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Thread: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

  1. #21
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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    Quote Originally Posted by BryonMorrigan View Post
    A few points:

    1. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are not "Western religions." They all come from the Middle East, and specifically the alleged "Holy Land." The only religions that could realistically be called "Western," were largely destroyed by these Middle Eastern religions during the "Dark Ages." (i.e., the Religio Romana and Celtic/Norse/etc. Polytheism...)

    2. I ascribe to a kind of "selective" Universalism. See, one statement that I often espouse is "The only false religions are those which believe in the existence of false religions." Therefore, any religion which espouses the idea that only followers of that specific religion are capable of Enlightenment...is therefore promoting a "false" ideology. I think that one can be, say...a Christian or Muslim and avoid that aspect of that ideology, and therefore not be promoting such wickedness. (I know some very nice Christians, for example, who have a much more "intelligent" view of "salvation"...)

    In addition, because of my belief in reincarnation...I look at people of other religions as being merely further behind on a path. Perhaps, in this life their faith in Jesus or Allah will lead them to enough understanding in this life that in their next one they become Hindu...or at least begin to seek. In such a way, their path does indeed lead...albeit by a more winding road...to the same place. Essentially, while following Jesus will not lead directly to Moksha...maybe it might prepare you for the journey forward in your next life. Either way, it's your journey--not mine--and I have no business interfering in it.
    Namaste

    I agree fully. In the context of this thread, I just wish to bullet the points:
    • Hindus believe in Veda. Not in interpretation of Koran or Bible or internet stories, which some may insist falsifies or opposes Veda (and thus falsely teach that Veda followers should abandon the tenets of Veda). But Hindu teachers at no times have demeaned or lowered any faith, as God is considered as owner of all and resident in all. Nevertheless, Hindu teachers in unison speak against the reformist and zealot like efforts of christians and muslims to impose their views on others.
    • Belief of Veda is condensed in Upanishads (mainly for renunciates) and explained in Smriti, ItihAsa and darshanas of Hinduism. Shri Krishna teaches that all follow His path only, a very few people follow Him perfectly (Self Realised Gurus and highest sadhakas) but most people follow with some limitation attached -- as per their guna make-up. Guna-makeup is not immutable. It purifies with right karma and thus none is condemned forever. Shiva Mahiman strotram says the same. In the mode of perfect knowledge Shiva/Krishna represent the infinite Atman -- the Self of everyone and everything as transcendental yet all pervading God, which is the controller, permitter, and enjoyer everywhere and at all times, although Atman is timelessly eternal.
    • Popular sentiment or interpretation of an alien scripture cannot be used to invalidate Veda.
    Thanks
    Last edited by atanu; 26 September 2010 at 11:46 PM. Reason: To add aspects as shown by Shri Saidevo
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

  2. #22
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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    namaste Ganeshprasad.

    In the BG 4.11 quote you have given (in post no.15), the phrase 'my path'--mama vartman is interpreted contextually and universally thus:

    • The Dharma Central Forum of Frank Morales gives this contextual interpretation:

    "What is called ‘My path’ in the Gita are the four yogas of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Raja Yoga. All of these yogas are exclusive to Hinduism, and are not found in any other religions. Hinduism itself provides many roads, not just one, for liberation in accordance with one’s ability and sincerity."
    (http://www.dharmacentral.com/forum/c...s-Universalism)

    • Since the title of Chapter 4 where the quote occurs is 'The Renunciation of Action in Knowledge', Shankara gives this universal interpretation:

    [The paths characterized by Knowledge and by action (rites and duties).] the path of God who am omnipresent. By 'human beings' are meant those people who become engaged in their respective duties to which they are qualified according to the results they seek.

    As you have elaborated quoting BG 14.18, it is the guNa--mode, of an individual person which determines his spiritual destiny.

    In the very next verse BG 14.19, shrI KRShNa is clear about what will make one attain liberation:

    When the witness sees none other than the guNas--qualities as the agent, and knows that which is superior [i.e. different from.] to the guNas, he attains My nature.

