Did Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism Copy from Each Other?

Every culture has influenced every other culture during mutual interactions. It is only because of this influence that humanity has achieved a lot. But many people today call such cross-cultural interactions, influences, adaptations etc as ‘copying’ or ‘plagiarism’ which is both sad and stupid.

For example, today Indians wear shirt and pant, celebrate birthdays using English calendar, cut cakes and blow candles etc. Should we say India copied this from West or West influenced India?

Of course, a lot of Catholic churches and many Sufis have adapted certain cultural things from India as well. So yes, Indian culture has influenced Indian Christians and Indian Muslims. There is no question about it. Have you ever wondered why the Bible is called as Vedagamam in Tamil? It is not plagiarism but influence! Plagiarism or copying means a person using somebody’s work without attribution. This doesn’t apply to cultures.

Let me give you a lot of examples:

  1. The story of Adam in Bible is heavily influenced by Enkidu from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.
  2. The story of Noah and Manu was influenced by the great flood in the epic of Gilgamesh.
  3. The old testament doesn’t have the concept of hell or heaven. The divine justice is delivered on earth itself, which is indicated by fall or rise of states. This idea of divine justice was also borrowed from Sumerian-Mesopotamian cultures.
  4. The idea of Good and evil (Satan) in Bible was adapted from Persian religion; and Persian religion itself heavily borrowed from early Vedic religion.
  5. Vedic religion itself adapted many deities from other cultures: Dyaus, Usas and Ashvins come from proto-Indo European culture. Indra and Soma come from Bactria-Margiana culture. And according to Asko Parpola, Varuna was a deity native to Indus valley civilization ( I am a little skeptical of Parpola’s claim though).
  6. There was an ancient University in Taxila founded in 10th century BCE which should have certainly attracted students from all over the world, Even though majority of the people were unaware of other states and empires, there were certainly elites and traders who travelled long distance from the Near East. It is through the influence of this University, many ideas which existed in cultures close to it has travelled to far away lands. A lot of such ideas got distorted, modified, re-interpreted and even developed in the places where they reached. I see no other reason for development of new ideas during Axial age ( 800 BCE to 300 BCE) all over the world.
  7. Early Vedic religion did not have the concept of samsara, moksha or karma. But some individual rishis of Rig Veda might have been aware of such ideas already. These ideas were influenced by Sramana traditions and re-interpreted within Vedic context. Also, early Vedic religion neither had temples or idols.
  8. The stance against idolatry in Judaism was strongly influenced by the representation of the king and the state through images in Egypt . So, the stance against idolatry has a hidden and lost message: Do not consider a human being as infallible authority! But the Hebrew Bible is a theological and mythological narrative to explain real political events, such as the conquery of Israel by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and others. Along with this, Jewish mysticism which is close to Eastern traditions existed and their ideas also influenced the old Testament.
  9. Followed by Taxila university, Plato’s academy was established in Greece in c. 387 BC in Athens. The idea of eternal hell was developed by Plato as a social tool to discipline people who wouldn’t listen to reason. Later it was adopted by Abrahamic traditions. Plato’s allegory of cave is another metaphorical distinction between real and unreal, just like Vedanta.
  10. Muhammad travelled from Mecca to Damascus every year for trading. In Damascus, he must have been exposed to various mystical traditions. No, he didn’t copy them. He simply brought it to Arabia which by that time had no state, no law, and no justice; People had primitive social norms, killed female infants, raided caravans, married irresponsibly and abandoned orphans and widows. Once thing I can infer is, the intellectual gap between Muḥammad and his followers was very large. As historians agree, Islam indeed improved the status quo of pre-Islamic Arabia and was an improvement to the existing conditions . So many ideas which we think from Islam were already existing before Islam; Muhammad just managed to reform some of them but compromised and adapted some olden values too.
  11. Vedic religion had a concept of Rna or indebtedness. It simply means human beings are obligated to follow a law or Dharma and settle the debts he owes for the society and nature. Failure to do so simply means a lack of gratitude. Dharma means law or way of life. Initially, Dharma was only about ethics and order, wealth and pleasure. But after being influenced by Sramana traditions, Dharma also included the way to attain eternal peace. They came up with three means to do that: karma (doing your obligatory duties without being too attached to the fruits of actions), Jnana (a direct inquiry into the nature of existence) and bhakti (surrender and love to one and only supreme God). Now let us see how all this fits into Islam. Muhammad did not call Islam as a religion but called it as Deen. It means law or way of life, just like Dharma. And the word comes from Arabic for ‘dayne’ which means ‘debt’ (just like rna). And Muḥammad insisted that submission to God as true form of worship. Jihad means struggle, which is the same as Srama in Sramana. And the word ‘khafir‘ originally meant someone who lacked gratitude or someone who hides the truth. If you put together all the pieces and see the whole picture, it will make a lot of sense.

