue.—

But even to understand the context of this questions itself, I have to share some of my response to the previous question asked by the same person.  But I am removing several points from my response to him, as it will confuse you at this stage than helping you to clear your doubts.  Sorry for such long responses from your short questions.   Because as an IIT student I hope you will agree with me that in order to make our response very clear, we have to use many words than giving ‘yes’ and ‘no’ kind of short answers.  Here it is.  But I am sending only a small part of my response to the above question.  Because, at this stage I am not sure whether I can send all my response to this question to you.  However it will help you to understand both the above question and my answer in the total context.  Let me to know whether you are ready for it.  In order to mark the difference of my direct response to your question from quoting from other sources I have changed the color to help me in future, in case I need to refer them back.

This is the my response to the above question:

At the same time we should not get confused with all the exclusive claims of Muktinath as the only ‘Way, Truth and Life’ etc. in Muktiveda in any context of comparative theology.  For example, Acts 4:12is quoted as proof of the unique claim about salvation only through Muktinath.  Now the question that comes to my mind is this, “Is the verse addressed to the Gentiles in particular, or both to the Gentiles and the believers, or only the believers, or–as per the context–is it addressed to those who are opposing the preaching about the Lord?” As I strongly believe in scriptural exegesis, this verse, if interpreted correctly according to the context should never be used for our exclusive claims. About this, A.T. Robinson says, ‘The word for “saved” here (and hence “salvation”) is exactly the same as that rendered three verses earlier in Acts 4:9 by “cured”. The context is not one of comparative religion but of faith-healing.  The issue is “by which power” the cripple is made “completely well” (3.16).  Is it by some innate power or godliness of the apostles (3.12), or is it by “the name of Jesus, awakening faith”’ (3.16)?2  The same is the case with John 10:8, which again, according to Robinson, ‘ has nothing to do with comparative religion’.3   The following explanation offered by Robinson on John 14:6 will further highlight this point:

Much the same must be said of another Johannine text, which is frequently put to exclusivist use: ‘Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me”’ (14.6).  The context here is Thomas’s question about how the disciples can know where Jesus is going, and therefore, how they can know the way.  The answer is that he is going to the Father, and since they know him, they have no need to ask further.  With Philip, ‘Show us the Father’: to have seen Jesus is to have seen the Father (14.1-11).  The point the evangelist is making, to use an earlier distinction, is that Jesus as the Christ is totus Deus: the Father is perfectly reflected in him, he is God ‘all through’.  There is no suggestion in the context that he is claiming to be totum Dei, that outside him there is no truth or life to be found.  The assurance is that in him truth and life are to be found; therefore, there is no cause for anxious fears.4

So we should keep all these important facts when we try to make any comparative theology with Hindu deities and scriptures.  Unlike the Greco-Roman World, the religious context ofIndia(Hinduism) is different one (though one could find several similarities).  We find so many features of God that we found in Muktiveda in many Hindu scriptures like—God as a person, love of God, assurance of salvation, forgiveness of sin etc. At the same time one advantage in Hinduism is the pluralistic inclusivism giving space for ‘exclusive’ faith in one particular deity. This doesn’t mean that we need to revile other deities or condemn their faiths.  Sectarian rivalry and condemnation of faiths among Hindu sects is known to exist.  But this happens not only in the context of theology but also claiming supremacy based on hierarchy of one deity over the other.  Whereas we never found such competition or hierarchy in Muktiveda.  One God, one Faith, one form of Salvation is the uniqueness of Muktiveda.

Notes:

2. John A.T. Robinson, TRUTH IS TWO EYED , SCM Press Ltd., p. 105

3. ibid. p.106.

4. ibid. p. 107.

Dayanand Bharati, Gurukulam,March 11, 2011.