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#1292 - June 12, 2004 11:00 AM Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Contents - this page


1. Epics - Gilgamesh

2. Puranashastras - Itihasas and Puranas

3. Various Issues

4. Quotes by Chinese Scholars

5. Vedic Mahavakyas

6. Top 100 Languages of the World

7. Nasa Image of Sethusamudram Ridge

8. The Renewal of Kalarippayat

9. Afro American Inventors

10. Hindu View on Tsunamis

11. In Praise of India: Top 10 Quotations

12. Yoga, Ahimsa and the Recent Terrorist Attacks

13. Conversions into Hinduism

14. Bharatam

15. Tamil Martial Arts

16. Numbers & Ancient Tamil Academies

17. Judeo-Christian History: A Mini Sketch

18. Mahabharat and Ramayan in Chinese!

19. Apostasy in Islam & Christianity

20. Intelligent Design: The Clincher

21. Jesus and the Gospel of Judas

22. The Teachings of the Quran

23. Some Quotations from the Talmud, Old Testament & Hadiths

24. On the Hadiths and Varnashrama Texts

25. Siddhanta and Vedanta

26. On the Quran and Hadith

27. Your Shiva is our Allah - 1

28. Your Shiva is our Allah - 2

29. Ban the Koran - Konraad Elst

30. Christian Laws from the Old Testament

31. On Karma and Free Will

32. Catholics & Protestants on Religious Exclusivism

33. On Moral Decay & Sexual Decadence

34. Gays & Transexuals

35. The Average Hindu Today

36. Mental Slavery

37. The Hindu Concept of Time

38. On Usage of Tamil in Defeating Foreign Religious Influences

39. Agni Purana

40. Bhagavata Purana

.

.

.


.
---------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted in akhandabhararam by sathia.

Epics - Gilgamesh

1.
The first recorded epic is the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh The Epic of
Gilgamesh is from Babylonia, dating from long after the time that
king Gilgamesh was supposed to have ruled. It was based on earlier
Sumerian legends of Gilgamesh. The most complete version of the epic
was preserved in the collection of the 7th century BC Assyrian king
Ashurbanipal.

2.
The longest epic of all time is the Tibetan Epic of King Gesar, which
has been collected as a work composed of roughly 120 volumes, with
more than 1 million verses, totalling over 20 million words, making
it 25 times the size of the ancient Greek epic, the Illiad

3.
The Mahabharata, is the great religious, philosophical and
mythological epic of India. It is a keystone text of Hinduism. It is
the second longest literary work in the world (after the Tibetan Epic
of Gesar) and is hailed as not only one of the greatest epics, but
literary accomplishments, of humanity. It is traditionally attributed
to Vyasa, who places himself as one of the characters within the
epic. The title may be translated as "Great India"

4.
Mahabbharata's 100,000 verses make it four times the size of the
Bible

Source: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/epic%20poetry



[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited June 24, 2007).]

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#1293 - July 22, 2004 12:07 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
ON PURANASHASTRAS - ITIHASAS AND PURANAS

Prabupada coined the word 'vedic literature' in the 70s, so that a
few 'chosen' puranas, notably the Srimad B, as well as some
itihasas, notably the Mahabharata, and esp. the BG section, gain
credence as 'vedic', and infuse it with vedic ancestry. Such
nomenclature give apparent credence that these puranas and
itihasas are of the 'stature of the vedas', and has vedic blue
blood, which is not!

Puranas and itihasas, no matter how good they are, are 'fairy
tales, fables, legends, stories, plays and part history'. It is
comparable to Shakespeare's Hamlet and Homer's Odessy, as
well as James Clavell's Shogun and Micheal Crichton's Jurassic
Park, all rolled in one - partly true, partly fiction. Puranas were
India's 'bollywood' in the medieval ages, now assumed
respectability - in the late 60s that too. (Before that only travelling
village storytellers, musicians and court jesters quoted itihasas
and puranas, as a matter of factly).

The way to enjoy the puranas and itihasas is to read it and let it
inspire and amuse you - not substitute it for the word of god. It is
not the Hindu shariah. That alone rests with the agamas on
which stands Hinduism as it is today. As well as the vedas. As
well as the words of our saints recorded in the bakti literature.

Prabhupada coined that term 'vedic literature' because Indian
Hindus did not buy the idea that SB and BG are 'vedic', and
scoffed him, but the westerners did not know better, and could
not differentiate Shakespeake from King Arthur, and the Vikings
from Thor and Ceasar, then. But Indian Hindus know better.

But now, several Hindu groups are using the term 'vedic
literature' to gain entry to 'mainstream (agamic) Hinduism', and
automatic legitimacy, and this is causing confusion. A whole two
generations of Hindus now believe that BG is 'vedic truth'!
Imagine that! It is persons who have not read the vedas say that
(Prabhupada, PBUH, forgive me) BG and puranas continues the vedic trend of
line of thinking.

My opinion is that there is an abrupt change in ethos between
the vedas and puranashastras, and caste and dharma is the
central underlying theory of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Again, This is not to run down any sect or god, something I will
never do. Vaishnavism rests on the pancharatra and bakti
literature which is tenfold richer than any itihasa or purana, if
anyone cared to investigate.

(Tirukural Verse 66 "Sweet are the sounds of the flute and the
lute," say those who have not heard the prattle of their own
children. ) The same logic applies to those who say the puranas
and itihasas are sweet or true. There are truths, and higher
truths.

If anyone bothered to read the Mahabharata FULLY ( including
Prabhupada), it would be apparent that the 'big picture' is that it
is Saivite literature, not Vaishnavite or vedic. But that is not the
point - it is still (Around the World in 80 Days) a fable well told.

Regarding birth and time of entry of the soul into the foetus - this
has not been explained well in the scriptures. Our rishis chose
to be silent on this matter. Only realised souls know this and
always 'chose to maintain silence'. It was never meant to be told.
That has been the Hindu tradition.

Kind Regards.

Pathma

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#1294 - July 23, 2004 12:32 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Hi,

We have to be careful on dating of scriptures. Most devout
Hindus attribute a hoary past to their scriptures. Scholars say
that the SB was written between the 10th to the 12th century CE. I
figure that parts of it was passed in oral tradtion from BCE times,
but the bulk was written in the 6th century CE, with additions and
interpolations extending till the 12th century CE. All Hindu
scriptures suffer from this tampering.

Over 420 rishis and women authored the vedic hymns and the
upanishads. The tradition is that pandit families passed it down
orally, therefore the several varying recensions from each family.

Vyasa is credited to have collated them into 4 books and 4
sections. In todays terms he is the publisher (Simon & Schuster
or Penguin Books), not the author. Svetasvara Upanishad says
clearly that Rudra passed the vedas to Brahma who then
passed it on to rishis. Now why shouldn't I, as a devout
practising Hindu, believe the upanishads, rather than something
else! Nowhere else in the vedas is this fact questioned. The
hymns themselves carry the name of the rishis who 'received it'.
Authorship is in question! Receiver-ship is not and neither is
publishing!

Buddha was a Hindu heretic or apostate. Dont know why Indians
hold him in such esteem. He was a failed rishi. His tradition did
not pass the test of time, well not in India at least - aboriginal
peoples of south east asia did accept it though. He himself
repudiated the vedas and all important things Hinduism stands
for . For instance he believed in rebirth whereas Hindus belief in
reincarnation - big difference. But lets not get into this. His
tradition did not produce any rishis or saints of acclaim after him,
but Hindus can point to ten thousand in the last 2500 years.

The concept of avatara is absent in the vedas, as well as absent
in the other sects of Hinduism, namely saivism and saktism.
They dont believe in avatars. Imagine that, a majority of Hindus
dont believe in that, something that is casually passed on as a
mainstrem idea. Some 12-16th century upanishads tried to
introduce the idea - but it died miserably. No one buys those late
upanishads, no even the vaishnavas. Prabhupada chose to
remain silent on these upanishads. Caitanya did not mention it.

Vaishnavism stands alone in this along with the smarthas. It
took root in the Ramayana and MB, then gathered storm in the
SB with 10 incarnations. Why 10, why not the magical 3 or 7 or
9? Wat's with ten, bro? What about a hundred, huh - I feel
generous tonite! Looking at humanity today, we need a
thousand, wat say you, man!

This ten was written in hindsight in the 10th Century CE, an
ingenios Hindu idea of incorporating other traditions into the fold.
The 9th was supposed to be Mohammed riding a white horse
(some say Caitanya) - different recensions you see, with Shirdi
Sai/Kalki as 10th! Thats camels fart. Celebrating a Hindu
apostate as an incarnation of God takes the cake! Hindu
buffonery at its best.

The established tradition, repeated endlessly, is that only 'souls
that have karmas take birth'. God dont.

Not a single Hindu sampradaya questions reincarnation. Its a
common belief and a glue that binds us.

Regarding the eternal existence or creation of the soul, this is
exactly what makes the so many schools of Hinduism; advaita,
dvaita, etc. An endless debate. As opposed to the BG and SB,
the vedas as well as bakti literature clearly says the Lord created
All, including the souls and all the gods. When they said 'ALL',
they knew what they were saying and writing, and they meant it.
No need to second guess or correct them. Souls were created at
some point of time, with individuality, BUT the essence of the
soul, the primordial matter, that is brahman, was always
existing. Of course, something does not come out of nothing.
This is scientific rationality at its best.

Forgive the tone. I just want to demythify Hinduism.

Regards.

Pathma

[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited July 23, 2004).]

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#1295 - November 13, 2004 02:13 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Originally posted by Carl in bharat rakshak - quotes by Chinese and Chinese scholars..


Quote:
1) Quote Lin Yutang (1895-1976) author of The Wisdom of China and India:

"India was China's teacher in religion and imaginative literature, and the world's teacher in trignometry, quandratic equations, grammar, phonetics, Arabian Nights, animal fables, chess, as well as in philosophy, and that she inspired Boccaccio, Goethe, Herder, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and probably also old Aesop."

"The contact with poets, forest saints and the best wits of the land, the glimpse into the first awakening of Ancient India's mind as it searched, at times childishly and naively, at times with a deep intuition, but at all times earnestly and passionately, for the spiritual truths and the meaning of existence - this experience must be highly stimulating to anyone, particularly because the Hindu culture is so different and therefore so much to offer."

"Not until we see the richness of the Hindu mind and its essential spirituality can we understand India...."

Quote:
2) Hu Shih, (1891-1962), Chinese philosopher in Republican China. He was ambassador to the U.S. (1938-42) and chancellor of Peking University (1946-4. He said:

"India conquered and dominated China culturally for two thousand years without ever having to send a single soldier across her border."

Quote:
3) Author Kenneth Ch'en has said:

"Neo-Confucianism was stimulated in its development by a number of Buddhist ideas. Certain features of Taoism, such as its canon and pantheon, was taken over from Buddhism. Works and phrases in the Chinese language owe their origin to terms introduced by Buddhism. Chinese language owe their origin to terms introduced by Buddhism, while in astronomical, calendrical, and medical studies the Chinese benefited from information introduced by Indian Buddhist monks. Finally, and most important of all, the religious life of the Chinese was affected profoundly by the doctrines and practices, pantheon and ceremonies brought in by the Indian religion."

Quote:
4) "The story of Sun Hou Tzu, the Monkey King, and Hsuan Tsang. It is a vicarious and humorous tale, an adventure story akin to the Hindu epic of Ramayana, and like Ramayana, a moral tale of the finer aspects of human endeavor which come to prevail over those of a less worthy nature. The book ends with a dedication to India: I dedicate this work to Buddha's pure land. May it repay the kindness of patron and preceptor, may it mitigate the sufferings of the lost and damned....' "

(source: Eastern Wisdom - By Michael Jordan p -134-151).

Quote:
5) Quote Amaury de Reincourt (1918 - ):

" The Chinese travelers' description of life in India... reveals great admiration from all concerned for the remarkable civilization displayed under their eyes."

"India sent missionaries, China sending back pilgrims. It is a striking fact that in all relations between the two civilizations, the Chinese were always the recipient and the Indian the donor."

"Indian influence prevailed over the Chinese, and for evident reasons: an undoubted cultural superiority owing to much greater philosophic and religious insight, and also to a far more flexible script."

Quote:
6) Quote Henry Rudolph Davies (1865 - ):

“It is evident through the medium of those barbarians that China received part of her civilization through India.”

Quote:
7) Kakuzo Okakura, speaking of the missionary activity of Indian Buddhists in China, says that at one time in the single province of Lo-yang there were more than 3,000 Indian monks and 10,000 Indian families to impress their national religion and art on Chinese soil.
(source: The Ideals of the East With Special Reference to the Art of Japan - By Kakuzo Okakura p. 113).

Quote:
"I see no reason to doubt," comments Arthur Waley in his book, The Way and its Power, "that the 'holy mountain-men' (sheng-hsien) described by Lieh Tzu are Indian rishi; and when we read in Chuang Tzu of certain Taoists who practiced movements very similar to the asanas of Hindu yoga, it is at least a possibility that some knowledge of the yoga technique which these rishi used had also drifted into China."

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#1296 - January 13, 2005 11:52 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
There are four authoritative texts of the Hindus; Vedas, adhering to the message of monism/Advaitam/unitarianism or the strong foundation of monotheism.

Each Veda proclaimed the message of monotheism of first degree
without any obscurity: Rig Veda proclaims Pranjanam Brahma; Yajur Veda
highlights Aham Brahmasmi; Sama Veda announces tatvamasi; and Atharva
Veda confirms Ayammathma Brahma.

Above all, the Rig Veda mantra of eakam sat vipra bahuta vadanti became the basis of the Hindu approach to other faiths.

Dr. C. I. Issac
Head of the PG Department of History, CMS College,
Kottayam, Kerala,

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#1297 - February 05, 2005 03:41 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Top 100 Languages by Population Last updated: February 1999

http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=India

Languages of Republic of India, Bharat. National or official languages: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Panjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English (Associate Official). 1,000,000,000 (1999 IMA).


Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
http://www.sil.org/ethnologue/top100.html

The population figures in this table refer to first language speakers in all countries. Note that these figures are updated from the 13th Edition of the Ethnologue (1996).

Rank Language Name Primary Country Population

1 CHINESE, MANDARIN [CHN] China 885,000,000
2 SPANISH [SPN] Spain 332,000,000
3 ENGLISH [ENG] United Kingdom 322,000,000
4 BENGALI [BNG] Bangladesh 189,000,000
5 HINDI [HND] India 182,000,000
6 PORTUGUESE [POR] Portugal 170,000,000
7 RUSSIAN [RUS] Russia 170,000,000
8 JAPANESE [JPN] Japan 125,000,000
9 GERMAN, STANDARD [GER] Germany 98,000,000
10 CHINESE, WU [WUU] China 77,175,000
11 JAVANESE [JAN] Indonesia, Java, Bali 75,500,800
12 KOREAN [KKN] Korea, South 75,000,000
13 FRENCH [FRN] France 72,000,000
14 VIETNAMESE [VIE] Viet Nam 67,662,000
15 TELUGU [TCW] India 66,350,000
16 CHINESE, YUE [YUH] China 66,000,000
17 MARATHI [MRT] India 64,783,000
18 TAMIL [TCV] India 63,075,000
19 TURKISH [TRK] Turkey 59,000,000
20 URDU [URD] Pakistan 58,000,000
21 CHINESE, MIN NAN [CFR] China 49,000,000
22 CHINESE, JINYU [CJY] China 45,000,000
23 GUJARATI [GJR] India 44,000,000
24 POLISH [PQL] Poland 44,000,000
25 ARABIC, EGYPTIAN SPOKEN [ARZ] Egypt 42,500,000
26 UKRAINIAN [UKR] Ukraine 41,000,000
27 ITALIAN [ITN] Italy 37,000,000
28 CHINESE, XIANG [HSN] China 36,015,000
29 MALAYALAM [MJS] India 34,022,000
30 CHINESE, HAKKA [HAK] China 34,000,000
31 KANNADA [KJV] India 33,663,000
32 ORIYA [ORY] India 31,000,000
33 PUNJABI, WESTERN [PNB] Pakistan 30,000,000
34 SUNDA [SUO] Indonesia 27,000,000
35 PUNJABI, EASTERN [PNJ] India 26,013,000
36 ROMANIAN [RUM] Romania 26,000,000
37 BHOJPURI [BHJ] India 25,000,000
38 AZERBAIJANI, SOUTH [AZB] Iran 24,364,000
39 FARSI, WESTERN [PES] Iran 24,280,000
40 MAITHILI [MKP] India 24,260,000
41 HAUSA [HUA] Nigeria 24,200,000
42 ARABIC, ALGERIAN SPOKEN [ARQ] Algeria 22,400,000
43 BURMESE [BMS] Myanmar 22,000,000
44 SERBO-CROATIAN [SRC] Yugoslavia 21,000,000
45 CHINESE, GAN [KNN] China 20,580,000
46 AWADHI [AWD] India 20,540,000
47 THAI [THJ] Thailand 20,047,000
48 DUTCH [DUT] Netherlands 20,000,000
49 YORUBA [YOR] Nigeria 20,000,000
50 SINDHI [SND] Pakistan 19,720,000
51 ARABIC, MOROCCAN SPOKEN [ARY] Morocco 19,542,000
52 ARABIC, SAIDI SPOKEN [AEC] Egypt 18,900,000
53 UZBEK, NORTHERN [UZB] Uzbekistan 18,466,000
54 MALAY [MLI] Malaysia, Peninsular 17,600,000
55 AMHARIC [AMH] Ethiopia 17,413,000
56 INDONESIAN [INZ] Indonesia 17,050,000
57 IGBO [IGR] Nigeria 17,000,000
58 TAGALOG [TGL] Philippines 17,000,000
59 NEPALI [NEP] Nepal 16,056,000
60 ARABIC, SUDANESE SPOKEN [APD] Sudan 16,000,000
61 SARAIKI [SKR] Pakistan 15,015,000
62 CEBUANO [CEB] Philippines 15,000,000
63 ARABIC, NORTH LEVANTINE SPOKEN [APC] Syria 15,000,000
64 THAI, NORTHEASTERN [TTS] Thailand 15,000,000
65 ASSAMESE [ASM] India 14,634,000
66 HUNGARIAN [HNG] Hungary 14,500,000
67 CHITTAGONIAN [CIT] Bangladesh 14,000,000
68 ARABIC, MESOPOTAMIAN SPOKEN [ACM] Iraq 13,900,000
69 MADURA [MHJ] Indonesia, Java, Bali 13,694,000
70 SINHALA [SNH] Sri Lanka 13,220,000
71 HARYANVI [BGC] India 13,000,000
72 MARWARI [MKD] India 12,104,000
73 CZECH [CZC] Czech Republic 12,000,000
74 GREEK [GRK] Greece 12,000,000
75 MAGAHI [MQM] India 12,000,000
76 CHHATTISGARHI [HNE] India 10,985,000
77 DECCAN [DCC] India 10,709,800
78 CHINESE, MIN BEI [MNP] China 10,537,000
79 BELARUSAN [RUW] Belarus 10,200,000
80 ZHUANG, NORTHERN [CCX] China 10,000,000
81 ARABIC, NAJDI SPOKEN [ARS] Saudi Arabia 9,800,000
82 PASHTO, NORTHERN [PBU] Pakistan 9,685,000
83 SOMALI [SOM] Somalia 9,472,000
84 MALAGASY [MEX] Madagascar 9,398,700
85 ARABIC, TUNISIAN SPOKEN [AEB] Tunisia 9,308,000
86 RWANDA [RUA] Rwanda 9,306,800
87 ZULU [ZUU] South Africa 9,142,000
88 BULGARIAN [BLG] Bulgaria 9,000,000
89 SWEDISH [SWD] Sweden 9,000,000
90 LOMBARD [LMO] Italy 8,974,000
91 OROMO, WEST-CENTRAL [GAZ] Ethiopia 8,920,000
92 PASHTO, SOUTHERN [PBT] Afghanistan 8,206,000
93 KAZAKH [KAZ] Kazakhstan 8,000,000
94 ILOCANO [ILO] Philippines 8,000,000
95 TATAR [TTR] Russia 8,000,000
96 FULFULDE, NIGERIAN [FUV] Nigeria 7,611,000
97 ARABIC, SANAANI SPOKEN [AYN] Yemen 7,600,000
98 UYGHUR [UIG] China 7,595,512
99 HAITIAN CREOLE FRENCH [HAT] Haiti 7,372,000
100 AZERBAIJANI, NORTH [AZE] Azerbaijan 7,059,000
101 NAPOLETANO-CALABRESE [NPL] Italy 7,047,400
102 KHMER, CENTRAL [KMR] Cambodia 7,039,200
103 FARSI, EASTERN [PRS] Afghanistan 7,000,000
104 AKAN [TWS] Ghana 7,000,000
105 HILIGAYNON [HIL] Philippines 7,000,000
106 KURMANJI [KUR] Turkey 7,000,000
107 SHONA [SHD] Zimbabwe 7,000,000

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#1298 - February 05, 2005 03:45 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
IOriginally posted October 07, 2002 01:21 PM               


NASA Images Discover Ancient Bridge between India and SriLanka
> (Courtesy : NASA Digital Image Collection)
> _____
>
>
http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/iams/images/earth/STS059/lowres/20143034.jpg
>
> Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk
> Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered bridge
> currently named as Adam´s Bridge is made of chain of shoals, c.18 mi (30
> km) long.
>
> The bridge´s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is
> man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal that the
> first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a primitive
> age, about 17,50,000 years ago and the bridge´s age is also almost
> equivalent.
>
> This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious
> legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in tredha
> yuga (more than 17,00,000 years ago).
>
> In this epic, there is a mentioning about a bridge, which was built
> between Rameshwaram (India) and Srilankan coast under the supervision of a
> dynamic and invincible figure called Rama who is supposed to be the
> incarnation of the supreme.
>
> This information may not be of much importance to the archeologists who
> are interested in exploring the origins of man, but it is sure to open the
> spiritual gates of the people of the world to have come to know an ancient
> history linked to the Indian mythology.
>
>
http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/iams/images/earth/STS033/lowres/20003372.jpg
> <<20143034.jpg>> <<20003372.jpg>>

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#1299 - February 05, 2005 03:51 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
originally posted September 08, 2001 09:08 AM               

Martial Arts, Indian-Style
The renewal of kalarippayat

By MEENAKSHI GANGULY Calicut

STEPHEN DUPONT/CONTACT PRESS IMAGES FOR TIME
Once feared as warriors, kalarippayat experts now work as stunt doubles in movies

Anil Kumar studies the two crouching fighters as they circle each other in the small mud arena, the oil and sweat on their taut bodies darkening the waistbands of their bunched shorts. From his corner, Kumar barks a command and one of the men leaps at the other with his spear, its tip tracing the arc of his lunge through the air. The other man, squatting low, raises a pole above his head and crack! parries the blow. Kumar calls out a second time. Again the first fighter attacks, and the second man nimbly checks him. Then suddenly it's over: the men lay their weapons before Kumar and bow to him, touching the feet of their master.

Kalarippayat is said to be the world's original martial art. More than 2,000 years old, it was developed by warriors of the Cheras kingdom in Kerala. Training followed strict rituals and guidelines. The entrance to the 14 m-by-7 m arena, or kalari, faced east and had a bare earth floor. Fighters took Shiva and Shakti, the god and goddess of power, as their deities. From unarmed kicks and punches, kalarippayat warriors would graduate to sticks, swords, spears and daggers and study the marmas—the 107 vital spots on the human body where a blow can kill. Training was conducted in secret, the lethal warriors unleashed as a surprise weapon against the enemies of Cheras. Still, Chinese traders learned some of the mysterious body movements and took them home to provide the basis of their own martial arts.

Now, the box-office success of Chinese kung-fu movies has in turn revived kalarippayat. Indian filmmakers, hoping to mimic the high-kicking fights and gravity-defying leaps in Jet Li's Romeo Must Die and Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, are hiring kalarippayat fighters and teachers like Kumar as stuntmen. They're even making sure Bollywood stars have basic training. "Even five years ago, Kerala martial arts had nearly died out," says Kumar, who with his two brothers runs C.V.N. Kalari Sangham in Calicut, among the best known schools in the country. "Now suddenly it is popular again and it's all because of these films." This time around, there are no plans to keep kalarippayat under wraps.

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#1300 - March 23, 2005 04:39 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Afro-Americans' Inventions without which the world would not be the same.


AFRO AMRICAN INVENTORS'

A very humorous and revealing story is told
about a group of white
people who were fed up with African Americans,
so they joined together and wished themselves
away. They passed through a deep dark tunnel
and emerged
in sort of a twilight zone where there is an
America without black people.

At first these white people breathed a
sigh of relief. At last, they said,
No more crime, drugs, violence and
welfare. All of the blacks have gone!
Then suddenly, reality set in.
The "NEW AMERICA" is
not America at all-only a barren land.

1. There are very few crops that have
flourished because the nation was
built on a slave-supported system.

2. There are no cities with tall
skyscrapers because Alexander
Mils, a black man,
invented the elevator, and without
it, one finds great difficulty reaching higher floors.

3. There are few if any cars because
Richard Spikes, a black man,
invented the automatic gearshift,
Joseph Gambol, also black, invented the
Super Charge System for Internal
Combustion Engines, and Garrett A.
Morgan, a black man, invented
the traffic signals.

4. Furthermore, one could not use
the rapid transit system because its
precursor was the electric trolley,
which was invented by another black
man, Albert R. Robinson.

5. Even if there were streets on
which cars and a rapid transit system
could operate, they were cluttered
with paper because an African American,
Charles Brooks, invented the street sweeper.

6. There were few if any newspapers,
magazines and books because John
Love invented the pencil sharpener,
William Purveys invented the fountain
pen, and Lee Barrage invented the
Type Writing Machine and W. A. Love
invented the Advanced Printing Press.
They were all, you guessed it, Black.

7. Even if Americans could write their
letters, articles and books, they would
not have been transported by mail
because William Barry invented the
Postmarking and Canceling Machine,
William Purveys invented the Hand
Stamp and Philip Downing invented the Letter Drop.

8. The lawns were brown and wilted
because Joseph Smith invented
the Lawn Sprinkler and
John Burr the Lawn Mower.

9. When they entered their homes,
they found them to be poorly
ventilated and poorly heated.
You see, Frederick Jones invented
the Air Conditioner
and Alice Parker the Heating Furnace.
Their homes were also dim. But of course,
Lewis Later invented the Electric Lamp,
Michael Harvey invented
the lantern and Granville T. Woods
invented the Automatic Cut off Switch.
Their homes were also filthy because
Thomas W. Steward invented the
Mop and Lloyd P. Ray the Dust Pan.

10. Their children met them at the
door-barefooted, shabby, motley and
unkempt. But what could one expect?
Jan E. Matzelinger invented the
Shoe Lasting Machine, Walter Sammons!
invented the Comb, Sarah Boone
invented the Ironing Board and
George T. Samon invented the Clothes Dryer.

11. Finally, they were resigned to
at least have dinner amidst all of
this turmoil. But here again, the
food had spoiled because another Black Man,
John Standard invented the refrigerator.

Now, isn't that something? What
would this country be like without
the contributions of Blacks, as African-Americans?

Martin Luther King, Jr. said,
"by the time we leave for work,
Americans
have depended on the inventions
from the minds of Blacks." Black history
includes more than just slavery,
Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King,
Jr., Malcolm X, and Marcus Garvey & W.E.B. Dubois.


A Few Black Inventors from the 1800's to 2000
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d81_1192813720


[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited July 19, 2008).]

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#1301 - April 04, 2005 04:56 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Hindu View on Tsunamis


Six Hindu principles are involved here in
explaining the tsunami and natural disasters:

1. that nature is alive with inherent spirit beings, who play a part
in evolving the physical world, and periodic readjustments are to be
expected,

2. that in the ultimate analysis, in the highest macro Hindu view,
not an atom moves, not a blade of grass sways, but by the will of
god. He is the only doer. There is no other.

3. karma - not a single thing can happen to us if its not our karma.
We were therefore born exactly to experience this tsunami, either as
victims or as non-victims,

4. there is no instrinsic evil in the world - all that happens is for
the ultimate good. Death is renewal. Death is birth in the antarloka.

5. loss, destitution, loneliness, fear of the unknown and the future,
uncertainty - these are the very factors that instil humility, soul
searching, compassion, understanding, acceptance, forbearance,
sharing and giving without reward - all godly qualities, the very
nature of the soul exposed, shattering the bonds that fetters the
soul. There are exactly what is to be welcomed, and why we are here
for.

6. Gods dont get angry - they have no emotions, and they cannot do
one thing that is not born out of love.

Knowing this Hindu seers offered flowers to the rising tsunami, palms
together, in reverance and thanksgiving to the towering wall of
water, a linga, and seeing this too as gods blessing, .

Tamil aphorisms:
1. Oru pollapum ellai - there is no evil at all
2. Naam ariyom - we will never know (the reasons and intricacies of
god and world)
3. Eppolutho mudintha kaariyam - it was done(decided)long ago,

The world and all the souls have already evolved, achieved moksha,
merged with the Lord and mahapralaya has already taken place. Only
now we are seeing these 'already happened events' slowly unfolding.

Regards.

Pathma

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#1302 - August 15, 2005 12:58 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
In Praise of India: Top 10 Quotations

From Subhamoy Das,


1. Will Durant, American historian: 
"India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all".

2. Mark Twain, American author: 
"India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only."

3. Albert Einstein, American scientist: 
"We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made."

4. Max Mueller, German scholar: 
If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.

5. Romain Rolland, French scholar: 
"If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India."

6. Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA: 
"India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border."

7. Mark Twain:
"So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."

8. Keith Bellows, VP - National Geographic Society : 
"There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds... I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor."

9. Mark Twain:
"India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire."

10. A Rough Guide to India:
"It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Enriched by successive waves of migration and marauders from distant lands, every one of them left an indelible imprint which was absorbed into the Indian way of life. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it. It is this variety which provides a breathtaking ensemble for experiences that is uniquely Indian. Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely. There are perhaps very few nations in the world with the enormous variety that India has to offer. Modern day India represents the largest democracy in the world with a seamless picture of unity in diversity unparalleled anywhere else."

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#1303 - September 04, 2005 06:52 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
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Yoga, Ahimsa and the Recent Terrorist Attacks

By David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

Ahimsa in the Yoga Tradition

The Yoga tradition emphasizes the principle of ahimsa or non-
violence for its ideal way of action in the world. Therefore, we
might assume that the yogic response to the terrorist attack on
America would not involve any violent action against the terrorists.
However, a deeper examination of the Yoga tradition, which has
several teachings about political and military situations, shows
that this might not be the case. The Yoga tradition can under
certain circumstances recommend a violent response in order to
prevent greater harm from occurring. This is like a surgeon removing
a harmful tumor so that it does not grow and damage the whole body.


Many people in the Yoga tradition look to the non-violence of
Mahatma Gandhi, which was applied against the British, as the
appropriate yogic response to the current situation. They don't
realize that perhaps even greater yogis, like Sri Aurobindo, who
headed the Indian independence movement before Gandhi, felt that
Gandhian non-violence was too weak a strategy. He supported the
allied military action both in World War II and during the Korean
War. One is also reminded of the situation of Kashmir in 1947 in
which Gandhi, though reluctantly, approved of bringing in the Indian
army to deal with bands of brigands or terrorists who were
plundering the area. In this regard, the Yoga tradition recognizes a
warrior or Kshatriya path that did involve military training. So let
us examine this difficult question further.


Ahimsa literally means "non-harming". It refers to an attitude that
we should wish no harm to any creature, even to those attacking us.
But ahimsa is not simply a passive strategy. It has an active side.
It entails reducing the amount of harm that is going on in the
world, which requires effort or even struggle.


Ahimsa does not simply mean "non-violence" as a physical action, nor
is it not necessarily opposed to the use of violence in order to
prevent harm from happening. In addition, ahimsa must be applied
with courage and fearlessness, in order to expose and eradicate
evil. It is not an attitude of tolerating or excusing evil. It is
not a form of appeasement in which one lets bullies get away with
their action or which rewards violent action by surrendering to its
perpetrators in order to prevent them from causing more harm.

The Path of the Warrior

The Bhagavad-Gita, which teaches about the spiritual aspect of yoga
in great detail, was taught on the battlefield, during a civil war.
While some will say that this outer battlefield is a metaphor for an
inner struggle, which is true, that an outer battle was involved is
clear from many historical records from ancient India. Krishna, the
great yoga teacher, encouraged his disciple Arjuna, who was a great
warrior, to fight, though Arjuna was reluctant and wanted to follow
a way of non-violence instead. Why did Krishna encourage Arjuna to
fight?


There are two main types of ahimsa in the Yoga tradition. The first
is ahimsa as a spiritual principle, that followed by monks, yogis
and sadhus, which involves non-violence on all levels. The second is
ahimsa as a political principle, the ahimsa of the warrior or the
Kshatriya, that is followed by those who govern and protect society,
which allows the use of violence to counter evil forces in the
world, including to protect spiritual people, who often cannot
defend themselves and become easy targets for worldly people.
Krishna taught this Kshatriya ahimsa to Arjuna for the benefit of
future generations. Sages before Krishna also taught this, like
Vishvamitra who taught Rama and Lakshmana to destroy the evil forces
that were persecuting spiritual people, so it is a very old
tradition of India.


Yoga teaches us about the three great qualities of nature, the gunas
of Prakriti, of sattva (harmony), rajas (action and aggression), and
tamas (inertia, ignorance). There are several important laws of the
interrelationship of these gunas. One important law is that sattva
cannot defeat tamas. The quality of sattva being harmony, balance,
meekness and surrender cannot break up the inertia of tamas, which
is deep-seated anger rooted in ignorance, hatred and violence. For
this the application of rajas or action to force change is required.
Sattva or harmony cannot survive unless rajas is used to suppress
tamas, which sees sattva as an unarmed enemy.


To put it more simply: Sattva means peace. Rajas means pain. Tamas
means ignorance. Tamasic people being dull will only respond to
pain. Only pain will bring about change for them. Otherwise they
will continue, like a drug addict, in their destructive way of
life.Sattvic political action like non-violence can work with an
opponent who has a conscience like the British that had mainly a
rajasic mentality. It cannot work against an opponent like Hitler
who had no conscience and had a tamasic (insensitive and ignorant)
nature. Even Gandhi in World War II reduced his civil disobedience
against the British in order to not damage their war effort against
Hitler. In fact, such sattvic methods can be manipulated by a
tamasic enemy for its own end, like how Hitler took the peace
offered to him on Czechoslovakia in 1938 only in order to wage
further war. Given the action of the terrorists on Sept. 11, who
used suicide bombers to kill thousands of innocent people, claiming
to be acting in the name of God (Allah), it is clear that their
nature is tamasic or deeply deluded.


The Kshatriya or warrior path is a common theme elsewhere in the
Mahabharata, from which the Gita comes. The Mahabharata teaches that
the masses of humanity are composed of mainly rajasic (egoistic) and
tamasic (deluded) qualities, which makes them insensitive and
unresponsive to sattvic (spiritual) methods. It states that if a
ruler does not know how to properly apply the danda (rod), the
symbol of punishment, that his subjects will end up "eating one
another". Ahimsa as a spiritual principle should not violate common
sense that requires a social order that has well-defined and fair
laws and punishments to keep disintegrating influences in check.
I am not a Buddhist scholar, but historically Buddhist kingdoms also
defended themselves with the use of force, notably China and Japan,
which had many Buddhist rulers through history. They have their own
traditions of warrior monks, who like Arjuna strive to promote total
non-violence, but will put up a resistance when they have to. We
should note the Dalai Lama approved of India's recent nuclear tests
in 1998 reflecting a similar attitude.


The Balance

However, there are two forms of rajas (aggression), one leading to
sattva (peace), the other leading to tamas (resistance). This means
that the response to terrorism, which is a condition of tamas, must
be done in the right way. The application of force, done wrongly,
can make the situation worse. But some force will be necessary,
including military action.


Afghanistan has a unique geography and a special government support
that allows for the training of terrorists such as can occur nowhere
else in the world. It is imperative that those bases are eliminated.
Yet such force should be applied seeking the greater good of all
countries, not merely promoting one group or country over another.


This is the problem for the United States today. We are ready to
apply force but not always in a progressive or dharmic way. We are
inclined to act without understanding the entire situation. Let us
look at the history of the problem. The US helped unleash Islamic
terrorism as a weapon against the Soviet Union in order to defeat
that "evil empire" in the Afghanistan war of the 1979-1989. In this
process we promoted a form of Islamic militance that was different
from and opposed to that of Iran, our other main enemy at the time.
We supported a Sunni form of extremism that was against the Shia
form that Iran followed.


After we left Afghanistan, however, the Islamic militance that we
had fostered continued. In the beginning it mainly targeted our old
enemies from the Cold War era, with militants spreading their sphere
of action to other parts of the Soviet empire and to Kashmir, which
was part of India, an ally of the Soviets in the Cold War era. We
ignored this terrorism until it began to strike our own interests.


In addition, over the last ten years America's leadership as the
world's sole superpower has not always been progressive. We have
opposed agreements on environmental protection and arms reduction.
We have used our dominance to promote our own national and business
interests, not the long term needs of the planet as a whole. We have
continued to spread a sensate consumer culture to the entire world,
to the detriment not only of the natural environment but also
destroying other cultures that might be in the way.


Even our response to the Sept. 11 attacks is a bit hypocritical and
self-serving. Terrorism has been a global problem for decades, and
one that we have sought to profit from in various ways. Only when
terrorism attacked America did we regard it as a global problem, as
if we are the globe. We have aimed at attacking terrorism that has
a "global reach", meaning that is capable of reaching America,
suggesting that we may ignore more local forms of terrorism that
don't affect us. We still have not addressed the greater problem of
global terrorism that we have been involved with for years.


One of the main causes of global terrorism is the massive global
weapons sales and arms industry. The United States is the largest
provider of weapons to the world and many terrorist groups are
fighting with weapons bought from us.


We have also propped up various military and religious dictatorships
in the world that deny human rights and, overtly or covertly,
support terrorism. Two of our major allies the war on terrorism,
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, are of this type. Saudi is a religious
dictatorship that helped fund the Taliban and has a similar
repressive religious social order. Pakistan is a military
dictatorship that has been the main supplier of arms, training and
fuel for the Taliban. Looking to such governments which have aided
or tolerated terrorists to help defeat terrorism is a highly
questionable strategy.


Global terrorism is also rooted in our dependency on foreign oil,
for which we support such dictatorial regimes, which in turn
reflects our materialistic way of life and environmental pollution
that we are unwilling to curtail. Global terrorism is also connected
to the drug trade, with Afghanistan as the leading supplier of
heroin to the world. Yet it is only because people in the West buy
the drug that it enters the world market. We cannot simply blame the
growers for the problem. Therefore, our claim to be the ethical or
dharmic force on the planet in this issue is not clear. Our ability
to inspire to support is limited.

The Need for a Dharmic Reorientation


While a forceful response to terrorism may be necessary in the short
term, a greater dharmic reorientation of our society is the only
long term solution. This requires not only defeating the terrorists
but adopting a more responsible way of life and returning to a
greater harmony with both nature and the rest of humanity. It means
dealing with the greater global problems that include, not only
terrorism and religious fundamentalism but poverty, lack of
education, overpopulation, destruction of the natural environment.
It requires questioning and changing our materialistic way of life,
in which we consume a disproportionate amount of the global
resources. Otherwise we may lack the ethic power to defeat terrorism
or we may create further problems down the road, even if we win this
battle.


This does not mean that as a nation we need to practice self-
flagellation, which might cripple our power of action. We should
rectify our past mistakes so that we don't repeat them. We need to
recognize both our strengths and our weaknesses and adjust them
relative to global concerns. Whether our leaders or our media has
the vision for such an action remains to be seen. Our need for oil
may still blind us to the greater needs of humanity and the planet.


http://www.dharmacentral.com/articles/terror.htm

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#1304 - November 19, 2005 12:36 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Hindu Conversions


The Hindu Students Council is deeply saddened by the denial of entry to a devout American Hindu into the sacred Lingaraj temple in Orissa, India. (Oct 2005)
 
Several newspapers have reported that the temple custodians have been accused of denying entry to Pamela K Fleig, who is married to an Indian Hindu, even though she has embraced Hinduism. The custodians allege that no "foreigner" or "Christian" is allowed entry into the temple. This is a myopic view of the issue.
 
Some ancient temples in India may restrict entry into their sanctum sanctorum ("Garba Griha") to non-Hindus because of possible desecration of the consecrated images ("Murthis") by religious fundamentalists and due to crass activities that include photography, vandalism, obscene behavior or insensitivity to the religious sentiments of the Hindu worshippers at the temple. This reasoning however does not justify the denial of entry to a practicing Hindu just because she is of a different race.
 
By her own admission, Pamela Fleig became a Hindu at the Arya Samaj in the sacred city of Varanasi in June 2005 with full Vedic rituals. Then she got married to Anil Kumar Yadav of Uttar Pradesh on August 3, 2005 as per to Hindu Marriage act at the court of the Additional District Magistrate and Marriage officer in Varanasi . This event should be proof enough of the fact that Pamela Fleig is a Hindu by her own volition and should be reason enough to accept her in the warm embrace of the growing global Hindu population. As Swami Vivekananda stated, self-declaration remains the basic way to enter the Hindu faith.
 
Sanatan Hindu Dharma has always been a global religion for ages. While there is no history of Hindu conversions by violence or financial inducements, the Hindu religion has always accepted and assimilated anyone into its fold who has voluntarily accepted the Vedic philosophy and lifestyle. The Vratyastoma ceremony ("vow pronouncement"), dating back to the Tandya Brahmana of the Rig Veda, has been performed for millennia to welcome "outsiders" into the Hindu fold. Devala Smriti, another Hindu scripture, has clear rules for the simple purification of Hindus forcibly converted to other faiths, or of people from other faiths who wish to adopt the Hindu faith.
 
Historians and archaeologists have recorded the assimilation of millions of invaders into Hindu society over the past 2300 years. Hindu society has invariably converted and absorbed innumerable Macedonian Greeks, Bactrian Greeks, Scythians (Sakas), Huns and Kushans who came to pillage India but were instead won over by the Vedic way of life. In 302 BCE, Helen, the daughter of the Greek general Seleucus Nicator, also embraced the Hindu religion after marrying Emperor Chandragupta in a Vedic marriage. The 2100-year old Heliodorus column in Besnagar (Madhya Pradesh) has Sanskrit inscriptions that commemorate the conversion in 113 BCE of a Greek envoy, Heliodorus who adopted the Vedic religion and the Hindu name 'Vasudeva' in the court of King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra of Vidisha. Furthermore, there are records of the invading Scythian kings who embraced Vedic Hinduism, adopted Sanskrit and took Hindu names like Satyasimha, Rudrasena etc while their Scythian armies merged with the Hindu population.
 
History shows that Hindu society has always been broadminded and pragmatic. During the 14th century, in southern India, the Vijayanagara kingdom's sage Vidyaranya re-converted the warriors Harihara and Bukka after their forcible conversion to Islam. In 16th century Bengal, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's egalitarian teachings attracted many former Muslims like Haridas into adopting Hinduism. In the 17 th century, Chattrapati Shivaji, the harbinger of the Hindu resurgence after centuries of tyrannical foreign rule, reconverted Balaji Nimbalkar to Hinduism after the latter's Muslim conversion and gave his daughter's hand in marriage to Nimbalkar, thus showing that a convert to Hinduism was of equal status as any other Hindu. This openness in welcoming tens of thousands of non-Hindus into Hindu Dharma by Shuddhi ceremonies has been demonstrated for over a century by the Arya Samaj, the Masurashram (in Mumbai) and two ashrams in Tamil Nadu -Madurai Aadheenam and Kundrakuddi Aadheenam.
 
Over the past 150 years, as a direct result of Hindu scriptures, Swamis and Yogis coming to the West, and of many Westerners journeying to India, millions of non-Hindus have become Hindu including Sister Nivedita (the disciple of Swami Vivekananda) and Mother Mira Alfassa (the spiritual successor of Maharishi Aurobindo, in Pondicherry). The world has witnessed an explosive growth in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Africa of the Hindu followers of Swami Vivekananda (Ramakrishna Mission), Swami Chinamayananda (Chinmaya Mission), Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (Hinduism Today and Himalayan Academy), Srila Prabhupada (ISKCON), Swami Satchidananda (Yogaville), Yogacharya B.K.S.Iyengar, Satya Sai Baba, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Art of Living) and Mata Amritanandamayi ('Ammachi'). Even the Pandits of Varanasi have recognized this global Hindu resurgence and have anointed Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley), a disciple of Ramana Maharishi, as the world's first Western-born 'Vedacharya'.
 
Today, there are 80 million Hindus who live outside India's borders, constituting nearly 10% of the global Hindu population. Millions of these non-Indian Hindus are 'seekers' and devotees who have embraced the Vedic faith after years of learning the Vedic scriptures, practicing Yoga, worshipping the Hindu way (Bhakti, Pooja, Havan, Bhajan) and undergoing a formal name change (Namakaran) under the supervision of a Vedic Pandit (priest). These Western-born Hindus follow a pure Sattvik lifestyle shunning alcohol, tobacco, meat, illicit sex and gambling Ăą vices that are ironically becoming increasing fashionable amongst Hindus in India.
 
Tens of thousands of Indian Muslims and Indian Christians offer worship at Hindu temples like Sabarimala, Mathura, Tirupati and Vaishnodevi. The custodians of these temples are progressive enough to open their arms and welcome all devotees, irrespective of their creed or color. Yet the custodians of the Lingaraj temple persist in making a big issue over the entry of Pamela Fleig and the color of a person's skin as proof of their Hindu-ness.
 
The Hindu Students Council believes that a simple certificate of conversion, provided by the Arya Samaj or any other Hindu organization, should suffice as proof of Pamela Fleig's Hindu faith and should be accepted by the temple custodians to allow her entry into the temple. HSC also appeals to all Hindu Acharyas, Hindu religious organizations, the Government of India and the Chief Minister of Orissa to take proactive steps to welcome Hindus of all races and nationalities into all the sacred temples of India, the birth-place of our magnificent Sanatan Hindu Dharma.
 
Yours in Dharma,
 
Samir Rawal
International President
Hindu Students Council
 
 
The Hindu Students Council is an international forum providing opportunities for college students and young professionals to learn about Hindu heritage and culture, fosters awareness of issues affecting Hindus and provides Seva (service) to the community through various activities, events and projects. HSC presents ample opportunities for self-development at the spiritual and professional level via campus study groups, seminars, lectures, workshops, conferences and camps.   With 81 chapters in North America and several inspired chapters around the world, HSC is the largest Hindu youth movement outside of India, with the participation of over 130,000 youth in our activities. For more information, please visit www.hscnet.org or email us at hsc@hscnet.org
 

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#1305 - December 20, 2005 12:44 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Bharatam

Bha_ratam Janam is a phrase used by Vis'vamitra Gathina in the Rigveda (vis'vamitrasya raks.ati brahmedam bha_ratam janam 'this mantra of Vis'vamitra will protect the nation of Bharata people' , RV 3.53.12).

Note that Vis'vamitra does NOT use the term, bha_rata janam, but says, bha_ratam janam referring to a collective identification of a larger social, organized grouping consisting of bha_rati_ya with a cultural identity. The unifying cultural identity is provided by the semantics of 'bharata' as a reference to Agni, Agni tended with respect and sacredness by people.
 
We do not know who are the panca jana_h mentioned in another context.
 
The phrase 'bha_ratam janam' is clearly a reference to bharatam, that is, bha_rata nation. And, it cannot be taken as a reference to any 'ethnic' group. (Of course, the use of the word 'tribe' in a derogatory sense is an indological invention). In Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and many other bharatiya languages, bharatam is used as a reference to the nation of Bharata.
 
Bharata is the name of Agni cared for by people. Bha_rata refers to Agni sprung from the bearers of the sacred fire. Bha_rata also refers to the land of Bharata. Thus, the meaning conveyed by the term, bha_ratam should clearly refer to the land where agni is cared for in sacred terms.
 
The concept of the nation is explicit in the use of the word ra_s.t.ra in Atharvaveda. The use of the phrase bha_ratavars.a should be looked upon as a limited synonym of bha_ratam, the limitation being conveyed by the suffix - vars.a 'region'. The distinction between bha_ratavars.a and bha_ratam can thus be seen as: bha_rata region; and bha_rata nation (cultural identity unified by Agni), respectively.
 
To say that this phrase is a reference to a tribe of a_rya is an indological myth sought to be perpetrated by motivated bigots, masquerading as Samskr.tam scholars.
 
The term, bharatiyo in Gujarati means 'caster of metals', a clear association with fire-workers in a smithy or mint.
 
K.
 

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#1306 - February 15, 2006 01:34 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Thamizhar Martial Arts

By: Alex Doss
Source: TamilCanadian - February 10, 2006

When we think of martial arts, we usually think of China or Japan. Only recently, people have discovered that martial arts had its roots in India ĂŹsomewhereĂŽ. The location of what part of India martial arts came from still remains a mystery to a lot of people.

Let us take note that India is a sub-continent with roughly 18 languages and various dialects of certain languages. Each state has its own language and writing script. Moreover, there are three major ethnic groups which are the Indo-Aryans of the Northern part, the Mon-Khmer of the Eastern part, and the Dravidians (Thamizhars) of the Southern part. The Indian sub-continent is more comparable to Europe geographically even though it is a country in itself created by the colonial British for their own economical achievements.

Martial arts have been in existence on the Indian sub-continent for thousands of years practiced by ancient Tamils of Tamil Nadu, Tamil Eelam (Northeast Sri Lanka), Kerala, and the Southern portion of present day Andhra Pradesh. The Malayalam language in Kerala only separated from Tamil as its own language during the 8th century A.D. In Andhra Pradesh, the southern half of that state spoke Tamil, while the northern part spoke Prairie, before the language of Telungu had formed itĂ­s own language in that state. In Sri Lanka, the whole island was Tamil up to the 3rd century B.C. before the arrival of a group of exiles from Bengal penetrated the island. They settled in the Southern and Western and Southern parts of the island. Their offspring later became the present day Sinhalese, which their language is a mixture of Tamil, Pali (from Bengal area), and Sanskrit.

The Indian sub-continent was once connected with Madagascar of East Africa and Australia by the sunken Lemurian continent of the Indian Ocean. On the African continent itself are numerous fighting styles some also in forms of dances which resemble various Kung-Fu kicks, leaps, and maneuvers. In Brazil, there is a martial art called Capoeira. It is a fighting style in a form of a dance brought to South America by slaves along with the Yaruba religion of West Africa. These ideas of combat must have crossed from both Africa and Australia through Lemuria to the Indian sub-continent which may have had an influence on the scientific Tamil martial arts thousands of years ago.

Long ago, animal fighting styles were imitated by pre-historic man which was a system for survival. The first weapon used was the stick which was an extension of the arm. Various weapons were later invented during the Stone and Iron Ages. At the turn of the 6th century A.D., martial arts spread from Southern India to China by a Tamil prince turned monk named Daruma Bodhidarma. From China, martial arts have spread to Korea & Japan. In South East Asia martial arts was introduced during the naval expansion of the Chola and Pallava Empires of the Tamil Country between the 2nd and 12th centuries A.D.

In the Tamil country, the earliest martial arts known were Varma Kalai (pressure point attacks Ăą similar to Tai Chi or Dim Mak), Kuttu Varisai (hand to hand combat Ăą similar to Kung Fu and Karate), Malyutham (wrestling), Silambam (staff and weapons fighting Ăą similar to the Filipino arts of Arnis, Kali, and Escrima), and Adithada (kickboxing).
Martial arts can also be seen in the classical dance of Bharatha Natayam. Through its rhythmic movements one can see a close resemblance to the stances, blocks, and strikes in martial arts. There is also a close affiliation to Yoga in the stretching and meditating exercises of almost every fighting art.
 
http://www.tamilcanadian.com/pageview.php?ID=3824&SID=175

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#1307 - March 09, 2006 12:42 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Numbers & Ancient Tamil Academies


According to the three Tamil sangams story
contained in the preface to the iRaiyan_Ar kaLaviyal

the 1st Tamil sangam lasted for 4440 years
the 2nd Tamil sangam lasted for 3700 years
the 3rd Tamil sangam lasted for 1850 years

But

4440 = 120 times 37
3700 = 100 times 37
1850 = 50 times 37

(and the total duration is 270 times 37 = 9990 years)
These 3 numbers are multiples of 37

It seems unlikely that it might be just by chance.
The sequence [4440, 3700, 1850]
must have come from people who were interested in Arithmetics.

One of the "magic" qualities of 37 is it is a factor of numbers with
consecutive digits in three places and their multiples by 10:

111 = 37 X 3
222 = 37 X 6
333 = 37 X 9
444 = 37 X 12
555 = 37 X 15
666 = 37 X 18
777 = 37 X 21
888 = 37 X 24
999 = 37 X 27
1110 = 37 X 30
2220 = 37 X 60
333000 = 37 X 9000
444000000 = 37 X 12000000
...and so on.


666 = 37 X 18

The number is equivalent to that given in the Book of Revelation for
"name" of the Antichrist. This number has perplexed Chritian
numerologists for a good two thousand years.

There is a "triple" quality to the products I listed as all come from
multiples of three multiplied to 37 producing numbers with three
repeating digits starting from the left.

This can easily be connected to the "trigram" of Chinese fame, and to
the triangle (and pyramid), but I won't go on. Just a clue for
possible links.

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#1308 - April 14, 2006 05:39 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=125&page=16
 
Judeo-Christian history: A mini sketch
By M.S.N. Menon

Half the humanity is guided by revelations. The rest, by logic and reasoning. One by blind faith, the other by reasoned faith.

All gods began as tribal deities. Yahweh was no exception. He was the warrior God of the Jews (Jehovah to Christians.) He drank human blood! But, over the years, he gave up blood, gave up killing and became an advocate of ahimsa (non-violence). Remarkable transformation? Yes.

The God of Noah was angry and punishing. The God of Job argued much. Micah rejected both the gods. He denounced blood sacrifice and asked the Jews to give it up. "What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?," he asked.

The God of Jesus was a God of love, compassion and forgiveness, not of terror and blood sacrifice a total contrast. In six centuries, Yahweh will become Allah and arm himself with a sword!

The Bible thus presents a succession of gods, each an improvement upon the previous one, marking an ethical ascent of both God and man to a nobler plane. But the Bible, as Bernard Shaw says, is a "jumble of superstitions and obsolete cosmology". There was nothing in it that was not already in other faiths.

The Jews invented two myths: That only one religion could be true to their religion, and that they were the "chosen people" of God. They paid a heavy price for this hubris.

Christianity and Islam may have given up idolatry of God, but they have taken to the idolatry of books, which is worse. One can neither question what is in the books nor can one go beyond them.

The Romans opposed Christianity for three long centuries until Emperor Constantine made it the official religion of Rome. Till then only slaves were willing to become Christians. But once it became official, Christianity became intolerant of all other faiths, including Judaism. But, had it not been for St Paul, a Jew and scholar of Greek, Christianity would have remained a sect of Judaism. But in the process it was no more Christian; it became Pauline.

Jesus was a man of happy disposition. But the church made Christianity a doleful religion. After St Augustine, life became a "fleeting show on earth", "beauty a snare, pleasure a temptation and abstinence a high virtue." Rejection of life became the summum bonum of life. "If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, yea, and his own life, he cannot be my disciple," announced St Augustine.

Under this great denunciatory impulse, all intellectual curiosity disappeared. Europe entered the Dark Age for almost a millennium. With that bigotry grew. Persecution grew. And brutality reached unheard of limits in human history under the inquisition. One Ennapius writes: "Whoever wore a black dress was invested with tyrannical powers."

With the advent of the second millennium, Christianity was in conflict with Islam, another semitic religion of common ancestry. For four centuries Christian Europe waged a relentless war of attrition against Islam. Had it not been for the crusades, Islam could have overwhelmed EuropeĂłeven Asia. The power of Islam was finally broken by the Mongols.

All these brought about the Reformation. But the discovery of Greece had to wait till the Renaissance. With that, Europe changed forever. It came under Greek and Roman legacy. Renaissance and Reformation marked the disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire and the birth of the new world of Copernicus and Columbus, of Luther and Calvin, of Galileo and Descartes.

But there was little change in the soul of the Christian. It remained in the mould set by Rome. It took part in the African slave trade and in the genocide of the Red Indians. Lord Palmerston called these atrocities the greatest crime in human history. No wonder, Nietzche, the philosopher, said: "The earth is a beautiful place, but it has a pox called man."

This was followed by colonial conquests and colonial plunders. The church was an enthusiastic party to these. But the Age of Reason, which was spawned by the Renaissance, took its own course. It gave a major boost to the scientific advance of man.

Nietzche proclaimed the death of God. In a universe, which had no beginning and end, God cannot have a role, cried the critics. But in a world of economic oppression and despotism, the rulers need the support of religion. As Europe entered the industrial revolution, the Christian God was back in the church. But, now, the communists took up the challenge.

Wealth is a sign of blessing, the capitalists said. If so, the Christian God is indeed cruel. He has kept out half the humanity in poverty and squalor. Where is the Christian soul?

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#1309 - September 09, 2006 11:33 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Mahabharat and Ramayan in Chinese!

2006-09-08ĘPublished by The Hindu Gathered by Internet Desk - Hindunet

Beijing, Sept 8. (UNI): The Hindu epics Mahabharat and Ramayan are now available in Chinese but there are hardly any takers, primarily because of China being a largely atheist nation. ??The distinction of bringing out the Chinese version has been earned by the Peking University's Center for India Studies that is engaged in research in Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit. It came into existence in 2003, after being separated from the Institute of South Asian Studies during the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to China. ??"While the Chinese version of Mahabharat was published for the first time this year, the work on the Ramayan was completed in the 70s." Institute chief Dr Jiang Jingkui told visiting media persons from India. ??It took two decades to carry out the work on the Mahabharat in Chinese as the "Writer had to attend to his job, which gave him enough earnings to meet his day-to-day expenses," he added. ??The Institute will introduce works in Bangla and Tamil in the coming years. A Chinese-Hindi dictionary will also appear next year. It already has to its credit Hindi-Chinese phrase book. The Institute is engaged in research on different works including those of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. ??Interestingly, the scholars, after joining the Institute, picked up Indian names such as Amit, Deepak, Chetna, Girish, Vishnu, Sameer and Rajata. As the Institute has a shortage of Hindi teachers, most of the scholars - after completion of studies - get absorbed. ??Dr Jiang, however, said there is little scope for Hindi language-related job opportunities. Those who opt for research in Hindi and other Indian languages with the hope of obtaining employment as interpreters in the corporate world in either India or China, take up Hindi journalism ***ignments in China or a job at the Institute itself.

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#1310 - October 19, 2006 02:20 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Apostasy in Islam & Christianity


The penalty of death for apostasy is found in the Bible and in the Hadith
which is actually copied from the Bible.

The Quran says the exact opposite, that people can move in and out of
belief and there is absolutely no punishment for apostasy in the Quran.
Refer Quran Surah 4:137."

Now, isn't that a paradox we hear this (death for apostasy) among the
Quran believers and not the Bible believers?

Sura II, 256
There is no compulsion in religion.

Surah Al-Baqara (217)
And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter,"

4:137
Surely (as for) those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them in the (right) path 4:137

It looks like here you can believe, disbelieve, believe then disbelieve again. In and out. You must be alive to be able to do all this.

If the apostate must be killed the moment he apostates, how then can he move in and out of belief FOUR TIMES. Additionally no punishment is prescribed for these apostates other than God will not forgive them.

There is no ritual prayer of any sort in the Quran. There is no fasting,
no pilgrimage to anywhere, no mosque. All that came later in the
Hadiths. The Quran only calls for good works.

It is a fact that the Quran does not mention tudung (headscarf), jubah (long men's gown), serban (tirban), veils for women or men.

It is a fact that the hadis mention these same things - in some detail - using language and context almost exactly as written in the Bible. Hence we know that the hadis has copied from the Bible.

If these 'Muslims' are disliked or if these 'muslims' are causing so much havoc in the world, it is because of their beliefs from the hadis, which is taken from the Bible.

The Quran is free and clear of all this.

Here is more.

Muslims are Ancient Jews & Christians

Leviticus 24:16 the apostate blasphemer shall be stoned to death.

Surah 4:137. The Quran says anyone can apostate and no punishment is meted out to him.

Deuteronomy 22:23-24. The adulterer must be stoned to death.

Surah 24:2. The Quran says the adulterer shall be scourged 100 times. And the jury is still out on the word scourge.

Genesis 17:14 and Gen 17:24. Men must circumcise.

Surah 40:64. The Quran says God has made man in the most perfect mold. No circumcision.

Leviticus 25:46 and Lev 22:11. It is alright to take slaves, and a priest can buy slaves.

Lev 12:4. A menstruating woman cannot be allowed into certain places like the sanctuary. A menstruating woman cannot even touch certain 'holy' things.

Deuteronomy 4:16. Statues, carvings and such are an abomination.

Quran 34:12. The Quran says that you can carve statues and keep them in your homes and buildings.

Lev 19:27, 21:5 and 2nd Samuel 10:5. A man must wear a beard.

Exodus 28:3. One must wear a jubah.

What the muslims are upholding and practicing today is mostly taken from the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible, not the Koran.

So when the Pharisees asked Jesus to uphold the Law to have the woman stoned to death Jesus did not disagree. Jesus said 'OK go ahead and stone her to death'. But he added a proviso 'whichever of you has committed no sin must cast the first stone'.

The woman was saved not because Jesus had changed or annuled the law of stoning to death, but because there were no sinless people around on that day to stone her.

Why did Jesus say that? Because Jesus came to uphold the Law and NOTY to change it. And the Law says the adulterer must be stoned to death, the apostate must be killed. This is the law of the Bible. This Law is NOT found in the Quran. Instead the muslims follow the Bible.



[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited October 26, 2006).]

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#1311 - December 07, 2006 04:38 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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 Intelligent Design: The Clincher
A butterfly explodes the theory.

The Scientist
 
http://www.the-scientist.com/2006/12/1/53/1/


At first sight, nothing could seem less intelligent than the design of a flying insect. From an egg laid in or on a food supply, it hatches into a slow-moving eating machine that keeps outgrowing its skin, so that it has to molt every few days. At the moment of molting, it is extremely vulnerable to predators and parasites. Then, inexplicably, it stops moving and grows a hard shell, inside which it completely redesigns its body from square one, to emerge into a thing with wings that launches itself into hundreds of cubic miles of atmosphere in search of a mate, and a food plant, with nothing to guide it but a few stray molecules - pheromones and plant odors - blowing in the wind.

The fact is, however, that this is a very efficient system for spreading the genes of that species around the landscape, and for locating food plants that would take an Earth-bound caterpillar days to find by dint of much hard crawling. The proof is that there are more species of insect than any other cl*** of animal, and their biom*** outweighs the mammals, even though the latter include all the elephants on earth and close to a billion overweight humans as well.

OK, that complicated life cycle seems an intelligent creation in the end. But what can we make of the further complications that led the Large Blue butterfly (Maculinea arion) to extinction in Britain? It entrusts a critical stage in its life cycle to the tender care of a single species of red ant that is particularly finicky about where it nests.

The story goes like this: The Large Blue lays its eggs in the buds of thyme - the culinary herb that grows wild in Europe - in the tight-bud stage. If the butterfly is ready to lay its eggs before the buds appear, or not until after they have started to open, the brood is lost. The eggs hatch after one or two weeks, depending on the weather; warm weather speeds hatching. The young caterpillars feed on thyme flowers for about two weeks during late July and early August, then fall to the ground where they are "adopted" by red ants (Myrmica sabuleti) attracted by a sugary substance secreted from a dorsal gland. The ants carry the caterpillar back to their nest, where it then gorges on ant larvae. While hidden from its own predators, the caterpillar spends 10 months as a predator in the ant nest, and then pupates there. After three weeks pupation the butterfly emerges during the four weeks mid-June to mid-July.

M. sabuleti is a warmth-loving ant that thrives only in short, dry gr***land on hot south-facing slopes that are heavily grazed. If the gr*** grows higher than 3-4 cm and shades the ground, cooling it, this ant dies out and other species of ant take over - ants that are not interested in providing free food and lodging for Large Blue caterpillars. Taller gr*** also crowds out thyme.

What happened in Britain was a constellation of events that conspired to spell disaster for the Large Blue. One was the increased use of chemical fertilizers that promote vigorous gr*** growth, which kills off small wild flowers such as thyme. Then, sheep were pulled off the land by a change in livestock farming. For a few years, rabbits spread and kept the gr*** short in habitats favored by the butterfly, but in the 1950s myxomatosis (a viral disease of rabbits) was introduced and eliminated them. Pastures also were previously burned over, which kept the gr*** short, but this is no longer done.

So here you have an insect that depends for its very existence on a fragile chain of circumstances that is easily broken by bad weather, changes in exposure to grazing due to human intervention and disease, loss of its unique food plant, and loss of its protector ant species. If I were to design such a silly system I'd at least choose the most abundant, hardy species of ant to host my caterpillars, and ensure that they could feed on other plants beside thyme, and at other stages than the bud. To me, the case of the Large Blue is conclusive disproof of the theory of intelligent design.

Jack Woodall is director of the Nucleus for the Investigation of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Institute of Medical Biochemistry at Brazil's Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
jwoodall@...

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#1312 - January 02, 2007 01:12 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Most Hindus have only a vague notion of the oneness of the spirituality of religions, in what areas of spirituality the different religions converge, and where they diverge. This vagueness leads many to declare simplistically that all religions are the same, or even lead to the same goal. This article has been written for Hindus to be familiarise themselves with this spirituality in christianity as opposed to the Christian religion, which we are wholly uninterested in.


Jesus and the Gospel of Judas
?When I read the Gospel of Judas recently, and saw the documentary where it is shown Jesus is like a simple innocent child, carefree, laughing in ecstatic love (experiencing satchitananada), having visions (transductive perceptions/metaphysical visions) (many of his disciples had visions and dreams too), spending many hours or even whole days all by himself in solitude (tavam/maunam), and saying things like 'sacrifice the man that clothes me', 'each of you have your own star (destiny/god's will), 'For there exists a great and boundless realm', 'for there exists a great invisible spirit that no angel has seen' (satchidananda), "no thought of the heart has ever comprehended that great unseen spirit' (the transcendent parasiva/parabrahman), 'in accordance with the Will of the Spirit' (Destiny/God's Will), 'and the stars that brings matters to completion', 'the Self-Generated' (svayambhu), etc., it is clear that he saw himself as a soul clothed in a physical body, and that as a soul he had exclaimed before 'I and my Father are one', 'the kingdom of God is within you', 'seek (the kingdom) and ye shall find', 'the mansion of god has many rooms' (triloka, and, many realms of knowledge, experiences and bliss), 'your god is within you', etc.

It was clear to me and I exclaimed, 'only a Hindu could have said that', not a Jew or a buddhist. It is clear that both Jesus as well as Judas too were realised souls. The Gospel of Judas which is a short document of seven pages is similar to our own upanishads and compatible with our philosophy. Clearly Jesus was an advaitist. I cannot comment on the other gospels.

Jesus' message was one of love of god, surrender to Him, intense prayers, long hours even days at a time spent in solitude, and selfless service to fellow men. There is no mention of meditation but the long hours and days spent in solitude, in maunam, is meditation. And it appears he believed in predestination and God's Will, and acceptance of all for what it is.