12. Muhammad did not claim that he was bringing something new. He simply claimed he was restoring the original form of worship by Abraham. Who is Abraham? People have noticed strong similarity between Abraham and Brahma and have suggest that Jews and Brahmins were the same. A passage that is quoted often for this is:

“The similarities between the names of Abraham and Brahma have not gone unnoticed. Abraham is said to be the father of the Jews, and Brahma, as the first created being, is often seen as the father of mankind…’ We might also note that the name of Brahma’s consort Sarasvati seems to resonate with that of Abraham’s wife, Sarah [… each one’s identity as a wife and/or sister]. Also, in India, the Sarasvati River includes a tributary known as the Ghaggar…. According to Jewish tradition, Hagar was Sarah’s maidservant…. Both Brahmins … and Jews see themselves as the ‘chosen people of God.’ The Hebrews began their sojourn through history as a ‘kingdom of priests’ (Exodus 19:6). Likewise, Brahmins are also a community of priests. — Rosen in Essential Hinduism, p. 12.”

But I don’t think it is true; there is strong evidence against it. It will make more sense to consider Abraham as a metaphor for a Brahmin who lives between the rivers Sarasvati and Ghaggar. So who is the God of Abraham? It is more likely to be the fusion of aspects of Vedic deities Rudra and Varuna. When I was researching the origins of devotion or bhakti, I was able to trace it back until Varuna, who is described as the Lord of justice, expects surrender and repentance, just like Abrahamic God. And just like God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Varuna asks Harischandra to sacrifice his son. Later, the benevolent deity Yahweh (who is similar to Rudra, later syncretized with Shiva) absorbed all aspects of hundreds of older Jewish deities and the aspects of God of Abraham too. This also makes sense, because the same story about human sacrifice make a re-entry in India through a Tamil Text ‘Periya Puranam’ several centuries later. And this time it is Shiva (who absorbed Vedic Rudra) who comes in disguise as a sadhu and asks for human sacrifice of his son. Makes sense?

13. The lost or unknown years of Jesus in the Bible between the age 12–30 has been explained by many by saying that he has travelled the world, including Indian subcontinent. There is a document in monastery in ladakh which actually talks about Jesus studying there and it has been witnessed and translated by many. Jesus also said that he came to establish the Law (Halakha in Hebrew, which means the same as Dharma).

14. All cultures evolve their dharma like this: an animistic tradition that doesn’t have a concept of God but only believes in various spirits inside real world objects —-> Clan deities of various tribes forming a pantheon, sacrificial rituals and accompanying poetry — Evolutionary monotheism which happens by syncretism of various deities into one —-> Worship and surrender to one supreme God with names like Ishvara, Allah, Narayana etc. —-> The mystical path that involves realizing God as all that exists (Brahman, which is usually thought a direct result of worship and surrender to one God, along with Karma and Jnana. In Islam, there is Sufism; in Christianity there is Christian Mysticism; in Judaism, there is Jewish Mysticism and Hasidism. They all start with surrender and worship in the beginning of the path but also talk about the higher truth of oneness of Brahman; But since they use different names and concepts, use different teaching methods, enumerate the contents of consciousness differently (which is nothing but the actual meaning of Samkhya) and also define the stages of the spiritual paths differently, they all seem different. In addition to it, there are cultural, historical, political, linguistic, and geographical differences which has all been wrapped as a package to come up with the modern concept of religion .

15. Apart from Vedic and Sramana traditions, there were thousands of folk traditions with thousands of deities in India. Many were benevolent but absorbed into Buddhist mythology as yakshas and yakshinis who were the disciples of Buddha. They are also seen as various extensions of one reality in meditation. Vedic religion did the same thing by Sanskritizing all these deities and absorbing them into Shiva or Vishnu; if they were female deities, they merged with Shakthi or Lakshmi. And Shiva and Shakthi are again considered as two aspects of one divinity. Many people, especially from South of India think that this is bad. No, it is really not; the only negative consequence of this was denying entry and access to temple worship to people of specific social class. This is similar to ancient Egyptian tradition in which priests were the only ones who had access to temples and other people can only see the deity during processions. This Sanskritization of folk deities led to various monotheistic traditions like Shaivism and Vaishnavism, which were all united by Adhi Shankara as various paths of single dharma.

16. If you stop seeing things with modern lens using modern concept of religion, you can see the truth; if you take this modern concept as your identity and tend to feel superior towards it, it will certainly lead to intolerance. But if you go to the roots and see that it is all about dharma and its three aspects (bhakti, jnana and karma), then everything will be clear. You will agree with what I have written in this post: Shanmugam P’s answer to Why is Hinduism spreading so fast all over the world?

An article that you may be interested in: Pappankulam – A Village of Brahmins and Four Vedas

Love Yourself and Love Everyone, as God is Love – Thus Spake Jesus Christ

I came across this image today and it got me into thinking:

Rather than calling it ‘thinking’, I would describe it as a creative process which started flowing as I began typing.

Everything has a reason in nature even though it seems to be an unconscious process. It not only includes your forgetfulness, but also includes all the suffering you go through, every tear you shed and every lesson that you learn after that.

