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Thread: My Questions on Hinduism

  1. #1
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    My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste HDF,

    Thank you for clicking my post. I'd be really grateful if you could answer any of my (beginner) questions on Hinduism.

    How can God be in everything at once? Do only living beings have 'a divinity' in them, or also inanimate objects? What is the logic behind the 'Divine in All Beings'? What do religions like Christianity/Islam believe in this regard (e.g. God is separate?) and how is it different?

    Why do bad things happen to good people? (I have gathered so far that we cannot fully see an individual's karma, and what seems unfair to us is actually very fair. But look at all the children being brutally abused etc. Why would a loving God do this? To guide them forward on the Divine path?)

    I am born to a non-vegetarian family. If God wanted me to be a vegetarian, and not be part of so much Himsa, why did he put me in such a family? Personally, while I'm very young, still growing, and not allowed to become a vegetarian yet (I've asked), what am I supposed to do? Aren't plants living beings too?

    I'm still a school-going student. Do you have any special comments, or lessons you have learnt, or teachings of Hinduism you think I would benefit from? I think everyone would benefit from knowing 'If you ever feel disappointed and discouraged, count it as a blessing, it's a chance to conquer yourself - vast strides are possible when we are miserable and work with ourselves to replace our misery with joy and understanding' This quote is from a Master Course lesson from Kauai's Hindu Monastery (Himalayan Academy), by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
    Last edited by FollowerJunior; 28 August 2015 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Giving credit to the quote

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste FJ,

    You must be a very smart person to have come up with such profound questions expressed in an articulate manner. Let me see if I can answer some of them to your satisfaction.

    Things happen to people because of the reaction of their past actions. That is known as the law of karma. God does not interfere with or dictate what has to happen to everyone. If bad things happen to good people, it is because they must have done bad things in their current or previous bodily forms. It is payback time.

    It is better to maintain a peaceful, civil atmosphere at home rather than push to be a total vegetarian right now. Parents, however flawed/mistaken they might be, always do what they think is best for you. So, give it another few years and eat as little as possible of the non-veg stuff. You are normally considered an adult at age 18 and get to make your own decisions. So, in a few years you might go off to college and eat whatever you desire, instead of what others want you to eat.

    Since everything is part and parcel of God, He can be and is present in everything at once - both living and inanimate. Since we are all part of Him, each one of us has a part of the Divine in us.

    You are on the threshold of life and have a chance to set yourself up for a successful life. Along with your academic work, try to spend some time every day in reading scriptures and doing chanting/puja. Resolve to be a kind, compassionate person, never thinking ill of others and walking away from provocations, should they happen in your presence. Good wishes and blessings!

    Pranam.

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste FJ,

    Quote Originally Posted by FollowerJunior View Post
    How can God be in everything at once? Do only living beings have 'a divinity' in them, or also inanimate objects? What is the logic behind the 'Divine in All Beings'? What do religions like Christianity/Islam believe in this regard (e.g. God is separate?) and how is it different?
    It is quite natural for any intelligent being to try to find answers to questions that are related to his existence. This world is intelligent and well organised and cannot be there just by chance. We don't know where from we come and we don't know where we go after death. We didn't create this world and we didn't govern it. We felt that we are too weak and dependent on nature for our survival. So, first simplistic explanation was that there was some Omnipotent entity who created this whole world and who runs the whole show. As He was considered omnipotent, we wanted that He should not hurt us and that is why we prayed to Him and tried to please Him.

    However, the above "truth" came to different people in different forms and there were a lot of contradicting variations among what they "found". The Muslims found it different from what Hindus, Christians and Jews found. Similarly for Hindus, the Christians and for the Jews and all other religions in this world. Every religion found God in its own way and found His/Her characteristics and what He/she wanted us to do was widely varying. All these findings could not be the Truth as Truth cannot change from one set of people to another.

    Great Rishis in the ancient past (some 4 to 5 thousand years ago) discussed over these issues, debated and finally were of the view that the answer to above questions should be looked inside and not outside. This has been described in Svetasvatar Upanishad very well. So, they meditated within instead of looking outside for the answer. Possibly, the logic behind it was (which is also mentioned in Upanishads) that "Whatever is outside is inside too". The elements
    and forces that make and govern us are the same that make and govern the outside world. So, if we can know ourselves, we can know the whole world and also the mystery behind this. So, they meditated upon their own "self". After the outgoing senses became silent and all tendencies became silent, the Truth revealed upon them and they shared this knowledge through the Vedas/VedAnta scriptures. Because they saw the Truth they were called the DrashtAs, the seers.

