Hindu, Hinduism and Hindustan: Part LXXVIII

Cosmology, First Man and God

Continued from Part LXXVII

Recently, the Maulana and chief of a Muslim body stoked a bitter controversy at a plenary session of a religious meet when he purportedly created an analogy in saying that Om, a sacred symbol in Hinduism, and Allah are the same. On face it appears to be a sincere attempt to forge friendship, peace and harmony between the two major communities in India on face appearing nothing wrong to many as it makes sense to believe that there is one Supreme Reality or Universal God in for the entire mankind, although different people and different communities calling Him in different names or defining in different ways. However, when the same statement is read with his prefix and suffix statements and underlying tone and intent, the very statement appears motivated altogether carrying different connotation, implied meaning and object. Rightly so many other invited seers and saints were peeved and some of them even walked away in protest.

In the light of the above controversy, this author proposes to analyse the nature and attributes of the monotheistic God as described by the Holy Scriptures and scholars of the major religions vis-à-vis how He is perceived or visualized in the Hinduism. At the outset, the author wishes to make it abundantly clear that the purpose of this study is not to underestimate, undermine or even glorify any religion but just to present briefly as it factually exists in the scriptures and holy books or visualized by the religious leaders. Being a devout Hindu himself, the author believes in the concepts of Sarva Dharmah Sambhav (All religions are the same) and Ekam Satya, viprah bahuda vadanti (Truth is one, wise men interpret it in many ways) as described in Rig Veda. However, the fact cannot be denied that the Sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism is the oldest surviving culture and belief system in the world now and also that while most other religions are dogmatic or creedal in nature but Hinduism by its very nature is ever evolving and reasoning based in its pursuit of cosmic Truth.

The Controversy

While delivering his religious speech on 3rd day of the plenary session of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, Maulana Syed Arshad Madani inter alia stated Om (a sacred sound symbol of Brahman in Hinduism) and Allah are the same, and that Manu and Adam (first man) were same. He went on to add that Islam is not a new religion for India and it in fact had originated in India. According to him, ‘Allah', that is Om, sent Manu alias Adam here and told him to worship 'Allah' that is 'Om'; the prophets who came after this also gave the same message. The Muslim cleric’s remarks spontaneously evoked a sharp reaction from the Jain monk Acharya Lokesh Muni who walked out of the session along with a group of other religious delegates. Accusing Maulana Madani of divisive tactics, he stated that the stories regarding Om, Allah, and Manu are baseless, and he can come for a discussion/debate on the issue or meet him in Saharanpur. It may be relevant to mention here that Acharya Muni had renounced his worldly life at the young age of twenty-two, founded ‘Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti’ and is an accomplished scholar of the Jain, Buddhist and Vedic philosophy.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind is one of the leading organizations of Islamic clerics and scholars of the Deobandi School of Thought in India founded in 1919 by a group of Muslim scholars including Abdul Bari Firangi Mahali, and others. Since March 2008, it is divided into two factions led by Maulana Arshad Madani and Maulana Mahmud Madani, uncle and nephew duo respectively. The organization is said to have participated in the freedom struggle against the British rule and Muslim minority interests post-independence. Mahmud Madani is often known as a moderate Muslim cleric while Arshad Madani has frequently stoked controversies in the past too. For instance, the Jamait had passed a resolution in 2009 declaring the national song Vande Mataram as being an anti-Islamic song. Similarly, The Arshad Madani’s faction declared in 2020 that the NPR-NRC Project of the Government was a communal agenda to transform India into a Hindu nation. The chief of other Jamait faction, Mahmud Madani said that India is the first homeland of Muslims, being the land of Abul Bashar Sayyed Adam - the first Prophet, and Islam is the oldest religion among all religions, and that it was wrong to say that the Islam came in India from outside.