Jesus said blessed are the people who suffer. That is not a joke; suffering makes you to think and search for a solution; it creates empathy and sympathy for other people who suffer; suffering makes you to learn the lessons of life; suffering makes you search the divine inside you. So yes, if you are suffering now, you are blessed. And do you suffer thinking you are not good enough? If yes, forgive yourself and accept yourself as you are. No matter what you did in the past, forgive yourself! It could not have happened any other way because every effect has causes. What happened to you or through you certainly had a reason to follow.

Ok. Enough looking at your own suffering. Turn around and look at the face of the next person you see; yeah, do it now! He or she, only that person completely knows the suffering they went through; only that person knows every step they took in their life; only that person knows how much they are trying their best; only that person knows their struggles, painful memories, accomplishments, situations etc. Who are you to judge and label them as good or evil?

You don’t have that measuring scale! We all have planks in our eyes which stop us from recognizing the sawdust in the eyes of the others. May it is not a sawdust but you are projecting it! So isn’t it a good idea to throw those planks away and remove the blurriness from our own eyes first?

So, forgive the person you just saw wholeheartedly, accept them as they are and love them. Just try to send a thought wave of love. Try it!

Then open your windows and look at your neighbor. Repeat the same steps with them, repeat it for every person who you see after that. Just try for a few minutes or may be longer.

Come on, it is not that hard!

After all, it is another human being just like you, who has a story that you don’t know. It is the same breath, the same consciousness and the same Divine which resides within you. The kingdom of God is within him just like it is within you. It just have to be discovered by turning in (or metanoia, the actual Greek word for repentance used in the Bible).

Now you see someone that you really hate. Do you know him or her? Not really. Yeah we talked about it. Forgive and love, just try it….

The world will be a better place with more understanding, more love, less intolerance, less ingroup-outgroup bias, less prejudice and less hatred…

God is Love. We find Him in love.

Now, Is it very difficult to love the one who gave the message of love to the world and got nailed for it?

No. You don’t have to be a Christian to do it. You don’t have to be baptized to do it. And you don’t have to stand in the streets and give flyers to make someone understand it either!

Some Amazing Coincidences Regarding Religious Tolerance

I have crossed 36 years on this planet. My birthday was just yesterday, September 26th. I have placed my step on 37th year now. When I think about the past, nothing immediately comes to the memory because I am completely unburdened by the past in psychological level. There are certain times when I behave in certain ways motivated by any emotion-provoking incident from the past, but those times are very rare. 

Freedom from the past is correlated with peace, fulfilment and absence of the sense that one is seperate from the existential source. This is not the result of a scientific study, but something that I confirmed by my own experience. So, this is not a public evidence that can be objectively verified yet. But whatever I write in this blog is not new. I am just separating facts from myths and summarizing the essence of spirituality, by looking at it from all perspectives, including the modern psychological perspective.  This essence of spirituality has been communicated by various people through various texts. Those texts probably number in thousands or even millions. But one doesn’t have to read all that. I have summarized everything in two different books, with two different perspectives or approaches.

There are two ways to approach the ultimate truth of existence. One way is scientific way, but it is a psychological exploration combined with mindfulness meditation. You don’t have to believe in a God or follow a religion. You just have to follow a certain set of instructions to do two types of meditations: open-monitoring meditation or Vipassana/ Mindfulness and closed-focus meditation or shamatha/dhyana. The former involves in non-judgemental moment to moment passive awareness of what goes on in your mind; you start with with body first and extend it to your thoughts, emotions, subtle mental reactions or movements etc. The latter involves focusing on one object; whenever your mind wanders from that object, you notice it, take it with acceptance and bring the attention back to the object of meditation. The former is the direct path to freedom and comes second in the two-fold spiritual path that I often mention in my posts and videos. The latter is the path to purify the mind, develop non-attachment and prepare the ground for the former direct path; it comes first in the two fold spiritual path. Explaining this and practicing this requires no beliefs! This approach is the approach of meditation.

The second approach is the approach of love. This approach usually accompanied with a belief in a personal God or personification of the absolute truth of the existence. This is a path of unconditional love, prayer, chanting hymns etc accompanied by love towards other human beings and a longing to unite with God. This approach is the path of devotion.

Two kinds of people exist in this world. Based upon one’s nature, they can choose either one of them or even combine them both but not simultaneously. One could start with devotion to God, use the devotion as a stepping stone or the purification stage (stage 1 in 2-fold path) and later progress towards the approach of meditation. But since purification stage is already complete, you can stick to the open-monitoring meditation alone. This is how I walked on the spiritual path. The first 18-19 years I walked in the path of devotion, though I tried closed-focus meditation from time to time. The next 12 years were spent usually in a lot of mindfulness meditations.

I have written  two books for these two different approaches, so that I could address all kinds of people. 

  1. People who are atheists, scientists, critical thinkers etc can read the book “The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment: Bridging Science, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta” :https://www.amazon.com/dp/1973364549
  2. People who believe in God, no matter which religion they belong to can read the book “Discovering God: Bridging Christianity, Hinduism and Islam”: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XRJ3GWS

In the post Goddess Gomathi Amman, Adi Thabasu and Religious Tolerance, I have written about certain coincidences in life that I was amazed by. You can bookmark it and read it later because it is pretty much connected to my latest book, the second one in the above list. These days, I am observing such coincidences so closely and I am making sure that they are recorded in my blog posts. There are some new coincidences related to this book which are wonderful and creepy; I want to share them with the readers today.

