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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Questions on: "Is Religion Dharma?"

Question: " I do not think religion is bad but I believe there will always be corrupt people in this world with strong desire for power who will try to take advantage of those sincere seekers and their fault interpretations will make it seem bad and will create huge problems for humanity!"Answer: "I am not saying that it is wrong if you follow one particular god form or formless, if you follow one text and teachings of one prophet or a person., but my appeal is only for those who say, “everybody should follow what I believe, the god and the book and the saying of that one particular person or saint”. If we have the word religion then it actually means that way so there are and will be fighting going on in this world. Where as dharma says very clearly and inherently that any god or even no god is alright! My idea is not to eliminate religions but to give safe and respectable position to all religions all forms of god and all spiritual texts in the more encompassing word called dharma. Dharma in my sense is not Hindu word, but it is a universal concept, just like god is not a property of one faith or the other, it is universal concept!question: Even though I accept and tolerate all these diversity and the freedom to approach God through any chosen path, is it enough to say that dharma is better than religion or to say that it is the only way to happiness, inner peace, harmony and tranquility and therefore world peace?"Answer: Spiritual journey is the only way to happiness which is uninterrupted because in spiritual journey you are finding happiness from within as your nature and not as one derived from external agency. That inner nature called happiness is the divinity within. Every religion essentially asks us to find the god within and that is the message of dharma too. But unfortunately many religious people state that their religion only gives salvation. Again let me make it clear when dharma includes teachings of several masters from several thousands of years to today, it can easily accept the saints from other lands too!"Question: "You distinguish dharma from religion and I totally agree with you but as one might further find out that the certain ritualistic practices of dharma, coming from the Vedas which have been the source to Hinduism, please correct me if I am wrong, I am afraid might cause one think that while running away from one religion he /she is now being converted into another one. And to say that Yoga is Dharma may cause people to run away from the practice of yoga."Answer: My point is only to say that every religion with its ideas of the teachings they follow or the practices they follow which do not harm others in the name of religion are all as they are dharma only. In other words to make the point clear I would cite as an example to practice roza, or to offer namaz or doing rituals like fire ceremony of Zoroastrians or the meditation of Hindus are all or the dance of worship of native Americans is all dharma only. But dharma, since it accepts other form of worship and other forms of gods, does not approve killing in the name of religion called jihad, or converting one religion to other by coercion or by bribing!Question: I recently finished reading Introduction to Vedanta by Swami Dayananda and will go over it once again and probably again and again since it is obviously a difficult subject to absorb fully and I feel a strong pull to know more on the SUBJECT (the Self). and to be totally satisfied. I accept everything as it is and have deep love and compassion towards all existence. As an instructor it is my only wish to help people to be healthy, help them have a balanced body and mind, help them find out the silence, the harmony and the peace within themselves. These are the points I have been thinking on and would appreciate to read your comments. Answer: I see you are so pure and you have taken yoga in its right spirit as I see you. My dear Ebru, it is not any flattering but I feel very much connected to you very spiritually. You have taken yoga in its total essence. What you said the inner awareness and increase in that is very true. But many people tend to miss it.Regarding the two aspects of Vedas, the first aspect which talks about the heaven and hell and the practices given are all not verifiable. In fact even the fellow who practices the rituals also does not want to go to heaven right away! He wants to continue here only by hook or crook as long as possible! We have no proof about it. In addition there are also some other practices in the Karma kanda which are essentially for setting proper social order and quality of living like the hygiene and good eating habits etc. With the increase in the knowledge about the world even these practices are out dated and we need to revise. But Jnana kanda the later portion of Vedas are the pursuit of inner nature or gods, going towards peace and freedom from fear are applicable all the times. Yoga belongs to this category. Once we understand yoga to take us inwards then one goes on this journey. Dharma also emphasizes this aspect. Practice of yoga is one part of the practice of dharma, World is never troubled by the people who respect other religions and faiths. On the other hand world feels comfortable and peaceful with people of that nature. It is only those so called spiritual people who do not have tolerance for other people’s faith and god, they converted beautiful age old temples into mosques and age old Buddha statues have been destroyed in the name of religion. In a way they are right because religion gives them the meaning that one prophet one text one god of their choice form is right! That is my concern and I can not give a different meaning to religion because historically religion came with that meaning! So I am appealing to think in the way of dharma and not in the form of religion! When I say dharma I do not mean to become Hindu! I hope I have answered your questions. Please feel free to ask any more doubts. They are very precious for me!

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