    Why this Truth was reliable beyond doubt ? Because this was no one's copyright. You need not believe them or the scriptures. It is not that the Truth was revealed to only one chosen person and all one could do was to believe him/her. This was open to anyone who could tread the path. Anyone who followed the path could "see" the Truth himself/herself. There were many Rishis in the past who saw the same Truth ... there are many still living who have seen That and there would many more in time to come. Strikingly, it didn't matter whether the fellow believed in God or not, whether he believed in a particular form of God or no-form .... the path was open to all. Go inside yourself and find the Truth. This is accepted as Pratyaksha PramANa in Hindu discourses.

    What did they see ?

    a) There is just One Truth ... you are free to call it by any name. The Rishis found that the Ultimate Truth was beyond all mental concepts and therefore it cannot be named. This was called the "Fourth" (Turiya in Sanskrit) in Hindu Dharma. You may call it God, Allah, Vishnu, YHWH, Tao, Buddhahood, Brahman ... whatever ... It is One Truth alone and there is none other and that is what you too are.

    This Truth was found by Hindus, Muslims (Sufis) and also Christians though described it in their own languages and appeared a little different from each other. In Hindus, they found it and declared, “I am Brahman”. In Islam it was found and the seeker declared, “An al Haque” (I am the Truth). In Christianity, it was found and the seeker said, “I and my Father are One”. In Buddhism it was found and the seeker said, “ Everyone is essentially Buddha. All things and beings in this universe i.e. all the eight skandhas are empty. There is, in reality, no reality in "individual self"”.

    The vital test for any Truth is that it can be verifiable by anyone and this Truth passes this test.

    b) The differences are perceived due to peculiar power of this Truth which is called MAyA or Prakriti or the Nature. It veils the Truth, creates an illusion of multiplicity (where there is none) and projects this world. Within its domain of MAyA, everything is governed by Laws of Nature. However, once you know the Truth in essence, you become free from its influence. However, this "knowing" is different from worldly "knowing" ... the Truth has to reveal unto you.

    c) When there is just once essence, One Truth and there is nothing else at all, God is non-different from the creation. He is in all beings and all things and whatever is perceived not-God is due to delusion created by MAyA or Prakriti or Nature.

    Why do bad things happen to good people? (I have gathered so far that we cannot fully see an individual's karma, and what seems unfair to us is actually very fair. But look at all the children being brutally abused etc. Why would a loving God do this? To guide them forward on the Divine path?)
    As I have told you earlier above, everything in this relative existence (what we know as this world) is governed by Laws of Nature or Laws of MAyic Creations. The VedAnta explains this how it works :

    a) The mind keeps storing whatever we see, touch, think, feel, do etc. Mind is reflected consciousness and is part of Cosmic Consciousness. This stored information is called "Impressions of mind" or "samskArs". When a person dies these SamskArs are carried over to the next birth of the being. This SamskAr is what is Karma. This decides person's birth in a particular family, place, time etc. and also various events in his/her life. However, it is not that only the SamskArs of previous births play role in shaping our lives, the present Karma that we accrue in this birth also decides whatever happens to us in this birth.

    b) If a person's past karmas are strong and favourable, he may be enjoying a good life even while he may be doing all wrong things and accruing bad karmas in his present life. However, it is like using your savings in Bank. If you have earned a big sum in the past, you can keep spending it indiscriminately until there is nothing left in the bank. So, as soon as he would have exhausted his past good karmas, his all bad Karma's effect would start showing up.

    Karmas are guided by Laws of Nature and God doesn't interfere in whatever happens. Yes, God does has power of grace which sometimes He can bestow in deserving cases. You are fully responsible for whatever is happening in your life now and you will be fully responsible for whatever will happen to you tomorrow. Nature actually works for the fulfillment of desires of beings and finally showing them that it is foolish to run after fulfillment of worldly desires and that we are all divine and that we are not dependent on Prakriti but Prakriti is for serving us and that we are the masters of nature.