Spirituality can be found it in all cultures even indigeneous ones. However over time many became cloaked with dogma, rituals and superstition, making it even repressive, and like all others Hinduism is no exception. Insofar as the Gospel of Judas and the spirituality of Christ, Hindus should have no problem with that and may initiate interfaith dialogue on this basis. This spirituality of Jesus can be described as Hindu Spirituality 101.

Whereas insofar as all that the established church, christians, bible and jews teach as doctrines and theology, it is far removed from Hindu understandings of spirituality. We have nothing to learn from them as they do not have a clue to spirituality, and far removed from the teachings and practices of Jesus itself. The christian churches do not accept the gospel of judas as authentic christian dogma. That is understandable as the gospel shows this spirituality is furtherest from the official church doctrines.

Pathma

Source:

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/_pdf/GospelofJudas.pdf

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited January 30, 2007).]

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#1313 - January 30, 2007 05:36 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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These last several months I have been studying islam, dialoguing with islamic
scholars and taking notes. This compilation is from those notes, some of which
are simply cut and paste.

It is very long, and is in two parts. A must read and save for Hindu scholars and
activists so that we can separate the rice from the husk. In one read, the gist
of the Quran and Islam can be known, and one can hold oneself against any mufti.

-----------------------------------------------

We live in imaginary worlds we construct, enclaves we build. It can show the
power of fear upon man, and at the same time it can show the indifference of man and the inhabitance of man in its 'imaginary world' and in 'the enclaves he builds'. The mind becomes 'reptilian' in this age of mental insecurities and the brain goes in a 'fight or flight' mode.

But we can move from the level of the 'reptilian mind' to the 'higher mind' by
stimulating it with new concepts or simply enlarging its spheres of knowledge.
Those who are unaware of other cultures may find it difficult to explore
different places because of the lack of understanding or fear. With new
understanding of different cultures we can interact with their peers and learn
to understand why certain people do, act, and feel a certain way. Cross cultural
communication helps us understand different parts of the world and enrich
different parts of the hemispheres.

Nobel-Prize winning research on brain-hemispheric dominance by Roger Sperry and Robert Ornstein attest to the idea of mind expansion through proper care and education of both sides of the brain.

Hemisphere dominance does relate to one's intelligence. Stimulating both sides
of the brain is necessary for proper development of the brain and capability to
function. And what is function? Function is the ability to think rationally and
act rationally. This is a neuroscience approach.

Fear, in this case of the Hindus, descends to a lack of understanding, or even a
wanting to not understand, evasive of other cultures and religions, specifically
Christianity and Islam. This is understandable due to its history of being
enslaved by these iconoclastic faiths.

But this fear is not present with respect to Buddhism and Jainism. On the
contrary Buddhism and Jainism are praised, accorded status as 'a part of
Hinduism', why their founders even exalted as avatars and saints. But that's
because these are 'defeated religions' and evacuated from the subcontinent. It
is easier to be magnanimous and accord dignity to the fallen and the
non-threatening. Whereas Christianity and Islam were undefeated by Hinduism, so the fear and cultural abhorrence remains in the psyche, making us blind.

Fear fills the other hemisphere. With new facets of knowledge, intellectual
positioning and higher mind atmosphere, understanding replaces the fear and
insecurities, leaving no vacuum, and takes the air out of bloated false pride,
the very thing that separates us from god.

Most people, more so the muslims, have a poor understanding of the Quran, marked by stereotyping, and which leads to misunderstanding and strife. As most of the muslims are illiterate, and of the literate only small number can read and understand arabic, I have calculated that less than 6% of muslims have read the Quran. This is important as it is a book based religion. This article is meant to give a proper presentation, clears some of the misconceptions, and much has been taken from the writings and views of muslim scholars.


THE TEACHINGS OF THE QURAN

The Koran is a collection of writings put together many years after the death of
Muhammed during the 1st Caliphate. The Koran's earliest origins can be found in Syro-Aramaic writings which predates Muhammed. However it is not Saudi Arabian Arabic as even the Arabs call it 'Cl***ical Arabic'.

The Quran was supposedly give to Muhammed all at once by God, Allah, but
revealed by the prophet slowly over time. The 6,348 verses of the Quran is
supposedly the revealed word of god through the angel Gabriel.

The Quran says to its believers not to accept anything but the Quran; not any
other scripture, books, or writings of any persons.

Verse 27 of chapter 18 says, "You shall recite what is revealed to you from your
Lord, nothing shall abrogate His words, and you shall not find any other sources
besides it".

6:115 The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall
abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.

This verse debunks the belief that the Quran must be read alongside various
'interpretations'. God says "do not find any other sources besides it." In other
words no Hadiths, no Sunah, no nothing! All must be rejected. Its the Quran, and the Quran alone with rationality and common sense. In many verses one is told to think and ponder and weigh issues before arriving at a decision, giving
rationality a large place in islam.

We dont know the name of the Prophet who received the Quran. There is no word 'Mohammed' in the Quran. The Quran does mention other Prophets and Messengers in name as in 2:136, 3:84, etc. The 'last Prophet' was never named but he was described as 'the Praised One' - 'Muhammadun' in one verse and 'Muhammadin - He who is Praised' in another. There is another verse that mentions 'Ahmad' which means 'Most Praised'. All are from the root word 'Hamd' meaning 'Praise'.

The Quran accepts all religions. In verses 1-6 of chapter 109, the Quran does
say 'to you your religion and to me my religion'. This means that all religions
are accepted, and everyone should follow their religion without any bickering.

The Quran recognises all saints and messengers of god before the last prophet.
It says God sent prophets to all nation and all races prior to Mohammed.

Muslims believe that since time immemorial God sent down 124,000 Prophets or
Messengers to mankind, but only 25 are mentioned by name in the Quran. Each and every community received a Prophet, sometimes more than one at one time (so there could have been a few Prophets in one community at the same time). There is no community that did not receive a Prophet from God.

Al-Hujuraat 49:13
God created all nations and races and all is to be accepted and respected.

Verse 46, chapter 29 of the Quran says:
"And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best,
except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has
been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our Allah and your Allah is One,
and to Him do we submit."

This is what the Quran says about what is called 'non-Muslims' but what the
Quran calls 'followers of the Book'. And the Quran also says: We believe in that
which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. Since when are those who are not followers of Muhammad considered 'the enemy'? In fact, it says, our Allah and your Allah is One.

Al- Ana'an 6:17 & 18 and Al-Baqarah 2:33 & 2.115
GOD is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.

65:12 God created seven universes and the same number of earths. The commands flow among them. This is to let you know that God is Omnipotent, and that God is fully aware of all things.

50:16 God is within you.

Al-Baqarah 2:62 "..any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work
righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord.."

52.16 Ye but receive the recompense of your (own) deeds.

The key to reach God is living a righteous life, irrespective of religion. People of all religions can reach god.

AL-Maa'idah 5:11
Anyone (of any religion) who believes in God is a Muslim, irrespective of
religion.

2.112, & 31.8
Anyone who believes in god and does good deeds is rewarded by god.

65:11 a messenger who recites to you God's revelations, clearly, to lead those
who believe and work righteousness out of the darkness into the light. Anyone
who believes in God and leads a righteous life, He will admit him into gardens
with flowing streams; they abide therein forever. God will generously reward
him.

Religious freedom in the Quran. It says Allah decides who becomes Muslim and who becomes non-Muslim.

6:110 We control their minds and their hearts. Thus, since their decision is to
disbelieve, we leave them in their transgressions, blundering.

6:111 Even if we sent down the angels to them; even if the dead spoke to them;
even if we summoned every miracle before them; they cannot believe unless God wills it. Indeed, most of them are ignorant'.

Al-Kahf 18:29 and Al-Baqarah 2:256
God gave us the freedom to choose whether to believe in Him or not. Freedom of
beliefs in any religion, or even in atheism.

Al-Kahf: 29
Let him who wishes to believe, do so; and let him who wishes to disbelieve, do so.

Al Baqarah, 2:256
Let there be no compulsion in the religion: Surely the Right Path is clearly
distinct from the crooked path.

Surah An-Nisa', 4:137
"Those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe again, then disbelieve, and
then increase in their disbelief - Allah will never forgive them nor guide them
to the path."

The quotation from Surah An-Nisa', 4:137, shown above, seems to imply that
multiple, sequential apostasies are possible. That would not be possible if the
person were executed after the first apostasy.

Al-Ghashiyah: 21- 22
In another verse, Allah Almighty says: "Yours is only the duty to convey the
message; you are not a guardian over them."

The Quran says all believers should read the Quran for themselves as it was
'made easy to read', as well as use their common sense. One should not rely on
experts, or interpretations but to use common sense.

54:17, 22, 32, 40
Indeed, We have made the Reading easy to remember. Is there anyone who wishes to learn?

10:99-100
If your Lord will, he can make all the people on earth believe. He deliberately
blocks out those who defy common sense.

No soul can believe, except by the will of Allah, and He will place doubt (or
obscurity) on those who will not understand.

6.112 & 39.23 - All is God's Will, even the evil that takes place or those who
go astray.

God deliberately blocks His guidance from those who defy their common sense.

Muslims believe that everything that happens in this world is God's will. God
wills it and it happens. If He does not will it then it does not happen. All God
has to do is say `Be' and it shall be."

64:11 - Nothing happens to you except in accordance with God's will. Anyone who believes in God, He will guide his heart. God is fully aware of all things.


God in the Quran and His Will

2.255. Allah. There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal.
No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on
earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He
knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they comp*** aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).

Muslims also believe that one's fate or destiny (takdir) has been predetermined.
It has already been decided one's birth, death and marriage, in whatever race,
religion or nation, and one is powerless to change this, whatever you may choose
to do. Therefore all races and religions are to be accepted as God's plan.

Muslims are told to be as committed in upholding the truth. The word is 'Aqeemu Solla - uphold your committments' and NOT pray. Pray is doa, a completely different word altogether.

The Quran only prescribes a correct way of doing things - between man and man, man and his surroundings. It only talks about virtuous life and justice. Do not lie, do not steal, feed the poor and the orphans, do not corrupt, do not
***ociate with those who do not uphold the truth, protect the weak, stand up for
justice at all times, etc. That is all the Quran teaches, and no worship.

The quran is not dogmatic; in more than 25 instances we are told to use our
thinking and rationality, to weigh issues before making a decision. More than
that we are told not to believe anything but verify first.

Surah 17:36
You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have
given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for
using them.

This is what is taught and there can be no blind faith. One must question and
derive satisfactory answers and not accept anything that one cannot verify. We
have all the tools for it. By this verse rationality is given a sweeping
position in the quran.

The Quran is repetitious; the same things are told over and over again, as if to
drive home the point. Two of the main things repeated in the Quran are:

1. belief in God
2. do good deeds

5:8 - "Believers, stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others toward you make you swerve to wrong and depart from
justice. Be just: that is next to piety..."

5.9 - To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised
forgiveness and a great reward.

11:117 - Your Lord never destroy any community, while the people are righteous.

63.10 - Give charity before the bounty ends.

In the quran piety and justice are the most important values. This would be the
gist of the teachings of the Quran. The keyword in Islam is Belief in God and
Doing Righteous Deeds.

What the Quran teaches are virtues, justice and rightness;
Do not steal,
Do not lie,
Be kind to your parents,
Be kind to the orphans,
Keep yourself clean,
Be equitabe when you trade,
Avoid accessive profiteering,
Preserve wildlife,
Be a good person and not be a bigot, sectarian and racist.

Somehow the Muslims have forgotten the story about Prophet Muhammad who one day saw a non-Muslim giving a dog a drink and he pointed to this man and told his comrades that that man was going to go to heaven. The Prophet's friends could not understand how a non-Muslim who is giving a drink to an 'unclean' animal could go to heaven and the Prophet explained that he is going to heaven because he showed comp***ion to an animal.

On another occasion, the Prophet's neighbour, a Jew, called his son indoors and
scolded him for eating outside the house because it was the month of Ramadhan
and Muslims were fasting. The Prophet, again, told his wife, that that man is
going to go to heaven.

All that to know about the Messenger is in Quran. He was himself lost before
being inspired, he almost went against GOD's command twice and was warned. He was so sad about his own people that he wanted to committ suicide (18:6), he failed to deliver the Message to his own people, and his name remains unknown till today. We only know him as the Rasul (Messenger).

All this in Hindu terms means its a religion of chariya (aram or dharma) only,
in the most basic way, and there is no kriya (worship). I describe this islam as
'Hinduism for Dummies'.

Who is a muslim?

Al Maa'idah 5:11
Remarks: Anyone who believe in GOD, is a muslim irrespective of religion.

This islam of the Quran is a universal way of life and values and by this
definition all of us are muslims. This islam, is of the quran, the quran alone,
and nothing but the quran with full of reason and rationale.

What is Not in the Quran?

There is absolutely no worship in the Quran (although this is contested by other
scholars). Some say salat (or solat) is prayer but salat is not defined as
prayer anywhere in the Quran! And there are no details of prayer in the Quran!
Or even in the hadith! There is definitely no mention of five times prayer in
the Quran. There is no fasting, no pilgrimage or haj to Mecca. All these cannot
be found in the Quran. If one dont refer the Quran, one is not even talking
about Islam.

The azan (call to prayers) is not from the Quran, the syahadah (reciting the
confession of faith or kalima) is not, the asalamualaikum is not, zakat (tax) is
not, hajj is not, salat is not, circumcision is not, hijab is not, keeping beard
is not, wearing jubah is not, celebrating Eid is not. Not one of these things
most muslims believe and practise is from the Quran.

The Five Pillars of Islam as below commonly known and practised, is not found in
the Quran.
1. pronouncing the confession of faith (shahada or kalima)
2. performing the five daily prayers ( salat )
3. fasting during the month of Ramadan ( saum )
4. paying the alms tax ( zakat )
5. performing, at least once in life, the major pilgrimage to Mecca ( hajj )

There is no wearing of hear scarves for women, jubah (men's long gown), serban
(turban), veils for women, no stoning people to death, no killing apostates, no
circumcision. Furthermore, there are no such things as islamists, islamic
jurisprudence, islamic theology, there is no shariah, no islamic legal system,
no islamic banking & finance, no islamic education, no islamic judicial system,
no islamic universities, etc, in the Al-Qur'an at all. All these have never been
revealed in the Qur'an.

If its not in the Quran then its not islamic. Believers are just supposed to
follow what is in the Quran; nothing more, nothing less.

The Quran categorically respects dogs. Among its verses, not one says you can't
have a dog. Instead, the Quran has the story of a guy who slept in a cave for
300 years, and an angel found him sleeping with his loyal dog. The Quran says
the meat from animals hunted by dogs is halal. What the Quran says is, love all
animals.


In the Quran you will not find anything even vaguely resembling religion. No
church, no pastor, deacon, priest, no mosque, no worship, no Muhammad (the name Muhammad is not found in the Quran), nothing. No Arabic culture in the Quran. No Arabic history in the Quran. The Prophet never prayed in any mosque.

The Quran also does not mention avoidance of pigs, of abstaining from pork,
methods of slaughtering animals, payment of zakat, keeping of goatees, having
four wives, contract wives, divorce by uttering triple talaq and worship of the
Kaaba.

So where do all these things that is commonly known in Islam and that is
practised today come from? Its comes from the Hadiths and Sunnah, something the Quran forbade! The Quran strictly forbids any other writings. The prophet
Muhammad was enjoined, in very strong words, from issuing any religious
teachings besides the Quran (69:38-48).


ISLAM OF THE SUNNAH AND HADITHS

The Hadiths are a collection of proverbs, poems, and practices of Mohammed and the Sunnah is essentially a biography of him that were compiled by the believers after his death.

Some Muslims compromise: "If a Hadith agrees with the Quran we will accept it,
and if it contradicts the Quran, we will reject it!" Such premise proves that
these people do not believe God's ***ertions that the Quran is "complete,
perfect and fully detailed." The moment they seek guidance from anything besides the Quran, no matter how 'right' it seems, they fall into Satan's trap (see 63:1). For they have rejected God's word and set up another god besides God (18:57).

The Quran informs us that some enemies of the Prophet, described as "human and jinn devils," will fabricate lies and attribute them to the Prophet (6:112,
25:31).

This is precisely what happened after the prophet Muhammad's death; Hadith
(oral) and Sunna (actions) were invented and attributed to the Prophet. In truth
they worship Muhammad.

Hadith and Sunna are satanic innovations because they:
[1] defy the divine ***ertions that the Quran is complete, perfect, fully
detailed, and shall be the only source of religious guidance for believers
(6:19, 38, 114 & 45:6-7),
[2] blaspheme against the Prophet and depict him as a vicious tyrant who did not uphold the Quran, and
[3] create false doctrines based on superstition, ignorance, and indefensible
nonsensical traditions.

The prophet Muhammad was enjoined, in very strong words, from issuing any
religious teachings besides the Quran (69:38-48).

So where do the teachings of the Hadiths and Sunna originate from? From the Old Testament, which itself was adapted from the Torah and other Jewish laws!

1st Corinthians. 11 : 6 If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her
hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved
off, she should cover her head.

Lev 24:16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire ***embly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he
blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.

Deut 13:5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached
rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.

Deut 13 : 6 - 10 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife
you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and
worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of
the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the
other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him
or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first
in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to
death, because he tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Deuteronomy 20:10-14 - "As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its
people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you,
then all the people inside will serve you in forced labour. But if they refuse
to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the Lord your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for
yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy
the spoils of your enemies that the Lord your God has given you."

Here is more violence from the Bible :

Deut 25 : 7 - 10 "However, if a man does not want to marry his brother's wife,
she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, "My husband's brother
refuses to carry on his brother's name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty
of a brother-in-law to me." Then the elders of his town shall summon him and
talk to him. If he persists in saying, "I do not want to marry her," his
brother's widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one
of his sandals, spit in his face and say, "This is what is done to the man who
will not build up his brother's family line." That man's line shall be known in
Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

Deut 25 : 11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his ***ailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

Wearing headscarves for women is copied from 1st Corinthians. There is none in
the Quran. Stoning adulterers is copied from Leviticus. There is none in the
Quran. Killing apostates is stolen from Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There is none
in the Quran. The worst hadiths are copied from the Bible. Circumcision is from
Gen 17:14, 24, 25 and Exod 4:25, whereas in Surah 40:64 the Quran says God has made man in the most perfect mold. No circumcision or mutilation of the body in any way.

Sharia law includes the following:
ritual purification (wudu), prayers (salah), fasts (sawm and ramadan), charities
(zakat tax), pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj), endowments, laws of inheritance,
marriage, divorce, and child care, food and drinks (including ritual
slaughtering and hunting), penal punishments, judicial matters (including
witnesses and forms of evidence) - but all these are not found in the quran.

The Zoroastrians also believe in the five times a day ritual prayers and
performing ablutions before prayers. The Hadiths may have picked this up from
the Zoroastrians as well as circumnambulating anti clockwise the Kaaba seven
times, or from the Hindus!

The woman cannot marry without the consent of her guardian. If she marries, her husband becomes her new guardian - this law is not found in the Quran. A woman who wishesto be divorced needs the consent of her husband - is not found in the Quran. The penalty for theft is punished by imprisonment or amputation of hands or feet, depending on the number of times it was committed and depending on the item of theft - is not found in the Quran. But its found in the Hadith. Stoning to Death in Islam for adultery, etc is not found in the Quran. But it is found in the Hadith and the Bible.

Today 99% of muslims are actually followers of the Old Testament, whose laws
were adopted in the Hadiths. These muslims are Old Testament Christians, not
followers of the Quran.

Muslims today are completely misguided. Muslim societies today resemble
pre-christ jewish societies. While the christians themselves have mostly given
up the old testament, it is the muslims who follow it diligently, yet claim to
submit to the Quran, which clearly they do not. And this is the source of strife
in the world today.

For the muslims to return to the teachings of the Quran, they have to throw away the Hadiths and Sunnah. Except for two parts mentioned below, he teachings of the Quran are (largely) acceptable to Hindus. It reflects Aram (or dharma) but without worship of god.


Objectionable Teachings in the Quran

There are several chapters in the quran that deals will killing of infidals.

9:123 & 3.28 "murder them and treat them harshly".

This has been explained as necessary at times of war. Infidals are those who do
not believe in God or the Quran, and who are not fair and just, are adharmic.
Disbelievers are supposedly rejectors of justice, and kafir means rejector.

Whatever the explanation, it is unacceptable to us or anyone in this age. All
these chapters in the quran, possibly a quarter of the book needs to be
expunged, like the varnashrama triad texts.

The other objectionable teachings is that Muhammed is the last prophet. If
indeed Muhammed is the last prophet as muslims say, then logically what he gave, the Quran, would have to be the 'last word'. End of chapter!

If not, then of course there is a place for the caliph successors in history and
what they dictated and wrote that came to be called Hadiths and Sunnah. Then of course the quran is not the last word but the Hadiths and Sunnah are. The fact is 99% of muslims believe in the Hadiths and Sunnah and their caliphs and
writers. In other words the muslims themselves do not actually believe in the
prophet as the last one.

It is clear that most muslims are not followers of God as per the Quran but
followers of the prophet, and the Hadith and Sunnah are the holy books, and where the Quran is only sometimes selectively used. It would be truer to describe these people as Mohammedans and their religion as Mohammedanism. This was the term correctly used till the end of the first half of the last century.

"While Koran is personal to every Muslim or believer, Sira (sunah) and Hadith
affect non-believers. Islam as a trilogy is obsessed with what to do with
unbelievers and non-believers. Unlike Hinduism, which says not a word against
non-believers, in fact says that other religions also lead to God, Islam is
harsh on them, and justifies violence against them as sacred. The choice to
non-believers in Islam is: convert or accept dhimmitude. Hence, the explanation
for ... the duality in ethics practiced by Muslims everywhere. A true Muslim is
Dr.Jekyll when in minority, and Mr. Hyde when in majority. "

- Dr. Subramaniam Swamy


Pathma


Sources:?http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/?http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/tr\ansliteration/

http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/SURAI.HTM

More sources in Part 2


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited February 28, 2007).]

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#1314 - January 30, 2007 05:40 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Part 2

SOME QUOTATIONS FROM THE TALMUD, OLD TESTAMENT AND HADITHS


Here are some selections to show how repressive, hateful, blind, superstitious,
contradictory and ridiculous some of these laws are, yea revolting like our own
Manu Shastras. It also shows that the old jewish laws p***ed on into
christianity and then to islam. Muslims today can be better described as jews
and old testament christians rather than Quranites.

Followers of the word of God as per the Quran are muslims, whereas followers of
the prophet and his actions and practices as in the Hadiths and Sunnah are
Mohammedans.


From the Jewish Talmud

Yebamoth 98a.
All gentile children are animals.

Sanhedrin 57a
When a Jew murders a gentile ("Cuthean"), there will be no death penalty. What a
Jew steals from a gentile he may keep.

Sanhedrin 58b
If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed.

Soferim 15, Rule 10
This is the saying of Rabbi Simon ben Yohai: Tob shebe goyyim harog ("Even the
best of the gentiles should all be killed").

The Hatanya - the fundamental book of the Habbad movement, which is one of the most important branches of Hasidism-declares that all non-Jews are totally
Satanic creatures "in whom there is nothing absolutely good." Even a non-Jewish
embryo is said to be qualitatively different from a Jewish one.

Rabbi Yaacov Perrin said, "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."
(NY Daily News, Feb. 28, 1994, p.6).

Choschen Ham (156,5 Hagah)
"The Jew is allowed to go to the Akum (Gentile), lead him on, do business with
him, to deceive him and take his money. For the wealth of the Akum is to be
regarded as common property and belongs to the first who can get it."

Baba Kamma 37b
The gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has "exposed their
money to Israel."

Baba Kamma 113a
Jews may use lies ("subterfuges") to circumvent a Gentile.

Baba Mezia 24a
If a Jew finds an object lost by a gentile ("heathen") it does not have to be
returned. (Affirmed also in Baba Kamma 113b).

Sanhedrin 76a. God will not spare
a Jew who "marries his daughter to an old man or takes a wife for his infant son
or returns a lost article to a Cuthean..."

Erubin 21b
Whosoever disobeys the rabbis deserves death and will be punished by being
boiled in hot excrement in hell.

Abodah Zarah 36b
Gentile women are in a state of niddah (filth) from birth.

Abodah Zarah 22a-22b
Gentiles prefer *** with cows.

Gittin 69a
To heal his flesh a Jew should take dust that lies within the shadow of an
outdoor toilet, mix with honey and eat it. (sounds like manu)

Shabbath 41a
The law regulating the rule for how to urinate in a holy way is given. (sounds
like manu).

Yebamoth 63a
States that Adam had ***ual intercourse with all the animals in the Garden of
Eden.

Sanhedrin 55b
A Jew may marry a three year old girl (specifically, three years "and a day"
old).

Sanhedrin 54b
A Jew may have *** with a child as long as the child is less than nine years
old.

Kethuboth 11b
When a grown-up man has intercourse with a little girl it is nothing.


From the Old Testament

Rape of Female Captives (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB)
"When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers
them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive's garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion."

Rape and the Spoils of War (Judges 5:30 NAB)
They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for
each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me
in the spoil.

*** Slaves (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of
six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to
foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the
slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her
as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries
her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail
to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may
leave as a free woman without making any payment.

God ***ists Rape and Plunder (Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB)
Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your
midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city
shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into
exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city.

Leviticus 25:46 and Lev 22:11.
It is alright to take slaves, and a priest can buy slaves.

Lev 12:4.
A menstruating woman cannot be allowed into certain places like the sanctuary. A menstruating woman cannot even touch certain 'holy' things. (sounds like manu)

There is no prohibition on keeping of idols or avoidance of menstruating women
in the Quran, but it is found in the Old Testament.

Deuteronomy 4:16.
Statues, carvings and such are an abomination.

Quran 34:12. The Quran says that you can carve statues and keep them in your
homes and buildings.

Lev 19:27, 21:5 and 2nd Samuel 10:5.
A man must wear a beard.

Exodus 28:3. One must wear a jubah (men's long gown).

Upholding the law on adultery
When the Pharisees asked Jesus to uphold the Law to have the woman stoned to
death Jesus did not disagree. Jesus said 'OK go ahead and stone her to death'.
But he added a proviso 'whichever of you has committed no sin must cast the
first stone'.

The woman was saved not because Jesus had changed or annuled the law of stoning to death, but because there were no sinless people around on that day to stone her.

Why did Jesus say that? Because Jesus came to uphold the Law and not to change it. And the Law says the adulterer must be stoned to death, the apostate must be killed. This is the law of the Bible. This Law is not found in the Quran.


From the Hadiths

Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 16:
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah: ?While we were returning from a Ghazwa (Holy
Battle) with the Prophet, I started driving my camel fast, as it was a lazy
camel A rider came behind me and speared my camel with a spear he had with him, and then my camel started running as fast as the best camel you may see. Behold!

The rider was the Prophet himself. He said, 'What makes you in such a hurry?" I
replied, I am newly married " He said, "Did you marry a ****** or a matron? I
replied, "A matron." He said, "Why didn't you marry a young girl so that you may play with her and she with you?" When we were about to enter (Medina), the Prophet said, "Wait so that you may enter (Medina) at night so that the lady of unkempt hair may comb her hair and the one whose husband has been absent may shave her pubic region. (sounds like manu??)

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 1, Number 0270: ?
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: ?Umarah ibn Ghurab said that his paternal aunt narrated to him that she asked Aisha: What if one of us menstruates and she and her husband have no bed except one? She replied: I relate to you what the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) had done.

One night he entered (upon me) while I was menstruating. He went to the place of his prayer, that is, to the place of prayer reserved (for this purpose) in his
house. He did not return until I felt asleep heavily, and he felt pain from
cold. And he said: Come near me. I said: I am menstruating. He said: Uncover
your thighs. I, therefore, uncovered both of my thighs. Then he put his cheek
and chest on my thighs and I lent upon he until he became warm and slept.

Narrated 'Aisha:
The Prophet used to embrace me during my menses. He also used to put his head out of the mosque while he was in Itikaf, and I would wash it during my menses.

So, what is halal for a man when his woman is having her period? Here is the
Islamic solution:

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 1, Number 0212:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Sa'd al-Ansari:
Abdullah asked the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him): What is lawful for me to do with my wife when she is menstruating? He replied: What is above the
waist-wrapper is lawful for you.

The narrator also mentioned (the lawfulness of) eating with a woman in menstruation, and he transmitted the tradition in full.

If one, accidentally, has *** with his menstruating wife (or a woman), then here
too, are the divine solutions. (sounds like manu)

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 11, Number 2164:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
If a man has ***ual intercourse (with menstruating woman) during her bleeding,
he should give one dinar as sadaqah, and if he does so when bleeding has
stopped, he should give half a dinar as sadaqah.

If you have ***ual intercourse with your wife while she is menstruating, then
you must give one dinar or half a dinar in alms...1.0264

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 1, Number 0264:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said about a person who had intercourse with his wife while she was menstruating: He must give one dinar or half a dinar in alms.

Sahih Bukhari:Volume 7, Book 62, Number 173:
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: ?The Prophet said, "If you enter (your town) at
night (after coming from a journey), do not enter upon your family till the
woman whose husband was absent (from the house) shaves her pubic hair and the
woman with unkempt hair, combs her hair" Allah's Apostle further said, "(O
Jabir!) Seek to have offspring, seek to have offspring!"

Sahih Muslim Book 008, Number 3253:
Rabi' b. Sabra reported that his father went on an expedition with Allah's
Messenger (may peace be upon him) during the Victory of Mecca, and we stayed
there for fifteen days (i. e. for thirteen full days and a day and a night), and
Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) permitted us to contract temporary
marriage with women. So I and another person of my tribe went out, and I was
more handsome than he, whereas he was almost ugly. Each one of us had a cloaks.

My cloak was worn out, whereas the cloak of my cousin was quite new. As we
reached the lower or the upper side of Mecca, we came across a young woman like a young smart long-necked she-camel. We said: Is it possible that one of us may contract temporary marriage with you? She said: What will you give me as a dower? Each one of us spread his cloak. She began to cast a glance on both the persons. My companion also looked at her when she was casting a glance at her side and he said: This cloak of his is worn out, whereas my cloak is quite new.

She, however, said twice or thrice: There is no harm in (accepting) this cloak
(the old one). So I contracted temporary marriage with her, and I did not come
out (of this) until Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) declared it
forbidden.

Mu'tah means enjoyment. MU'TAH. Lit. "Usufruct, enjoyment."

A marriage contracted for a limited period, for a certain sum of money. Such
marriages are still legal amongst the Shi'ahs, and exist in Persia (Malcom's
Persia vol.II.p. 591) to the present day, but they are said to be unlawful by
the Sunnis. They were permitted by the Arabian Prophet at Autas, and are
undoubtedly the greatest stain upon the moral legislation but the Sunnis say
that he afterwards prohibited a mu'tah marriage at Khaibar (Vide Mishkat, book
xii. Ch iv. Pt2.).

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 11, Number 2044:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: ?A man came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), and said: My wife does not prevent the hand of a man who touches her. He said: Divorce her. He then said: I am afraid my inner self may covet her. He said: Then enjoy her.

Sunaan Abu Dawud: Book 11, Number 2126:
Narrated Basrah: ?A man from the Ansar called Basrah said: I married a ******
woman in her veil. When I entered upon her, I found her pregnant. (I mentioned
this to the Prophet). The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: She will get the
dower, for you made her ****** lawful for you. The child will be your slave.
When she has begotten (a child), flog her (according to the version of al-Hasan). The version of Ibn AbusSari has: You people, flog her, or said: inflict hard punishment on him.

"Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt
Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes," Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). "The Prophet said, "You may say it." Then Muhammad bin Maslama went to Kab and said, "That man (i.e. Muhammad demands Sadaqa (i.e. Zakat) from us, and he has troubled us, and I have come to borrow something from you." On that, Kab said, "By Allah, you will get tired of him!" Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Now as we have followed him, we do not want to leave him unless and until we see how his end is going to be. .." Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369, Narrated Jabir bin
'Abdullah.

Hanbal 6/136,192,213
The Prophet never urinated in a standing position"

Bukhary 4/60,62
The prophet urinated in a standing position.

Bukhary 56/152, Hanbal 3/107,163
"A group from the Ureyneh and Uqayleh tribes came to the prophet and the prophet advised them to drink urine of camels. Later on, when they killed the prophet's shepherd, the prophet seized them, gouged out their eyes, cut their hands and legs, and left them thirsty in the desert."

"The prophet gave permission to kill children and women in war" (Bukhari,
Jihad/146; Abu Dawud 113).

"The earth is carried on a giant bull; when it shakes its head an earthquake
occurs" (Ibni Kathir 2/29; 50/1).

"Leaders have to be from the Quraish tribe" (Bukhary 3/129,183; 4/121; 86/31).

"You shall kill all black dogs; because they are devils" (Hanbal 4/85; 5/54).

"Ibn Omar said the messenger of God ordered us to kill the dogs." (Sahih
Bukhary)

"To prove His identity, God opened his legs and showed the prophet His thigh."
(Bukhary 97/24, 10/129 and the comment on the Sura 68.)

"A tribe of monkeys arrested an adulterous monkey and stoned it to death, and I
helped them" (Bukhary 63/27).

"The punishment for cutting the fingers of a woman is to pay her: 10 camels for
one finger, 20 camels for two fingers, 30 camels for three fingers, and 20
(twenty) camels for four fingers" (Hanbel 2/182; Muwatta 43/11). (something
like from Manu)

"The prophet had been bewitched by a Jew, and for several days he did not know
what he was doing" (Bukhari 59/11; 76/47; Hanbel 6/57; 4/367).

"Muhammad possessed ***ual power of 30 men" (Bukhary).

"The prophet said:'Do not write anything from me except the Quran. Whoever
wrote, must destroy it" (Muslim, Zuhd 72; Hanbel 3/12,21,39).

"The prophet ordered Amr Ibn As to write everything that he speaks" (Hanbel
2/162).

"Omar said: Quran is enough for us, do not write anything from the prophet"
(Bukhary, Jihad 176, Gizya 6, Ilim 49, Marza 17, Megazi 83, Itisam 26; Muslim,
Wasiyya 20,21,22).

"Ubayd Allah Ibn Musa informed us on the authority of Usamah Ibn Zayd, he on the authority of Safwan Ibn Sulaym, he said: The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: Gabriel brought a kettle from which I ate and I was given the power of ***ual intercourse equal to forty men."

Vol. 1, p. 438; cited from Islam As It Sees Itself..., Nehls, p. 39
Abu Hurayra said; the messenger of God said; "If a fly fell in your drink, you
should immerse it completely in the drink, because in one of the wings is the
disease and in the other wing is the healing."

Abu Hurayra said , "It was mentioned at the messenger of God that a man slept
the whole night (did not do his prayer). He said, this man had Satan urinated in
his ears."
(Sahih Moslem & Sahih Bukhary)

Abu Hurayra said, the prophet said; "Yawning is from Satan. If you are about to
yawn, you should try to stop it as much as possible. If you yawn, Satan will
laugh."
(Sahih Bukhary & Sahih Moslem)

Abu Hurayra said; the prophet said; "If any of you yawn,, then try your best to
stop yawning because Satan will enter your mouth."
(Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

Abu Hurayra said the prophet said;
"When someone wakes up from sleep, he/she should clean his/her back of the
throat, (by taking the water in the mouth, gargle with it and bringing it
through the nose) three times, because Satan spends the night in the nasopharynx
(back of the throat).

Abu Hurayra said the prophet said;
"If you hear the crows of the roosters, ask God for some of His provisions,
because the roosters saw an angel. And If you hear the hee-haw of the donkey,
seek refuge in God from Satan, because the donkey saw the Shaytan (Satan).
?(Sahih Moslem, and Sahih Bukhary)

Abu Hurayra said, the prophet said;
"When the call for prayer is made, Satan turns around to leave farting very loud
so that he would not hear the Azan (call for prayer), When Azan is finished
Satan returns back...."
(Sahih Moslem & Sahih Bukhary)

Abu Hurayra said the prophet said;
"If you hear the crows of the roosters, ask God for some of His provisions,
because the roosters saw an angel. And If you hear the hee-haw of the donkey,
seek refuge in God from Satan, because the donkey saw the Satan.
(Sahih Moslem, and Sahih Bukhary)

Abu Hurayra said; the messenger of God said; "If any of you eat, then you should lick your fingers because you do not know in which one is the blessings
(Baraka).

Ibn Abbas said; the messenger of God said; " If any of you eat, do not clean
your hand until you lick it first. "

Gaber Ibn Abdullah said; the messenger of God said; " You should lick the plate
and the fingers, because you do not know where is the blessings."
(Sahih Moslem)

Abu Hurayra said, the messenger of God said; "The Children of Israel used to
take a bath looking at each other while they are completely naked, while Moses
used to take his bath by himself alone. They said, why is not Moses taking his
bath with us , May be he has large testicles. One day, Moses went to take a
bath, he put his clothes on a rock. The rock took his clothes and ran away.
Moses ran naked after the rock calling on it to give him his clothes. The
Children of Israel looked at the naked Moses and said, By God , he looks all
right. Moses took his clothes from the rock and kept beating the rock. "
(Sahih Bukhary and Sahih Moslem)


Five practices of Fitra
1. Circumcision; 2. Shaving pubic region; 3. Clipping nails 4. Cutting mustache
short; 5. Removal of arm pit hair. (7.72.777)


A WORD ON THE HADITHS
There are actually six (6) 'recognised' compilers of Hadith. These are:
1) Imam Bukhari (d. 256/870)
2) Muslim (d. 261/875)
3) Abu Daud (d. 275/888)
4) Tirmidhi (d. 270/883)
5) Ibn Maja (d. 273/886)
6) al-Nasa'i (d. 303/915)

This means they compiled these Hadith between 230 to 300 years after the death
of Prophet Muhammad.

Out of 600,000 Hadith he collected, Imam Bukhari could only verify 7,395 as
authentic but if you exclude the repetitions then it comes to only about 2,762
or thereabouts.

Muslim compiled 300,000 out of which only 4,348 were verified.
Abu Daud had 500,000 and 4,800 were verified.
Tirmidhi had 300,000 and 3,115 were verified.
Ibn Manja 400,000 and 4,000 were verified.
Finally, Nasai'i had 200,000 and 4,321 were verified.

So, all in all, about 1% of the total are verified while 99% are rejected as not
authentic or not verifiable.

Islam is not only and merely what is stated in the Koran. Islam is a trilogy of
Koran,Sunnah and Hadith. This trilogy defines a "true" Muslim or
believer. Therefore those who sing praises of the Koran to prove that Islam is
intrinsically humane, have not read the Sunnah and Hadith. While Koran is a
compilation of revelations of Allah to Mohammed through angel Gabriel, Sunnah is
essentially a biography of Mohammed, while Hadiths are a collection of proverbs,
poems, and practices of Mohammed. Thus Islamic theology as is practised today is the Quran plus what the Prophet said or did.


Contradictions in the Quran

http://www.skepticsannotate...
Women in the Quran

http://www.skepticsannotate...

Cruelty in the Quran
http://www.skepticsannotate...

Intolerance in the Quran
http://www.skepticsannotate...

Injustice in the Quran
http://www.skepticsannotate...


Sects in Islam

There are 72 sects in islam but only one will go to heaven as the prophet said.
So one has to be careful in choosing the sect. Some of them are;

Ahmediyyah, Nation of Islam , Ansaru Allah , Moors, Warith-deen, Bahaullah,
Naasibis,

Shi'ites: 12 Imamite, 7 Imamite, zaidiyya, Alawite, Druze, Baatiniyyah, Boharas,
Dawoodi Boharas, Nusayris, Durze, Agakhaani

Jamaat-e-Islami, Sufism , Deobandism, Tableegi-Jamaat, Bareilwiyat, Naqshabandis
Hizb-ut-tahreer:?Ikhwani, Jihaadis, Qur'ânites, Qadariyyah, Khawariji,
Jahmiyyah, Ash'ariyyah, Matrudiyyah , Murji'ah, Zaahiri, Takfiris, Habashis,
Mehdavis, Goharshahi

Pathma

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited February 28, 2007).]

Top
#1315 - February 25, 2007 12:53 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
On the Hadiths and Varnashrama Texts

I have been sparing in my comments so as not to ridicule the abrahamic
religions but instead let the arguments and verses speak for itself. Also
I did not mention but hope readers have recognised that the Quran in
its gist is the same as our Kural and Aathicudi, both stressing ethics
and justness.

For the sake of world peace and end to strife, in the same way that the
muslims have to discard the abhorrent hadiths and sunnah, Hindus
have to discard the despicable varnashrama texts - the triad of the
manu shastras, ramayana and mahabharata, and consign it in the
dustbins of history. While these texts remains amidst us, there is no
way we can have peace between Hindus and Muslims.

The quran itself says 'your Siva is our Allah'. They too describe god as
unknowable and cannot be measured, and only He can choose to reveal
Himself to us. So I hope this stops the bickering. Afterall its a quranic
claim, and a long held Hindu ***ertion too. So we have no quarrels
with muslims who follow the word of god as per the quran. As the
'elders' in spirituality, it is incumbent upon Hindus to make the first
move and show the world the way forward. And say to fellow Hindus,
"if there is anything in my home that hurts you in anyway, then let me
remove it."

The sunnis and shias have their own hadiths and thats what divides
these communities to the point they kill each other as in Pakistan, Iraq,
etc. It is genocidal. They recognise that, and realise that for there to be
peace among muslims, all hadiths must be trashed. Thats what it takes.

In the same way, it is the varnashrama shastras that divides Hindu into
caste communities, and there has been a 'staggered genocide' amongst
them all along in history, with 40,000 caste crimes and 6,000 caste
murders each year. The difference is, we kill fellow Hindus _slowly_ over
time. So Hindus should not throw stones at the muslims or portugese
but look within; recognise that they are a genocidal breed themselves
and that the lower castes have been suffering a sedate and protracted
holocaust at their hands for over a millenium.

The varnashrama texts serves the same purpose as the hadiths. These
Varnashrama propagating shastris are the same as the violent Islamists.

Enough arguments and verses have been quoted to take on the Islamist
and whack him everytime he rears his ugly head. Quote these verses to
any muslim and he will have no answer but cower as an murtad apostate,
a kafir/rejector of justice. Likewise our shastris are our rejectors of
justice - kafirs.

Islamic society serves as a useful mirror to Hindus where they can see
their own ugly face but cannot recognise it.

Further, I hope it was clear to readers that the brutality of religions also
lies with the established christianity of the churches, the motherload of
twisting of minds. The spirituality of jesus and judas is a separate matter
which I have written about.

Regards.

Pathma

Arul T <arul_thilak@...> wrote:
>
>
> Pathma, thank you for an excellent analysis. You have managed to distill out what has escaped many scholars.
>
> You have done a great service at a time of deepening OT-ization of the world, as amply evidenced by the violence and brutality enveloping the world, playing out - in the real and reel worlds - on an ever-increasing scale and intensity.
>
> It would serve the purpose of accuracy if the OT (Old Testament) and the NT (New Testament) were differentiated, instead of referring broadly to “the bible”, as has happened in a few instances.
>
>
> Your following statement (with reference to the Talmud, OT and Hadiths) summarizes it all:
>
> QUOTE
> Here are some selections to show how repressive, hateful, blind, superstitious,
> contradictory and ridiculous some of these laws are, yea revolting like our own
> Manu Shastras. It also shows that the old jewish laws p***ed on into
> christianity and then to islam. Muslims today can be better described as jews and old testament christians rather than Quranites.
> UNQUOTE
>
>
> You have, in effect, unfolded yet another canvas against which the Manusmrti (the bible of varnashrama dharma) stands out starkly as the prime source of corruption and debasement of Hinduism.
>
>
> To your list of objectionables in the Quran, e.g. calling for the killing of infidels, I would add the emphasis placed on fate or predestination, which flows out of the monistic or non-dualistic principle of holding up Allah or God as the source or cause of all that happens.
>
> Anbudan
> ARUL
> http://anbudanarul.blogspot.com

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#1316 - March 05, 2007 07:54 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Siddhanta and Vedanta


And so we have arrived to a momentous point where we juxtapose and
discuss siddhanta and vedanta. No doubt vedanta appears muddling,
and it means many things to many people. The vedanta that Tirumular
and other saints talked about is not the same thing that people mean
today.

Or could it be that vedanta is just a generic umbrella term that gives
respectablity and acceptance to any and every philosophy? Could it be
that there is no such thing as vedanta? (Or everything is vedanta.)

On this basis, in about a year or two I shall try to present a paper to
show that there is no such thing as 'vedanta', that that is no such thing
as 'Vedanta Sutras' or 'Brahma Sutras', that it just surfaced in the last two
hundred years or so, that for a millenium many people from Shankara
down to Sayana, right down to Vivekananda, Aurobindo and others have
(deliberately or otherwise) misunderstood. I will show that in the absence
of vedanta, there is only siddhanta (everything is siddhanta), but its just
that people do not use the term as they are unaware.

I do not mean to leave a cliff-hanger, and I apologise for that, but while
my paper is ready, and has been for fifteen years except for some
touchups, the time is not opportune to present that. To discuss now
would only create a needless uproar and controversy requiring endless
explanations, and invite much ridicule. It would be akin to 'pissing in the
pool' and damaging rather than helpful.

It would be opportune when some Agamas have been published in
English so that the m***es are aware of their religion as Agamism and
not Vedicism or anything else, especially 'vedanta'. And the m***es have
clearly come to understand that whether Saivas, Vaishnavas or Shaktas,
if its Agamism then its Siddhanta ONLY and there is no place for any
other. But without some agamas it would be pointless to proceed from
hereon.

It would be an opportune time when the Hindus have properly come to
understand that the Brahminists are the Smarthas, and none other,
and the Smarthas the the Brahminists, and none other. That
Brahmanism is Smarthaism, and that proper usage comes into vogue
rather than aimlessly shooting everywhere and blaming all
brahmins unnecessarily. (Non smartha brahmins are not brahminists.)
We need to be precise.

I have not seen so far any writer speak clearly that Brahmanism IS
Smarthaism. Perhaps they are in trepidation in indentifying a whole
sect, a whole institution, a whole sampradaya with a major presence
all over the world today with a rightly reputation as a vanguard of
Hinduism, and which many have come to quite unknowingly come to
***ociate themselves with, and so in deference use ambiguous terms.

In would also be opportune when there has been sufficient economic
growth in India, and there is more widespread affluency, along with the
concomitant social justice. With 9% growth I estimate 25% - 30%
expansion in the economy in two years, counting the black economy.
That would be a m***ive change and is bound to change the m***
psyche of Indians, with many old regional and parochial notions
discarded.

None of these are new ideas at all. They are old ideas lastly discussed
by Max Harrison but who cared not to explore further, and quietly
dropped by Hindu scholars and indologists. ('Hindu Monism and
Pluralism as Found in the Upanishads and in the Philosophies
Dependent upon Them' by Max Hunter Harrison. Bulletin of the
School of Oriental Studies, University of London, Vol. 7, No. 3 (1934)).

The title itself is frighteningly telling. Why would anyone bother with
'philosophies dependent on them' when Hindus are Agamists which
provides it own specific and clarified philosophy *independent* of the
vedas.

I may not be fully right in my views on vedanta and siddhanta but I am
certain I won't be far off the mark either. It may be easy to scoff in
indignation right now, but it cannot be scornfully dismissed as I have
already given key ideas in this post that is quite irrefutable.

Everyone is a scholar today. Is there anyone who can define vedanta?

There are no Vedicists today although many ignorantly call themselves
as Vedic Religion, or something like that, which is quite embaressing
for the rest of us all. If there is no vedicism, there is no vedanta.

KALPA SUTRA
Sutra - 'thread or string'. These texts form the last stage of Vedic
literature, with verses written in very technical language, by different
writers between 500 and 200 BC. These works developed as a result
of the need to simplify the rites and rituals explained in the Brahmanas.
These concise treatises simplify Vedic teachings on rituals and their
reasons. They also simplify the concepts of customary law. They are
known as the "angas" or limbs of the four Vedas, but are considered
smriti. (smirthi is non revealed shastras and has no standing in
Hinduism just like astrology, etc.) It is NOT shruti.

There are three known groups of text called sutras: Shrautasutras,
Grihyasutras and Dharmasutras, together known as the Kalpa Sutra,
and are considered attached to the Vedas.

Srauta Sutra gives the details of ceremonies to be practiced by priests.
It contains short p***ages of instruction for the performance of the
elaborate rituals described in the Vedas. For example, they explain
how to lay the sacrificial fire, or how to perform Chaturmasya.
(workmen's guild rules) The Griha Sutras deal with domestic sacrifices
and rites to be performed by the householders (personel ethics of
priests). The Dharma Sutras refer to the customary law and practices.

The jyotisha and kalpa sutras are two of the vedangas, but are not
the vedas itself. By ***ociation to the word 'veda' many claim it to be
Vedic. That is nonsense. Followers of kalpa sutras are a cl*** of
*priests* that follow the doctrines of the kalpa sutras and not the
vedas. They are in the same cl*** as astrologers and ayurvedic
physicians - servers of the population.

In later periods the kalpa sutras resurfaced as the Manu shastras;
householder rules and customary law of the *priesthood* now
imposed on the m***es (which nobody bought anyway). From here
it infected the Ramayana and Mahabharata, then the late puranas.

An original simple story-play by the travelling minstrels, 'villupaatu'
(song-mime play): a forlorn prince rescues his equally forlorn
princess from the kidnappers (a story repeated ad nausem till today
in the bollywood and tollywood *****s which is the butt of jokes in
Youtube). A varna framework was given, then peppered with puranic
cosmology and timelines, finally presenting itself as, walla, 'Hindu
Shastra'! The kalpa sutras reincarnated again and again, a
recurrent theme in the itihasa mime-plays!

Regards.

Pathma

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#1317 - March 06, 2007 12:36 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
On the Quran and Hadith


There is no ascetism, no renouncing the world, no monasticism, no
prohibition of keeping pictures, icons, idols etc. No nothing. The Quran
does not deal with all this.

We know from his life that he married a mature rich widow, and after
sometime he used to go to the caves, be alone by himself (maunam) and
meditate (dhyanam) for days. Someone taught him that. And he had
clairaudience, where he heard a voice (the Self-God). Those instructions
(benign) were written down. Later he fled to Medina and his writings
there contradicted his earlier writings in Mecca. These are the
objectionable parts - the satanic verses.

These are explained as the 'abrogation' verses that overrules earlier
verses. But who decided that? That is not there in the Quran. On the
contrary it says nothing shall abrogate the Quran, and there shall be no
sources other than the Quran - no Mohammed, no imam, no nobody.
Mohammed is just supposed to deliver a Message, the DHL messenger
boy (rasul), and not to teach or preach or anything. Whether the DHL
boy has a beard, or is a paedophile, etc is of no concern, and shall not
be a source of law of practise. The words of the quran shall speak for
itself.

Twice Mohammed was reprimanded harshly for not faithfully recording
the verses as it is. Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses referring to the Al
Najm is some of them. So we don't know how many of the verses are
Mohammed's own concoctions.

Even during his lifetime Mohammed lamented twice that he has failed
in his duty of p***ing the Message to the arabs, and he even tried to
commit suicide over his failures. It was a failed religion from Day One.
And he was a failed prophet.

It was only a matter of time his companions hijacked the religion and
imposed the Hadith and Sunah. Two of his successors were killed, and
so was Mohammed's daughter and son in law, and both grandsons. It
was a murderous regime from them on. On the day Mohammed died,
the religion of the Quran ceased to exist, for all intents and purposes,
and what we have had since then was the religion of the Hadith and
Sunah, all written by the companions, successors, imams and caliphs
that came after Mohammed.

It is successful in the US or anywhere because they always introduce the
fine teachings of the Quran first, which is really altruism, which is quite
acceptable. Only later the Hadith is introduced and the mind enslaved.

Islam has nothing to do with Hinduism or Saiva Siddhanta, except that
both accept all religions. Insofar as Saiva Siddhanta, Islam is an
outer-outer religion (pura pura camayam) - the outermost of it all.

The articles were written to inform Hindus and others so that they are
in the know, as well as to let the muslims know that we know their
religion better than themselves. Whenever we encounter muslims with
their practices, challenge them as to whether it is mentioned or
prohibited by the Quran. If it is not, remind them that if they are not
referring to the Quran, then they are not talking or practising Islam but
something else, some other religion.

And I agree that this 'Hadith and Sunnah' Religion - Mohammedanism is
a dangerous beast.

Pathma

Top
#1318 - March 19, 2007 12:46 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
A discussion with Koenraad Elst.

Your Shiva is our Allah


You carelessly think that I'm a gullible Gandhian Hindu, but read this;

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akandabaratam/message/26439


Even in the original article, which you did not read carefully in your
earnestness to diss islam wholesale, I have explained that no matter what
explanations the muslims offer, those verses and chapters that deals with
'infidels' is entirely unacceptable and that probably a third of the Quran has
to be expunged. The entire 'Medina' verses is unacceptable, as opposed to the
earlier 'Mecca' verses. So I have no qualms in saying that there *is* a problem
in the Quran itself. Not only the Hadith and Sunnah but the Medina verses in the
Quran too is unacceptable. Therefore I am saying the Quran too is corrupted.

Apart from the objectionable parts of the quran, I have also stated that the
idea of the 'last prophet' is also not acceptable to us. So I suggest you
reread my articles again.

The 'messenger' shall not stand alongside the words of god in the quran. So
whatever 'Mo' did, or say, is of no relevance, and shall not stand alongside the
quran. Mo does not speak for god. The quran stands alone. Mo's job was to
deliver the Message, and that is all! So we don't care for Mo's evangelisations,
wars, words or his actions. There is no place for Mohammed in *this* islam.


< If Mohammed had accepted all religions, he wouldn't have tried to convert
people, let alone converting them by force, as he did on numerous occasions.>

What Mo did is of no relevance to this islam. We are not interested in what Mo
did or said or his life, and he is no oauthority. We dispense with him once the
'message' has been received. We are only interested in what 'god' said as per
the quran. Muslims are (supposed) to follow only the words of god and not the
words or actions of Mo, or any other. If Mo did not accept other religions, that
is his problem, but that is not the teachings of the quran. I quite clearly
titled the article as 'the teachings of islam' and not that of Mo or anything.

<His whole career, extensively confirmed in the Quran, was a war against the
Pagans, a category which includes the Hindus, as the Muslim conquerors of India
perfectly understood.>

Unbelievers in the Quran means;
1. those who do not believe in the abrahamic reveletions
2. the unjust and wicked.

The war was against 'unbelievers' - people who do not believe in god, and that
excludes all theists, including Hindus. Or rather that is the way that was
supposed to be.

These are the unbelievers:
Do you not notice those who are lying with the deen? They neglect the orphans.
They do not advocate the feeding of the poor. Therefore curses be on those who
are obliged, while heedless of their commitments. They only show off, and they
are averse to charity. (107:1-7)


Believers in the Quran means:

49.13. O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female,
and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye
may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is
(he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well
acquainted (with all things).

5:8 - "Believers, stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and
let not the hatred of others toward you make you swerve to wrong and depart
from?justice. Be just: that is next to piety..."

11:117 - Your Lord never destroy any community, while the people are righteous.

2.3. Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what
We have provided for them;

2.4. And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time,
and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.

2.5. They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will
prosper.

2.21. O ye people! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came
before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness.

108 We have given you many bounties. In appreciation, you shall serve your Lord
and be charitable. Your enemy will henceforth be the loser.

You can never guide anyone. God is the only one who guides in accordance with
His will. Any charity you give is for your own good. Any charity you give shall
be purely for the sake of God. And any charity you give will be repaid to you
without the least injustice. (2:272)

They ask you about charity. Say, "The charity shall go to parents, relatives,
the orphans, the poor, and those who are on the path. Any righteous deeds you
do, God is fully aware thereof." (2:215)

He who is charitable in the cause of God is like a seed that grows seven ears
with one hundred seeds in each ear. God multiplies the reward many fold for
whomever He wills. God is bounteous, omniscient. (2:262)

Do you know who the rejecters of faith are? They neglect the orphans. They do
not advocate the feeding of the poor. Therefore a curse be on those who pray
ritually, while heedless of their ritual prayers. They only show off. And they
are averse to charity. (107:1-7)

The Reading spells out other examples of good deeds to be observed by those who
are committed to the prescribed way of life from God:

Successful indeed are the believers, who are upright in their commitments
(Solaa-ti-hem) those who avoid vain talk, those who keep it pure, they guard
their chastity except with their wives, and with those who rightfully belong to
them do they have sex without being blamed. (23:1-6)

They are trustworthy when it comes to deposits entrusted to them, or the
promises they make, and they constantly uphold their obligations (Solawa-ti-hem)
(23:8-9)

In this verse it clearly says that those who avoid vain talk, guard their
chastity and commit themselves to these values as a way of life are the
successful believers. Additionally, they uphold their obligations diligently in
fulfilling what they have promised and they are trustworthy when it comes to
deposits entrusted to them. In other words, the Reading emphasises sincerity and
honesty through deeds.

Therefore 'believers in the Quran means the righteous and just ones. Serve your
lord means do good deeds in life. Taking care of the orphans, feeding the poor
and carrying out charity work can only be fulfilled by the deeds of a committed
person.


<The real Quran is hopelessly "parochial" and quite unwilling to admit any
equality between Pagan/Hindu "idolatry" and the true religion of Allah.>


It is true that the quran does not admit any equality with any religions, but it
does say that each follow their own way. And it does admit that if god had
willed it, all would be muslims. Meaning the existence of all religions is the
will of god and has to be accepted.

11.118. If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but
they will not cease to dispute.


<It is the Quran itself that refuses to include Shiva and Vishnu in its list,
just as it refuses to include al-Uzza or Manaat or any other Pagan Arab deity.
For Mohammed, those are all "false gods".>


In arabic the word for god is 'allah'. Believe in God, is what the Quran says.
That is all. Your god (allah) is my god (allah), and we worship/believe in the
same god.

Regarding Uzzat, Manat and other gods, keep in mind the satanic verses of Al
Najm.

<Don't try to be the judge in your own trial. Whether my allegation stands
debunked, is for the readers to decide. And to let them decide, I will quote
the verses that even now you keep on concealing:>


Fine. Let the readers judge the entire chapter.

<"Sura 109. Al-Kafirun (The Rejecters/Unbelievers).
1. Say: O ye that reject faith!
2. I worship not that which ye worship.
3. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
4. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship.
5. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
6. To you be your way, and to me mine."

>One of the oldest Suras, it explicitates the clean break between Islam and
other religions, between Allah and the Arabian gods; and by extension, between
Allah and Shiva/Vishnu. There can be no common ground or compromise between
Paganism and Islam. At that point, Mohammed was in no position yet to impose
Islam (as soon as he was, he did), but at least at the ideological level, war
between islam and Paganism stands declared.>


You are assuming that pagans here means Hindus. Well they are not. There is no
knowledge of Hindus or Buddhists in the Quran. These pagans were those who
worship the numerous arab gods and do not accept the abrahamic revelations.
Clearly Hindus are believers but with their own 'deen' or way.

This chapter is about 'unbelievers'. Unbelievers are those who worship not god
but wealth, power, greed, and those who perpetrate crimes, inhumaness,
injustice, profiteers the wicked, ill treatment of orphans and women, etc. That
is what most arabs were in those lawless caravan raiding days or rape and
plunder. Those are the unbelievers.

It is a clean break with these people, but *still* gives them the freedom to
choose their path. As a general statement, it means everyone is entitled to go
their own path without compulsion.

17:107 You can believe therein or disbelieve.


Inspite of all these explanations I have clearly mentioned that all references
to kafirs in the Quran would not be acceptable to us Hindus or anyone today!


<But at least Mohammed accepts that others can follow their own way? If this
Sura had stood by itself, that interpretation would be possible. But then,
unfortunately, the rest of the Quran and of Mohammed career took place. When
around the death-bed of Mohammed's Pagan uncle Abu Talib, the Meccans proposed
peaceful coexistence, with the exact same words "to you your way, to us ours",
Mohammed refused and demanded that they convert to Islam, nothing less. As does
the Quran in numerous instances.


Once again, we are not interested in what Mo said or did. Who is Mohammed? What
authority has he got? The quran says there shall be no god, no authority beside
god. So the Hadith and Sunnah is rejected, and so is Mohammed.


<Genuine Shiva worshippers stand condemned as Kafirs anyway, but let's suppose
for the sake of argument that Shiva is accepted as equal with Allah. That would
put you in the same category as Jews and Christians, i.e. people who believe in
Allah but fail in the second and at least equally important criterion for being
a Muslim, viz. believing in Mohammed as Allah's prophet. Which then entails
believing in the Quranic revelation and in the whole edifice of Islamic law
built upon it.>


That is right, it puts Hindus and other religionists in the same category as the
people of the book, all of us who do not accept Mohammed as a prophet. And as
the quran says muslims shall not argue with the people of the book, it goes that
they shall not argue with Hindus too.


> >><"... Anyone who does good deeds is a
> muslim, irrespective of religion, and will be rewarded in heaven,
> which is the finality for a muslim soul (2.112, & 31.8)" ><<

> The key word that you miss, is "good" deeds. If you are a Hindu, you worship
false gods, which is the most evil deed in the Islamic universe. Only if you
drop your false religion, can you be in a position to do good deeds as
Islamically understood. You are totally missing the underlying Islamic
framework and imposing your own sentimental Gandhian-Hindu framework upon the
Quran.>


That would be fair to say and that is the opinion of most common muslims. That
would be correct to say *if* they don't accept that your God is my God, and that
God created all things, all nations and cultures, and He sent prophets to all
communities.

<Moreover, your translation is wrong. The verse doesn't say: "Whoever does good
deeds is a Muslim, and will get his reward", but rather: "Whoever does good
deeds and wholly submits (maslama) to Allah, will get his reward...", or in
other words: "Whoever does good deeds and is a Muslim/submitter, will get his
reward." Always and without fail, the Quran divides mankind in two camps, the
Muslims and the rest, and promises wholly different rights to the two in this
world, and a wholly different future (of reward c.q. punishment) in the next.>


Yes the Quran divides mankind into two camps. I have already explained above who
the believers and unbelievers are. The minute one accepts God who is onmiscient,
one is a muslim. BTW I don't do translations, just copy and paste.

> >It is more correct to say that like almost all muslims the taliban have
> grown up steeped in the *Hadith and Sunnah* day in day out. How
> could they be reciting the prayers when its not present in the Quran?<
>
> It is yet another Hindu line of sweet self-deception to contrast the Quran and
the Hadith. The two are exponents of the same ideology, esp. regarding the
inequality between Muslims and Unbelievers.>


I have been trying to show where all the commonly held beliefs and practices of
muslims originate from; that it originates from the bible and NOT the Quran.
Accept that loudly and clearly.


> Whatever you may be on other points, on this one you are entirely Gandhian,
i.e. full of false self-assuredness about an imposed interpretation of Islam
that wouldn't stand a moment's scrutiny. Like Gandhi, you are imagining a
Hindu-Muslim-bhai-bhai message in the Quran and indulging in that sweet
imagination all while avoiding the simplest reality check.>

Keep in mind the Hindu teachings of 'One God, Many the names' as a centrality
when assessing other religions. No Hindu can deny that the muslim Allah is our
Hindu Shiva. Please understand that religions worship one and the same supreme
god. But our paths to him are different (and we shall not compromise). Looking
from this angle everything makes sense. As for the islamists, as I said before,
there is no place for them today. You may read into that.


> So you are preaching hatred against Muslims all while keeping the explanation
for their misbehaviour, viz. the Quran and their belief in it, outside the range
of criticism. It is the old Guru Golwalkar line: "Mohammed was a great prophet,
the Quran is a great scripture, but the Muslims are great fools." Since you
cannot deny the Muslims' misbehaviour, that only leaves you with the Muslims to
blame. My approach (i.e. Ram Swarup's) is just the opposite: not Muslims are
the problem, but Islam and esp. its core, the Quran. That's a better and more
humane basis for working out the problems. All it takes is to liberate the
Muslims from their superstitious belief in the Quranic revelation, which was but
Mohammed's self-centred hallucination.>


And I feel is that all it takes is to liberate the muslims from the Hadith and
Sunnah. Without that they are 'religionless' and only have a 'deen' or Way of
life.


> To conclude, I am sorry to have used such harsh language against you. Maybe
my poor health makes me less capable now of listening to harmful nonsense
without lapsing into irritation and even anger. At any rate, after 18 years of
observing the Indian religio-political scene and seeing Hindus smash their own
windows, scuttle their own campaigns, and misinform their own people, I have no
more patience with your exercise in self-deception. Even if it had't been
couched in pompous and self-congratulatory language, your plea for a pluralistic
reading of the Quran would remain totally untrue and hence gravely harmful to
anyone who has to deal with the Islam problem in the real world.>

Your knowledge of islam is like that of the common arab, Dr. Elst. Street
knowledge like that of the madrassah extremist, that of the unread. Is is this
kind of knowledge that causes all the problems in the world vis-a-vis islam. By
this you are pitting the Hindus against the muslim, quite unnecessarily.
Henceforth we have to be wary of you. Our arguments is exactly against this kind
of knowledge, that of the Hadith and Sunnah, of the mad arab muslim, and of the
satanic Medina verses of the quran. Today there rises many muslim intellectuals
who expose this view of islam as I expounded.

In your over anxiety to trash all of islam, you have made insinuations upon me
and are not retracting it. I give fair warning that I shall not be kind after
this.

Regards.

Pathma

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#1319 - March 20, 2007 11:56 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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A discussion with Koenraad Elst - continued.

Your Shiva is our Allah


Dear Pathma,
 
So now you are defending an Islam which "expunges" one third of the Quran, the whole of the Sunnah, and the key role of Mohammed.  Even the mullahs whom you claimed as giving their stamp of approval to your whitewash of the Quran, will hesitate to approve of that version of Islam.  The Islam that you are trying to sell, doesn't exist in the mind of even a single Muslim, past or present.
 
What a great Gandhian you are.  Refusing to see the reality of Islam, and fondly indulging a fantasy of Islam instead.  I am sorry for disrupting your rapturous fantasy.  I'm quitting.  You just go and keep getting off on that wonderful Islam of your imagination.  Enjoy!
 
 
Koenraad Elst

----------------------------------------------

Hang on a minute Koenraad, don't go just yet.

This has been my position on islam right from the beginning, that is, the
quran sans the hadith and sunnah, sans the later Medina abrogation verses.

On the contrary this is the position of many islamic intellectuals including
Aidid Safar, Wafa Sultana, Salman Rushdie, Tasleema Nasreen, Raja Petra
Kamaruddin and many many others. This is a growing group who at last
themselves see the light, that islam is not a religion at all but just a 'deen'.

They have also confirmed that one must use his head at all times as
mentioned in the quran, accept nothing without verifying, and nothing
*includes* the quran itself. Rationality has been given the highest
sweeping place in the quran as I mentioned. The orthodox muslims and
mullahs have no answer for this and all our challenges.

Several muslims have told me that what I say is correct and wish to follow
this path of the 'deen' but hesitate to do so openly due to public pressure.

By intellectual arguments alone we'll shorn islam of the hadith and sunnah,
and place islam back to where it was before he fled to Medina.

