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Thread: The Suffering of the gods

  1. #11

    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    namaste.

    You have made it clear in this and other threads that you don't consider the Hindu gods as the equivalent of Jesus of the Nazareth who claimed himself to be Christ and whose very histority is in question. Before I can discuss your points in the last post, first tell us why did Jesus (assuming that he existed) have to incarnate in human flesh, how many people he freed from sin and disease, why did his own people kill such a man of miracles, why he did he die in such ignominy, the bogus claim he made while dying that he had taken upon himself all the sins and sufferings of his mankind, and the efforts to perpetuate this silly claim.
    You must ask these questions of Christians; I happen to be a Hindu, so I am unable to help in this regard. I had posted the questions on the Hindu idea of incarnation, only because, as a Hindu, I wanted to know more.

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    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    Pranam rahulg

    Quote Originally Posted by rahulg View Post
    You must ask these questions of Christians; I happen to be a Hindu, so I am unable to help in this regard. I had posted the questions on the Hindu idea of incarnation, only because, as a Hindu, I wanted to know more.
    Strange Hindu that you are, knock all that is dear to Hindus but only praise for Christians. strange very strange.
    Just be honest if you like Christ go for it.

    Jai Shree Krishna
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

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    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    Quote Originally Posted by Ganeshprasad View Post
    Pranam rahulg



    Strange Hindu that you are, knock all that is dear to Hindus but only praise for Christians. strange very strange.
    Just be honest if you like Christ go for it.

    Jai Shree Krishna

    Vanakkam all:

    Ganeshprasad, I totally agree. Usually we see doubting Christians here. They are the westerners mostly that have seen all the hypocrisy in their faith and have begun to expand their horizons. They come here to learn, and may occasionally express doubts about the previous faith, or at least state why they feel Hinduism is more suited to them.

    But rahulg here has this situation in reverse. Just as we welcome newcomers with open arms and love, gently explaining concepts, we should also gently lead him out out door to his new faith.

    Ralulg: might I suggest that since you are so keen on Christianity, that you introduce your self as a 'Hindu' curious about Christianity in a Christian forum. I'm sure you will be welcomed there, just as we welcome open-minded people of all faiths here.

    From my point of view, you are what you are. I had Hindu concepts clearly in my mind from the process of self-discovery several years before I encountered Hinduism in any formal way. I had no idea about the differences between Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism. But I had a clear idea of what made sense to me. Then when I did encounter Hinduism, it was like "wow!".. "This is it. This is what I believe."

    As several others have insinuated, I too believe you are a Christian soul from your words and ideas expressed here in HDF. There is nothing at all wrong with that. You are who you are, and Ganeshprasad's words of "Go for it" are wise indeed.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    namaste Rahul.

    Quote Originally Posted by rahulg View Post
    You must ask these questions of Christians; I happen to be a Hindu, so I am unable to help in this regard. I had posted the questions on the Hindu idea of incarnation, only because, as a Hindu, I wanted to know more.
    Since you vehemently deny your Christian propensity and want to know more about why God takes avatar physically in human form, if you are serious about learning those advanced concepts of Hinduism, please read this new thread I have created, which might answer your question:
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=5230

    The explanations in this thread are based on the teachings of KAnchi ParamAchArya. If you are still skeptical after reading it, you might rest assured that the philosophical rationale might eventually dawn on you, since you are a Hindu.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    Namaskar,

    Aurobindo explains very well the concept of Avatara in Essays on The Gita (chapter 2). He explains that Avatara means the descent into form, the revelation of the Godhead in humanity. This descending of God into form seems to be the logical outcome of the vedantic view of life. According to vedantic world view, all existence is a manifestation of God. God is the only existence. Therefore, every conscious being is in part or in some way a descent of the Infinite/God into the apparent finiteness of name and form.

    Aurobindo explains further and says that it is a veiled manifestation and there is a gradation between the supreme being of the Divine and the consciousness. The embodied soul is the spark of the divine Fire.

    Why there is a gradation to begin with seems to be a mystery or I havent yet come across anything that explains properly the reason for this gradation.

    The vedantic view is that God resides within man and not some white bearded man sitting somewhere in clouds judging people and calling them sinful or someone promising some silly things like 72 virgins.