    This statement establishes that our Hindu Dharma that teaches only the ultimate liberation of mokSha in all its four paths, cannot be the same as the Abrahamic religions whose spiritual destiny is only eternal heaven or eternal hell.

    As you have rightly put, our gurus in their sama-dRShTi, have only love and compassion for all humans, whatever limitations people have, and so they don't teach aggressive or passive differentiation of people on the basis of their religion, although they do highlight the limitations of Abrahamic religions and take exception to the consequent aggressions of their followers in unmistakable terms.

    Please have a glance at the various links in the Website http://www.dharmacentral.com/ and you will get an idea of who is Frank Morales and what is his purpose and ambition.

    PS: I see that Atanu has nicely summed up in post no.47 what I have struggled to convey in this post.
    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

  3. #23
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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    Dear All,

    The vigour and content in this discussion leads a hindu follower to rejoice the revival of the TRUTH. The transition is taking place through many means and many ways. It brings tears to my eyes. Let us celebrate this transition.

    Some points I would like to put up (do not know whether I will be able to do justice).

    1. The TRUTH or the knowledge of SD is rediscovered by humans in every cycle of the creation of humans. The discovery is not through books but through self realisation and the constant practice of it. All the knowledge is within us - it is upto us whether we are able to dig it out.

    Most of the known & unknown saints found the knowledge through this means including Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Chaitanya, Ramana, Shankaracharya, Aurobindo, etc, who are the spiritual scientists. The sciptures are also out of the similar spiritual scientists through out the ages. That the TRUTH is same and the road is one has been confirmed again and again.

    2. Now the scriptures are a compilation of the collective experience and they help in refining the experience. But it does not mean that experience of the individual saints are wrong. But due to ego and the environmental / societal factors the knowledge might get a bit coloured. The covering or colouring is removed to a great extent by constant practice /digging through sadhana to bring out more knowledge. This is like moving from class KG to college level.

    However without anymore sadhana or the constant analysis & further scriptural help, one might get more and more coloured through the ego and societal needs. He gets stuck to class KG or 1 level. He gets bogged down to the time, space and material. Movement is from eka rupam (one God) to bahurupam (God in all - this is where the universalism starts) to arupam (God is one and not different than "I").

    The above is true for anyone in the self realisation path anywhere in the world.

    3. The levels of knowledge achieved plays a huge role in transforming the society from a closed one to an open one. The way they percieve God, the way they percieve others, the way they perform duties, the way they live, etc.

    4. Now with above perspective let us see the development of the religions in the other areas. Whether or not Jesus or Muhammad achieved self realisation is not known. But it is very clear about the level of understanding in each of them. They have not reached the stage of higher class of universalism and they are stuck in that one God level. They are a closed society. This is the lower peak in the quest of the higher peaks.

    They had been handicapped as there was no Vedic scriptures for them to guide them further nor there was enough spiritual practice and environment to nurture the knowledge further.

    But can I say that they are not on the right path ? NO.

    5. So whom should I place the fault with ? Their knowledge ? NO. because, though it might be still in the primary classes but still the essence is there, the path was correct.

    The people ? NO. because they are born into it and it takes a long time and several births (for most) to grow out of the primary classes.

    6. The packaging of the knowledge varies from sects to sects. This is where the problem lies. Generally the packings are time, space and society dependent. But unfortunately those have become part and parcel of the knowledge. Even in hinduism caste syste, some rituals, etc have become part and parcel of the knowledge. And the knowledge/society suffers from that.

    Though we all agree that this is the part we all need to change, but even with the knowledge base of SD, we find it very hard to change that in our society so how do we expect a society with lower level of knowledge to change theirs.

    7. Now to the final point.

    What is the objective of Frank Morales ? If it is to put Hinduism as a Mother of all religion then we all appreciate that.

    The difference of opinion is confined to how that is packaged. In this, do we in the forum have uniform opinion ? I believe - NO.

    TRUTH is much above us and is non vulnerable. It is our ego which is vulnerable.