Islam that is known and practised today is indeed a monstrosity, the
aborrent religion of the hadith and sunnah, and has to be eliminated,
one way or another. No one has any doubt on this, most of all me.

No doubt there will be a fatwa on me.

Pathma

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#1320 - March 20, 2007 07:44 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
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In view of the discussions on Your Shiva is our Allah, this article on the Danish Cartoons aftermath gives another related view.

Ban the Koran - Konraad Elst

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/825

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#1321 - March 21, 2007 03:41 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Christian Laws (like Islamic Shariah laws) from the Old Testament of the Bible


Those who do not believe in God must be put to Death
Deut 17 : 2-7
Deut 13 :13-19
Lev 24:16

All who curse their father or mother must be put to Death
Lev 20:9

Adulterer Must be put to Death
Lev 20:10

Gays Must be put to Death
Lev 20:13

Rebellious teenagers must be put to Death
Deut 21

Women Should not speak
1 Corinthians 14
1 Tim 2

Children to be killed
Isaiah 13
Hosea 13
Numbers 31

Those who work on a Saturday must be put to death
Death : Exodus 31:15

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#1322 - April 06, 2007 11:31 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
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On Karma and Free Will


On Karma Determinism

The role of 'chance' is something that is being overlooked in most causal thinking, particulary karma theory.  It is 'chance' that is at play in, say, nuclear decay, i.e. whether and when a specific atomic nucleus would split is not predictable.  Overall, it's a world that appears to be a mix of determinism and indeterminism (probability).  


On Free Will & god's Will

VaLLalar's struggle over whether he is himself acting OR is being made to act finds expression in words that Dr Loga has rendered in English as follows: 
 
QUOTE
..... I am not sure whether I really did it. Perhaps it was You who played again like this but making me think that I in fact played acted and so forth . Tell me which is the case.
UNQUOTE

I think these words are amenable to interpretation in the light of insights emerging from (neuro)psychology, etc.
 
Instead of seeing it as a struggle between man and God, it may be regarded as a struggle of conscience of a highly sensitive or evolved individual. Conscience is conditioned by both the conscious and the unconscious.  (Psychopaths are not troubled by conscience.  They are found to be literally missing in conscience!)
 
As much as we pride ourselves as rational or thinking beings, much of our existence is auto-piloted by the unconscious. To that extent, human autonomy or free-will is not even called into play! 
 
According to some neuropsychological perspectives, human autonomy or free-will is itself often an illusion because the unconscious mind acts first (like one's hand reaching out to grab an object) and then the conscious mind constructs an explanation, making one think that the act was consciously caused by oneself.  That is, the 'cause' that is being consciously attributed is something that happens after the 'effect' of the unconscious (the stretching out of the hand).  It is a case of 'effect' preceding the 'cause'!  An inversion that is terribly upsetting for traditional thinking on causation. 
 
On the other hand, even the unconscious mind is not an isolated entity.  Nothing exists in isolation.  There are different degrees of interconnection and interaction with other entities, physical or non-physical.  The embedding 'context' exerts influences on both the conscious and unconscious of the individual.  It is this interactional dynamics, borrowing from insights offered by network theory, that drives an entity in ways that is NOT consciously willed. 
 
There are perspectives that were not available during earlier times, certainly not during the times of VaLLalar. But they are emerging today. They make possible explanations which do NOT require reference to God. Inside man himself is packed astounding complexity. That individual complexity exists not in isolation but in interaction with the environment, which in turn adds further complexity. 
 
It is a complexity that is showing up as God is being pushed back by science.   
 
So VaLLalar's anguish seems to be a consequence of the 'conscious' and the 'unconscious' playing on the ground of his highly sensitive conscience. It is further immensely complicated by the fact that is NOT a stand-alone ground but one that is located in a field of interactions with other physical and non-physical entities. 
 
Anbudan
ARUL
http://anbudanarul.blogspot.com
 

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#1323 - April 17, 2007 03:06 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Catholics & Protestants on Religious Exclusivism


The Catholic Church has 'officially' renounced religious exclusivity since the Vatican II in 1964. However this is still not seen on the ground and most catholics, including the clergy, appear unaware or disregard it.

The "Apostles Creed" is as close a statement of what the Christian believes in. It doesn't say that the non-believers are going to hell.

The Catholic Church has been quite clear on this issue (Second Vatican Council):

One of many documents to come out of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (often referred to as 'Vatican II') during the early to mid 1960s was the 'Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Lumen Gentium'.

Chapter 1, sections 14 to 16 discuss salvation of Catholics and others. An "Assessment of this Council" reads:

"The non-Christian may not be blamed for his ignorance of Christ and his Church; salvation is open to him also, if he seeks God sincerely and if he follows the commands of his conscience, for through this means the Holy Ghost acts upon all men; this divine action is not confined within the limited boundaries of the visible Church."

It was discussed and decided by over 300 bishops and cardinals over four years. Papers were already building up for a decade prior to Vatican II. So its not a one man's decision.

In the year 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, -- now Pope Benedict XVI -- issued a document: Dominus Iesus on the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church. It stated that:

"Salvation is possible to those who are not Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox. The prayers and rituals of other religions may help or hinder their believers. Some practices may prepare their membership to absorb the Gospel. However, those rituals which depend on superstitions or other errors... constitute an obstacle to salvation.

Members of other religions are 'gravely deficient' relative to members of the Church of Christ who already have 'the fullness of the means of salvation."

Benedict somewhat further qualifies Vatican II without changing the basic premise. In practise however all non-Christians are viewed as 'gravely deficient', as the Vatican II decisions have not permeated, or not allowed to permeate, to the ground level, to the faithful and the masses. Of course the man on the ground, even pastors, may be ignorant of papal dealings or appear ignorant, or simply do not care, sauced as they are over the theology. They carry on with their merry lives thinking they are actually doing something good.

A point I was subtly suggesting is that John Paul went against Vatican II, making him a schismatic, an apostate? Vatican II was in the aftermath of WW2, where the church realised the colossal greiviousness of its teachings, hence its revision on exclusivism in 1964.

Theology itself may be nice and rosy. But whether it is nazi racism, slavery, colonialism, ethnic cleansing of indigeneous communities - all of this can be traced back to beliefs in original sin and need for a savior.

The Protestants' views are more varied from fundamentalists to liberals. Still that has not blunted their dogged aspirations of proselytism. On the contrary, John Paul unabashedly called for a rich harvest of souls, in effect reversing the ecclesiastical decisions of Vatican II with his issuance of a policy statement upon coming into office, 'The Mission of the Redeemer', which is a point-blank call for conversion by subterfuge! His erstwhile pupil, Ratzinger, who drafted the Redeemer document, continues the policy, now extended to the Muslim world with his harangue recollection of the words of the Byzantine emperor and calls for dialogue with the Muslim world, all with a view towards open conflation and conflict on Abrahamic theology. Vatican II is an admission that the Christian churches have been wrong for 2,000 years, a monumental error that cast havoc on humanity.

Hitler was not the cause of anti-Semitism. He like many before him was the end product of 2,000 years of virulent Christian history, finally culminating in the holocaust. The holocaust is the end result of the beliefs in 'original sin' and messiahs, for it divides people into believers and non believers, and unleashes unrestrained proselytism on pain of death. The pre-reformation Christians, and the Muslims till today have been faithful to this dogma. In mild forms it is imperialism and ethnic cleansing, and in extreme forms it is genocides and jihad.

Whereas now the Catholics and protestants have restyled proselytism into subtler forms. It includes interfaith 'dialogues' to inculturation - adoption of local customs, traditions, language and even rituals so as to appear indigenous and blend in, the target being the ultimate purpose of conversion by covert subterfuge. It has gone underground. Every smile, greetings, kind words, gift, praise, agreeableness, is all geared towards that ultimate objective - to wear down, followed by an invitation to participate in church festivals and activities. Hence the insistence on the word Allah for God, to reach out to the non believing masses in the language they understand best, using the infrastructural concepts already in place. It is policy driven, for market share!

The question to those of the non-Abrahamic faiths, who are 50% of humanity and the ascending powers today, as to 'why does it matter that Christians believe all Hindus and Buddhists will go to hell' is most apt. In fact we have a bigger example than the holocaust to prove this conclusion of what is in store - Islam. Or rather Mohammadanism.

Mohammadanism is the religion of the Hadiths and Sunnah, and sometimes includes the Quran as a cursory reference. The faithful are followers of the Prophet Mohammad, his life and acts. Synonyms include the Arab Religion, Wahabbi-ism and Deobandi-ism.

Islam, rather, Mohammadanism took the theology of Bible - "you will go to hell if you don't accept my god and his son" - and refined it further. It says "if you don't accept my god (Allah) and his messenger then not only will you go to hell, but I and my fellow religionists have a divine sanction, nay a command, to send you there right here and now". This is called jihad.

Hopefully this misguided rabid thinking which guided the followers of the Hadiths and the Sunnah, and the church itself for more than a millennium, and still does in a refined format, would come to an end with this last whoop on 9/11 which woke up the world.

That is wishful thinking of course over coffee and croissants on a lazy afternoon, for the raison d etaire of the Abrahamic faiths is evangelism at all cost. Else they might as well not exist, for it defeats their very basis of faith; the original sin and messiah - the two most destructive concepts conceived on earth! The genesis for their own destruction lies therein in that DNA.

"As for those who accuses us of proselytism, I have only a simple question to ask. If you are walking down the park and noticed the bridge has collapsed due to heavy rain, would you not call for help or warn others not to approach the bridge?"

Does it occur to you that others view this as patronising, presumptuous, and condescending, as if you know what is better? Does it occur to you that half of humanity with far more mature civilisations simply do not accept ideas such as original sin or the need for prophets and saviours and messiahs? This is so condescending to humanity and it is infuriating to be told that 'you need to be saved'. What asian civilisations have is teachers and saints, tens of thousands of them in an unbroken chain till today in all communities.

"When Jesus died, most of his disciples have fled with the leading disciple disowning Jesus thrice! "

That Judas betrayed is another lie foisted on the people and most gullibly bought the story. In my opinion he was the only one who understood Jesus and his teachings, the only one faithful, while the other eleven where hangers on. Its time to resurrect the honor of Judas.

The main point I'm making; that the catholic church has overturned and abandoned religious exclusivism. In other words, no need for a savior, no need to be saved, no need for a son of god, it was fine all along anyways. One can 'save' oneself, whatever that means. This preempts proselytisation! This is official church doctrine, and now, revised theology!

Now isn't this what we said in the beginning? This completely undermines islam, doesn't it? Christianity's first major theological blow to islam.

Pathma


Agreed - they had flaws and sins committed as a result of those "fatwas" passed by politician/ warrior/king Popes.

It has to be borne in mind that the Papacy isn't a person - it's an institution, not a dictatorship (despite appearing to be so). The difference here is the fact that it has the humility to admit its mistakes, and review its opinions and interpretations - and it is an ongoing process of countless debates and academic research.

That they have declared that they do not have a monopoly on truth and the possibility of "extraordinary" salvation is one remarkable achievement that is almost unheard of in monotheistic theological circles.

By "extraordinary" salvation, it does not mean that the manifestations of God in all his forms is "unnecessary" - it only means that God can manifest in spirit, in the hearts of whosoever he choses - even he doesn't declare any allegiances to any school of thought.

cruzeiro


[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited January 10, 2008).]

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#1324 - April 17, 2007 03:57 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
On Moral Decay & Sexual Decadence


There appears to be much moral decay in society nowadays; from sexual decadence to corrupt practices to a lack of the fear of God.

There is a great deal of ethical and moral decay because of the willful oppression and subservience of the individual conscience to man made laws, especially religious laws. There cannot be any moral decay if the conscience is let free.

But there is no sexual decadence and never has been, ever.

Man is always subconsciously guided by his instinctive animal nature, imprinted in his subconscious mind, the biological blueprint embedded in the genes. This cannot be overcome or controlled or suppressed by man-made laws. The subconscious mind does not listen to the conscious mind or rationality, ethics, morals, etc. It overrules them all. The subconscious is guided by its own dna imprint, and above all, the overarching goal is the enriching of the gene pool and propagation of the species. Enlarging the gene pool supercedes any logic or religion.

People and religions fail to understand this, make rules and laws to control this tsunami, and always fail. Then call it sexual decadence. The mind is 99% subconscious and 1% conscious, and the conscious can never control the overwhelmingly forceful subconscious.

In my understanding, no one has committed any sexual sin, ever. They may have guilty of not upholding their commitments. They were naturally guided by their dna, with its higher mysterious purpose. Therefore one has to forgive any 'sexual slights' immediately. Thats why all religions stress on forgiveness as godliness.

One does not want to discriminate but his religion tells him to do so, and so he discriminates against his conscience. One does not want to abstain from sex, but his religion tells him to do so; he tries against his inner urgings to the contrary and eventually fails.

This is not a license for licentiousness. Go ahead and try, give your best shot. Unless your subconsciously tells you to do it, it will never happen. 'He' has to will it, thru your subconscious, for it to happen.

Just some thoughts.

[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited April 17, 2007).]

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#1325 - May 10, 2007 04:21 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Gays & Transexuals


Allan & Barbara Pease on "Why Men don't listen and
women can't read maps". Here the authors say that research shows the
basic template for the body and brain of a human foetus is female in
structure...Six to eight weeks after conception, a male foetus (XY)
receives a massive dose of male hormones called androgens which first
forms the testes, and then a second dose to alter the brain from a
female format to a male configuration. If the male foetus does not
receive enough male hormones at the appropriate time, one of two
things may happen.

"Firstly, a baby boy may be born with a brain structure that is more
feminine than masculine, in other words, a boy who is most likely to
be gay by puberty. Secondly, a genetic boy may be born with a fully
functioning female brain and a set of male genitals. This person will
be transgender," say the Peases. The claims made by the authors are
supported at every turn by scientific facts, which make them quite
believable.

Rajaratnam Chandrasegaran

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#1326 - May 30, 2007 02:19 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The Average Hindu Today

Is Christianity and Islam responsible for the rot within Hinduism?

I can't help but laugh when I hear of these mid-aged men in the US or India (that have no regard for their health though extol the values of Yoga, have no understanding of tolerance though cite the immense acceptance that Hinduism has built into its core principals that they never follow, and have no real compulsion to donate their time and energy to worthy causes though they they on and on about how Hinduism will die out without it) going out and setting up little conferences on Hindutva and sharing ideas of how India can purge itself of Islamic influences or how everyone else is stupid in the world because India had flying machines and atomic bombs in the 4 Millenia BC.
------------------------------------------------

Also lets not be lost with terms like "faith", "religion" etc. Faith is the core of only the faith based religions. Hinduism is not primarily faith based. It is primarily "jnana" (gnosis) based. To give an example, a statement by Jesus Christ in the Bible "I and my father are one", arose from a personal experience and has several counterparts in Hindu Upanishads too. But in Christianity that claim is made exclusive to the point that Jesus Christ becomes the ONLY son of god capable of having that experience, and faith is needed to accept that. In contrast an identical experience by some Hindu sages, is immediately generalized to say that any one can have that experience, (and have the jnana (gnosis), no need for faith), therefore a general statement is made that "Self is God". Same experience by a sage or avatar can lead to different religious doctrines depending upon whether the religion emphasizes faith or gnosis.

Science can't claim that it is the sole depository of all truths. It can only claim that it is a depository of some falsifiable claims.

Please read up a little bit on Carl Popper's Falsifiability criterion for scientific validity. This criterion is central in seprating pseudo science from science and is one of the major priciples of the scientific method. Others being Occam's Razor etc.

And, it does say that scientific method can only disprove (or precisely speaking falsify). It can not prove a scientific claim to be true, it can only prove it to be false..

So all scientific statements are provisonally assumed to be true and are ever on the chopping block to be falsified, and when they are "proven" false, a thing which scientific method can actually do, they are thrown out or modified.

Religions may have some handle on those truths which are currently outside the scope of science. In hinduism the handle is provided by the practice of Yoga. You follow the way, you will see, is the claim.
------------------------------------------------

diverse opinions from Bharat Rakshak

[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited May 30, 2007).]

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#1327 - May 30, 2007 02:29 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
SLAVERY

If I tell someone "Its ok, you'll be fine. As long as I am alive, you can count on me".

The person may think that I care but in actual fact, I've turned that person into a slave. Why?

I am indirectly telling that person: -
1. You are not capable.
2. The world out there will kill you, if you go alone
3. I am what you need
4. You need me
5. Without me, you will DIE
6. I'll give you food. You don't have to worry
7. You just have to listen to me, because I care for you.


If I really do care, I'll give affirmations, like these:_

1. The world may be a tough one but I BELIEVE you have what it takes to do it
2. You don't need anyone to survive. You will achieve great success on your own.
3. I'll do my best to share what I know but you will definitely achieve more than what I could do in my lifetime.

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#1328 - May 30, 2007 02:47 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 375
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The Hindu Concept of Time


The measurement of time in the West is restricted to a second at the lowest
level and a century at the highest level.However, ancient Vedic scholars had
defined time from a very minute part of a second to a large multiple of century.
"Surya Siddhanta" (499 CE) is an ancient Vedic text dealing with the astronomical
configurations of the zodiac.

Time in West is measured in the order of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks,
fortnights (biweekly), months, years, decades and centuries. Though scientists
divide seconds into milli, micro or nano seconds, the nomenclature still
assumes a second as the basic unit.

As per the Surya Siddhanta, the smallest measurement of time is Truti, which is
equivalent to one 3,240,000th part of a second. The time taken to pin a padma
patra (lotus leaf) with a needle is called Truti.

60 such Trutis are equal to one Renuvu, which make it one 54,000th part of a
second. 60 Renuvus comprise one Lavamu, thereby, one Lavamu is a 900th part of a
second. 60 Lavamus make one Leekshakamu. Hence one Leekshakamu is one 15th of a
second. 60 Leekshakamus equal to one Pranamu, accordingly one Pranamu is 4
seconds long. It is also stated that one Pranamu is the time taken to enunciate
ten long syllables.

As per Surya siddhanta (from 10th verse), 6 Pranamus are equal to one
Vighadiya. One Vighadiya is 24 seconds long. 60 Vighadiyas make Ghadiya, which
therefore is equal to 24 minutes. In other words, one minute consists of 2.5
Vighadiyas whereas one hour has 2.5 Ghadiyas.

60 Ghadiyas are said to equal one Stellar day, technically called one
Nakshatra Ahoratram. 60 Ghadiyas of the Hindu systema re equal to 24 hours of
the Western system. 30 stellar days make one Nkshatra Masam (month).
A day is counted by Hindus from one sunrise to the next, while Westerners
treat the time between two consecutive midnights as one day. A month is defined
by Hindus in four different ways. One is stellar month, as described in the
first paragraph. Second kind is called Saavana month;The time between two
consecutive sunrises is considered as one Saavana day and 30 such days
constitute Saavana month. The third type of the month is Lunar month.The time
between two consecutive new moon days is called lunar month, and it consists of
30 lunar tithis. The fourth type of month is a solar month. The zodiac is
treated as a circle having 360 degrees. The time taken by the sun to travel 1
degree of this circular zodiac is called one solar day. 30 such solar days
combine to make one solar month. The zodiac is divided into 12 (Rasi) signs,
namely Mesha, Vrishaba... and so on. Each sign occupies 30 degrees. The sun's
movement thru' one Rasi (sign)is completed on one solar month which is also
referred to as one Sankramana. Thus Sun's passage thru' Mesha is called Mesha
Sankramana.

A solar year consists of 12 solar months. One solar year is said to be equal
to one day of the Devatas or one Divine day. Thus 360 solar years are equal to
one Divine year. 12,000 Divine years form one Maha Yuga. Thus one Maha Yuga
contains 4,320,000 solar years. A Maha Yuga contains 4 yugas, namely Krita Yuga
(1,728,000 solar years), Treta Yuga (1,296,000 solar years), Dwapara Yuga
(864,000 solar years) and Kali Yuga (432,000 solar years) in that order. Each
yuga is again divided into 4 equal Padas (Quadrants).

71 Maha Yugas are collectively termed as a Manvantra, which thereby consists
of 306,720,000 solar years. After each Manvantra, it is said that there is a
Sandhi Kala of the duration of one Krita Yuga (1,728,000 solar years). It is
also stated that the entire earth is submerged under water during such a Sandhi
Kala.

A Manvantra, along with its Sandhi Kala, is jointly considered as a unit
(308,448,000 solar years). 14 such units combine to form a Kalpa (4,318,272,000
solar years). At the beginning of each Kalpa is included an Adi Sandhi period,
again of the duration of one Krita Yuga (1,728,000 solar years). Thus one Kalpa
is equal to 4,320,000,000 (432 crores or 4.32 Billion) solar years, that is 1000
Maha Yugas.

One Kalpa is said to be half a day for Lord Brahma. Hence one day of Lord
Brahma is equal to 864 crore ( 8.64 Billion) solar years. The name of the
present Kalpa is Sweta Varaha. In the present Kalpa, six Manvantaras plus
Sandhis have been completed and the seventh Manvantara by name Vyvaswata
Manvantara is running. In this Manvantara, 27 Maha Yugas are over and we are in
the twentieth (28). In this 28th Maha Yuga, three Yugas are past and the fourth,
that is Kali Yuga's first quadrant started about 5005 years ago. This is the
reason why before commencing any puja, ritual or vrata (worship), we start
invoking the Gods, reminding ourselves of the time elapsed to date, by chanting
the Sankalpa thus.

SANKALPAM
Adya Brahmanah, Dwiteeya Parardhe, Sri Sweta Varaha Kalpe, Vyvaswata Manvantare,
Kali Yuge, Prathama Pade, Jambu Dweepe, Bharata varshe,..
and so on.

The author (Sri Rao) concludes:
I wish to impress upon the readers that in the Vedic system, the measurement of
time ranges from the smallest Truit (3,240,000th part of a second) to a Day of
Lord Brahma (8.64 Billion solar years). This detailed visualization of time is
unique to the Hindu system, unequalled by any other system in the world. I
salute to the intelligence of the ancient scholars of our country.

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#1329 - May 30, 2007 02:52 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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On Usage of Tamil in Defeating Foreign Religious Influences

The reason for spear heading Tamil literatures include the following; it's
the only tool which cannot be rivalled by Sanskrit etc., in terms of
antiquity and continuity, it's unique wealth of literature, magnificent
universalistic creations like Thirukkural, Thiru Arutpa, everything in it's
uninterrupted divine flow, and the list goes on.

unknown author

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#1330 - June 20, 2007 12:26 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Agneya (or Agni) Purana


As per sacred history, Agni Purana was revealed to sage Vasishtha by the Vedic
God Agni. Hence it is also described as Agneya (from Agni).

In it may be found one list of the ten avataras of Vishnu, and details on each.
In the Matsya avatara, for example, Vishnu appears to Manu as a fish that
gradually grows in size, and He says, "I must punish those that are evil and
protect those that are good." He then informs Manu that there would be the grand
deluge a week later, and says a boat will come to save Manu. He instructs Manu
take the saptarishis (seven sages) on the boat as also seeds for grains." This
reminds one of the story of Noah's Ark in the Old Testament. Either such
stories spread from culture to culture, or there was indeed a global flooding at
one time, like the global warming that is threatening humanity now.

There is a retelling of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in this purana.
Incidentally, other puranas do this also, often with minor variations. About
Buddha the Agni Purana says that it was Mahâmoha (the Great Deluder) that
incarnated as the son of Suddhodana. He created such illusions that the asuras
who till then had followed the Vedic path, and now abandoned it and became
Buddhists. It refers to Buddhist ceremonies as a pathway to naraka (the nether
world). This is an obvious reference to the spread of Buddhism within India, and
it shows how this was looked upon by Hindu thinkers.

Th Agni Purana describes Kali Yuga as one in which people are immoral,
cowardly, and materialistic. Unbelievers rule the world, it says, and they would
also become cannibals. Then, at last, Kalki would be born to Vishnuyasha, and he
would decimate all the infidels. After this, the era of righteousness (satya
yuga) will be established again. It is important to remember puranas are
essentially narrations of the received lore. This promised advent of Kali
reminds us of the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

The Purana says that Vishnu must be depicted as riding eight-armed Garuda and
He too must have eight arms, holding sword, mace, shield, discus, and conch
shell. The eighth hand is granting a boon. To his right are Lakshmi and
Sarasvati. Those who have seen Ravi Varma's painting of Vishnu may recognize the
Agni Purana inspiration in it.

The creation story in this work is very similar to what one finds in other
puranas: Brahmâ and the Cosmic Egg. And it is said that the texts of the Vedas
emerged from Brahmâ's body. Though Vishnu is described as the Lord of creation,
preservation, and destruction, this is still a purana of the Shaiva category.
There are references to the lingam which is to be made of the earth, iron,
jewels, gold, silver, bronze, or mercury. This reveals the knowledge of
metallurgical craftsmanship of the age.

The purana mentions sacred rivers like Narmada and the Ganga, as also places of
pilgrimage like Pushkara where Brahmâ is said to reside, Kuruskhetra where
Vishnu comes periodically, and Prayaga where the gods are always present. Then
again, Shiva once told Parvati that he never leaves Varanâsi. The Agni Purana
says that this sacred city got its name because it is at the conjunction of two
holy rivers: Varana and Asi.

As per its sacred geography, there are seven dvîpas (island regions) in the
world: Jambu, Plaksha, Shalmali, Kusha, Krouncha, Shaka and Pushkara., and they
are surrounded by seven seas: Lavana, Ikshu, Sura, Sarpih, Dadhi, Dugdha and
Jala.

The Agni Purana is impressively encyclopedic in the sweep of the topics it
covers. These topics range from poetry and grammar to architecture, arts of war,
astrology, and more. Like all puranas, in this day and age, it is far more
interesting and worth reading as an ancient literary work than as scripture.

V. V. Raman
June 15, 2007

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#1331 - June 20, 2007 12:29 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Bhagavata Purana


If there is one purana that stands above all else in the prestige it enjoys and
the impact it has had, it is Bhagavata Purana, also known as Shrîmad Bhâgavatam.
It is more cogent in its content than most other puranas. Many parts of it were
clearly inspired by the contents of Vishnu Purana. The purana exudes love for
the Divine in the incarnation of Lord Krishna: bhakti in the purest mode.
Besides being a composition of great spiritual significance, it. is also a work
of extraordinary beauty from a literary point of view.

The purana says that Vishnu had 24 incarnations, the first was as a Brahmin;
next was as varâha (boar) to save us from naraka. Then Nârada came and preached
the worship of Vishnu. Next, there was the dual aspect: Nara and Nârâyana. The
incarnattion of Kapila came next, and he was followed by Dattâtreya. After this
came Svayambhuva Manu and Rishabha. Then, in answer to a prayer (prârthana), the
Divine appeared as Prithu. After this, earth came to be known as Prithvî.

The purana narrates the deeds of Krishna: the fondness of Nanda's son Krishna
(Nanda-kumâra) for butter which he sometimes stole (navanîta-chora), his
captivating the hearts of gopis (Gopi-manohara) in Vrindavan (vrindâvana
sańcâri) on the banks of the Yamuna, his lifting Mount Govardhana
(Govardana-giri-dhâri): all these have inspired devotional songs. [We will
return to this in talking about Skanda Purana which also mentions Krishna
enunciating the Bhagavad Gita.]

The purana is in the format of a dialogue between Shukadeva Rishi and King
Parikshit who had insulted a holy man. The latter's son cursed the king to die
from a snake-bite in a week. To atone for the sin the king listens to the
Bhagavata Purana

The concept of dharma is complex and varied in the Hindu tradition. Its range of
meanings includes duty, righteous conduct, and religion. The Bhagavata Purana
says that dharma is desireless worship of God - nishkâma bhakti, one might say -
reminding us of Krishna's nishkâma karma. Historians of Hindu culture have
pointed out that this vision of dharma, enunciated in this purana, was a
milestone in Hindu spiritual life.

The purana gives a list deities, prescribing who is to be worshiped for which
purpose: Prajâpati for children, Aditi for food, Ashvins for longevity, Umâ for
conjugal bliss, etc.

In the metaphysics of this purana, the Divine is pure consciousness, but it
created the physical universe through mâyâ. Maya is a positive power for
Vaishnavas. For Advaitins it is deluding: the world is unreal and illusory,
like the feats of a magician.

The Bhagavatam refers to Tamil Srivaishnava mystic saints (now called Azhvârs),
which has led some scholars to suspect that it was probably authored by a South
Indian mystic. Also, from the fact that the great Ramanuja (12th century) makes
no reference to this quintessentially Vaishnava work, and from the fact that
Madhva (13th) century does refer to it, one is led to conclude that it the work
was published in the intervening period. One devout commentator declares that
Shrîmad Bhâgavatam mentions Sri Caitanya Mahâprabhu as the avatara of Vishnu in
the Kali Yuga; but there really is no reference to this saintly soul in the
Bhagavata Purana. He was born only a few centuries later.

No matter who wrote it or when, the Bhavatava Purana has had as great an impact
on Hindu spiritual life like the Ramcharitramanas of Tulsi Das, especially in
Northern India, and among most South Indian Vaishnavas. To this day, this
inspiring work is recited by countless Vaishnavas and presented by rhapsodists
to audiences all over the world. Unlike other puranas which glorify Vishnu, the
central thrust of the Bhagavata Purana is that Krishna is the one who appears in
incarnations (KrishNâstu Bhagavân Svayam).

V. V. Raman
June 18, 2007

.

.
------------------------------------------------

> If there is one purana that stands above all else in the prestige it enjoys
and the impact it has had, it is Bhagavata Purana, also known as ShrÓmad
Bh‚gavatam.

> No matter who wrote it or when, the Bhavatava Purana has had as great an
impact on Hindu spiritual life like the Ramcharitramanas of Tulsi Das,
especially in Northern India, and among most South Indian Vaishnavas.


True. And with that impact India and Hinduism fell into decline.

Many would have read some parts of the SB or quotes from it. I read the
entire 30 volumes, and in the course of it dropping it many times on the floor
like hot potatoes. It is a hate document in fine language and glorifies varna.
It is the manu shastras in fundamental structure. Naturally I threw it in the
garbage along with the manushastras, as it is worse than the new testament or
quran. I am saying this to put in on record and let all Hindus know, and make
them stop being gullible.

As more and more puranas get written, the number of avatars keeps increasing.
From ten its now twenty four, and if we don't watch it, soon it will be fifty or
even a hundred, with jesus, mohamed all included in one big happy family. Know
for sure that our saints warned us of buddhists, jains and varnashramists in
whatever guise, even in the guise of shastra.

Hindus may feel they have to defend any shastra or at least be silent, more so
the vaishnavas. Let me remind the vaishnavas that the alvars seen from their
hymns would have wanted no part of the SB. Vaishnavism is brimming full and
complete with the divyaprabandam and vaishnava agamas and they don't need this
baggage, I mean garbage. There is more than enough of Vishnu, Narayana, Rama,
Krishna, Sita, Rukmini, Radha (not our warrier), Yasodha, Balarama, etc in the
vaishnava texts, thats its coming out of the ears.

We should not shy away from discussing these 'sensitive' issues, as most of us
are off the sectarian nonsense. This avatar thing has gone too far (everybody is
one now) and its time to put a stop to it. We have to look at each text, shastra
by shastra, and speak out. Some puranas may be kept, not as scripture but for
easy reading of history, geography, etc. As long as we are beholden to these
nonsensical texts we are not going anywhere. Scholars quoting or writing about
it would only serve to reinforce the text. We necessarily have to speak of it
derisively.

Regards.

Pathma

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#1332 - June 23, 2007 02:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Contents - this page


1. Bhavishya Purana

2. Bhavishya Purana

3. Brahmanda Purana

4. The Brahma Purana

5. Linga Purana

6. Kurma Purana

7. Markandeya Purana

8. Narada Purana

9. Vamana Purana

10. Varaha Purana

11. The Swastika

12. Are Hindus Cowards?

13. Vayu Purana

14. Vishnu Purana

15. The Upanishads

16. Christianity's Similarities with Hinduism

17. Relativity of Human Life

18. The Messiah

19. Freedom & Democracy

20. On being Rational and Non-Rational

21. How English Evolved into the Largest International Language

22. Thoughts on Ahalya - 1

23. Thoughts on Ahalya - 2

24. Suffering in Religions

25. Islam and the diabolic slave trade

26. Origin of the seven day week

27. Measure of Space

28. Extrapolations

29. Utter Emptiness

30. Athiest quotes

31. Hinduism a de facto supporter of Ecology

32. Between Two Evils

33. Was laughter a way of Hindu life?

34. The Other Translation of the Quran

35. The Other Side of the Bible

36. Now the Other Spiritual Side of the Bible

37. Words of Confucius

38. More on the Teachings of the Quran

39. Science & Faith

40. Matter

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.

.


.


.


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Bhavishya Purana

The word bhavishya refers to that which is about to happen. [It is derived from
bh� to be.] Bhavishya-k�la means the future tense. Therefore, the title of
Bhavishya Purana means Purana about the Future. One is thus inclined to think
that this is a Hindu Book of Revelation, telling us about things to come.
However, when one looks into the contents of the extant versions of this purana
one discovers that it is more about rites and rituals, about the duties of
various castes, about festivals, etc., with very little of any prophesy.

This is the only purana that refers to Zoroastrianism. Buddha and Buddhism are
mentioned in a few other puranas. This one says that the Magas have their
ancestry in a person called Jarasasta: Zoroaster or Zarathushtra, and it
describes those people as wearing girdles around their waists. The Magas were
sun-worshipers. They are referred to as the Magi in the Bible, and their names
have left a stamp in the English word magic.

The Bhavishya Purana also talks about the magnificence of the Sun. Recognizing
the sun as divine, it says that the sun is a visible divinity. Because we see
things with the aid of sunlight, the sun is also described as the eye of the
world. Because the day is born with sunrise, the sun is called the maker of the
day. Because it seems to have been and will be for ever, the Bhavishya Purana
describes the sun as eternal. For these reasons, it is said that no other deity
can be compared to the sun. Moreover, since we reckon time by the rising of the
sun and the seasonal changes caused by it, the sun is called the source of time.
The centrality of the sun in the universe is recognized in this purana when it
says that planets, stars, Vasus, Rudras, V�yu, and Agni, and all other Gods are
parts of him.

The Creation myth in this purana is very like the one in Manudharma Shastra
where it is stated that the universe existed as primeval darkness, unperceived,
destitute of distinctive marks, unattainable by reasoning, unknowable, wholly
immersed, as it were, in deep sleep ... Then the divine Self-existent appeared
with irresistible (creative) power, dispelling the darkness, and making (all)
this, the great elements and the rest, discernible, .

In 1897 there appeared a spurious version of the Bhavishya Purana which
incorporated totally new materials, clearly with the intention of creating the
impression that the author(s) of that purana were seers who saw well into the
future. Whereas the quatrains of Nostradamus were merely vague, and could be
interpreted in many soothing ways, in this nineteenth century version of the
Bhavishya Purana, specific names are given. We read about "Adam and Eve, Noah's
Ark, the fall of Sanskrit and coming of other languages, about the coming of
Buddha, Madhavacharya, Chandragupta, Ashoka, Jayadeva, Krishna Chaitanya and
about Kutubuddin and the Shahs ruling Delhi."

Obviously penned by a man familiar with the Bible, Islam, and Indian history,
this book talks about Madina which is described as a place of pilgrimage and
about Mahamada (Mohammad). It says that the followers of this mleccha-dharma
will practice circumcision, and will not have any tufts of hair, and will be
known as Musalmans.

Many people, both simple-minded and some professed scholars, have been fooled by
this fraudulent version. One such individual has added new names to the alleged
predictions and goes so far as to claim that the Bhavishya Purana "speaks
accurately of the British controlling India, Hitler fighting the world, and Max
Mueller misrepresenting the Vedic teachings." It is not only Western scholars
who distort and misinterpret Hindu writings.

When one talks about puranas one rarely mentions Bhavishya Purana. Not only do
we know very little of interest or relevance about Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva from
this purana, some passages in the new version are embarrassingly false and
racist.

V. V. Raman
June 22, 2007


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited April 07, 2008).]

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#1333 - June 24, 2007 12:15 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Bhavishya Purana

>It is not only Western scholars who distort and misinterpret Hindu writings.>


Indians don't make serious thriller movies like Aliens, Predator, The Day After
Tomorrow, Exorcist, Shrek, etc. Its not in their culture. No one wrote such a
purana.They make song and dance movies, the same thing over and over again with
variations, essentially the ramayana. This movie culture can be traced to the
puranas and itihasas.

A two line sutra in the vedas regarding an event, a theme, or a name of a god, is
expanded into 400 verses in the early purana. From there it is expanded into
6,000 verses in later puranas and itihasas, now properly tied with many other
such myths to make a one whole seamless grand story. In the next part Hindu
evangelist writers take over and start the insertions and distortions, only to
pass it on to christian indologists for final editing. This is called myth
making.
Its a long story.

Not only the early christian missionaries translated, tampered, misinterpreted
Hindu shastras, they went further inventing legends, added texts to vindicate
christianity, british rule, then demonised islam too, then destroyed the
original manuscripts. One cannot rule out that varna was also inserted into many
puranas. Or even meat eating and other such practices. One cannot rule out
anything. Much of the confusion and conflicts in Hinduism and Hindu society
could be traced to these tamperings.


But the christians were only following an earlier Hindu tradition of adding and
altering. Even before the christian missionaries like Wilson and Wilford started
translating, they already knew that the purana manuscripts were for a great part
not authentic or non existent
Can't blame them for carrying on the traditions of manipulating
and myth making.

Hindus themselves are guilty of adding and altering as we see in the ballooning
of itihasas, bhagavata purana, rewriting of the ramayana by Kamban and Tulsidas
with variations, writing of new upanishads, etc., everyone pushing their own
agenda. Imagine, some puranas may never have existed at all, or, the BG even if
it existed may have been only 40-60 verses and not the 700 verses it is today.

Hard to say. Just think, some verses that we routinely quote may have been
additions by Hindus or Christians. Not just the bhavishya but the authenticity
of many puranas are suspect. There is not a single new idea in any of the
puranas.
Scholars say the whole of the original bhagavata is an expansion of the
BG - a purana of an itihasa.

The Fabrications....nonexistent original......puranas of thieves and
imposters.... sometimes worse than useless...all of them are made up and
unauthentic.

From the horses mouth:

Sir William Jones, 1784 (from Asiatic Researches Vol. 1. Published 1979, pages
234-235. First published 1788).

"As to the general extension of our pure faith in Hindustan there are at present
many sad obstacles to it - We may assure ourselves, that Hindus will never be
converted by any mission from the church of Rome, or from any other church;
and
the only human mode, perhaps, of causing so great a revolution, will be to
translate into Sanscrit such chapters of the Prophets, particularly of ISAIAH,
as are indisputably evangelical, together with one of the gospels, and a plain
prefatory discourse, containing full evidence of the very distant ages, in which
the predictions themselves, and the history of the Divine Person (Jesus)
predicted, were severally made public; and then quietly to disperse the work
among the well-educated natives."


Translation of Vishnu Puran by H.H. Wilson
(1786-1860). First published 1832. Printed in India by Nag Publishers, Delhi, in
1980, and reprinted in 1989.

In the preface of the Vishnu Puran, written by Mr. Wilson:
"The facility with which any tract may be thus attached to the nonexistent
original,
and the advantage that has been taken of its absence to compile a
variety of unauthentic fragments
, have given to the Brahmanda, Skanda, and
Padma,
according to Wilford, the character of being the Puranas of thieves or
imposters.
Original copies don't exist, thus all of them are made up and
unauthentic."


"There is nothing in all this to justify the application of the name. Whether a
genuine Garuda Purana exists is doubtful."
(p. lii)

"The documents (the manuscripts of the Puranas) to which Wilford trusted proved
to be in great part fabrications
, and where genuine, were mixed up with so much
loose and unauthenticated matter
, and so overwhelmed with extravagance of
speculation, that his citations need to be carefully and skillfully sifted,
before they can be serviceably employed, legends apparently invented for the
occasion renders the publication worse than useless." (p. lxx)

Some links:
http://www.salagram.net/MotiveBritishRajMissionaries.html
http://www.encyclopediaofauthentichinduism.org/articles/40_descriptions_of.htm
http://www.stephen-knapp.com/jesus_predicted_in_the_vedic_literature.htm
According to the (corrupted) Bhavishya Purana in the Pratisarag Parv III, Khand
3, Adhyay 3 Shalokas 10 to 27 Maharishi Vyas has prophesied:
 
"At night, he of the angelic disposition, the shrewd man (Mahamat), in the guise
of a pischacha said to Raja Bhoj, O Raja! Your Arya Dharma has been made to
prevail over all religions, but according to the commandments of Ishwar
Parmatama, I shall enforce the strong creed of the meat eaters. My followers
will be men circumcised, without a tail (on his head), keeping beard, creating a
revolution announcing Adhan (call for prayer) and will be eating all lawful
things. He will eat all sorts of animals except swine. They will not seek
purification from the holy shrubs, but will be purified through warfare. On
account of their fighting the irreligious nations, they will be known as
Musalmaans. I shall be the originator of this religion of the meat-eating
nation."

Just don't know where to start. But I'm done with the song and dance. What say
you all we clear the table!

Luckily the vedas, agamas and bakti literature are largely authentic.

Pathma

.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

.
It is true that Roman legions did much to exterminate the Etruscan religion, but
it <was annihilated> more by the advent of Christianity. Christian thinkers
regarded Etruria as the fount of all obscurantism. It has been suggested that
there was an effort to destroy all Ertruscan writings to cleanse people's
minds, because (as they saw it) the <superstitions> that lingered on were
impediments to the full embrace of Christianity. It was not unlike what
centuries later Mao Tse Dung was to do about Confucian writings in his efforts
to <modernize> the Chinese people. It is not unlike recommendations to rid the
Hindu mind of Puranic superstitions (which is good because it is unhealthy to
live with dark beliefs) and also of Puranic literature (which is bad because
that would be cultural genocide).

In fact, this is the dilemma facing the modern world (in all religious
traditions): On the one hand it is legitimate and enlightened to want to remove
the out-worn beliefs and hurtful values that still torment traditional
religions. The harsh writings of Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins
try to accomplish just this. On the other hand, if in the process we destroy
every vestige of traditional religions, especially their grand legacies in art
and music and poetry, that would be terrible indeed. The Taliban's savage
destruction of the Buddha statues was the equivalent, in a sense, of attempts to
burn the Ramayana (which some Tamil anti-Brahmin atheists have done) and the
Puranas (which some enlightened Hindus have called for).

Wisdom lies, it seems to me, in taking out the baby from the sullied water in
which it is wallowing, and throw the water out, ensuring that the baby is not
thrown out in the purifying ritual.

V. V. Raman
June 23, 2007

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#1334 - June 28, 2007 04:38 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Brahmanda Purana (BrahmâNDa PurâNa)


The word andam literally means an egg. Brahmânda means the immense egg (egg of
Brahmâ) which is a metaphorical way of describing the principle of cosmic
creation. Thus the Brahmanda Purana is to narrate, in principle, how the
universe came to be. In other words we may expect it to be a treatise on
cosmology. However, the work has a great many other stories, some more and some
less interesting than the others. The notion of brahmanda is an important
conceptual element in Hindu thought, representing the macrocosm of which each of
us is in some ways a micro-reflection.

In the Brahmanda Purana we read about the saptaloka or seven spheres: the earth,
the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, Ursa major, and the Pole Star. Here,
we also read the story of Parasurama getting into a fight with Lord Ganesha
during which his axe was broken, and, in revenge, he broke one of Ganesha's
tusks, making the God ekadanta (single-tusked). In this purana, there is also
the story of Sage Agastya who is said to have brought the Vindhya Mountains to
size since they were growing tall and proud. This rishi of modest dimensions
traveled all the way to the Tamil country. He performed penance in Kancheevaram,
and Lord Vishnu appeared before him as Hayagrîva who revealed to him that the
way to attain moksha (salvation) is either by complete renunciation of
everything, or by constant worship of Vishnu in the form of the Mother Goddess.

Then there is the story of how at one time Indra became so powerful that even
Shiva lost his primacy. So he instructed Rishi Durvasa to meet Indra in heaven.
On the way Durvasa, in the attire of a mendicant, happened to encounter a
celestial nymph who, upon seeing him, paid her respects to him and gave him the
garland she had acquired at the temple. When Durvasa saw Indra riding on his
magical elephant Iravata, the rishi offered the garland to Indra who
contemptuously threw it on his elephant. The elephant threw it to the ground and
stepped over it. The enraged Durvasa cursed Indra whereby his power and grandeur
diminished considerably.

The Brahmanda Purana is famous for its Adhyâtma Râmâyana which begins with a
prayer to Rama who is described as the light of consciousness, immaculate,
adored by the gods, and so on. The narrative is as in Valmiki. But here Rama is
Divinity more than a hero. The work evokes the bhakti sentiment more than
literary appreciation. Its advaitic leanings has led some scholars to suspect
this part to be a post-Shankara interpolation.

There are magnificent descriptions of the palaces where the Mother Goddess
resides. Called Srîpuras, they are separated by seven walls of incredibly long
circumference. The mere mention of the materials of which the walls are made
reveals a knowledge of many metals: âlasya (iron), tâmra (copper), sîsa (lead),
ârakuta (bronze), pancaloha (alloy with five metals), raupya (silver), and hema
(gold).

Then there were square compounds serving different functions which are
embellished by pushyaraga (topaz), padmaraga (ruby), gomedhika (agate), vajra
(diamonds), vaidurya (cat's eye), indranîla (sapphire), mukta (pearl), marakata
(emerald), vidruma (coral), mâNikya (gem), and navaratna (nine precious stones).
There were also other compounds, named as of the mind (manomâya), of the
intellect (buddhi), of the ego (ahamkâra), of the Sun (sűryabimba), of the moon
(candrabimba), of eroticism (sringâra), and desire-yielding gems (cinntâmaNi). I
recall all these to show the sheer splendor with precious stones and imagination
that the authors of the puranas had. It is in such conceptual grandeur of
ancient poets that one can legitimately experience the richness, color, and
magnificence of Indic lore.

V. V. Raman
June 27, 2007

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#1335 - June 28, 2007 04:39 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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The Brahma Purana


Also known as Âdi Purana, Brahma Purana is regarded as the first of all puranas.
It is said to have been revealed by a certain Lomaharshana to an assembly of
rishis in the Naimisha Forest. But the version that we now have is probably of
much later vintage. Other puranas are said to have been revealed in the same
way.

The Rig Veda, in its Hymn of Creation (X.129) contains one of the earliest
visions of cosmogony in the Hindu world. The Brahma Purana also says that water
pervaded the primordial universe, reminding us of Thales of Miletus. It proposes
the Cosmic Egg hypothesis by which the Golden Embryo (HiraNyagarbha) emerged in
the primeval waters, from which Brahma was self-born (svayam-bhű). From that egg
arose svarga (Heaven) and prithivî (the Earth). And on earth there also arose
time, language, the senses and much more at the same time.

Though categorized as a Brahmapurana, this purana also speaks of Vishnu and
Shiva. We read that Vishnu was resting on the primordial waters in a cosmic bed,
that nara means water and ayana means bed, whence Vishnu came to be invoked as
NârâyaNa. The birth of Uma and the deeds of Krishna are also found in this
purana, as also other interesting stories.

This purana lists the saptarishi who emerged from Brahmâ's mind. And it speaks
of a man called Svayambhuva Manu, and the woman called Shatarűpa: One with a
hundred forms, who emerged from Brahmâ. Their three sons were Vira, Priyavarata,
and Uttamapada. All human beings have their origins in Manu, not unlike Adam in
the Judeo-Christian tradition. Since all came from Manu, human beings are known
as mânava (derived from Manu). These puranic views on cosmogenesis and
anthropogenesis are barely known to the masses, even scholars seldom refer to
them.

It is sometimes argued that the caste system was a creation of the invading
British. That this is not quite so may be seen in the fact that the Brahma
Purana not only mentions the four castes explicitly, but also enunciates their
respective duties. It also allows each caste to follow the profession of one or
two castes a step or two below, should an emergency situation arise.

There is mention of a certain Brahmin named Somasharma who once conducted the
ceremony of the sacred thread before he himself had become a dvijâ. This
grievous sin resulted in a penalty for him: upon his death he became an asura.

In this purana there are also discussions on the theory and practice of yoga.
Here may be found the definition of yoga as a meditative mode by which the
individual soul unites with the supreme one, thus enabling one to recognize the
unity behind the diversity.

According to the geography given here, at one time Bharatavarsha referred mainly
to northern India. The purana talks about Ondra (the current Orissa), and refers
to its population as religious. It gives a description of the famed Konarak
Temple around which were numerous trees, though there was much sand all around.
The mention of this temple, which is known to have been built in the 12th
century, dates the extant version of the Brahma Purana as not earlier than this
century.

The icon of Sűrya in the temple is called Konâditya. The twelve names of Âditya
(the Sun) are listed in this Purana as Indra, Dhata, Parjanya, Tvashta, Pusha,
Aryama, Bhaga, Vivasvana, Vishnu, Amashumana, Varuna and Mitra. Rules for
worshiping the Sun icon are prescribed with the assurance that this would be a
sure way of erasing all the sins of the past seven births. Early morning worship
is recommended.

V. V. Raman
June 28, 2007

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#1336 - July 05, 2007 03:25 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Linga Purana


The Linga Purana is dedicated to Shiva. It too talks about cosmogenesis. It
includes the narratives of the Varaha and the Narasimha avataras also. It
formulates the principle that all procreation involves the union of an
experiencer and an experienced, and it is by understanding the intricacies of
this mystery that one can grasp the nature of reality.

The purana contains some omen-mongering assertions: If one can't spot the Pole
Star one will die in a year, a dream in which gold is vomited means ten more
months to live, if there is a sudden loss or gain in weight, there are but eight
months to live, etc.

Among the cities the purana lists as sacred the first is Varanasi, for it was
there that Shiva himself lives with Parvati and Ganesha. There are five other
such sacred spots: Kurukshetra, Shriparvata, Mahalaya, Tungeshvara, and Kedara.

In this purana we find a thousand names for Shiva, such as: Bhava, Ishâna,
Ganeshvara, Vishvaműrtî, Suresha. Pashupati, Bhűtavâhana, Nîlagrîva, and
Achintya, suggesting that (by now) Shiva is essentially a Sanskritic deity.

The Linga Purana talks about the yuga system of reckoning eons, and says that
during Kali Yuga Shiva appears as an avatara. It is said that there have been
twenty-eight Kali Yugas during the present kalpa. The twenty-eight avataras of
Shiva, called Yogeshvaras, are listed. They bear such names as Shveta, Madana,
Kanchana, Dadhivahana, Gautama, and Sahisnu. This purana also gives the names of
the rulers of the solar and lunar dynasties (Suryavamsa and Chandravamsa).

In one episode, when Brahma and Vishnu were engaged in a combat, there arose a
bright linga. It seemed to be rising indefinitely upward, as well as downward.
Intrigued by this, Brahma took on the aspect of a swan and flew up. Vishnu took
on the form of a boar (varaha) and dug downward. But neither of them could find
an end-point to the linga in either direction. What is interesting here is the
concept of linear infinity (one-dimensional unbounded Euclidean space): a
straight line that extends indefinitely in either direction, a geometrically
sophisticated idea. Brahma and Vishnu realized this was an extraordinary power,
and they prayed to the linga with a resounding aum. At this point Shiva emerged
from the linga as the sage Vedanama who explained that the linga was the source
of cosmogenesis, for it was from there that the brahmânda (primordial egg) came.
Shiva initiated Brahma and Vishnu to the gayatri mantra, explained that Brahma,
Vishnu, and Shiva were all one and the same, just three manifestations of the
same Brahman.

The purana says that Shiva's consort is to Shiva what word (instrument) is to
meaning (substance). This reflection on word and meaning is a profound one. Then
again, Shiva is described as the Lord of Creatures (pashupati). The twenty-four
tattvas (life-principles) are the pâshas (reins).

In another story Vishnu claims to be the lord of everything, including Brahma,
for which he is reprimanded by a certain Virabhadra who declares that it is
Shiva who is the most supreme. Then there is the story of Tarakasura who was
going on a rampage, waging war on Vishnu for twenty thousand years. It was to
get rid of this asura was Karttikeya was born to Shiva and Parvati.

In another story, pleased with the munis of Devedaru forest, Shiva visited the
place, in the guise of a naked ugly ascetic. But the wives of the hermits were
drawn to him. The angry hermits spoke to Shiva in harsh terms. When they told
Brahma about this, the latter rebuked them, saying it was Shiva who had gone to
test them. They had forgotten the sacred rule that no guest is to be treated
with dishonor.

Whether such obviously sectarian stories were the causes or effects of
sectarian rivalries, it is hard to say.

V. V. Raman
July 4, 2007

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#1337 - July 07, 2007 12:03 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Kurma Purana (Kűrma PurâNa)


Of the principal avataras of Vishnu on earth, the kurma (tortoise) avatara was
one. The Kurma Purana derives its name from the sacred historical fact that it
was narrated to Narada by Vishnu himself when he had taken on this aspect. What
is chronologically inconsistent is that other (yet to occur) avataras, including
that of Rama, are narrated here, let alone expositions of the greatness of
Varanasi, Prayag, and holy rivers.

This purana narrates the famous episode of the churning of the ocean (samudra
mathana), talks about king Indradyumna who was re-born as a Brahmin to whom the
Goddess Lakshmi once appeared. Indradyumna wanted to know who she was, and
Lakshmi told him that she was none other than Vishnu, and that she was Vishnu's
power of mâyâ through which the physical universe is generated.

The purana talks about castes and their origins. It prescribes the duties of
each. It talks about the four ashramas or stages in life, and the corresponding
responsibilities: brahmacharya (celibate student stage) for the study of
scriptures and service of the guru; garhasthya or grahasthya (house-holder
stage) when one is to continue studying, serve guests, give alms, keep the yajńa
fire burning at home, raising a family, etc. Next comes vanaprastha
(forest-dwelling stage) during which one studies the scriptures, meditates, and
lives on fruits and roots. In the final sannyasa (renunciant- stage) one curbs
all desires and meditates on the Divine. In this stage one lives on the charity
of householders: this was the ancient equivalent of the Social Security Service
system in the United States where householders (working people) contribute
moneys which are used to maintained retired people. This ideal caturâshrama as
described here is primarily for the dvijas.

The purana says there are anti-Vedic religious texts in the world. Those who
adopt them are bound to go to naraka (the nether world).

We also have here a version of the classic Daksha episode. Recall that Daksha
was Brahma's son. One of his daughters was Sati, and she was married to Shiva.
Once, during a visit to Shiva, Daksha felt slighted, and for this he chastised
his daughter severely, saying that she had a terrible husband. Hearing this,
Sati immolated herself. This gave her name to the practice of widow
self-immolation. Shiva, in turn, cursed Daksha to be re-born as the son of the
Kshatriya Prachetas. Sati was re-born as the daughter of Himavana: Parvati. The
Kurma Purana contains a thousand names for Parvati. The list includes
Paramashakti, Avyaya, Vidya, Satya, Amritabhâ, Shanti, Chinmayi, Tamasi,
Vishala, Mahagarbha, Soumya, Jaganmata, and more which are Hindu names for
girls.

This purana also gives a whole section on time-classification from nimisha,
kashtha and kala to âyana, yuga, and kalpa.

There are stories in this purana which reflect poorly on some rishis, and even
on the gods. The story of Gotama is one such. This man had been generous to many
rishis, but was made to suffer by the ungrateful rishis out of sheer jealousy.

The story of Hiranyakashipu, his four sons Prahlada, Anuhrada, Samhrada and
Hrada, and of the Narasimha avatara is also recounted in this purana.

Then there is the story of Andhaka, who, while Shiva was away, tried to abduct
Parvati who was protected by the Nandi-bull. Nandi used his trident to keep
Andhaka away. But this demon generated a thousand more like himself, and they
went on a rampage. Finally they were all killed by Shiva and Vishnu.

The purana gives the etymology of Rudra as from the root rud, to weep: He is
Rudra because he causes people to cry.

V. V. Raman
July 6, 2007

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Markandeya Purana (MârkanDeya)


The Markandeya Purana is reckoned as one of the most important, if not the most
ancient of all the Puranas: important because it narrates stories from the
tradition without being sectarian, and ancient because it speaks about Agni and
Surya rather than Shiva and Vishnu. In a homage to the Sun, the Markandeya
Purana says:

"I pay obeisance to the embodiment of the universe, the light on which the
practitioners of yoga meditate." It describes the sun as the matter of which the
gods are the soul. It says that the river Yamuna is a manifestation on earth of
Yamî, the sister of Yama. In its vision, India is said to be resting on the back
of a huge tortoise (Kűrma) which sounds like the modern view of tectonic plates.
In recounting the story of Dattâtreya, it describes how the gods described that
sage: "No blemish can stain the heart which has been awakened by true learning
and wherein the light of knowledge has penetrated." How applicable this is to
many enlightened souls!

This is the only purana that is named after a person: Markandeya, an eminent
rishi who is mentioned in the Mahabharata. The context of the purana is as
follows. The sage Jaimini once went to Markandeya with four questions relating
to the Mahabharata. The first was why it was that Divinity, the ultimate source
of the whole universe, came down as an avatara here below. The second related
to Draupadi's polyandry. The third question had to do with Balarama's
brahminicide, and how this was expiated. Finally there was the question about
the premature death of Draupadi's sons.

Sage Markandeya replied that he was too busy at the time to answer the
questions, and directed Jaimini to certain magical birds, which could recite the
entire epic, for they would be able to answer them. Then he went on to explain
how those birds (which were actually incarnations of heavenly beings) happened
to possess such knowledge. Birds have a special significance in Hindu mythic
visions.

The interesting story of Vipashchit occurs in this purana. Vipashchit was an
honorable king who, nevertheless, was dispatched to the nether world. The reason
for this harsh punishment was that he had not been with his wife at a time when
she could have conceived. In this context Yama (the God of justice) explains the
consequences of one's karma. After a brief period in Hell, Vipashchit was going
to be taken away from there to Heaven. But the dwellers in Hell pleaded with him
not to go because his breath somehow assuaged the torture they were undergoing.
So Vipashchit refused to leave. But the Lord of Dharma insisted he should go to
Heaven for that is what his karma had earned him, as the denizens of Hell were
reaping their karma. The number of good deeds he had done was like the number of
drops of water in the ocean and stars in the skies and sand grains in the
Ganga. Vipashchit said those poor souls were not sinners but sufferers, and
insisted on staying with them. Finally Yama agreed to allow them all to enter
Heaven with him.

This is a beautiful story showing the nobility of compassion and self-sacrifice.
Legends like this reveal the lofty ethical heights which some ancient Hindu
thinkers reached. The morals in puranic legends are more sublime than the
legends themselves.

In this purana we read a gruesome description of the black goddess CâmunDâ who
is said to have sprung from the forehead of Durga. She wore a garland of
corpses, and her garb was an elephant-hide. Her tongue hung out of her open
mouth, and her eyes were blood-shot. The interpolated version of Markandeya
purana contains the famous Devîmahâtmya which is one of the classic hymns
devoted to the goddess Durga. It is recited to this day during the festival of
Durga, especially in Bengal.

V. V. Raman
July 9, 2007

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Narada Purana (Nârada)


This purana is named after sage Narada, the universal traveler who went, not
just from place to place here on earth, but from sphere to celestial sphere. The
notion of a jet-setter in cosmic terms in implicit in this major personage in
Hindu lore. The sage is also known affectionately as a trouble maker. There is a
story in the Bhagavata Purana to the effect that the sage once instigated Vayu
(the Wind-God) to chop off the top of Mount Meru. Vishnu's vahana Garuda spread
his wings and protected the mountain. But, at a time when Garuda was absent,
Vayu succeeded. A slice of Mount Meru flew off and fell in the ocean in the
distant south of the subcontinent, giving rise to the island of Sri Lanka.

According to the Brahma Vaivaitara Purana, Narada was condemned by Brahma to a
solitary life of sensuality, but the Mahabharata says that he married the
daughter of Srińjaya. Puranic references to mythic personages are not always
mutually compatible.

The Narada Purana, generally regarded as the extension of a more ancient and
highly sectarian work called Brihnnâradîya PurâNa, is more interesting than the
one which is regarded as its source. The latter is unabashedly sectarian.

The traditional assignment of roles to the trimurti in Hindu cosmology are
spelled out in this purana, along with the manifestations of Shakti. Thus Brahma
and Sarasvati are responsible for srishti (creation), Vishnu and Lakshmi for
sthiti (sustenance), and Shiva and Parvati for laya (dissolution)

The Narada Purana gives us a version of ancient Hindu cosmography and geography.
According to it, there are fourteen realms in the universe, seven higher and
seven lower. The higher realms are known as bhűloka, bhuvarloka, svarloka,
maharloka, janoloka, tapoloka, and satyaloka, while the lower realms are called
âtala, vitâla, sutâla ,talatâla, mahâtâla, rasâtâla and pâtâla. All these worlds
are inhabited by different beings. Our earth (bhűloka) has seven land masses and
seven oceans. The land masses are called Jambudvipa, Plakshadvipa,
Shalmaladvipa, Kushadvipa, Krounchadvipa, Shakadvipa and Pushkaradvipa. The
seven seas have the names Lavana, Ikshu, Sura, Sarpih, Dadhi, Dughdha and Jala.
The purana says that those who are born in Bharatavarsha, which describes as
karmabhűmi, work without thinking of the fruits of their actions (nishkama
karma). Lands where only enjoyment is in the minds of people are called
bhogabhűmi. Those born in Bharatavasrha are very fortunate, the purana says.
This is an ancient version of Sare jahan se accha ... and America the Beautiful.
Many Indian rivers, such as Godavari, Sarasvati, Kaveri and Shatadru are listed
as sacred. But Ganga is the most sacred of them all. We read that one who
anoints himself with the clay from the bank of Ganga becomes like Shiva.

The purana prescribes punishments for various sins, but these depend on the
caste of the perpetrator. The worst sin is the killing of a Brahmin by a shudra;
the corresponding penalty is also terrible, and highly offensive to shudras.

The Narada Purana says that Shakti divided herself into Vidya (knowledge of the
identity between Brahman and the Cosmos) and Avidya (Ignorance of this). In her
different aspects Shakti is known as Sarasvati, Lakshmi, and Uma.

The names of the pancabhutas are given in this purana as kshiti (earth), apa
(water), teja (energy), marut (wind)and vyoma (sky).

We read in the Narada Purana that Markandeya - son of Mrikundu - was the only
one who survived the flood, and that he floated on the waters "like a dried up
leaf" for a thousand mahayugas. In this context the purana gives its yuga
measurement of time.

V. V. Raman
July 13, 2007

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Vamana Purana (Vâmana)


The Vamana Purana derives its name from the Vamana (dwarf) avarata of Vishnu.

There is the long story of Vamana's arrival in Kurukshetra where Bali was
performing a sacrifice. When asked why he had come there, Vamana said he wished
to make a sacrifice for which he needed a small piece of land in the measure of
only three steps that he would take. Bali's counselor Shukracharya had advised
him against making any hasty promises to Vamana. Nevertheless, Bali agreed to
give Vamana three steps of land. No sooner did he make this promise than Vamana
grew to his cosmic expanse. In one step he covered the entire earth. The second
step swept the higher realms. There was no place for the third step. Bali
offered his own head for that. When Vishnu put his foot on Bali's head, the
latter was pushed into pâtâla, suggesting that Vishnu covered the nether world
too. The story beautifully illustrates the all-pervading grandeur of the Divine,
and the limited intelligence of the rest of us.

This powerful myth is retold in various ways in the Bhagavata Purana, the Matsya
Purana, the Agni Purana, the Padma Purana and the Brahma Purana.

In the Vamana Purana we read about the fabulous city of immeasurable wealth and
abundance in the nether world that was built by Vishvakarma for the demon Bali.
While the hedonists there were in the height of sensual pleasures, Vishnu's
sudarshana chakra entered Bali's palace and, after dimming all their radiance,
it returned to its source. Then, in accordance with the advice of his
grandfather Prahlada, Bali arranged to build a magnificent temple for Vishnu and
Lakshmi where he prayed regularly.

Another story we read in this purana says that Vishnu discovered Shiva with
three eyes, wearing a rudrâksha and holding a trishűla (trident). There is also
a confrontation between Shiva and Brahma, each being insulted by the query of
the other as to their respective identity and origin. In this context, Shiva
severed one of Brahma's five heads. Shiva regretted this act and went to Vishnu
for redress. Vishnu asked Shiva to hit Vishnu's left arm with his trident. When
this was done three mighty rivers results. The first was Akâshganga (the Milky
Way) in the heavens; the second was the river Mandakini. And a third one fell on
Shiva's head, which eventually became Ganga.

As per this purana, the Maruts were the sons of Kashyapa and Aditi. The puranic
etymology of Maruts is found here too. They are said to have been weeping, when
they were told, "Mâ rud! Do not cry! oh powerful ones! You will be called
Maruts."

It is said that a certain Sukeshi, who had received blessings of invincibility
from Shiva, once asked some sages for the secret of respectability and
contentment. The answer was that one had to follow dharma. But what is dharma?
The answer was that dharma included performing rituals, studying various things,
especially the Vedas, and devotion to both Vishnu and Shiva. The demons had
qualities like jealousy and envy, but they were also devoted to Shiva, the sages
added.

Then he wanted to know about naraka (hell). He was told there are 21 hells, and
these were listed as Raurav, Maharaurav, Taamistra, Andhataamistra, Kaalchakra,
Aprathisth, Ghatiyantra, Asipatravan, Taptakumbh, Kootshaalmali, Karpatra,
Swabhojan, Sandansh, Lohapind, Kalmasikta, Kshaarnadi, Krimibhojan,
Vaitarninadi, Shonitpayabhojan, Kshuraagradhaar, Nishitachakra and Sanshoshan. I
doubt that any other mythology has such a rich classification of hell.

Five special names for Vishnu are given in the Vamana Purana: KâraNavâmana,
NârâyaNa, Amitvrikrama, Shârgangadhkra, and Charkrin.

V. V. Raman
July 20, 2007

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Varaha Purana (Varâha)


The Varaha Purana's title refers to the third avatara of Vishnu. It is said that
at one time the demonic Hiranyâksha carried away Prithivî to a different realm.
Vishnu, descending in the boar form, (Varaha avatara) rescued her from there.
The astounded Prithivî then posed many questions to Vishnu about cosmogenesis
and its ultimate fate. Vishnu opened wide his mouth and in there Prithivî could
see all the splendor of the cosmos, as astronomers do when they peer into a
powerful telescope.

The avataras of Matsya, Balarama, and Kalki are also recalled here. In other
words, as we have been seeing, many legends overlap in Puranic literature.

In its creation story we read that at first there was total darkness. Then arose
five types of ignorance: tamasa (inertia), moha (confusion), mahamoha (great
confusion), tâmisra (darkness), andhatâmisra (pitch-darkness). Then were created
immovable things like mountains and trees. These are called mukhya sarga
(principal creations). Then followed tiryaksrota (quadrupeds), after which came
the satvik ones: deities. Humans came after these as arvâksrota. Only then were
the anuraghs (sages and seers) created. After this arose the kumaras (adolescent
beings). Finally, ten mind-born sons of Brahma arose: Marichi, Angira,
Atri,Pulah, Kratu, Pulasya, Pracheta, Bhrigu, Narada and Vashishtha. Initially,
Brahma had created Ardhanarishvar (half male and half female). It was Rudra who
split himself into a male and a female.