    The relationship between God in man to man in God is explained by the double figure of Nara-Narayana. Nara is the human soul, eternal companion of the Divine, finds itself only when it awakens to that companionship and begins as the Gita says to live in God. Narayana is the divine soul always present in humanity. He is the mysterious, secret guide, friend and help of the human being, the lord who abides within the heart of all creatures.

    When within us the veil of that secret sanctuary is withdrawn and man speaks face to face with God, hears the divine voice, receives the divine light, acts in the divine power then becomes possible the supreme uplifting of the embodied human conscious-being into the unborn and eternal.

    The inner divinity is the eternal Avatar in man. The human manifestation is its sign and development in the external world.

    The purpose of Avatar is to uplift the embodied human conscious being into the eternal.

    Now, as far as God suffering for humanity, it is a silly idea. First of all, if God is suffering he cannot be God as God is beyond all gunas (as explained by Yajvan).

    If God claims that he has come down to take the suffering of humanity then the questions to ask are:
    a) Why is there suffering to begin with, When did it start and how?
    b) Why did God allow suffering to begin with?
    c) What prompted him to come to take over the suffering now i.e. what is so special about the time period that he came down to take the suffering?
    d) Why was he waiting around to take away the suffering?
    e) If God can suffer then is he really God or some conman pretending to be God?
    f) Since there is still suffering e.g. leprosy all around, whoever claimed to have taken away the suffering was a liar and a conman.
    g) Why would God need to come down to earth or send someone from his family (e.g. son or daughter) to take away the suffering? Is God so incompetent that he cant do this task remotely?
    satay

  6. #16

    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    why he did he (Jesus Christ) die in such ignominy, the ... claim ... that he had taken upon himself all the sins and sufferings of his mankind
    The basis of the Judeo-Christian Jesus pastime springs for the process of Sacrifice (Sacrifice as in the Western Traditions).

    First, I do not understand the idea in the least. Why "Sacrifice"? What "Sacrifice"? Where does this "Sacrifice" come from? Is there correct & incorrect "Sacrifice"? ----These are Christian background questions as to the explaination of Christ's pastime.

    But, for me, I do not understand the idea in the least.

    Yet I do see that:
    Western Civiliazation was bereft of the knowledge of the soul.

    Knowledge of the soul is explained in the gita and is the elementary starting point of any yoga path.

    Christ's pastime demonstrated that "We are not this body, we are spirit souls". Ergo, the Monarch/King is not a divine entity above common citizens. Ergo, all peoples are equal under God.

    So, this knowledge, "We are not this body, we are spirit souls" is easily accessible by all common folks simply by hearing it accepting it and making it part and parcel of civil rights & laws. This is a great blessing for people that did not know the truth known as 'aham brahmasmi' (I am spirit soul).

    In regards to 'taking away sin' (bad-karma), it does indeed seem to be correct only so far as a quick fix without any other overt affects.
    If the populace needed to be elevated to a point of universally acceptance of the universal truth, "We are not this body, we are spirit souls" ---because such knowledge was lost (this is 'very bad karma') ---then when such knowledge is "re-established" by an Avatara, bad-karma (sin) has been removed. In that sense, Christ's pastimes are affirmed by the lessons of the Gita, where Christ alone died instead of all the miscreants that where "soul-less" (soul-less in the western sense).
    Last edited by Mohini Shakti Devi; 03 February 2010 at 01:27 PM.

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    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    namaskar,

    I am afraid, I am in the same boat as you. I don't get this idea of 'suffering'. Suffering for what? Why would God come down to take the suffering? What suffering? Is God so incompetent that he can't take away the suffering remotely? Why the need to send a representative? Why allow suffering to being with?

    Why create one son, fool him into disobedience, then label him and his progeny sinful and punish them for eternity. Then send second son to 'save' the first son and his progeny. Be totally irresponsible and make the second son take over the suffering instead of owning up and taking responsibility for his own foolishness.

    Christian concept of God makes God look like a fool or a person with serious mental problem.