    200 years back there was no one in the west taking about Hinduism and today thanks to David Frawley, Frank, et al and other Indian saints, we have societies after societies directly or indirectly getting pulled into the TRUTH.

    This is what the exposure to SD does. Now people have choice (earlier they did not) and the scriptures available everywhere.

    So let us celebrate the revival of TRUTH and establishement of TRUTH (may be it will take quite few centuries).

    My answer to the question "Are all religions same ?" - is YES & NO. It depends on what is the POV.

    Love and best wishes

  4. #24
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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    Namaste,

    A very engaging discussion to say the least.

    I saw the few points noted in the other thread (my re-introduction) regarding Radical Universalism as well.

    These are my thoughts on the matter:

    Radical Universalism, in and of itself, is a pejorative term. As a matter of fact, being universal in your outlook towards anything really is a euphemistic way of saying, "I don't give a damn about what others do!" This is the only plausible definition as one cannot make a knowledgeable assessment of other paths as that would require lifetimes of penance, experience, and study. This is what I find most strange about Sri Ramakrishna. And, to make a disclaimer, I am not judging him or insulting him in anyway. I respect him immensely and Swami Vivekananda is my favorite modern Hindu guru. Yet, Sri Ramakrishna is supposed to have "tried out" all the other religions, especially christianity & islam and then said "all religions lead to the same goal" or something to that extent. How was he able to deduce the end-goal of those religions in such a short time? I guess those religions are truly garbage that takes a lunch-break to figure out.

    Yet, why would he go to the extent of equating those two abrahamic cults with SD? It doesn't make sense to me; obviously, as I am not a guru or enlightened. This is also echoed by Sri Ramana Maharishi himself and that disturbed me honestly as I dislike abrahamic religions and their followers (if you couldn't tell already )! I suppose then, I humbly step down to those gurus who say what they do as they are/were infinitely more knowledgeable than me since they EXPERIENCED SAT-CHIT-ANANDA.

    However, for the sake of argument, let me continue:

    It is analogous to saying basketball is the best sport (for me) but I am not going to say baseball or football is a waste of time or useless. I am not qualified to make such a remark. Thus, I will say, "Any sport one favors and excels at is the best sport for him." If I have never played baseball or football before, my statement is rather hollow.

    This is what I feel about being radically universal in one's outlook on religion. If we, as Hindus, are busy with our duties and are contented, we don't see the need to preach to others and suggest they should change their ways. In other words, we Hindus don't give two hoots about any non-Hindu's spiritual path as it has no significance to us. The only problem that arises is due to conversion efforts by the abrahamic cults.

    Radical Universalism is detrimental to Hindus and Hinduism today because it weakens the position of Hindus worldwide. For example, Hinduism is not even on the radar for anything religious in the west. It is very rare if something about it comes up and even more so if it is something positive about Hinduism! Why is this? Part of the reason is that non-Hindus feel that Hindus don't have a 'unique' position on a given matter. Since they think Hindus are okay with whatever people believe and that "all religions are the same", their input is somehow not as important. This is more of a cultural problem rather than a philosophical one.

    As Atanu, Saidevo and others have stated, I too agree with the fact that Frank Morales is nobody to be criticizing Vivekananda or Ramakrishna or any Indian/Hindu for that matter. However, he does have a point about modern-day Hindus, especially in the west, having a cultural identity problem for themselves as well as their children.

    Philosophically, as Hindus, we have to accept that all paths are attempts at getting closer to our true Selves. After all, aren't all beings looking for "happiness"? The modes through which one attains happiness, however ephemeral, are innumerable but the culmination of those modes are most definitely the same. The goal, thus, of all religions is the same. And this certainly does NOT make all religions the same!

    However, Morales' argument on Radical Universalism gives some insight into the predicament Hindus face today whether it is at school or in the media.

    Namaskar.