As in other puranas there, are a great many legends here too. The story of
Naciketas (which is also in Kathopinshad) is presented here. In this context
there is a listing of some of the sins that will take one straight to hell.
These range from lying, greed and jealousy to criticizing one's teacher or the
Vedas and selling alcoholic drinks. Here we read details of heaven and hell. Th
city of Yama is said to be made of Gold. It has two separate entrances: one for
the saintly ones and one for sinners. There are rivers in Yama's abode, but also
screams of agony from the sinners who are being tortured. Just as there is the
picture of a joyous pleasure-filled heaven, there is also one of an extremely
painful and torturous hell as in the other major religions of the world. [By and
large, most Hindus of the modern age, even those believing in heaven and hell,
have no inkling of how these are described in some of the puranas.]

A story about Ganesha: Once the deities went to Shiva for redressing some
difficulties. They were invariably encountering hurdles in their undertakings.
Shiva is said to have laughed when he heard this, and from his mouth a divine
and lovely child emerged. Parvati was so charmed by it, she stared at it without
closing her eyelids even for a moment. Shiva became jealous and angry and cursed
the child to have the face of an elephant and also a pot belly. He also cursed
the child to have a snake around his shoulders. It is difficult to know if such
tales were spun in amusement or in seriousness.

There is also in this context a beautiful hymn dedicated to Lord Ganesha.
Likewise, there is a whole Mahatmya on Mathura, the city where Lord Krishna was
born.

In this purana we find a recipe for an offering to Vishnu. Called madhupark, it
is made up of honey, curd, and ghee. God's name should be chanted while it is
being made. One attains salvation by properly offering it to the Divine. This
purana gives rules for worship, for obsequies, and also for the installation of
idols. Here we read that the svastika mark must be etched on the forehead of
the icon. The swastika mark is a sign of auspiciousness; so the devotee must
keep this in mind while giving shape to the idol. This swastika mark must be
carved out on the idol.

V. V. Raman
July 23, 2007

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#1343 - July 27, 2007 11:55 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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excerpts.


ARE HINDUS COWARDS?


Madan L. Goel, lgoel@... , www.uwf.edu/lgoel
Professor of Political Science, Florida

That "Hindus are cowards" is a theme which has been repeated ad nauseam.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote: "Hindus are cowards and Muslims are bullies." A large
number of Hindus themselves accept this epithet. Nothing could be farther
from the truth. History does not bear out the conclusion.

A brief review of Islamic expansion is necessary.

Islam may be dated to 610 AD, when Mohammad began having conversations with
Archangel Gabriel. Mohammad's message one true God named Allah attracted a
number of followers. But the leaders of Mecca rejected his new teaching.
Conflict ensued. In 622, Mohammad was forced to flee to Medina, some 240
miles to the North. Mohammad became the leader of Medina and within a few
years felt emboldened to raid Meccan caravans. Mecca signed a treaty of
friendship and allowed Muslims to enter the city for pilgrimage. This
treaty, however, was abrogated two years later. Muhammad captured Mecca in
a bold move. He was now an unchallenged leader. By the time Mohammad died
in 632 AD at age 62, he had become the supreme figure in all of Arabia.

Muslim conquests did not stop with the death of Mohammad. Within two years,
the holy warriors attacked and conquered the two very powerful empires of
the period: Byzantium and Persia. It seemed that, armed with faith in
Allah, nothing could stop the soldiers of Islam. In 712, Arabs captured a
slice of Sindh on the frontiers of India. In 715 they took Spain after
decimating North Africa.

In less than 100 years after Mohammad's death, the Islamic rule stretched
from the frontiers of India all the way to Spain. Victories resumed after a
hiatus of three centuries. Believers captured Anatolia (Turkey) in 1071,
the throne of Delhi in 1201, and Constantinople in 1453. The Ottomans, once
established in Constantinople, took over the countries of Eastern Europe
including the Balkans . Only in 1683 did the clock turn when the Turks
failed in their siege of Vienna and retreated.

Islam's rapid rise from insignificance to vast international empire had a
touch of the miraculous. How could the Muslims have attained all this if God
was not on their side? The fabulous military victories demonstrated to the
faithful God's pleasure with their ways and displeasure with the ways of the
infidel.

Observation

Islam's conquest of India was incomplete. The South in India never fully
fell under Islam. Majority of the Indians continued being Hindu and
maintained their culture even though they labored under Islamic weight.
Contrast the situation in India with Islamic conquest of Byzantium,
Constantinople, Persia, Egypt, North Africa and Eastern Europe (Albania,
Bosnia, Kosovo, etc). Here, the local cultures and indigenous religious
groups (Pagans, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians) could not and did not
withstand Islamic pressure and they succumbed. The Berbers of North Africa
(the dominant ethnic strain in Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, etc) have
been Arabized. Africans in northern Sudan identify themselves as Arabs.

The Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul (in Beyond Belief) observed that the Arabs
were the most successful colonizers in the world. Arabic becomes a sacred
language for over a billion people. They pray while facing towards Mecca.

The failure of Islam in India was lamented by Altaf Hussein Hali
(1834-1914), who otherwise sang the praises of Islam. In his famous poem
called Mussadas, which now is a required reading in many Pakistani schools,
Hali lamented as follows.

That fearless fleet of Hijaz (Bagdad),
Whose mark reached the extreme limits of the world
Which no hesitation could obstruct
Which did not falter in the Gulf of Oman or in the Red Sea
That Hijazi fleet which spanned the seven seas
Lies shattered in the mouth of the Ganges

Allama Sir Mohammad Iqbal (1873-1938) also lamented that Hindus (Kafirs)
prospered while the Muslims were backward and poor. In his long poem Shikwa
(Complaint), Iqbal penned the following famous lines:

Allah, do you know that none sang your story
It is the strength of the Muslim that spread your glory . . .

The shameful thing is that Kafirs enjoy Houries in this life
But Poor Muslims have only a promise of Houries in after life

When temples and shrines were being destroyed, Hindus turned within and
produced the most lyrical devotional poetry. Mirabai, Kabir, Guru Nanak,
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Surdas, Ravidas, Tulsidas, these and many more
composed their poems during Muslim ascendancy in India. It is easier to
bring down temple walls. How do you bring down the shakti encased in
shlokas and bhajans? Who survives after 500 years? Mighty Babar or Guru
Nanak?

Hindus should give up the false notion that they succumbed miserably before
the Muslim or British colonization. Shivaji defeated a Mughal army in 1660;
Europe followed in defeating the Turks in 1683 (on 9/11/1683, mark the date)
at Vienna. India was the first country in all of Asia and Africa to throw
off the British colonial yoke in 1947. Independence in Afro-Asia followed
only after India succeeded.

Today the headlines dominate the threat from monotheistic, closed
ideologies, especially radical Islam. Quietly without firing a shot,
however, Indian ideas are resurgent in the globe. From 10 to 20 percent of
the American populace subscribe to New Thought spiritual philosophies
derived largely from Vedanta. The 21st century may well be an Indian
century, not because of India's growing economic might, but because of its
perennial philosophy.

See the last part of my article "Oneness in Hinduism" at: www.uwf.edu/lgoel

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Vayu Purana (Vâyu)


The Vayu Purana is so called because it is said to have been recited by the Wind
God Vayu. In its creation story the cosmic egg is said to have contained the
earth and the planets, the deities and everything else in the universe, all
implicit and unmanifest.

The purana gives the yuga classification, giving descriptions of each. Thus, for
example, in the satya yuga there were no seasons or even rain. The people were
beautiful and prosperous and cheerful. Everyone was dharmic. The earth produced
juices which kept people healthy and youthful. There were no vices, not even
anger and jealousy.

In the next (treta) yuga, people's attention changed from dhyana (meditation) to
jńana (pursuit of knowledge). Trees (kalpavrikshas) grew with fruits on them.
Their barks were used for covering the body. But slowly vices affected people.
People began to fight over ownership of trees. They began to build houses,
leading to measuring systems which ranged from angulis (finger-length) to
yojanas which were 8,000 dhanus (bow-lengths). Villages and cities came to be.
Herbs and grains grew. It was then that chaturvarna (four-caste system) began.
Brahmins who knew the nature of Brahman, Kshatriyas who bore arms and protected
the good and punished evil forces, Vaishyas who were dedicated to agriculture
and trade, and shudras who were to serve the others. And so on.

This is one of the puranas where one learns that a kalpa consists of 4.32
billion years. It gives still more inconceivable time periods. Thus, a thousand
kalpas constitute a Brahma-year. Eight thousand kalpas make a yuga for Brahma. A
thousand yugas make a savana. A trivita is two thousand savanas, and this is a
measure of the longevity of Brahma. The purana also lists the names of more
than thirty kalpas. These include names like Bhava, Havyavahana, Oushika,
Vairaja, Akuti, and Krishna.

While four-headed Brahma created mortal beings, Shiva created the immortal
Rudras. But Shiva also taught yoga to one and all whose goal is to unite the
jivatman with the paramatman. This purana lists five rather than the customary
eight aspects of yoga: pranayama (breath-control), dhyana (concentration of
mind), pratyahara (control of senses), dharana, and smarana. We are warned that
if one does yoga ignoring the strict prescriptions, without proper guidance and
at places at random, consequences would be disastrous: deafness, blindness,
insanity, etc.

Aside from legends like that of Daksha and Sati, the Vayu Purana has also its
fantastic stories, such as that of King Vrihadashva who had twenty-one thousand
sons, and of the demon Dhundhu. When Dhundhu exhaled - which was just once a
year - blinding sand storms were generated, as also earthquakes lasting a week.
Then there is an episode in which Dhanvantari, who emerged during the churning
of the ocean and is said to have brought medical science to humanity, asks
Vishnu to give him a place amidst the gods. Perhaps this story is to suggest
that medicine may be regarded as equal to the nectar of the gods in that it
saves human lives and reduces human pains.

The sacred histories of Parashu-Rama as well as of Dattatreya are told in this
purana. The number of apsarases is countless, and they form different gaNas. In
Hindu lore there are supernatural beings of all kinds. One group of ferocious
beings are the yâtudhânas. The Vayu Purana gives the names of twelve of them.
It also gives a list of fourteen gaNas. There are some internal inconsistencies
in the stories, suggesting that the whole purana was not written by a single
author.

Shiva Purana is a variation of Vayu Purana. Whereas a Vayu Purana is
mentioned in the Mahabharata, the Shiva Purana refers to Gupta kings of the 4th
century C.E.

V. V. Raman
July 25, 2007

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Vishnu Purana (VishNu)


The Vishnu Purana is reckoned as one of the oldest of the puranas. It is the
quintessential source of Vaishnava worldview and worship. Indeed, it is also
known as Vaishnava Purana. It enjoys the highest esteem among Vaishnavas, and is
referred to as Purana Ratna: purana gem. It is mentioned in the writings of the
great Vaishnava philosopher-saint Sri Ramanuja.

Here too we read about cosmogenesis, yuga classification, and sacred geography:
The golden Mount Meru is the abode of the Gods and Jambudvipa is the Indian
subcontinent. Some of the episodes from Hindu sacred history, such as the
churning of the ocean are told. There is a poetic description of Lakshmi. In the
Prahlâda-story occurs a formulation of the highest ethical principle: One who
causes pain to others through thought, word, or deed sows the seeds of a future
birth which will be wrought with pain. Another interesting injunction here is
that truth should always be spoken except when it has the potential for hurting
people, in which case one should not say anything. The Vishnu Purana narrates
the story of Dhruva whose intense and unwavering meditation on Vishnu
immortalized him as the fixed star Dhruva (Pole Star).

The purana talks about the four varnas and their respective responsibilities, as
also the four ashramas. In this context it prescribes some rules of conduct for
the householder. Aside from worshiping gods and cows, one should respect wise
and learned people. One shouldn't steal or lie, nor point to the faults of
others. We also read here some other rather interesting injunctions: One
shouldn't climb a tree, nor yawn without covering one's mouth, and one should
meticulously avoid the shadows of divine icons and flags. It is important to
pay obeisance to a divine symbol before stepping out of the house. It is
interesting that many of these principles are followed to this day in the Hindu
world. Many rituals for sacraments, such as wedding and funeral, are spelled out
in detail, and these too are adhered to in our own times.

One surprising item mentioned in the Vishnu Purana about the shraddha (funerary)
ceremony is this: An odd number of Brahmins must be fed. If the food is simple,
the departed souls are satisfied for a whole month. If it has fish, they are
satisfied for two months. Rabbit meat will satisfy them for three months, fowl
for four months, pork for five months, mutton for six months, venison for seven
months, and so on, including lamb and beef. But the meat of the vardhinasa bird
will satisfy them for ever. Some have suggested that this might be a desachâra:
interpolation to suit local customs.

The Vishnu Purana is sectarian, emphasizing the primacy of Lord Vishnu. It
regards Brahma and Shiva as aspects of Vishnu. It is also explicit in its
condemnation of Buddhism and Jainism which are regarded as heretical creeds
(from the Hindu perspective). It warns its adherents against interactions with
such blasphemous sects with the story of the devout Vaishnava king Shatadhanu
who once exchanged a conversation with a heretic, for which offense he was
reborn variously as lowly beasts and birds.

The Vishnu Purana says that Kubera was the grandson of Rishi Bharadvaja. Also,
Vishnu's chakra represents the universal mind, his arrows are the senses.
Vishnu's garland (Vaijayantimala) with five rows of flowers represents stands
for the five senses. Earthquakes and tidal waves result when Vishnu's serpent
Ananta yawns.

The Vishnu Purana says how all the puranas came. They were revealed to a rishi
from Patala, who gave them to Pramati who gave them to Jatukarna. Then they
spread to many rishis. Finally, it was through Rishi Vashishtha and Parashara
that the Vishnu Purana came down to us.

V. V. Raman
August 1, 2007

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The Upanishads

The four Vedas are the foundational texts of Hinduism. They consist of long and
complex hymns. They extol the Gods of Nature, reflect on laws and human destiny,
speak about austerities and sacrifice, express universal values, speculate on
cosmogenesis, and more. They are clearly the spiritual visions of ancient sage
poets, religious at the core.

Many thinkers in ancient India reflected on the nature of reality and the soul,
and on the goal of the Vedas. Their works may be regarded as philosophy rather
than religion. They shifted attention from prayer to reflection, from directing
their thoughts on this god or that to meditating about the self and the soul,
the individual and the supreme. The works of these ancient Hindu sages are known
as the Upanishads. They constitute what is regarded in the tradition as one of
the three pillars of Hindu spirituality.

The word Upanishad literally means sitting nearby, suggesting that they were
teachings more than the preaching of the wise. One may picture a revered guru,
sitting in the shade of an expansive tree, perhaps on the banks of a sacred
river, with a group of young minds sitting in his vicinity, trying to absorb the
master's insights. Somehow many of these early lessons were recited and
recorded.

Scholars have identified more than a hundred Upanishads bearing such names as
Kena, Arthavashiras, Subâla, Tejobindu, NirvâNa, Mahâ, Akshi, Bhâvanâ, GaNapati,
Târasâra, Jâbâli, Muktika, and a hundred more. Of these, eleven have become the
Principal Upanishads since the master metaphysician Shankara wrote commentaries
on them. According to one traditional reckoning, there were at one time 900
Upanishads.

The Upanishadic thinkers probed into the question of what is permanent in a
world where everything changes and perishes. Interestingly, this is also one of
the fundamental quests in the physicist's exploration of the world. From the
point of view of modern physics, there are two sets of entities that remain
unchanging over time: the laws of nature and the conserved quantities
(matter-energy, momentum, etc.). For the Upanishadic seers it is Brahman. The
essence of the Upanishads in fairly simple, but quite profound, no less. It is
simply that we are, one and all, sparks of the same divine cosmic fire. Some of
the cosmological speculations in the Upanishads remind us of pre-Socratic Greek
philosophers. Thus, for example we read about water being at the origin of the
universe (Thales), or fire (Heraclitus).

Now there are two ways of considering the Upanishads: The first is to regard
them as revealed transcendental truths about ultimate reality, and as such are
to be taken unquestioningly. The second is to consider them as the reflections
of extraordinarily brilliant minds on the most fundamental mysteries pertaining
to the cosmos and human existence. Each reader may choose her own approach to
these great compositions which, like the puranas, have exerted considerable
influence on the shaping of the Hindu mind, and on provoking fascinating views
on many thinkers beyond India.

The Upanishads date back to B.C.E, but they were translated into another
language only in the 17th century. This was into Persian, at the instruction of
first of Dara Shikoh who was the brother of the Mogul emperor Aurangazeb. It was
from this Persian version that they were first translated into some European
languages. The ideas in the Upanishads impressed some scholars in Europe and in
America. In particular, Arthur Schopenhauer held the Upanishadic ideas in the
highest esteem, and Ralph Waldo Emerson was inspired by them also.

V. V. Raman
August 3, 2007

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#1347 - August 20, 2007 10:51 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Christianity's Similarities with Hinduism

From "Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence" by Stephen Knapp

You may find it surprising that much of Christianity originated from India. Indeed, over the centuries, numerous historians and sages have pointed out that not only has Hinduism had a predominant influence on Christianity, but that many of the Christian rites could be directly borrowed from Hindu (Vedic) India.

French historian Alain Danielou had noticed as early as 1950 that "a great number of events which surround the birth of Christ - as it is related in the Gospels - strangely reminded us of Buddha's and Krishna's legends." Danielou quotes as examples the structure of the Christian Church, which resembles that of the Buddhist Chaitya; the rigorous asceticism of certain early Christian sects, which reminds one of the asceticism of Jain and Buddhist saints; the veneration of relics, the usage of holy water, which is an Indian practice, and the word "Amen," which comes from the Hindu (Sanskrit) "OM."

Another historian, Belgium's Konraad Elst, also remarks "that many early Christian saints, such as Hippolytus of Rome, possessed an intimate knowledge of Brahmanism." Elst even quotes the famous Saint Augustine who wrote: "We never cease to look towards India, where many things are proposed to our admiration."

Unfortunately, remarks American Indianist David Frawley, "from the second century onwards, Christian leaders decided to break away from the Hindu influence and show that Christianity only started with the birth of Christ." Hence, many later saints began branding Brahmins as "heretics," and Saint Gregory set a future trend by publicly destroying the "pagan" idols of the Hindus.

Great Indian sages, such as Sri Aurobindu and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living, have often remarked that the stories recounting how Jesus came to India to be initiated are probably true. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar notes, for instance, that Jesus sometimes wore an orange robe, the Hindu symbol of renunciation of the world, which was not a usual practice in Judaism. "In the same way," he continues, "the worshiping of Virgin Mary in Catholicism is probably borrowed from the Hindu cult of Devi." Bells too, which cannot be found today in Synagogues, the surviving form of Judaism, are used in church-and we all know their importance in Buddhism and Hinduism for thousands of years, even up to the present day.

There are many other similarities between Hinduism and Christianity, including the use of incense, sacred bread (prasadam), the different altars around churches (which recall the manifold deities in their niches inside Hindu temples), reciting prayers on the rosary (Vedic japamala), the Christian Trinity (the ancient Vedic trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the creator, maintainer and destroyer respectively, as well as Lord Krishna as the Supreme Lord, the all-pervading Brahman as the holy ghost, and Paramatma as the expansion or son of the Lord), Christian processions, and the use of the sign of the cross (anganyasa), and so many others.

In fact, Hinduism's pervading influence seems to go much earlier than Christianity. American mathematician, A. Seindenberg, has, for example, shown that the Shulbasutras, the ancient Vedic science of mathematics, constitute the source of mathematics in the antique world of Babylon to Greece: "The arithmetic equations of the Shulbasutras were used in the observation of the triangle by the Babylonians as well as in the edification of Egyptian pyramids, in particular the funeral altar in the form of pyramid known in the Vedic world as smasana-cit."
In astronomy too, the "Indus" (from the valley of the Indus) have left a universal legacy, determining for instance the dates of solstices, as noted by 18th century French astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly: "The movement of stars which was calculated by Hindus 4,500 years ago, does not differ even by a minute from the tables which we are using today." And he concludes: "The Hindu systems of astronomy are much more ancient than those of the Egyptians-even the Jews derive from the Hindus their knowledge."

There is also no doubt that the Greeks heavily borrowed from the "Indus." Danielou notes that the Greek cult of Dionysus, which later became Bacchus with the Romans, is a branch of Shaivism: "Greeks spoke of India as the sacred territory of Dionysus, and even historians of Alexander the Great identified the Indian Shiva with Dionysus and mention the dates and legends of the Puranas." French philosopher and Le Monde journalist Jean-Paul Droit recently wrote in his book, The Forgetfulness of India, that "the Greeks loved so much Indian philosophy that Demetrios Galianos had even translated the Bhagavad-gita."

Many Western and Christian historians have tried to nullify this India influence on Christians and ancient Greece by saying that it is the West through the Aryan invasion, and later the onslaught of Alexander the Great of India, which influenced Indian astronomy, mathematics, architecture, philosophy-and not vice versa.

But new archeological and linguistic discoveries have proved that there never was an Aryan invasion and that there is a continuity from the ancient Vedic civilization to the Saraswati culture.

The Vedas, for instance, which constitute the soul of present day Hinduism, have not been composed in 1500 B.C., as Max Muller arbitrarily decided, but may go back to 7000 years before Christ, giving Hinduism plenty of time to influence Christianity and older civilizations which preceded Christianity.

Thus, we should be aware of and point out the close links which exist between Christianity and Hinduism (ancient Vedic culture), which bind them into a sacred brotherhood. Conscientious Christian and Western scholars can realize how the world humanity's basic culture is Vedic through proper research.

Visit Stephen Knapp’s website at www.stephen-knapp.com

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#1348 - September 04, 2007 01:12 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Relativity of Human Life


Humans are tiny relative to planet Earth. Go up on a plane and you cannot even see them at 30,000 feet.

Earth is just a small planet in our solar system - a blue rock in a huge space. Go out to the edge of our solar system (like to Pluto) and you cannot even see Earth without a telescope.

Our solar system is in the fringes of the galaxy Milky Way which is about 90,000 light years across (wide). The typical galaxy is 100,000 to 120,000 light years across.

Shrink our Sun to the size of a 3-inch orange and our solar system would be more than 6 football fields wide. Milky Way would be 50 million KM across.

Each typical galaxy has hunderds of billions of stars. Milky Way has 200 billion.

For those whose books do not teach them this, our sun is a star. In the Milky Way, Sun is just a kid in a block full of billions of other kids.

Galaxies cluster together in galaxy clusters or galaxy groups which are millions of light years across.

No human knows how many galaxy groups there are in the universe. Some estimate it at more than half a trillion.

None of the holy stories or 'scriptures' are of any help in such matters of clearly more godly dimension.

May be the gods did not want to confuse us simpletons, and kept their 'words' to that of what one simpleton said to another on earth hundreds of years ago when everything beyond the skies are just 'stars'.

Some books say everything beyond earth is just 'firmament' but we just cannot be firm about what that means.

So we have to take what science has to say per above.

If the universe is equivalent to earth (i.e. we 'shrink' the universe down to size of earth) then earth is not even a small pebble. More likely just a speck of sand in the ocean.

In that context each human would be less than a virus. A super-micro-subvirus at best.

If you are the ruler of earth (god), would you bother about the lives and future of some super-micro-subvirus?

Would you bother to send one subvirus 'messenger' after another to those subviruses? And then stop at that last one? May be tired of some cheap god thrill?

Worse still, in certain cases squeeze your only son into a super-micro-subvirus to save those subviruses? And do the same again sometime in the future? 2nd half of more cheap god thrill?

And those godly super-subviruses all somehow land only on Earth (that one speck of sand) and in that part of the speck called the middle east and nowhere else on earth?

Would you want such sub-viruses to hang around your home with you after they die off? For eternity?

Or would you even bother to set aside a place among your huge territory (they call heaven or hell) to keep dead subviruses? Perhaps a museum of dead super-micro-subviruses of some sort? But that can hardly be special in your scheme of things would it?

Only super-micro-subviruses that are super full of themselves dare to imagine that to be the case.

This subvirus would rather not think I know what the deities think or imagine I am special in their eyes.

Now, let's see the super-micro-flu-subvirus brag about how special he is compared to the super-micro-hiv-subvirus....

The only thing common about them is they cause diseases.

XX

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#1349 - September 23, 2007 12:17 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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The Messiah


Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great
crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all -
young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its
own way, knowing only its own crystal self.

Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks
of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life and resisting
the current what each had learned from birth. But one creature said
at last, 'I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my
eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let
go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of
boredom.'

The other creatures laughed and said, 'Fool! Let go, and that current
you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed by the current across
the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!' But the one heeded
them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and
smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet in time, as the creature
refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom,
and he was bruised and hurt no more. The creatures downstream, to
whom he was a stranger, cried, 'See a miracle! A creature like
ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!'

And the one carried in the current said, 'I am no more Messiah than
you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our
true work is this voyage, this adventure.' But they cried the
more, 'Saviour!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they
looked again he was gone and they were left alone making legends of a
Saviour.

Anon

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#1350 - September 23, 2007 12:21 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Freedom & Democracy


In the US, the declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776. The American Revolutionary war ended with the Treaty of Versailles in 1784. The American Constitution was completed in 1787.

Some Native American Indians have been tracing the concept of democracy back to their own ancestors. One of them wrote:

"The Haudenosaunee (also called ''Iroquois'' or ''Six Nations'') revere a prophetic figure called the Peacemaker, who gathered their ancestors together on the shores of Onondaga Lake centuries ago to halt decades of warfare between them and create the world's first democratic government. This Great Law of Peace bound the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca nations (and later the Tuscarora) into a powerful and prosperous confederacy that dominated what is now upstate New York until they were overrun by non-Indian settlers after the American Revolution."

More recently, Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation, has expounded on the
thesis of how the founding fathers of the United States were influenced by the
traditional Haudenosaunee methods of governance in their framing of a new form
of government for the American colonies during the 1780s.

With all that, there is no question but that the the U.S. was the first government in the world to adopt a constitution based on the broad principles of democracy.

What I had in mind was the transformation of a non-democratic to a democratic
form of government. This happened first after the French Revolution.

What made the French Declaration of Human Rights (La Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen) interesting is that it made these rights universal (not
just for the White people, as initially in the United States). Also, the Bill of
Rights (the so called amendments to the Constitution)giving various freedoms to
the people was adopted was adopted only two years after the French Revolution,
although James Madison had begun drafting it already in the year of the FR. Of course, the British had their own Bill of Rights a century before the FR.

In any case, the point I was trying to make is that many of these ideas (like
elected chief of state holding power for a fixed number of years, individual
rights of citizens) are products of the modern age; ancients societies
functioned by and large by granting supreme powers to govern a country to kings,
chieftains, maharajas, feudal lords, sultans, caliphs, shahs, tzars, and the
like.

Various.

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#1351 - November 15, 2007 07:41 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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On being Rational and Non-Rational


Belief and behavior that contradict reason may be called non-rational. But it is
important to realize that there are two ways of being non-rational, i.e. two
ways in which one might deviate from rationality.

The first is through the irrational mode. Here, one adopts positions or engages
in actions which are grotesque, absurd, silly, and even dangerous. Abusing
others through words or deeds, regarding groups of people as inferior, refusing
to accept evidence against one's cherished beliefs (such as the earth's
rotundity, or biological evolution), subscribing to belief systems that have
been proved to be clearly unscientific are all examples of irrationality. Any
individual or system that preaches hate and hurt also qualifies as an
irrational entity. Whether scientists, mathematicians, scholars, intellectuals,
or whatever, none of us is altogether immune from spurts of irrationality.
Sometimes institutions, political ideologies, economic schemes, religious
systems, or even governments, may become irrational.

The second way in which one may digress from rationality is through beliefs and
actions that are non-hurtful, fulfilling, uplifting, enriching, or helpful to
others. I call this transrationality. Thus, while some elements in the religious
framework may be non-rational, religious behavior need not always be irrational.
It can be transrational. Praying for the well-being of others or even for rain,
and going through the rites and rituals of a tradition are instances of
transrational acts. Doing an act of sacrifice, giving up one's own interests for
the service of the sick and the needy are transrational acts. Religious
doctrines which call for the death and destruction of those who don't subscribe
to particular tenets or prophets, which deny salvation to non-believers, or deny
spiritual rights to some members of one's own group, are examples of
irrationality in religious systems because these denigrate and dehumanize fellow
beings. On the other hand, singing hymns to the Divine and reading from
time-honored texts are instances of transrational elements in religions.
Transrational belief and behavior are meaningful and fulfilling.

Art, poetry, words of good wishes, prayer to the Cosmic Mystery, and the tales
in mythology are transrational in so far as they add to our aesthetic
experience, inspire us to ethical conduct, and elevate our vision of the world.
However, it is important reckon the distinction between the real which is
related to rationality and perceptual verification and the ideal and the
imagined which may be transrational. Rationality must be respected for
intelligent living, irrationality must be scrupulously avoided for sane and
wholesome living, and transrationality cherished for richer experiences and
nurtured for meaningful and purposeful life, as also for comfort in times of
anguish and crisis.

V. V. Raman
November 14, 2007

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#1352 - November 17, 2007 12:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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How English Evolved into the Largest International Language


The history of the English language bears great lessons for the people of India, in particular those of Tamil Nadu as well as other eclipsed languages.

The ascent of English received a great boost in the 14th century when:

a) the Bible was liberated from Latin and could be recited in English;

b) English replaced French as the national language of England (which also paved the way for the teaching of English in schools); and

c) King Edward III ordered (in the year 1362) the replacement of French by English as the language to be used in all the law courts of England. (The King himself could then speak only broken (old) English!)

The English language never looked back after that.

Today it has the most number of speakers in the world (after mandarin), in the most number of nations, is the official languages in scores of countries, has the largest repository of books and papers, and is used in most international meets. Compare this with English in the 14th century when it was confined only to England (not even Scotland and Wales) and even then as not the official language of the land.

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited November 17, 2007).]

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#1353 - December 15, 2007 12:12 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
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Thoughts on Ahalya

Ahalya, as anyone familiar with Hindu lore must know, is one of the five major
heroines of our tradition. Sita, Draupadi, Tara, and Mandodari are the others.
They are all held in high regard in our collective cultural memory. Sadly, like
Sita and Draupadi, Ahalya's honor was also violated, and she too suffered as a
result. Whether historical, mythical, or poetic imagery, their stories evoke in
the sensitive reader not just sympathy, but enormous respect and reverence for
these women of enormous beauty, inner strength and character who were not
sufficiently recognized for their qualities, and even punished for the crime of
others. God alone knows how many women, not just in India but also all over the
world, have thus suffered, and continue to suffer still.
The great rishi Gautama and the Vedic Indra both wanted to wed her. But in a
competition, the rishi won by astutely interpreting the rule to his advantage.
Indra, known for his penchant for female beauty, was not pleased. So it was that
one day, while the rishi was away, he stole into their abode, and pretending to
be Gautama, he made love to her. When the rishi discovered this, he cursed his
wife.
Incidentally, Indra was not the only god to appear in disguise to seduce a
woman. In Greek mythology, when Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, was confined
in a tower, Zeus stealthily entered her chamber as a shower of gold, and
impregnated her: a scene that Titian, in the sixteenth century, represented
gloriously in one of his paintings.
Few social and ethical topics remain untouched in the Ramayana. In the story of
Ahalya we find the perennial theme of lust and adultery. There is ample reason
to believe that adultery was not unusual in ancient societies, or else there
would not be references to it in the laws and literatures of various cultures.
The Latin writer Juvenal described it in his Satires as "an ancient and
long-established custom," adding, "It was the silver-age that saw the first
adulterers." Babylonian law imposed death by drowning for the culprits. The
seventh of the Ten Commandments orders us to refrain from this temptation. The
Old Testament narrates the adulterous union between David and Bathsheba.
Constantine punished adultery with death also, while Justinian sent the
adulteress to a convent. The seventh and eighth days of the Decameron deal
with this subject, as also the adventures of Don Juan. Yet, when the theme was
explored in a nineteenth century novel (Madame Bovary) there was quite an
uproar. And in the Ramayana we find this reference. Some have seen the
Krishna-gopi interactions as adultery.
Kumarila's classic interpretation of the Ahalya episode must be recalled here.
According to it, Indra signifies the Sun and Ahalya represents night. Thus this
story is to betaken as a picturesque way of describing the fact that the
emergence of the sun dissipates the darkness of the night. This does remove the
shock effect from a god's lustful behavior, and it sounds somewhat contrived.
The dialogue between Indra and Ahalya is fairly explicit in motivation and
guilt. Moreover, since the setting of the sun and the advent of night are
natural and continually occurring phenomena, there is no reason to make a big
issue out of it, nor for Gautama to get so perturbed.
If we treat the Indra's behavior as a parable, we may draw the following insight
from it. Man is endowed with faculties and instruments with the aid of which he
accomplishes things. Many of these are of practical interest, and others have a
creative value. Occasionally, however, we may abuse our faculties and misuse
the instruments at our disposal for selfish and unethical ends. We see this
happening all the time in our scientific and technological world. Scientific
knowledge and the gadgets of technology have been exploited many times in
history for ignoble ends. When this happens, the appropriate punishment would
be to take away the instruments that made the wrong action possible. For
example, if some higher power took away our knowledge of nuclear physics and
higher mathematics, nuclear war and destruction would become impossible.
This is what happened to Indra. He misused his generative organ for selfish
ends without regard to the moral implications of his act. Nothing less than
depriving him of the very instrument that made this possible was considered
appropriate in such a situation. So he was castrated.
According to Adhyatma and Kamba (not Valmiki) Ramayana, Ahalya was turned to
stone.
Valmiki says that Ahalya knew who the pretender was. We read in Balakanda LXVIII
Vishvamitra telling Rama: "Though she recognized this to be only Sahasraksha in
disguise, she was inclined towards him as she wished to unite with the ruler of
the gods." In fact we also read here: ""Her desire fulfilled, Ahalya pleaded
with Indra to leave the hermitage at once so that he might protect himself and
her from rishi Gautama's detection. Indra laughed and said, 'Gratified as I am
from this union, I shall leave as stealthily as I came.'"
But the Tamil poet Kamban says otherwise: According to him, Ahalya truly thought
it was her husband who was making love to her.
This reminds me of a famous verse in Kamba Ramayanam (which we had to learn by
rote when we studied the work) in which Vishvamitra is astounded by Rama's power
in resurrecting Ahalya. I am giving the lines (in Tamil) for those who may wish
to recall them:
ivvaNNam nigaznda vaNNam ini inda ulagukkellam
uyvaNNam anRi mattRu Or tuyarvaNNam uruvadu unDO
maivaNNatarakki pOril mazhaivaNNattaNNalE
un kaivaNNam angu kanDEn kAl vaNNam ingu kandEn

In my (rough) English version:

When such things happen by your grace
Can pain any more be in terrestrial space?
Thou who art dark as clouds with rain
I saw your prowess made so plain
When you waged that terrible fearsome fight
Against the ogress who was dark as night.
There the strength of your hands made the story,
And here I see your feet's own glory!

[The ogress refers to Tataka.]

It is when we read such poetic lines (in their original for sure) that we
realize what a magnificent culturally creative civilization India has been over
the ages.

Ahalya's resurrection is a grand event. All heaven rejoices when the presence of
Rama brings Ahalya back to life and glory. The episode conveys the idea that
there is something wonderful when a repentant sinner is restituted, or when a
non-guilty convicted person is released. It says in St. Luke: "Joy shall be in
heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just
persons, which need no repentance." But here we are not even dealing with a
sinner. Rather, this is the case of a very noble and righteous woman whom
circumstances had drawn to an unworthy deed, not unlike Hardy's Tess. We are
moved to even greater exhilaration when we witness such a person being restored
back to normal life after payment of the inappropriate penalty.
Why does Rama have to come for Ahalya's release? What is suggested is that our
own penance and pains are not enough for our redemption. That subtle and
inscrutable element called God's grace is essential for this.

<Why was Ahalya cursed to become a stone, when she had no knowledge that the
impostor who took her to bed was not her husband? It does not seem fair to
punish an innocent person, does it? This is like accusing a rape victim of
adultery!>

1. According to Valmiki, Ahalya did know the identity of Indra.
But he doesn't say she was cursed into becoming a stone.

2. According to Kamban, she did not know the identity of Indra.
Yet, she was condemned to the punishment.

Therefore, your comments are quite valid in the Kamban case.

In any event, I think the answer to your legitimate question (and to other
similar ones, like the treatment by Rama of Sita in the Uttara Kanda) may lie in
the poet's intent to show the injustices in society. Rape victims ARE condemned,
the innocents ARE punished all to often.
When we read these works we must be outraged by such horrible happenings in
human societies, much more than be impressed by the glory of Rama.
Rama redeeming Ahalya is symbolic of the hope and indeed the conviction
(ever-present in Hindu thought) that ultimately we will all be redeemed,whether
we have sinned or not.

V. V. Raman
December 14, 2007

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#1354 - December 15, 2007 12:12 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Thoughts on Ahalya

Ahalya, as anyone familiar with Hindu lore must know, is one of the five major
heroines of our tradition. Sita, Draupadi, Tara, and Mandodari are the others.
They are all held in high regard in our collective cultural memory. Sadly, like
Sita and Draupadi, Ahalya's honor was also violated, and she too suffered as a
result. Whether historical, mythical, or poetic imagery, their stories evoke in
the sensitive reader not just sympathy, but enormous respect and reverence for
these women of enormous beauty, inner strength and character who were not
sufficiently recognized for their qualities, and even punished for the crime of
others. God alone knows how many women, not just in India but also all over the
world, have thus suffered, and continue to suffer still.

The great rishi Gautama and the Vedic Indra both wanted to wed her. But in a
competition, the rishi won by astutely interpreting the rule to his advantage.
Indra, known for his penchant for female beauty, was not pleased. So it was that
one day, while the rishi was away, he stole into their abode, and pretending to
be Gautama, he made love to her. When the rishi discovered this, he cursed his
wife.

Incidentally, Indra was not the only god to appear in disguise to seduce a
woman. In Greek mythology, when Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, was confined
in a tower, Zeus stealthily entered her chamber as a shower of gold, and
impregnated her: a scene that Titian, in the sixteenth century, represented
gloriously in one of his paintings.

Few social and ethical topics remain untouched in the Ramayana. In the story of
Ahalya we find the perennial theme of lust and adultery. There is ample reason
to believe that adultery was not unusual in ancient societies, or else there
would not be references to it in the laws and literatures of various cultures.

The Latin writer Juvenal described it in his Satires as "an ancient and
long-established custom," adding, "It was the silver-age that saw the first
adulterers." Babylonian law imposed death by drowning for the culprits. The
seventh of the Ten Commandments orders us to refrain from this temptation. The
Old Testament narrates the adulterous union between David and Bathsheba.

Constantine punished adultery with death also, while Justinian sent the
adulteress to a convent. The seventh and eighth days of the Decameron deal
with this subject, as also the adventures of Don Juan. Yet, when the theme was
explored in a nineteenth century novel (Madame Bovary) there was quite an
uproar. And in the Ramayana we find this reference. Some have seen the
Krishna-gopi interactions as adultery.

Kumarila's classic interpretation of the Ahalya episode must be recalled here.
According to it, Indra signifies the Sun and Ahalya represents night. Thus this
story is to betaken as a picturesque way of describing the fact that the
emergence of the sun dissipates the darkness of the night. This does remove the
shock effect from a god's lustful behavior, and it sounds somewhat contrived.

The dialogue between Indra and Ahalya is fairly explicit in motivation and
guilt. Moreover, since the setting of the sun and the advent of night are
natural and continually occurring phenomena, there is no reason to make a big
issue out of it, nor for Gautama to get so perturbed.

If we treat the Indra's behavior as a parable, we may draw the following insight
from it. Man is endowed with faculties and instruments with the aid of which he
accomplishes things. Many of these are of practical interest, and others have a
creative value. Occasionally, however, we may abuse our faculties and misuse
the instruments at our disposal for selfish and unethical ends. We see this
happening all the time in our scientific and technological world. Scientific
knowledge and the gadgets of technology have been exploited many times in
history for ignoble ends. When this happens, the appropriate punishment would
be to take away the instruments that made the wrong action possible. For
example, if some higher power took away our knowledge of nuclear physics and
higher mathematics, nuclear war and destruction would become impossible.

This is what happened to Indra. He misused his generative organ for selfish
ends without regard to the moral implications of his act. Nothing less than
depriving him of the very instrument that made this possible was considered
appropriate in such a situation. So he was castrated.
According to Adhyatma and Kamba (not Valmiki) Ramayana, Ahalya was turned to
stone.

Valmiki says that Ahalya knew who the pretender was. We read in Balakanda LXVIII
Vishvamitra telling Rama: "Though she recognized this to be only Sahasraksha in
disguise, she was inclined towards him as she wished to unite with the ruler of
the gods." In fact we also read here: ""Her desire fulfilled, Ahalya pleaded
with Indra to leave the hermitage at once so that he might protect himself and
her from rishi Gautama's detection. Indra laughed and said, 'Gratified as I am
from this union, I shall leave as stealthily as I came.'

But the Tamil poet Kamban says otherwise: According to him, Ahalya truly thought
it was her husband who was making love to her.
This reminds me of a famous verse in Kamba Ramayanam (which we had to learn by
rote when we studied the work) in which Vishvamitra is astounded by Rama's power
in resurrecting Ahalya. I am giving the lines (in Tamil) for those who may wish
to recall them:

ivvaNNam nigaznda vaNNam ini inda ulagukkellam
uyvaNNam anRi mattRu Or tuyarvaNNam uruvadu unDO
maivaNNatarakki pOril mazhaivaNNattaNNalE
un kaivaNNam angu kanDEn kAl vaNNam ingu kandEn

In my (rough) English version:

When such things happen by your grace
Can pain any more be in terrestrial space?
Thou who art dark as clouds with rain
I saw your prowess made so plain
When you waged that terrible fearsome fight
Against the ogress who was dark as night.
There the strength of your hands made the story,
And here I see your feet's own glory!

[The ogress refers to Tataka.]

It is when we read such poetic lines (in their original for sure) that we
realize what a magnificent culturally creative civilization India has been over
the ages.

Ahalya's resurrection is a grand event. All heaven rejoices when the presence of
Rama brings Ahalya back to life and glory. The episode conveys the idea that
there is something wonderful when a repentant sinner is restituted, or when a
non-guilty convicted person is released. It says in St. Luke: "Joy shall be in
heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just
persons, which need no repentance." But here we are not even dealing with a
sinner. Rather, this is the case of a very noble and righteous woman whom
circumstances had drawn to an unworthy deed, not unlike Hardy's Tess. We are
moved to even greater exhilaration when we witness such a person being restored
back to normal life after payment of the inappropriate penalty.

Why does Rama have to come for Ahalya's release? What is suggested is that our
own penance and pains are not enough for our redemption. That subtle and
inscrutable element called God's grace is essential for this.

<Why was Ahalya cursed to become a stone, when she had no knowledge that the
impostor who took her to bed was not her husband? It does not seem fair to
punish an innocent person, does it? This is like accusing a rape victim of
adultery!>

1. According to Valmiki, Ahalya did know the identity of Indra.
But he doesn't say she was cursed into becoming a stone.

2. According to Kamban, she did not know the identity of Indra.
Yet, she was condemned to the punishment.

Therefore, your comments are quite valid in the Kamban case.

In any event, I think the answer to your legitimate question (and to other
similar ones, like the treatment by Rama of Sita in the Uttara Kanda) may lie in
the poet's intent to show the injustices in society. Rape victims ARE condemned,
the innocents ARE punished all to often.
When we read these works we must be outraged by such horrible happenings in
human societies, much more than be impressed by the glory of Rama.
Rama redeeming Ahalya is symbolic of the hope and indeed the conviction
(ever-present in Hindu thought) that ultimately we will all be redeemed,whether
we have sinned or not.

V. V. Raman
December 14, 2007


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited December 15, 2007).]

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#1355 - December 19, 2007 12:41 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Suffering in Religions


Even while striving to improve things externally, its important to
cultivate self-contentment -- in fact critical today. I offer two
powerful reasons for this:

1) Some religions are based on a "theory of suffering" which blames
"others" for problems. This way to solve people's misery causes
conflicts. Be it the devil's followers, infidels, kafirs, or the
Marxist theory of suffering that advocates class conflict, most
civilizational wars drum up their support base by such rhetorec.
Hitler's theory of suffering of the germans was based on blaming Jews,
Ronald Reagan's on blaming the "Evil Soviet Empire" and so forth. So
reason #1 for advocating self-contentment is to remove air from this
hate-filled balloon. Hinduism's theory of suffering is based on one's
OWN past-life karma, and there is no anti-Ishvar, anti-Brahman, etc
whose followers have to be attacked for one's own moksha. While Hindu
politicians also drum up hate-based support, this is not legitimized
by theological mandates as the path to personal salvation. On the
other hand, the Christian/Zionist End of Time will come (as per the
apocalyptic teaching of the Bible) ONLY after the heathens have been
defeated, the temple of David restored in Israel (which is the same
land on which one of Islam's major holy shrines in built), and so
forth. A large % of Americans believe that their personal suffering
and the world's suffering are caused by gays, abortionists, heathens
who have refused to accept jesus, etc. This makes OTHERS the CAUSE of
MY suffering! So the higher themisery index is, the greater the
xenophobia becomes.

2) The second reason is that rampant consumerism is destroying the
planet. One cannot solve the problem of depleting natural resources,
global warming, etc while at the same time advocating the spread of
consumerism. So how is one to live happily without joining the rat
race to accumulate and consume ad infinitum? Here, India's gift to the
world, of adhyatmic technologies to achieve joy without extroverted
consumption cravings, could become a matter of humanity's survival. Be
happy with less -- thats gandhian, thats what the sadhu lives, thats
what the ashrama-system advocates because only 1 out of 4 life-stages
(i.e. householder) encourages consumerism while the other stages
cultuvate non-consumerist ways of joy.

Bottom line: Please dont encourage the further spread of the scourge
of asking peole to feel miserable. As it is, too many Indians are
getting into this trap of chasing what the media etc establish as the
role-model lifestyle. This is simply unachievable on the scale of
India's population. If Indians start per capital consumption at par
with EU or USA, Indian would collapse as unsustainable. India would
become one large parking lot if cars were owned at the same per capita
rate as in America.

We should be thankful that many of our brethren, despite all sorts of
material depravation, have the ability to generate happiness through
simple things in life, and without chasing consumerism or blaming
kafirs/class/infidels etc to wage wars. Dont destroy the remaining
cultures which are organic, self-evolving, dynamic, and not demanding
monolithic or normative lifestyles.

Here are the prevailing theories of suffering espoused by major belief systems:

1. All humans are Fallen Sinners due to Adam-Eve Original Sin.

2. Jews get "chosen" by God with a special (exclusive) deal, provided
they comply with their side of the bargain - Release 1.0 of the
Covenant with God.

3. Then God feels sorry for others, has love for them. To "save" all
of them, he sacrifices his one and only son to pay off the Original
Sin and thereby offer us a new deal (covenant). This Covenant says
that all humans can be saved (unlike just a few chosen ones earlier)
provided they accept the one and only son and his virgin birth and his
crucifixion as exclusive events and discard all alternatives. This is
Release 2.0 of God's Covenant, now available at your nearest church.

4. Then God sends the angel Gabriel to dictate a new Covenant, using
Prophet Mohammed as the intermediary. Prior covenants sent via
prophets became corrupted by humans; hence like any good CEO, God must
resend the book/manual of rules freshly. This is Release 3.0 of God's
Covenant.

[Fights over which release is valid and which are bogus has
preoccupied the abrahamic religions. There are good reasons why this
simply cannot be reconciled in the good old "win-win" american style.
The NECESSARY conditions for one release to operate DEMAND that other
releases must get uninstalled. This is a complex theological analysis
I have written extensively, and interviewed theologians of the major
institutions involved. Most persons are disinterested/scared to
understand the real issues, and resort to superficial "tolerance" and
"samenes" -- hence the sameness intellectuals have responsibility in
spreading garbage about religions which the authorities of those
religions do not accept. My analysis will be published in my next
book.]

5. Hegel "Enlightens" the Europeans by establishing The Linear Theory
of History, according to which the West exclusively has what he calls
the "spirit" to progress. He EXPLICITLY justifies the genocide of the
Native Americans, which enabled Europeans to amass huge wealth in the
americas. Africans he says deserve slavery due to their innate nature.
Asians suffer from Oriental Despotism as their cause of suffering, but
they are lucky: Asians have the potential to get civilized and thats
why colonialism is good for them. This became the White Man's Burden.

6. Engels, Marx evolve this into class struggle that causes all
suffering, the solution being communism. Indians imported this and
turned it into Aryan vs Dravidian, upper caste vs. Dalit and so forth
as theories of suffering. This is much is vogue in India even though
it promises to tear apart the nation. Fragmentation of identities ad
infinitum is a great way to break up one's opponent and this western
import is doing a great job at that. (Of course the exporters of such
social theories have never explained to their third world franchises
why these theories have failed on home turf of the west -- e.g. why
the christianized latin americans suffer worse social abuses than
heathen India after scaling the stats for population sizes.)

7. Indic traditions (all 4 of them, incl Hindu, Buddhist, jaina, Sikh)
have karma theory as a foundational element. This expands the ethical
timeframe into a series of lives by the jiva-atman, rather than
only-one-life (with nothing prior) that is to be followed by absolute
opposite choices of heaven/hell. While karma does not support blaming
"others" (despite what politicians might espouse), it DOES suffer from
a serious misinterpretation which leads to fatalism. However, this is
where the history of Indian science/technology and economics is
important to bring in. Indian civ did NOT freeze or remain static. It
was not otherworldly. The material progress across the nation
geographically and across time is too vast to be dismissed. It seems
there were multiple lifestyles included, of which mystical
other-worldliness is simply one, and this lifestyle was never followed
by every Indian and not even close to a majority. Alongside the
mystics there were always pragmatic this-worldly folks in very large
numbers, pursuing practical things. There was always tension among
these alternative lifestyles and worldviews.

8. Nussbaum propagates the internal clash within India as its theory
of suffering. According to her thesis, Hinduism deserves the blame for
all the problems of India. She bases her arguments on factual errors
which are too numerous to be listed here. (I am the topic of her
personal attack for a whole chapter.) Ramesh Rao and Prof Jagdish
Bhagwati have criticized her work and attempts to create mischief in
India. She especially find the IIT folks threatening -- because they
can stand up to the world as equals and because they did not get
brainwashed in social theories imported from the West. India does not
need a Nussbaum or any other white chauvinist to save its people from
their socio-economic problems. Of course, challenges from the outside
have always helped Indians generate creative responses. Ultimately the
people have been able to reject nonsense being fed to them, even if
this time it happens to be Amartya Sen's girldfriend backed by Harvard
and Indian PR agencies and media to spread her lies.

Rajiv Malhotra

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#1356 - December 20, 2007 10:32 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Islam and the diabolic slave trade

By M.S.N. Menon

“If all crimes committed from creation down to the present day were added together, they would not exceed, I am sure, the guilt of the diabolic slave trade.”—Lord Palmerston (1844)

And did you know, dear Reader, that this “diabolic slave trade” had the blessings of Christianity and Islam? But this is not the only guilt they carried. And yet they assert that they are superior to Hinduism!

But how can the religion of Jesus Christ be a party to these atrocities? Here is what one of Europe’s foremost historians had to say: “They (Europeans) received the externals (of Christianity), but there they stop. They may baptize their children, they may take the sacrament, they may flock to the church. All these they may do and yet be as far removed from the spirit of Christianity as when they bowed their knees before their former idols.” (History of Medieval and Modern Civilisations by Seignobos.)

In short, Europe was never truly Christianised. This explains why Christian Europe was behind this “diabolic” trade.

But we know so little about the Muslims! You may well ask why? Because the wrong-doings of the Muslims have hardly been dealt with by the historians. In fact, Islam is the least discussed religion. It is made out as if it has a clean slate.

The fact is: the Arabs were the first to trade in slaves. It began long before Islam. The Quran gave it legitimacy. Hunting for slaves became part of the Arab way of life. There was no problem of conscience. They developed the worst forms of slave trade. Only when the Portuguese and Spanish entered the scene, the Arab monopoly of the trade was broken.

The Portuguese were the first to set up a slave fort in West Africa (in 1481 AD). The British entered the trade in 1562 AD. The last slave ship sailed out of the West coast of Africa in1707 AD(the year when Aurangzeb died). But the trade went on for half a century more. In about three centuries, the Europeans captured or bought about 10 million Africans to be transported to the New World. Half of them perished in most terrible circumstances before they reached their destination.

On the perilous journey of the slave ships across the Atlantic, this is what one historian had to say: Negroes were piled up in the holds of the ships, as many as they could contain and they remained there without light or air for several weeks. They died in hundreds. The dead and the blinded were thrown to the sharks which infested the waters to the Americas. And those who reached the plantations were tied to yokes to plough the lands. (Seignobos)

People did make historical mistakes. The question is; did they regret? Did they make amends? Europe did make amends: it gave up the slave trade. The British were the first to revolt against the trade. Remember, Lincoln fought a bloody civil war to get rid of the trade in America.

What about the Muslims? Did they regret? Did they make amends? No. They kept at it for 1300 years till they were forced out of it by the Western powers! Nowhere in Islamic literature do we find a demand for abolition of the trade! And when the Ottomans (a non-Arab Muslim people) did make a call for its abolition, the priests of Mecca revolted. They issued a fatwa against the Ottoman demand and called them “infidels”. They said, the demand went against the holy Shariah.

India, like Africa, bore the brunt of this “diabolic” trade. Qasim carried away 60,000 Indians from Sind. In fact, Sind became a perennial source of supply till Mahmud of Ghazni opened up the rest of India.

K.S. Lal, the Indian historian, says: “Slave-taking in India was the most flourishing and successful Muslim missionary activity.”

But we talk and talk of caste oppression in India as if it was the worst form of brutality. I do admit a thousand times, it was unpardonable. But compare it with the slave trade and the genocide. The very idea of hunting down other human beings with net and whip and yoking them as animals to plough the land—there can be nothing more revolting and reprehensible than this.

There were other worse crimes. For example, sale of eunuchs. Boys of 7-15 years were castrated and sold to the aristocracy and royalty as eunuchs to guard their harems. About 90 per cent of them are reported to have died while removing their genitals. Can there be anything more heartless?

Slavery among boys led to rampant homosexuality. It is said an Arab judge changed the boy everyday. The practice was so rampant that even al-Ghazali, the great Muslim savant, feared to condemn it.

Muslims are deeply divided. The puritans (extremists), the dominant group, carry the negative legacy of Islam. (Only recently a judge of Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa for the restoration of slavery!) The moderates want us to believe that the good inspired by the humanistic traditions of Islam far outweighs the bad. But facts tell a different story.

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#1357 - January 16, 2008 10:23 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Origin of the seven day week
?       
Aside from the sun and the moon, the Babylonians recogŹnized five other celestial bodies that move differently than the stars. These were arranged in the order of their distances as: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, MerŹcury, the Moon. They dedicated one hour to each of these planetary gods in that order. Since the day has 24 hours, this is how the dedications were made:?

               Planet  Hours when      Day
                        planet gets             Number
                        first hour

                Saturn -1, 8, 15, 22            1-1
                Jupiter -2, 9, 16, 23            6-1
                Mars -3, 10, 17, 24             4-1
                Sun -1, 4, 11, 18                2-1
                Venus -2, 5, 12, 19             7-1
               Mercury -3, 6, 13, 20          5-1
                Moon -4, 7, 14, 21              3-1

This led to the order of the days of the week that is still  current. English names are derived from Nordic mythology. Saturn-day or Saturday, Sun-day, Moon-day or Monday, Mars-day [Tuesday], Mercury-day [Wednesday], Jupiter-day [Thursday], Venus-day [Friday].

The planet Uranus (which was discovered only in the 1770s) was unkown to the ancients because it is not visible to the naked eye. Likewise Neputume (discovered in the 19th century).

?If the ancients had had a telescope they would have come up with a nine-day week. If they had known that the earth is a planet, while the Sun and the Moon are not, they would have known there are only eight planets (excluding Pluto). The days of the week have nothing to do with the (imaginary) light from the planets to the earth.

The lack of knowledge of basic astronomy and physics, as also of the history of ideas and cultures is responsible for considerable misconceptions and pseudo-scientific claims which are culturally and scientifically awkward, not to say absurd.

Professor  V. V. Raman
January 13, 2008

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited January 16, 2008).]

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#1358 - January 16, 2008 10:25 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Measure of Space


Est modus in rebus: There is a measure in all things. - Horace
Measurement is the lifeblood of science, and of physics especially. We must
therefore introduce a standard for the measure of space. It is convenient to
start with one dimension, or length. Lengths have been measured since the most
ancient times in all cultures, using fingers, feet, or arm-lengths.

Archeologists have unearthed a very precise ivory scale in Lothal (Indus valley)
for measuring extremely small lengths, the first measuring device in human
history. In the seventeenth century Jean Picard proposed to take the length of a
pendulum which swings once every second at sea level as a standard for measuring
lengths. This would be modern scientific in that it is culture-independent,
unconnected to local customs, and unrelated to the size of individuals.

After the French Revolution in 1789, committee appointed by the French National
Assembly defined the meter as a ten millionth part of the distance from the
equator to the North Pole via Paris. Later, a platinum-iridium bar on which are
etched two thin scratches a meter apart at 0oC was installed in the
International Bureau of Standards at Sčvres, near Paris. Copies of this are in
all nations that are signatories of the international standard.

The current definition of the meter, however, is more sophisticated. It was
defined in the 11th General Conference of Weights and Measures in 1960 as
follows: The meter is the length equal to 1,650,763.73 wavelengths in vacuum of
the radiation corresponding to the transition between the levels 2 p10 and 5 d5
of the krypton-80 atom.

If you are not a physicist, read this definition again. You may not understand
everything it says, but it should drive home an important point. Precision and
measurement and consensus are all essential in the conduct of the scientific
enterprise. Science is not one person's views about how the world functions, nor
hand-waving speculations, unconfirmed generalities, or quotes from sacred
scriptures. Science is based on sustained observations and meticulous
measurements by countless people scattered in many regions of the world. That is
what gives science its credibility, reliability, international weight and
power. This is why its contentions overshadow assertions about the world made
through other modes. It is not enough to say that another system of thought hit
upon the same insight before. What matters is how it came upon the idea, and to
what extent the idea was made quantitatively precise and measurable.

For much smaller lengths, like a tenth, a hundredth, a thousandth, a millionth,
a billionth of a meter and so on, we use other units, giving them different
names: decimeter, centimeter, millimeter, micrometer, nanometer, and so on. By
convention, the prefixes are all Latin-derived. For multiples like ten, hundred,
thousand, million, billion meters and so on, we have a decameter, a hectameter,
a kilometer, a megameter, a gigameter, and so on, using Greek prefixes, again by
convention.

Sometimes we have to deal with distances that are far in excess of several
billion meters. This often happens in the context of astronomy. For example, (on
an average) the sun is 93 million miles from the earth. It is far easier to say
that it takes light about eight minutes to reach us from the sun (traveling at a
speed of 300 megameters per second. This distance is called an Astronomical Unit
(AU). Or again, light travels a distance of some 9.5 billion kilometeres in a
year. This distance is referred to as a light-year: which is a measure of
distance and not of time. On this scale, the star closest to our solar system
has been reckoned to be about 4.2 light years. The Pole Star (Dhruva nakshatra)
to which the arm of the Great Bear points, is about 431 light years away.

V. V. Raman
January 14, 2008

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#1359 - January 25, 2008 05:05 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
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Extrapolations

Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:42:23 -0500

8. Non-Scientific Extrapolations
After the experimental confirmation of Einstein's theories, popular
versions of them began to appear. These stimulated a good deal of public
discussion, and prompted intelligent minds to extrapolate them into metaphysical
ramifications and theological realms of their particular persuasion. A famous
editorial in the London Times declared in 1919: "Observational Science has in
fact led back to the purest subjective idealism." Other commentators began to
seek concordance between the highly technical formulation of physics and
revelations recorded in sacred texts, including (one might add) the writings of
Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. The philosopher Wildon Carr informed his
readers that "The principle of relativity is a rejection of materialism."
However, Einstein himself reflected that "the mystical trend of our time... is
for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion." That might have been
an accurate description of, but not a solution to, some of
the philosophical questions his theory provoked.

But then, there was nothing new in this phenomenon. Ever since the rise
of modern science in the seventeenth century, there was first a resistance to it
because its findings were blatantly contradictory to worldviews entertained by
most people since time immemorial. Then, when it became quite difficult, indeed
impossible to persist in claiming that the older views were correct,
traditionally inclined thinkers began to find concordance between the latest
theories of science and statements found in the scriptural writings of their
ancestors. This reaction began in the Christian context, because modern science
arose in Western Europe which was largely Christian at the time. From the last
quarter of the nineteenth century, this approach slowly permeated into other
religious traditions as well. Again and again, we find scientifically informed
adherents of traditional religions claiming that the latest findings of physics,
cosmology, or biology bear uncanny resemblance to
what the ancients (of their particular) tradition had said. In our own times,
there are any number of writings by Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and
Buddhists that expound on this theme.

This genre of writing serves two important purposes: First, it makes it
easier for people to accept modern science without abandoning their own cultural
religious roots. Secondly, it makes them feel that their own ancestors possessed
no less scientific genius than what some of the moderns seem to have.
Such claims are usually made by theologians, philosophers, and cultural
commentators, and seldom by practicing scientists who have neither the time nor
the interest in practicing this mode of ancestor-worship. Scientists seldom look
into the writings of thinkers dead and gone for a thousand and more years to
derive guidance in their research, or even confirmation for their latest
theories. Their interest is in current science, and not in ancient theories,
much less in deriving or providing cultural solace to the public. But people who
are not involved in scientific research and are not part of a currently creative
scientific culture derive some consolation when they equate past achievements of
their distant forebears with recent worldviews of science, little realizing that
such claims don’t enhance the prestige of the past thinkers by one iota. Indeed,
this is not even a safe bet to make on their behalf because science will
probably discard its theories sooner or
later.

In any case, the twentieth century view of what the poet described as
"the sun-swept spaces which God made," is very different from that of a domed
celestial sphere with tiny holes through which we see the fiery beyond as tiny
stars, or of a limitless space extending endlessly, where angels and other
supernatural beings reside, such as earlier generations imagined.

V.V. Raman

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#1360 - January 25, 2008 05:07 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Utter Emptiness

Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 08:54:59 -0500

Utter emptiness: First approximation

Since ancient times, many keen minds have pondered about emptiness.
Thinkers in ancient India reflected on the emptiness of space, and proclaimed
that utter nothingness was a reality of which the physical world is a
manifestation. Every thing and thought is an emanation from pure void. In other
words, emptiness was a potential for infinity. Or, in the terminology of set
theory, the null set is also a set.

Democritus of Abdera (5-4 cent. BCE) proposed that the world was made up
of an infinite number of never-decaying atoms in a void of limitless expanse. He
pictured eternal atoms as rigid and indivisible. They were moving incessantly in
an emptiness which he identified with the Non-Being of an earlier generation, in
contrast to the Full Being which is eternal and indestructible. Empty space was
there, declared Democritus, not just to contain solid matter, but also as a
region for matter to move.

But Aristotle spoke out forcefully against the existence of void. He
challenged the view that emptiness was necessary for motion to occur, arguing
that movement was possible in a plenum or fullness too: don’t fish swim ever so
freely in an aquatic plenum? At least one investigator in ancient times
considered the matter experimentally: Heron of Alexandria (c. 62 C.E.). In a
lengthy book on pneumatics, he discussed how vacuum might occur, but also how
air and water rush in to occupy vacuum. He propounded the principle of horror
vacui: that nature abhors vacuum, in Western thought.

In later centuries, when the ideas of the ancients were revived by Arab
scholars, some agreed with Aristotle partially, some agreed with him fully, and
yet others completely disagreed. Medieval scholastics like Aquinas and
Bradwardine were also interested in the subject of void. Gradually, however,
the idea of total emptiness came to be rejected, not simply because the great
Aristotle had said so, but also because it had been associated with what
appeared to be a materialistic (the atomic) theory. Insubstantial emptiness
became anathema.

Even some of the founders of modern science did not accept that there
could be complete void. Galileo, the 17th century scientific giant, did not
believe in it. He thought rather that emptiness exerted some kind of a
vacuum-force, preventing its very existence. Descartes argued that matter was
indefinitely divisible, hence it would be impossible to remove all matter from a
region. Leibniz too was a plenist, rejecting the possibility of nothingness.
All these great minds were firmly convinced that Nature will not permit utter
emptiness, They were convinced that something material, substantial, or subtle,
had to permeate every nook of available space. Even the brightest scientific
minds of an age may not discern rightly every aspect of the roots of perceived
reality.

Thus, a careful study of the history of science reveals that our conceptions
and understandings of the world should never be regarded as final. It would,
however, be a mistake to conclude from this that the scientific effort to grasp
the details of natural phenomena have no value. Like it or not, we have but two
choices Either to accept as eternal truths speculative, unverifiable, and
logically inconsistent views about the phenomenal world as unalterable truths,
or live with provisional explanations which are coherent and consistent with
currently available and carefully gathered data of observation. The first choice
may give some satisfaction to those who rely on ancient utterances for truths
about the physical world, while the latter, for all its potential for
modification, is not only rationally fulfilling, but enables us to manage and
manipulate the physical world in good and bad ways to our advantage.

V. V. Raman
22 January, 2008

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#1361 - February 01, 2008 08:50 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Athiest quotes


Seneca the Younger 4 BCE- 65 CE -- Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

Blaise Pascal -- Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.

Emo Philips -- When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.

Richard Jeni -- You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend

Bertrand Russell -- And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence

George Bernard Shaw -- The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

Epicurus -- Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Doug McLeod -- I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.

http://www.chrisbeach.co.uk/viewQuotes.php

Stephen Roberts
"We are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."


Historical Quotes Concerning Paul and his doctrines from Historians, Philosophers and Theologians


Carl Sagan (Scientist; Author)
"My long-time view about Christianity is that it represents an amalgam of two seemingly
immiscible parts--the religion of Jesus and the religion of Paul. Thomas Jefferson attempted to
excise the Pauline parts of the New Testament. There wasn't much left when he was done, but it
was an inspiring document." (Letter to Ken Schei [author of Christianity Betrayed])


Thomas Jefferson
"Paul was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." (All references not listed here, can be
found in Christianity Betrayed)


Albert Schweitzer
"Where possible Paul avoids quoting the teaching of Jesus, in fact even mentioning it. If we had
to rely on Paul, we should not know that Jesus taught in parables, had delivered the sermon on
the mount, and had taught His disciples the 'Our Father.' Even where they are specially
relevant, Paul passes over the words of the Lord."


Wil Durant (Philosopher)
"Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of
Christ." . "Fundamentalism is the triumph of Paul over Christ."


Walter Kaufmann (Professor of Philosophy, Princeton)
"Paul substituted faith in Christ for the Christlike life."


George Bernard Shaw
"No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than Paul boldly set it on its
legs again in the name of Jesus."


Thomas Hardy
"The new testament was less a Christiad than a Pauliad."