The relevant part of Maulana Arshad Madani’s speech is verbatim reproduced as follows: 

(I asked great seers and saints (Hindus) – when there was nothing, neither Sri Ram nor Brahma nor Shiva; when there was none, the question arises, Manu worshiped whom! Someone says Shiva was worshiped but they have no knowledge. Very few people say when there was nothing, they worshiped ‘Om’. I asked who is Om? Many people said that he is like the air, who has no shape, no colour but is omnipresent like air. He made sky and he made earth. I said, O Baba, we call the same entity as Allah. You call Him Ishwar, we call Him Allah, and the Persian-speaking people call Him Khuda and English-speaking people as God. This means that Manu aka Adam worshiped one Om, that is to say an Allah.)

Brahman and Om in Hinduism

In the Sanatana Dharma, the Vedas are considered to be the oldest and original scriptures as also a source of infallible knowledge, which have been derived, interpreted and assimilated by various Hindu denominations, sects and traditions. According to the Vedic scriptures, Brahman is the Ultimate and Supreme Reality in universe, without a beginning and end, and the cause, source, material and effect of all creation known, unknown and yet to happen in the entire universe. The ancient Indian rishis and scholars had visualized and defined the nature and attributes of Brahman (Vedic God), when the dominant religions of the ‘world today’ were not even in existence. The term Brahman for the Deva of devas (God of gods) finds a mention in numerous hymns of the Vedas, particularly the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda. Here are just a few such citations from such umpteen hymns in Vedas:

For instance, the connotation of Rig Veda 1.164.39 is about the Supreme Reality who is the soul of Vedas, commands the universe, is present everywhere and is Deva of all devas, and alone is source of bliss. People who don’t learn Him remain drown in sorrow and those who realize Him achieve unreserved bliss. According to Rig Veda 10.48.1, Brahman alone is omnipresent and manager of entire universe. He alone provides victory and eternal cause of world. All souls should look up to Him in same manner as children look up to their Father. He alone provides for our sustenance and bliss. He alone provides true knowledge to truth seekers. He alone is promoter of knowledge and motivates virtuous people into noble actions to seek bliss. He alone is the creator and manager of the world. Hence worship none else except one and only Ishwar (Rig Veda 10.49.1). There is One and only One Creator and Maintainer of the entire world. He alone is sustaining the earth, sky and other heavenly bodies. He is Bliss Himself! He alone deserves to be worshipped by us (Yajur Veda 13.4).

The nature and attribute of Brahman is also explained in many verses in a dedicated chapter of Srimad Bhagavad Gita and the following verse describes Him as under:

Sri-bhagavan uvaca: 
Aksaram brahma paramam svabhavo’dhyatmam ucyate 
Bhuta-bhavodbhava-karo visargah karma-samjnitah. 

(Sri-Bhagavan said: The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called Adhyatma, the Self. Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma.) (BG: Chapter 8, Verse 3)

While Vedas establish Brahman as the Ultimate Truth and Supreme Authority over the universe, the different Upanishads variously describe His nature and attributes as the highest, eternal, self-existent, indestructible, indefinable, indivisible, infinite, all pervading, omniscient, omnipotent, supreme, pure entity who is present everywhere (omnipresent) with endless manifestations, infinite dimensions and powers. According to Hindu scriptures, various Vibhutis (manifestations) and Amsas (aspects) of Brahman include Sat (Determinate), Asat (Indeterminate), Ishwar (Universal God), Paramatma (Supreme Soul), Hiranyagarbha (Cosmic Self), Viraj (Cosmic Body), Purusha (Cosmic Being), Kala (Time and Timelessness), Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva), Satchitananda (Truth, Consciousness & Bliss) and Om (or Aum), and so on. As manifested forms of Brahman, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva represent three core functions of cosmos, namely the creation, sustenance and dissolution (destruction) respectively.

Om (Aum) represents the pranava nada or sound form of Vedic Brahman (universal God). The corresponding term frequently used in world’s two other major religions, namely Christianity and Islam, is “Amen”; the difference being Aum is frequently used before Hindu mantras while Amen is concluded with Christian and Islamic prayers. Ancient rishis observed that Aum represent three vibratory most powerful sound energies whereby “A (Akaar)” represents the vibration to manifest the created universe; “U (Ukaar)” represents the vibration to preserve what has been created; and “M (Makaar)” sounds the destructive vibration capable of dissolving the manifested universe back into the Infinite Soul (Brahman). The aforesaid interpretation is also analogous and in concordance with the concept of Trimurti with Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as manifested forms of Brahman representing creation, preservation and dissolution respectively. 