Before that, let me start with the very first coincidence that started all this. My school life was mostly influenced by Tamil Poet Bharathiyar; and my life in my early twenties was mostly influenced by Osho. My son was born on December 11th, 2016. It is on that day I realized that both Bharathiyar and Osho were born on December 11th. So I get to celebrate three birthdays on my son’s birthday! Amazing right? But wait, there is more to it.

I released my book “Discovering God: Bridging Christianity, Hinduism and Islam” on September 11th, 2019. It didn’t plan that, it just happened by chance that the day I released my book ended up being September 11. But then I realized that it is an important day in many aspects.

  1. Memorial day of Tamil poet Bharathiyar that I just mentioned. He was very keen in explaining people that all these three religions lead to the same truth. Once he had given a speech about Prophet Muhammad, in Pottalpudur in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, India during his lifetime. There is a famous dargah in that town and I used to pass by it everyday by bicycle to school when a studied in T.M.Puram, a village next to this town. 
  2. On 11th September 1893 Swami Vivekananda, gave his first speech in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago. He addressed the crowd as “Sisters and brothers of America”. After saying these words, Vivekananda received 2 minute standing ovation from the crowd. Vivekananda’s guru was Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who promoted religious tolerance by practicing spiritual practices of all these three religions and confirming that they lead to the same goal. Also, Vivekananda’s speech created a big revolution and made Westerners to have interest on Eastern philosophy.
  3. But it also has been one of the worst days in history. The day September 11 is known for the terrorist attacks in the US in 2001. The main reason for this attack was religious intolerance. It is also true that those terrorists were getting inspiration from some verses from the Quran itself which are regarding Jihad. This and many forceful conversions in the past has earned Islam a bad name. I also dedicate this book to the people who lost their lives in those attacks. But I have also presented the nature of true Islam as taught by Muhammad and shown how the major religions Christianity, Hinduism and Islam can be bridged. I hope the overall message in the book will spread to more number of people.

Anyway, after seeing these related coincidences, I was sure that I can find interesting about Osho on the same day. So I searched for the English speech that he gave on September 11th. The first one I got surprised me. Osho kind of summarized whatever that I said about the two approaches in the beginning of this post. Let me end this post by including that exact discourse which happened on September 11, 1980 in Chuang Tzu Auditorium, Pune:

God can be attained through two ways: either prayer or meditation. They are different ways, diametrically opposite but, strangely leading to the same experience.

If you look at the ways they look antagonistic, and if one thinks logically one will think, how can these contrary thoughts lead to the same goal? But those who have attained have seen that, ultimately, both paths lead to the same goal. And those two paths are needed because there are two types of people in the world.

Humanity can be divided into two categories: the people who are more interested in love and the people who are more interested in bliss. The person who is interested in love has to follow the path of prayer. Then God is somewhere outside and you become a lover or a beloved. Both things have been done in the past.

The Indian mystics who followed the path of prayer have always thought of God as the lover and themselves as the beloved. They thought of themselves as feminine because God is the only male. That too has a beauty of its own — you are just receptive like a woman.

The Sufis have done just the opposite. It is the same path but they think of themselves as lovers and God as a beloved. God is the woman — that too has its beauty. But both are on the path of love. Prayer means the highest form of love. But you have to hypothesize God somewhere outside, then you can relate.

The people who are interested in bliss have no need to hypothesize God outside, they have to hypothesize God inside. Buddha, Mahavira — the whole tradition of Tao mystics and Zen mystics follows the path of meditation. In meditation, you don’t need any outside God — it is self-exploration.

Now, these two things look totally opposite; one is focussed on the inside God. How can they reach to the same point? — But they do.

The person who thinks of God as being on the outside dissolves himself into his God. He disappears, and the moment he disappears the ego is dropped and there is oneness. That oneness is realization.

In meditation you have to discard the ego, you have to become aware of the ego, you have to become watchful of the ego and all its tricks and strategies and cunning ways. As you watch the ego and its subtle ways it starts disappearing. It cannot exist in the light of awareness. Awareness is just like light: you bring light in and the darkness disappears. And the ego is nothing but darkness.

The person following the path of love surrenders his ego to God. “I am not, you are.” But the same phenomenon happens, the ego is surrendered. And the person on the path of meditation does it through awareness. The same phenomenon happens, the ego disappears. And the moment the ego disappears you have come to find oneness with existence. So both reach the same oneness, both paths lead to the disappearance of duality; the duality is dissolved.

My feeling is that, as man becomes more and more mature, the path of meditation has to be more and more implemented.

A child cannot understand the path of meditation; he can understand the path of love because love is natural. Every child knows what love is. Maybe later on he forgets what it is, but every child knows what love is; it is an intrinsic feel.