Hyam Maccoby (Talmudic Scholar)
"As we have seen, the purposes of the book of Acts is to minimize the conflict between Paul and
the leaders of the Jerusalem Church, James and Peter. Peter and Paul, in later Christian
tradition, became twin saints, brothers in faith, and the idea that they were historically bitter
opponents standing for irreconcilable religious standpoints would have been repudiated with
horror. The work of the author of Acts was well done; he rescued Christianity from the
imputation of being the individual creation of Paul, and instead gave it a respectable pedigree,
as a doctrine with the authority of the so-called Jerusalem Church, conceived as continuous in
spirit with the Pauline Gentile Church of Rome. Yet, for all his efforts, the truth of the matter is
not hard to recover, if we examine the New Testament evidence with an eye to tell-tale
inconsistencies and confusions, rather than with the determination to gloss over and harmonize all difficulties in the interests of an orthodox interpretation." (The Mythmaker, p. 139,Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1986)


Jeremy Bentham (English Philosopher)
"If Christianity needed an Anti-Christ, they needed look no farther than Paul." (Paraphrased. Looking for a copy of "Not Paul, but Jesus" in order to retrieve the exact quote.)


Carl Jung (Psychologist)
"Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in." (U.S. News and World
Report, April 22, 1991, p. 55)


Bishop John S. Spong (Episcopal Bishop of Newark)
"Paul's words are not the Words of God. They are the words of Paul- a vast difference."
(Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, p. 104, Harper San Francisco, 1991).

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#1362 - February 01, 2008 09:08 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Hinduism a de facto supporter of Ecology

By Rachel Oliver
For CNN

Whether we are actively religious or not, religious belief permeates the very fabric of our existence. Namely, it influences -- if not directly shapes -- our legal systems; and therefore our constitutions; and therefore our nations' policy choices, both at home and abroad.

It is then only logical to surmise that religion also influences how we -- individually and collectively -- view our role with regards to protecting the environment.
To suggest that any one religion somehow cares more for the Earth than the others would be foolish and simplistic, but within each belief system there lie subtle differences that, many argue, give an indication as to how we view our position in relation to it.

Namely, there appear to be two opposing questions that the world's religions have sought to answer over time: Are humans an equal part of a greater organism which they should therefore respect, serve and nourish? Or is the very purpose of that organism to serve and nourish the human race?

As Lynn White wrote in what many view as a groundbreaking, yet controversial 1967 essay, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," published in Science magazine: "What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to things around them. Human ecology is deeply conditioned by beliefs about our nature and destiny -- that is, by religion."

World's Leading Religions by Followers (from Adherents.com)
• Christianity: 2.1 billion ?• Islam: 1.5 billion ?• Hinduism: 900 million ?• Buddhism: 376 million

Christianity
"Christianity," wrote White, "Not only established a dualism of man and nature but also insisted that it is God's will that man exploit nature for his proper ends." The emergence of Christianity, many, like White believe, marked the moment humans broke away from previously common held beliefs that all beings, all forms of life -- including plants -- had spirits (or souls).

"In Antiquity every tree, every spring, every stream, every hill had its own genius loci, its guardian spirit," he wrote. And Christianity changed all that, he believed. Man was created in God's image, Christians believed, and notably Man was created at the end of Creation and humans therefore inherited the Earth. "By destroying pagan animism," White wrote. "Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects."

Many disagree -- and indeed are offended by -- the assertion that Christians do not care for the Earth and all of its beings and have dismissed White's conclusions. Marcia Bunge in her 1994 essay, "Biblical Views of Nature: Foundations for an Environmental Ethic," published by Chicago's Lutheran School of Theology's journal "Care of the Earth," claimed the Bible "contains ample grounds for environmental responsibility."

Bunge cited examples such as the story of Noah as evidence that God's covenant was not just with humans but with all creatures; that the name Adam stemming from the Hebrew word 'adamah', meaning ground or earth implied "the connection between human beings and the earth," and that, in the New Testament, Paul's vision of redemption or liberation through Christ's death did not just apply to humans but "of all creatures of nature".

Judaism
Christians are not the only ones looking for guidance in the Old Testament. But when drawing from Genesis, the Jewish faith is not so much divided, many believe, more to say appreciative of two opposing ideas that can happily co-exist. As Daniel B. Fink's 1998 essay, "Judaism and Ecology: A Theology of Creation", published in "Earth Ethics", explains: "We are both a part of nature and apart from it." Jews understand, Fink says, that the fact that Man was created at the end of the sixth day could have two possible meanings: either humans are the "guest[s] of honor" at a great feast, or, it's a reminder in case humans become too arrogant "that even the gnats preceded them in the order of creation".

In that regard, the perception is that humans have a "unique" responsibility to "use nature's bounty to our benefit" while also recognizing that "each part of God's creation has its own intrinsic value". Humans, in the Jewish interpretation, are the stewards of the Garden of Eden, but vitally, they are looking after it for God, not for themselves. Underlying the Jewish ethic, Fink writes, is the belief that humans are "only tenants on this earth. The land belongs to God. We are given permission to enjoy the Creator's abundant gifts, but we must not waste or wantonly destroy anything."

Islam
Responsible stewardship is a theme also shared by Muslims. In "Environmental Protection in Islam" published by the Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prophet Muhammad's stance on the environment is quite clear: "Created beings are the dependents of God, and the creature dearest unto God is he who does most good to God's dependents," it says. Humans' good deeds therefore, "are not limited to the benefit of the human species but rather extend to the benefit of all created beings."

Similar to the Jewish and Christian faiths, human beings are seen in Islam as stewards of the environment, but more in line with Judaism, a principal belief amongst Muslims is that, a human is "only a manager of the earth and not a proprietor." Therein lies among Muslims an appreciation of a profound duty to protect the Earth, many believe. But vitally, the belief system is not just based on what humans do now, more what they set up for humans to come. Continuing the theme of stewardship, we are permitted to enjoy the fruits of the earth, but Earth must not be ruined for our descendents: "Man should not abuse, misuse, or distort the natural resources as each generation is entitled to benefit from them but is not entitled to "own" them in an absolute sense."

Hinduism
Hinduism is an immensely complex and diverse religion and shares certain beliefs with Buddhism, but essentially it is governed by three concepts: Brahman (a divine force which manifests itself in everything); Karma (the law of cause and effect) and the goal of moksha (enlightenment). At its core is living a simple life and shunning the myth of happiness through material gain.

"Hindu religion wants its followers to live a simple life ... People are meant to learn to enjoy spiritual happiness, so that to derive a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, they need not run after material pleasures and disturb nature's checks and balances," writes Ranchor Prime for the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.

Notably, Hinduism appears to be a de facto supporter of renewable fuels, such is its adherence to sustaining the natural order of things. Hindus are instructed not to "use anything belonging to nature, such as oil, coal, or forest, at a greater rate than you can replenish it."

Buddhism
Buddhism -- with all its different subsets -- is viewed by many as the most environmentally-friendly religion of them all, mainly because it believes in the fundamental equality of all sentient beings: We are all born, we all age, then we all die. There is no reason therefore, they believe, why a human's experience specifically should be any more important than that of a pig or a cow. And as a result all beings deserve equal levels of empathy -- or as is oft referred to, 'loving-kindness.'

"All sentient beings share the fundamental conditions of birth, old age, suffering, and death...the mindful awareness of the universality of suffering produces compassionate empathy for all forms of life," writes Harvard University's Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, Donald Swearer in Earth Ethics. And as he points out, that includes plants too.

Interestingly, Buddhism has its own story of Creation, with its own kind of Eden, but with one key difference: "In the Buddhist mythological Eden, the earth flourishes naturally, but greedy desire leads to division and ownership of the land that in turn promotes violent conflict, destruction, and chaos. In short, in the Buddhist myth of first origins, human agency destroys the natural order of things."

(Sources: The Alliance of Religions and Conservation; Harvard University Center for the Environment; Adherents.org; ReligiousTolerance.org)

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#1363 - February 18, 2008 10:59 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Between Two Evils

The faster Hinduism reforms; relinquishes varnashrama, reorient its shastras, open the temples to all, open the priesthood to all, open the ashrams and monkhood to all, insist on providing dikshas to all Hindus, allow unrestricted entry of all into Hinduism, its sacraments and its institutions, AS WELL AS get rid of the two evils (pAe on one side and pisAsu on the otherside), the faster we can deals with external threats like these. Otherwise we might just as well be contend to read recurring reports like these.

The[/b] two weevils[/b] (pAe on one side and pisAsu) tormenting the Hindus are:

The pAe
1. the missionary-marxist-mullah-macaulayist (pseudo sec) nexus (4M),

The pisAsu
2. Brahmin supremacists and Hindians

Definitions:
Brahmin supremacists: Those (few) brahmins beholden to the manu and puranashastras, sanskrit supremacists, who consider themselves superior to non-Brahmins, believe it is their right to rule the Indian Subcontinent because of this superiority, and act accordingly. Accept AIT, then reject it. Curd rice and non existant bridges are important part of culture. All brahmins are NOT brahmin supremacists. Many non brahmins ignorantly are part of this group. Our quarrel is ONLY with brahmin supremacists and NOT with all brahmins. Further analysis would reveal most of these supremacists to come from one tradition, i.e. smartha. also known as varnashramists.

Hindians: People whose mother tongue is Hindi; much of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madya Pradesh and some surrounding areas in northern India is their homeland. Have no strategic sense and easily cave in to Muslim League, Pakistan, western interests and the chinese and condescend sikh sadarjis. Many masquerade as gandhians but remain supremacists at heart. Call others as athiests or dravidianists. The largest NRI bloc. Hindian politicians control and dominate the Indian government because they form the single largest block in the Indian parliament. Also known as Hindi Oligarchy.

At least we have indentified the various mutating viruses. Now the sooner Hindus rid themselves of the pisAsu, the faster they can deal with the pAe. For, only by providing all Hindus with samaya diksha can the religion and spirituality be strenghtened.
Pathma


[This message has been edited by Pathmarajah (edited February 18, 2008).]

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#1364 - February 18, 2008 11:32 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Was laughter a way of Hindu life?

By M.S.N. Menon

Yes. But we ceased to laugh on the advent of Islam. That was a thousand years ago! It is time we learnt to laugh again. To laugh at, if need be. We have much to laugh at in our past.

Not everything of the past, says Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, calls for our reverence. There is much that is to be despised and discarded.

Humour and satire served the West to combat evil. We chose to laugh at it. Sanskrit is rich in humour and satire. They can be traced back to the Vedas.

But the Dhammapada asks: “How can there be birth and laughter when the world is on fire? Good question. The world is indeed on fire. But only laughter can put out this fire. Not gloom.”

The West has a tragic vision of life. The Greeks chose to drown their sorrow in tragedy. Aristotle says: tragedy purges the soul of its passions. But life is a comedy to us. Why? Because we are thinkers first of all.

A comic tradition, however, cannot grow unless there is a tradition of free thinking. Fortunately, the Hindus civilisation is built on freedom of thought. The same cannot be said of either Christianity or Islam. They are closed to thought.

“The true end of satire,” says Dryden, is the “amendment of vice.” To Johnson, the end was “to censure wickedness and folly.” To Daniel Defoe, the end was “ the reformation of man.” And to Jonathan Swift, the greatest satirist, “ the chief end I propose to myself in all my labours is to vex the world than divert it.”

Bhartahari ripped apart our obsession with sex. He exposed the “ disgusting” aspects of the female of the species. And he ridiculed the poets who sang in praise of women.

Do you know, Dear Reader, that we used to make fun of our gods? In this we were like the Greeks. But how many of us are aware of this?

Gilbert Highet, an authority on humour and satire, writes: “If you want to understand any age, you ought to read not only its heroic and philosophic books but also its comic and satirical books.” I believe Indian writers and academics of today know nothing of our comic tradition. Which is why I do not always accept what they write. They have given us a false picture of India.

Thus, Shiva has been an object of ridicule. He has also been an object of our reverence. And the caricature of Ganesh is truly laughable. And yet our gods were comforting and lovable. They kept us sane. We are not known for hubris.

Prof. Siegal of Hawaii University (USA), author of a book on Indian humour, writes: The presence of Shiva was far more comforting than that of a solemn Jesus…It was afterall the mirthfulness of Indian religion, the laughter of their gods in contrast to the gloom and sorrow of my own inheritance that had drawn me to India.” Like Max Mueller, he opened our eyes to the vast treasures of our hasya tradition.

Only Yahweh could have produced an Inquisition. And only an Allah could have produced the Taliban. A Sri Krishna could not. He was far too playful.

But we do make mistakes. They have to be corrected. If possible, through self-correction. Humour and satire can help. They are weapons of a free society. Let us see how it worked.

Kashmir was a centre of Hinduism and Buddhism. Kashmir produced the greatest satirist of India! “Kuttani-mata” (Advice of a procuress) by Damodara Gupta was one of the earliest satires to appear in this country (779-813 AD). He was followed by Kshemendra, the greatest satirist of all. He wrote about forty books. They were all thrown into the Jhelum river on the orders of Sultan Sikander.

Some of his works have survived. Samaya Matrika (Convention for Courtesans) followed the tradition of Damodara Gupta. Darpana Dalana (Crushing of Pride) denounced the vanity of people arising from lineage, wealth, learning, beauty and valour. In Kalavilasa, a merchant engages Muladeva, master of tricks, to teach his son tricks of trade. Kshemendra devotes an entire book to ridicule the Kayasthas, the corrupt officials of the king.

Among the great satirists, mention must be made of Dandin, Subandhu and Shudraka. In all 600 works were accounted in Sanskrit. But they were not translated.

The classic tradition died in the 12th Century. What followed were Prahasanas, written to entertain, the lower orders of society. “The invasion by the Mohammedans in the 12th and 13th centuries sounded the death-knell of the already decaying Sanskrit drama,” writes Balwant Gargi, an authority on Indian theatre.

India’s great contribution to the theatre was the introduction of the “Vidushaka”, the jester. He has become an integral part of the Indian theatre.

King Kalivatsala announced through beat of drums that vice had been made a virtue in his kingdom!

Humour and satire are weapons of a democracy. They correct misrule and excesses. It is a pity we have lost that tradition. Thanks to Islam. It is time to revive it. There is much to clean up in Hinduism.


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited February 18, 2008).]

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#1365 - February 25, 2008 12:58 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The Other Translation of the Quran


Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don't kill them.) 2:191-2

(And it will be said): Take him and drag him to the midst of hell, Then pour upon his head the torment of boiling water.--44:47-48

A fire has been prepared for the disbelievers, whose fuel is men and stones. 2:24

Disbelievers will be burned with fire. 2:39, 90

If you believe in only part of the Scripture, you will suffer in this life and go to hell in the next. 2:85

Jews are the greediest of all humankind. They'd like to live 1000 years. But they are going to hell. 2:96

Those who fail in their duty to Allah are proud and sinful. They will all go to hell. 2:206

War is ordained by Allah, and all Muslims must be willing to fight, whether they like it or not. 2:216

Those who die in their disbelief will burn forever in the Fire. 2:217

Those who marry unbelievers will burn in the Fire. 2:221

Disbelievers worship false gods. The will burn forever in the Fire. 2:257

"Those who swallow usury ... are rightful owners of the Fire." 2:275

Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, theirs will be a heavy doom. 3:4

Those who disbelieve will be fuel for the Fire. 3:10

All non-Muslims will be rejected by Allah after they die. 3:85

Disbelievers will be cursed by Allah, angels, and men. They will have a painful doom. 3:87-88

Disbelievers will have a painful doom. And they will have no helpers. 3:91

"Ye were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you from it." 3:103

Disbelievers will have their faces blackened on the last day. They will face an awful doom. 3:105-6

Those who disbelieve will be burnt in the Fire. 3:116

The Fire is prepared for disbelievers. 3:131
• Whoso is removed from the Fire and is made to enter paradise, he indeed is triumphant." (The rest will burn forever in the Fire.) 3:185

• Those who brag about doing good will go to hell. 3:188

• "Preserve us from the doom of Fire." 3:191

• "Our Lord! Whom Thou causest to enter the Fire: him indeed Thou hast confounded. For evil-doers there will be no helpers." 3:192

• Disbelievers will go to Hell. 3:196

• Don't steal from orphans (or Allah will burn you forever in hell). 4:10

• Those who disobey Allah and his messenger will be burnt with fire and suffer a painful doom. 4:14

• For the disbelievers and those who make a last-minute conversion, Allah has prepared a painful doom. 4:18

• "We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for Allah." 4:30

• For disbelievers, We prepare a shameful doom. 4:37

• Hell is sufficient for their burning. 4:55

• Unbelievers will be tormented forever with fire. When their skin is burned off, a fresh skin will be provided. 4:56

• Allah will bestow a vast reward on those who fight in religious wars. 4:74

• Believers fight for Allah; disbelievers fight for the devil. So fight the minions of the devil. 4:76

• Have no unbelieving friends. Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them. 4:89

• If the unbelievers do not offer you peace, kill them wherever you find them. Against such you are given clear warrant. 4:91

• Believers who kill believers will face the awful doom of hell. 4:93

• "Their habitation will be hell, an evil journey's end." 4:97

• Those who oppose the messenger and become unbelievers will go to hell. 4:115

• Allah will lead them astray and they will go to hell. 4:119-121

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#1366 - February 25, 2008 01:23 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The Other Side of the Bible


This is what Confucius said; “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.”
Confucianism. Analects 15.23

In Matthew 7:12 Jesus said; therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Now here is the rest of the story:

Those who bear bad fruit will be cut down and burned "with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:10, 12

Jesus recommends that to avoid sin we cut off our hands and pluck out our eyes. This advice is given immediately after he says that anyone who looks with lust at any women commits adultery. Matthew 5:29-30

Jesus says that most people will go to hell. Matthew 7:13-14

Those who fail to bear "good fruit" will be "hewn down, and cast into the fire." Matthew 7:19

"The children of the kingdom [the Jews] shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 8:12

Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has "come not to send peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34-36

Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn't care for his preaching. Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus tells us what he has planned for those that he dislikes. They will be cast into an "everlasting fire." Matthew 25:41

Jesus says the damned will be tormented forever. ." Matthew 25:46

Any city that doesn't "receive" the followers of Jesus will be destroyed in a manner even more savage than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Mark 6:11

Those who fail to bear "good fruit" will be "hewn down, and cast into the fire." Luke 3:9

Jesus says that God is like a slave-owner who beats his slaves "with many stripes." Luke 12:46-47

The "wrath of God" is on all unbelievers. John 3:36

Those who do not believe in Jesus will be cast into a fire to be burned. John 15:6

Homosexuals (those "without natural affection") and their supporters (those "that have pleasure in them") are "worthy of death." Roman 1:31-32

God punishes everyone for someone else's sin; then he saves them by killing an innocent victim. Roman 5:12

We are predestined by God to go to either heaven or hell. None of our thoughts, words, or actions can affect the final outcome. Ephesians 1:4-5, 11

Jesus will take "vengeance on them that know not God" by burning them forever "in flaming fire." 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

144,000 Jews will be going to heaven; everyone else is going to hell. Revelation 7:4

God will send fire from heaven to devour people. And the devil will be tormented "day and night for ever and ever." Revelation 20:9-10

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#1367 - February 25, 2008 01:26 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Now the Other Spiritual Side of the Bible


John8:28
"So Jesus added, When you have lifted up the Son of Man , you will realize that I am He and that I do nothing of Myself, but I say what My Father has taught Me."

"And He Who sent Me is ever with Me; My Father has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him."

As He said these things, many believed in Him."

So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples."

And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free."

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#1368 - February 25, 2008 01:30 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Words of Confucius

A few quotes by Confucius:

Show respect to the spirits and deities, then keep away from them.

Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.

While you are not able to serve men, how can you serve spirits (of the dead)?

While you do not know life, how can you know about death?

A superior man does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything. What is right he will follow.

Fine words and insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.

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#1369 - February 25, 2008 02:19 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
More on the Teachings of the Quran


Allah is in fact the Arabic word for 'God'. It is said that the term is most likely derived from a condensation of the Arabic article 'al' (the) and 'ilah' (deity or god). So Allah would mean 'the (or 'sole') God' (the one and only God, so to speak). There is another theory that traces the etymology of the word to the Aramaic Alaha, and Aramaic was the language that Jesus Christ used.

During pre-Islamic times, the pagan Arabs also referred to their creator-god or their supreme deity (number one God) as Allah. So the word 'Allah' is not quite an Islamic word for God. It was also a pre-Islamic word for God, although the Arabs then believed in 360 different Gods. Allah, in pre-Islamic times, was not the sole divinity. He had associates and companions plus sons and daughters. There was also a kind of kinship between Allah and the jinn. But Allah was the boss of all Gods to the Arabs then.

On Continuity of Torah, Bible & Quran
Surah 3.48
“And He (Allah) will teach him the Scripture, and Wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel(Bible).”

Surah 3.3
”He (Allah) hath revealed unto thee the Scripture with Truth, confirming that which was before it even as He (Allah) revealed the Torah and the Gospel (Bible).”

On Salat or Obligations, Not Prayer, Not Religion
The real meaning of salat is obligations, commitment, links, ties, bonds, responsibilities. Literally, salat means the door hinge that connects or ties or binds a door to the door frame. So life is a continuous cycle of ‘aqeemus salat’ or upholding your obligations, commitments and responsibilities. This word are always used to refer to the act of honouring, upholding, or observing of commitments, obligations, accountabilities, responsibilities etc. by consenting person or persons when the phrase 'aqi-mu' is used. Literally the word Sol-laa means to 'commit' and it has many derivatives to form other words with the same shades of meaning like, binding, obligations, compulsion, pledge or promise and they are used in the Quran with the following words:

Sol-laa = Commit
Sol-luu = Be committed
Sol-lee = Binding
Mu-Sol-lan = A person who is committed
Mu-Sol-leen = Many people who are committed
Yu-Sol-laa = They commit
Yu-Sol-lee = Their commitments
Yu-Sol-luu = They have committed
Ya-sil-luu = Bind
Solaa-ta = Commitment (singular)
Solaa-tee = Commitments (dual)
Solaa-tu = Commitments (Aorist)
Solaa-waa-tee = Obligatorily
Solaa-waa-tun = obligatory

aqeemus solaa wa aatu zakaah means 'uphold your obligations and purify yourself'.

11:114 'aqeemus solaata tharafayin nahari wa zulafan minal laili' which means 'uphold your responsibilities between the two ends of the day and unto the parts of the night'. That is uphold one's commitments and obligations 24 hours continuously. There is not one verse in the quran where God says 'you must pray (salat) to me'. It is not possible to pray 24 hours a day!

Islam is a deen which means a way of life. Islam is not a religion. Religion requires rituals but there are no rituals in Islam. So what is left then ? What is left is only salat (or sola) which means our obligations or our commitments. We must uphold our solat or uphold our obligations. Aqeemus solaa means 'uphold your obligations'. What are these obligations? See Surah 11:114 'You shall uphold your obligations through the two ends of the day and through the parts of the night'.

What do we do through the two ends of a day and through the night? We wake up, we brush our teeth, we bathe, we change, we eat breakfast, we drive, we work, we eat lunch, we go home, we eat, we speak to the family, we go to bed, we sleep, procreate etc. We certainly have a lot of commitments and obligations or aqeemus solaah which we must do through the ends of the day and through the night.

He who upholds these commitments well and to the best of his ability is a muslim. He is a muslim, a submitter or a peaceful person, in balance with his aqeemus solaah.

In 3:19 The Quran says, "Surely the orderly way of life by God is peacefulness".

See how people changed it to: "Surely the religion by God is Islam". Islam is a way of life, a deen, that if followed brings contentment and peacefulness. One is 'at rest', hence peaceful, when one has fulfilled one's obligations.

On The Traditions of the Prophet
Injunctions to follow the Sunnah (examples, traditions) of the prophet is not mentioned in the Quran. What is mentioned is 'ATTI UR RASUL' which means 'obey the rasul', which means obey the Message the rasul brings.

On Heaven & Hell in Quran
There is no heaven and hell in the Quran. Heaven and hell are again Biblical terms. The Quran talks about Jannah which means Garden and Naar which means fire/heat. The Garden (harmony, comfort, plenty) is the lot of those who uphold their commitments to the Creator. Agony, distress, unhappiness is the lot of those who abuse their trust and fail their obligations.

Those Who Leave A Religion
[5.54] O you who believe! whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him,..

Make No Distinctions Between Religions
[4:152] To those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of the Messengers, We shall soon give their (due) rewards: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.

No Religion or Community is Excluded
" WE have sent Prophets and Warners to EACH and EVERY NATION so that NONE can stand before ME
on the DAY of JUDGEMENT and say he has not heard of ME " .... (ALLAH is referring to which community?)

On Exclusivism and Various Expressions in Religions
The Quran tells us that there are various expressions for submission to God (29/69, look for the word ‘paths’) and so one cannot condemn anyone just because they don’t follow our religious expression. The Quran condemns exclusivism (62/6).

On Converting to Islam - Unnecessary
2:139 Say: "Do you debate with us regarding God? He is our Lord and your Lord, and we have our work and you have your work, and to Him we are believers."

On Apostasy
16:106 Those who disbelieve in GOD, after having acquired faith, and become fully content with disbelief, have incurred wrath from GOD. The only ones to be excused are those who are forced to profess disbelief, while their hearts are full of faith.

All the verse is saying is that those who really, really disbelieve on their own free will, God would be angry with them. There is no mention of punishment or killing those who freely reject faith. In the Quran there is absolutely no punishment of apostates by human beings.

On Common Sense
8.22 Indeed, the worst creatures at the sight of God are those who are deaf and dumb who have no common sense?

On Righteousness
2.177 Righteousness does not consist in whether you face towards the East or the West. The righteous man is he …who gives away his wealth to kinsfolk, to orphans, to the destitute, to the traveler in need and to beggars and for the redemption of captives…. who is true to his promises, to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the true believers.

On Reincarnation and Final Dissolution into Him
The Koran says, "And you were dead, and He brought you back to life. And He shall cause you to die, and shall bring you back to life, and in the end shall gather you unto Himself." (Sura 2:28)

There is a similar passage in the bible.

There are many passages in the Bible itself indicating that Christ and his followers were aware of the principle of reincarnation. Once, the disciples of Jesus asked him about the Old Testament prophecy that Elias would reappear on earth. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we read, "And Jesus answered them, Elias shall truly first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias has come already, and they knew him not... Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist." (Matthew. 17:9–13) In other words, Jesus declared that John the Baptist, who was beheaded by Herod, was a reincarnation of the prophet Elias.

However most muslims do not believe in reincarnation.

On Allah Correcting the Prophet
I can see a few instances where Allah corrected the Prophet in the Quran, such as:

66.1 - the Prophet made haraam what Allah made halal.

33.37 - the Prophet showed fear of mankind more than Allah.

On Misguided Arabs & 'Those at Peace'
The quran says the arabs are greatest hypocrites and liars. Islam is totally a different thing altogether from the arabs and their practices, customs, traditions and culture.

9.97. The Arabs of the desert are the worst in Unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to His Messenger. But Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise.

The Arabs have also been condemned in Quran as in 25:30.

On Killing
There is no killing in Quran. 'Qital', 'Qatilu', and 'Qitala' in Quran has been misinterpreted into meaning kill, slay etc. In actual fact it is 'confront' and its derivatives. Confront what? Confront the untruth. If they do not want to listen, get up an leave is the command. THERE IS NO KILLING.

A word may have different shades of the same meaning. The word 'Qital', 'Qatala'.'Qitalu', 'Qatilu', if you refer to the concordance will present kill, slay, confront, and shades of this meaning in the verb, adjective, adverb forms. Most translators pick kill, to kill, slaying etc. If one analyses the ayats in the Quran that contains all this word in its derivatives, one will come to an ayat that say 'kill them if they kill you.....'. This is impossibe as you cannot kill anyone if you are already dead. So only then will one realise that the actual meaning to be utilised is 'confront' as 'confront them if they confront you....' and which makes eminent sense. It also fits in the universal advise 'Not to kill', 'Absolute freedom in beliefs' etc. If one then further substitutes this meaning 'confront' in all the ayats with this word instead of 'kill' we will see the message is indeed peaceful and make more sense. The anger in the whole message disappears altogether.

On Fasting
There is no such thing as ‘fasting’ in the Quran. ‘Saum’ is not fasting but a self restraint or control one puts on yourself. Nowhere in the Quran does it ever say ‘DO NOT eat AND DO NOT drink’. On the contrary it is always the opposite. The Quran always says ‘EAT AND DRINK’. You cannot find even one verse in the Quran that says 'do not eat, do not drink. Absolutely none.

Now lets see 2:187

wakuloo - and eat
waishraboo – and drink
hatta – until
yatabayyana – it is made/becomes clear
lakumu – for you
alkhaytu al-abyadu – as the white thread
minal – from the
alkhayti al-aswadi – black thread
mina alfajri – from the sunrise

2.187. Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. Allah knoweth what ye used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now associate with them, and seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears; but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques. Those are Limits (set by) Allah. Approach not nigh thereto. Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint.

So instead of restraining yourselves from your wives you are allowed to cohabit with them (2:187). Fasts, meaning restraints, are the observances of the muslim, and not abstaining from food, drink and sex with spouses.

On Those who Transgress
No one shall be destroyed except al-faasiqeen - those who trangress and do evil.

46.35. .. (Thine but) to proclaim the Message: but shall any be destroyed except those who transgress?

On God Guides Whom He Will
2:142 The fools among the people will ask, “What makes them change from their direction that they are over it”? Tell them, “To God belongs the East and the West. He guides anyone He wills - to the path of those who are observant.

On God
Lets take a random phrase in the Quran ‘la ilaa ha illallaah’ : It means ‘there is no god other than God’. Meaning there is only the one and same God whom all believe. A secondary meaning is that there re no other gods, viz power, fame, wealth, etc.

Salvation for All Believers and Righteous Ones
The essence of Qur'an is very simple, this exact statements appear three times.

2:62 Surely those who believe; and those who are Jewish, and the Christian, and the Sabians, whomever of them believes in God and the Last Day and does good work; they will have their reward with their Lord, with no fear over them, nor will they grieve.

On the Kaaba or Submission
Like all prophets the messenger was searching for the true deen. When the Qur’an was revealed he was told to focus on the sanctions in his act of submission.

2:144 Surely We see you twirling your focus about the sky. Hence We turn you to a direction that pleases you. Therefore turn your focus of attention towards the sanctioned submissions . And wherever you may be - thus turn your focus of attention towards it. And surely those who were given the Book know for certain - that, indeed it is the truth from their Lord. And God never failed to notice from whatever their deeds.

The focus is the Quran and NOT some STONE TEMPLE the Kaaba in Mecca. Its about turn to the Book! Not directions for facing the kaaba in ritual prayers. There are no rituals. (Prayer is worship sans the rituals.) Furthermore rituals and regulations are admonished.

16:105 Those who make up religious regulations do not believe god's revelations, they are the real liars.


On Haram - Sanctioned Not Forbidden
Ans : There are two kinds of ‘prohibitions’ in the Quran. One is the more traditionally used word ‘haram’ the other words are ‘la takrabu’. Haram does not mean ‘prohibited’ at all. Here is the evidence :

6:152 “Say, "Come let me tell you what your Lord has really ‘haram’ for you (harrama rabbukum) : You shall not set up idols besides Him, you shall honor your parents, you shall not kill your children from fear of poverty - we provide for you and for them, you shall not commit gross sins, obvious or hidden, you shall not kill - GOD has made life sacred - except in the course of justice. These are His commandments to you, that you may understand."

Is it ‘haram’ to set up idols, to honor your parents, to not kill children, etc.? Is it ‘haram’ to honor your parents (bil waalidayni ihsaanan)? If haram means ‘forbidden’ then it looks like it is forbidden to honor your parents. Haram therefore means ‘sanctioned’. Whether it is a positive or negative sanction depends on the circumstances of the verse. It is sanctioned (haram) against setting up idols, it is sanctioned (haram) that you must honor your parents, it is sanctioned (haram) against killing your children.

But ‘la takrabu’ means ‘do not go near’. This is the real meaning of ‘forbidden’ in the Quran. It means simply don’t go near at all. Here are some examples :

6:152 do not go near (la takrabu) the orphans property
17:32 do not go near (la takrabu) adultery
4:43 do not go near (la takrabu) your obligations when intoxicated

Alchohol is not a food. It does not belong to any food group. When the human body ingests anything that is toxic or poisonous, the liver will react automatically to deal with the toxin or poison. When alchohol is ingested the body reacts to alchohol as a toxin. One is only asked to 'refrain' from alcohol, or do not perform one's obligations when under the influence of alcohol. As for khamr (intoxicants) please see the following :

5:91 Satan's plan is to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants (khamr) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from your obligations: will ye not then abstain?

On the Deen - what the quran teaches
When the prophet's people asked him about the DEEN, his reference being the Quran, said;

• Your Lord has decreed that you shall not serve other than Him.
• You shall honour your parents for as long as they live, one of them or both of them.
• You shall not speak harshly to them nor mistreat them.
• You shall speak amicably to people and do not utter any lies.
• You shall regard the relatives, the orphans, and the poor.
• You shall not kill your children from fear of poverty.
• You shall not commit adultery, for it is a vice.
• You shall not kill anyone, for taking of life is made forbidden.
• You shall not touch the orphans’ money except for their own good.
• You shall give full measure when you trade and weigh with an equitable balance.
• You shall not accept anything that you yourself cannot ascertain.
• You shall be perfectly honest when you serve as a witness, even if it is against yourself, your parents, or your relatives whether the defendant is rich or poor.
• You shall give to charity from God’s provisions, which He has entrusted to you.
• You shall strive in the path of God (fi-sabi-lil-lah) against those who strive against you, but not aggress.
• You shall fulfil your commitments and humble yourself with those who are humble.
• You are not to be arrogant, nor to walk in pride. God does not love the boastful, the arrogant. Be humble as you walk and lower your voice.
• Eat from everything that is lawful and good, and do not follow the step of the Devil, he is your ardent enemy. He directs you towards vice and evil and to invent lies and attribute them to God.

This is part of the prescribed way and the wisdom sanctioned by God in the Reading. Common sense tells us that in order to achieve the above results these values must be translated into deeds.

On Primacy of Reason and Research
The Quran challenges its reader to think deeply on its content (47/24) and claims to guide its reader to establishing himself in the world (17/9). It tells its reader that it is irreproducible (17/88) and challenges him to bring a discourse like it (10/38). These statements show us that the culture that the Quran aims to fertilise is one which emphasises the primacy of reason inside revelation.

On Lies & Hypocrisy
[Surah 61:2-3] “O you who believe, why do you say what you do not do? Most abominable in the sight of GOD is that you say what you do not do”

On Shariah Law
Syariah is no Islamic Law. Syariah is a hodge podge of tribal and customary laws of the Arabs and the Persians. There is absolutely no such thing as a Syariah Law in the Quran. And whatever Sunni syariah law there is, it is different from the Shia version of Islamic Law, and the Taliban version of Syariah Law.

On Pork & Imams
Wa lahmal khinzir - means 'and meat rotten I see'. No pork here unless of course you follow the Mullahs and Imams who say 'Khinzir' means pork/pig. The advise is to NOT to eat ROTTEN MEAT that you see - WA LAHMAL KHINZIR.

On Attire
Al-Ahzab: 59
"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be molested. "

For instance, the statement above that the Quran instructs women to cover their bossom is clearly wrong. The word used is "jayyib" which means "cleavage" or "pockets". The verse in the Quran instructs women to cover their "cleavages" with their head-covers (khimar). There is no veil or purdah, no need to attire oneself as catholic nuns!

On Relying on Religious Leaders
The muslim's understanding of religion, ALL of it, is based on the imputs of religious teachers, be they Mullahs, Ustaz, Muftis or Imams. ALL of them are receiving wages in one form or the other. All those in the Religious Department are receiving wages. So this simple verse in the Quran says;

36.21
Follow those who do not ask from you any wage, they are guided.

On Intoxicants & Gambling
2:219
"They ask you about intoxicants and gambling: say, 'In them there is a gross sin, and some benefits for the people. But their sinfulness far outweighs their benefit.'"

5:90
"O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed."

The advice is to avoid them, although there may be some benefits, and not forbidden! Which is the same advice in any religious culture.

On Arabic & Religious Authority
I don't know how anyone can say that Arabic is the most beautiful and perfect language. Allah has set in the diversity of languages a sign and didn't mention the superiority of any language over another (30/22).

Al Qamar (54):17, "We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand, is there any that receive admonition?"
God says he has made it easy for all to read.

96.1 "Read in the name of thy Lord Who created."
God is asking all to read the Quran, and not just rely on 'experts'.

Ad-Dukhaan (44):58. "Derily, we have made this (Quran) easy, in thy tongue, in order that they may give heed."
It didnt say Arabic language!

The style, syntax and language of the Quran are in ancient classical Arabic, and hardly used today. Hence the need to rely on experts, it is thought. That however does not absolve one of the responsibility of making one's own judgment. As stated in the Quran, on the Day of Judgment, one would be held responsible for one's own deeds and one could not use the defense or excuse that one was following this or that ulama. Reliance on authority is no defense as per the quran.

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#1370 - March 01, 2008 11:32 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Science & Faith


Even people who have degrees in science are often confused about the
framework of science, just as even so-called religious people don't quite know
what religion or their own religion is all about. There is nothing wrong with
this as long as one doesn't mischaracterize what one doesn't quite understand.

< Often scientific 'facts' are often proven wrong or has to be modified. >

There are no such things as scientific facts and non-scientific facts.
There are only facts which are perceptions of reality.

There are only scientific interpretations and explanation of facts. These are
what one calls < scientific truths >.

A scientific interpretation is one that is based on careful and painstaking
study of all the data pertaining to the < facts > of observation pertaining to a
given phenomenon.

A scientific interpretation has to be consistent, collectively verifiable, and
self-critical; and it does not depend on the sanctity of ancient authorities or
on the sacredness of texts. It often leads to predictable assertions, and
fruitful applications. It is regarded by all scientists in the field as the most
satisfactory current interpretation, open to change and modification if and when
further data and newer insights arise.

< Can the 'scientific' still be looked upon as scientific after it has been
proven wrong had to be modified? >

Most certainly, in the sense in which I have said above. I repeat: There is no
such thing as a scientific fact, but there are scientific interpretations and
explanations of natural phenomena.

< I have heard that faith is belief pending confirmation. >

You may have heard this, and you may accept this. But this is not what faith is.

Faith can be there even if there is proof to the contrary. I will not give
examples, because that might offend the religious sensitivities of people. But
in every religion people have deep faith in matters which have been shown to
have no observational foundation or even possibility of confirmation or
falsification. People are entitled to such faith, but it is unrealistic, not to
say silly, to claim for it the same status as science. It is like saying that the
enjoyment of music is also science.

< Shouldn't we therefore hold the 'scientific" as scientific pending
rejection? >

This is quite true. Every scientific interpretation and explanation is valid
until sufficient data and knowledge arise to modify, improve upon, or reject it.
Practicing scientists are not embarrassed about, ashamed of, or afraid of this.

A good deal of scientific research is devoted to overthrowing earlier or current
interpretations and explanations. That is exactly what makes science an
ever-expanding, non-stagnant enterprise.

< Can we then conclude: The scientific must be held as 'fact' pending
invalidation? >

Repeat: there are no scientific < facts, > only scientific interpretation of
facts.

< Can we therefore argue against the self-righteousness of science to accept
scientific facts as 'gospel' truth >

The characterization of science as < self-righteous > is an emotional reaction to
scientists who reject religious interpretations of natural phenomena, and is
quite understandable. Religious commentators (Christians, Muslims, Hindus, ...)
often, and quite understandably, get annoyed when some scientists refuse to
accept religious mythologies, ancient theories of how the universe came to be,
what causes eclipse or epilepsy, and such.

The scientist's reaction does not
arise from a sense of self-righteousness, but because scientists are unable to
see how in this day and age intelligent, and supposedly educated and
well-informed people can believe in the literal truth of what seem to them to be
no more than fantasies.

< while, science look down upon 'gospel' truth not 'gospel'? (I use 'gospel'
in the wider literarily and popular meaning rather than the strictly
theological.) >

There is no gospel truth in science. Gospel truth, in its literary and popular
meaning refers to a truth that cannot and should not be challenged. There can be
and there are gospel truths only in religions. Scientific truths are always
challenged by scientists. That is part of the game of science.

No one is obliged to accept any < scientific truth >. If a scientist rejects a
scientific truth, he/she must give reasons why. If the reasons are not
satisfactory to the scientific community which consists of people who have
devoted their lives to systematic studies and investigation of particular sets
of phenomena, that scientist is likely to be ignored, and not condemned,
ex-communicated, brought to the inquisition, beheaded, called an enemy of the
tradition, evil, etc. as can happen in the framework of religion.

Interestingly, though scientific truths contradict many doctrines, beliefs and
mythologies of practically all religions, and while inspired religious
commentators decry science and its worldviews, practically all the nations of
the modern world (Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslims, ...) continue to
teach science to their children and establish more schools and colleges which do
that. Or else, they will be kicked back to a primitive and vulnerable state. No
matter how individuals in all religions < self-righteously > condemn science and
its methodology, practically 90% of what they use every day is the result of the
works of scientists, and don't come from religious beliefs.

Nothing of what I have said is to suggest that scientists or scientifically
inclined thinkers should denigrate or trivialize the religious dimension which,
at the deepest level and for billions of people, is enriching, meaningful, and
culturally connecting, with enormous potential for caring and compassion,
providing scope for collective rejoicing of traditions and source of consolation
in bereavement, let alone artistic creations, poetic visions, and architectural
wonders, and with great potential for profound spiritual experience. Above all,
enlightened religions endow us with humility and reverence for life, and enable
us to get a glimpse of the Unfathomable Mystery that is behind and beyond
everything we experience.

Regards,
V. V. Raman
September 18, 2007



[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited March 01, 2008).]

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#1371 - March 06, 2008 01:02 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Matter


Such stuff the world is made of. - WILLIAM COWPER

We recognize the world through tangible matter. We see, touch, taste,
and smell things: all these constitute much of perceived reality. Ours seems to
be largely a material world, consisting of a whole range of matter-entities,
from tiny particles of dust and sand to large planets, massive stars and
stupendous galaxies. Matter does seem to be the stuff the universe is made of.

The definition of matter is no easy matter. Simply put, matter is that
tangible something whose existence can be felt, experienced, and established
directly or indirectly. Matter requires space - tiny or large - for at our level
at least, all matter has extension. One can imagine space without matter, but
not matter without space.

Matter is the most striking feature of perceived reality. It is all
around us, on us, and within us too. Bereft of matter, the world would
degenerate into insubstantial nothingness.

But the material universe is more empty than filled. That is, the universe
happens to be material only here and there in the vastness of its sweeping
expanse. In fact, however, the density of matter in space is a paltry 3 x
10^(-31) kilograms per cubic centimeter. To an outside observer - if ever there
is one - the universe would be one vast wasteful void, with sprinklings of
matter here and there, somewhat like a dozen humans trekking alone here and
there on all of an earth's otherwise bleak surface. In truth, this is not a
material universe at all, but a radiant one, for its entire span is perpetually
bathed in vibrant waves.
Calling this a material universe is like calling the
oceans naval water simply because there are ships floating around here and
there.

But it was not always so. In the beginning, according to the Book of
Genesis of current cosmology, its density was a fantastic and incomprehensible
10^90 kilograms per cubic centimeter.

Though the material components of the universe occupy but a minuscule
region compared to its totality, they are interesting in their marvelous
properties and variety, and important too since without them there would be no
universe to speak of. The few droplets of matter strewn in the vast stretches of
space are what give body and identity to the physical universe. Our earth is,
quantitatively speaking, an insignificant material speck in a universe much of
whose matter is concentrated in countless stars of unimaginably larger
dimensions which are considerably more mass-packed.

The primacy of matter has been a major issue in philosophical debates.
There is a school of thought which asserts that there is nothing in the
universe beyond matter in various forms and configurations. This philosophical
position is known as materialism. This has little to do with the term
materialists: people addicted to objects that cater to creature comforts and
greed. For quite sometime it used to be common to refer to the materialist West
in self-righteous moralistic tones. Now, with material progress in the rest of
the world, this condemnation is not as often heard. If anything, one tries to
show that the rest of the world was also materially advanced prior to European
incursions. Right or wrong, all this has nothing to do with philosophical
materialism which believes that everything in the world can be ultimately
reduced to matter. This is a form of monism that is no longer as popular as it
used to be.

Some classical Hindu philosophers argued that the material world is but an
illusion, an impediment to recognizing spiritual truths. Physics has shown that
matter such as it appears to be is only an appearance: Its real nature is very
different.

V. V. Raman
March 7, 2008

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#1372 - March 25, 2008 03:59 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
CONTENTS

1. Variety in Matter

2. States of Matter

3. A fourth state: Plasma

4. A Fifth State of Matter: BEC

5. Ultimate entities

6. Conservation of matter

7. Christianity's Anti Jewish Past

8. Untouchability and Caste in China

9. On religious conversions

10. Conversion: Hindu Mode

11. Conversion: its range and variety

12. Shiva, Shivaa and Shivalingam

13. Puranas - extent

14. Vedic past of pre-islamic Arabia

15. Christianity's Destruction of African religions and cultures

16. I am provoked to write this/Organiser

17. Judeo-Christian history: A mini sketch

18. Chief Seattle's Treaty Oration (1854)

19. Ancient Chinese Literature

20. Hungry Ghosts' Festival/Chilling encounters and hungry ghosts

21. On Governance & Free Speech - Duke of Shao to King Li-Wang

22. Sacrifices in Ancient Cultures

23. Omar Khayyam on Islamic Clerics

24. Enlightenment of Muslims by Swami Rama Tirtha

25. Origin of Metals - Ramayana

26. Great Sayings

27. Muslims are the Neo-Zoroastrians!

28. Contradictions in the Koran

29. Organ Transplant & Animal Sacrifices in Hindu Shastras

30. Ramayana Protocole Diplomatique

31. Tamil Women Through the ages

32. The God Project: Hinduism as Open-Source Faith

33. Stephen Hawking’s big bang gaps

34. More notes on the teachings of the Quran

35. Understanding Islam (France with Islamic conquerors)

36. Reflections on the Gita

37. Metaphysics - Universals and Particulars - their distinction

38. Metaphysics - The fundamental ontology of western philosophy

39. Life is an unbroken continuous chain - the demarcator for 'life' and 'soul'

40. Rethinking "Out of Africa"















.

.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Variety in Matter


Metaboli panton gluku:

Variety is sweet in all things. -EURIPEDES

There is abundant variety in matter. There is sand and stone, water and
wood, mud, mica, and more. People have known this variety in substances since
time immemorial. But it was only in the 19th century that William Prout
formulated the principle that any given substance has the same proportion of
constituent elements.

As if nature has not done enough, human ingenuity has concocted more
substances in laboratories and factories: from pliable plastics and deadly
dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane to countless other. We synthesize materials
to relieve pain, cure ailments, make better floors, and satisfy a thousand other
needs and greed. Over the years, analytical chemists in labs all over the world
have identified and catalogued not a few hundred or thousand, but more than 34
million different compounds.

Couldn't the world have been made with just one substance? Yes, but how
dreadfully boring it would be! In fact, initially there was matter of but one
kind: hydrogen. The world was then a tenuous sea of spread-out hydrogen: no
stars or planets then. In billions of years, other substances and structures
were formed from primordial hydrogen.

How this happened is more thrilling than the dnouement in any novel, but that
is a different story. As experiencing beings, we may thank God (or whatever
made all this happen) for the endless variety of matter. The staggering range of
things adds to terra nostra immeasurable charm and beauty.

Every manifestation of matter behaves differently, or as we read in
science texts, has its own unique properties. These tend to change under
changing external conditions. The same substance may be solid ice, liquid water,
or tenuous vapor, depending on its temperature. Materials may be hard or soft,
rough or smooth, conducting or not conducting of heat and electricity. They may
be green or red or of some other color: on and on one can go describing them.
These are just some of their physical properties.

There is also richness in their chemical properties: how they burn and
transform, how they store up or spill out energy when they combine or break up,
how they interact with other materials or stay aloof, and so on. These too have
been studied and listed in great detail. It took years and decades and centuries
to investigate, categorize, and formulate the chemical properties of the
thousands of substances we see and make.

The ability and propensity of substances for chemical change is what keeps our
nook in the universe picturesque, panoramic, and throbbing with life. If the
planet's conditions inhibited chemical transformation for whatever reason,
everything would be frozen stiff in a permanence that would endure for ever
maybe, but it would all be inert and unchanging, cold-desert-like and dismal
as in the Arctic freeze or in the silent darkness of distant Pluto which is a
lifeless dungeon as far as we can reckon.

There is both mystery and magnificence in every chunk of matter, be it a
particle of dust, a delicious fruit, a mountain or the moon. The next time we
see or hold a hunk of matter, let us remember that matter is as wondrous in its
variety as human thought itself.

V. V. Raman
March 10, 2008


Edited by webmaster (December 22, 2012 10:48 AM)

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#1373 - March 25, 2008 04:00 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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States of Matter


O! that this too too solid flesh would melt,

Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew... SHAKESPEARE
(Hamlet)

Water and rocks, soil and minerals, oceans, lakes, and much more are
splashed all over our planet. There is also an invisible layer of air which is
carried along by the earth in its cruise around the sun.

All matter we know here below is either sturdy solid, flowing liquid, or
tenuous gas. These are the ordinarily observed states of matter. Matter in each
of these states has specific properties in regards to its ability to stay put
where placed, to run and flow wherever it can, or to expand itself into all
available volume.

As we raise the temperature of a solid, it becomes tender, and eventually
melts into the liquid state. When the temperature of a liquid is steadily
increased, there comes a point when it begins to vaporize. The phenomenon is
readily observed when ice turns to water, and water to steam.

Solidity or fluidity is an indication of how tightly its ultimate
constituents are bound to one another. If they are held together in tight holds,
they merely shiver about their fixed positions, like branches of trees in breeze
or wind, but they can't break away from their mutual hold. As we heat the solid,
we are feeding in more and more energy: it is as if the breeze turns into a more
powerful wind, and then the strong hold is weakened to a rope-like link, with
far greater freedom for the molecules to drift. So we get the liquid phase. And
finally, at sufficiently high temperatures, even the weak links are broken off:
every molecule becomes totally independent of every other, buzzing away every
which way, bouncing off here and there from the atoms and molecules it
encounters until a hard wall pushes it back into the container wherein it
begins to meander helter-skelter once again.

Aside from solids, liquids, and gases, there is granular matter: sand, powder,
and soot belong to this category. Granular matter has found numerous
applications in industry. Its physics has also been studied extensively.

The classification of the state (phase) of a substance into solid, liquid, and
gas is appropriate for simple systems, but new possibilities arise with more
than one substance. As with human societies, with more than one group, new
things can happen. In societies these may be good or bad. With matter, these
may be interesting or uninteresting.

Thus, there are systems which consist of solids and liquids, liquids and gases,
gases and solids. When a solid is completely dissolved in a liquid we get a
solution. When carbon particles (solid) are suspended in air (gas) we get
smoke. When liquid droplets are suspended in air (gas) we get an air-solution,
technically called aerosol. Sometimes the particles in an aerosol, whether
water-droplets or dust, carry micro-organisms: bacteria or viruses. Such
combinations are referred to as bio-aerosols. Unhealthy and toxic particulate
matter suspended in air constitutes air-pollution.

These are examples of colloidal systems wherein one kind of matter in one state
is distributed uniformly in another kind. That which is distributed is the
dispersed phase, and that in which the matter is dispersed is called the
continuous phase. Many common substances, such as fog, paint, and mayonnaise,
are colloidal systems. Butter, jelly, and ruby glass are also colloids. Milk and
blood, though pure liquids to all appearances, are in fact colloids.

Our bodies (like of many other organisms) needs matter in the solid state
(for subsisting as an integral entity), liquids for its cellular activities and
blood-stream, and the gaseous state for vital breath. How efficiently and
conveniently the world is constructed!

V. V. Raman
March 12, 2008.

PS
<Our ancients had given much thought to the structure of matter. For example
the philosopher Kanaada (meaning the eater of atoms) propounded a science called
vaisheshika which can be called the "doctrine of atoms". >

This is very true.
So did Jaina thinkers, Greek thinkers, and Chinese thinkers.

That's why I had said: "Ancient thinkers gave much thought to it. "
This has given rise to claims that the ancient Hindus/Greeks/Jains, etc. knew
about atoms.

But it is important to understand that the ancient notions of <atom> which were
based on pure speculation have nothing in common with the atom discovered and
studied by modern science, except for the word. Even there, only the Greek word
<atomos> means unbreakable. The word was re-introduced in early 19th century by
the chemist John Dalton who also (mistakenly) thought like the ancients that the
atom cannot be broken down any further.


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#1374 - March 25, 2008 04:02 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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A fourth state: Plasma


Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines. - SHAKESPEARE (Sonnets: I.18)

Let's think of what will happen if a gas were heated to ever increasing
temperatures. At the core of matter are atoms which consist of electrically
charged nuclei around which the yet smaller electrons are whirling. At
enormously high temperatures the atoms of which matter is made will be stripped
of their orbiting electrons. Matter will be turned to nuclei in stark nudity,
becoming an insufferably hot concentration of mass, gory like a creature that
has been skinned, impossible to touch or even be placed in a container, for in
its voracious heat it will vaporize all that comes to its vicinity.

Ordinarily, we find matter as solid, liquid, or gas. There is also a
fourth state of matter to which all matter is transformed when raised to
incredibly high temperatures. We call this plasma. Plasma is not as common on
earth. Since pure plasma is unimaginably hot, where can Nature hold such matter
save in the wilderness of empty space, far away from ordinary material
concentrations?

One would have thought that plasma was more the exception than the rule.
But no, Nature has fooled us again! Once it was believed that stars were
essentially burning gases. Now we know that much of the matter in the universe -
at least of the visible kind we have observed thus far - is more plasma than
plain. Stars are where the action really is. It is in their core that most
matter is concentrated. Stars are massive beyond comprehension. Interstellar
dust, planets and other rocky blobs are anomalies: cooler states of matter
where, sometimes, life can evolve, flowers blossom, and minds think..

The scientific spirit will not be content with the mere knowledge that
there is plasma out there. Why not create some right here below? We get
fleeting glimpses of plasma when a lightning flashes and the northern nights
illumine the sky, for these are in fact manifestations of ordinary matter turned
plasma. Human ingenuity has succeeded in making plasma of the stellar variety
too: for that is what obtains in the heart of a hydrogen bomb, and in
laboratories that explore how one may tap nuclear fusion for human needs. They
are awesome, threatening, and wrought with potential disaster, those horrible
hydrogen bombs. But, in the context of physics and human ingenuity, we may look
upon one of those ignitions as a momentary mini-star right here on earth! Never
before in all of cosmic history - as far as we know - has nuclear fusion
occurred in a region that is not in the entrails of a star! No small achievement
for humankind!

We have also concocted weaker plasmas for more immediate use: these are
gases from whose atoms, not all, but just a couple of electrons have been
stripped. We call them ionized gases. They were already used in the 19th
century, long before they were recognized as such. In a so-called fluorescent
lamps, for example, the electrons in the mercury atoms are stripped, not by
heating the gas to high temperatures, but through electrical voltage. The
stripped mercury atoms constitute a plasma. They radiate ultraviolet light which
is absorbed by a fluorescent material coated in the inner surface. This material
re-radiates the absorbed energy as visible might.

In the last decade of the 20th century, plasmas have come to play a major
role in some industries: aerospace, biomedical, steel, and electronics. 240 high
intensity light bulbs, each of 175-watt power, can be replaced by two sulfur
plasma lamps which provide four times as much light. "Precision
plasma-processing" is part of a new technological revolution. Again and again,
every bit of knowledge about the world enables us to manipulate it to our
advantage. Science is exopotent knowledge.

V. V. Raman
March 17, 2008

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#1375 - March 25, 2008 04:05 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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A Fifth State of Matter: BEC


The first three states of matter - solid, liquid, and gas - are what we
ordinarily observe. Plasma we had observed as in the auroras and in the sun,
without recognizing it as such. Now there is also a fifth state of matter, whose
potential existence was surmised via the powerful instrument of mathematical
theory.

It happened this way: In the early 1920s, the theoretical physicist Satyendra
Nath Bose (living in Dacca, now Bangladesh) who had read Max Planck's quantum
theory in the original and translated Einstein's paper on general relativity
from German into English, developed a theory in which the photons of
Planck-Einstein were treated like the molecules of a gas. But they were subject
to a statistics altogether different from that of ordinary gas molecules. He
sent his elegant paper on the subject to Einstein who was so impressed by the
insight it contained and the path it opened up that he translated it into German
right away and had it published. [Never before or since have translations been
so scientifically reciprocated.] The statistics derived by Bose eventually came
to be called Bose-Einstein statistics. It turns out that photons aren't the only
particles which obey this. All such fundamental particles are now called bosons.

Einstein extended Bose's statistics to atoms and molecules also. It followed
from his analysis that if the temperature of certain substances were extremely
low, their atoms and molecules would get entangled in certain remarkable ways,
and would then be in a state that would correspond to none of the states of
matter we know. This fifth state has come to be called Bose-Einstein Condensate
or BEC.


BEC is not like frozen ice or even frozen air. It is of an altogether different
category. In that state, the atoms lose practically all their energy,
maintaining barely their zero-point energy. In that super-lethargic atomic
condition something strange happens. The component atoms of the BEC combine to
form a coherent wave: a sort of locked in state in which they lose their
individual identity . They can never be in this state at even a few degrees
higher. It is as if they are so frightened in the freeze they hold on tightly to
one another.

There was one difficulty in verifying this idea. While BEC was shown to be an
incontrovertible theoretical possibility, for this to occur the temperature of
the material should be unimaginably low. So low, in fact, that it is extremely
difficult, if not impossible, to reach it. It is far easier to heat things up
than to cool them down.

So it took seventy years, more theory, and inventions like the laser and
sophisticated cryogenics before one could produce BEC. It was like reaching the
distant peak of a very high mountain. At last, in one experiment in the
mid-1990s sodium atoms were confined in a magnetic trap and cooled to near
absolute-zero. Other experimenters used atoms of rubidium. The resulting BEC
was split into two coherent waves which were then made to interfere. It is from
pictures of these interference patterns that the existence of BEC was
established. This was an extraordinary experimental achievement. The three
physicists who had worked on the problem shared the 2001 Nobel Prize for it:
Eric Cornell, Carl Wieman, and Wolfgng Ketterle.

Thus, at the two extremes of temperature - way too hot and close to absolute
zero - familiar matter becomes very different. Its state is surely not an
intrinsic property. It changes with external conditions as our moods do. We talk
of someone being solid as a rock, being one with the flow, or just air-headed.
These metaphorical phases also change with external conditions.

Of what use is BEC? It is too early to say, but this is not the sort of question
that normally interests physicists. They leave it to engineers and
technologists.

V. V. Raman
March 19, 2008

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#1376 - March 25, 2008 04:06 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Ultimate entities


And in the lowest deep a lower deep...opens wide.... - JOHN MILTON

As noted earlier, atoms have structure and components. The recognition of
the composite nature of atoms was yet another intellectual triumph of the
twentieth century. The ancient views of the ultimate indivisible entities of
matter were altogether different. The Indian thinker Kanda, for example,
imagined four types of atoms corresponding to earth, water, fire, and air, and
attributed qualities of taste, smell, color, and touch to them. The Greek
atomist Democritus (who coined the word atom) pictured the soul as being made of
aromatic atoms. We must admire the ancient thinkers for their reflections and
penetrating insights, but it would be neither fair to them nor factually
correct to indentify interesting speculative ideas of a by-gone age with modern
views. The latter were arrived at through entirely different methodologies. In
fact, the idea of the atom that emerged in the twentieth century is totally
different from what eighteenth and nineteenth century chemists imagined, and it
is no disrespect to them to recognize this.

In the last century, human ingenuity managed to penetrate into the deepest core
of matter through empirical methods, and unravel the marvels that are
continually occurring in the invisible substratum of perceived reality. We will
glimpse into the wonders of the microcosm later. Here let us simply note that
atoms consist of electrical charges of the two kinds, and that they are dynamic
and spectacular in how they behave. The structure of the atom has an uncanny
resemblance to the solar system where planets orbit around a central star:
Within the atom minute electrons are whirling around massive nuclei. The
simplest atom, that of the most common element hydrogen, consists of a single
very light negatively charged electron orbiting around a much heavier positively
charged proton. In a carbon atom six electrons are circling a nucleus made up of
six protons and six neutrons. Paraphrasing poet Blake, we see a world in a
grain of atom!

If the atom is cuttable, so are some of its components. Probing into matter may
be compared to peeling an onion: As each layer is stripped off, what remains
seems to have more layers still. Physics will not give up until the last dot of
perceived reality is spotted. So we have gone deeper and deeper, armed with the
flashlights of elaborate instruments and mighty mathematics, to uncover the
ultimate bricks of the material world.

As per our current picture, the material world is constructed of three
principal kinds of point-mass concentrations. These bear the names quarks,
leptons, and field particles. In each category there are quite a few. Now think
of this wonder of wonders! The hardy tangible stuff of the material universe
emerges from infinitesimally small point-like material concentrations, not
unlike a canvas by Seurat on which tiny dabs create magnificent sceneries.

How these quarks, leptons, and field particles interact is what determines
the nature of perceived reality. They are responsible for the way the world
behaves on our scale and on any. They are the ultimate puppeteers, as it were,
the most fundamental of all fundamental particles, for it is to them that we
trace every aspect of the physical world.

This worldview is a great revelation, a profound secret about perceived
reality. Yet, like the luxurious life of multi-millionaires, it is the talk and
truth of but a privileged few: maybe a few thousand in a population of six
billion and more. The rest of the human race may never have heard of quarks or
leptons, or perhaps done so in TV specials or in write ups in popular
magazines. But most people give a hoot for all this, if only because it does
not touch them in any meaningful way.

V. V. Raman
March 21, 2008

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#1377 - March 29, 2008 08:54 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Conservation of matter


It is sufficiently clear that all things are changed, and nothing really
perishes, and that the sum of matter remains absolutely the same. - FRANCIS
BACON (17th century)

When the magician pulls out a rabbit from an empty hat, we instinctively
feel he has fooled us. A Vedic hymn wonders about the universe being created out
of nothing. Lucretius echoed the idea when he said Nil posse creari De nilo:
Nothing can be created out of nothing. When the trickster makes the card
disappear, we say it is prestidigitation because we know that nothing can vanish
into nothing. Even little children and some animals are aware of this.

But we also know that a brand new rabbit can come out of mother rabbit.
And a piece of candle seems to disappear altogether, not by the waving of a
magician's hand, but by slow and steady burning. In all such cases, chemical
transformations have occurred.

There is a deeper level at which the non-vanishing aspect of tangible
matter has been confirmed: the quantitative. Matter changes form, but not in
quantity. Thus, if we have wood and air in a sealed enclosure, and the wood is
somehow lit, at the end of the process when all that is left in the container
are ash, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other gases, we will find that
the enclosure plus its contents weigh precisely the same after as before the
burning. This is a principle of fundamental importance in the physical world:
the quantitative equivalent of the "nothing from or into nothing" principle of
common sense. We refer to it as the law of conservation of matter. In the words
of its first published formulator, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, "in every
operation, there is an equal quantity of matter before and after the operation."

We may note here a convention in the world of science. The Russian
poet-scientist Mikhail Lomonosov had stated the principle of matter conservation
in 1748: some fifty years before Lavoisier. A couple of others had also done
that. But Lavoisier first published it in an internationally known journal. So
he gets the credit for it.

This significant truth about matter transformation could not have been
grasped before precision weighing was introduced as part of the scientific
investigation of chemical reactions in the 18th century. The result did not
come about by discussing the question only conceptually, since for ages people
had imagined even from not so carefully considered experiments that bodies gain
or lose weight as a result of chemical reactions. One doesn't always recognize
the role that measuring instruments play in the advancement of science.

Matter-conservation law is in many ways one of the most important laws of
Nature. It seems obvious, for it says something more than what common sense
says: that things cannot simply disappear, not even from thin air. What the law
says is that in all the complex chemical transformations that incessantly occur,
the exact amount of matter (total mass) remains unaffected to the mast milligram
and less. Without the quantitative criterion, the law is nothing profound in
content. But with it, it reveals an astounding precision in changes that occur.
In crude analogy, it would be like saying that if we change dollars into pesos
or rupees into dinars, the net monetary worth will not be affected a wee-bit.
No currency is superior or less valuable. Their values with respect to a gold
standard will remain unaffected by change from one currency to another.

Like many scientific insights, the principle of matter conservation also
gave place to a more refined version: After all, a good deal of scientific
progress consists in improving or replacing the views of past generations with
the acquisition of new knowledge and insights. Shaking long-held beliefs is part
of playing the game of science.

V. V. Raman
March 28, 2008

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#1378 - April 07, 2008 09:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Christianity's Anti Jewish Past

(Adapted)

The World Council of Churches (WCC) recently received favorable coverage in a section of India's English media which hailed it as a liberal Christian organization that opposes war and proselytism. Hans Ucko, a head of the WCC, while apparently denouncing conversions through the use of force or inducements, advocated “the mission of God, to which the church as well as people of other religious traditions may be called to participate.” In other words, he preferred conversions by other means.

A primer on the history of the WCC which is closely linked to the Holocaust during which Hitler annihilated six million Jews is in order.

The Nazi system was the culmination of 2,000 years of Christian anti-Semitism. As Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Laureate, aptly stated, “the Nazi system did not arise in a void but had its roots deep in a tradition that prophesied it, prepared for it, and brought it to maturity. That tradition was inseparable from the past of Christian, civilized Europe.” The New Testament alone, as Professor Norman Beck has shown, has 450 anti-Semitic verses. Jesus himself ushered in religious anti-Semitism when he infamously called the Jews “a brood of vipers” and “the children of the Devil.” In a milieu where Christianity gained political ascendancy, the church expanded this false stereotyping with an ****nal of anti-Semitic rhetoric and declared all generations of Jews sinful. This resulted in centuries of persecution, ghettoization, and Inquisition of the Jews. In the 16th century, Martin Luther of the Protestant schism whipped up Christian frenzy by urging his followers to ethnic cleanse and kill the Jews and to burn the Jewish schools and synagogues.

The Church, since the promulgation of the acts of the Council of Elvira (~300 CE), has portrayed the Jews as "the enemies of the Heavenly Majesty. [3]" Christian teachings falsely demonize the Jews as "Christ-killers," "Children of the Devil," "Brood of vipers," etc., and pronounce all future generations of the Jews guilty of killing Christ [4]. The Christian Bible declares, "The Devil is the father of the Jews. [5]" Church fathers have demonized the Jews as cannibals that ate their own children [6]. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215 CE) decreed that the Jew be ghettoized and forced to wear the Jewish dress, conical hat, and the Jew badge - usually a yellow circle, symbolic of the Jew as betrayer of Christ for 'gold,' an image that fused religious and economic anti-Semitism [7]. Intensely persecuted, especially during the infamous Inquisitions, some Jews converted to Christianity. Even that would not remove the 'stigma' of having been a Jew. Pope Gregory I warned that ?a Jew returns to his faith like a dog to his vomit. [8].

