Q: What is the origin of the Scriptures?
A: The Scriptures as well as the religions have their origin in men's moral experiences. The prophets and the sages spoke in the name of god. The rationale was to come by faith, profit by deeds.
Q: Why are the Scriptures so full of allegories?
A: The people were illiterate, simple and superstitious. Abstract thinking was a rare quality. So, those ancient wise men who could not share all of their wisdom with the people of their times tried to communicate with posterity through holy books. And their recitation and other rituals were mandated for the preservation of these books. These books survived through oral transmission before printing was invented. The fables and allegories were the only forms available for oral transmission.
Q: Are the Scriptures still relevant?
A: Oh yes. Whatever the condition of one's faith, good deeds are essential for a peaceful individual and a noble society. And the Scriptures inspire the noble and the good in us.
Q: Does God need our prayers?
A: No, all Scriptures are very emphatic on this point. We need the prayers to purify our souls.
Q: What is common among all the religions?
A: A benevolent God. An inherent moral law guiding the phenomenon of life. Humans occupying the top position in the Universe.
Q: What is the basic difference among various religions?
A: The basic differences lie in the dogmas about our origin before and the destination after this present life. Methods of worship (language, direction, implements etc.) are different too.
Q: What is the main weakness of these religions?
A: Almost all the religions take a negative view of life; therefore the misplaced emphasis on renunciation which goes against mindset of the people.
Q: Why did the ancient wise men take a negative view of life?
A: Human life was full of misery. Man was at the mercy of the elements. Human failings, too, were numerous - jealousy, greed and lies. Mere survival was an ordeal. The earth was, then, a prison for Adam and sons.
Indian philosophy, although it recognized the transmigration of souls, failed to see the inherent scheme of evolution. As it was yet another period of Kaliyuga, the society had to decline and destroy.
Since both these eastern and western schools of thought had established relationship with god through enlightenment and revelation, they just could not turn about to contemplate our origin in animals. They were ignorant about the biological evolution of life. Therefore they had a narrow, painful view of life without much hope or scope for improvement.
Q: How can a synthesis be attempted?
A: By replacing god by nature in our imagination and perception. All the attributes of an abstract god fit the concrete nature. The nature is omnipotent, benevolent and whatnot.
On the concrete plane imagination does not run wild, dogmas (incarnation, realization of god etc.) do not survive. Differences among various faiths disappear in the true perspective.
When revelations neither tally with each other nor correspond with scientific evidence, it is only natural that one must go beyond the words of god into the work of god - the silent nature. Even the prophets and sages acquired their knowledge and wisdom by studying it.
Q: How does this synthesis explain the origin and destination of soul and its judgment?
A: Origin - No descent from heaven, rather ascent through evolution.
Destination - Transmigration of souls then promotion to a higher world, inhabited by the wizened souls, without body or mate, traveling, may be, with the speed of imagination. In simpler terms the adventure of souls appears to be a continuous process in the universe. Otherwise there wasn't any need for eternal time and limitless space.
Judgment - There is a unique arrangement for accountability in nature. Good persons are punished soon, rewarded late. On the other hand bad persons are rewarded soon, punished late. What comes late comes in full.
Q: What does this synthesis propose to change?
A: Our perspective that we are our own masters.
Q: What is the purpose of life?
A: In long shot, each human being is a link in the grand relay race of life. In close up, we find that each one of us is born with a few things very personal such as the thumbprint, the personal dream and one special talent. So, we ought to dream, work hard on our talent and enjoy the fulfilment of our dream. The purpose is self-actualization, before salvation.
Q: Why did the Scriptures fail to transform their followers?
A: The Scriptures were prescriptions for orderly, harmonious societies. But, after the initial fervor, mere recitation became more important than the actual practice of the precepts (the name alone is enough in the Kaliyuga).
Q: Is this synthesis the final interpretation?
A: Knowledge, analysis and synthesis are continuous processes. The synthesis of different viewpoints, in the larger interest of mankind has been the job of mysticism through great individuals. Whatever they said or did; their motive was not suspect. Even the concept of last prophet and final interpretation was a ploy to safeguard the new faith from imitators and imposters. Still, it was unnatural, hence, it didn't work advantageously for the faith. It bred fundamentalism and obscurantism.