Meditation is for a grown-up person. And humanity has come of age, hence meditation is going to become more significant than prayer in the future. Buddha is going to become more significant than Jesus. Zen is going to become more predominant than Sufism, Hassidism. Of course a few people will go on following those paths, and nothing is wrong in following them if they appeal to you — if they fit you. But the more intelligent you are, the more contemporary you are, more is the possibility that you will be easily moved by meditation; hence my emphasis on meditation.

I help people in prayer only when I see that meditation will not be possible for a certain person. But it is becoming more secondary every day.

Dhyaneshwar means God that is attained through meditation. So remember, meditation is going to be your way.

Experience is of the mind. Mind deals only with dead things. Experience means something that has already become past. Experiencing means that which is present, which is already here and now, which is a process, not a thing. And this has to be understood about everything that is valuable. Love, bliss, awareness — these are all processes, not things. You are always moving from one perfection to another perfection but the end never comes. It is an endless pilgrimage. The pilgrimage itself is so beautiful that there is no need for any end, the pilgrimage itself is the end.

Never make any goal in life because life has no goal, hence all goals are false and those who are running after goals are bound to be disappointed. Live life as a process, not as a dead thing but as something alive, growing, like a tree which is constantly growing; new leaves are always coming, the old are disappearing, the old is constantly replaced by the new. Or like a river which constantly goes on flowing towards the ocean, it is a continuum. Life is a river, love is a river, awareness is a river.

Remember always, nouns are all false. Existence consists of verbs, not nouns. In fact if we want to make language really true — true to life, true to reality — then we have to drop all nouns, all pronouns. Language should consist only of verbs. There is no tree, there is only treeing. There is no river, there is only rivering; there is no life, there is only living; and there is no love, there is only loving.

This has to be remembered constantly because the mind tries to make everything a noun. It lives in nouns — that’s why it goes on missing life. It is very happy with dead things because dead things can be easily manipulated. Dead things become objects. You can think about them, you can go round and round them, you can dissect them, you can try to find out what their secret is. But when something is alive mind simply feels impotent.

You cannot dissect an alive child. Yes, you can do a post-mortem when somebody is dead. And mind goes on doing post-mortems. It goes on cutting up and analysing corpses. But when a child is dead it is no more the same child. The real has already left; the bird is no more in the cage, only the cage is there. And by dissecting the cage you cannot find the bird.

That’s why science goes on missing the soul. It goes on missing your centre because it depends on dissection, analysis. Science lives in nouns. A person becomes religious when he becomes aware that all nouns are false, only verbs are real.

That is the meaning of Prem Anubhuti: love is an experiencing, it is a process. Never try to make it permanent. Never try to change its natural course, its flow, because a canal is not a river. There is a tremendous difference between the two. The river has freedom, the canal is imprisoned. It only has the appearance of a river.

My sannyasins have to understand it as deeply as possible. Never destroy any process by forcing your ideas upon it. Remain spontaneous, alert, receptive, but allowing life its own course, never interfering. Then all bliss is yours and all benediction is yours. Then life is always an ongoing ecstasy, it is a dance of such tremendous beauty and grace that mind is absolutely incapable of comprehending it.

Discovering God: Bridging Christianity, Hinduism and Islam

I just published my new book yesterday, September 11, 2019. The name of the book is ‘Discovering God: Bridging Christianity, Hinduism and Islam’. It is available in both kindle and paperback. This book is a step towards bridging all religions. Out of 100 readers, I am sure that it will make a difference to at least 10 people. This book explains the central nerve, the essence of all religions. I have written this book hoping that it will contribute something towards religious tolerance, unity of mankind and the ability to really see that all religions lead to the same truth.

You don’t have to have a kindle. You can download kindle app for android, create a free amazon account if you don’t have one, login and download the book for free during the period of promotion. Please leave your reviews after you read the book, to let the world know about this book. This book was possible only by Grace. Here is the book description as it is given in Amazon:

” God is the most misused and misunderstood word in the world. There are thousands and thousands of religions in this world but the major religions that stand out in the list include Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Do they have anything in common or they are completely different from each other? In this book, I will show you how all the major religions of the world have the same central core and point to the same truth. I have quoted numerous verses from the Bible, Bhagavad Gita and Quran and have given a detailed commentary on them in the process of explaining the truth about these religions. I have unraveled the secrets of Greek mystery schools, Upanishads, Kabbalah, Hasidism, Sufism and other mystic traditions in the book. But this book needs a complete open-mindedness and patience from your part. By buying this book and sharing it with your friends, you are contributing something to the world peace. I strongly believe that this book will bring a change. “

US readers, click here to buy the book:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XRJ3GWS

Indian readers click here:

The Holy Spirit and its Gifts – Bible Verses

Let me first quote a paragraph from one of my recent posts, which will serve as an introduction:

We tend to interpret the scriptures the wrong way when we take them literally. But scriptures are full of metaphors. It is said that God breathed his breath into man. The Holy Spirit comes from the Greek word ‘pneuma’ which means ‘breath’. Holy spirit is the same as Prana, Shakti and Kundalini in Hinduism. It is what animates the world and the human beings. But inside the human beings it is dormant. By spiritual practice involving unconditional devotion and meditation, we purify ourselves and let the holy spirit be revealed and fill our entire being. This is the meaning of getting baptized by the Spirit. The fall of Adam and Eve is a beautiful metaphor that indicates how the oneness of childhood is lost by the birth of duality. This happens to everyone. Exodus is the symbolism of the journey from bondage to liberation. Crucifixion is the death of the duality. And resurrection is the birth of Christ consciousness, the spiritual rebirth which brings the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is called as Jnana in Hinduism.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 say that your body is the temple of Holy spirit. We have the exact same concept in Hinduism. Holy spirit is within us, but we have to purify ourselves with unconditional love so that holy Spirit fills your entire being and experience.