    Chirstian concept of suffering is foolish but perhaps serves its purpose because it is best fit for the low intellectual capacity people. A person with a low intellectual capacity would certainly believe someone if they claimed that they were here to take away their sins and take away their suffering. This is because the vedantic concept of Nara-Narayana relationship is beyond the intellectual capacity of such people.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mohini Shakti Devi View Post
    The basis of the Judeo-Christian Jesus pastime springs for the process of Sacrifice (Sacrifice as in the Western Traditions).

    First, I do not understand the idea in the least. Why "Sacrifice"? What "Sacrifice"? Where does this "Sacrifice" come from? Is there correct & incorrect "Sacrifice"? ----These are Christian background questions as to the explaination of Christ's pastime.

    But, for me, I do not understand the idea in the least.
    satay

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    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    Quote Originally Posted by rahulg View Post
    In Hinduism, although various gods incarnate, they don't suffer on behalf of humanity. Or, do they? I am not clear on this point. Did Ram, Krishna, Shiva and others suffer at all? If not, what was the purpose of incarnating?

    If it's to teach morals, they're already there in the holy books. There are other saints to teach by example. So why incarnate if the end can be achieved even without incarnating?

    I hope I am making myself clear. Suppose I can do a job over the phone, my physical presence at the office (for instance) won't be necessary. If I am at the office, on the other hand, then it's taken for granted that my physical presence is necessary.

    So, if the gods incarnate on earth, their physical presence must have been needed, or they wouldn't incarnate at all. But in the Hindu concept of incarnation, this wouldn't apply. Then why incarnate at all when the same job can be done without incarnating?
    Rahul, I think God incarnates as a person in order to teach us things that we can't learn on our own. Sri Krishna says that he does this on a regular basis to reverse mankind's moral corruption and increase righteousness. This is a task for which no mere mortal is prepared. It makes perfect sense that God himself will come to do it for us.

    As for this idea of suffering "on behalf of humanity," I don't even know what that means. I'm sure that many avatars of God have suffered. Lord Rama suffered greatly to save his wife and to overthrow an evil demon. He suffered for the benefit of humanity. But what does it mean to suffer on someone else's behalf? This implies that humanity somehow needs to suffer, and I don't think that this is a good assumption. If you can define suffering on behalf of humanity, perhaps someone can answer your question more effectively.

  9. #19

    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    The ancient Greeks believed that God, a "perfect being," must be impassible, incapable of experiencing suffering and pain. The ancient Hebrews however knew a far different God, a personal God whose image and likeness is reflected in our humanity.

    Have you ever noticed that when a child suffers be it due to toothache, fever or even getting a shot in the arm or a minor accident etc, - does the parent also suffer. It may not be physical suffering for the parent but to see his child go through suffering of any kind makes father go through emotional and psychological suffering and partake of that suffering with the child. How much more our heavenly Father suffers when His creation goes through trials and sufferings is unimaginable. It all stems from the unconditional love that He has towards His creation. If God is God of Love as we would like to believe, then suffering is also inevitable for God to show how much He loves us. Although His incarnation does not always remove our sufferings or pains, He fills them with meaning by absorbing them into His own suffering.

    Human suffering remains meaningless and barren unless we have some assurance that God is sympathetic to our pain, and can somehow heal that pain. The incarnation of God is another expression of deep love God has towards us so that he can partake in our pain and suffering. I believe that God did not incarnate just to teach us morals or provide materials for Sunday sermons but to suffer along with those who are least amongst us. The Sermon on the Mount shows why God singles out the poor (not just financially poor but poor in every respect) and oppressed for special attention over any other groups. How calming it would be to a suffering soul to hear Him say, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. His incarnation is to assure us of just that. For Christians the Cross means the physical suffering with the incarnate God leading to earthly defeat but spiritual victory.