Apart from Brahman, the Hindu scriptures also link Aum with Atman (Self, soul), entirety of universe, cosmic principles, Jnan (knowledge), Satya (truth), and so on. Aum is chanted independently as well as preceding a holy mantra. For instance, the auspicious Gayatri Mantra (Rig Veda 3.62.10) for most Hindus is prefixed with Aum followed by “bhur bhuvah svah…”. Scriptures have describe it in various ways with essence remaining same. The Chandogya Upanishad opens with the recommendation that "a person must meditate on Aum". The Katha Upanishad underlines that the essence of Vedas is to liberate a man and syllable Aum is most auspicious for it. The Maitri Upanishad discusses Aum at length asserting that it represents Brahman-Atman. The Mundaka Upanishad recommended syllable Aum as the means of realizing the Self and Brahman through meditation, self-reflection and introspection. The Mandukya Upanishad expands the horizon of Aum to the whole universe representing all states of Atman, consciousness, time and Jnana.

As can be observed from the foregoing brief description, the knowledge of Brahman and/or Om is not based on any one dogma or creedal book but the observation of facts and realization thereof by Vedic and post-Vedic rishis as recorded in scriptures and knowledge-based texts. The science in modern age is normally defined as the study of the physical world and natural laws through observation and practice. This is what precisely the Indian ancient rishis and scholars did in Ashramas (institutions) established and run by them, and knowledge thus earned passed on to next generations through oral and recorded texts – a reason why many modern scholars more appropriately interpret rishis as the Vedic scientists. A significant difference between the Sanatana Dharma and western faiths is that the former considers Satya (truth) and Ahimsa (non-violence) as core values, often symbolizing truth with God, and Karma (cause and action) and Dharma (righteous duty) driven world, while for the latter the truth is largely what is recorded in a holy book and dictums of certain prophets / messengers, and that everything created by God is for the use and consumption of believers.

Concept of God in Other Religions

While attempting an analogy over the religion or God, the most crucial requirement for the clergy or scholars of any religion, or for that matter Maulana in particular in the current Controversy, would be how much they know about the nature and attributes of God or religion so attempted. Of the nearly eight billion world population in 2020, the percentage-wise estimated population of adherents of various religions was as follows: Christianity 2.38 billion (31.11%); Islam 1.91 billion (24.90%); Atheist/Agnostic 1.19 billion (15.58%); Hinduism 1.16 billion (15.16%); Buddhism 506 million (5.06%); Chinese Traditional Religions 394 million (5.00%); and All other religions 247 million (3.19%). Of the above, two Abrahamic religions together constitute over 56% of the total world population. As the Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were evolved in the Indian sub-continent and their principle doctrine and concepts are akin to the Sanatana Dharma, as such there are no inherent conflicts about the nature and attributes of God in these religions.

On the other hand, the two Abrahamic religions viz. Islam and Christianity were brought to the Indian sub-continent much later by the invaders and colonizers and their proponents have aggressively spread it in length and breadth using coercion and enticement (evangelism) for centuries. Two most followed Abrahamic religions, namely Christianity and Islam, together have more than 56% adherents in the world and share a common ancestry and origin relying on prophets like Adam, Noah, Abraham (also Abram), Moses and Jesus, etc., with Abraham as common ancestor. While the Arabs were the first Muslims descending from Ishmael, the son of Abraham, the Jews were the first Christians from Abraham’s other son Isaac. According to Western historians and scholars, Islam originated in Mecca and Medina in the modern age Saudi Arabia in the beginning of the 7th Century CE while Christianity began arguably around 30–33 CE in Jerusalem, then a city in the Roman province of Judea. The Bible is the key sacred text of Christians that includes instructions, stories, verses, prophecies, etc. largely derived from the Old Testament. Quran or Koran is the main holy text of Islam, believed by Muslims to be a revelation from Allah (also Khuda) to the final Prophet Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel. 