Psalm 139:7-8 talk about the omnipresence of God. God is usually personified but that is only for our understanding in the initial stage. As you progress in the spiritual path, you realize that God is all pervading presence and the essence of existence. The verses say that God is in your depths, within you, as a divine spark of consciousness and as the divine breath, energy and experience of Holy spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the gifts of the Holy spirit. These are nothing but the fruits of self realization or spiritual enlightenment. It brings love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Self realization indeed brings all this. So these two verses prove that Bible has a hidden message, which has a collection of some truthful verses about spiritual path and self-realization randomly distributed in the Old testament and concentrated much on the New testament. When we interpret symbolically, it solves many problems.

The Metaphoric Explanation of the Holy Bible – Discovering True Christianity

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We tend to interpret the scriptures the wrong way when we take them literally. But scriptures are full of metaphors. It is said that God breathed his breath into man. The Holy Spirit comes from the Greek word ‘pneuma’ which means ‘breath’. Holy spirit is the same as Prana, Shakti and Kundalini in Hinduism. It is what animates the world and the human beings. But inside the human beings it is dormant. By spiritual practice involving unconditional devotion and meditation, we purify ourselves and let the holy spirit be revealed and fill our entire being. This is the meaning of getting baptized by the Spirit. The fall of Adam and Eve is a beautiful metaphor that indicates how the oneness of childhood is lost by the birth of duality. This happens to everyone. Exodus is the symbolism of the journey from bondage to liberation. Crucifixion is the death of the duality. And resurrection is the birth of Christ consciousness, the spiritual rebirth which brings the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is called as Jnana in Hinduism.

This doesn’t mean that the stories in Bible didn’t happen. They just didn’t happen exactly the way it is explained. Also, there is a strong consensus among historians that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and many others were not real people. Archeological research has rendered incredible evidence for the fact that many of the Bible stories are stories and not history. But it also presents the history of Israel in a way that adds juice to the story, even though it is completely different from the actual history. For example, the conquest of Canaan didn’t really happen; but to interpret it in a symbolic way, it symbolizes the conquest of one’s own ignorance, which is also the metaphorical interpretation of Holy Jihad in Islam. United Kingdom of Israel as portrayed in the Bible never existed either.

The Hebrew Bible was written for two purposes. Contrary to what Bible suggests, the entire Torah and the parts of Old testament was written sometime around 8th – 6th Century BCE. A major part was written after the destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem. The first purpose was political: to unite the people of Israel under one God, one temple and one Kingdom. The second purpose is spiritual: to convey truths via metaphors, parables and sayings.

The whole Bible comes under the category of mythology. In fact, only after the birth of Jesus, puranas, the Indian myths were composed. This also suggests that Indian mythology might have been inspired by Christian and Jewish scriptures. Indian myths also try to convey the spiritual truths using metaphors, parables, sayings and in the form of conversation between two people, a guru and a disciple. They do convey a little bit of history directly and indirectly, but many of the stories were added to create an interesting narrative. This narrative was used to unite people and also to kindle the feelings of devotion in the initial stage.

It is said that Quran was revealed to Muhammad by angel Gabriel. But here it is important to understand that even Gabriel is a personification of the Holy Spirit and the revelation by Gabriel is hence symbolic. There are a lot of such symbols in scriptures.

However, historians do agree that Jesus was a historical person. Two incidents which are considered as absolutely real are his baptism by John and his crucifixion.

John Campbell, an American professor of literature, has done a lot of research and has written books on this subject. I haven’t read any of his books yet and hence can’t comment about how efficient his arguments are. But I understood the symbolic nature of myths and scriptures in the light of my own experience.

Also read: Dear Christians, Hindu Deities are not Evil Spirits! – A Criticism of Christian Churches Which Promote Religious Intolerance

Dear Christians, Hindu Deities are not Evil Spirits! – A Criticism of Christian Churches Which Promote Religious Intolerance

I have a lot to say about Christianity. First, I will let you watch a video that narrates many incidents from my life which are associated with Christianity. I will be making many videos in the future, but this is an introduction. In this video, I have spoken the truth that I have realized in my experience, which is now as clear as the sunlight to me.  Sharing my thoughts on Christianity is intended to promote religious tolerance, inter-religious understanding and peace. I speak about all religions and this post is in specific to Christianity. First, watch the video, then read the rest of this post:

https://youtu.be/npKleb7Gh1A
The rest of this post is an answer that I wrote in Quora. But also follow the links at the end of this page. The Quora question was, ‘Why do most Christians refuse to accept “Prasad” from Hindus?

