Underlying universality of all religions

Discussion in 'Spiritual Forum' started by Datta Upasaka, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. Datta Upasaka

    Datta Upasaka Member

    Following a religion strictly and simultaneously following the universal spirituality of all world religions are one and the same concept. I illustrate this by the following example.

    You have the required medicine for a specific disease in a single bottle. If you strictly take 4ml of the medicine per day from that single bottle only, your illness is completely cured, since the quality of the medicine is same in all the four bottles. 4ml per day from a single bottle or 1ml per day from four bottles stand to be the same in both quality and quantity.

    Firm belief and strict discipline in using the medicine must exist whether you take the specific quantity of the same medicine from one bottle or from four bottles. You cannot say that a person strictly following the use of medicine from one bottle only, rejecting other bottles, as a blind fool in the sense of curing the illness by using the medicine. When you scold the same medicine in other three bottles, it reflects your foolishness of theoretical ignorance. But, in practical sense, there is no loss if a conservative devotee follows the use of medicine from a single bottle rejecting the other three bottles.

    Even in the case of a wise man with broad mentality (of universal spirituality) using the same medicine in the same quantity from all the four bottles, the conservative and severe sincerity and firm faith on medicine is the same as that of a conservative blind devotee using the same medicine from a single bottle. As far as the faith on the medicine and the practical usage of specified quantity of medicine is concerned, both universal devotee and conservative devotee are one and the same.

    Of course, the conservative devotee is not at all blamed in following the use of medicine from a single bottle, but, is blamed for scolding the same medicine in the other three bottles due to ignorance. Instead of scolding, the conservative devotee must be silent about the other bottles and should concentrate on the single bottle about which only he has total faith. You may say that even if the patient scolds other three bottles, the medicine of his selected bottle will not affect in its quality and function. You are perfectly correct, but, you are crossing the limits of simile and applying the concept to the outer restricted area of limits of the simile. Here, the simile is inert medicine and not a living person. This is the limit of the simile and concept is applicable to simile as long as you don’t scold the medicine of other three bottles.

    The medicine here is compared to God, who is not inert, but has awareness to the extent of infinity based on which we say that God is omniscient. If you praise a person in one dress and scold the same person in other dresses, is he not hurt since he is not like the inert medicine? Since the God in all religions is one and the same, all your praise to God in a specific form of a specific religion goes not only waste, but also, make God to become furious.

    Hiranyakashipu was a strong devotee of Lord Shiva, but, scolds Lord Vishnu. Both Shiva and Vishnu are different forms or external medium of the same inner unimaginable God. Lord Vishnu appeared as Narasimha and killed the demon. You should note that Lord Shiva did not protect the demon at all! What is the reason? The reason is that Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are the same one entity wearing the external media or forms called Shiva and Vishnu. This is the concept between two sub-religions called Shaivism and Vaishnavism in the same Hindu religion. This story is one and the same whether it is in micro-level (sub-religions of Hindu religion) or at macro-level (world religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Islam etc.).

    The first part of the scripture presents the severe discipline and firm faith in the medicine to be followed by every devotee of each religion. In the second part of universal spirituality, the revered Prophet Mohammed warns every devotee of each religion not to scold forms of God of other religions. Allah is one external form represented by Islam religion. Jehovah is another form of God presented by Christianity. Brahman is another form of God presented by Hinduism and so on. God is one and the same present in all the world religions. You are advised to respect and serve your father sincerely. If possible, realize the fathers of all other people also equal to your father and respect and serve them. If it is not possible, respect and serve your father only and not scold and insult others’ fathers.
  2. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member Staff Member

    What you are describing is called universalism. It's not the same as Hinduism. Still, some Hindus are more universalistic in nature than others. We're a vast lot and have a wide range of views on this and other matters. All religions have validity. This does not mean they are all the same, or even that there is an underlying current of unity. Certainly, if you speak to adherents of the various religions on this planet, you'll quickly discover that the conceptualisations iof God vary widely.
  3. Datta Upasaka

    Datta Upasaka Member

    The external culture (like tilaks and malas) is to be separated from the religion (standing for Shiva, Vishnu, etc. and different paths to please Shiva, Vishnu, etc.). If you go down into deeper level of the religion, it is called as philosophy of that religion. Thus, religion and philosophy can fit easily in one phase. When unity in religions is achieved by achieving the unity in the philosophies, the meager difference in the cultures can no more stand as a separating factor.