The Nazis hired more than a thousand Christian chaplains to serve in the German armed forces and reprinted Christian literature. Hitler wanted to setup a unified Christian church of Germany. He declared that he had drawn his inspiration from the church in his persecution of the Jews. The Nazi songs and hate literature that targeted the Jews derived their material from Christian scriptures – often verbatim. One such was the popular German hate song, “The Devil is the father of Jews,” which comes from John 8:44.

Lest one should think that the Catholic Church alone is culpable of anti-Semitism, the Protestant Church has been as much anti-Semitic. After all, every denomination derives its religiously justified anti-Semitism from the Christian Bible. Erasmus, who influenced Martin Luther, infamously declared: "If it is part of a good Christian to detest the Jews, then we are all good Christians. [9]'

Martin Luther was initially kind towards the Jews as he attempted to convert them. Once his attempts failed, he wrote the most vicious anti-Semitic tract: On the Jews and their Lies. In that tract, Luther justified the terrible sufferings of the Jews over 1, 400 years in exile and chastised them for not learning their lesson [10]. Luther urged Christians to burn the Jewish synagogues and expel the Jews [11]. He held that the Jewish misfortune is proof of Christian truth and Jewish error from scripture [12]. Luther called the Jews ?bloodhounds [13] and argued that Christians are at fault in ?not slaying the Jews. [14]

Elie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, writes of the Holocaust:
"All the killers were Christians. The Nazi system was the consequence of a movement of ideas and followed a strict logic; it did not arise in a void but had its roots deep in a tradition that prophesied it, prepared for it, and brought it to maturity. That tradition was inseparable from the past of Christian, civilized Europe. [15]"

Wiesel's words are not rhetorical. It is evident that the Nazi hatred for the Jews is the culmination of the anti-Semitism intrinsic to the Christian Bible. The Nazis reprinted Luther's hate-filled anti-Semitic text, On the Jews and their lies. The editor of the 1936 Munich edition approvingly claimed that On the Jews and their lies was the ?****nal from which antisemitism had drawn its weapons. [16]? Hitler aptly told the Christian bishops who met him in the aftermath of the 1933 laws that he was merely putting into effect what Christianity preached and practised for 2,000 years [17].

The Nazis illustrated educational handbook for children carried the hate-filled poem, "The father of the Jews is the Devil," a theme which, as I showed earlier, first occurs in the New Testament [18].

The Holocaust was the inevitable culmination of two millennia of anti-Semitic propaganda and hate mongering. In the concentration camps, the Nazis taunted their Jewish victims earmarked for death with the question, “What is your Christian name?” to which sometimes the defenseless Jews defiantly retorted, as poignantly recaptured in the movie Escape from Sobibor, “I have no Christian name. Do you have a Jewish name?”

Churches of every stripe – Protestant, Evangelical, Russian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic – eagerly participated in the Holocaust when they actively turned the defenseless Jews over to the Nazis or when the clergy themselves massacred the Jews. Some of those murderers such as Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac are being proclaimed saints today. After the Second World War ended, the Roman Catholic church pronounced Hitler a beloved son of god. As Mark Aarons and John Loftus (Unholy Trinity – the Vatican, the Nazis, and the Swiss banks) have shown, the Vatican also setup the notorious Ratline to guide the Nazi fugitives to safe houses in the Christian strongholds of Argentina and South Africa.

It is with this shameful legacy that the WCC is connected. Daniel Goldhagen (Hitler's willing executioners – ordinary Germans and the Holocaust) shows that in 1933 Bishop Otto Dibelius of the Evangelical Church in Germany blamed the Jews for the “corrosion of civilization.” Otto Dibelius advocated prohibiting Jewish immigration into Germany and called for the “peaceable, bloodless deaths of all Jews still left in Germany.” In 1965, Dibelius was elected the president of the WCC. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, only a Nazi church could have elected a person that called for the destruction of the Jews as its president.

This election also proved that WCC's public posturing since 1948 calling for the end of anti-Semitism is a dishonest facade to merely whitewash its anti-Semitic past. This suspicion is further confirmed when one notices that the WCC continues to advocate the antisemitic passages of the New Testament as well as is made up of the very churches that partnered with Hitler in the genocide of the Jews.

The media unhesitatingly branded the Hindutva movement fascist even though there has never been any connection between Hindutva and the Nazis, and when in fact Hindutva groups have been ardent supporters of the Jews and Israel just as Hindus have always been the only defenders of the Jews throughout the entire Jewish history. Why would the same media hail a Nazi church? Is it merely because the journalists are completely ignorant of the history of the Holocaust? Is there something more sinister?

It is well known that the USA government actively contributes to the evangelization of India under the guise of faith based initiative. Christian churches have collectively launched Project Joshua, and have devised pin code-wise tactics to convert all Indians to Christianity. Government reports show that the USA channeled at least 2,500 crore rupees into India in 2005-2006 alone through Christian missionary organizations. A substantial part of this funding is controlled by powerful groups such as Worldvision which are partners of the Nazi church WCC.

The favorable coverage accorded the WCC is paralleled by the positive coverage Worldvision receives in India's English media. This usually translates into more funding for these organizations from the MNCs as well as Indian corporate houses, most of whom might be unaware of WCC's Nazi past. It is also paralleled by the organized campaigns of the church to ban the Da Vinci Code and more recently to suppress the telecast of the documentary on the most exciting archaeological discovery, The Lost Tomb of Jesus.

Have some journalists abandoned all ethics to turn themselves into propagandists for Nazi church? Is it merely a coincidence that the evangelical groups increasingly control India's English media while Nazi churches receive favorable coverage and archaeological discoveries that militate against Christian claims are hushed up?

Kalavai Venkat is a Silicon Valley-based, orthodox, practising, agnostic Hindu. His articles were part of the recently published anthologies Invading The Sacred – An Analysis Of Hinduism Studies In America (Rupa, 2007) and Expressions Of Christianity (Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan, 2006).


http://truthbeknown.com/fitnareview.html

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#1379 - April 09, 2008 12:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Untouchability and Caste in China


"Untouchables" long existed in China in the form of various groups of jianmin
"lowly people". They were clearly separated from regular, "good households"
(liangmin) in official population registers. Their exact components varied from
place to place. But most were in such universal "untouchable" professions as
entertainers, undertakers, prostitutes, professional beggars, garbage
collectors, etc. Some groups had fancy stories about their origin not unlike
that of Roma people/Gypsies (re. the nails to be used to crucify Jesus). Those
lowly people were forbidden to marry with "good households". Nor were they
allowed to go to school and to participate in civil service examinations.

From 1723 on, Emperor Yongzheng (reign 1723-1734) issued repeated edicts
abolishing such "lowly households" in government population registers. Two
particular remarks can be made here:

1. It took a "barbarian" Manchu emperor to legally abolish "untouchability" that
had existed in China for centuries.

2. Emperor Yongzheng's decision was inspired by the Buddhist maxim that "all
lives were created equal," a notion that came from the Indian subcontinent among
all places.

Naturally, Qing legal actions could not eliminate many or perhaps most of those
"lowly people" who continued to engage in their traditional professions. For
instance, in Shaoxing (Zhejiang province), even on the eve of the Cultural
Revolution, many undertakers still came from traditional "duomin" families.

A somewhat meek point is that, because China's "lowly people" almost never
engaged in farming (which in Confucian ideology was the second most respectful
profession), untouchability in premodern China represented a very small and
mostly urban social component.

However, under Mao the Great Helmsman, there emerged two modern, hereditary
neo-caste systems in China. The first was economic and de jure, namely the
strict rural/urban residence system (hukou). The second was political and de
facto, based on each family or individual's "class origin." While the political
caste system was smashed by Deng Xiaoping, the hukou system remains the biggest
social injustice in China today.

Sanping

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#1380 - May 18, 2008 03:17 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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On religious conversions


Most people are born and brought up in a specific religion, including atheism.
But for various reasons some people voluntarily change, or are being effectively
persuaded to change, the religion of their birth and upbringing. Such a change
in one's religious affiliation constitutes religious conversion. Proselytizing
is the dedicated effort to persuade others to embrace one's own religion. Today
the major religions whose active wings are engaged in proselytizing are
Buddhism, (various sects of) Christianity, Islam, and the Baha'i faith: all
these religions trace their origins to specific historical founders.

Among the many dimensions of religions, two are primary: One relates to God,
Truth, Heaven, and such other elusive things. The other tells us how to attain
these.

Two conditions are necessary for the emergence of any religion. First, a
charismatic personage who proclaims his/her vision of God, Truth, Heaven and
such, and points the way to reach those. Sometimes, it could be a group of such
personages, as with Hinduism. Next, some people should be so taken and inspired
by those proclamations that they set out to propagate them to the less fortunate
(?) ones who have not heard the original message. Without these propagators,
religions would have died with their originators.

The process of propagating ranges from teaching and preaching to coercion and
combat, with much in between. The motivation of proselytizers is often to share
the good fortune that they are convinced they have had in accepting the higher
truths through which they themselves have been saved or been promised
redemption. They want others to reach that same blessed state of Truth and
celestial certainty. They feel they owe it to their God to spread His word far
and wide. The recipients of these new Truths may be either drawn to the new
light flashed on them, or they may be offended that the preachers are implying
that the religion of the yet-to-be-converted is somehow inferior. So most
conversion efforts meet with some resistance, at least initially.

But all through history, one way or another, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and
the Baha'i faith have successfully spread to lands far from where they
originated.

Then again, conversion could mean different things for different religions and
in different contexts. In Christianity, for example, it may mean the acceptance
of Christ as the only savior. But in a deeper sense, it could also mean the
explicit rejection of sin and commitment to lead a life of righteousness, as
framed in the Christian worldview. Islam believes that we are all born Muslims,
and anyone can revert to it by simply taking a creedal pledge (the shahadah). In
olden days, when this reversal did not occur, there were sometimes harsh ways to
bring it about. Now, with all the talk of human rights and media exposure,
painful modes of dragging people to the Truth are no longer in favor.

In our own times, the goal of conversion is not just to bring the light of this
religion or that to people supposedly in the dark, but to increase numbers in
societies where one religion may not as yet be the majority. The quest for God
is blended with voting potential.

Historically, in times and places where large numbers of people are drawn into
the framework of reason, rationality, and science, faith in traditional
religions tend to weaken. With more mass education the situation becomes even
worse. This why in Western Europe and North America (where science has had its
maximum impact on the populace) mainstream Christianity is losing hold. Also,
liberal thinkers in free societies tend to decry their own religion and defend
those of the minorities. This provokes a reaction in defenders of the local
traditional religion, leading to what is sometimes described, perhaps unfairly,
as religious fundamentalism in democratic societies.

V. V. Raman
May 13, 2008



[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited May 18, 2008).]

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#1381 - May 18, 2008 03:26 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Conversion: Hindu Mode


For many long centuries now, Hindus have not practiced any form of conversion
like the other world religions have been doing. Rather, they have been targets
of conversion. Because of this, it is often said that a unique feature of
Hinduism is that it does not engage in converting other peoples to its own fold.
But this statement needs to be clarified. It is true that during the past few
centuries Hindus have not been going around the world, forcing others to become
Hindus. Yet, if we trace the roots of the religion to Vedic utterances in
ancient Northern India, then we cannot explain its gradual spread to the rest of
India without invoking the notion of conversion of some kind or another. The
sacred history of Agasthya - a Vedic sage-poet - to the effect that he brought
Tamil Vedic wisdom to the people of the south, as Parasurama did to Kerala,
suggests that Sanskritic culture penetrated into South India through learned
propagators.

Unlike in other proselytizing religions, however, Hinduism does not seem to have
spread by asking people to abandon their local beliefs, but rather by enriching
them with Vedic visions and myths, and including their symbols within the Hindu
world. Thus Pan-Indian Hinduism acquired aspects of ancient Dravidian culture.
What was unique in this approach is that it respected what one encountered while
gradually transforming local beliefs into the Hindu framework, and
incorporating them into an expanding Hindu culture.

It was by this process of slow assimilation that the whole of India became Hindu
in culture: by which one means that the trimurtis (Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma)
and their consorts, the epic deities Rama-Sita and Radha-Krishna, the chanting
of Vedic mantras, and the like, became aspects of a pan-Indian Indic culture to
which we are all heirs.

Then again, in the classical age, Hindu visions, worldviews, and epics spread
way beyond the shores of India into many regions of Southeast Asia. Though not
many peoples there profess Hinduism explicitly like the people of Bali, the
vestiges of ancient Hindu names and symbols on Non-Hindu peoples may still be
seen, even in the Philippines and Borneo. In the lore of the Balinese people, it
was sage Markandeya who brought Hinduism to Bali, as Saint Boniface brought
Christianity to Germany and Saint Columba to Scotland. When one considers Hindu
sculptures, names and legends in Thailand and Burma, Vietnam and Kampuchea, it
is hard to subscribe to the thesis that Hinduism never converted Non-Hindus. But
the conversion was more cultural and aesthetic than doctrinal, and never with
the sword or the spill of blood.

Since the late 19th century, thanks to Swami Vivekananda, Hinduism also launched
a conversion process Ă  la Christianity through the Ramakrishna mission, and
like institutions. Here again, the goal is not to convert people to Hindu
doctrines, or initiate them into iconic deities and rituals, much less to
inflict the puranas on them, but to draw people to a spiritual framework of
religious life which often includes non-sectarian meditation, yogic disciplines,
broad philosophical perspectives, etc. These have far greater appeal to
sophisticated Non-Hindus than the anachronistic aspects of traditional Hinduism.
On the other hand, movements like the Hare-Krishna attract the more
bhakti-oriented Non-Hindus.

Many Hindus believe that only good karma alone can result in Hindu birth. Some
still have difficulty accepting Africans, Caucasians, and others as bona-fide
Hindus. Those who voluntarily become Hindus usually don't care. In this regard
they are better Hindus than xenophobic born-Hindus. Perhaps in the decades to
come, a reformed Hinduism, cleansed of jarring exclusivist constraints and
celebrating a rich lore, will attract more people to itself, away from the
monodostic (single-path) doctrine of spiritual fulfillment that fetters many
religious systems.

< Surely, in all their wisdom, the Sages would have, at least in their hearts,
known that all men and women are created equal and are truly equal in the sight
of god. It will perhaps remain a grate mystery why they chose to take that other
direction? >

It is a mystery only if we regard them those sages as superhuman beings who must
have known everything. This, I fear, is the image that most people (of all
religions) have of the founding fathers of their religion.

If, however, we view them as extraordinarily intelligent, insightful, and keen
minds who reflected in grand ways, but who were still only human beings
conditioned by the worldviews and thought-currents of the age, this is no
surprise at all.

The ideas of men and women being equal in the eyes of God and of all humans
being equal in the eyes of the Law are not as ancient as some people would like
to believe.

It is only when we impose our current knowledge, worldviews, and awakenings on
people who lived three millennia ago (and assume they were all divine) that some
of their obviously untenable positions become mysterious.

V. V. Raman
May 15, 2008

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#1382 - May 18, 2008 03:27 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Conversion: its range and variety


When we hear the word conversion, we tend to think of religion or perhaps
currency. But more generally, any significant change in opinion, belief,
practice or worldview may be called conversion. Some types of conversion may be
less dramatic than religious conversion in their open declaration, but can be no
less significant in the long run for cultural and social history, and for
individuals also. [In science the word is used in other meanings.]

Consider the idea of the flat earth and other now obsolete worldviews that were
once regarded as the truth by our distant ancestors. Not many in our generation
subscribe to these. Or again, consider the rigid rules of race purity, class
superiority, and endogamy to which some people no longer attach the same
importance that previous generations did. Or even the adoption of a democratic
governmental framework in lieu of systems in which feudal lords and maharajas
rule the land. These are also examples of conversion.

Or again, in the transformation that occurs in the mind of a growing individual
as a result of schooling, not only is ignorance replaced by knowledge, but
many previous impressions are significantly re-formed. In this sense, any mental
training, be it in a religious or a secular setting, is a mode of conversion.
When the conversion is from darkness to light, from misinformation to valid
knowledge, from hurtful tendencies to caring values, it is good education. When
it tends to stifle the inquiring mind into meek submission to truths that can't
be questioned or critiqued because they are supposed to rest on the alleged
sanctity of a source, or with threats to one's safety here on earth and in the
hereafter, that too is a kind of conversion: indoctrination. When religious
indoctrination injects frenzy for one's own and contempt for other groups, it is
religious conversion of the worst sort: fanaticism.

When India changed from local languages and Sanskrit to English as a medium of
education, she was converted in important ways for the good and for the bad.
When countries began to teach post-Copernican astronomy, physics and biology in
schools, and accept the technology that follows from these, that was mass
intellectual conversion. The inscription into law of freedom and equality for
all, the recognition of human dignity, allowing women higher education, and
giving them the right to vote: all these arose from the intellectual conversion
of the leaders of peoples and nations.

As with rock and soil, we are all gradually undergoing conversion, whether we
like it or not. It is impossible to live in the modern world without being
converted in recognizable or unrecognized modes, in conscious and unconscious
ways. Every book or article we read, every news item we watch or listen to,
every preacher we take seriously, affects our worldviews in ways slight and
subtle, or drastic and dramatic. We can thus be converted to alter our
worldviews and perspectives. People who switch political parties or the
candidate of their initial choice undergo conversion too.

We are, one and all, both enriched and burdened by the inputs we constantly
receive. Our minds can be expanded by good education, as they can become warped
by malicious propaganda. We can be enriched by the culture in which we grow
and the language in which we express ourselves. But we are also constrained, in
many pleasant and in some unhappy ways, by the religion and tradition, the
customs and practices into which we have been converted in our childhood or
later. We may learn to love, and also to hate, from the conversions we have
undergone.

V. V. Raman
May 18, 2008

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#1383 - June 11, 2008 12:39 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Shiva, Shivaa and Shivalingam

FACT, FICTION & PHILOSOPHY

Ask the Pandit: We go to the temple and worship Shiva-lingam with devotion to Lord Shiva but we hear at school that Shivalingam represents Shiva-phallus. Is this true? A British Hindu Teenager

Answer: No, Shivalingam is a characteristic symbol of the formless supreme being with explanation as hereunder. It was the European Indologists of the colonial era who inflicted this translation onto the Shaivite Hinduism whereas in South India you will find noble surnames ending with the word...lingham, to denote not a phallus but their peity to the indivisible God Shiva, Shivaa and Shivalingham.


Introduction

A view that Shivalinga represents phallus and Shiva bhakta (devotee) Hindus are phallus worshippers is increasingly gaining ground among the Indian intelligentsia. It has direct relationship with the spread of English education and corresponding erosion of knowledge of Sanskrit in India. Originally the Colonial Christian missionaries in the 19th century floated this idea to malign the Hindu religion altogether but of late, attempts have been made by the Hindu intelligensia to rationalise and even eulogise phallus worship due to their dependence now on the English language. Another fall-out of predominance of English language is that non-Hindus, Hindu apostates and anti-Hindu scholars, having sketchy knowledge of Hindu scriptures and no knowledge of Sanskrit are relied upon more than the true exponents of Hindu dharma (religion) or the genuine scholars of Hindu scriptures. Commonsense demands that in matters of a religious belief or practice, the ruling or interpretation of its teachers should have precedence. However, that is not so in the case of Hindu religion. The root cause of this blasphemous thought about the Shivalinga was the Christian missionaries but now is the English language rendering of the Sanskrit word, “linga”, as “penis’ or “phallus”.

Meaning of Shivalinga and Vedi

The oldest available Sanskrit text on the worship of Shivalinga is the Linga Purana, followed by the Shiva Mahapurana. Both were compiled, in the "present" form, during the great Gupta period of Indian history, from 4th to 7th century AD (as additions continued to be made up to the 10th century).The very first shloka of Section 2 of the Linga Purana, Part I, says: “The non-characterized (formless) one is the root of the characterized, (well formed) world. The manifest, characterized world, is called Prakriti (Nature), while the non-characterized, formless, one is called Shiva. Thus, the characterized one, namely, Prakriti (Nature) must be seen as the “linga”, meaning mark, of Lord Shiva.”

1. Shlokas 8 and 9 thereof further explain the theme: “As earlier said, Brahma Himself is the universe personified. Though non-characterized, He is the supreme lord. He is the seed (beej); He is the Womb (Yoni). And, the source of both of them is non-characterized Nirbeejo (Shiva). Thus, the Supreme Lord is both seed and womb and also the universe”.
[Incidentally a Yoni stone has been discovered near Allahabad dating back to c.14000 years.]

2. [Incidentally, in certain publications, like the English translation of the Linga Purana, published by M/s. Motilal Banarsidas, Delhi-Varanasi-Patna, under the title, “Ancient India’s Traditions & Mythology”, Vol.V, Section 2 of Part I, is shown as Section 3, because they have treated the Index also as a separate section.]
The above simile of seed and womb is also used in the Bhagvatgeeta, chap.14/3-4, where Lord Krishna says: “My womb is the great Brahma (Eternal,Cosmos); in it, I place the germ; thence cometh the birth of all beings, O Bharata (Arjuna). In all the wombs, where mortals are produced, O Arjuna, their principal base womb is the great Brahma, and I am their generating father.”

3. The Maitryopanishad, Prapathak 4, shlokas 1-2, explain how the word “yoni” meant the “source”. It says, fire, that does not get fuel is exhausted in its place of origin (yoni), so does mind calm down in its place of origin, when its passions get exhausted (in the absence of outside support)”.

4. According to Sanskrit dictionary, (Medini Koshakar), “Linga” means sign, (mark or characteristic), conjecture, a kind of Lord Shiva’s image, and rarely penis: the word is a neuter gender. In Sanskrit, the specific word for penis, is ‘shishna’ In the entire Sanskrit literature, especially in works on religion or spirituality, the word ‘linga’ has been used in the sense of a sign, a symbol, characteristic of something, and ‘yoni’ as source of origin. For example, the Brahmasutra,(Vedanta Darshan) says: “Aakaashastallingat”, (1.1.22), cosmos is the ‘linga’ (sign) of Brahma (Eternity). The Vaisheshik Darshan, (2.2.6), says, “Aparasminnaparam yugpat chiram kshipramiti kaal lingaani”, meaning, time’s ‘lingani’ (characteristics) are, before, after, together, swift, slow, in relation to somebody or something. If ‘linga’ wereto mean ‘penis’, how could ‘kaal’ (time) have five ‘penis’?The Brahmasutra (Vedanta Darshan) has used the word ‘linga’ 12 times and the Vaisheshik Darshan has used it 29 times. Every time, they have used it in the sense of formless God or a characteristic. The Upanishadas too have used it in the same sense.

In his well documented research work, Bharatiya Pratik Vidya, (Hindi), published by the Bihar Rashtrabhasha Parishad Patna, 1959, Dr. Janardan Misra has explained in great detail as to how, in their study of phallus worship, European scholars found out that in many countries of ancient Europe, (including England, Ireland, Greece), Egypt and Japan, certain people practiced witchcraft before the image of phallus: how some of them concluded that OSIRIS as God and ISIS as Goddess, worshipped by ancient Egyptians, were the corrupt forms of Hindus’ “ISHWAR” (God) and “ISHWARI” (Goddess): how two of the scholars assumed that the Hindus worshipped male and female sex organs. The question is, even if Shivalinga was mistaken as symbolising penis, following the vulgar meaning of ‘linga’, how the European (and even Indian) scholars got ‘vagina’ out of ‘vedi’ (pedestal) of Shivalinga. The only answer can be that once Shivalinga was assumed to mean Lord Shiva’s penis, the ‘vedi’ (pedestal) was automatically presumed to be vagina, being complementary to each other. It is noteworthy that in South India, the word ‘linga’ still continues to mean a mark or an indicator. Hence, many people there have their names like Ramalingam, Bhoothalingam, Mahalingam, or so. The Shivopanishad, 124, says: “Let it be understood that heart is the best abode of Lord Shiva. Hence, the Linga represents Him, that is ‘Omkar’, and the Vedi (Pedestal) represents the lotus like heart.”

Origin and philosophy

In the Shiva Mahapurana, chapter 5, shloka 10-11 of the first (Vidyeswari) Samhita, sage Suta tells a gathering of other sages: “(Lord) Shiva is the supreme God. So, He is called formless, nishkala (non-characterized), but at times He also takes form, so He is also called characterized”.6 In support, sage Nandikeshwara narrates the following episode: In the ancient (pre-historic) period, (Shvet Varah Kalpa), when the earth was submerged in water, a fierce fight ensued between Brahman and Vishnu on the question as to who of the two was superior. To teach them a lesson, the Supreme God (Lord Shiva) appeared between them in the form of a burning column (Shlokas, 27-28/Ibid).7 Emerging from the ocean, it rose on to go into the sky. A symbolic replica of that burning column is called Shivalinga, a mark of the formless God, Lord Shiva. A similar account is given in chapter 17, Part I of the Ling Purana. Seeing this huge burning column, both Brahma and Vishnu exclaimed with astonishment: “What is this most wonderful fiery column, imperceptible to senses? What is there below it and above it? Let us first find it out”, (chap. 7, shloka 13-14/Ibid).8 Thus, Brahma went upwards and Vishnu went downwards into the ocean to find out the reality of the new phenomenon. After long years, both of them returned to their original place. While Vishnu admitted his failure, Brahma falsely claimed that he had reached the summit. But, an Aaakashvani (celestial voice) exposed his lie for which he had to suffer the curse of Lord Shiva. Now, Brahma and Vishnu together prayed to the fiery column to reveal itself to them. In response, there was a big sound of ‘A U M’ – ‘A U M’. A little later, Vishnu saw AUM’s first syllable ‘A’ on the south of the column, syllable ‘U’ on the north, and syllable ‘M’ in the middle, denoting Brahma (god of creation), Rudra/Shiva (god of death or dissolution and regeneration) and Vishnu (god of maintenance, who keeps the world going), respectively.

This very episode is narrated in greater detail by Brahma to his Manas (Intellectual) son, Narada, in chapters 6 to 10 of the 2nd (Rudra) Samhita’s first (Srishti) Khand, of the Shiva Mahapurana, relating to Creation. After first appearing in a non-characterized form of a fiery column, Lord Shiva assumed a characterised form and explained to Brahma and Vishnu how He Himself functions under three heads, namely, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, (chap.9, shloka 28). 9 Accordingly, Lord Shiva distributes the work of creation to Brahma, of sustenance of the world to Vishnu and of dissolution to Rudra. He also lets the Saraswati (Knowledge) part of His power (Uma) go to Brahma, the Lakshmi (beauty and wealth) part to Vishnu, and the Kali (strength) part to Rudra. Lastly, Lord Shiva directs Vishnu to always protect and remove the sufferings of the world, created by Brahma. He then directs both to work in close cooperation. Interestingly, Lord Shiva warns that, if a devotee of Rudra denigrates Vishnu, all his pious deeds shall go to waste. Having said so, Lord Shiva vanishes, (chap.10/shloka 36 Ibid).10 Soon after this, Brahma adds that “Vedi” (Pedestal) symbolises “Mahadevi”, meaning Uma or Parvati, (consort of Lord Shiva) and the “Linga” thereon symbolises Lord Shiva. It is called “Linga” because, after pralaya (total annihilation), the whole world gets absorbed in it, as the word ‘leen’ (in Sanskrit) means ‘absorption’, (chap. 10, Shloka 38/Ibid).11 ‘Vedi’, symbolising Mahadevi or Uma is obviously a later addition.

Concept of Ardhanareeshwara, (half-male, half-female god).

The above account, based on the original sources of the Linga Purana and the Shiva Mahapurana, shows a gradual march from the non-characterised (formless) God to three characterised functional gods, as off-shoots of the Supreme Lord (Shiva), namely, Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra (also called Shiva). With the passage of time, we find the emergence of the concept of Ardhnareeshwara (half-male and half-female god). The origin of this concept seems to be Brahma’s above mentioned assertion that the ‘Linga’ represented Shiva and the Vedi represented Mahadevi (female Deity). The connected story is given in chapters 2-3 of the Triteeya (Third) Shatarudra Samhita. It explains how, following Lord Shiva’s directive, Brahma started creating various subjects (through his mental faculty), in his own male form. But, he was sad to see that they did not multiply. He felt that there must be some way to make his creation multiply by itself, to be self-sustaining. In the process, he thought of procreation through a male-female combination, called “Maithuni Srishti”, (procreation through sexual co-habitation). The question arose, how to get the female partner? For it, Brahma needed help from the Supreme Lord, Shiva. Brahma did deep meditation (tapasya). Now, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a half-male and half-female body. Granting Brahma’s wish, the Lord separated His female part, the Supreme Power, called Uma or Shivaa. Brahma made his submission to goddess Shivaaa, “I have been creating all beings, but they are not multiplying, because I am unable to create the female partner: kindly help me. Please, be the daughter of my (intellectual) son, Daksha. Goddess Shivaa created another female body through the middle of her eye brows. On behest of Lord Shiva, this new female body (Jagdambika) agreed to become daughter of Daksha. Thus started the process of sexual procreation, (Maithuni Srishti). How Brahma directed his (intellectual) son Daksha to marry a beautiful girl and to start procreation, do tapasya (meditative sacrifice) to get Jagadamba as his daughter Sati, married her to Rudra (Shiva), etc., are narrated in other chapters. Incidentally, according to Rudra Samhita (Second), Shrishti Khand, chap.16, Brahma divided himself into two parts – half- male and half-female. The male part became Brahma’s son, named “Manu” and the female part became Brahma’s daughter named “Shatroopaa”. The two got married and started the process of procreation of the human race. So, Manu is considered the original father of mankind and the first law-giver. Both the above versions, (Lord Shiva’s appearance of Ardhanareeshwara and Brahma himself creating Manu and Shatroopa), are repeated in the Seventh, (Vayaveeya), Samhita, part I, chapters 15-17. All these episodes make it clear that the basic purpose is to narrate, in allegorical form, various theories relating to the creation of the universe, origin and evolution of life on earth, of the human race since its beginning as a unisexual body and its later development into bisexual one. These theories of evolution and development seem to have simultaneously given rise to poetic imagination of seeing every god with a female consort, namely, Brahma with Saraswati, Vishnu with Lakshmi, and Rudra (Shiva) with Parvati. This phenomenon also brought with it, multiplication of gods and goddesses.The common Hindu prayer to God is, “Twameva Mata cha Pita Twameva…” (You are the Mother, You are the Father…)

Conclusion

Coming back to the subject of origin of the concept of Shivalinga, let us recall that the burning column, as the first mark of the formless God, had arisen from the ocean. The ‘Vedi’ (Pedestal) of the image of that burning column, (Shivalinga), must necessarily be the mark, symbol or ‘Linga’ of the ocean. To call it Lord Shiva’s consort, Mahadevi (Uma or Parvati) is illogical. To say or think that the Shivalinga and the Vedi represent the male and female sex organs, respectively, is all the more absurd. Here is what the renowned (late) Swami Sivananda, founder of the famous ‘Divine Life Society’, has said in his book, “All About Hinduism”, (p.270): “Linga represents the formless Shiva – Shivalinga speaks to you in the unmistakable language of silence, ‘I am one without a second. I am formless….’ A Curious, passionate, impure foreigner of little understanding or intelligence says sarcastically, ‘Oh, the Hindus worship the phallus or sex-organ, ….’ Linga is only the outward symbol of the formless being, Lord Shiva, who is the indivisible, all-pervading, eternal, auspicious, ever-pure, immortal essence of this vast universe, who is the undying soul seated in the chamber of your heart, who is your Indweller, innermost Self or Atman and who is identical with the Supreme Brahman.”

[Incidentally, the Mahasivapurana is a huge compilation of seven Sections, called ‘Samhitas’. Each Samhita has 20 to 55 chapters. Some Samhitas are divided into Parts, called ‘Khandas’. There is a lot of repetition. With slight variation, the same episodes are repeated in other chapters or another Samhita. Many episodes describing the origin of minor ‘Lingas’ defy the very philosophy of the Shivalinga. Such episodes abound in later Samhitas. The European Indologists had their own ideas of the European paganism and Greek mythology which corrupted the original meaning into sometimes base translations. The Colonial Christian missionaries used the base translations to malign the heart of Hindu Dharma and as a result the confusion has become almost endemic at its core. Its removal is a gigantic task. Perhaps an apex Hindu religious body, adequately funded by rich Hindu religious endowments and donations from others, can undertake it by engaging true scholars on this work.]

(Ram Gopal)
(Author can be contacted at e-mail : ramgopal_94@yahoo.com )

References:

1. Alingo lingamoolam tu avyaktam lingamuchyate. Alingah Shiva ityukto lingo Shaivamiti smritam.(1). (Linga Purana, Part I, Section 2).
2. Yathavatkathitaashchaiva tasmaad-Brahma swayamjagat: Alingi Bhagvan Beeji, sa eva Parmeshwarah.(8) Beejam yonishcha nirbeejam, nirbeejo beejamuchyate; Beejyoni pradhananamatmakhya vartate twiha. (9). ( Ibid).
3. Mam yoni-r-mahad-Brahma tasmingarbham dadhamyaham: Sambhavah sarvabhootanam tato bhavati Bharata.(3) Sarvayonishu Kaunteya moortayah sambhavanti yah; Taasaam Brahma mahadyoni-r-aham beejpradah Pita.(4). (Geeta, chapter 14).
4. Yatha nireendano vanhi swa-yonishu-upshamyati; Tatha vrittikshaya chitta swa-yonishu-upshamyati. (Matraiyopanishad, Pra. 4, Shlokas 1-2)
5. Hridyantahkarnam jnyeyam Shivasyaayatanam param ; Hritpadmam vedica tatra Lingamonkaramishyate. (Shivopanishad , Shloka 124).
6. ShivaikoBrahmaroopatvannishkalahparikirtitah.(10).Roopitvaatsakalaastadvattasmaatasakanishkalah: Nishkalatvaanniraakaram lingam tasya samaagatam. (11). (Shiva Mahapurana, First (Vidyeshwari) Samhita, chap. 5)
7. Puraa Kaaley mahaakaaley prapanney lokavishrutey: Ayudhyatam mahaatmaanau Brahmaa-Vishnu parasparam. (27) Tayormaanam niraakartum tanmadyey Parmeshwarah, Nishkalastambharoopen swaroopam samdarshyat. (28). (Ibid)
8. Kimetad-adbhud-aakaaram-ityooscha parasparam;/ Ateendriyamidam stambham-agniroopam kimutthitam. (13) Asyordhvamapi cha-adhascha aavayorlakshmeya hi .(14). (Ibid, chap. 7 ).
9. Tridhaa bhinno hiam Vishno ! Brahma-Vishnu-Harakhyaya;/Sargrakshaalayagunair-nishkalo-aham sadaa Hare. (28). (Ibid, Second, (Rudra), Samhita, First, (Srishti), Khand, chap. 9 ).
10. Tatah sa Bhagwan-Shambhuh kripya Bhaktvatsalah: /Drishtya sampashyatoh sheeghram tattraivantardheeyat. (36). (Ibid, chap. 10)
11. Lingavedirmahaadevee lingam saakshaat-Maheshwarah smirk Layanaallingamityukta tattraiva nikhilam jagat. (38). (Ibid)


Ram Gopal Gupta

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#1384 - June 14, 2008 10:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Loc: KL
Puranas


According to tradition, there are 18 Mahapuranas and 18 Upapuranas. Each Mahapurana lists eighteen canonical Puranas, but the contents of each list vary reflecting differences in time and place. The eighteen extant Mahapuranas are :

1. Agni Purana (15,400 verses)

2. Bhagavata Purana (18,000 verses). The most celebrated and popular of the Puranas. It is concerned with Vishnu Bhakti, telling of the exploits and deeds of Vishnu's Avataras. Its tenth canto (its longest) narrates the deeds of Krishna and, probably for the first time in Sanskrit, tells of his exploits as a child, a theme later elaborated by many Bhakti movements.

3. Bhavishya Purana (14,500 verses)

4. Brahma Purana (24,000 verses)

5. Brahmanda Purana (12,000 verses; includes Lalita Sahasranamam, a text millions of Hindus recite as prayer)

6. Brahmavaivarta Purana (18,000 verses)

7. Garuda Purana (19,000 verses)

8. Kurma Purana (17,000 verses)

9. Linga Purana (11,000 verses)

10. Markandeya Purana (9,000 verses; includes Devi Mahatmyam, an important text for Shaktas)

11. Matsya Purana (14,000 verses)

12. Narada Purana (25,000 verses)

13. Padma Purana (55,000 verses)

14. Skanda Purana (81,100 verses), probably the longest of all, containing parables, legends and stories, with multiple versions and rescensions. Many untraced quotes from a Purana are conveniently attributed to this Purana.

15. Vamana Purana (10,000 verses)

16. Varaha Purana (10,000 verses)

17. Vayu Purana (24,000 verses)

18. Vishnu Purana (23,000 verses)

In addition to the above 18 Puranas, we also have the Harivamsa Purana (16000 verses) and Shiva Purana (24000 verses).

There is also another traditional approach to the classification of Puranas. They have been classified with reference to the three aspects of Trimurti _ creation, preservation and destruction. Based on this approach, Mahapuranas can be classified as follows:

Brahma Puranas: Brahma Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Markandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana,

Vishnu Puranas: Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Naradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana,Vamana Purana,Kurma Purana, Matsya Purana, Kalki Purana

Shiva Puranas: Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Vayu Purana


Traditionally, the Puranas are said to have been composed by the Sage Veda Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata epic. Vyasa in Sanskrit means `Divider,' and some scholars therefore take this simply as a term meaning `Editor'.

The Puranas also lay emphasis on keeping a record of genealogies. Thus the Vayu Purana says: `As seen by good people in the ancient times the suta's duty was to preserve the genealogies of gods, rishis and glorious kings and the traditions of great men.'

Apart from the 18 Mahapuranas, there are also 18 Upapuranas. They are: Sanat-kumara Purana, Narasimha Purana, Brihan-naradiya Purana, Siva-rahasya Purana, Durvasa Purana, Kapila Purana, Vamana Purana, Bhargava Purana, Varuna Purana, Kalika Purana, Samba Purana, Nandi Purana, Surya Purana, Parasara Purana, Vasishtha Purana, Devi-Bhagavata Purana, Ganesha Purana, Mudgala Purana, and Hamsa Purana.

Most of these Upapuranas have not been critically edited yet and are available mostly through devotional publications, in multiple versions and recensions. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana extols the virtues of the goddess Durga as the supreme being. It has become (along with the Devi Mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana) a basic text for Devi worshipers.

Apart from Mahapuranas and Upapuranas, we also have Sthala Puranas and Kula Puranas.

The corpus of Sthala Puranas narrates the virtues and stories connected with a certain temple or shrine (the word `Sthala' means `Place' in Sanskrit). There are numerous Sthala Puranas, most written in vernaculars, some with Sanskrit versions as well. Most claim to have a Sanskrit origin, and some of the Sanskrit versions also appear in a Mahapurana or an Upapurana. Some Tamil Sthala Puranas have been researched by David Dean Shulman. Kula Puranas are mostly caste-focussed Puranas (the word `Kula' means `Family' or `Tribe' in Sanskrit). They deal with a caste's origin myth, stories and legends.

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#1385 - June 14, 2008 11:01 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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VEDIC PAST OF PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA


Term Kaba itself is a corruption of Sanskrit word Gabha (Garbha + Graha) which means Sanctum.

Some 'clippings' are forwarded from the article Vedic past of pre-Islamic Arabia

The people of pre-Islamic Arabia held Hinduism in great esteem as evidenced from the fact that they would endearingly call their most attractive and favourite daughters as Hinda and Saifi Hindi. The fact that Arabs regarded India as their spiritual and cultural motherland long before the damaging influence of Islam is corroborated by the following poem which mentions each one of the four Vedas by name: (The English translation is in black)

"Aya muwarekal araj yushaiya noha
minar HIND-e
Wa aradakallaha
manyonaifail jikaratun"

"Oh the divine land of HIND (India)
(how) very blessed art thou!
Because thou art the chosen
of God blessed with knowledge"

"Wahalatijali Yatun ainana sahabi
akha-atun jikra Wahajayhi yonajjalur
-rasu minal HINDATUN "

"That celestial knowledge which like
four lighthouses shone in such
brilliance - through the (utterances of)
Indian sages in fourfold abundance."

"Yakuloonallaha ya ahal araf alameen
kullahum
Fattabe-u jikaratul VEDA bukkun
malam yonajjaylatun"

"God enjoins on all humans,
follow with hands down
The path the Vedas with his divine
precept lay down."

"Wahowa alamus SAMA wal YAJUR
minallahay Tanajeelan
Fa-e-noma ya akhigo mutiabay-an
Yobassheriyona jatun"

"Bursting with (Divine) knowledge
are SAM &YAJUR bestowed on creation,
Hence brothers respect and
follow the Vedas, guides to salvation"

"Wa-isa nain huma RIG ATHAR nasayhin
Ka-a-Khuwatun
Wa asant Ala-udan wabowa masha -e-ratun"

"Two others, the Rig and Athar teach us
fraternity, Sheltering under their
lustre dispels darkness till eternity"

This poem was written by Labi-Bin-E- Akhtab-Bin-E-Turfa who lived in Arabia around 1850 B.C. That was 2300 years before Mohammed!!! This verse can be found in Sair- Ul-Okul which is an anthology of ancient Arabic poetry. It was compiled in 1742 AD under order of the Turkish Sultan Salim.

That the Vedas were the religious scriptures to which the Arabs owed allegiance as early as 1800 B.C. proves not only the antiquity of the Vedas but also the existence of Indian rule over the entire region from the Indus to the Mediterranean, because it is a fact of history that the religion of the ruler is practised by his subjects.

Vedic culture was very much alive just before the birth of Muhammad. Again let's refer to the Sair-Ul-Okul. The following poem was written by Jirrham Bintoi who lived 165 years before the prophet Muhammed. It is in praise of India's great King Vikramaditya who had lived 500 years before Bintoi. (The English translation is in red).

"Itrasshaphai Santul
Bikramatul phehalameen Karimun
Bihillahaya Samiminela
Motakabbenaran Bihillaha
Yubee qaid min howa
Yaphakharu phajgal asari
nahans Osirim Bayjayholeen
Yaha sabdunya Kanateph natephi
bijihalin Atadari Bilala masaurateen
phakef Tasabahu. Kaunni eja majakaralhada
walhada Achimiman, burukan, Kad, Toluho
watastaru Bihillaha yakajibainana
baleykulle amarena
Phaheya jaunabil amaray Bikramatoon"

- (Sair-ul-Okul, Page 315)

"Fortunate are those who were born
during King Vikram's reign, he was
a noble generous, dutiful ruler devoted
to the welfare of his subjects. But at
that time, We Arabs oblivious of divinity
were lost in sensual pleasures. Plotting
& torture were rampant. The darkness of
ignorance had enveloped our country.
Like the lamb struggling for its life
in the cruel jaws of a wolf, we Arabs
were gripped by ignorance. The whole
country was enveloped in a darkness as
intense as on a New moon night. But the
present dawn & pleasant sunshine of
education is the result of the favor of
that noble king Vikram whose benevolence
did not lose sight of us foreigners as we
were. He spread his sacred culture amongst
us and sent scholars from his own land
whose brilliance shone like that of the sun
in our country. These scholars & preceptors
through whose benevolence we were once again
made aware of the presence of god, introduced
to his secret knowledge & put on the road to
truth, had come to our country to initiate us
in that culture & impart education."


Thus we can see that Vedic religion and culture were present in Pre-Islamic Arabia as early as 1850 B.C., and definitely present at the time of Mohammed's birth.

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#1386 - June 28, 2008 10:33 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Christianity's Destruction of African religions and cultures

http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=355&Itemid=36

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#1387 - July 10, 2008 12:54 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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http://indiasecular.wordpress.com/

I am provoked to write this

-M.S.N. Menon , Organiser


Yes. When I’m told that Hindus “live in darkness” I’m provoked.
I’m a Hindu, not the usual one, for I took the trouble to make a special study of human civilisations and religious atrocities. Naturally, I see religions in a different light. Not the way the “faithful” see them.

Religions are full of lies and false claims.

The Jews claimed they were “the chosen people of God.” Where did this delusion take them? To the worst persecution known to man! They remain the object of the longest hate in human history.

Take Christianity. What is its claim and what is the reality? It claims to have civilised Europe. In fact, it destroyed one of the greatest civilisations of man—the Greek civilisation.

Vassili Vassilevsky, one of the most stimulating authors of Greece, says: “It took us inheritors of a joyous paganistic culture, a long time to internalise the notion of ‘guilt’.
Even today we do not wholly accept the idea that the body is the source of evil.” And yet Jesus had said that the “Kingdom of God is within you.” Then, who put the Devil inside the Christian to torment them? The Organised Church.

And it also destroyed the Roman empire. One of the first acts of the Christians (that of Emperor Theodisius), when they came to power in Rome, was to order the destruction of the most splendid library in the temple of Serapis.

Obviously, the Church had no desire for enlightenment. The Hindus pray for light daily.
The Church converted the pagan temples into tombs, says W.E.H. Lecky, “for the adoration of the bones of the basest and most depraved of men among the Christian monks.” (History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe”, Vol.II)

And a Christian mob stripped and cut into pieces a gifted, virtuous and beautiful lady in Alexandria. What was her crime? That she was the leader of the Neo-Platonists!

The Roman empire had produced some of the great men in history like poets Horace and Virgil, historians like Livy and Polybius, philosophers like Epictetus and Plotinus, orators like Cicero, lawgivers like Cato. What did Christianity produce in the 1500 years of its dominance over Europe? Not one man of greatness! And almost every great man who was born in Europe after the Renaissance was outside the Church.

And the Roman empire spread the Hellenistic civilisation in half the world. What has the Christian empire to show?

It is the claim of the church that it made a major contribution to the growth of morality in Europe. In fact, it made little contribution. It called Descartes, father of moral philosophy, an atheist!
The Church gave its blessings to both capitalism and imperialism. And later to colonialism. Secretary of State Amery (UK) says that an active empire and an inactive Church cannot go together.

The Church had a big hand in slave trade. If there was a conscience problem, it helped to ease it by saying that the black man was the son of the Devil.

Denouncing the trade in black men, Lord Palmerston says: “If all crimes committed from creation down to the present day were added together, they would not exceed, I am sure, the guilt of the diabolic slave trade.” In America Lincoln had to fight a civil war to outlaw the trade. The Church was behind the rebel southern States.

According to the Church, the dark races were not required in God’s scheme of things.
The genocide of the Incas, Mayas and others has no parallel in human history. They were more civilised than the Europeans. “By millions upon millions” says Draper “whole races and nations were remorselessly cut off.

The Bishop of Chiape affirmed that more than 15 million were terminated in his time. From Mexico and Peru, a civilisation that might have educated Europe, was crushed out.” (Intellectual Development of Europe, Vol. II)

On Galileo’s incarceration, Draper writes: “What a spectacle! This venerable man, the most illustrious of his age, forced by the threat of death to deny the facts…treated with remorseless severity during the remaining ten years of his life….” In the dungeon.

There is nothing in human history as diabolic as the Inquisition. It was created by the Popes to perfect the “art” of torture of the apostates. I can only think of the gas chambers of the Nazis, which did away with six million Jews.

“What strikes me most in considering medieval torture is not so much this diabolic barbarity, which is impossible to exaggerate, as the extraordinary variety and what may be termed the artistic skills they displayed”. (Lecky)

What else can one expect from a religion which had thought of eternal hell fire as a punishment for even small wrongs of men!

What about Islam? Space compels me to make it a short review. In his book “In the path of Mahatma Gandhi”, George Catlin, the American philosopher, asks: “What has Islam to offer to compare with the philosophy of Vedanta and the Upanishads?” So much for its “Superiority” claim!

Be that as it may, what is the record of Islam’s atrocities? “The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history,” says Will Durant, the American historian.
The Muslims do not want to be reminded of their past. But it is necessary, says S.Bashiruddin, former Vice Chancellor of Dr. Ambedkar Open University. (See his ‘Deen and Dharma”).

He says: “Through the present generation of Muslims is not responsible for what has been done centuries ago, an awareness of such a legacy can sensitize the Muslim opinion leaders…”

With such a record of their past, I would like to know from Christian and Muslim brothers, in which way they are “superior” to the Hindus.

Do not tell me that your religious texts do not permit these things. This is an easy explanation. I don’t take it.

Men are judged by what they do, not by what they believe or by what is written in their scripture.

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#1388 - July 12, 2008 06:17 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=125&page=16

Judeo-Christian history: A mini sketch

By M.S.N. Menon

Half the humanity is guided by revelations. The rest, by logic and reasoning. One by blind faith, the other by reasoned faith.

All gods began as tribal deities. Yahweh was no exception. He was the warrior God of the Jews (Jehovah to Christians.) He drank human blood! But, over the years, he gave up blood, gave up killing and became an advocate of ahimsa (non-violence). Remarkable transformation? Yes.

The God of Noah was angry and punishing. The God of Job argued much. Micah rejected both the gods. He denounced blood sacrifice and asked the Jews to give it up. “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?,” he asked.

The God of Jesus was a God of love, compassion and forgiveness, not of terror and blood sacrifice—a total contrast. In six centuries, Yahweh will become Allah and arm himself with a sword!

The Bible thus presents a succession of gods, each an improvement upon the previous one, marking an ethical ascent of both God and man to a nobler plane. But the Bible, as Bernard Shaw says, is a “jumble of superstitions and obsolete cosmology”. There was nothing in it that was not already in other faiths.

The Jews invented two myths: That only one religion could be true—their religion, and that they were the “chosen people” of God. They paid a heavy price for this hubris.

Christianity and Islam may have given up idolatry of God, but they have taken to the idolatry of books, which is worse. One can neither question what is in the books nor can one go beyond them.

The Romans opposed Christianity for three long centuries until Emperor Constantine made it the official religion of Rome. Till then only slaves were willing to become Christians. But once it became official, Christianity became intolerant of all other faiths, including Judaism. But, had it not been for St Paul, a Jew and scholar of Greek, Christianity would have remained a sect of Judaism. But in the process it was no more Christian; it became Pauline.

Jesus was a man of happy disposition. But the church made Christianity a doleful religion. After St Augustine, life became a “fleeting show on earth”, “beauty a snare, pleasure a temptation and abstinence a high virtue.” Rejection of life became the summum bonum of life. “If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, yea, and his own life, he cannot be my disciple,” announced St Augustine.

Under this great denunciatory impulse, all intellectual curiosity disappeared. Europe entered the Dark Age for almost a millennium. With that bigotry grew. Persecution grew. And brutality reached unheard of limits in human history under the inquisition. One Ennapius writes: “Whoever wore a black dress was invested with tyrannical powers.”

With the advent of the second millennium, Christianity was in conflict with Islam, another semitic religion of common ancestry. For four centuries Christian Europe waged a relentless war of attrition against Islam. Had it not been for the crusades, Islam could have overwhelmed Europe—even Asia. The power of Islam was finally broken by the Mongols.

All these brought about the Reformation. But the discovery of Greece had to wait till the Renaissance. With that, Europe changed forever. It came under Greek and Roman legacy. Renaissance and Reformation marked the disintegration of the Holy Roman Empire and the birth of the new world of Copernicus and Columbus, of Luther and Calvin, of Galileo and Descartes.

But there was little change in the soul of the Christian. It remained in the mould set by Rome. It took part in the African slave trade and in the genocide of the Red Indians. Lord Palmerston called these atrocities the greatest crime in human history. No wonder, Nietzche, the philosopher, said: “The earth is a beautiful place, but it has a pox called man.”

This was followed by colonial conquests and colonial plunders. The church was an enthusiastic party to these. But the Age of Reason, which was spawned by the Renaissance, took its own course. It gave a major boost to the scientific advance of man.

Nietzche proclaimed the death of God. In a universe, which had no beginning and end, God cannot have a role, cried the critics. But in a world of economic oppression and despotism, the rulers need the support of religion. As Europe entered the industrial revolution, the Christian God was back in the church. But, now, the communists took up the challenge.

Wealth is a sign of blessing, the capitalists said. If so, the Christian God is indeed cruel. He has kept out half the humanity in poverty and squalor. Where is the Christian soul?

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#1389 - July 17, 2008 04:00 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Chief Seattle's Treaty Oration (1854)

In 1854, "The Great White Chief" in Washington made an offer for a large area of Indian land and promised a "reservation" for the Indian people.

Chief Seattle's reply, published here in full, to mark World Environment Day tomorrow, has been described as one of the most beautiful and profound statements on the environment ever made:

"In 1851 Seattle, chief of the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington's Puget Sound, delivered what is considered to be one of the most beautiful and profound environmental statements ever made. The city of Seattle is named for the chief, whose speech was in response to a proposed treaty under which the Indians were persuaded to sell two million acres of land for $150,000." -- Buckminster Fuller in Critical Path.

.
THIS EARTH IS PRECIOUS

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

ALL SACRED

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.

The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.

The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man--all belong to the same family.
NOT EASY
So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.

He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.

This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

KINDNESS
The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.

The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

He leaves his father's graves behind, and he does not care.

He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care.

His father's grave, and his children's birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads.

His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect's wings.

But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand.

The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinion pine.

PRECIOUS
The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath--the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.

The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.

Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.

And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow's flowers.

ONE CONDITION
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way.

I've seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.

I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.

For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

THE ASHES
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.

All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

We may be brothers after all.

We shall see.

One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white.

This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.

Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.

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#1390 - August 01, 2008 12:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Ancient Chinese Literature

For those of you who are remotely familiar with the Chinese culture, On the Waterfront is one of the four greatest classics of Chinese literature, the other three being The Journey West (featuring the great monkey god warrior), The Tale of the Three Kingdoms, and The Dream of the Red Chamber. Any modern-day Chinese who does not know an episode or two from these great works of art would not be considered culturally literate. Such a Chinese would not know what he misses in life!.

By the time I was in primary six in a Chinese school, I discovered the very mature writing of Lu Xin, arguably the most influential Chinese writer in the 20th century. He made some reference to Nietzsche, whom I was to study with a vengeance two decades later. Looking back with a suddenness with which a key turned in a lock, I now realise Lu Xin had jolted me into a primordial form of political discontent even at that tender young age. It was a sobering way of growing up.

In that Canadian university where I studied molecular biology, the liberal arts tradition there also allowed me to take a minor in English literature. It was a training exercise in speed reading. The professor would give us a list of 50 books or so covering all the major authors in the entire history of English literature, and we were supposed to have nodding acquaintance with these greatest creative geniuses in the world within the span of three months.

I could never finish Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and my battle with Middle English was lost forever. James Joyce proved to be another tough nut, and I wondered why they hailed him as arguably the most profound English writer in the 20th century.

Writer Unknown

Ancient Chinese Proverbs

- Behind every able man, there are always other able men.

- Teacher opens the door, but you must enter by yourself.

- A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.

- He who cannot agree with his enemies is controlled by them.

- If your strength is small, don't carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don't give advice.

- A flawed diamond is better than a common stone that is perfect.

- Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

- If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, teach people.

- You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited August 01, 2008).]

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#1391 - August 08, 2008 05:06 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Hungry Ghosts' Festival

Ancestor worship is a valid and important part of Hindu rituals as well as that of Taoism. It is primary in Taoism. As puja is to a Hindu, so is ancestor worship is to a Taoist.

In 1985, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami was in Singapore, where I met him. It was the season of the Hungry Ghosts Festival, and from his hotel room he could see shops down below offering food on an offering table to ancestors and ghosts. As he recounted to me, at sunset he could see several apparitions or ghosts swooping down on the tables and smelling the food offerings, then soaring away and vanishing. Drawing the prana from the food is the way spirits (and gods) consume offerings of food and flowers.

Numerous persons known to me have also witnessed such ghosts. Well they are not really ghosts in the western hollywood sense. Those are 'disembodied beings', who live amongst us without our paths crossing, the dimensions of existence being different.

Another practice that the Hindus and Taoists share is the offerings of food, flowers and items through the fire ritual. The fire is the gateway between two worlds. It is the belief that what is offered into it reappears on the other side of the dimension in its astral form, and usable by the inhabitants there. Likewise the recipients there shower their gratitude and thanksgiving through the same fire, which is received here by passing the hands over the fire and absorbing its 'prana'. Or just gazing at the fire! One can absorb just by the 'look'. In such a way there is communication between the residents of the different worlds. This is the basis of all Hindu worship.

Pathma


Chilling encounters and hungry ghosts
Stanley Koh | Aug 8, 08 12:18pm

"The night was still. The moon was full, its light shining through the small window of the ‘kuti' (hut). Upon entering the hut, I saw a white figure lying on my mattress. The moonlight gently illuminated her face, long dark hair and flowing white dress. For a second, I thought it was an apparition but whatever it was, it floated upwards, moved to the corner of the room and vanished. That was when fear overwhelmed me."

This is the chilling encounter a Malaysian had with a female ghost when he was a Buddhist monk at the Wat Kiriwong Thai monastery, on the 15th day of the Chinese 7th lunar month in 1977. Studying meditation under spiritual guidance, he had spent two years in a hut located next to a cemetery.

This is not an isolated case. All over the world, within different cultures and religious faiths, there have been countless well-documented ghostly encounters. Yet, many people are still skeptical of the existence of ghosts. Some even consider supernatural matters taboo.

For thousands of years, the subject of life after death and related experiences of the human spirit continue to fascinate even the most skeptical of nay-sayers. Do ghosts really exist? Is there life after death? Why do they exist and where do they come from?

"As dusk fell, I was driving through a rubber estate and felt the need to relieve myself. I stopped my car and as I was doing what I needed to do, I saw a white apparition. A woman with a white dress floating from one tree to another. Instinctively, I fumbled in my pocket for my cell phone and snapped a shot as the white figure floated upwards and disappeared," narrated another man of his recent experience.

Last Friday, a Chinese mainstream newspaper highlighted an accident in Taman Connaught, saying the tragedy occurred on the first day of the Hungry Ghosts Festival.

The three-day "Yee Lan Seng Hui" (Hungry Ghosts Festival ceremony) is an annual event in which people make offerings to receive blessings of health and good luck throughout the year.

Pudu Traders and Hawkers Association President, Jeff Tan, who is also organising chairman of the event in Pudu this year said, "From years of participating in this ceremony, I find that those who are honest in their business dealings, always find that their lives are smooth throughout the year after participating in the ceremony.

"Believe it or not, I know of people who are dishonest in their businesses, finding themselves in deep trouble, encountering misfortune and even bankruptcy," Tan said.

Margaret Soong who is deputy treasurer of the association, agreed with Tan. "Life is smoother and business can be better despite an economic downturn. I've been participating in this ritual for more than 50 years."

The ceremony includes offering of food, burning of paper money and entertainment for ancestors and wandering souls who have no descendants to appease them. The event is also a demonstration of filial piety and compassion towards those in the nether world.

Appeasing wandering souls

hungry ghost festival 070808 02"Zhong Yuan Jie," (Feast for the Wandering Souls) has roots in the Buddhist festival of "Ullambana" and Daoist culture.

The Buddhist text, Ullamabana Sutra tells the story of Mahamaudgalyayana, chief disciple Gautama Buddha, who searched for his deceased mother during one of his meditation session after discovering she had been reborn in the realm of the hungry ghosts.

Despite being famous for his psychic powers, Mahamaudgalyayana could not feed his mother in hell and sought the Buddha's help. Buddha advised his chief disciple to gather monks from 10 directions to take part in a ritual. After offering food and other items to ancestors of 7 generations on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, Mahamaudgalyayana's mother ended her suffering and was reborn as a human being.

Today, this story is often performed as a Chinese opera stage-show during the festival. According to ChinaExpat.com, such ghost-related festivals are also being celebrated in other parts of the world - such as the ‘El Dia de los Muertos' festival in Mexico, the ‘Chugen' and ‘O-Bon' festivals in Japan and the ‘Vu Lan' festival in Vietnam.

According to the website, in Southern China, village folks put cooked chicken, meat and vegetables, rice, tea and fruits on their doorsteps during the Hungry Ghosts Festival. They also burn pieces of paper resembling currency notes in larger cities in eastern China, such as Shanghai and Hangzhou. Candles are lit along streets, and miniature paper boats and lanterns are released in rivers to direct wandering spirits.

During the 30-day festival, no auspicious events such as weddings, the launching of new businesses or moving house are carried out. Even today, parents advise their children against going out late at night, to avoid swimming and water sports and to drive carefully for fear of malicious spirits.

Streets in China are often deserted at night during the festival, as few dare leave their homes for fear of ghosts following them home.

Former Buddhist monk Sirinanda, who is well versed in Buddhism and Daoism explained, "People are so engrossed in their physical existence and material well-being that they either forget or become too comfortable, short-sighted or skeptical about everything else, particularly the other dimensions or realms of existence. They ignore the connectivity between ancestors and descendants, between the living and dead, between heaven and earth and the physical body and spirit.

"Most importantly, these people, especially unscrupulous politicians, forget that their existence is governed by divine or spiritual laws and morals and they spend their lives plundering and abusing their power without any moral investment in the spiritual bank," Sirinanda said. "Often, they will pay a heavy karmic price for their actions, and not necessarily after death."

It is pure coincidence that both the nomination and polling day for the (Malaysian) Permatang Pauh by-election should fall within the period of the Hungry Ghosts Festival. Nomination day is on the 16th of August, a day after the full moon and polling day is on the 26th of August, the right time for ‘Yin Guo Bao Ying', or ‘retribution of cause and effect of punitive justice'.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/opinions/87464

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#1392 - October 29, 2008 09:08 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
On Governance & Free Speech


"(We know that) An Emperor knows how to govern when poets are free to
make verses, people to act plays, historians to tell the truth,
ministers to give advice, the poor to grumble at taxes, students to
learn lessons aloud, workmen to praise their skill and seek work,
people to speak of anything, and old men to find fault with everything.

- An address by the Duke of Shao to King Li-Wang
of the Zhou dynasty in 845 BC.

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#1393 - March 26, 2009 03:14 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Posts: 1030
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Sacrifices in Ancient Cultures

notes and reflections from the ramayana.

1. The ashvamedha was a yajĂąa, a word that is loosely translated as a sacrifice.
A yajĂąa is a ritualistic offering to the gods in a spirit of humility. It
involves the chanting of prescribed sacred verses from the scriptures. The
chanting of the magical verses is a means of establishing a link between the
individual self and the cosmic principle, between the manifest and the
unmanifest, between the spatio-temporal and the transcendent. Only those who
have been formally initiated into the spiritual discipline for the purpose may
conduct a yajĂąa.

Professor Vidya Nivas Misra has pointed out that "YajĂąa came to have a meaning
which was simultaneously macrocosmic, in that it was equated with the creation
or re-creation of the universe, and microcosmic, in that it represented one's
concentrated meditative effort."

2. The Ashvamedha is one of the most elaborate sacrificial rituals which
ancient Hindu royalties performed for the purpose of obtaining male progeny.
In this sarga of the Balakanda, we see a detailed description of this
impressive ceremony. The Mahabharata also speaks of the Ashvamedha which
included, aside from the horrendous orgy of the mass slaughter of birds and
beasts, other complex, and some not very pleasant-sounding rites as well. It is
known that this sacrifice was performed, not simply by mythical monarchs, but in
historical times as well (Sunga period). Professor K. A. Nilakanta Sastri
(History of India, 1950) informs us that it was carried out by a Chola king as
late as in the 11th century CE.

3. Sacrifices are as ancient as civilization. Practically all cultures,
with very few exceptions, practiced one kind of sacrifice or another. Human
sacrifice, which sounds terrible to most people in our own times, was not that
uncommon either. In Polynesia and Tahiti, among the Aztecs and the Fiji
Islanders, in Judea, Greece and Rome, as much as in Dahomey and in India, pious
people have offered human blood to please the gods.

In ancient Athens, capital of Greece, it was usual to drag two persons
from an outcast group and stone them to death for the pleasure of the Almighty.
Imperial Rome had its rituals of human sacrifices too, but already in 97 BCE the
Romans passed a law forbidding this. But they continued the sacrifice of
animals. In the famous festival of the Saturnalia, for example, a hog, a sheep
and an ox used to be slaughtered with ritual chanting, their viscera would be
burnt in holy fire as gift to the gods, and the rest of the meat shared among
the priests and the populace. But few Western scholars try to give it all
symbolic interpretations, arguing that such things never existed in the culture
of their ancestor.

Anthropologists have given various explanations as to the origin of this
practice, but whatever our interpretation, the fact remains that many ancient
cultures have carried out the cold-blooded communal killing of man and beast
for the gratification of some invisible deity, not only without the slightest
tinge of pity or the vaguest notion that cruelty was being inflicted, but with
worshipful jubilance. The practice of decapitating non-violent animals to
appease deities, and consuming their entrails with religious fervor has not died
out in our age.

4. What is different in the Hindu context is that, unlike other cultures
where the framework of the past is recognized and accepted as such, here (since
the nineteenth century) some have tended to become sensitive to such references
in the records of the culture. Like Christian theologians who try to interpret
the six day creation in the Book of Genesis by a change in time-scale, Hindu
theologians and scholars present clever arguments to the effect that such
sacrifices never were actually performed, that the horse was merely a symbol for
something else, and that the whole thing was pure imagery and should not be
taken literally, because, they are convinced, Hindus (now or in the past) never
engaged in such cruelties. They make no comments on the animal sacrifices in
some Hindu temples that are offered even in the twenty-first century.

It may also be recalled here, as A. Guruge pointed out, that in some
recensions of the Ramayana, satya [truth] is mentioned as possessing greater
virtue than a thousand horse sacrifices. Clearly, these authors must have known
the stark reality and gruesomeness of animal sacrifices, and they saw matters
very differently.

5. In any event, before we judge too harshly these ancestral practices of
humankind, let us pause to recognize the horrors and murderous potentials of
modern weaponry and warfare, let alone the routine mass slaughter of animals
that take place every day and night to supply the butcher shops and dinner
plates of the world. This is not to condone the inhumanity implicit in
blood-letting in the name of God, but merely to remind ourselves that in
matters of compassion to the animal kingdom, we may not have made as much
progress as one might wish.

6 . The word sacrifice originally meant making something sacred, and
certainly the blood and body of the victims at the altar are believed to have
been transformed thus. However, the immediate goal of most sacrifices was
either to calm an enraged deity or to please it, and often to cajole
supernatural powers into doing something for the performer or the community.
This aspect of a sacrifice is explicit in the Ashvamedha. The object here was to
induce the gods to bless the royal family of Ayodhya with male progeny.

In crass terms this may seem to be no more than bribing the Almighty for
special favors: a view that is most natural and reasonable if we look into the
matter as external observers. However, this would a totally distorted view from
the perspective of the practicing culture. If we accept that our destinies are
managed by supernatural powers whose directives and decisions can alter them
at will; and that these powers have their own egos, if not needs, whose
satisfaction would cause favorable circumstances for us, then this course of
action becomes quite understandable.

7. We note that there are well defined number specifications of the posts.
Why 21 was taken as the required number of posts is not as important as the fact
that numerical rules were involved. It may be quite accidental that 6, which the
Pythagoreans regarded as the first perfect number, being equal to the sum of its
factors [6 = 1.2.3 = 1 + 2 + 3], is given important consideration here. The fact
that the total number of posts is subdivided into three [the number of factors
of the perfect number 6] sets of 1, 2, and 6 is also interesting. In any event,
here we have an instance of the conscious application of arithmetic in a
religious context.