    I am born to a non-vegetarian family. If God wanted me to be a vegetarian, and not be part of so much Himsa, why did he put me in such a family? Personally, while I'm very young, still growing, and not allowed to become a vegetarian yet (I've asked), what am I supposed to do? Aren't plants living beings too?
    God didn't put you in your family. You put yourself in this family because you had desires to eat meat. This desire decided your present birth. Plants are also living beings and they should be handled with love and care. However, there is nothing which can be said to be the Absolute Right thing and Absolute wrong thing in this relative world of existence. Eating meat or not is your own choice and you accrue your karmas accordingly. You don't see the plants suffering and you also don't see the bacteria in your food dying in your stomach in digestion process. So, their sufferings don't affect you. However, you can see and feel the sufferings of animals, their sufferings will affect you. Moreover, you have to take a considered decision what is right or wrong in a specific situation. If you are caught in a place where there is nothing to eat except animal's meat ... your duty towards your body is to fulfill its need of food by killing which though unpleasant but is necessary in a peculiar situation you are. Similarly, if you are in army, you must kill fellow human beings as it is your duty to kill enemies to save your country. This is explained beautifully in Bhagwad Gita.

    I'm still a school-going student. Do you have any special comments, or lessons you have learnt, or teachings of Hinduism you think I would benefit from? I think everyone would benefit from knowing 'If you ever feel disappointed and discouraged, count it as a blessing, it's a chance to conquer yourself - vast strides are possible when we are miserable and work with ourselves to replace our misery with joy and understanding'
    Always believe in yourself. That is the first lesson in spirituality. You become what you believe you are. This is what VedAnta says. Prakriti and Purusha or Nature/Jada and Consciousness are two important elements that decide what you are. The more you lean towards Jada/prakriti/nature i.e. become slave of senses (like taste, touch, seeing, hearing etc.), the more you are becoming a helpless being at the mercy of Nature / MAyA. The more you are at the mercy of MAyA, the more you are attracting pains and sufferings to you. All beings are divine and therefore, treat every being with love unless you are duty bound to act otherwise. Cruelty against any innocent being is cruelty against the almighty and accrues serious bad karmas. Understand the Laws of Karma and act wisely so that you don’t fall into serious bad karmas in this life.

    OM
    Last edited by devotee; 27 August 2015 at 03:57 AM.
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste devotee & Believer,

    Firstly, thank you so much for your kind advice and help. It helped immensely, and I hope someday I can return the favor. Devotee, I'm very very grateful to you for taking such time & effort to write such a comprehensive answer to my questions! You must be very learned in Hinduism, and I'm truly grateful for the knowledge you have shared.

    Thanks again,

    FollowerJunior

  5. #5

    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste Fellow Junior,
    I believe Devoteeji has given sufficiently apt answers to many of your questions and I agree with his comments. Still I will try to answer them according to my understanding.

    How can God be in everything at once? Do only living beings have 'a divinity' in them, or also inanimate objects? What is the logic behind the 'Divine in All Beings'? What do religions like Christianity/Islam believe in this regard (e.g. God is separate?) and how is it different?
    First of all; God or Brahman as it is described is the Parmatman and we living beings have the Atman. Ramanujacharya's Vishishtadvaita says that there are 3 beings namely Achit i.e the non-living beings who doesnt have the soul or the atman;
    Chit i.e. the living beings who have the atman or the soul which distinguishes from the achit because the atman is the fragment of the all-knowing paramatman. It is also said in the Bhagwat Gita, The Upanishads regarding the immortality of the Atman and the our only Goal of 'Milan of Atman and Paramatman.
    Next comes the Paramatman i.e. the all knowing supreme being Called By Different Names eg: the Brahman by advaitins and the Vishishtadvaitins; Vishnu by the Vaishnavas and the Dvaitins. who resides everywhere and According to Ramanujacharya everything that exists in the Brahmand is the body of Paramatman.