    A religious culture and its philosophy are associated with each other. If you separate these two and bring unity in philosophies, which is easier, you can bring unity in the religions also by separating religious culture from religion. When you separate religion from culture, religion means only God and the path to please Him. We can establish that God for this entire creation is only one and hence, the path to please Him must be also one. The result is one philosophy (spiritual knowledge) and one religion (universal religion). Universal spirituality is like the central government and religions are different state-governments in India. You perfectly belong to a state (religion) following conservative path of devoting to your state without contradicting the central government. We say that you are a perfect Tamilian or Marathi or Keralite, etc. and at the same time, you are also an Indian to love other states in India.
  4. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member Staff Member

    So within this 'One' religion idea, which is true?

    Philosophically: Is it reincarnation until moksha, or belief in Christ for a sure chance into heaven, or everlasting hell, after this one lifetime?
    Is it monism or dualism?
    Is it God within man, or God eternally separate from man?
    Is it karma or no such thing as karma?
    Is it free will, or no free will?
    Is it 'I' the Self, or 'I' the ego?

    Practices ...
    Vegetarianism, ahima, or carnivore, himsa
    Cremation, or burial
    Idol worship, or no idol worship?
    Avatars or no avatars?

    These are major differences not to be trivialized by vague statements like 'one religion suits all'
  5. Datta Upasaka

    Datta Upasaka Member

    I never said that one religion suits all. Religion according to the previous message relates to the externally seen culture. On the other hand, philosophy and spiritual concepts pertain to the inner essence of all religions.

    There always will be diversity, no doubt about that. But there’s also an inherent unity in such diversity, which needs to be focussed on.

    Languages may be many, but the underlying meaning of a certain word remains the same, provided you understand it in the first place. Similarly, the apparent differences in religions may seem to be too many, but the true spiritual concepts are one and the same, provided we understand them in the first place.

    It all comes down how much time one is willing to spend in bridging these gaps and picking out universal commonalities in each religion that apply to the present time.

    If you get down to it, you can pick out innumerable differences between all the religions in the world. But one also needs to understand that such apparent differences are the source of the religious turmoil and hatred seen across the globe.

    One needs to remember that all major religions are based upon the preachings of certain spiritual giants who appeared at certain time periods and taught people according to then existing situations. Some of these teaching may be relevant only for a certain time and place, while other teachings may be more universally applicable.

    Coming to the philosophical points you raised, I’ll try to address them in the best possible manner according to my own limitations.

    1. Is it reincarnation until moksha, or belief in Christ for a sure chance into heaven, or everlasting hell, after this one lifetime?

    A. Moksha occurs due to liberation from worldly bonds. When one becomes attached to God, detachment from the world happens naturally and spontaneously. Christ in Christianity stands for God, and immense attachment to Him will definitely result in detachment from the world.

    The eternal hell spoken of in Islam/Christianity can also be correlated with the reincarnation concept of Hindusim. Human rebirth is extremely rare and the notion that all of us are repeatedly born as human beings is wrong. The eternal hell propagated in Islam/Christianity only refers to the endless cycles of the birth of lower beings such as wild animals, insects, worms, etc. These are the births that most souls will take up if they fail to progress down the spiritual path and make use of the precious human life they’ve been granted.

    Reincarnating as a human again is a very rare privilege granted only to those few souls who have tried their best but still failed to reach God in one human birth. In that sense, eternal hell applies to most humans while reincarnation as a human applies to a rare human being.

    Reference: universal-spirituality.org/rebirth.html

    2. Is it monism or dualism?

    A. Monism and dualism are different points of view that are both justified in their own contexts. These two viewpoints can be correlated while considering a human incarnation of God.

    Consider the following analogy - when electricity runs through a wire, the wire becomes electrified. When you touch such an electrified wire, you get a shock. Although the electricity is invisible, its presence can inferred by the shock that one receives upon touching it. So for all practical purposes, the wire itself can be considered as the electricity. However, the electricity is not really modified into the wire and retains its own properties. The same is the case with the wire, which remains the same. From this point of view, it can be said that wire and electricity are both different.