Both the religions are monotheistic, strong critic and opponents of idol-worship, described by adherents as the religions of love and peace, and both consider prayer and alms giving as important duties of believers. God is believed to be the creator, sustainer and ruler of the universe as also incorporeal, omnipresent and independent of the material creation in Abrahamic religions. Despite common origin and aforesaid broad commonalities, two Abrahamic religions have several fundamental differences which are so acute that make them so incompatible that they are often found inimical and hostile to each other. A few more such sharp and contrasting features relating to the nature and attributes of God, status of Jesus Christ, interpretation of sin and teachings in their holy books are briefly discussed in the following paragraphs.

Christianity has a doctrine of Trinity i.e. God is one being but exist as three persons, namely God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The author would not like to delve or look into the merits how the same has been put forth or explained in the scriptures and holy books but, broadly, as per the Christian belief, Jesus Christ is the Son of God sharing the same divine nature as God the Father while the Holy Spirit stands essentially for salvation. Thus, the entire process of creation and GRACE (specific Christian attribute) is part of a single shared action of the three divine persons in ONE, in which each person manifests the attributes unique to them in the Trinity, thereby proving that everything comes "from the Father," "through the Son," and "in the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the aforesaid position is inconceivable and unacceptable because Allah is only one and formless. Therefore, Muslims disagree and outrightly reject this doctrine of trinity as for them Allah (God) is incomparable and assigning a son to him would be a sinful act of “disbelievers”.

Although both Christianity and Islam see Jesus as a prophet but the former see him much more as the promised Messiah (God the Son) while Muslims look at him merely as one of prophets. For Christians, Jesus is the Son of God who reconciled God and man, died on the cross to atone human beings’ sins and was resurrected on the third day of his crucifixion, restoring his exalted life as Christ and Lord. Many Muslims think somebody other than Jesus was crucified and feel the Jews and Christians have thus falsified. Among many, the following surah is relevant: Assuredly they have disbelieved who say, "God is the Messiah, son of Mary," whereas the Messiah himself proclaimed: "O Children of Israel! Worship God, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever associates partners with God, God has surely made Paradise forbidden to him, and his refuge is the Fire. And the wrongdoers will have no helpers. (Surah 5.72). This and other surah as well question Christian belief; thus for Christians, Jesus is undoubtedly God but for Muslims Jesus is for sure not God.

There are Quran verses that outrightly condemn the beliefs of Jews and Christians:

Believers! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies. They are the allies of each other. And among you he who takes them for allies, shall be regarded as one of them. Allah does not guide the wrong-doers.( Surah Al-Ma’idah 5.51)

Both the Christians and Muslims believe that God is merciful and just. Christians generally feel that all that good they do may not be enough to please or satisfy God. But the very fact that God sacrificed His own Son as an atonement of pure grace suggests that He is very kind and merciful. Therefore, they (Christians) would receive this (grace) by the Holy Spirit and by faith without making special efforts; in other words, merely by being faithful Christian, they are assured of salvation. However, the Muslims view the Judgment Day as the time when this will be revealed if they have done enough good in life to receive forgiveness from Allah. In other words, Allah’s love is reserved for those who actually earn it i.e. those who believe in Allah and indulge in righteousness accordingly (Surah 19.97). The Holy Book assures Allah’s love for the God-fearing and good-doers (believers) but He has no love for the unbelievers and sinners (i.e. Kafirs). Thus unlike Christian God, as per Islamic conception God loves those believers who first dedicate their love to Him.