    Why do bad things happen to good people? (I have gathered so far that we cannot fully see an individual's karma, and what seems unfair to us is actually very fair. But look at all the children being brutally abused etc. Why would a loving God do this? To guide them forward on the Divine path?)
    Unfortunately we donot have a concept of Loving God. It is a protestant christianity's concept. Even Supreme Krishna in the Bhagwat Gita Says that Karmic Law is absolute and unchangeble and noone can intervene in this regard. everyone has to go through the Karmic cycle.
    For eg: compare both the wealth of Mukesh Ambani with that of a beggar: you'll see a mountain of difference in wealth and ask ourselves If there is a thing called Loving God why would he not distribute it equally in the world and let everyone enjoy it equally. can this concept of a loving God explain the unequality of social statuses in today's world? No.
    Only a concept of Karma-Reincarnation can explain this. Mukesh Ambani is Rich because of several Generations of craving of wealth in his previous lives which resulted in the a mountain of wealth in his current life.This craving or sankaras gets embedded in his atman and after several rebirths can he attain his vasana.

    I am born to a non-vegetarian family. If God wanted me to be a vegetarian, and not be part of so much Himsa, why did he put me in such a family? Personally, while I'm very young, still growing, and not allowed to become a vegetarian yet (I've asked), what am I supposed to do? Aren't plants living beings too?
    Same your non-vegetarianism is the result of vasana of your previous birth. but for what i believe being a veg means you do less Himsa to the prakriti. Please recollect the first law of Thermodynamics :
    The law of conservation of energy. This states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. However, energy can change forms, and energy can flow from one place to another. The total energy of an isolated system does not change.
    What this means in the Dharmic sense is that: the energy of the sun is converted to the plant energy and when plants are consumed by the herbivorous animals like cows, buffaloes,chicken (whose meat we eat) the energy is reduced further.
    Therefore more energy is required to produce 1kg of meat than 1kg of wheat,rice etc. that is the concept of Himsa to the prakriti and when it is attached to Religion, less people will do that type of Himsa. that is y we hindus revere the environment, more Hindus are veg as compared to the other religions.
    Thank you.
    Comments are welcome

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste FJ,

    You have asked profound questions on spirituality at such a tender age and that is remarkable. I admire your curiosity in the right direction and intelligent articulation of questions. What is your faith ? Are you a Hindu by birth ? Though it is time for you to devote on your studies but if you have any more questions on spirituality, you are most welcome !

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste FollowerJunior,

    How can God be in everything at once?
    At the sub-atomic level, everything in this Universe is made up of the same things. Matter is trapped energy. Energy created this Universe, energy governs it and one day, energy will annihilate it. This allows me to safely say that energy is God. Thus, God is everywhere.

    Why do bad things happen to good people?
    Because God wants to give them more opportunities of becoming wiser, stronger and better.

    I am born to a non-vegetarian family. If God wanted me to be a vegetarian, and not be part of so much Himsa, why did he put me in such a family?
    Perhaps, God wanted to test your self-control, your resolve.

    And yes, plants are living beings too and therefore, while being a vegetarian is good, it's not mandatory.

    I'm still a school-going student. Do you have any special comments, or lessons you have learnt, or teachings of Hinduism you think I would benefit from?
    Yes. Hinduism dictates that since you are a student, your studies should be your top priority. Be wise, be healthy and make your parents proud.

    Good luck and have a great day, little buddy.
    A few personal experiences: chronicles-of-a-sadhak.blogspot.com

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste,

    Just an observation,

    The Physicists in the crowd want to use sub-atomic particles as basis of their discussion.
    The Economists in the crowd want to use macro economics to prove their point.
    The IT types in the crowd want to bring in the open source code concept while discussing Hinduism.
    The doctors in the crowd want to perform brain surgeries on the above three types.

    Can we please stick to religion/spirituality/philosophy instead?
    Just an observation!

    Pranam.

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste,

    Can we please stick to religion/spirituality/philosophy instead?
    Isn't it amazing that physics, economics, information technology and medical science are all based on Hinduism?

    Just another observation!
    A few personal experiences: chronicles-of-a-sadhak.blogspot.com

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    Re: My Questions on Hinduism

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashish_Marathe View Post
    Isn't it amazing that physics, economics, information technology and medical science are all based on Hinduism?
    Sure. I don't know why everybody is clamoring to get a secular education. Just get a degree in Hindu theology and you could,

    start a computer repair business Or
    become a money manager Or
    design a superconducting super collider Or
    just design a more comfortable toilet seat.

    Pranam.
    -

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