    Elie Wiesel (Concentration camp survivor) lost his faith in God at the concentration Camp. For him God literally hung to death on the gallows, never to be resurrected. But in fact the image that Wiesel evokes so powerfully contains within it the answer to his question. Where was God? The voice within Elie Wiesel spoke truth: in a way, God did hang beside the young pipel (young man who was killed next to him). God did not exempt even himself from human suffering. He too hung on a gallows, and that alone is what kept him believing in a God of Love. (From Philip Yancey Where is God when it hurts)

    Quote Originally Posted by sanjaya
    As for this idea of suffering "on behalf of humanity," I don't even know what that means. I'm sure that many avatars of God have suffered. Lord Rama suffered greatly to save his wife and to overthrow an evil demon. He suffered for the benefit of humanity. But what does it mean to suffer on someone else's behalf? This implies that humanity somehow needs to suffer, and I don't think that this is a good assumption. If you can define suffering on behalf of humanity, perhaps someone can answer your question more effectively.
    It is amazing why you all consider suffering of God an alien concept. It is said that Lord Shiva drank poison and suffered for the redemption of mankind. Lord Buddha according to Mahayana faith, refused to attain nirvana for the sake of man. In the Vedas the act of creation is treated as sacrifice in which the Purusha is the victim, the sufferer. The purusha is all this world, what has been and shall be.

    Then there is Tapas, suffering voluntarily undertaken by those who are still on the path to perfection, for the sake of self-development or world-welfare. This is very difficult undertaking and some of the greatest souls of the world have quailed before it. Yet the story of Hinduism has many instances of Rsis and Buddhas who have sanctified Tapas and suffered more than they deserved for the sake of the world. This avoidable suffering is not the result of past sins. Witness the scene at Gethsemane. I think many Christians believe that suffering for the world out of love is the price which every son of man has to pay, if he is to be redeemed from evil and manifest himself as a son of God.

    To believe God did not incarnate to suffer shows intentional ignorance on our part. There are many attributes of God that human mind has not even known, yet we when we begin to box God with our limited understanding, we trivialize God.

    In my most humble opinion, for me, be it in Hinduism or in Christianity, it is difficult not to reconcile our suffering with the suffering of the incarnate loving God. To say that God does not have to suffer is to deny God His love.

    Perhaps, I should leave it at that. Again, this is only an opinion of mine.

    Blessings,
    Greatly benefitted from reading:
    Purusha Sukta
    Yujur Veda
    Indian religions, S.Radhakrishna
    Religion of the Veda. Bloomfield.
    Philip Yancey: Where is God when it hurts?
    Last edited by nirotu; 04 February 2010 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Can't seem to change font size!

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    Re: The Suffering of the gods

    Hello Nirotu. Allow me to address your points.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirotu View Post
    The ancient Greeks believed that God, a "perfect being," must be impassible, incapable of experiencing suffering and pain. The ancient Hebrews however knew a far different God, a personal God whose image and likeness is reflected in our humanity.
    I think you implicitly recognize this, but it's worth mentioning that the Hindu conception of God is also of one who is personal and capable of experiencing emotions. But I don't think it makes sense to talk about a Hindu God, a Greek God, and a Hebrew God. There is only one God, though certain people may have a better understanding of him than others.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirotu View Post
    Have you ever noticed that when a child suffers be it due to toothache, fever or even getting a shot in the arm or a minor accident etc, - does the parent also suffer. It may not be physical suffering for the parent but to see his child go through suffering of any kind makes father go through emotional and psychological suffering and partake of that suffering with the child. How much more our heavenly Father suffers when His creation goes through trials and sufferings is unimaginable. It all stems from the unconditional love that He has towards His creation. If God is God of Love as we would like to believe, then suffering is also inevitable for God to show how much He loves us. Although His incarnation does not always remove our sufferings or pains, He fills them with meaning by absorbing them into His own suffering.
    Perhaps this is true, but I think we're confusing two different types of suffering here. It's one thing for a parent to suffer because a child is suffering. It's an entirely different thing for a parent to suffer on behalf of the child, which is what is addressed in the original post by Rahul. And since you say that God's suffering doesn't remove our suffering, God isn't suffering on our behalf.

    Now, I'm aware that many Christians believe in a penal substitutionary atonement doctrine, whereby Jesus bears the wrath of God that was meant for man, thus absolving us of guilt and saving us from hell (there are also alternative atonement theories which say similar things). This would certainly constitute God suffering on our behalf. Do you believe this?