Despite the professed tenets of love and peace in holy books and by prophets, the adherents of two religions have been constantly in conflict and conversion spree of others, including against each other, in various parts of the world which is also evident from the fact that, having originated in Jerusalem about two millennium back, the Christianity has now majority population in 126 countries with 79 of them having more than 80% Christians while, having originated about 1400 years ago, the Islam has 57 formally recognized Islamic countries. The Muslim population in the Secular India is likely to surpass even the most populated Muslim Indonesia in about next twenty-five years. In Christianity, broadly, sin is defined as an act of offense against God by despising his persons (Trinity), Christian biblical law and by injuring others. Conversion to Christianity usually requires a baptism with holy water in the name of the Trinity or simple acceptance of faith in Jesus as Lord. In Islam, one who does not believe in Allah, His angels, His Books and His messengers, is a sinner (Kafir); conversion by Muslims to other faiths is forbidden and considered apostasy. The conversion to Islam requires a person to declare the shahadah, the Muslim profession of faith i.e. there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah among other things.

Cosmology, Man and God

Cosmology is essentially the study of the universe, its origin, evolution and ultimate fate in particular context of the astronomy and physics. Since Vedic age, the Hindu Cosmology essentially included the description of the universe, its states of matter, cycles within time, physical structures, and it’s impact on living entities. The modern science has decoded life and its origin to the extent of the Cell, as the unit of life, and unicellular organisms with life’s origin in water in the beginning. They have even analyzed and decoded the chemistry and physical components, and structure and functions of the individual constituents of the Cell but so far none of them have succeeded in decoding the mechanism or stage at which life energy is generated or transmitted to the Cell or the factors and/or causative agent actually responsible for this action.


(A) Creation of Life

In Hindu Cosmology, there is no single theory of creation owing to its diversity and quest for the constant observation, investigation and reasoning to derive factual inference. Accordingly, the Hindu texts do not provide any one canonical theory of the creation and origin of life. Instead, the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmanas, and even some Puranas have put forth various concepts and even stories (in Puranas) about creation that are sometimes even contradictory to each other. For instance, Rig Veda (10.121) refers to the existence of the Hiranyagarbha (hiranya means golden; garbha means womb) as the source of creation. Some other lost civilizations too talked the world egg in their creation myths. Nasadiya Sukta (Rig Veda 10.129) begins with “Then, there was neither existence, nor non-existence…" then goes on contemplating about when, why, and through whom the universe came into including the role of God but concludes without precise answers. Upanishads talk about the Brahman and His role in creation, as also five gross elements of water, Earth (clay), Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Sky but how it actually occurred remains unexplained. Some Puranas describe Brahman and His manifested forms Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva having role in creation, sustenance and dissolution.

According to Quran, every living thing was made by Allah from clay, water, fire, light and wind. Surah Al Hizr (15:26) says “Surely We brought man into being out of dry ringing clay which was wrought from black mud.” While creation of Hawwa (Eve) has not been described in detail but there is a mention that a “mate” was created with Adam from the same nature and spirit. He created angels from light and jinn from fire, and that he created the birds from wind and beasts and crawling things from the dust, and the creatures of sea from water. For Christians, the Bible is God’s word containing His laws. According to the Bible, God created this world out of nothing that He spoke existence into existence. Genesis is the first book of Bible with the details of God’s creation; according to which, it was created in six days. In the beginning, the heavens and earth were created followed by the plants and animals, including sea and flying creatures. God created first man (Adam) from the dust and placed him in the Garden of Eden with dominion over all other animals while first woman (Eve) was created from Adam’s rib to give him company.

(B)  Analogy of Adam and Manu

In his controversial remarks, the Maulana Madani of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind inter alia also claimed origin of Adam in India suggesting he (Adam) and Manu was one and the same person. Such speculation and an attempt to oversimplify the world and Indian chronological history only reflect utter ignorance on the part of the cleric. In Rig Veda, Manu is mentioned as ancestor of “Panch Janah” i.e., five clans (or tribes) of Anu, Druhyus, Yadus, Turvashas and Purus. In the colonial era, the Western historians and Indologists tried to junk the traditional and chronological Indian history calling it mythical. However, the traditional Indian history starts with Svayambhuva Manu (Manu I), the son of the Vedic Rishi and Astronomer Brahma I, who is also considered as the earliest king and progenitor of the Manu dynasty (14460 to 14420 BCE) with Satrupa as his spouse. In the Indian chronological history, at least fourteen Manus find a mention and the other significant king being the 7th Manu known as Vaivasvata Manu, who was the son of King Vivasvan, the progenitor of the Surya Vamsa (Solar dynasty) in the ancient age.