Because many churches preach that idol worship in Hinduism is Satanic and that idols have evil spirits in them. I used to have a Protestant friend, a girl, whose boyfriend is a Catholic. She wouldn’t step inside a Roman Catholic church because it has the idol of Jesus on the cross.

It is true that Hebrew Bible asks not to worship idols. But it was specifically for people in ancient Israel who were polytheists and didn’t have a strong philosophy that preaches the oneness of God. But when it comes to Hinduism, it already says God is one without a second, and idols are devices for meditation and devotion. So the idol worship that is banned in Bible is not the same as the idol worship in Hinduism.

Hinduism offers various symbols to connect with divine. The symbols include the stimuli of all the five senses. A form of God is a powerful visual stimulus that can evoke the feeling of devotion by mere exposure. This is possible because of a psychological phenomena called classical conditioning. So, in other words, Hinduism is based on deep understanding of human psychology.
Such symbolism is also present in other religions anyway. The Cresent in Islam, the Cross in Christianity, the taste of wine and the bread of the Eucharist and the melodious songs of orchestra in Church are a part of such symbolism and send powerful sensory cues.

Before there can be a real religious tolerance between various religions, people first need to understand the essence of their own religions. A Hindu cannot provide counter arguments to Christians if he himself is ignorant about his own religion.
And Christians should understand that anything that is offered to God with love is not /cannot be anti-Christian or Satanic.

I am in the process of making videos, images and infographics that promote religious tolerance and educate people about the true essence of religions.

Religious tolerance - Unity of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam

Hindu deities are not evil spirits

Idol worship in Hinduism

 

Christianity is all about love. When you reject a Prasad that is offered by someone with love, you are turning your face away from love; you are being anti-Christian.

Bible verse regarding love - 1 John 4:8

Bible verse regarding love - 1 John 4:16

Bible verse regarding love - Proverbs 3:3-4

By the way, this is not a post intended to attack Christians. And I am not in agreement with organizations like RSS who constantly abuse people of other religions in India. I am all for religious tolerance.

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Also read:

Hinduism, Christianity and Islam – One Truth, Various Names

Goddess Gomathi Amman, Adi Thabasu and Religious Tolerance

If I Speak in the Tongues of Men or of Angels – A Commentary on I Corinthians 13 and Bible’s Connection with Advaita Vedanta

The Good News – A Poem Connecting Biblical and Vedantic Thoughts

God: Who/What is God?

Christian Trinity and Vedanta

Repentance and Metanoia – A Bible question…

Hinduism, Christianity and Islam – One Truth, Various Names

You are avyakta (impersonal); but you identify yourself with the image of a person (vyakta). It is like a wave imagining itself as an entity separate from the ocean. But how can a wave be separate from the ocean? We are all like waves, but forgot that we are not many, but the One reality that is without two. I think that must be the true meaning of the phrase ‘Lahilaha illalla’….

Many people do not know that Prophet Muhammad was the one who started the first Sufi order. Islam means surrender. And Holy Jihad symbolizes the war against one’s own ignorance. This is similar to the teachings and the context of Bhagavad Gita. Islam is a path of karma yoga. There is a way to read and interrupt Quran to get the right meaning. And only Sufis seem to know that.

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Also, many people do not know that Jesus was a gnostic teacher. Gnostic wisdom says that there is divine spark in every one. That is what Jesus meant when he said the kingdom of God is within you. He also says that you can become free like birds, with no worries about tomorrow. In Sermon of Mount, by saying Blessed are the meek, he says that suffering is a blessing in disguise. It makes people to seek spiritual truth and bliss. By making statements like ‘I and the Father are one’ and ‘Before Abraham, I am’, he reveals his possible connections with Eastern traditions. His only two commandments are to love God and love human beings. His message was love and Christianity is a path of Bhakti yoga.

Also, while true Islam reflects the teachings of Gita, life of Jesus closely resembles the life of Krishna.

We are all connected. India is a land of unity in diversity. So, as a matter of fact, India is the only possibility for a world peace. Only India can show how people can live together. Do not listen to Sanghis like RSS people. Discourage them! Because they are the real anti- Indians and anti-Hindus.

This reminds me of a song that we used to sing in school. It starts as Govinda bolo, Gopala bolo. It proceeds to name Allah, Jesus, Zoroaster, Buddha, Mahavira and Guru nanak. Three more days for Independence day for India. Let us remind ourselves about unity in diversity..

Post dedicated to Usha Raman mam, my school principal….

 

Some quotes:

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If I Speak in the Tongues of Men or of Angels – A Commentary on I Corinthians 13 and Bible’s Connection with Advaita Vedanta

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Hi people! Is there anything that is greater than love? Can there be anything ever that is greater than Love itself? No! I don’t think so! Love is the only thing that connects us… No matter which part of the world you are from… You need to understand that we belong to the same family! I am your relative no matter where you are from… This whole earth is one family and our family!

Let us all unite together, be happy and treat everyone as our own family members. I love you guys… We as humans have to stand up for a global unity and peace.

We CAN make this world a better place to live..

