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Thread: Truth is One; Paths are Many

  1. #1
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    Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Vannakkam: I was reflecting on this oft stated simplification. I don't know who it is that supposedly said it, but I know it is oft used as justification for universalism.

    But have a closer look. What is it really saying? It does not say: Truth is One; Paths to the Truth are Many. It just says Paths are Many. Is that not just saying that humanity is diverse, and we should celebrate that diversity.

    There are many paths ... the path of greed, the path of intolerance, the path of materialism, dead-end roads, paths that lead part way up the mountain, paths that lead down the mountain, and more. Some lead only part way up the mountain. I need not go on.

    This metaphor of life being a path is all over in everyday common culture:

    He took a wrong turn in the road.
    Took a turn for the worse.
    His friends are leading him a long a dangerous route.

    We (Hindus) don't need to think all paths (religions, if you will) are legitimate to have respect for our fellow humans. Some other basic concepts pretty much cover that. Ahimsa, a love for all life, covers it. So does reincarnation, karma, and the belief that everyone will attain moksha.

    Just some thoughts on a sunny day.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Good points.

    The simplistic interpretation as pointed out by you works only if those following non-Hindu paths accept the validity of Hindu paths. Democracy works only if there are a few basic set of morals and ethics in the population. If not, you will have a theocracy voted in every time.

    When non-Hindus feel free to call Yoga demonic, Hindu souls need saving, Hindus worship false Gods, etc. universalism breaks down. Universalism without basic ethics and morals soon leads to theocracy.

    It is always funny to notice that universalists operate within secular tolerant societies. Where are the universalists in the Bible Belt in the US or Saudi Arabia? Universalists swarm Hindu message boards, but are absent from Christian/Muslim message boards. Why?

    Another oft-repeated line is "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam" - The whole world is one family.

    OK. But in a family there are theives, scoundrels, noble folks, boring folks, interesting folks, RIGHT folks and WRONG folks.

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    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post

    Another oft-repeated line is "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam" - The whole world is one family.

    OK. But in a family there are theives, scoundrels, noble folks, boring folks, interesting folks, RIGHT folks and WRONG folks.
    Vannakkam wundermonk: Nice. I'll remember this one.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Hari Om!

    EM, how profound and enlightening! Answers some deep-seated issues I have with universalism and acceptance of all religions.

    You state:
    We (Hindus) don't need to think all paths (religions, if you will) are legitimate to have respect for our fellow humans.

    Don't want to open a can of worms so will leave it at that.

    Jai Jai Hanuman!

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    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    I think we are getting it wrong.

    Hinduism or the scriptures lay dow the theory of life and creation. It gives the total understanding of the ways of life, design of life, why birth, etc.

    It gives explanation of the whole space of existence and non existence. As a theory it encompasses all facets.

    It also defines how and why to work towards good life or dharmic life.

    Now this does not me the adharmic are outside this theory or by definition non hindu. If that is so hardly there will be hindu.

    The TRUTH is one but paths are many. All humans are unique. Ther have their way of understanding, interpretation, ability, etc. The path they will follow will also be unique. No rivers are parallel but all reaches the sea.

    No paths treaded by humans will be similar but they are moving towards the same objective. Now some movements are more positive, some less positive, some static, some negative. But the journey is on by design. The cycles of birth rebirth does not stop because one is negative, it goes on.

    As hinduism is more about the state of mind, it is more universal.

    There different religions and sects of hinduism, are only different options available for choosing. Let people choose which ever suits them.

    Having said so, inducing and coercing might bring in reactions which are not conducive for social stability.

    Neither we should be defensive nor too offensive. The universality is a magnet which will bring in more "sane" people.
    Love and best wishes:hug:

  6. #6

    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Namaste,

    Good points; I have never been a fan of any school of thought which
    promotes either "buffet-style" religion, or fierce zealotry.