In Matsya Purana and some other Hindu texts, there is a mention of the Maha Pralaya (Great Deluge), apparently which had threatened the existence of life on certain parts of the earth. The traditional Indian historians and scholars have estimated this great flood to have occurred on the earth around 11,200 BCE threatening King Vaivasvata Manu’s kingdom, located in the present-day Saurashtra region of the State of Gujarat close to the Girnar hills as per estimates. According to scholars, the incessant heavy rains and melting glacier water might have been the cause of the great deluge affecting large parts of the Sapta-Sindhu region. Yet another theory also suggests that a large part of Kashmir valley was a huge glacial lake named Satisar then and a massive earthquake might have opened up water to flow down and cause great flood in the northwestern regions. While the narrative of the great deluge appears largely true, linking it with the concept of Matsyavtar in some Hindu texts appears to be part of the mythology. In any case, Manu has not been mentioned as first man created by God in any of the Hindu texts, including mythology.

(C) God versus Universal God!

There is a creator, sustainer and ruler omnipresent God who is one yet essentially exists in three forms (Trinity) who needed prophets and messengers to spread His words to the human beings. He is kind and loving but His Grace is bestowed only to the faithful believers without which none would achieve salvation. There is another creator, sustainer and ruler omnipresent God who is one and essentially formless, spread his words and commands through the final prophet. Believers are needed to earn His love and He is harsh and punitive to Kafirs (unbelievers & sinners). As a matter of fact, the followers of two Abrahamic religions have been aggressively avowing and asserting since inception that the God followed by them is only true God and speaking of any other divinity is falsehood and sinful. In Western countries, one could easily notice group of men and women at the intersections and city squares distributing religious pamphlets and aggressively persuading passersby  how only the particular saviour god can save the world and mankind. In another extreme, many fanatic followers and extremist groups of another religion have even indulged in lynching people (kafirs) in the name of blasphemy.

Is this the true nature and attribute of the Universal God? Besides, if a religion spreads the messages of love and peace, why should its adherents be hostile to other religions or indulge in forced conversions in mission mode through enticement and/or coercion. It is not a secret now that many old civilizations such as Roman, Greek, Persian, Egypt, Mayan, etc. have been destroyed or lost with the advent of two Abrahamic religions in the post-Christ age, even the adherents of the oldest Abrahamic religion Judaism with similar ancestry/lineage have not been spared. The other day, this author was going through the long list of the United Nations and others’ designated terrorist and extremist groups/outfits, which does not contain even a single entry from the Hindu followers of the Sanatana Dharma. Although the Indian nation since the Emperor Ashoka’s empire (268-232 BCE) era has since partitioned into seven countries, following the constant Islamic onslaught and colonial exploitation, nonetheless Hinduism has still survived with many customs and traditions of this oldest surviving culture and religion.

It is beyond comprehension and sound logic/rationale why a peaceful religion or a god would restrict its adherents or followers to be so narrow and vengeful to people of different faith or belief system so as to engage in coercion or enticement to force them to accept a particular creedal faith or dogmatic religion. After all, it is not a hidden fact that several terrorist groups from a neighbouring Islamic country are active with bloodshed and sabotage in India since decades in the name of religion. Even many clerics, scholars, politicians, and professional scientists and technocrats in the neighbouring Islamic country (Pakistan) have been actively pursuing Gazwa-e-Hind, which is quite frightening and makes insecure not only Hindus in the India but also the mankind world over. If the Sanatana Dharma is analyzed vis-à-vis erstwhile old world civilizations and Abrahamic religions in the modern age, the most fundamental and remarkable difference appears that all others have had a largely materialistic approach towards life while the Sanatana Dharma followed a balanced approach towards a healthy blend of materialistic and spiritual life.