    Similarly, God possesses someone like Krishna, Jesus or Buddha, and such a soul can be considered as God incarnate. This is Advaita or monism. However, the soul-component is always different different from the God-component and this is Dvaita or dualism.

    To consider Krishna as God incarnate is Advaita, as preached by Shankara. To consider Krishna as the Son of God is qualified monism, as preached by Ramanjua. And to consider Krishna as a Messenger of God is dualism, as preached by Madhvacharya. All three points of view are justified in their own context and apply to different kinds of people at different levels of spiritual progress.

    In Islam, Mohammed is considered as a Messenger/Prophet of God. In Christianity, Jesus is considered as the Son of God and in Hinduism (generally speaking), Krishna is considered to be God incarnate.

    Reference: universal-spirituality.org/msg24022016.html

    3. Is it God within man, or God eternally separate from man?

    A. God is within only the human incarnation, whom He possesses completely, or present in the heart of an extremely rare devotee who is in the climax state of devotion. For the rest of us ordinary souls, God is separate from us. But we all have the potential to become human incarnations of God, provided we never wish for such a thing and completely surrender to God without expecting anything in return. So potentially, God can be within all of us. In practical term, God exists only within the rarest of rarest human beings.

    Reference: universal-spirituality.org/thrimatha.html

    4. & 5. Is it karma or no such thing as karma? Is it free will, or no free will?

    A. The term ‘karma’ first needs to be understood clearly. If you say that everything is predefined or destiny, then that is wrong. If you say everything is in your hands or based upon free will, then even that view is wrong.

    The soul comes here with some inherent tendencies due to which there is a high probability that it will subsequently engage in actions of a certain sort. However, at the same time, the soul also has the intellectual capacity to think and react in a different ways, ensuring that it has the choice to make firm decisions that lead to further spiritual progress. Both destiny and free will apply to varying degrees in the lives of each individual soul.

    Generally speaking, ‘karma’ or the many lives concepts is used as an excuse by Hindus to become lazy. On the other hand, ‘free will’ or the one life concept is misinterpreted by Christians to enjoy excessively.

    Reference: universal-spirituality.org/msg04012014.html

    6. Is it 'I' the Self, or 'I' the ego?

    A. The ‘self’ is pure awareness while the ‘ego’ refers to the mechanism of identification. The ego has the nature to identity with something and gives rise to the ‘I’. This ‘I’ can be associated with either the body, mental thoughts or the underlying self, which is pure awareness.

    For example, when one says, ‘I am hungry’, the ‘I’ refers to the body. When one says, ‘I think that this right’, the ‘I’ here is associated with thought.

    Awareness is like pure and calm water while thoughts and feelings are like the waves or disturbances. The ‘I’ can be identified with these waves or thoughts/feelings or it can be associated firmly with the ‘Self’ or pure awareness. However, the source of ‘I’ is what we should really be concerned about. While the ‘I’ is pure awareness, the source of the ‘I’ is the unimaginable God, who has created this universe and still remains separate from most of it.

    Reference: universal-spirituality.org/msg06122014.html

    On practices

    1. Vegetarianism, ahima, or carnivore, himsa

    A. This is a very questionable field due to seemingly different directions given in various religious scriptures. However, even these practices can be correlated. Please refer the following link for a comprehensive explanation.


    (Contd in next reply)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  6. Datta Upasaka

    Datta Upasaka Member

    2. Cremation, or burial

    A. All human bodies will inevitably die at some point or another. Instead of focussing on how one disposes of the bodies, one needs to understand the impermanence of human life and make strenuous attempts to progress down the spiritual line.

    Nevertheless, the following is what I feel are the reasons behind cremations and burials. May or may not be true for all I know.

    In colder climates, it’s difficult to keep a fire burning for the long period of time that’s needed to burn a body to ash. That’s probably why most predominantly Christian countries (belonging to colder regions of the world) have inculcated the habit of burying bodies. Islam is also an Abrahamic religion and borrows its teachings from Christianity. So even though Islam as a religion had its beginning in countries with extremely hot climates, the culture of burying the dead was still taken from Christianity.

    In Southeast Asia or a predominantly Hindu/Buddhist region, it’s easier to dispose off bodies by burning. So that’s the practice that was taken up many thousands of years ago. However, down the line, people started blindly practicing these rituals without questioning them and lost their understanding of the real reason behind such practices.