    Often the "buffet" people have led comfortable lives; if there are never any
    serious material consequences for bad investments of time or resources,
    why would such a one feel any real sense of urgency or import regarding
    spiritual matters? There may be "universalists" who have arrived at their
    view after a long hard life's journey, but the ones I've met tend to be
    looking for something that avoids discomfort above all else.

    Zealots cannot bear disturbance, either; I am grateful my faith is not
    so fragile or flimsy, that the existence of others who do not believe as I
    do would demand they either be converted, or seen as less than human.

    While it is curious to note how often "the smaller the differences between
    two schools of thought are, the more vehement and virulent the
    expression of disagreement becomes", where else but in the history of
    Sanatana Dharma can be found so many different schools, all valuing
    intellectual rigor, philosophical depth, and beauty of expression- and none
    valuing the absolute extermination of any competing beliefs as a major goal!

    Yet- if some "New-Age-Life-Coach-Let's-Mix-n-Match-Religions-for-$$"
    pseudoguru does not care for a frank and blunt assessment of what they
    actually have to offer others (as opposed to what they are selling), than
    such a one can pitch their tent elsewhere, and should never try chatting
    me up

    JAI MATA DI
    || जय माता की ||

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    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Namaste EM,

    I don't think you are taking out the correct meaning. Hindu Dharma believes that All Paths lead to the same Ultimate Truth.

    Yes, there are some paths which go direct to the Truth ... some take longer route and some will be taking a very very long route .... some will be able to make it within this lifetime some will be able to make it in one hundred lifetimes and some in millions of lifetimes ... but they are sure to reach the destination.

    There is no being which is not boundby the gati of KAAl (the action of Time). This "gati of Kaal" will make sure that ultimately everyone reaches the same destiny.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Vannakkam Devotee: I believe the key here is 'ultimately', and of course we agree on that part. All souls, without exception, are headed for moksha. I think how one sees it also varies on the definition of 'path'.

    Aum Namasivaya

  9. #9

    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    हरिः ओम्


    Namaste All,


    Truth is but a wordy perspective; that which lays beyond it, is divine ...

    A
    moving target, it has to move as she is time; transient and thus transcendental.
    True beauty in appearance, is but a reflection of its self, recognition being
    acknowledgement of its ever repeating forms, the Supreme effortlessly recreates.



    How can we consider this to be the truth? We can not if it is ever changing, yet we
    might still, were we to realise the whole!


    These shapes are as yet, unrefined and not yet words; as such by creating their reflection within
    words, are we not losing their very essence, temporally?


    Not at all dissimilar to definition of the position of an electron.


    pranāma

    mana



    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Aum Namaḥ Śivāya
    Last edited by Mana; 09 May 2012 at 12:06 AM.
    8i8

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    Re: Truth is One; Paths are Many

    Quote Originally Posted by Mana View Post
    हरिः ओम्


    Namaste All,


    Truth is but a wordy perspective; that which lays beyond it, is divine ...

    A moving target, it has to move as she is time; transient and thus transcendental.
    True beauty in appearance, is but a reflection of its self, recognition being
    acknowledgement of its ever repeating forms, the Supreme effortlessly recreates.


    How can we consider this to be the truth? We can not if it is ever changing, yet we
    might still, were we to realise the whole!


    These shapes are as yet, unrefined and not yet words; as such by creating their reflection within
    words, are we not losing their very essence, temporally?


    Not at all dissimilar to definition of the position of an electron.


    pranāma

    mana


    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Aum Namaḥ Śivāya
    Dear Mana,

    After going through your post, I have a feeling that you are distancing God beyond our dreams even. The risk is that the interpretations may be quite different at higher level and lead to conflicts at lower level.

    If the TRUTH is changing then the Truth can be decided by anyone having bit of magical practice and good oratory power.

    This can be there for lower level understanding where it is ever changing.

    But at highest level, my understanding is that TRUTH is one and constant.
    Love and best wishes:hug:

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