  5. #25
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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    Quote Originally Posted by BryonMorrigan View Post
    In addition, because of my belief in reincarnation...I look at people of other religions as being merely further behind on a path. Perhaps, in this life their faith in Jesus or Allah will lead them to enough understanding in this life that in their next one they become Hindu...or at least begin to seek. In such a way, their path does indeed lead...albeit by a more winding road...to the same place. Essentially, while following Jesus will not lead directly to Moksha...maybe it might prepare you for the journey forward in your next life. Either way, it's your journey--not mine--and I have no business interfering in it.
    This is highly plausible and makes sense. It is clear that as one progresses spiritually, they eventually come to the path of Sanatana Dharma and attain moksha. The only question, then, is, can someone attain moksha without being a Hindu? This falls into the category of Radical Universalism well.

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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    Interesting, keep going. I have a lot of studying to do for university, so I won't be able to read all the posted links and do the research necessary to comment on everything. Maybe I'll come back on this another time.

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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    Quote Originally Posted by TatTvamAsi View Post
    The only question, then, is, can someone attain moksha without being a Hindu? This falls into the category of Radical Universalism well.
    Well, since the Abrahamic religions generally do not espouse any real way of "getting" there, I don't see how. I mean, I can see how a Buddhist might achieve moksha...but a Christian? How? All their religion really requires is devotion, which in most cases amounts to lip-service. Some Christian sects, like Catholics, require certain kinds of "meditation-like" acts, like praying the rosary...but they are not done to "enlighten," but rather as punishment for being such a horrible, "sin-filled" person.

    There are small mystical trends in each Abrahamic religion, represented by the Gnostic Christians, Sufis, and Kabbalic Jews. I am not that familiar with their teachings, but on the surface those groups seem to be oriented towards finding a kind of moksha, perhaps.

    But the rest? I don't see how you could attain something that you aren't even looking for...

    Quote Originally Posted by TatTvamAsi View Post
    It is analogous to saying basketball is the best sport (for me) but I am not going to say baseball or football is a waste of time or useless. I am not qualified to make such a remark. Thus, I will say, "Any sport one favors and excels at is the best sport for him." If I have never played baseball or football before, my statement is rather hollow.
    Personally, I'd change the analogy this way: I play soccer. Some people play golf, or are NASCAR drivers. I'm not going to say that soccer is "better" than golf or race-car driving generally, because it is something that I cannot prove to the golfer or race-car driver. What I can say, however, is that playing soccer makes one more physically fit than playing golf or racing cars. In a sense, they are all "sports," but in the end, one can be rather fat and unhealthy and still excel in golf and racing, but a soccer player cannot succeed without becoming physically fit, and it is the inevitable by-product of participation in that sport.

    (In case you haven't noticed...I love speaking in analogies...)

  8. #28
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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    Pranam Saidevo

    Thanks for your comments

    Let me reiterate, contextual interpretations not withstanding, what my understanding is on 4.11 when Bhagvan says manusyah sarvasah he means all human, he can not be excluding anyone of his creation.

    I am not suggesting for a minute that the four paths that you mention are in any way similar let alone the same. Anyone who thinks simply because I accept certain person as my saviour and then do any act that my heart fancies or kill in the name of god and expect haven awaiting for me, are deluded to say the least.

    So what does Lord Krishna means when he says everyone follows his path only he knows, but I can only speculate,
    he is sat chit ananda and every jiva regardless of any denomination seeks that ananda in that search everyone is on that path for that there is no doubt. But without vivek (the power of discrimination) the sat and chit is very elusive. Eventually everyone having explored all the avenues will come to the platform of satva from which the proper enquiry of what this sat chit ananda begins, this is what we know as Sd or Hindu dharma this I say without being pompous, of what value are these tags if path of dharma is not followed?

    It is karma and reincarnation as already pointed out that determines our fate. Even a good atheist stands a better chance of a good destination.
    So a good Christian or Muslim(if there is any) have an equal chance to progress up the ladder. yes it is an evolution we all have to obey the rules of Dharma chakra.

