Dear Amy Martin,
Thank you for all your great work and great unity that you provide to the Dallas communities. I especially love all the great events that people get access to due to your dedicated seva.
I have a question about the Advaita principle, the principle of "we are one"
The definition is given "the non-dualism of the spiritual-not-religious which holds that we are not separate from God, or from each other, or from the Earth, but are one."
Hinduism is a variety of completely different religions stemming from India. The tradition that has largest number of adherents are the Vaishnava's which are over 580 million in the world. Vaishnava's being monotheistic do not accept absolute monism, or the idea that everything is just one. Rather they claim that Dvaita, duality is also present in the divine.
By analyzing the info of a subject and recognizing the individuality, or its duality, one fails to see its unity.
By synthesizing the info of a subject and recognizing the unity, or oneness, one fails to see its individuality.
Simple example is given in the Vedas:
A drop of ocean water is salty like the ocean
Qualitatively the drop is one with the ocean, both share qualities
But is the drop one in all respects?
Quantitatively the drop is practically infinitesimal in relation to the ocean.
Qualitative oneness exist but there is also a quantitative difference.
Both oneness and duality exist.
Just as you could analyse a painting and say, it is not art, it is just molecules.
or you could synthesize a painting and say, it is not molecules, it is just art.
One party sees the part and does not see the unison of the whole. Whereas the other sees the whole and does not see the individual parts. The Vedas claim, that the divine is not limited to being forced into only one of those different categories.
So one group (Dvaita) will think, "God is up there" and as you say fail to recognize that "we are not separate from God, or from each other, or from the Earth, but are one." Such a vision does not lead to the idea of the sanctity of the planet because, God is not here, He is just up there.
However, another group (Advaita) will think, "There is no God up there, I am God, you are God, everything is God, I am you and you are me" Such a vision does not reveal the individual nature of our or God's spiritual existence, God's own individuality. In fact the Bhagavad Gita's first instruction is that we and God are both eternally individuals. As René Descartes states " I think, therefore I am" my individual existence is what is most self evident. Therefore absolute oneness is counter intuitive.
The Vedas also state that everything comes from God. Philosophically for absolute oneness to exist personality, individuality, and form must be an illusion, a falsity. This includes the description of God's forms, avatars, and other forms of God, they are all then seen as a fabric of imagination. However, would it be wise to consider the sun cold after feeling the warmth of sunlight? So similarly is it wise to consider that God is simply one, non-personal, not a being, experiencing our own personal individuality?
Therefore it is said that this world is not false, it is a reflection. So as I have a personality, a form, relationships, and activities so as well does the All Attractive divine. Therefore it is the inconceivable nature of God to be simultaneously one and different from us and everything, achitya beda abeda tattva.
So my basic contention is how can it all just be one? are we then missing a big part of the picture?
In response to another discussion.
Thank you Mike Ghouse,
Now in an email you have written. I hope it is ok to share.
"Dear Mr. Das
We see God as one, none and many. Each belief gives comfort to the believer, does any one need to be wrong? Or right? As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, God is in the heart of the believer.
To this I would state that I encourage everyone to have an intelligent understanding of faith.
and to this I would ask if ANY belief, regardless of lack of rightness or lack of logic, or lack of truth is valid and beneficial if it holds to the standard of giving comfort to the believer?
So many atrocities have been performed by people who believed in religious ideas that gave them comfort. Terrorism, crusades, cleansing and so on. So is being logical, or as you say being right important? Yes, because being wrong, illogical, can be very harmful.
Dear Mr. Das,
One cannot claim that his belief is the right one - contrasting with other's belief to be wrong. Your belief is absolutely right to you, just as other's belief is right to the other. Belief is not mathematics to conclusively say 1+2 = 3. There is nothing right or wrong about a belief, it is a belief that works for the believer.
Dear Mike, I humbly disagree. I do not think intelligence should be thrown out the door. That leads to fanaticism. Which I hope we can agree is harmful.
To quote the wise, "Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. " A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Philosophy means it is not based just on sentiment but rather sound reasoning.
I wrote the same example, but dropped it due to the length "The Hindu wisdom gives examples of how each drop of an ocean is like the humans, which possess the same characteristics as the ocean, yet they are two different entities of the same whole but not separate from the other"
Instead I substituted with the Namaste in my write up
Thank you Mike Ghouse.
Another example the Vedas give is that of a green bird entering into a green tree. Both remain individuals and separate but share oneness in their green qualities. For relationship means a party of two rather than one.
The word 'yoga' illustrates this although most of those who are very familiar with the subject do not understand its meaning. Yoga is where we get the English word union. Uniting two parties.
As religion come from the root meaning meaning re-linking with God
Yoga means reuniting with our long lost soul mate Krishna, or as others say, God, Jehovah, Allah, or Christ.