The basic nature and attributes of Brahman in Hinduism as well as God and Allah of Christianity and Islam respectively have already been briefly mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs. There are umpteen hymns in the Vedas and Upanishads revealing true nature of Brahman (the Universal God), one such from the Yajur Veda is quoted here.

There is One and only One Creator and Maintainer of the entire world. He alone is sustaining the earth, sky and other heavenly bodies. He is Bliss Himself! He alone deserves to be worshiped by us. (Yajurveda 13.4)

While the virtues of Satya and Ahimsa have been pursued in Hinduism and allied Indigenous religions as core values since Vedic age, the believers of the Abrahamic and other world religions still thrive on materialism and consumer culture with the belief that God has created every other thing for His Faithfull’s consumption. The essence of the Hindu way of life could also be understood from the following ancient great vakyas from scriptures.

Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam (The whole world is one family)
Sarva Dharma Sambhav (All faiths lead to the same destination)
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah (Let everyone live happily)

Even the merit of much criticized and questioned concept of idol worship in Hinduism by two Abrahamic religions has a sound reasoning and explained through the concept of Sadhya (deity), Sadhak (devotee), Sadhan (medium) and Sadhana (devotion). In fact, Hindus do not worship idols; instead, they use idols as the medium of worship. It’s so because the yogis and accomplished devotees can easily focus on the Nirakar Brahman (formless Universal God) but for the ordinary devotees it is difficult to simply sit and concentrate; hence using an idol or image as medium is helpful. Hindu Agama Shastras provide a scientific methodology of "Prana Pratistha" (communication of life energy), whereby the idol or image is energized in a sacred way in temples and houses before using it for worship. This is in concordance with the fundamental concept that the Universal God is omnipresent in all forms and names thereby the devotees have freedom to choose symbols or names to focus and worship the Divine. 

Thus the very notion of the clergy of dogmatic religions i.e. “my God vs their God” or “my religion is better than their religion” appears utterly flawed and erroneous. God is universal, and does not belong to any one religion or group of people; instead, He is universal and belongs to everyone, and everyone belongs to Him. In fact, the perception and description of Brahman (Universal God) as described in the ancient Vedas and Upanishads appears nearly perfect and flawless. In short, the attributes of the Universal God include such as being original, absolute, eternal, incorporeal, indescribable, inexhaustible, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, both transcendent and immanent, infinite in existence, source of all creation, without any beginning and end.  


There are umpteen verses in the Hindu scriptures revealing the nature and attributes of the Universal God (Brahman) as realized by rishis and scholars since Vedic age and holy books of two Abrahamic religions to illustrate the fallacy of Maulana Arshad’s averment and flawed logic put forth by certain clerics and missionaries from time to time but the aim here is to find truth rather than indulging in criticism of others. Manu and Adam are definitely not the same persons and Islam did not originate in the Indian sub-continent. As such the very meaning of Dharma (verbatim English translation: Religion) in Hinduism is “righteous duty and action”. The differences among the human beings created on account of religion, race, region, colour or caste are man-made and the true God will never discriminate or cause fear among living beings for own worship and salvation on these attributes. Besides, it is also not likely that the true God will Himself or through a messenger put word to kill those who do not subscribe to a particular religious philosophy and Divine.

Away from the illusion and delusion thus created about the God, there is rather a simple way of understanding the Universal God and His potentialities. In this universe, there are countless positive and negative energies and abstract virtues, which are formless, need a physical body for expression and have potential to leave powerful impact on the body and mind. The (Universal) God is the highest energy and ultimate source and destination of all forms (i.e. everything emanates from Him and is absorbed in Him) of material and abstract energies in the cosmos. Scientists are able to tap only small fractions of this eternal energy for the material comfort and well-being of mankind (Hinduism cites it as 'bondage') while spiritualists endeavour to harmonize Self (soul) with this energy for Moksha (liberation). The true God as the highest and purest form of this energy is all-pervasive and all-competent that needs special vision and devotion for realization. This very GOD in combination and interplay with nature is the cause and effect of all creation, perpetuation and extirpation without any discrimination.

Continued to Part LXXIX


More by :  Dr. Jaipal Singh

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