I don’t see any difference between John 14: 19-21 and Bhagavad Gita 9:29. I have no idea why people are fighting…
 
Gita 9:29:
I am equal to all living beings; I don’t have anyone that I hate or anyone who I told dearer than the others. But whoever worships me with devotion, they are in me and I am in them
 
John 14:19 -21:
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

What we call as God is beyond time and space; but we understand him or imagine him as a person. This is because human mind always detects an agent for everything; this agent deduction in the human mind imagines God in human form or an invisible personality that has human psychology. But this is due to our limitation, not God’s! God is not a person but a personification that points to a direct experience and presence beyond time and space.

Also, most of the scriptures got distorted because of later interpolation, poor translation, lost verses, edited verses and testimony from people who are not direct eyewitnesses. Even the testimonies of eyewitnesses can be biased and memory can be biased too! But regardless of all that, the essence of the scriptures have been realized by millions of sages before us and their teachings can guide us to salvation.

Here is a riddle for you: 

He sees through the eyes of every being, knows through the awareness of every manifest organism and walks using the legs of every piece of life.

As an Octopus he has eight legs; as the son of Man, he has two legs; as the son of God, he is the inner light of every little thing that eats, procreates and decomposes!

He is beyond time and space.

He exists as the love of every mother, as the care of every father, as the company of every brother, as the support of every sister, as the closeness of every wife and as the convenience of every servant.

He shakes hands with you through every friend you see and he pays your wages as every boss you work for. He is the one who eats and he is the one who gets eaten, yet he neither eats; nor gets eaten. He is the essence of every word, every sound, every sentence, every contradiction, every confusion, everything that is good and bad; NOT EVEN AN ATOM MOVES WITHOUT HIS WILL…

He is the one who robs, which gets robbed and the act of robbing; yet he neither robs nor gets robbed. He is beyond the limits of human intellect even though intellect itself is a manifestation of him; he is beyond the power of human vision, even though human vision itself is one of his manifestations!. He is beyond the power of human ears and yet he is everything that you hear…

He is She; She is it, and it is You!  … His kingdom is within you and He is closer than the mane behind your neck! All praise ultimately goes to him and no one else.. He is the good shepherd and the sheep, he is the Gopalan and the Gomata; he is the Pashu and he is the Pathi! He is the Kartha, the doer; every biochemical living piece on planet earth is just a puppet; this puppet show is going on for aeons as a holy game of God…. you suffer, you laugh, you enjoy, you grow, you sin and someday you may even become a saint.. but you know, it is all in the game… in the eyes of God, there is no discrimination!

He is the sweetness of the milk and the sourness of the toddy; He is the intoxication and he is the clarity.. everything happens to according to His will and His will alone.. He is both the uppercase and the lower case letters and the one who is beyond, before, beneath, below and in the middle of all the letters.. He is the first and he is the last, yet He has no beginning and no end!

He expands through and from you in all directions and pervades everything, including every single stone pillar on earth, every single speck of dust and every heart that beats…

He is every mistake and he is every correction … He is… Only He is… He is the one truth which is known, spoken, and understood by various means, forms, names and practices by wise people…

He is not a person but a personification!

Who is He?

Clue: The answer is inside you, within you and lies very close to you; close your eyes and keep looking until you find it…

When you find it, your expression certainly will be, ‘Oh My God!’….

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As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم) – Peace Be Upon You: Some Quotes, Mantras, and Comments on Love and Peace

I love the Arabic way of saying ‘hi’, which is As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم). It means ‘Peace Be Upon You’. I want to greet the readers of my blog with a loving ‘As-salamu alaykum’ today.

This is a personal post. Today is my birthday and I just finished writing an answer in Quora for the question “Are birthdays over-rated?”:

As an individual human being, you are one in 250 million; because you are a unique pattern created by the combination of nature and nurture, with one part of your ancestry coming from one sperm cell that won the race among 250 million sperm cells! Your birthday is the day when that one sperm cell and one egg became a fully developed baby to take its first breath! Don’t we have to joyfully celebrate this at least once a year?

The celebration doesn’t have to be grand though. Your birthday can be a day when you do things that you like so much, talk to people whom you love very much and look back at life to cherish past memories. A birthday can also be a day of thanksgiving to your beloved ones because they were with you all these years.

Your birthday is your personal new year! For me, a birthday makes more sense than a new year. As far as you are concerned, your birthday is the new year for you in this life. It is a milestone in your journey.

I don’t think birthdays are overrated. But they are probably celebrated in a cliched, and mechanical ways these days.

Today, September 26th, is my birthday… 🙂 . It is 1:43 AM as I am writing this answer. Today I am going to do everything that I love doing. One of them is writing answers on Quora.

…………………..

So, I am going to do things that I love to do today. I don’t want to make a video since my throat is not good; so I just thought of writing a casual post.

I have been recently making some pictures to share on social media; they are about peace, love and meditation. If you like them, please feel free to download and share. Here they are:

peace mantras

vasudaiva

World family

Truth is one;the difference is only in the names

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU

LOVEANDPEACE

love is god

who am i

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brain

secular

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