    3. Idol worship, or no idol worship?

    A. God is easier to worship when He is represented by a certain form. In ancient times, some used to worship the Sun as God, some used to worship the wind as God, etc. Soon, God began to be worshipped as an idol with a human form that one could easily relate to. Idol worship is like the basic level of worshipping God. Worshipping the formless God is an even lower level, because here, the mind has no form to attach itself to.

    However, worshipping God in human form is the highest level. The human form of God itself is the temple and the idol existing in it is the unimaginable God.

    When you pass out of school and start studying at a university, you need not look back and condemn the place saying that it is beneath you. Similarly, idol worship need not be condemned by people who have subsequently moved on to worship the human form of God. The idol is only a representational model of God that helps one in developing devotion. One can offer practical service only to the human form of God, and this corresponds to the higher level.

    Reference: universal-spirituality.org/rituals.html

    4. Avatars or no avatars?

    A. In Islam, Mohammed is considered as a Messenger/Prophet of God. In Christianity, Jesus is considered as the Son of God and in Hinduism (generally speaking), Krishna is considered to be God incarnate or an avatar. In Hindusim, people also consider Krishna, Mohammed and Jesus as avatars or human incarnations of God. Please refer the example of electricity and the wire stated above for a clearer explanation.

    Reference: universal-spirituality.org/contemporary.html

    All of the answers I’ve given above, apart from the answer related to burial/cremation, are crude reiterations of teachings by a certain Swami. If you have more doubts, please go through the Swami’s teachings; they are very comprehensive and insightful. He has a beautiful way of correlating seemingly irreconcilable differences in religions. The Swami’s teachings can be found at universal-spirituality.org.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  7. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member Staff Member

    Thanks for the long reply.

    Oh I have no doubts about what I believe. It differs from you on some points, and agrees on others. Since I'm far more interested in the mystic quiet of it, I won't go into some long rebuttal. Suffice it to say I'm happy you actually had fairly clear beliefs in most cases. Many don't. There are many schools in Hinduism and they all see things slightly differently. The beauty is most of us get along, and see no need to enter the 'I'm right, you're wrong' mentality of debate.
  8. Datta Upasaka

    Datta Upasaka Member

    Glad to see that you've taken my reply in a positive spirit. After all, the point of any spiritual discussion is only to gain a better understanding of the topic. If possible, please do share some links that pertain to those beliefs where you and I differ. I would definitely like to go through them when I have the time. Ultimately, what matters is that we progress down the spiritual path, and this is possible only with the right knowledge. Cheers.
  9. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member Staff Member

    Like I said, I'm not interested in these kinds of long discussions. I don't see that much value in them. It's easy for me to accept differences and allow people to believe what they wish, and not try to convince them of anything about my way. My sampradaya rarely proselytizes in that way. If someone is meant to study, then so be it. Mystically I believe there are 14 separate nadis within the sushumna that the kundalini can rise, and externally these are represented as sampradays, sects, or religions.

    But just to give you one idea on it, I don't believe any person called Christ existed. Its what I've come to from in-depth readings. You do. Now, we could sit here and argue that all day long, just like many people do, in books, on the internet, in person. It gets heated, and usually the outcome is repressed hatred on the worse level, and a more gentle agreeing to disagree on the best level. Neither person changes their mind. So in the end, more karma would have been worked out if both sides had just gone off to do some seva, meditate, or do whatever else they feel beneficial for their soul.

    I'm no universalist, yet respect your or anyone else's choice to be one. (Yes. I've read a bit from your promoted website, enough to see familiar stuff with many other universalist teachings.)
  10. rahul malik

    rahul malik New Member

    Universality of Religions is that it makes us be aware that we all live in one world, and religion belongs to all people in the whole world.
    Although people professes to have different religions, rituals and beliefs, in the end, they are all people just like you and me. In the end, there is only one Supreme Power, God, which exists in each one of us and else everywhere.
  11. Datta Upasaka

    Datta Upasaka Member

    We are all made of matter, energy and awareness, which are just different forms of energy. God, however, is completely beyond all this. If we are collectively Brahman, God is Parabrahman. He is the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer of energy.

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