8. Three queens representing the Kshatriya, the Vaishya and the Shudra
castes are made to touch the sacrificed horse. On the one hand this reveals that
even if most of the kings belonged to the Kshatriya caste, there were queens of
other castes as well. Clearly, the kings chose their consorts from other than
purely caste considerations. On the other hand, it also suggests that there was
an effort at universal representation in this national appeal to the gods. No
caste or creed, no age or profession, no economic or intellectual class, seems
to have been ignored in the conduct of the Ashvamedha.

9. We also see that, while religious rites and musical entertainment kept
the common people busy, scholars and intellectuals took part in debates and
discussions on philosophical themes. Schlegel, the Latin translator of the
Balakanda, was very impressed by this feature of Indian culture. He wrote: "This
public disputation in the assembly of Brahmans on the nature of things, and the
almost fraternal connection between theology and philosophy deserves some
notice; whereas the priests of some religions are generally but little inclined
to show favor to philosophers, nay, sometimes persecute them with the most
rancorous hatred..."

10. The gifts offered to the Brahmin priests illustrate what is Swami
Vivekananda once referred to as oriental hyperbole, when in a letter of thanks
to the Maharaja of Khetri he wrote that the depth of his gratitude would be
expressed only "If the Indian Ocean were an inkstand, the highest mountain of
the Himalaya the pen, the earth the scroll and time itself the writer." In such
descriptions the fantasy components of the epic become apparent. Here we find,
in Shakespeare's phrase, "three-pil'd hyperboles." The royal munificence is in
proportion to the might of the monarch. Anything less than these would fall
short of the kind of king Dasharatha was. It is from such episodes that we form
a picture of that fabulous emperor.

11. Finally, we may draw at least two symbolic messages from this episode:
First, we realize from reflecting upon the whole idea of Dasharatha's having to
perform such a magnificent sacrifice that there are in life certain things that
transcend purely material wealth and acquisitions. Dasharatha's longing for a
son represents our need things in life that no amount of riches and prosperity
can give. These cannot be achieved without making some sacrifice. What is more,
unless we learn to direct our thoughts towards the Supreme Spirit we cannot
attain such things.

Next, Dasharatha's eagerness to have a son is related to his desire to
continue his dynasty, the royal genealogy of the Ikshvakus. It was not to sport
with a child or to play the role of the father that the king wanted a son, but
rather to leave an heir so that the long line of the Solar Dynasty might not
come to an abrupt end. This is an expression of humankind's perennial search
for immortality. The only way in which immortality can be realized is through
the continuation of the species. In each of us throb genes that can trace their
codes to the earliest palpitations of life on the planet, going back to well
over three and a half billion years. Thus, immortality through progeny is
perhaps the most insightful and realistic answer to the thirst for immortality.
If one has a son that bears one's family name, that will be the closest in the
direction of individual immortality we can attain.

Then again, in a spiritual sense, we can achieve immortality by
affiliating ourselves with the eternal substratum of the universe. This calls
for the discovery of a relationship with the Cosmic Spirit. The Ashvamedha, with
all its extravagance, is a symbol of the grand step that is required of us in
our search for Brahman or spiritual immortality. Ultimately, the purpose of any
sacrificial ritual is to establish a link with the Cosmic principle.

V. V. Raman
March 25, 2009

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#1394 - July 27, 2009 11:23 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Omar Khayyam on Islamic Clerics


Here are three poems by Omar Khayyam on muslim clerics.

And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secretâ€"and denied it me?
Well, well, what matters it? Believe that, too.

He describes them as maggot minded, and what he thinks of exclusivism.

'The temple I frequent is high
A Turkish vaulted dome - the sky
That spans the world with majesty
Not quite a Muslim is my creed
Nor quite a Giaour (disbeliever) my faith indeed
May startle some who hear me say
I'd give my pilgrim staff away
And sell my turban, for an hour
Of music in a fair one's bower
I'd sell the rosary for wine
Though holy names around it twine
And prayers the pious make so long
Are turned by me into joyous song
Or if a prayer I should repeat
It is at my beloved's feet'

He describes himself as an agnostic and hedonist who celebrates life,
and cares nothing of rituals.

"O ye men of gods,
We (the people) do much more work than you,
Even when we are inebriated,
We are still more intelligent than you
You drink red blood but we drink red grape
Let's be fair, which one of us is more immoral?"

He describes all religious clerics as lazy, stupid, bloodthirsty
killers, hypocrites and immoral.

Pathma

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#1395 - September 28, 2009 08:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Enlightenment of Muslims by Swami Rama Tirtha

Swami Rama happened to be in Lucknow in 1905 when some Muslim Maulanas came to him to get enlightened on Hinduism and their own religion. What follows is a segment of Swami Rama's dialogue with them.

On their arrival they did Adabarz to which God-intoxicated Rama replied by Om. They wanted to know the meaning of Om. The truth was (he said) that a person can give to others only what he possesses and that Rama himself only possessed OM and that alone. That OM, which was Rama's sole possession, represented the non-duality of Vedanta. By pronouncing it properly the heart and mind are filled with peace, tranquility and bliss. You can feel the limitless ocean of power and energy within you. Rama then invited the Muslims to join him in chanting ‘om' three times, which they did and felt instant peace. Swami Rama went on to expound the special place of OM as a universal name of God, but the Muslims objected that they had never seen any mention of OM in their own holy scriptures and asked him (if what he said was true) whether he could quote any reference to OM in their Koran.

Rama replied gently:‘Please listen to what is now being said. In the very beginning of your Koran,at the top, are three letters, alif (A), lam (L) and mim(M). Can any of you or any learned Mulawi of Islam explain what these three letters mean?' The Moslems replied that this was a secret which Allah had kept to himself. Swami Rama laughed heartily at this remark and said: ‘When God has revealed the entire Koran for the benefit of mankind, as the Muslims claim, it is very strange that he has kept its very heading a secret. No. It is not so.If you, the Muslims who put full faith in the Koran do not know the secret of the letters A, L, M, Rama will tell you what they signify. Alif, lam andmim are nothing but alif (A), wao (O) and mim (M),that is, AOM or OM.'

The Muslims objected that the letter L is not the same as the letter O, but Swami Rama pointed out to them that in Arabic grammar L is pronounced O when it falls between a vowel anda consonant, as in the names Shamsuddin, which is written Shamsaldin, or Nizamuddin, which is written Nizamaldin. The letter lam (L) becomessilent and gives the sound of the Arabic letter pesh (O or U). Therefore ALM is no secret; it is clearly and unambiguously OM and nothing but OM. It is Kufra, heretical or a sin, to blame God for keeping it a secret.

Swami Rama went on to point out to them with great love that Islam literally means ‘religion of peace', but that instead of preaching love for God seated in the heart of each man and the brotherhood of all men, the so-called leaders of Islam, on account of their superficial knowledge or ignorance, had injected a spirit of hatred and alienation into the hearts of the ignorant Muslims. As a result, the history of the Muslims testified to the fact that thousands of non-Muslims had been butchered in wholesale massacres in the name of Islam. Instead of teaching mankind how to live in peace with others, Islam had earned a bad name for itself in world history by spreading its religion by tyranny, oppression and despotism. This was because of the selfishness, love of personal gain and narrow outlook of the Muslim autocrats, intoxicated with their own domination and conquest in the name of Islam. It was all due to the wrong interpretation of the words ‘Kufra' and ‘Kafir'.

Dear friends, [he said], the meaning of Kufra [sin or heresy] is to hide. What? To hide the truth or reality is Kufra, and he who hides the truth is Kafir [infidel]. But how does a Kafir hide the truth? He hides it behind the curtain of his Khudi or ego, which has its roots in selfishness. In other words the person who asserts his ego or selfishness as against truth is a Kafir. And what is this truth? Truth is that which remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. But truth or reality is only one. It is only God who is immortal, eternal and imperishable. Therefore the person who does not implement this truth in daily life and who instead lays stress on his ego or selfishness in his worldly dealings is as if hiding God,the truth, behind the curtain of his egoism. In other words, he remains unconcerned with God, as if there is no God for him. By such an attitude he commits Kufra and deserves to be called a Kafir.

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#1396 - October 22, 2009 08:40 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
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Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
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Origin of Metals - Ramayana


"While Shiva and Umâ were thus back to their austerities," continued
Vishvâmitra, "the minor gods, along with Indra and Agni went to Brahmâ in hopes
of getting a commander-in-chief for their armies. They all prostrated before
Brahmâ and reported, 'Oh Brahmâ, after we tried to obtain a commander from
Shiva, he went back to His retreat with his consort Umâ to resume His ascetic
life. We beseech you to do the needful for our welfare.'

"To this the great Brahmâ replied, 'Pârvatî's curse on you cannot be erased.
But here is the celestial Gangâ. Through her, Agni will cause the birth of an
all-powerful son, and he will be your commander. Gangâ will take him as her own
son, and Umâ will be much upset by this.' The godlings were pleased with this
answer. They then went to the great mineral-rich peak Kailâsa and there asked
Agni to produce a son worthy of becoming their chief. 'Pray, inject Shiva's seed
in Himavan's daughter Gangâ,' they pleaded. The God of Fire thereupon approached
Gangâ and asked her to accept Shiva's seed for this purpose. Now Gangâ took on
an ethereal form. At the sight of her exquisite beauty, the seed melted on all
sides. Agni then impregnated her veins with the molten seed.

"Gangâ was now aglow with Shiva's seed, and she thus spoke to Agni: 'It is
beyond me, oh glittering Lord, to bear this seed that has been intensified by
your powers.' And then Agni replied: 'If that be so, you may release it on this
side of the Himâlayan range.' Gangâ took this counsel and discharged from her
veins that most glorious seed of Shiva. Emerging as it did from Gangâ (the grand
daughter of the Golden Mount Meru), it glittered as pure molten gold. Parts of
it fell on earth and became incomparable gold and silver. Its heat was so
intense that even substances at a distance were transformed into copper and
iron. Its dross became tin and lead. It was thus that Shiva's seed, upon
descending here below, turned into a variety of metals. It was when the seed
ultimately reached the earth that the entire forest glowed with splendor and
became gold.

"Then the gods, including Indra, brought forth a boy and the Krittikas, the
celestial females. Realizing their role in this context, the Krittikas began to
suckle the babe at once. The gods now declared they knew for sure that he would
be revered in all the worlds. Upon hearing this, the Krittikas bathed the
youngster who had trickled out of Gangâ's womb, and called him Skanda. Skanda
took on six heads and sucked from the breasts of the six ladies. Thus nourished,
he soon became a mighty leader and commander of the celestial forces."

Names and Terms

Kârttikeya: is often depicted as riding on a peacock and holding a spear. In
the Tamil country (where he is also known as Murugan (Murukan), and his consort
is Valli), he is worshipped by the followers of Shiva. There is a magnificent
temple for Murugan at Pazhani. Murugan is an inauspicious deity in some parts of
India. Some other names of Kârttikeya are Subrahmanya, Svâminâtha, Guha, Velan,
and Kandoji.

Skanada: is another widely used name by which Murugan is worshipped. Once
demonic qualities used to be attributed to him. One meaning of this name is, One
who flowed out, for he emerged from Shiva directly. The name is believed by some
scholars to be related to the Indian name for the Greek warrior Alexander:
Sikandar. But this may be a spurious etymology. A collection of ancient verses
and episodes is known as Skanda Purâna, which is one of the longest of the
Purânas. It contains the famous Kâshi Kânda which has an elaborate description
of the ancient Shiva temples of Vârânasi.

V. V. Raman
October 21, 2009

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#1397 - December 07, 2009 10:59 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Great Sayings


When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. - Lao Tzu

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed. - Buddha

Indeed, intolerance is essential only to monotheism; an only God is by nature a jealous God who will not allow another to live. On the other hand, polytheistic gods are naturally tolerant; they live and let live. In the first place, they gladly tolerate their colleagues, the gods of the same religion, and this tolerance is afterwards extended even to foreign gods who are, accordingly, hospitably received and later admitted, in some cases, even to an equality of rights…. Thus it is only the monotheistic religions that furnish us with the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, courts for trying heretics, and also with that of iconoclasm, the destruction of the images of foreign gods, the demolition of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi that had looked at the sun for three thousand years; all just because their jealous God had said "Thou shalt make no graven image," and so on." - Schopenhauer

On Virtue
"Rage, envy, greed and harsh words avoided, is virtue." ~ Kural: 35

On Compassion and Vegetarianism
"How can one know compassion?
If he fattens on other's flesh?" ~ Kural: 251

Comment: if one were to ask what is religion, we would have to answer that it is 'compassion, compassion, compassion'. But the door to compassion to closed if one were not a vegetarian. Hence a non vegetarian would not know religion.

On Useless wealth:
"He is poor though a millionaire
Who neither gives nor spends." ~ Kural: 1005

On sinners and Punishments
"Punish a sinner by paling him
With a good deed, and then forget." ~ Kural: 314


Prophet Muhammad - "Do not ask for any high office, for if you are given it after asking, you will be left to discharge it yourself; if you are given it without asking you will be helped to discharge it."

Prophet Muhammad - "None of you really has faith unless he desires for his neighbor what he desires for himself."

Prophet Muhammad - "'What is Islam?' someone asked. Muhammad said, 'Purity of speech and charity.'"

Prophet Muhammad - "Do you know what sappeth the foundations of Islam and ruineth it? The errors of the learned destroy it, and the disputations of the hypocrite, and the orders of kings who have lost the road."

Prophet Muhammad - "The greatest enemies of God are those who are entered into Islam, and do acts of infidelity, and who without cause, shed the blood of man."

Prophet Muhammad - "God is not merciful to him who is not kind to mankind."

Prophet Muhammad - "That person is not of us who inviteth others to aid him in oppression; and he is not of us who fighteth for his tribe in injustice; and he is not of us who dieth in assisting his tribe in tyranny."

Prophet Muhammad - "Verily your deeds will be brought back to you, as if you yourself were the creator of your own punishment."

Prophet Muhammad - "Adhere to truth, for truth leads to good deeds and good deeds leads him who does them to paradise. Falsehood is wickedness and wickedness leads to hell."

Prophet Muhammad - "There are three signs of a hypocrite: when he speaks he speaks lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is trusted he betrays his trust."


Pathma

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#1398 - December 07, 2009 10:59 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Muslims are the Neo-Zoroastrians!


Here are some very interesting pictures of an ancient kaabah from pre Islamic Zoroastrian Iran. Please visit the following website:

http://www.cais-soas.com

and see for yourselves a few other pictures of ancient Zoroastrian kaabah.

What is very interesting is that in the Pre Islamic Persian language they use the word 'kabaeh' for their temples. Not only do these pictures prove clearly that the kaabah is not an original concept but it is an invention of the Zoroastrian people. The name kaabah (with an 'h' or 'ha' at the end) is actually from the Persian word 'kabeh' or 'kabaeh'.

Zoroaster Shrines
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/Kaba_zartosht.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Achaemenid/Naqsh_e_Rostam/
kabeh_zartosht5.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Achaemenid/Naqsh_e_Rostam/
kabeh_zartosht3.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/kabeh_zartosht1.jpg

Kabah-i Zardusht layout plan
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/naqsh_rustam.gif

See the Kabah in the hilltop landscape
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/naqs-e_rostam.jpg

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Naqsh_e_Rostam/naqshe_rostam02.jpg

Main page
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/virtual_museum/achaemenid/Sites/naqshe_rostam.htm

The kaaba (temple) resembles the Hindu mulastanam (garbhagriha) without the main mandapam. Fire was lit in the kaaba but it does not have murthis like the Hindu temples.

Pathma

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#1399 - December 07, 2009 11:00 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
CONTRADICTIONS IN THE KORAN


For reference to the holy Qur'an online you can go to this website.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/reference.html


Qur'an 2:21 Allah created the mankind; they should worship Him.

Contradiction: Qur'an 3:97, Qur'an 35:15 say Allah does not need mankind and the jinns; He is free of all want.


Qur'an 2:29 Allah created the earth (first) then He perfected the seven firmaments (heavens); He has the perfect knowledge of all things. (This verse indicates that Allah started creation by creating earth, and then He made heaven into seven heavens. This is how building usually starts, with the lower floors first and then the top floors-ibn Kathir).

Contradiction: Qur'an 79:27-30 says Allah created the heavens first.


Qur'an 2:34 All the angels bowed to Adam, except Iblis. He was haughty and a disbeliever.

Contradiction: Qur'an 16:49 says every creature in the heavens and in earth prostrates to Allah.


Qur'an 2:35 Allah forbade Adam and his wife to approach the tree of knowledge. (Allah spoke directly to Adam-ibn Kathir.)

Contradiction: Qur'an 42:51 says Allah never speaks directly to a human; He speaks either from behind a veil or through a messenger.


Qur'an 2:37 Adam learned the words of inspiration from Allah. Adam was the first Muslim.

Contradiction: 2:131 says Abraham was the first Muslim.
Contradiction: 6:14 says Muhammad was the first Muslim.
Contradiction: 7:143 says Moses was the first Muslim.
Contradiction: 26:51 says some Egyptians were the first Muslims.


Qur'an 2:38 Allah ordered Adam and his wife to descend on earth, and to preach on people whatever message they received from Allah.

Contradiction: In verse 20:123, before sending Adam on earth, Allah told him humans on earth would be enemies of one another. This means there were already people on earth when Adam descended on it. So Adam was not the first human created by Allah.


Qur'an 2:47 Allah blesses the Children of Israel more than other believers; He has preferred them above all beings.

Contradiction: 3:33-34 says Allah preferred Adam, Noah, the house of Abraham, and the house of Imran above all beings.


Qur'an 2:50 Allah parted the sea (Red sea); saved the Children of Israel (i.e., Moses' people), and drowned Pharaoh in front of the eyes of the Children of Israel.

Contradiction: 10:90 says Pharaoh submitted to Islam.
Contradiction: 10:92 says Allah saved Pharaoh.


Qur'an 2:51 When Moses went to keep his appointment with Allah for forty days, his people reverted to worshipping a cow during his absence.

Contradiction: Qur'an7:142 says Moses' appointment with Allah was for forty nights.
Qur'an 2:52Despite thir sins of idolatry, Allah forgave the people of Moses.
Contradiction: Qur'an2:63 says Allah raised the Mount Sinai above the Children of Israel and threatened them to submit to Him.
Contradiction: Qur'an 7:152 says Allah punished them.


Qur'an 2:58 Then Allah asked the people of Moses to humbly enter a city (Jerusalem or Jericho-ibn Kathir) through its gate so that they could find all the provisions they needed for their sustenance.

Contradiction: Allah says in 7:137 that He let Moses' people inherit the land east and west, that is, the land of greater Syria.


Qur'an 2:62 Muslims/Jews/Christians/Sabians-anyone who believes in Allah and the last Day and does a righteous deed will get rewards.

Contradiction: 9:17 says unbelievers will go to hell.
Contradiction: 3:85 Allah says He only accepts Islam.
Contradiction: 4:150-151 says Allah will severely punish those who deny Allah and Muhammad and those who separate Allah from His messengers.
Contradiction: 5:33 Allah commands Muslims to crucify or behead those who criticize Islam and Muhammad or do not convert to Islam.


Qur'an 2:79 Those Jews wrote their Book with their own hands, and faked that as the Book from Allah, Allah curses them.

Contradiction: 6:34 and 6:115 say none has the power to change the words of Allah.


Qur'an 2:106 Whatever verses Allah abrogates or causes Muhammad to forget, He replaces them with similar or better verses (Muhammad did forget some Qur'anic verses).

Contradiction: Qur'an 6:34, Qur'an 6:115 say none can change the words in the Qur'an.


Qur'an 2:107 The dominion of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah; there is no protector besides Him.

Contradiction: 13:11, 41:31, 50:17-18, and 82:10: Allah says angels are our protectors and guards.
Contradiction: 5:55 says Allah's messengers are our protectors.


Qur'an 2:116 The Christians belief that Allah had begotten a son is untrue; Allah possesses everything in heavens and on earth, everything worships Him.

Contradiction: 3:180, 15:23, 19:40, 19:79-80, 21:89, 28:58: say Allah inherits from infidels/other creatures.


Qur'an 2:117 Allah creates instantly, by decree; He says `Be' and it is.

Contradiction: 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59: says six days of creation.
Contradiction: 41:9-12 says eight days of creation.
Contradiction: 6:101 says Allah could not create a son for himself because He does not have a consort (a wife or a concubine).


Qur'an 2:139 The Islamic, the Jewish and the Christian Allah is the same Allah, do not argue on this. Allah will reward each group according to their deeds.

Contradiction: 9:30 says Jews and Christians are idolaters.
Contradiction: 3:118, 58:14 and 60:13: say not to be friendly with unbelievers, including Jews and the Christians.


Qur'an 2:148 Every nation has a qibla; Allah has given each group of people a law and a way of life.

Contradiction: 25:51 says if willed, Allah could have sent messengers to every nation to instill fear; but He didn't.


Qur'an 2:167 Those who plead for another chance, Allah will disown them and send them to hell to dwell there forever.

Contradiction: 6:128 says as long as Allah wishes, and not forever.


Qur'an 2:185 As a guide to mankind, Allah sent the Qur'an in the month of Ramadan (the ENTIRE Qur'an).

Contradiction: 17:106, 25:32: says Allah sent the Qur'an in stages.


Qur'an 2:219 Wines and gambling are Satan's handiwork-there are some good in it but also great sins.

Contradiction: 47:15 and 83:25 says Allah will serve Satan's handiwork, wine, in Islamic Paradise.


Qur'an 2:221 Do not marry idolatresses until they believe. A believing slave woman is better than a non-believing free woman; do not get your girls married to unbelievers until they (the unbelievers) convert to Islam.

Contradiction: 9:30 says the Jews and the Christians are idolaters, but Allah allows Muslim men to marry their women without converting to Islam.


Qur'an 2:253 Some apostles (messengers) are above others; to some of them Allah spoke (i.e., Allah has graded His messengers, He had spoken directly to a few of them); to Jesus, Allah gave clear signs and the Holy Spirit.

Contradiction: 4:152 He makes no distinctions among prophets.


Qur'an 2:254 Unbelievers (non-Muslims) are the real wrong-doers; they will have no intercession on the last day.

Contradiction: 2:255 says Allah might appoint intercessor for anyone He wishes, including some unbelievers.


Qur'an 2:259 Allah caused a man to sleep for a century, then raised him up, and questioned the man how long he thought had been in sleep (in this verse Allah is directly speaking with an ordinary person, not a prophet).

Contradiction: 42:51 says Allah speaks only through a veil or through a messenger.


Pathma

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#1400 - December 12, 2009 11:45 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Organ Transplant & Animal Sacrifices in Hindu Shastras


1. The idea of an organ transplant may be new to modern science. But it
had been spoken of in Hindu mythology millennia ago. According to the
Brahmâvaivarta Purâna, for example, Ganesha received his elephantine face by
this process: When the head of PârvatÎ's infant rolled off because of a curse
from Shani, to console a wailing PârvatÎ, Vishnu flew on his Garuda, decapitated
an elephant which was peacefully sleeping on the banks of River Pushpabhadra,
and transfixed it on Ganesha. In the present episode of the Ramayana we find
another record of such an operation: the testicles of a ram are transplanted
into Indra.

It is intriguing that the poet mentions such a possibility, and it is
difficult to surmise what could have been meant by such an occurrence. Was it
perhaps meant to convey, considering the visibly large size of these organs of
the ram, that Indra had shown himself to be excessively lascivious? Or was it
merely suggesting that Indra's behavior in this regard had been like that of an
animal?

In passing, we may recall that in Hittite mythology the God Anu was
castrated by his son. This is repeated in Greek mythology where Uranus (who
was, like Indra, the God of the skies) was also castrated (by his son Cronus).
Correspondingly, in Roman mythology the sky-god Caelus was also castrated (by
this son Saturn).

2. It would appear from this episode that animal sacrifices to the gods,
especially of castrated rams, were not uncommon in those times. It must be
recalled that in many ancient cultures animals were offered to the gods (i.e.
slaughtered in a ritualistic manner). The Roman criobolium, for example, used
to be a festival in which rams were sacrificed to the Great Mother. Such
sacrifices were/are sometimes to appease the deities, sometimes in gratitude for
something received, sometimes to get something more difficult to grab than a
helpless beast, and always for the people to eat. In most instances, the
sacrificial animal was male.

3. A recent Associated Press (November 29, 2009) news report from what
used to be the only Hindu nation in the world (Nepal) said: “A Hindu festival in
which hundreds of thousands of animals are expected to be sacrificed will go
ahead as scheduled in southern Nepal despite protests, organizers said Friday.
The Gadhimai festival, celebrated every five years, is attended by many Hindus
from India as well as Nepal. More than 200,000 buffaloes, pigs, goats, chickens
and pigeons are expected to be slaughtered this year on Nov. 24 and 25.”
Fortunately, many awakened Hindus protested this project, calling it barbaric.
As long as there are Hindus who recognize the absurdities and evils in some
ancient practices of their religion, there is hope for its achieving a more
enlightened state. Indeed, this may be said of all religions of the human
family. In the absence of a growing number of such people religions can only
stagnate, regress, and even become dangerous to the rest of the world.

4. The ram has a special place in mythologies. It is the first zodiacal
signs (Aries or Mesha Râsi). In puranic imagery, the vehicle of the Vedic deity
Agni is a ram (meshavâhana). In Greek mythology Khrysomallus was a flying ram
with golden-fleece. We read in the Old Testament that God commanded Abraham to
sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. And when the founder of the three great
world-faiths was about to do just that, an angel appeared and gave Abraham a ram
which was substituted for the son. It is in remembrance of this event in the
mythology of the Abrahamic faiths that to this day Muslim slaughter rams (or
equivalent creatures) on their feast day of Eid. Oh, the power and impact of
ancient tales!

Customarily, one does not sacrifice a castrated animal to God, because
such an animal is not complete. “You must not offer to the Lord an animal whose
testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut,” it says explicitly in Leviticus.
Yet, one reads in a Ruling (17) of the Udhiyah (animal sacrifice) of the Islamic
tradition: “The castrated animal can suffice because the Prophet Muhammad
observed Eid sacrifice with two castrated rams.”

5. Ahalyâ's resurrection is a grand event. All heaven rejoices when the
presence of Rama brings Ahalyâ back to life and glory. The episode conveys the
idea that there is something wonderful when a repentant sinner is restituted.
We are reminded of what it says in St. Luke: "Joy shall be in heaven over one
sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need
no repentance." But here we are not even dealing with an ordinary sinner.
Rather, this is the case of a very noble and righteous woman whom circumstances
had drawn to an unworthy deed. We are moved to even greater exhilaration when we
witness such a person being restored back to normal life after payment of a
penalty, though not exactly just.

Why does Rama have to come for Ahalyâ's release? Perhaps what is suggested
is that our own penance and pains are not enough for our redemption. That subtle
and inscrutable element called God's grace is essential for this.

6. In popular narratives of the Ahalyâ episode it is often said that she
had been turned into a stone. However, in the Balakanda of Valmiki we read that
she was turned to ash. In other renderings of the epic, such as the Adhyatma
Ramayanam, Kamba Ramayanam, and Ramacharitramanas she is turned into a stone.
This imagery has caught the general imagination largely because of these works
which became very popular.

V. V. Raman
December 11, 2009

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#1401 - December 25, 2009 09:51 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Ramayana Protocole Diplomatique

References and Notes

1. In our own times, nations conduct business on the basis of certain
accepted norms of behavior, governed by what is called the protocole
diplomatique. This "code of international politeness" was very much in vogue in
the ancient world also. We have already noted in sarga 19 and in other contexts
the extreme politeness in conversations between kings and rishis. It is clear
from these scenes in the Râmâyana that inquiries after the guest's welfare,
interest in the success of his undertakings, etc. were expected in such
interactions. Indeed, there were elaborate rules of etiquette in the greeting
of individuals according to their rank, caste, etc., and even different modes of
salutations.

All this implies a very sophisticated level of culture. After all, these
are niceties of human behavior. A society that is struggling for its survival or
one in which the finer aspects of civilization have not evolved cannot afford to
have conventions based on pleasing manners and charming gestures.

2. We note here the enormous value placed on hospitality. All guests had
to be treated to some food and drink, but the most important of all was water.
Again and again water is mentioned as an offering. This idea, understandable in
a tropical country, has permeated Hindu society so profoundly that to this day
there is hardly a Hindu home where a visitor can leave without taking at least a
sip of water.

We also see that Vishvâmitra refuses to accept the invitation many times
before finally agreeing. This too is a characteristic of Hindu hospitality.
While the host insists, the guests should decline. This exchange must continue a
few times before the host wins.

To a superficial observer, this may seem to be a frivolous exercise. But a
little reflection will show that it embodies a commendable principle: The host
must be willing to put in some exertion on behalf of the guest, while the
latter, very aware of this fact, should rather not have the guest go through
this. In other words, each party is expected to be interested in the other's
welfare. Indeed, this is the crux of all healthy interactions. Many situations
in the world, from interpersonal relations between husband and wife, or between
neighbors, to international confrontations would become much easier to handle,
and would be wrought with less strife, and more pleasantness and harmony if only
people learned to think in these terms.

3. In Vasishtha's instructions for the feast we see the Indian system of
taste classification. He orders that all the six tastes be included in the items
to be prepared. The ancient Chinese had five different tastes in their
classification: sour, bitter, sweet, astringent and salty. The Indian system
consisted of pungent, acidic, sweet, saline, bitter and alkaline. This principle
is followed to this day in certain formal and ceremonial dinners where each of
these tastes must be represented in the meal. Note that aside from masticating
and drinking, two other modes of taking food in are referred to here: licking
(lehya) and sucking (chosyena). In this framework honey is to be licked and the
mango pulp is to be sucked from the fruit.

Among the many elements that make India’s colorful, variegated, and abundant
culture, her cuisine is to be reckoned as very important. There is not another
nation in the world where there is greater variety and originality, more color,
flavor, spices, ingredients and originality, and a wider spectrum of tastes
offered to the tongue than the plethora of concoctions that are created in
Indian kitchens.

(It may be mentioned in passing that actually our taste buds can detect only
four distinct tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. The rest are combinations
of these.)

4. Vasishtha's miraculous cow Shabalâ emerged, according to the
Mahâbhârata, during the Churning of the Ocean for the production of amrita. This
wondrous animal, also known as Kâmadhenu, is among the best known members of
Hindu lore. This may be looked upon from two perspectives in the modern
framework. On the one hand, Kâmadhenu is a kind of super efficient robot which
could produce whatever the owner wanted, and in a very short time. On the other
hand, and this makes it fictitious within the framework of physics and
chemistry, it needed no matter or energy to produce anything. In other words, it
was not constrained by the laws of matter/energy conservation. That is precisely
why it was a miraculous animal.

To have an agent through which one can obtain in an instant anything and
everything one wants is a magnificent idea. This is as close to infinity as one
can get on the material plane. Once in a while, we all long for something like
this: one that can take us to any place we want in an instant; something that
can give us right away all the food and drink we desire; something that can
shower us with clothes and jewels, friends and servants, as and when we wish for
them. Shabalâ is such a principle.

5. We may recall here Amalthaea of Cretan mythology: He is pictured as a
goat on whose milk Zeus grew up. The divine Zeus is said to have broken its
horn. He then endowed it with the magical power to give all the food one would
desire, and gave it to Amalthaea. This was the famous horn of plenty, the
cornucopia which symbolized the source of bottomless abundance in Western
mythology where, Amalthaea is said to have become the star Capella.

5. The significance of Shabalâ may be that a spiritually evolved person
has at his command practically everything he may wish to have. His world is not
constrained by space and time, nor by the finiteness of matter and energy at his
immediate disposal. All he has to do is to exercise his thought, and what is
pictured becomes a reality. Shabalâ’s calf Nandini also became a,
all-wish-granting female cow.

V. V. Raman
December 22, 2009


COMMENT
This is best illustrated by Kalidasa in Kumarasambhavam.
The numerous gods presented themselves to greet Shiva on the occasion of his
marriage with Parvathi.
On their arrival Shiva received them by various modes according to the
importance of the guest;

Brahma by nodding of his head.
Vishnu by word.
Indra by a smile.
All Gods by his look.

P.K. Ramakrishnan

Wouldn't these greeting gestures suggest:
(1) Showing respect to one such as Brahma
(2) Treating Vishnu as an equal
(3) Greeting Indra as some one just below in rank
(4) And welcoming the gods in general as subordinates?

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited December 29, 2009).]

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#1402 - March 18, 2010 11:34 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Tamil Women Through the ages

V Gangadharan
http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Through+the+ages&artid=47PqJyL8gLE=&SectionID=lifojHIWDUU=&MainSectionID=wIcBMLGbUJI=&SectionName=rSY|6QYp3kQ=&SEO
First Published : 15 Mar 2010 04:45:00 AM IST

Bureaucrats

Would you believe that even about a thousand years ago, women in Tamil Nadu were in government service? The Thiruvaiyaru and Thirumazhaipadi inscriptions dating to the Chola era of the 11th century AD refer to ‘Adhikarichi’, a feminine term for an official and even records the name of a bureaucrat, ‘Araiyan Udayalar’.

S Ramachandran, historian and former epigraphist with the State archaeological department, says women officials of this cadre acted on behalf of the mighty Chola emperors, especially the queens, and were responsible for guiding the State on making land endowments.

Woman cop

Another Chola inscription, Eruthan Kunjaramalli Adhikarichi talks of a ‘woman official powerful enough to fight even an elephant’.

Malli is the feminine form of Mallan, a fighter, and Kunjaram refers to elephant. Ramachandran says the inscription confirms that the woman was an official, adding that she could have performed police duties.

Efficient rulers

Megasthenes (c. 350 BC-290 BCE), a Greek traveller in his ‘Indica’ heaps praise on a Pandya queen for dividing her kingdom into 360 parts for efficient revenue collection. The book records women donning many hats in ancient India, such as palace guards, king’s bodyguards and even spies.

Among women who demonstrated their administrative calibre besides being good rulers, the following are noteworthy:

Sembiyanmaadevi (11th century) of the Chola dynasty: A proven administrator and patron of arts

Queen Rudramba of the Kakatiya dynasty of Telangana (13th century) was a much feared ruler of her times, prompting even the Pandyas to refer to her as a ‘man in the robes of a woman’

Velunachiyar known for her never say die spirit.

She fought relentlessly to drive out the British

Rani Mangamma, a good ruler and planner. She gave special importance to roads, besides building facilities for travellers.

Counsellor

A close friend of king Athiyaman, the great Tamil bard Avvai performed the roles of a counsellor, minister and friend.

Secretary

An inscription found in Tiruvarur talks with awe about ‘Anukki-Paravai Nangai’, a woman secretary to King Rajendra Chola

LittĂŠrateurs

That women cutting across social strata excelled in arts and literature during the Sangam age about 2000 years ago in the Tamil country is common knowledge.

Some of the well known names are: Kakkaipadiniyar, Nakkannaiyar, Narpasalayar and Kuramagal Ilaeyini.

Military

Pandyas (1st century AD) are famous for employing Yavana (Greek-Roman) women to guard military camps.

Freedom of religion

Women enjoyed absolute freedom of religion. While Pandya king Nindraseer Nedumaran (7th century AD) was a Jain, her wife Mangayarkarasi was a staunch Saivaite.

Missionary work

An inscription found in Kazhugumalai talks of Pattini Kurathi, a Jain nun of the 9th century AD who was renowned for her missionary work. She is believed to have worked in many areas, including religion and education.

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#1403 - June 05, 2010 10:26 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
A perspective on Hinduism but the writer has ignored the tamil and agamic literature which is equally hoary, prevedic and extent as the sanskrit literature, thus presenting only a partial view, typical of most European Indologists. We cannot get a true understanding of Hinduism and its essences without consulting the Sacred Tamil literature and their Sumerian beginnings.This article presents a picture of Hinduism as Metatheism as opposed to the Monotheism of Islam and Christianity, and is a valid view. webmaster.


The God Project: Hinduism as Open-Source Faith

by Josh Schrei
Marketing Director, Strategist, Producer, Writer, Critic, Activist.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-schrei/the-god-project-hinduism_b_486099.html

Trying to explain the core beliefs of "Hinduism" to an interested observer can be challenging to say the least. Its often stated that the word "Hinduism" itself is a total misnomer, as it basically refers to the sum total of spiritual and religious thought and practice that has taken place on the Indian subcontinent over the past 5,000 years. And lets just say it's been a busy 5,000 years.

The sheer volume of spiritual literature and doctrine, the number of distinct gods worshiped (over 30 million, according to some sources), the breadth of distinct philosophies and practices that have emerged, and the total transformation over time of many of the core Indic teachings and beliefs can be disconcerting to those raised in monotheistic cultures, as we are used to each faith bringing with it a defined set of beliefs that -- with the exception of some denominational rifts over the centuries -- stay pretty much consistent over time.

However, the key point of differentiation between Hinduism and these other faiths is not polytheism vs. monotheism. The key differentiation is that "Hinduism" is Open Source and most other faiths are Closed Source.

"Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to a software's source code."

If we consider god, the concept of god, the practices that lead one to god, and the ideas, thoughts and philosophies around the nature of the human mind the source code, then India has been the place where the doors have been thrown wide open and the coders have been given free reign to craft, invent, reinvent, refine, imagine, and re-imagine to the point that literally every variety of the spiritual and cognitive experience has been explored, celebrated, and documented.

Atheists and goddess worshipers, heretics who've sought god through booze, sex, and meat, ash covered hermits, dualists and non-dualists, nihilists and hedonists, poets and singers, students and saints, children and outcasts ... all have contributed their lines of code to the Hindu string.

The results of India's God Project -- as I like to refer to Hinduism -- have been absolutely staggering. The body of knowledge -- scientific, faith-based, and experience-based -- that has been accrued on the nature of mind, consciousness, and human behavior, and the number of practical methods that have been specifically identified to work with ones own mind are without compare. The Sanskrit language itself contains a massive lexicon of words -- far more than any other historic or modern language -- that deal specifically with states of mental cognition, perception, awareness, and behavioral psychology.

At the heart of the Indic source code are the Vedas, which immediately establish the primacy of inquiry in Indic thought. In the Rig Veda, the oldest of all Hindu texts (and possibly the oldest of all spiritual texts on the planet), God, or Prajapati, is summarized as one big mysterious question and we the people are basically invited to answer it.

"Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?"

While the god of the Old Testament was shouting command(ment)s, Prajapati was asking: "Who am I?"

Since opening the floodgates on the divine question, Indic thought has followed a glorious evolutionary arc from shamanism, nature worship and sacrifice through sublime and complex theories on mental cognition, the nature of consciousness, and quantum physics.

Through tracing the subcontinents relationship with the deities of the Vedas, we can trace the course of Indic thought over the centuries. One of the first things we notice is that not only does the people's relationship to god change over the centuries, the gods themselves change. Shiva, for example, appears in the vedas as Rudra, the howler, god of storms, still something of a lesser deity. Reappearing over the centuries as Bhairava -- he who inspires fear -- Pashupati, lord of beasts, the god of yogis, and the destroyer, Shiva finally, by the 9th century, achieves status in Kashmir as the fundamental energetic building block of the entire universe. Neat trick.

But as much as the gods change and the evolution of Indic thought leads us to increasingly modern and post-modern views of the nature of reality, the old Vedic codes still remain front and center. One of Hinduism's defining factors is that the historic view of god, the nature worship and shamanism, never went away, so that god as currently worshiped exists simultaneously as symbol and archetype as well as literal embodiment. That Shiva, for instance, could simultaneously be the light of ultimate consciousness and an ash-smeared madman who frequents cremation grounds is a delight to us spiritual anarchists, while mind numbing to most western Theologists.

Western and Middle Eastern monotheistic faiths have simply not allowed such liberal interpretation of their God. They continue to exist as closed source systems.

"Generally, [closed source] means only the binaries of a computer program are distributed and the license provides no access to the program's source code. The source code of such programs might be regarded as a trade secret of the company."

One of the defining facts of Christian history is that access to God has been viewed -- as in most closed source systems -- as a trade secret. The ability to reinterpret the bible, or the teachings of Christ, or the Old Testament, or to challenge the basic fundamental authority of the church has been nonexistent for most of the church's history. Those who dared to do so were quite often killed.

In Indic thought, there is no trade secret. The foundation of yoga is that the key to god, or the macrocosm, or the absolute ... lies within the individual and can be accessed through a certain set of practices. It's a beautifully simple but ultimately profound concept that has been allowed to flourish unchecked for millennia. The process of discovering and re-imagining the divine is in your hands. The God Project.

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#1426 - November 18, 2010 02:45 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
These are the latest in cosmogenesis theories and partly empirically verified, making all previous genesis theories especially in religious texts, redundant. These are not armchair gazing and hypothesizing, but theories backed by hundreds of pages of mathematical formulas and studies of stars, light, color spectrums, black holes etc. At any given time there are only about 20 individuals on the planet who may be studying these theories. Most of the rest of the scientists don't know but only read the books published by these few individuals. It takes years to study just one theory - one has to go through hundreds of pages of calculations. Therefore most don't bother with it as they do not have the resources, grants and facilites to undertake such studies.

These western theories on cosmogenesis deals with time, space, matter, anti-matter, positrons, dark energy, dark matter, 11 dimensions of existence and parallel universes - all in a multiverse. It does NOT admit to the existence of souls (consciousness) or god. Their theory deals only with the physical, the matter and mind. This is where we differ. (Our own now redundant version is the 31 tattvas, and the myths that goes with creation.)

This Big Bang theory says the there was an explosion 13.7 billion years ago in the nothingness and the universe was created. This took place in 10 to the power of (-34) seconds. It means the unfoldment of time-space and expansion of the universe took place in less than a trillionth of a second. IOW, spontaneous and immediate, faster than light.

We can accept these western theories of creation of the physical universe as it is 'proven'. Except that we go further and talk of souls and god. We are also talking of other inner worlds - antarloka and sivaloka. Now these are 'not physical', but astral and spiritual world and hence it is not covered by these western theories. Our lokas are not their parallel universes. Parallel universes are still physical, of matter, but in another dimension.

We speak of our 3 dimensional world, plus, the 4th dimension astral world (antarloka), plus the 5th dimension spiritual world (sivaloka) The western theory speaks of the same 3 dimensions within space-time, plus 8 more dimensions that covers parallel universes.

Naturally, it is shown that the physical world has a beginning, and therefore it is not eternal, not a Reality.

Pathma

Here is more on the theory:

Stephen Hawking’s big bang gaps


Cosmologists are agreed that the universe began with a big bang 13.7 billion years ago. People naturally want to know what caused it. A simple answer is nothing: not because there was a mysterious state of nothing before the big bang, but because time itself began then - that is, there was no time “before” the big bang. The idea is by no means new. In the fifth century, St Augustine of Hippo wrote that “the universe was created with time and not in time”.

Religious people often feel tricked by this logic. They envisage a miracle-working God dwelling within the stream of time for all eternity and then, for some inscrutable reason, making a universe (perhaps in a spectacular explosion) at a specific moment in history.

That was not Augustine’s God, who transcended both space and time. Nor is it the God favoured by many contemporary theologians. In fact, they long ago coined a term for it - “god-of-the-gaps” - to deride the idea that when science leaves something out of account, then God should be invoked to plug the gap. The origin of life and the origin of consciousness are favourite loci for a god-of-the-gaps, but the origin of the universe is the perennial big gap.

In his new book, Stephen Hawking reiterates that there is no big gap in the scientific account of the big bang. The laws of physics can explain, he says, how a universe of space, time and matter could emerge spontaneously, without the need for God. And most cosmologists agree: we don’t need a god-of-the-gaps to make the big bang go bang. It can happen as part of a natural process. A much tougher problem now looms, however. What is the source of those ingenious laws that enable a universe to pop into being from nothing? Traditionally, scientists have supposed that the laws of physics were simply imprinted on the universe at its birth, like a maker’s mark. As to their origin, well, that was left unexplained.

In recent years, cosmologists have shifted position somewhat. If the origin of the universe was a law rather than a supernatural event, then the same laws could presumably operate to bring other universes into being. The favoured view now, and the one that Mr. Hawking shares, is that there were in fact many bangs, scattered through space and time, and many universes emerging therefrom, all perfectly naturally. The entire assemblage goes by the name of the multiverse.

Our universe is just one infinitesimal component amid this vast - probably infinite - multiverse, that itself had no origin in time. So according to this new cosmological theory, there was something before the big bang after all - a region of the multiverse pregnant with universe-sprouting potential. (Pathma: this is what we would refer to as the transcendent Parasivam, where the elements of the universe before creation is encapsulated within it.)

A refinement of the multiverse scenario is that each new universe comes complete with its very own laws - or bylaws, to use the apt description of the cosmologist Martin Rees. Go to another universe, and you would find different bylaws applying. An appealing feature of variegated bylaws is that they explain why our particular universe is uncannily bio-friendly; change our bylaws just a little bit and life would probably be impossible. The fact that we observe a universe “fine-tuned” for life is then no surprise: the more numerous bio-hostile universes are sterile and so go unseen.

So is that the end of the story? Can the multiverse provide a complete and closed account of all physical existence? Not quite. The multiverse comes with a lot of baggage, such as an overarching space and time to host all those bangs, a universe-generating mechanism to trigger them, physical fields to populate the universes with material stuff, and a selection of forces to make things happen. Cosmologists embrace these features by envisaging sweeping “meta-laws” that pervade the multiverse and spawn specific bylaws on a universe-by-universe basis. The meta-laws themselves remain unexplained - eternal, immutable transcendent entities that just happen to exist and must simply be accepted as given. In that respect the meta-laws have a similar status to an unexplained transcendent god. (Pathma: what did I tell you!)

According to folklore the French physicist Pierre Laplace, when asked by Napoleon where God fitted into his mathematical account of the universe, replied: “I had no need of that hypothesis.” Although cosmology has advanced enormously since the time of Laplace, the situation remains the same: there is no compelling need for a supernatural being or prime mover to start the universe off. But when it comes to the laws that explain the big bang, we are in murkier waters.

Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2010
http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/article613773.ece

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#1430 - February 09, 2011 04:20 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
More notes on the teachings of the Quran

1. The Quran nowhere mandates the establishment of an Islamic State. The word ‘dawlah’ which means ‘state’ in Arabic isn’t used in the Quran at all. Rather, the Quran talks about the ummah of mankind as one ummah. (2/213)

2. The Quran talks about the purification of one’s service for God (deeni-khaalis) and mentions establishing justice intimately with this concept (7/29). It never states that an ‘Islamic State’ is necessary before establishing justice in society.

3. The Quran is unsparing in its criticisms of empires that were destroyed. In 46/35, it contrasts the system of the messengers with that of the disobedient stating that only the systems of the disobedient would be destroyed. Doesn’t this show that the numerous Islamic states before were disobedient? How can they be Islamic states if they did not follow the way of the messengers?

4. Dealing in Pigs
In Islam, the eating of swine is forbidden. This is clearly demonstrated in many verses of the Quran. Among others this includes: 5:3, 6:145, 16:114-115; 2:168-169, 3:93-94, 6:119, 10:59; 5:90-91. My research has failed to find any evidence that suggest that the religion do not allow muslims to be standing next to, or to look at, or to smell a pig. There is no prohibition of looking at, or standing next to one. In fact I have yet to find anywhere in the Quran that prevent Muslims from rearing it.

5. Many names of God
‘Say: “Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between.” - Surah 17 verse 110

6. Many paths and religions to God
‘And unto you have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which God has revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which has come to you. For each of you We have appointed a way (syr’atan) and an open road. Had God willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He has given you. So vie one with another in good works. Unto God you will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ.’

7. God established many religions; do not dispute
Surah 22 verse 67:
‘To every people have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow: let them not then dispute with thee on the matter, but do invite to your Lord: for you are most assuredly on the right way’

8. God judges all religionists
“Those who believe (in the Qur’an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things.” Surah 22-verse 17

8. Respecting privacy, avoid suspicion and prying
49:12 O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it...But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

"Do not enter other houses except yours without first asking permission and saluting the inmates. If you are asked to go away, turn back. That is proper for you" (Surah An-Nur 24:27, 28).

9. God sent messengers and prophets to all communities
“Unto every one of you We have appointed a (different) law and way of life. And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community; but (He willed it otherwise) in order to test you by means of what He has given you. Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ.” (Qur’ân 5:4 8)

a)“And there is no nation wherein a warner has not come”(35:24)

b)“ For every people a guide has been provided”(13:7)

c) “Do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in the most kindly manner—unless it be such of them as are set on evil doing—and say: “We believe in that which has been bestowed upon us, as well as that has been bestowed upon you: for our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that we all surrender ourselves”(29:46)

d) ‘And to Allâh belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces there is the Face of Allâh (and He is High above, over His Throne). Surely! Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing” (2:115)

e) 35:24
Verily We have sent thee (Muhammad) in truth as a bearer of glad tidings and as a warner:
And there never was a people without a warner having lived among them (in the past).

Comment: It is clear that in all lands and in all times, the people have had a prophet from the same God.

f) Al Jinn 18 And all places of worship belong to allah; so call not on anyone beside Allah.

10. No islamic state
There is no such thing as a islamic nation, or islamic laws. It has no basis in the quran, says the largest muslim organisation in the world. The idea of the Caliphate, or Islamic state, has no basis in the Koran or the Hadiths, the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad, a major Indonesian Muslim association announced over the weekend.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/yesterdaydetail.asp?fileid=20071105.@01

No such thing as an Islamic State - Nadlatul Ulama, Indonesia
http://old.thejakartapost.com/...071105.@01

Indonesia: Treason to implement Shariah laws
http://www.worldfutures.info/News/Latest/Indonesia-Treason-to-implement-Shariah-\laws.html

11. Fundamental islamic concept
Amal Makruf Nahi Munkar - UPHOLD THE TRUTH, OPPOSE EVIL

Oppression is worse than murder[Quran 2:191,2:193,2:217]

Social justice for all. Because of the obligatory charity (Zakat), no one will go hungry or un-sheltered (2:215, 70:24-25, 107:1-7).

12. Definition of Muslim
2:177 "Righteousness does not consist in whether you face towards the East or the West. The righteous man is he ..…who gives away his wealth to kinsfolk, to orphans, to the destitute, to the traveler in need and to beggars and for the redemption of captives…. who is true to his promises. Such are the true believers and who guard against evil."

Comment: Got that? Those who don't perform these duties are the kafirs.

13. Forgive unbelievers
45.14 Tell those who believe to forgive those who hope not for the days of Allah; in order that He may requite folk what they used to earn.’

14. On differences of Opinion & judgements - God decides, not man
“Whatever it be wherein ye differ, the decision thereof is with God: such is God my Lord: In Him I trust, and to Him I turn” - 42.10

“Shall I seek as my Lord other than God, when He is the Cherisher of all things? Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your goal in the end is towards God. He will tell you the truth of the things in which you disputed” - Surah 6 verse 164 of the Holy Qur’an.

“Tell those who believe, to forgive those who do not look forward to the Days of God. It is for Him to recompense each people according to what they have earned” - Surah 45 verse 14 of the Holy Qur’an.

“O God! Creator of the heavens and the earth! Knower of all that is hidden and open! it is You Who will judge between Your servants in those matters about which they have differed.”- Surah 39 verse 46 of the Holy Qur’an.

“Is not God the most equitable of all judges?” - Surah 95 verse 8 of the Holy Qur’an.

22. 68 & 69 “If they do wrangle with you, say ‘God knows best what you are doing. God will judge between you on the Day of Judgment concerning your differences.”

15. God is equal to all
‘And in no wise covet those things in which God Has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others: To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn: But ask God of His bounty. For God has full knowledge of all things’ - Surah 4 verse 32 of the Holy Qur’an.

16. Only adults can marry
The Qur'an ties up adulthood with marriage unambiguously. Adulthood is the first prerequisite for marriage' whether male or female (4:6). Suras 6:153 and 17:34 prohibit even touching the wealth and property of minors. The Qur'an terms marriage as "Meethaqan Ghaleedha" (a most solemn pledge) (4:21). How can minors enter into a solemn pledge and covenant! How can minors give consent which is an absolute condition for marriage according to the Qur'an? (4:19)

17. On Food
5.93 “Those who believe and do righteous good deeds, there is no sin on them for what they ate, if they fear God and believe and do righteous good deeds, and again fear God and believe, and once again fear God and do good deeds with perfection. And God loves the good-doers”.

5:4, They consult you concerning what is lawful for them; say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what trained dogs and falcons catch for you." You train them according to GOD's teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and mention GOD's name thereupon. You shall observe GOD. GOD is most efficient in reckoning.

18. On Kafir
Those who cause mischief in the land (defined in Quran as the opposite of the states of security and balanced beauty) are known in Quran by title ‘kafireen’ (2/8-20), the very same word Muslims use to derogate others but ironically fail to notice when they actually fit the definition themselves.

19. Abstaining (saum or Ta. maunam), and not fasting
19:26 “Eat and drink, and be happy. When you see anyone, say, `I have made a SAUM of silence; I am not talking today to anyone.’
The Arabic Quran translates as saying ‘SAUMAN’ which means self discipline, self restraint, and NOT abstaining from food. SAUM or restrain by not speaking to anyone. Hence the word SAUM does not refer automatically to NOT EATING. In this verse Mary was told to eat and drink and also to SAUM.
20. Allah is the name of a pagan God
To refute the Muhammadan (Arab religionist) assertion that Allah is GOD, the reader should be made aware of the following. Allah is NOT GOD; Allah is only the NAME of a god. Allah was the name of the supreme pagan god of the Ka'ba centuries before the Quran. In Quran, GOD is called ILAH, not Allah. There are numerous verses in different Suras that prove this point.

2:163; 3:18, 216; 4:87; 6:39, 102, 206; 7:65, 73, 85, 158, 159; 9:31, 129; 11: 14, 50, 61, 84; 13: 27, 30; 16:2; 20: 8, 14, 98; 23:3, 32; 24:25; 27:26; 28:70, 88; 35:3; 38:65; 40: 3, 62, 65; 44:8; 47:19; 64:13; 73:9.

2:163 - And your god [ilahakum] is one god [ilahan wahid] ; there is no god [ilah] but He [hooa] Most Gracious Most Merciful [al Rahman al Rahim].

3:18 - There is no god [Ilah] but He: that is the witness of Allah [Allah] His angels and those endued with knowledge standing firm on justice. There is no god [ilah] but He the Exalted in Power the Wise.

27:26 "Allah [Allah]! there is no god [Ilah] but He! Lord of the Throne Supreme!"

First Pillar of the Arab Religion:"There is no god [ilah] worthy of worship except ALLAH [Allah] and Muhammad is his messenger". "La Ilah [god] Illa' [except] Allah, wa [and] Muhammad Rasool' [messenger of] Allah"

This declaration of faith is called the Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful of the Arab Religion pronounces. This is the first stage of the corruption by the Arabs.

Contrary to all the deliberate falsifications by Muhammadan scholars, as can be seen from the Arabic of the Shahada, and other numerous Quranic verses, Allah is NOT GOD but the NAME of a god, just like Jehovah, Zeus, Venus, etc are names of pagan gods and goddesses in the Greek and Roman pantheon, so was the name Allah who was the supreme deity of the pagan Ka'ba pantheon. Muhammad's pagan father, after all, was called Abd Allah [Slave of Allah], long before Muhammad's 'revelations'.

21. Intoxicants (no forbidding of intoxicants except during prayer)
There is no verse in the Quran which says that alchoholic beverages (khamr) are haram. In fact the word haram does not appear anywhere in the Quran with the word khamr. This is a fact. Instead the Quran tells the believers ‘do not approach your solat when you are intoxicated.
The word for intoxicated here is “sukkaara”. Hence people should not become intoxicated (from beer, wine, drugs, opium, singing, dancing, going into trance after zikir, etc). Do not lose control of your senses willingly.
The Quran also says that we can extract intoxicants (sakkaran) and good provisions from pressing fruits of the date palms and grapes.
16:67 And from the fruits of date palms and grapes you produce intoxicants (sakkaran), as well as good provisions. This should be proof for people who understand (li qaumin ya’qiloon).
So the qaumin ya’qiloon or people who understand will undertand that from grapes and date palms we get sakkaran (intoxicants).
Nowhere in the Quran are there any verses which prescribe any type of punishment for those who may drink alchohol.
22. What Price A Great Nation
A nation that upholds God's laws is guaranteed prominence among the nations of the world, victory, prosperity, and happiness (10:62-64, 16:97, 24:55, 41:30-31). On the other hand, a nation that violates God's laws incurs a miserable life (20:124). A nation that upholds God's laws is guaranteed to be a great nation. This is not a mere idealistic dream; since God is in full control (10:61), His guarantees and promises are done. A nation that upholds God's laws is characterized by:

1. Maximum freedom for the people - freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom to travel, and freedom of economy (2:256, 10:99, 88:21-22).

2. Guaranteed human rights for all the people, regardless of their race, color, creed, social status, financial situation, or political affiliation (5:8, 49:13).

3. Prosperity for all the people. God's economic system is based on constant circulation of wealth, no usury, and productive investment. Non-productive economy such as gambling, lottery, and high interest loans are not permitted (2:275-7, 59:7).

4. Social justice for all. Because of the obligatory charity (Zakat), no one will go hungry or un-sheltered (2:215, 70:24-25, 107:1-7).

5. A political system that is based on unanimous consensus. Through mutual consultation and freedom of expression, one side of any given issue convinces all participants in the discussion. The end result is a unanimous agreement, not the opinion of a 51% majority rammed down the throat of the 49% minority (42:3).

Clearly muslim nations today are not great nations, or upholding god's laws.

23. Karma
42.30 Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because on the things your hands have wrought, and for many (of them) He grants forgiveness.

30.41 Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the evil) that the hands of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil).

24. Lawful and Unlawful Food
What does the Quran say?
Surah 5:96 "All creatures you hunt from the sea are made lawful for you to eat (Uhilla lakum soy-du albahri)" Soy-du means "things you hunt"

The Quran is very simple about what sort of food is halal or lawful to be eaten. Here is the Quran:

“They consult you concerning what is halal (lawful) for them; say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what dogs catch for you." You train them according to GOD's teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and mention GOD's name thereupon. You shall observe GOD. GOD is most efficient in reckoning.” Surah 5:4

Even what the dogs catch for you is halal to be eaten. Surely when dogs catch animals for us, the dogs use their teeth to bite and tear apart the animal. Even that is halal to eat.

Then the Quran is also clear about what sort of food is haram. Here it is:

"Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the lahma al khinzir (carcasses, dead rotting meat, road kill), and that on which has been invoked the name of other than God; that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, God is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." Surah 5:3

Please note that there is no mention of pork. For too long the whole islamic world have been under the mistaken impression that pork is haram (forbidden) to muslims. Clearly the Quran does not say so.

25. What is haram (forbidden/injunct)?
Surah 6:151 Say: "Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from": Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.

1. haram is to equate God with anything else
2. haram is being not good and caring to one's parents.
3. haram to kill one's children (due to poverty).
4. haram to kill any soul openly or in secret, except by way of law and justice.

Only 4 actions are haram; no mention of any other things like pigs, pork, dogs, etc. It is absolutely haram to kill. Period! Clearly the muslim world is misguided.

Pathmarajah


Edited by Pathmarajah (February 11, 2011 03:07 PM)

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#1434 - February 22, 2011 09:26 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
It details the struggle of France with Islamic conquerors. This struggle bridges the medieval and the modern age. It shows why France went to Algeria. Its really about France and Islam.

Understanding Islam

http://bastiat.net/en/cercle/meetings/Understanding_Islam.htm



When one analyses societies that have been shaped by an ideology, it is important to look closely at the ideology, because that is what enforces itself in the end, and eventually changes society. This holds good for Islam. What matters is its ideology and not the way in which it is embodied in different countries. The wars between France and Islam are an example. We always speak of Poitiers : "the Muslims were defeated at Poitiers and they left". We are more or less consciously comparing it to other battles, for instance the battle of Vouillé, in 507 : Clovis defeated the Visigoths and Aquitaine became French. That is not at all what happened with Islam.

The Muslims entered what was then France in 714. They seized Narbonne, which became their base for the next 40 years, and carried out methodical raids. They ravaged the Languedoc region from 714 to 725, destroyed Nîmes in 725 and devastated the right bank of the Rhone as far north as Sens.

In 721, a Muslim army of 100,000 soldiers laid siege to Toulouse, defended by Eudes, the duke of Aquitaine. Charles Martel sent troops to help Eudes. After six months' siege, the latter made a sally and crushed the Muslim army, which retreated in disarray to Spain and lost 80,000 soldiers in the campaign. Little is said of the battle of Toulouse because Eudes was a Merovingian. The Capetians were in the process of becoming kings of France and didn't fancy recognizing a Merovingian victory.

The Muslims concluded that it was dangerous to attack France from the eastern end of the Pyrenees, and they conducted their fresh attacks from the western end of the chain. 15,000 Muslim horsemen took and destroyed Bordeaux, then the Loire region, laid siege to Poitiers, and were finally stopped by Charles Martel and Eudes twenty kilometres north of Poitiers in 732. The surviving Muslims broke up into small bands and continued to ravage Aquitaine. Fresh soldiers would join them from time to time to take part in the looting. Those bands were eventually eradicated only in 808, by Charlemagne.

The ravages in the east went on until, in 737, Charles Martel went south with a powerful army, successively regained possession of Avignon, Nîmes, Maguelone, Agde, Béziers, and laid siege to Narbonne. A Saxon attack on the north of France compelled Charles Martel to leave the region. Eventually, in 759, Pépin le Bref regained possession of Narbonne and crushed the invaders definitively.

The latter broke up into small bands, as they had done in the west, and continued to devastate the country, notably by deporting the men to turn them into castrated slaves, and the women to introduce them into North African harems, where they were used to give birth to Muslims. The bastion of these bands was at Fraxinetum, the present-day La Garde-Freinet. An area of about 10,000 square kilometres, in the Maures massif, was totally depopulated.

In 972, the Muslim bands captured Mayeul, the Abbot of Cluny, on the road to Mount Geneva. The event created an immense stir. Guillaume II, count of Provence, spent 9 years conducting a sort of electoral campaign in order to motivate the inhabitants of Provence, then, from 983 onwards, methodically hunted down all the Muslim bands, small or large. In 990, the last of them were destroyed. They had devastated France for two centuries.

Muslim pressure did not cease for all that. It was exerted over the following 250 years by raids carried out from the sea. The men who were captured were taken to castration camps in Corsica, then deported to the forced labour prisons of Dâr al Islam, and the women of nubile age to the harems. The Muslim pirates' lairs were in Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, on the coasts of Spain and of North Africa. Toulon was completely destroyed in 1178 and 1197, the population massacred or deported, the town left deserted.

Finally, the Muslims having been driven from Corsica, Sicily, Sardinia, from southern Italy and northern Spain, the attacks on French soil ceased but they continued at sea. It was not until 1830, that France, exasperated by the exactions, made up its mind to go to Algeria in order to definitively destroy the last bastions of the Muslim pirates

What is striking is that between the years 714, the first incursion, and 1830, the final crushing of the Barbary pirates, there elapsed over a millennium. Now no political organisation lasts for a thousand years. How then was that endless war kept going for so long?

The active principle of the war was the same as that of the war waged by the Spaniards on their own soil, and which also lasted over one thousand years : ideology. Only an ideology is lasting enough to give rise, century after century, to that sort of inexpiable war. That is why, if you wish to understand Islam, you must study its ideology and not conduct an almost ethnological study of the different varieties of Islam. I repeat : its ideology; because, for Muslim scholars, Islam is Dîn, Dunya, Daoula, i.e. religion, society, state. Khomeiny used to say that 90% of Islamic rules are to do with civil society, and that, in an Islamic library, 90% of the books deal with society and the state, and only 10% with private morals and man's relationship with God. The problem with Islam is not religion, it is the civil part of the ideology.

Islam is founded on the same structure as political totalitarian machines. The most well known are the total socialisms of the 20th century, but if we delve deep into history, the Akkad dynasties, ancient China, the Incas etc. were totalitarian machines that have a certain number of elements in common with Islam. To show up these elements, one only has to compare the main features of total socialisms with those of Islam.

Islam, like soviet socialism, is founded on a dual basis : on the one hand the ideological foundation, and on the other the imposition of that ideology through armed force. The combination of the two is characteristic. The earliest person to speak of this was Sima Qian, one of the greatest intellectuals in China, a historian, who was also prime minister. As an intellectual and as prime minister, he was perfectly acquainted with a system based both on ideology and on violence. In his letter to Jen An, which dates back to 91 B.C., he explains that, in such a system, there can be only two solutions :

physical death : you oppose the system and in that case you are killed

spiritual death : you pretend to believe in the ideology, and in that case you wear a mask.


Thus, according to Sima Qian, in a system founded both on force and on ideology, one can choose only between physical death and spiritual death.

That is precisely the structure of Islam, founded both on ideology and on the use of armed force. I have already spoken of violence towards the exterior. One must add to that the interior violence that is exerted on the 'dhimmis'. The term 'dhimmis' refers to peoples conquered by the Muslim armies, who lose all their political rights and the greater part of their civil rights, and who become foreigners in their own country. They are driven to extinction by a combination of methods.

Throughout antiquity, and right up until the second half of the 19th century, there were fluctuations in population due either to famines, or to epidemics, or to wars. After each decline, the population would increase again until it reached its equilibrium, that is, the maximum number of people who could live on the land considering the agricultural techniques available. The Muslims built new towns, Oran, Cordoba, Cairo, etc. while slaughtering or deporting the local populations, and peopling the towns with Arabs either from the Hedjaz region or from Syria. At first, these immigrants were few in number. In North Africa there were 5 million Berbers. About 200,000 Arab-Muslims were brought in and established in areas that had been depopulated to that end. The immigrant population grew to the maximum number tolerated by the agricultural production of the occupied areas, they then cut up the remaining land into strips that were depopulated one by one and given over to the expansion of the Arab-Muslims. Each successive strip was small enough not to stir up a general revolt, but sufficient for the Arab-Muslims never to reach their demographic equilibrium, and to be able to continue their growth.

{Boiled frog syndrome}

Alongside localized massacres in order to invade new areas, a fall in the birth rate was deliberately brought about among non-Muslims. The latter, the 'dhimmis', had to wear a round yellow badge on dark clothes. They could use only donkeys, lowly mounts, camels and horses, noble mounts, being reserved for Muslims. Donkeys could only be mounted with a pack and not a saddle, in the country and not in town. Dhimmis' houses had to be smaller in size than those of Muslims. Many other provisions of a similar nature destroyed the dignity of dhimmis and lessened their self-confidence, whence a drop in their birth rate and their progressive extinction.

The fall in the birth rate, massacres and conversions under coercion were the means which, in invaded countries, gradually brought about what Bat Ye'or calls a demographic reversal. There were 200,000 Muslims to 5 million Berbers at the start of the Muslim invasion. After 8 wars, and three centuries of the above methods being applied, there were 1% Berbers left in Tunisia, 10% in Algeria, where they were driven into Kabylia, about 35 to 40% in Morocco, where they were driven into the Atlas and Riff regions, each time infertile mountainous lands.

It is a general phenomenon. Thus the Turkish population, initially 100% Christian, had fallen to 30% Christian by 1900, and is 0.2% Christian today.

{We have the similar example of Pakistan today}

The methods referred to above compel the inhabitants of invaded countries either to become Muslims or to disappear. In addition, within the Muslim populations themselves, the ideology imposes a certain type of society.