    As lord Krishna says
    isvarah sarva-bhutanam
    hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati
    bhramayan sarva-bhutani
    yantrarudhani mayaya

    The Lord abides in the heart of all beings, O Arjuna, causing all beings to act (or work out their Karma) by His power of Maya as if they are (puppets of Karma) mounted on a machine. (18.61)

    It is dharma that we follow, it is not a religion or an institute, it a way of life. A path that eventually leads us to the higher dimension. And what is this dharma?

    tasmac chastram pramanam te
    karyakarya-vyavasthitau
    jnatva sastra-vidhanoktam
    karma kartum iharhasi
    One should understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.16.24

    This is very dear to me what Atanu ji has brought below;

    The Varnashrama of Sanatana Dharma is not something to be ashamed of. It is the Eternal Truth of Nature, the axle on which the Wheel of Dharma revolves. We are heirs to the greatest Truth on earth and to the greatest Way given to humankind. This Gift comes with a responsibility that we Hindus cannot simply shrug ourselves of.
    Glorify eternal truth, but the proof of it is to Put your creed into your deeds
    And practice truth in your action.
    (Rg.Veda.III.4.7)

    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.

  9. #29
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    Re: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    namaste everyone.

    I just finished reading 'The Sword of KALI' by shrI Chittaranjan Naik. What an amazingly dazzling, wholesomely comprehensive and rightfully convincing gem of a masterpiece that reads so well and enlightens intellect! Although it is a convincing rebuttal to Frank Morales' paper, you soon forget Morales as Naik expounds the Universality of Hindu Dharma covering all its radiant facets and explains what Hindu sages actually mean when they say that all religions are the same. Only in the end, when Naik reminds us of what Morales' call of abandoning the legacy of Hindu Universalism can do, you pick up Morale again and find what his paper has done to Hindu minds, intentionally or ignorantly. I shall make an attempt to paraphrase the main points of the article, but I am afraid it can come nowhere near the spirit of the brilliant, original article.

    I would request all members and readers to take the time and read the article to find out what is involved in Hindu Dharma. I am sure that in the end everyone will find him/her to be a better aspiring Hindu. Here is a search link for the author's other articles:
    http://www.google.com/search?client=...utf-8&oe=utf-8
    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: A Philosophical Critique of Radical Universalism

    namaste TTA and BryonMorrigan.

    BM said in post no.46:
    In addition, because of my belief in reincarnation...I look at people of other religions as being merely further behind on a path. Perhaps, in this life their faith in Jesus or Allah will lead them to enough understanding in this life that in their next one they become Hindu...or at least begin to seek. In such a way, their path does indeed lead...albeit by a more winding road...to the same place. Essentially, while following Jesus will not lead directly to Moksha...maybe it might prepare you for the journey forward in your next life. Either way, it's your journey--not mine--and I have no business interfering in it.

    TTA said in post no.51:
    This is highly plausible and makes sense. It is clear that as one progresses spiritually, they eventually come to the path of Sanatana Dharma and attain moksha. The only question, then, is, can someone attain moksha without being a Hindu? This falls into the category of Radical Universalism well.
    =====

    Hindu Dharma, as you know, speaks of many kinds of mukti/moKSha. Only Advaita posits the ultimate moKSha of merging with Brahman losing all identities. Other traditions of Hindu Dharma posit a mokSha of residence in the world of the adored deity in various states of proximity, which is certainly the next best remedy against reincarnation.

    If this is a Universal Truth, as every truth of Hindu Dharma is, then why doubt that Muslims and Christians who surrender to their Gods and measure up to the tenets of Hindu Dharma, attain the mokSha of proximity to the God that their religions teach/reach? Although I am not familiar with their scriptures or with Abrahamic mysticism, going by what the Sufis and Gnostic Christians (who don't seek to proselytize) found in them, there must certainly be scope for real salvation in those religions.

    The question that we Hindus must ask ourselves is, how many of us can attain the freedom of the states of mokSha that Hindu Dharma offers us? Many discerning Christians and Muslims who have had darshan of Hindu sages like KAnchi ParamAchArya, RamaNa MaharShi, RAmakRShNa ParamahaMsa, Sai Baba and many others, have said that they saw their God in these sages. How many of us see our Gods in our gurus? Until we do so, where is the scope for the grace of guru and God for attaining our mukti?
    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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