    Quote Originally Posted by nirotu View Post
    Human suffering remains meaningless and barren unless we have some assurance that God is sympathetic to our pain, and can somehow heal that pain. The incarnation of God is another expression of deep love God has towards us so that he can partake in our pain and suffering. I believe that God did not incarnate just to teach us morals or provide materials for Sunday sermons but to suffer along with those who are least amongst us. The Sermon on the Mount shows why God singles out the poor (not just financially poor but poor in every respect) and oppressed for special attention over any other groups. How calming it would be to a suffering soul to hear Him say, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. His incarnation is to assure us of just that. For Christians the Cross means the physical suffering with the incarnate God leading to earthly defeat but spiritual victory.
    This makes sense if you're referring to Jesus' life, in which he endured the same trials as ordinary mortals. If so, this is the same thing as the Hindu theology of incarnation, in which God regularly becomes a man, suffers as we do, often enduring severe austerities, and can thus "understand" the sufferings of people (not that anything is beyond God's understanding to begin with). However, you're referring specifically to the cross. As horrendous as crucifixion is, there are forms of execution that are worse. I don't see how the cross in specific allows God to suffer with us. Unless you subscribe to an atonement theory, in which case it makes perfect sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirotu View Post
    Elie Wiesel (Concentration camp survivor) lost his faith in God at the concentration Camp. For him God literally hung to death on the gallows, never to be resurrected. But in fact the image that Wiesel evokes so powerfully contains within it the answer to his question. Where was God? The voice within Elie Wiesel spoke truth: in a way, God did hang beside the young pipel (young man who was killed next to him). God did not exempt even himself from human suffering. He too hung on a gallows, and that alone is what kept him believing in a God of Love. (From Philip Yancey Where is God when it hurts)
    This is actually one reason I've brought up the atonement theories. If you subscribe to an atonement theory whereby God's wrath is spent on Jesus, you must believe that Elie Wiesel is going to hell. If you believe that God has wrath that needs to be spent, and if you consider that Elie Wiesel, as a Jew, doesn't believe in Jesus, then you must make the inescapable conclusion that God's suffering on behalf of humanity isn't applied to individuals such as Wiesel, who have a cultural barrier to Christian conversion due to centuries of oppression by Christians.

    Anyway, I don't know how you personally view the cross, or what your soteriology is like. I'll ask for clarification before I continue on this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirotu View Post
    It is amazing why you all consider suffering of God an alien concept. It is said that Lord Shiva drank poison and suffered for the redemption of mankind. Lord Buddha according to Mahayana faith, refused to attain nirvana for the sake of man. In the Vedas the act of creation is treated as sacrifice in which the Purusha is the victim, the sufferer. The purusha is all this world, what has been and shall be.
    I'm not familiar with the creation account you speak of (Hinduism has many). But in the versions of the story that I've heard/read about Lord Shiva drinking the poison, there was no element of vicarious suffering. If I remember correctly, his throat was constricted, thus blocking the poison, which incidentally is why he is often portrayed with a blue neck. I'm also not familiar with Lord Buddha, but by your own description, it seems he forsook nirvana to perform some other task. Again, it seems different from the Christian gospel, where Jesus' suffering itself effects some spiritual benefit to man.

    Quote Originally Posted by nirotu View Post
    Then there is Tapas, suffering voluntarily undertaken by those who are still on the path to perfection, for the sake of self-development or world-welfare. This is very difficult undertaking and some of the greatest souls of the world have quailed before it. Yet the story of Hinduism has many instances of Rsis and Buddhas who have sanctified Tapas and suffered more than they deserved for the sake of the world. This avoidable suffering is not the result of past sins. Witness the scene at Gethsemane. I think many Christians believe that suffering for the world out of love is the price which every son of man has to pay, if he is to be redeemed from evil and manifest himself as a son of God.

    To believe God did not incarnate to suffer shows intentional ignorance on our part. There are many attributes of God that human mind has not even known, yet we when we begin to box God with our limited understanding, we trivialize God.

    In my most humble opinion, for me, be it in Hinduism or in Christianity, it is difficult not to reconcile our suffering with the suffering of the incarnate loving God. To say that God does not have to suffer is to deny God His love.
    Again, I still don't know what suffering "on behalf of man" means. In the examples you give, the suffering somehow sanctifies the person who endures it, so that he can better fulfill his dharma. That's very different from the idea of suffering directly accruing some merit for others.

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