The first Islamic principle is the primacy of the collectivity, or 'Ouma'. In that word, the radical 'oum' means the mother and 'ouma' means that Muslims should be to Islam as children are to their mother. The primacy of the collectivity is the opposite of what goes on in our present-day societies. Our view is that society is at the service of each person to help him or her to develop. The collectivist view is that each person is at the service of the collectivity to establish its power. That is one of the elements common to total socialism and Islam.

The second principle is the foundation of morals. A Russian dissident said : what is morally right is what those in power declare to be right at present (it may change tomorrow, and morals will change tomorrow). Islam means "submission" and Muslim "a submissive person". Many Muslim intellectuals will tell you that it is only a question of submission to God. But if you read the Koran, you will see that it says twenty or so times "obey God, obey the prophet" and once "obey the prophet" (without adding God). But there is no verse that says only "obey God". Again it says "obey God, obey his prophet, and those in authority", that is to say the caliph and his representatives. The caliph is Allah's deputy, one must obey him, and his representatives, as one obeys God. Submission is the basis of Muslim morals and it is also an element common to all totalitarian systems.

Yet another principle is the combat against anything that develops the ego. One of the first factors that develop the ego is affectivity. You are aware of some of the rules governing the statute of Muslim women, in particular polygamy. A man may have four wives, but a woman may not have four husbands. That is not all. A man may have as many concubines as he wants, as long as they are not the wives of another Muslim. If a woman has a lover, no matter whether he is a Muslim or not, she will be stoned to death. In a court of law, it takes two women to have the same weight as one man. When it comes to inheritance, a woman has only a half share. A husband may repudiate his wife but a wife may not repudiate her husband.

The Muslim ideology is founded on the Koran, and on the hadiths, the words or acts of Mohammed. There are a million and a half of them. It would have taken him 600 years to utter them. Everybody knows, including Muslims, that most of the hadiths are apocryphal. There are, however, six compilations, containing 20,000 hadiths in all, that are held to be assuredly authentic. Among those books there is one, compiled by the scholar Bukhari, that is considered to be particularly sure. The Koran and the compilation by Bukhari are the only two books on which a Muslim can lay his hand to take an oath.

In the above compilation, Mohammed explains : "You know that women can give only a semi-testimony in a court of law, well, that is because of the inferiority of their intelligence". He says that he had a vision of Hell. There were principally women there. He also says that there have been perfect men in history, but no perfect women. Or again, taking up the Bible story in which Eve is supposed to have been created from one of Adam's ribs, "woman was made from a rib, she is bent like a rib; if you try to straighten her, you will break her, so let her remain crooked and take your pleasure from her as from a crooked thing". The conclusion is the Sunnite definition of marriage : "marriage is the contract by which one acquires a woman's genital organs with the intention of taking pleasure from them".

In such an ideology, it is difficult to respect a woman and to build a relationship of marital love. It may happen from time to time, because men are not always completely subject to ideology, but there is massive social pressure to prevent it. The destruction of affectivity and respect in the relationship between husband and wife is destructive of the ego, both for the man and for the woman.

Isn't it odd that only Shah Jehan built a massive muqbara for his wife(Taj Mahal) while we dont know where the other Moghul women were buried?}

In total socialisms, the destruction of affectivity was achieved through the encouragement of denunciation. Anybody could inform against anybody. You could trust neither your spouse, nor your parents, nor your children, nor your friends. Soviet socialists had made a hero of Pavel Morozof, a boy of 14 who had denounced his father for protecting kulaks who had been condemned to death. The father died in the Gulag. Even today, in Moscow, the building where the Komsomols hold their meetings is called Morozof palace. These mutual denunciations give rise to a system that destroys all mutual trust, which leads to the death of affectivity.

The combat against affectivity was complemented, in the early years of soviet socialism, by an attack on marriage &#65533;" which did not last very long, but which was extremely violent. In the flats built during the twenties, there was no kitchen so that people would be forced to have their meals in common. In fact, they preferred to use Primus stoves so that they could have their meals as a family all the same.

Islam destroys affectivity by humiliating women, total socialisms do it by encouraging denunciation and hampering married life; the means are a little different, but the result is the same.

Another means of destroying the ego is the combat against intelligence. The way in which the contradictions in the Koran are dealt with shows the methods at work in Islam. For example, a surah that Muslims are always quoting (verse 257 of surah 2) : "No constraint in religion" is in contradiction with another verse, known as the verse of the sword : "Massacre all heretics". Mohammed had been asked how it was that two surahs that had come from Allah could contradict each other. The answer is in surah 2, verse 100, and in surah 16, verses 104 and 105, which say that Allah is the master of the Koran; he does as he pleases with it. When he replaces one verse by another, the newer one is better. And those who consider Mohammed to be a falsifier will go to Hell. The Koran is like a packet of circulars, the most recent of which cancels and replaces the previous ones on the same subject. Thereby, all the moderate verses are cancelled by the violent ones, which came later. In that case, the contradiction is settled, through a process whose validity may be questioned, but in other cases the contradiction is deliberately maintained.

A certain number of examples are given by the vice-chancellor of Al Azhar university in Cairo, the largest Muslim university. There are taxes levied on the rich to provide money for the poor, and to conduct wars of conquest. Wealth is determined according to the number of animals. If you own five camels or more, you have to pay tax. But you don't pay any for herds of horses, even if they comprise several thousand animals.

When a woman has her period, she has the right to fast, but not to pray. Yet prayer is more important than fasting.

When a thief commits a petty theft, he has his hand cut off, because it was the instrument of his fault, but they do not punish a rapist or an adulterer by cutting off you-know-what.


There is a whole series of contradictions of this kind. The vice-chancellor of Al Azhar explains that this is deliberate. It is to show that Allah is not bound by logic. Nor is he bound by morals. If he had said that one should lie, then lying would be good.

Tabari, one of the greatest exegetes of the Koran, explains that anyone who approaches the Koran with his or her intelligence, and who is in the right, is nevertheless at fault : no one has the right to be right.

Islam rejects novelty, which it calls 'bida'. Characteristically, the word means both what is new, and the moral fault consisting in doing or thinking something new. This outlook renders progress impossible, especially in economy, with the result that most Muslim countries experience great poverty. 57 States belong to the Conference of Islamic States. Their standard of living is 22 times lower than in Europe. Of these 57 States, 8 are oil-producing and 3 are only partially Muslim : Turkey, which has been trying to be a secular country for 80 years, Lebanon, where the population is 45% Christian, and Malaysia, where 28% of the population is Chinese and 7% Indian. Those three countries are six times richer than the others. If you exclude the oil-producing States and the partially Muslim States, the rest, that is, nearly one thousand million people, have a standard of living 35 times lower than that of Europeans. At such a degree it really means something. The fundamental reason is the totalitarian nature of Islam, destructive of the ego.

Countries under total socialism have experienced the same poverty, for the same reason : damaged egos can no longer be creative, whether in economics, in the intellectual or artistic sphere, or in any field whatsoever.

I have had discussions with many Muslims and have explained to them that one cannot be a Muslim and a Frenchman at the same time. If you are a Muslim, you say that woman is inferior, if you are French, you say she is equal. I have received the same answer umpteen times : according to one hadith, Paradise is under the feet of mothers, so women have a particular dignity which compensates their inferiority. I would retort that this point of view reduces women to their reproductive function. Furthermore, in that case, maiden girls, sterile women or women married to sterile men, have no dignity.

The above argument made no impact. On the other hand, another would leave Muslim women and girls without an answer and very troubled : the French conception of relationships between men and women is equality, the Islamic conception is female inferiority compensated by a special dignity. The woman who chooses equality is French, she who chooses compensated inferiority is not, even if compensated inferiority suits her personally.

In fact, 95% of those with whom I have debated believe themselves to be Muslim men or women, but they are not. In all important matters they have made their choice, and their choice is to be French and not Muslim. When you ask a girl, even wearing a veil to assert her identity, "Do you fancy having 3 co-wives?", she will answer passionately, "Oh! Out of the question!"

"Do you fancy your husband bringing concubines home?"

"Out of the question!"

"Do you consider it normal that, as the Koran says, if your husband suspects you of thinking of disobeying, he has the right to beat you?"

"Out of the question!"

In France, you have the right to think what you like, and to change your convictions if you feel like it. In Islam (surah 4, verse 91), a person who ceases to be a Muslim must be put to death. The first time I said that in a talk, a Muslim got up and shouted, "That's not true!" Now I take a copy of the Koran to talks, and show people the verse. And they say to me, "Well, we don't accept that".

"So you're not Muslims, you're French!"

"Eh, no, I am a Muslim, but I take some and leave some".

"If you say that in Egypt, or elsewhere in Dâr al Islam, at best you'll go to prison, at worst you'll be killed by your neighbour. You can choose to reject part of the Koran because you live in France, where you have French and not Muslim rights. Since you make use of those rights, you have chosen to be French, you are not a Muslim any more".

Each time you take a point on which the opposition between the French and Muslim views is irreducible, you find that all the women and most of the men are in fact French and not Muslim.

I do not believe Islam can last very long in the modern world. I am told it has lasted 14 centuries, and that it will continue. In 1980 people also said, "Communism has lasted 70 years, it will go on". Then in 1989, Mitterand, who was an excellent seismograph of public opinion, said, 5 weeks before the fall of the Berlin wall, "The reunification of Germany is neither for this generation nor for this century". He had seen nothing coming, despite his political sensibility, because the violence of the repression in countries under total socialism dissimulated the loss in conviction of their inhabitants. Islam exerts the same repression against dissident opinions, which gives rise to the same dissimulation, but that does not prevent minds from secretly evolving.

As I was able to see in Lebanon and in Kabylia, there are three factors on which the modern world is radically opposed to the Muslim world, and those three factors will eventually bring about its downfall :

Freedom. Freedom to defend one's opinion, to change one's mind. Muslims are demanding it more and more. As they are in danger every time they demand it in a Muslim country, they do not do so very often, but the yearning is stronger and stronger.

Rationality. The Koran, according to Muslims, was written by Allah before the founding of the world, in Arabic because Allah spoke Arabic with the angels. Now Arabic has only existed for 2,000 years while the creation of the world goes back 14 billion years. Confronted with that sort of improbability, a Muslim, even moderately cultivated, will answer, "We can't believe that!"

Affectivity. Among the Kabyles, there are many conversions : about 5,000 per year. They are converted by the American Baptists. I asked several converts, "Why did you become Christian?". The answer wasn't what I expected at all. Freedom, that was secondary. Rationality hardly bothered them for they were not great intellectuals. The decisive factor for them was affectivity. The Baptists organise prayer meetings, Muslims come along to have a look, and they are taken by the affectivity that reigns in those meetings, between men, between women, between men and women. From what they say, at Muslim gatherings there is comradeship, solidarity, but not the sort of affective warmth they find amongst Christians.

Affectivity is one of the foundations of the Western World. Today 50% of marriages break up. One has the impression that the institution is falling apart. It is exactly the opposite. For centuries marriage was based on the desire to have descendants and on social convenience. When there was affection or love between the spouses, it was all the better. Today, the ideal is marital love. If love is not there, the couple separates. That is radically incompatible with Islam. The idea of marriage founded on personal choice and on marital love is incompatible with the woman's place in Islam. That is the strongest pressure at work on Islam.

In Lebanon and in Kabylia at least, Islam finds itself in the position in which communism found itself in 1970.
I'm going to tell you an anecdote. My wife, the founder, director and chief editor of a music magazine, had been invited to Poland along with 200 French journalists. During a grand cocktail party, one of the ministers present told her, in quite good French, that she was an abominable capitalist and that she ought to be in the Gulag. "Besides, you'll be there before long because the Soviet army can reach Brest in ten days". Two minutes later another minister said to her, "Don't think Poles are stupid. My colleague is the only communist amongst us. All the others are ministers because it's pleasanter to be a minister than something else, but none of them believes in communism. We know perfectly well that communism doesn't work". I was very surprised that communist ministers should speak so freely to journalists and I calculated that the system was ripe for collapse. It was holding out because of the administrative structures whose interest was to make the system last, but no one believed in it any more.

Islam today is in a similar position. Its internal mental structure is caving in. At any rate in Kabylia and in Lebanon. And I don't think the political organisation can survive the downfall of its ideology for very long.

Today, Islam versus the Western World is like the fable of the clay pot against the iron pot, it has met more than its match : let us look at what those who are neither Muslims nor from the West are doing, that is to say the Indians, the Chinese, the Japanese etc. I remember going to a concert about ten years ago, in Berlin. The pianist was Japanese and wore a black western-style dress. The conductor was Chinese and wore "tails". I have never, anywhere on earth, seen a Chinese, Japanese or Indian person don a turban and a jellabah and intone an Islamic chant. Nowadays, if you go to any country that is neither Islamic nor of the West and look at the architecture in the towns, at the town planning, at the methods applied in economy, at science, at technology and even at marriage, everything comes from the West. When Eugénie de Montijo married Napoleon III, she wore a white dress. All the Parisian girls copied her, French girls copied the Parisians, European girls copied the French. Now the whole world gets married in a white dress.

As a whole, countries that are neither Islamic nor of the West, that is over 4 billion inhabitants, have adopted Western ways. Islam has but a very weak power of conversion : it converts about one million people a year, essentially in black Africa, whereas the different variants of Christendom convert 10 million every year, essentially in the southern hemisphere. When it comes to freedom, rationality, and especially affectivity, Islam has no capacity of assimilation into the modern world. Moreover, Islam has been frozen for over a thousand years, whereas, at the instance of the West, the world today is experiencing the most rapid evolution in its history.

Islam has another weakness that is even more deadly : the way in which it was developed is beginning to become known. People commonly believe that the history of the development of Islam and Mohammed's biography are quite well known. That is not the case at all.

In the region where Islam developed, all the original documents, covering over two centuries, have disappeared. The biography of Mohammed was written 220 years after his death, under the orders of a caliph. The hadiths were written down between 250 and 300 years after the death of Mohammed. The Koran was replaced several times, notably by general Hajjâj, in 692, sixty years after the death of Mohammed, with the destruction of previous copies.

Islam in its early years extended over the Middle East, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, the most civilised region in the world at the time. It had libraries, scribes' workshops, universities. It is absolutely unnatural that all the original documents should have disappeared. That can only be explained by a deliberate and methodical intervention by the political authorities.

A comparison with France at the same period is significant. At that time there was no library, nor university, nor scribes' workshop, nor bookshop in France. Yet those holding political power in France, Clothaire II and Dagobert I, left their traces in many a written document, and it is even more the case with their immediate successors, Pépin de Heristal, Charles Martel, Pépin le Bref, Charlemagne. The prominent religious figures were bishops, Saint Ouen of Rouen, Saint Omer of Thérouane, Saint Césaire of Arles, Sidouane Apollinaire of Clermont, Saint Grégoire of Tours, Saint Léger of Autun, Saint Eloi of Noyon, etc…They are well known.

Mohammed was both a political and religious figure. Why did no original document about him remain, unless it was to cover up a story that was very different from that told by Muslim scholars? As a famous specialist on Islam, Harald Motzki, says, either one makes a critical study of the sources of Islam and one does not write a history, or one does not make a critical study of the sources and one can write "stories". Alfred-Louis de Prémare, professor at the university of Aix-en-Provence, a historian of the Arab-Islamic world, and a lecturer at the Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Muslim world, adds, "Any biography of the prophet of Islam has as much value as a novel that one hopes is historical".

Over the past ten years, the work of a number of researchers has made it possible to uncover texts written in Georgian, Armenian, Aramaic, Syriac, Hebrew or Coptic, that give information (a few sentences in books of several hundred pages) on what the Islam of the origins was. The discoveries are surprising : Mohammed was never a Muslim, for the words Muslim and Islam appeared sixty years after the death of Mohammed. His first companions called themselves the 'Magrayes', a Syro-Aramaic term meaning emigrants. Their holy language was Syro-Aramaic, not Arabic. Mohammed was not born in Mecca, for the work of Patricia Crone, a specialist on Islam who teaches at Princeton and Cambridge, has shown that the town was founded around 670, forty years after the death of Mohammed.

Islam as we know it today is a fabrication by the caliphs, invented to serve as an ideology for the empire that Mohammed's companions had started building, and that his successors developed. Mohammed's religion was Nazareism, a Judeo-Christian sect born in the Middle-East. Nazareism could not serve as a binding agent for the empire they were setting up, on the one hand because it was not Arabic, while the Arab conquerors wanted a religion that would justify their pre-eminence over all other Muslims, on the other hand because Nazareism anticipated the return of Christ, who would come and take command of the Nazarene armies to conquer the world by force. Since that had not happened, Nazareism had to be replaced by a religion that made no false prophecies. The construction of the new religion out of material drawn from the earlier one and the obliteration of all trace of the earlier religion went on for over two centuries. Hence the destruction of all written evidence of what had happened, and the construction by the caliphs in power of a sacred book in Arabic, an Arab prophet, and an Arab history that could be used as a basis for their ideology.

The enormous number of researchers in every field in the modern world, the use of new techniques in exegesis, archaeology, epigraphy, etc., the discovery of ancient, non-Muslim texts on the development of Islam, dating from 10 to 30 years after the event, and not from over 200 like the Islamic documents - all the above are leading people to question everything they thought they knew about the development of Islam. It is unlikely that the Islamic religion and ideology will be able to withstand the destruction of their historical foundations by modern science.

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#1498 - February 03, 2012 11:04 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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Reflections on the Gita

2. atra &#347;&#363;r&#257; mahe&#7779;v&#257;s&#257; bh&#299;m&#257;rjunasam&#257; yudhi.
There are heroes, mighty bowmen,
The likes of Bhima and Arjuna are in contest.

These are the opening lines for a full description of the battle scene in which able fighters on both sides, armed with a variety of weapons are confronting one another, ready for the eruption of the historic battle. When one reads the list of names of eminent kings and valiant men of stature who were present, it is difficult to imagine that these are but concocted names. There is something very authentic and historical in all this, especially when we see a name like the King of K‡shi who was there.

Battle-myths are as ancient as epics The Sumerian epic Gilgamesh is about a king who is so dedicated to wars that the gods send Enkidu to fight him. The Latin poet Virgil’s Aeneid deals with the Homeric Trojan war. Here we find the idea that some day Rome would conquer all nations, and there would be no more wars. Virgil wanted to establish that Rome-rajya by inspiring his people. “You, Roman,” he wrote, “Remember, these are your arts: To rule nations, and to impose the ways of peace, to spare the humble and to war down the proud.”

The Classic Japanese epic Heike Monogatori narrates the fights between two clans for the full control of the country. Here we read: “The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.” This reminds us of the satyameva jayate principle.

The medieval English epic Beowulf narrates the conflict between Swedes and Geats caused by claims of water. Indeed,
the storm of their strife, were seen afar,
how folk against folk the fight had wakened.

The Mahabharata War is etched in the Indic cultural psyche, as the Trojan War of Homer’s Iliad is in the Greek mind. Most ancient Greeks believed that the war was as historical as we take take the Kurukshetra war to be. Later generations began to doubt this. In the late nineteenth century some archeological finds in Turkey were interpreted as the region of ancient Troy. Whether the pin-pointing of an area is proof that the Trojan War actually occurred is a matter of deep conviction more than for scholarly debates. The general consensus seems to be that some conflict of the kind described in the Iliad probably took place. But as to whether the characters like Helen and Menelaus, Paris and Agamemnon once lived in flesh and blood is not as incontrovertibly established..

Be that as it may, to me these details suggest that in any conflict situation there are protagonists on both sides. Each side is convinced it is for the righteous cause. Ideally, and in all myths and movies, there is a just and happy-ending in which the good ones ultimately triumph. There have been instances where the righteous have not won.
But it has also happened many times that the righteous cause has not been the winner. In the meanwhile, however, competing values and perspectives keep playing out their role. This phase may last longer than the victory celebrations by the winning side. During this time, countless innocents suffer and perish. Right now in our own times, bloody conflicts: ideological,
economic, political, societal, and more are going on all over the world, Sometimes it is difficult even for an objective outsider to determine who is right and who is wrong.

The imagery in the Gita of mighty forces facing each other is a powerful portrayal of this not infrequent human condition, both in the metaphorical sense of forces for good and evil within oneself held in tension, and at the real-world level of groups and nations staring at each other with bitterness and readiness to unleash a battle.
Bhima, Arjuna, Bhishma and Drona and all the rest strike me as so many names for the countless opposing convictions that are always tossing us in the chaos and confusion that is the human predicament. The linking of dharmashastra and Kurukshetra is a powerful metaphor for this. Never in all of human history, save in the imaginary utopias of great and inspiring poets, has there been a world, or a country, where peace and righteousness reigned supreme. This is not to say that we must not aspire for this, but rather it is to remind ourselves that confronting such oppositions is part of being human.

V.V. Raman

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#1500 - March 26, 2012 02:55 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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This article is copyrighted. No part may be reproduced without permission by the author or Oxford University.


Metaphysics - Universals and Particulars - their distinction.


Plato's theory of Forms and Aristotle's Substances have been reconceptualised by modern philosophers as Universals and Particulars.

This is the fundamental ontology of modern western philosophy as to 'what exists'. It is not a single theory as there are several views of Universals and several on Particulars too, and how exactly are they related, if at all they are.

Universals are innumerable abstract entities*, ideas or concepts. They are intangibles, and do not have physicality. All things that exist, partake of some abstract entities, or to put in another way, abstract entities are instantiated in all things that exist. All things that exist are called Particulars. Instantiation is the fundamental tie that binds Universals to Particulars.

A universal is an entity that is instantiated in particular things. A Universal is what particular things have - qualities. Two oranges share the qualities of being round, orange coloured and taste. Round, orange color and the taste are universals.

Examples of Universals are space, time, universal human values and emotions like love and justice, mathematics and numbers, forces that govern the world like gravity, our experiences held in memory, - none of these we can touch or hold, but can only be known by the intellect. It is embedded in existence. Since these abstract entities subsist over time, they exist. There are type universals, property universals and relation universals.

All objects that exist in the world, made of matter, tangible, concrete, that can be touched or held, are Particulars. The elements, humans, plant and animal kingdom are objects. Objects, (or Particulars) have qualities or properties. We know an object by its properties.

An apple is round and sweet. Roundness and sweetness are its qualities, and are Universals. These properties are instantiated or inherent in a group or class. Based on properties we are able to classify different objects - as same (qualitative identity), or identical, a type, tokens of the same type, or resemblance, or a class of objects. Relativity of identity is the basis of the notion of properties. There are three theories on properties: Universals, Nominalism and Tropes.

Universals and Particulars are a two-realm theory - an attempt to take an inventory of existence and categorise it.

As a test, if we were to ask a class of students as to whether mind, thoughts, ideas, reason, memory, dreams, illusions, space, time, gravity, love, justice, taste, number, mathematics, matter, elements, humans, plants, animals and objects, exists, the answer would a unanimous yes. As it is universally self evident, indisputable and needs no further investigation, we can say it is an axiomatic truth.

And if we ask the class whether these 'things' can be categorised in a simple and reasonable manner, an immediate answer would be two classes, consisting of abstract entities (mind stuff), and matter (particulars or objects) with properties. These properties of objects relate to Universals.

The distinction between Universals and Particulars is that Universals are abstract entities which can exist wholly in different spatio-temporal locations at the same time, whereas Particulars are objects with properties which instantiate these Universals.

Not all philosophers agree on Universals and Particulars. Some say both exist. Others say only Particulars exist. Today, broadly we could call the former the Realists and the latter the Nominalists, for whom Particulars can be objects or abstract, who have properties but which are not Universals with strict identity.

Universals are supposed to be outside time and space, transcendent, and Particulars are within time and space, inherent or immanent. That is the standard view. In my view Universals (must) have spatio-temporality or are connected to it, for nothing can exist outside spatio-temporality, or there is nothing we can say about it.

* http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Universal_%28metaphysics%29

Pathmarajah Nagalingam

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#1501 - March 26, 2012 02:58 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
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This article is copyrighted. No part may be reproduced without permission by the author or Oxford University.


Metaphysics - The fundamental ontology of western philosophy

What is there? Let us take an inventory of what things are there in this world.

Observability should not be a criteria in determining if something exists or not. Empirical presence isn't a firm sign of existence. Neither is empirical absence a firm sign of non-existence!

Colour is light. Light bounces off a surface and our eyes only see the light that were bounced off. It is the shape and texture of the surfaces that determines how much of light is bounced off, and which part of the spectrum that we see, therefore, bouncing light cannot be a property of an object.

There is also light that is beyond the visible spectrum. It is radiowaves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays, electromagnetism - all of which we do not see. These are unperceived entities. Some birds and bees can see ultraviolet light. Our vision is limited to a specific spectrum band, and we are not seeing the totality of light bounced off a surface. In this sense we are only seeing a part of the picture.

Input from sense organs reaches the mind, and it is up to the mind to make sense of it. Mind is independent of sight and the other sense organs but rarely does the mind challenge the perceptions. We are hard wired to see the world this way, like the elevator is hard wired to go up and down freely.

Our senses gives us an illusion. And the mind cannot think independently of the senses. Except perhaps numbers and maths. Darkness, holes, shadows, reflections, colours, the blue sky, numbers, maths mind, memory, dreams, and logic - all of these exist only in the mind. These are mind dependent abstract entities or mental entities. They exist because the mind gives us these perceptions through senses. Take away humans and these entities cease to exist. Abstract entities subsist, because of man.

A tree that falls in the forest and no one sees or hears it, is an unperceived truth. History, in other words, the past, is an unperceived truth and it exists in the mass mind. Unperceived entities are also a part of abstract entities.

Matter (mass) exists, albeit as charged particles, even though the perception of matter is relative to the perceiver. We are too large (and distant), therefore we perceive what is largely space and charged particles as matter. For the mite, the world is not perceived.

The chair, the tree, the hill, the ship, the animals, air, water, are still there with a shape, size and texture. Like all things made of matter they have spatio-temporality and are called concrete entities.

While there is no full agreement among scholars, western philosophy generally classifies existence as consisting of concrete entities and abstract entities in its inventory-taking of 'what is there'. So what we have is existence consisting of a mind dependent abstract entities (idealism) and mind independent concrete entities (realism).

But that is not reality, as these entities are subject to relativity, change and temporality. Reality must be something else, permanent, changeless and axiomatic, perhaps an unperceived truth, that is changeless or timeless. Since all of existence is subject to time and change, none of this can be reality.

Causation, Determinism and Motion - factors governing the relationship of ontological entities

The world is governed by causality. All motion and change is due to this law. Events happen due to causes. There are no exceptions to this principle. It is a universal.

Normally there are two 'unrelated' events; a cause followed by an effect - two separate events, one event putting in motion the second event, in a sequence. In each case for the subsequent state of affairs to exist, it was necessary for the precedent to have existed. In other cases, the cause and effect are related in a one seamless event, like cooking a meal. The cook and the raw vegetables are the efficient and material cause, and the cooked food is the effect. But the cooking is a one event.

In the past when this law of causality was not fully understood, causes were attributed to supernatural forces - the elephant in the room, gods must be angry, evil, miracles, etc - the root cause of all superstitions! Once this law of causation came to be fully understood, the space for ignorance and superstitions shrunk.

We are born defined and limited by our DNA. The place and time of our birth, parents, family values, environment, our education - all of these we have little control over, and it shapes us. We are conditioned. This 'shaping' cultivates desires in us, leading to intentions, leading to actions. What gave rise to the desire and intention? Experiences, implanted the desire. That desire eventually gave rise to intentions. That led to decision making. We have a very narrow band of choices in real life and we operate our free choices within this narrow band. This is called Compatibilism - free will compatible with determinism.

But neuroscience says our decision making is guided by our subconscious mind - there is a deterministic mechanism at work in the subconscious which 'guides' the conscious mind to make that predetermined decision. Meaning free will is a delusion. "We are not the author of our thoughts and actions," says the neuroscientist Sam Harris. Our choices depends on prior causes.

But altruism is a part of the 'selfish' survival instinct for the perpetuation of the species, 'the greater good'. But we have also seen many times in our own lives and that of others where, out of compassion, we have been altruistic for no rhyme or reason. We have no need of selfishness for survival, or to perpetuate our species as we are already seven billion strong. This 'true' altruism has no causation except selfless compassion. It is inherent in humans and animals, making it a universal. This altruism breaks, provides an exception, to the determinism rule as there is no causality, which is a prerequisite. If such, then there is free will and there are limits or exceptions to determinism.

But rather than say we have free will, libertarianism, it would be better to say determinism is not absolute as there are exceptions to the rule.

In space and time

In the fabric of space time, time is relevant only with motion. And for motion, you require mass/energy, or concrete entities governed by causality.

For there to be motion, the movement from A to B, from t1 to t2, requires space and time. If there was no time, there can be no motion and the world will be static, 3-dimensional, which we perceive is not. Time and space are perceived because motion exists.

We can only measure space and time in relation to objects. If the world was emptied of all matter, there will be no objects and no motion, and space and time would appear to 'not exist' as there is no way to perceive it. Which means space and time must be related to matter. Space and time may very well be there, but it would be an Unperceived Truth.

There are divided opinions though on whether time and space are realities; nevertheless it is perceived just as abstract and concrete entities. Thus, concrete entities and abstract entities exist in time and space, and that is the fundamental ontology of western philosophy.

Pathmarajah Nagalingam

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#1505 - August 12, 2012 06:36 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Life is an unbroken continuous chain

All life is perpetuated by cell division. It means life has been one long
continuous link - from single cell organisms to plant life to animal life. All
life is connected. A cell is a living organism, and it is intelligent.

A sperm is a single cell organism with 23 chromosomes. Launched in to the womb
it feeds on the nutrients in the uterus and propels itself to meet the female
egg. It knows what to do. The female egg is also a living organism with 23
chromosomes. The sperm and the egg fuses together to form a single cell embryo
with 46 chromosomes. The embryo is intelligent and knows what to do; it starts
the process of cell division until a foetus is formed, then a full baby. There
is nothing in the world as intelligent as an embryo.

And just how did the sperm know that there are nutrients in the uterus when it
has never been there before?

Does the sperm, or the egg, have a soul? Do all 20 million sperms have an
individual soul? Or is it soulless? When the sperm and egg fuse to become an
embryo, do two souls become one? What about the embryo in the petri dish on the
table? Does it have a soul? What about the embryo kept frozen at -60degrees C?
Does it have a soul when in the freezer? What about twin embryos in the womb; do
they have two souls? Then what happens when the twin embryos fuse together again
to form a single embryo, as it sometimes does happen? Do two souls become one?

When does the soul enter the embryo - at 8 weeks? Or at the moment of birth as
some shastras say?

Why introduce the concept of soul when the sperm, egg and embryo is already an
intelligent living being? What is the soul introducing into the embryo or fetus,
when it is already a living and very intelligent being with the dna doing
everything? What is the role of a soul then? Just a passive inhabitant? An
experiencer? Why introduce a concept of soul when it is not necessary to explain
life (Occam's Razor).

Religions have no answer to these questions by science, which is rocking its
ontological foundations. These are questions for the biologist and Hindu
philosophers.

We need a biologist to confirm that a single cell organism is
already a living thing, is aware, responds to stimuli, has no brain but
chromosomes which does the same function, and a will to survive and accomplish its
mission.

We must keep in mind that the ancients, Buddha, Tirumular, Shankara and
Meykandar had no idea of cells, bacteria, that life perpetuates itself with
division of cells, chromosomes and dna, and that we share much of our dna with
animals (we share 50% of our dna with worms) and some with plants. They had no
idea that we are a walking living ecosystem with a billion bacteria on and in
our bodies. Are these living bacteria souls too? Each time we wash our hands or
take a bath we conduct a genocide of a million.

What is the demarcator for 'life' and 'soul'.

Would the ancients have said the same things if they had the information we have
today?

But it makes great sense to say that there is, and always have been, only one
life in this universe, and that, that life constantly divides itself into many
and inhabits plants, animals and humans. If this is the case, then you and me
are the same life that inhabits all species, and we are four billion years old,
making us 'eternal'. This would also be more in accordance with neuroscience,
which has no room for soul.

Pathma

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#1507 - September 18, 2012 12:44 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Rethinking "Out of Africa"

Here's a somewhat simple representation of my current thinking now about human evolution over the last two million years:

We've got the lineage of the hobbit, 'Homo floresiensis' (in quotation marks because its human status in not yet clear), perhaps diverging more than two million years ago, evolving in isolation in southeast Asia, and apparently going extinct about 17,000 years ago.

We've got Homo erectus, most likely originating in Africa, giving rise to lineages which continue in the Far East in China and Java, but which eventually go extinct. In Europe, it perhaps gave rise to the species Homo antecessor, "Pioneer Man," known from the site of Atapuerca in Spain. Again, going extinct.

In the western part of the Old World, we get the development of a new species, Homo heidelbergensis, present in Europe, Asia and Africa. We knew heidelbergensis had gone two ways, to modern humans and the Neanderthals. But we now know because of the Denisovans that actually heidelbergensis went three ways—in fact the Denisovans seem to represent an off-shoot of the Neanderthal lineage.

North of the Mediterranean, heidelbergensis gave rise to the Neanderthals, over in the Far East, it gave rise to the Denisovans. In Africa heidelbergensis evolved into modern humans, who eventually spread from Africa about 60,000 years ago, but as I mentioned, there's evidence that heidelbergensis populations carried on in Africa for a period of time. But we now know that the Neanderthals and the Denisovans did not go genetically extinct. They went physically extinct, but their genes were input into modern humans, perhaps in western Asia in the case of the Neanderthals. And then a smaller group of modern humans picked up DNA from the Denisovans in south east Asia.

We end up with quite a complex story, with even some of this ancient DNA coming back into modern humans within Africa. So our evolutionary story is mostly, but not absolutely, a Recent African Origin.

CHRISTOPHER STRINGER is one of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists. He is a founder and most powerful advocate of the leading theory concerning our evolution: Recent African Origin or "Out of Africa". He has worked at The Natural History Museum, London since 1973, is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and currently leads the large and successful Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB), His most recent book is The Origin of Our Species (titled Lone Survivors in the US).

http://www.edge.org/conversation/rethinking-out-of-africa


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#1510 - December 05, 2012 02:24 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Freewill and Determinism

We have a dilemma in ethics. To hold a person responsible for his action we must
know that he freely chose to perform that action unhindered, and that he knew
the difference between right and wrong action.

The question is, did a person freely choose his action!

Determinism is the view that every action is fixed by a previous action or event
and the laws of nature. And each previous action is fixed by an even earlier
action, and so on ad infinitum, an infinite regression. And this theory is a
foundation of physics. This theory holds that we really have no freewill.

It is strange to say that we have no freewill and we did not really choose the
actions we did. But it is a fact that we cannot change the past, something over
which we have no control, and we cannot change the (present) laws of nature and
physics.

A noted philosopher, Van Inwagen says, "things could be different in the present
only if things had been different in the past, or if the laws of nature could be
changed. Given the past, the present could not have been otherwise."

A person throws a ball. The force of the throw, and the gradient of the throw,
plus the air resistance and gravity, tells us exactly where the ball will fall,
and at what time. The exact place and time of the fall of the ball can be
predicted.

This outcome can only be changed if;

1. we can go back to the past and change the force of the throw and/or the
angle of the throw,

or,

2. change the laws of gravity.

Since neither is possible, the outcome is pre-determined!

Sam Harris, a neuroscientist, says our choices are predetermined by the
subconscious, and seconds later presented to the conscious mind as a decision,
and therefore we 'think' we freely made a choice.

This is the conflict between the freedom of the will and determinism, and the
repercussions are that we may not be able to hold a person responsible for his
actions.

However there are alternate views, like the Compatibilism theory, which says
free will is compatible with determinism.

Secondly, whether a person knows what is right and what is wrong, is another
area of controversy that has been debated for millenniums.

Pathma


Edited by Pathmarajah (December 22, 2012 10:33 AM)

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#1511 - December 23, 2012 02:12 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Western Ethics

Each society developed its moral knowledge over time and children were brought up with this understanding of moral knowledge, and this formed the basis of its ethics, from which right and wrong were established, and from there as common law in an unwritten social contract.

In the west, philosophers like Aristotle wrote that as we are able to think and reason we can determine what is our purpose in life and fulfill that purpose by virtuous acts, for virtue is a necessity, a key condition for happiness. We can acquire virtue by observing virtuous persons and perfecting ourselves by making virtuous deeds a habit over time.

Hume argued that desires are the ultimate motivating factor in all our actions and there is always an element of bias in our moral judgements. Desires (passions) are our deepest wants and in accomplishing this we use reason to justify our actions.

To Hume a right action is what causes approbation in a knowledgeable person who has a stable and general perspective, a true judge who is able to empathize. Feeling approbation (Humean Ethics) versus what is right (Aristotlian Virtue Ethics)" are some arguments in ethics.

When we need to make a decision, resolve a dilemma, make a judgement call, invariably we resort to choosing based on some priority or value. It is desires that motivate us and acts as the demarcator for what is right and wrong. Kant believes that our actions are virtuous if the intent was good and the action was moral or universalisable, like the Golden Rule - do to others as you would want them to do to you. In Kantian deontology, actions based on passions cannot be moral as they have an inherent bias. A virtuous action would be based on a universal value applied consistently by everyone, and on across the board principle.

We are thinking, empathising beings and live in an organised world that abides by rules. That immediately spells reason, duty and a need to curb our desires and passions by universalisable maxims.

Mill focuses on the consequences of an action - does it produce greater happiness or benefit for the greater number of people? If it is so, then it is a right action.

While earlier philosophers stressed on reasons for actions, Mill stressed on the value of an action. For such Utilitarians, if an action is for the greater good, then it is acceptable as moral.

This philosophy leads to majoritarianism in a society with majoritarian rule and privileges. If every nation were to apply its policies on GHGN for its own population and vested national interests and its foreign policy is based on that, national interests, then surely there will be international strife. (But this wouldn’t be utilitarianism strictly speaking, for utilitarians all human beings counts equally; those in one’s own nation or group aren’t preferred. In practice that may not be always so.)

Rawls' Contractarianism places importance on equality in a society, with the majority extending care to the minorities and disadvantaged. Here we have a source of modern developed societies. Most definitely equality would be the first requisite in any association, for there cannot be harmony and social agreement in any community if there are political inequalities. And in any society there has to be mechanisms to ensure for the common and greater good, distributive justice, failing which there would be extreme socio-economic disparities and a justification for dissent and rebellion.

It is obvious we are to live in harmony among ourselves, and in harmony with nature and the animal kingdom. This requires the protection of life, liberty and equality, and the minimum disruption to nature. This means universal rules to be agreed and followed by all.

In Dancy's Particularism, there are no principles in ethics, everything is context sensitive. It means whether an action is morally right depends on each context. Such thinking is a must in jurisprudence for justice to prevail.
Singer brings to the fore non-speciesism, which says there should be no discrimination against non-human species as they deserve rights too. Ryder argued in a pamphlet that: "Since Darwin, scientists have agreed that there is no 'magical' essential difference between humans and other animals, biologically-speaking. Why then do we make an almost total distinction morally? If all organisms are on one physical continuum, then we should also be on the same moral continuum."

Western ethnics has covered reason, virtue, passion, social approbation, duty, the consequence of actions, equality and rights of animals as well as the Golden Rule of western ethics - do to others as you would have them do to you. In comparison, in Indian ethics the Golden Rule would be ahimsa - non violence in thought word and deed to all living things.

Unlike in the past, the world is globalised now and human rights are universally agreed on, and most laws and conventions in most nations are based on this, with most incorporating both the golden rules as an unwritten convention. This I think would be the source of invariants of ethical principles.

Pathma

References:
1. Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics
2. Hume, Of the influencing motives of the will, and, Moral distinctions not derived from reason
3. Kant, The good will
4. J.S.Mill, Utilitarianism
5. John Rawls, A Theory of Justice
6. Jonathan Dancy, An Unprincipled Morality
7. Peter Singer, All animals are equal
8. Ryder, Experiments on Animals

.


Edited by Pathmarajah (December 24, 2012 02:51 PM)

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#1513 - January 14, 2013 12:32 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Indian Ethics

Indian ethics would include non violence (ahimsa) which is the golden rule, dharma (duty), wealth (porul/artha), love (inbam/kama), yamas (do not), niyamas (do), reincarnation, karma, worship, jaati, varna, endogamy, observing holy days and festivals, pilgrimage, stage marker sacraments, a form of non-speciesism (animals rights and reverence), vegetarianism, reverence of mother, father, guru and god, service (karma yoga), charity (dharmam/tarumam), the theoretical inequality between stratified ethnic groups, the inequality of sexes, the inequality of outcastes and foreigners.

The theoretical formulation of ahimsa is part of classical Hindu ethics. However, the marginalization of people in the caste framework does not qualify to be called ahimsa. The practice of ahimsa (especially as vegetarianism) is part of Jain and South-Indian/Gujarati ethics, not Hindu ethics, a careful distinction of theory and practice. Ahimsa is not a pan-Indian ethic.

The Tamil concept of Aram is justice (but which is casually and erroneously translated as virtue and dharma). Aram co-existed with another concept of Maram; ara is used with reference to virtue, justice, equity, actions taken with due consideration of context and custom; maram, on the other hand, is used to denote valour, courage, wrath, hatred, killing and strength. Hence, it is quite different from the concept of dharma. Aram may be compared with Dancy's Particularism where there are no hard and fast principles but stress is on context sensitiveness.

The cardinal principle of law in that divine work is righteousness or aram. Persons who administered justice during the Sangam period were governed by the principles of equity embodied in the word, aram.

The Tirukural and Aati Chudi of Auvaiyar would represent universal ethics applicable to all mankind in all ages.

I would not like to do a comparative study of western and eastern ethics as the latter fails on the first count of equality of all without which no justice is possible (Rawls Original Position).

Pathma

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#1516 - March 09, 2013 09:44 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The mind-body problem: Why might we think the mind is not identical to the brain?

The question is, whether there is numerical identity of mind state and brain state, and not just mere correlation.

1. one is mental, the other is physical.

2. the body has a size (extension) but the mind does not. If the mind were identical with the body, it would also need to have size.

3. the body has a spatio-temporal location, the mind does not, although it seems the mind is in the brain region.

4. the mind (excluding the subconscious) has intentions and issues commands and the body executes it (usually).

5. the body can survive temporarily without the mind (brain dead, Anencephaly), but the mind may have phantom limbs and experience phantom pain.

6. the mind is a series of events, the processing of sense perceptions, thinking and recalling from memory involving neural activity, whereas the body is a platform for this processing to take place. As an analogy the body is the circuit but the mind is the current that flows through the circuit. The current and the circuit are distinct.

7. one can fantasize, say about sex and setoff neural firings and be aroused - a mental state triggering a brain state. There is causality.

8. one can take drugs and setoff neural firings and experience a state of euphoria - a brain state triggering a mental state. There is causality.

9. there are no empirical studies to show mind and brain states are the same. Empiricism on a non-physical state is impossible.

Mental and physical states have different properties as shown above, and bi-directional causality, therefore they can't be the same states, there is no numerical identity.

Pathma

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#1517 - April 12, 2013 09:50 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
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Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The Mind-Body Problem II

Does the mind exist? If so, where is it located? Surely something that exists must be located somewhere! Does it have a centre? Is it an entity separate and independent from the brain? Is it controllable, a tool that we can use, or is it just a feedback mechanism of the sensory input that it receives? Does it follow the laws of determination and that we have no control over it, or is it anomalous and beyond laws?

Every culture formulated its own theories to understand the mind and body. Those who believe that man consists of the mind and the body are dualists. Those who believe that man is the body alone, and the mind is a mere by-product of the workings of the faculties, are monists.

In siddhanta, the composition of god, soul and the world is categorised into 36 components or tattvas. The mental faculties (antahkarana) together with the organs of perception (indriyas) is part of prakriti (nature), part of the astral body (manomaya kosa). It is nonreal or asat. No explanation (bridge laws) is provided as to how the astral body connects with and influences the physical body.

In western philosophy it was Rene Descartes who in the 17th century proposed that man consists of two 'substances', the body and the mind, or Dualism. By sheer logic and reasoning he established that 'I think, therefore I exist'. But he was unable to explain how a non physical entity could influence/interact with a physical entity. Since then many monist theories have come to pass.

Can one reasonably be a dualist in this day and age?

Dualism is the theory that man consists of mind and body, two separate things, both of which are made of different substances or properties, but the two are mingled or interactive. This is the view held by all mankind throughout history. Our intuition and common sense tells us we have a mind that is not material.

In the 19th century scientists came to accept the physical closure of the material world, that all physical events have material causes, and these endless causal chains don't allow any space for non material causes, that there is only the body.

The main objection to dualism is, how can there be mental and physical interaction, unless mental events are physical events. And if there are indeed interactions, where does the interaction take place and how does it do so? Are there any bridge laws to support such conclusions? This is the mind-body problem and several theories have attempted to overcome this problem, which we shall now consider.

One is the Identity Theory which states that the mind is brain activity, mental states are identical to brain states and there is numerical identity between mind and brain states. However this theory does not explain the bridge laws of how the brain and mind interact, and does not explain qualia (the experience of a sensation) as Kripke pointed out.[1]

Another is Functionalism, that brain states are a mental state with a particular role, which in turn determines behaviourism. It is a system that instantiates the functional state of, say, pain but without having any pain qualia. According to functionalism there is no difference between the subjective experiences of red and green qualia. Such a view reduces humans to robots and zombies and is simply unacceptable as argued by Ned Block.[2]

Eliminativism goes further and claims that the mind does not exist, we have no beliefs, no desires, no intentions, and there is no qualia, and that reason explanations are unnecessary. If there is indeed no mind, then there can be no thoughts and beliefs, and by extension, no truths, which is illogical, flies in the face of intuition and reality. Whereas a belief is our response to the sensory input. We see the world, and we form views and beliefs about it, then act on those.

Epiphenomenalism is the theory that consciousness and mental states are an incidental side-effect or by-product of physical and brain activity but they have no causal efficacy. The mind does not cause any event. If the mind is causally inert, cannot influence anything, then what use of it to exist? Common sense says there are causal mental-physical interactions; I desire to type a post, and my hands do as I command them. There is a cause, and an effect.

On the other hand, Anomalous Monism comes close to solving the mind body problem, stating that while there are mind-brain causal interactions, there are no strict laws that govern such causation. A causally efficacious mental property, say a desire, leading to a physical property of neural activation to fulfil that desire, causes a single event to take place. Although called Anomalous Monism, this is a form of dualism - Property Dualism, and it accepts mental states as causally efficacious in the form of reasoned explanations. But this theory too does not explain qualia.

Thus we see there are serious problems in physicalism, doubt and skepticism over such theories mainly because it does not accept the existence of the mind, or of it being causally efficacious, and does not explain consciousness (awareness) and qualia (the experience of say, kicking a ball). It is common sense that we seek to re-experience a pleasurable qualia, like listening to good music and avoid distasteful qualia, like pain. In fact, qualia would be the main driver in our lives. It fuels our desires and ambitions. The experience of seeing the culling of baby seals drives us to fight for animal rights!

It is not simply that the body has size, but that extension (filling space) is essential to it, which means that if the mind were identical with the body as some physicalist theories suggest, it would also need to have a similar size. Another theory, Externalism, says the mind has extension, but outside the body, and the mind would not exist if the world did not exist, as there would be nothing to perceive. Thus restating the duality of mind and body.

We also have instances where the body can survive temporarily without the mind (as in brain dead and Anencephaly), and other cases where the mind experiences phantom limbs and phantom pain, which physicalism cannot adequately explain.

There are hundreds of Near Death Experiences (NDE) studied by psychiatrists which suggest that not only we have a mind, but that it is separate and independent of the body. Physicalism ignores these data and is unable to account for it.

Rupert Sheldrake has proposed Morphic Resonance, that there is a morphic field, a universal database, that a particular lifeform 'tunes into' and becomes part of an extended group mind, where the group transmits information and receives feedback from it.[3] It establishes that the mind is separate from the body. Here too physicalism ignores these data as 'not peer reviewed and published', nevertheless they are unable to falsify it.

Meditators experience a state of no qualia, a qualia-less qualia while being fully conscious and aware, suggesting a state that transcends the body, as well as the mind. This phenomenon is entirely ignored by science!

Finally, there are no conclusive empirical studies to show mind and brain states are the same, or that a mental state does not exist, as empiricism on a non-physical state is impossible.

In the absence of adequate explanations of mind and body by physicalist theories, we are left with the traditional belief in dualism, daily ratified by our experiences, intuition and common sense.

Pathma

Bibliography
1. Saul Kripke, Naming and Necessity.
2. Ned Block, Troubles with Functionalism.
3. Rupert Sheldrake, The Presence of the Past, The Poetic Mind.

Links:
1. The Science Delusion - Rupert Sheldrake [must watch]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JKHUaNAxsTg

2. A monkey controls a robot, and a distant avatar, with its brain
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR_LBcZg_84&feature=em-subs_digest-vrecs

3. Consciousness Without Brain Activity: Near Death Experiences - Dr. Bruce Greyson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_qBIw7qyHU

4. Can Consciousness Influence Brain Events? - Dr Mario Beauregard
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmCBJJjKMWE

5. Dr Peter Fenwick on Near Death Experience (NDE)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4PmjKn1zPE

6. 10 Mind & Brain Mysteries
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYwAPF0mh-U

Alternate view - the mind exists
7. John Searle is the leading western philosopher of the day. He says the mind exists, that it is a biological phenomenon like photosynthesis. And it functions causally. An intangible, a nonphysical entity exists! And such a nonphysical entity can influence a physical event.

This goes against the whole basis of western philosophy which does not admit to the existence of the mind or consciousness. And if it acts causally, then determinism*, a lynchpin of science, is questionable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_OPQgPIdKg

An older video by Searle where he explains some details
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XTDLq34M18

*Determinism: Every action is fixed by a previous action or event and the laws of nature, ad infinitum, an infinite regression. There is no freewill.

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Edited by Pathmarajah (July 08, 2013 11:19 AM)

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#1518 - April 12, 2013 09:55 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

The Scientific Method

All along in history, in every culture, man has observed the world and tried to understand and explain phenomena in various ways. This led to discoveries and subsequently inventions to make life more comfortable. However these discoveries and explanations were sporadic, ad hoc, not systematic and largely not followed through with development and expansion as they lacked a sufficiently valid method of observation, measuring and theorising, given the era.

Later, the modern scientific method was developed 500 years ago by a long line of natural philosophers from Francis Bacon onwards who laid the foundations for modern science.

This consists of making observations, collecting data, measuring and tabulating it, and making a generalisation out of it, known as a hypothesis. We now have some evidence for the hypothesis.

Once we have some data and a hypothesis that is based on the data, then we are able to test it. We do this by conducting an experiment to prove the hypothesis. Often experiments are repeated many times, by different persons, based on new and larger sample size so as to validate the hypothesis and experiments. We are sometimes required to conduct the same experiments with variables inserted to falsify the hypothesis. Then we are able to confirm or deny the hypothesis.

This hypothesis can be verified by other researchers who may collect their own rainfall data in the same area and confirm or falsify the hypothesis that November and December are the rainy season. Rainfall measured over many years and decades would form a large sample size and data base and fortify the hypothesis.

When a hypothesis has been tested with experiments and research it becomes a theory. A hypothesis must be testable or it remains a claim, an opinion that is not much of use.

The advantages of this scientific method leads to theories and laws that are universal, singular, testable, reproduceable, explanatory, predictive and separates fact from fiction. Scientific methods. We see the enormous inventions and applications of the scientific method in everyday life - a testament that science explains and works.

However, science is about our empirical observation of the world, of that which exists and can be observed, a view that our senses receive, the appearances and not necessarily the reality of the world. Further, we are entering into realms that are unobservable; 96% of the contents of the world are unobservable and cannot be adequately tested or falsified, like subatomic particles, dark energy, dark matter, black holes and multiverse, which are of semiotic in nature. These can only be theorised as plausible or mathematically proven. Laudan says empirically successful theories have been time and again shown to not map isomorphically on to the reality. We have observed Uncertainty and Relativity in nature, and laws previously thought to be universal is now found to be localised in spacetime. Our history of science has shown time and again that most theories have ultimately been proven inaccurate and has been refined or replaced by newer and better theories, sometimes in quantum leaps or paradigm shifts. Despite all that the scientific method remains the ultimate paradigm of rational enquiry.

Pathma

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#1519 - April 12, 2013 09:56 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

What is the difference between science and pseudoscience?


Knowledge is ever increasing and old alternative views gives way to new ones. There were discoveries and subsequently inventions in every culture, however these discoveries and explanations were sporadic, ad hoc, not systematic and largely not followed through with development and expansion as they lacked a sufficiently valid method of observation, measuring and theorising, given the era. Many of the old unsystematic methods survives today as non-sciences or pseudosciences. Today a lack of public concern for what is science and what is not, creates the space for pseudosciences to persist.

Science is the search for knowledge of the world and in this regard over time it has established a scientific method that is generally agreed by all. This consists of making observations, collecting data, measuring and tabulating it, and making a generalisation out of it, known as a hypothesis. We now have some evidence for the hypothesis.

Once we have some data and a hypothesis that is based on the data, then we are able to test it. We do this by conducting an experiment to prove the hypothesis. Often experiments are repeated many times, by different persons, based on new and larger sample size so as to validate the hypothesis and experiments. We are sometimes required to conduct the same experiments with variables inserted to falsify the hypothesis. Then we are able to confirm or deny the hypothesis. When a hypothesis has been tested with experiments and research it becomes a theory. A hypothesis must be testable or it remains a claim, an opinion that is not much of use.

The advantages of this scientific method leads to theories and laws that are universal, singular, testable, reproduceable, explanatory, predictive and separates fact from fiction. We see the enormous inventions and applications of the scientific method in everyday life - a testament that science explains and works.

Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence, plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status. Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, exaggerated or unprovable, and over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories (Thagaard).

The basis of science is that;
1. nature exists,
2. all natural phenomena have natural causes,
3. nature is governed by laws,
4. the laws can be known,
5. knowledge comes from observation and experiments.

Pseudosciences disregards one or more of the above criteria. Astrology for instance, which I discuss in this paper, disregards 5 and 6 above. Theories not backed by evidence is pseudoscience.

A pseudoscience also does not follow a method that can be verified and validated. For instance Ptolemy's astrology which is based on a geocentric world which does not take into account several planets, where the position and motion of the sun, moon and planets are supposed to influences events and determines fate on earth and its inhabitants. It arbitrarily divides humanity into many groups based on a 12-zodiac system, and based on constellations the planets at the moment of birth. A belief that the position and motion of the planets and constellations in conjunction with the moon influences our daily lives, events, character and fate, even diseases - a dangerous fatalism with vague and ambiguous predictions as well as clinically unproven cures. In science there is no arbitrariness.

We have no data that supports the hypothesis that planets influence events and life on earth (except for gravity which is very weak). We expect to see reams and reams of data showing the correlation between planetary positions and movements their effects on events on earth. That is unavailable, condemning it to a non-science!

Planets are too distant to have any gravitational or radiative effects on earth. There is no basis to show how and why the zodiacs were fixed the way they were. What we have is the testimony of Ptolemy and other astrologers in their writings, their word, that there is planetary influence. A hypothesis not supported by data is hearsay. Micheal Gauquelin conducted probability surveys and found that there is no significant correlation between careers and astrological sings and zodiacs.

There are no set rules and there are many different systems by different astrologers. In the case of Indian astrology there are 30 different calendars, their spring equinox being fixed to the stars about 16 centuries ago, and has been drifting away from the seasons since then, now amounting to 22 days in error, but there has been no corrections, making all of them fatally flawed as there is no provision for corrections as leap years. When the calendars are wrong, no reading could be right. Again, 27 equal divisions of the sky were arbitrarily made based on constellations, and in certain such cases of equal division, some stars overlap whereas some stars do not get enveloped in that range at all, thus falling in the next star division. Besides two or three constellations occupy the same sky at any time but this is disregarded.

Pseudoscientific claims are non falsifiable (Popper). Neither is there any attempt to correct anomalies (Quine); it is not progressive as it has changed little since Ptolemy, and added nothing to its explanatory powers. There is no progression as a historically extended research project (Lakatos) and despite the discover of new planets and more accurate astronomical data the theory is not updated with this new information.

There is no explanation for the different lives and lifespans of twins, triplets, quadruplets, as well as that of different people born at the same time and place. Space travel, moon landings, assassination of world leaders, 9/11, the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Arab Spring and other such large scale natural disasters and human events of magnitude were not predicted by anyone. There have been no stunning predictions (Lakatos). Surely no one believes that all 295,000 who died during the asian tsunami were born on the same place and time! It is a historical failure in predictions. The community of practitioners do not agree on most fundamental issues, rather most cling to old theories religiously like a revelation. It is a belief system. Alternative systems have arisen like psychiatry and psychology which attempts to explain behaviorism unlike long static astrology which explains in terms of empirically non existent planetary influences.

To summarise, pseudosciences fails on data showing the correlation, falsifiability, lack of stunning predictions, explanations and lack of theory change.

Pathma

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#1527 - May 07, 2013 02:53 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice


Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative
ideologies,
the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and
resistance to change,
attitudes that can contribute to prejudice...

(substitute racism with casteism and sexism)

http://www.livescience.com/18132-intelligence-social-conservatism-racism.html

Pathma

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#1532 - May 09, 2013 10:33 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Religion - The Bad Parent

A good video on irrational belief systems. Good to keeps things in perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/user/QualiaSoup

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#1536 - June 05, 2013 05:48 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Indra and Brahma on free speech and expression


Asuras do not like to be criticized. They only want to be spoken of in glowing
terms. They do not see it as an opportunity for reflection, introspection and
self examination. But Indra and Brahma ruled that there shall be free speech and
free expression within the four corners of the stage.

We all know that today the world and every forum is a stage and everyone an
actor and audience simultaneously. Anywhere you see people averse to criticisms
know that they have asuric qualities.

Rushdie on Natyashastra
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=akeA0EvLEbs

Pathma

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#1539 - September 14, 2013 10:50 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
The other Big Bang: the Cambrian Explosion - Big Bang of Life!

“Big bang” isn’t just an astronomy term. Biologists use it when describing the rise of life on Earth, too: Dozens of modern animal groups evolved in a relatively short time frame in the early Cambrian period, between 540 million and 520 million years ago. And according to a new Australian study on the subject, this biological “big bang” actually fits quite well with what we already know about the processes of evolution.

This big bang event has perplexed science for over a century. Michael Lee, University of Adelaide biologist and the study’s lead author, noted that researchers in his field call it “Darwin’s Dilemma,” because natural-selection pioneer Charles Darwin had said that the emergence of so many species in so little time seemed to be at odds with evolution as he understood it. Opponents of evolutionary theory have even used this big bang event as evidence for intelligent design or creationism.

But Lee and his colleagues beg to differ. They examined the rates of evolutionary change that occurred during this 20-million-year time period while working with the Natural History Museum in London to map out and analyze the genetic and anatomical differences to be found among today’s myriad animal species.

Then they compared the present-day species diversity with the earlier menagerie of prehistoric life as indicated in the fossil records, and they built mathematical models to connect the two and discern the rate at which the differences would have accumulated. Their final conclusion: Simple evolutionary processes do fully explain the rapid debuting of so many new species in the Cambrian big bang.

The arthropods—which include insects, spiders, and crustaceans, around 80% of Earth’s animal species in total— were the most successful and diverse group of animals to evolve in the Cambrian explosion. So Lee and his colleagues zeroed in on them. The Cambrian big bang witnessed an overall rate of evolution that was four to five times faster than the rate of any other era, including ours.

That sounds huge, but Lee and his colleagues found that it made sense given the changes that arthropods and their environments were going through at the time. Exoskeletons, jointed legs, multifaceted eyes, and the ability to actively swim all first appeared in this time frame. So did antennae and biting jaws.

The researchers noted that the arthropods were breaking into new environments in this time, and all species are more likely to make swift evolutionary changes when they reach new environments. Darwin’s theory of evolution, they conclude, is in no danger of going extinct.

Read more: http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/scientists-big-bang-of-life-eons-ago-fits-theory-of-evolution

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#1540 - September 25, 2013 09:56 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Timeline of Creation and Life

With much more information available today with most puzzle pieces in place, we are able to formulate the timeline of creation and life.

13.7 billion years ago when nothing existed, there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it, not even time and space, when death was not then, nor was there aught immortal, when no sign was there of the day's and night's divider, when Nothing was there, the Singularity they say today, breathless, breathed by its own nature, apart from it was nothing whatsoever. Then spontaneously, there was a big bang, and spacetime unfolded and undiscriminated chaos was there.

The energy released immediately became particles, some 4% of which which coalesced into planets and galaxies over the next eight billion years. The remaining 96% of unused stardust remains as space debris, unobservable dark matter and dark energy plasma, till today. Yet mostly space is there, matter being infinitely small in comparison. Rightly, this universe should have been called Void rather than a world of matter. Because that is what creation is, mostly Void. And cold.

Between 4.5 to 3.8 billion years ago after the solar system, earth and moon was in place, meteorites slammed into icy planets creating shock waves releasing heat, and molecules compacted into amino acids - the building blocks of life. Over time these amino acids became single cellular organisms 3.9 billion years ago. Life had begun spontaneously!

We split from bacteria 3.5 billion years ago, and from plants life between 2.4-1.7 billion years ago, but humans and bananas still share 60% of the dna. The Universal Genetic Code is 'universal' because it is used by all known organisms as a code for DNA, mRNA, and tRNA. The universality of the genetic code encompasses animals (including humans), plants, fungi, archaea, bacteria, and viruses. But isn't it amazing that all life feeds off each other? We eat siblings. We are all parasites!

Between 540 million and 520 million years ago during the Cambrian Era, in that short period of 20 million years when the environment was just right, a multitude of species, mostly anthropoids and crustaceans, proliferated. This is the Big Bang of Life. From then, by way of evolution and natural selection, amniotes or tetrapods evolved into complex species like amphibians and lizards.

The continents moved 250 million years ago, and climatic change wiped out over two-thirds of all land-dwelling species and a whopping 95 percent of ocean-dwelling species. A mass extinction! The surviving and best adapted reptiles came to rule the planet. Dinosaurs came and went. Small primates like monkeys, apes, lemurs, baboons, tarsiers survived the second cataclysm 65 million years ago.

Hominids appeared about 23 million years ago, and 6 million years ago stood upright and viewed the horizon. Over time other species like Neanderthals and Denisovans mated with humans, a mixing of species and muddying the waters as they say, a mixing of dna and changing of traits. Inter-specie mating is very rare in the animal kingdom. Our females must have been irresistible then, as they are today! Thank you ladies, we know what you did last pleistocene! I hope it was fun. We have Neanderthal and Denisovan dna in us, are 7 billion strong, depleting the planet's resources, wiping out species like in the last cataclysm, and one another. I wonder where this unique self-destruct gene came from. After their lasting contributions for the betterment of homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans exited themselves, having the last laugh.

The rest is history as Michio Kaku says.

13.7 billion years - creation
4.6 billion years - solar system is formed and stable
4.4 billion years - moon is formed and stable in earth orbit
3.9 billion years - first prokaryotic cells, life begins
3.5 billion years - last universal ancestor - a split between bacteria and eukarya cells
1.7 billion years - we split from plants
1.2 billion years - multicellular organisms
580 million years - first large complex multicellularity, specialised cells
520 million years - Cambrian Explosion - the Big Bang of Life
360 million years - animals appear on land
320 million years - synapses develops, leads to mammals
250 million years - the continents moved, Cataclysm I.
225 million years - Dinosaurs appear
160 million years - eutharian (placentalia) mammals appear, with placenta rather than egg laying
65 million years - meteor strike, Cataclysm II, dinosaurs and large animals wiped out
8.8 million - hominids separate from apes
6.5 million years - hominids stood upright
200,000 years - first homo sapiens, and mated with Neanderthals and Denisovans

If the above time scale was represented by a clock, humans appeared in the last fifteen seconds of the last minute of the hour, a mere blip in time.

There is another date to keep. Our closest neighbour the Andromeda galaxy is hurtling towards the Milky Way, and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) is 4 billion years from now, when the two become twin pulsars smashing into each other. But no worries. In 1.75 million years time the earth will be in the Hot Zone, scorching, oceans evaporating and terminating all life - Cataclysm III. No one will witness the next cataclysm, not even the Mars bound earthlings! Its best to relax, stay at home and sip chicalada.

Question. There was already spontaneous life here. So when did souls appear and enter animal bodies?

This is in the realm of revelations, not academia. According to the Lemurian Scrolls of the Dravidian Shastras from the Lord Subramaniam Library as 'seen' by Sivaya Subramuniya of Kauai Aadheenam, it is approximately after the Cambrian explosion when there was a flourishing of flora and fauna. Souls led by Lord Muruga arrived to this planet from the cold Pleiades (Krittika) Constellation which is a distance of 385 light years away. We are Pleiadeans! Since we did not have physical bodies, distance and travel was not a major problem.

sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/23...html?ir=Science
Harvard
Imperial College
onezoom.org
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/h...36dd_story.html

Lemurian Scrolls
http://www.himalayanacademy.com/resources/books/ls/ls_introduction.html
"The Lemurian Shastras, which make up the first half of these scrolls, unfold a remarkable story of how souls journeyed to Earth in their subtle bodies some four million years ago. The narrators of the ancient texts explain that civilization on their native planets had reached a point of such peacefulness that spiritual evolution had come to a standstill. They needed a "fire planet," such as Earth, to continue their unfoldment into the ultimate attainment -- realization of the Self within. To persist in the lush atmosphere, genderless, organic bodies were formed through food-offering ceremonies. Later, through a slow process of mutation, the fleshy bodies we know today as human were established as vehicles for reincarnation. As the book progresses, a diminishing of the spiritual forces radiating from the Central Sun of the galaxy is described. As spiritual awareness wanes, the life force of man, kundalini, sleeps and instinctive desire manifests in abundance."

Corrections and contributions are welcome.

Pathma


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Edited by Pathmarajah (September 25, 2013 02:39 PM)

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#1544 - October 24, 2013 12:41 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Modern Ethics

The ethics in all religions is not right and that is why they clash with science and modernity. And we all know who has to give way in the end.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-pag...icle5229383.ece

The ethics* of all religions have no place in the 21st century. The universal ethics of today is the Human Rights Charter. This is the world's and our new Hindu navyashastra on aram (or dharma), whether we formally acknowledge it or not. It is already law in India and most of the world, and whether claimed, practised, enforced or not. In India most rights exist only on paper. That's why the social ills and shocking crime occur.

We have to rebuilt our culture around these new parameters.

*ethics - the philosophy of morality; what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad, and it deals with freedoms and responsibilities.

There are a number of these shastras and which are as follows:

Human Rights Charter
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Universal Human Rights Instruments
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/UniversalHumanRightsInstruments.aspx

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx

International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx

Pathma

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#1545 - October 24, 2013 01:08 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Many things are not right about religion


Politico-historical factors notwithstanding, the present crisis is a conflict between “Science and Religion.” Conservatives of all colours and all items and nations have resisted scientific, social changes. Today, the fanatical elements of the Islamic world violently resist social reforms in the cyber age that were confronted by western societies in 19th century. Equality of life and liberty are the new mantra that threatens all old traditions that are based on the exclusiveness of their religious paradise.

But, as we know, now there is no exclusive blood group identity that divides us in terms of gender, caste, race and region or religion. The democratic equality paradigm has undercut the very basis of exclusiveness. The principle of equality, irrespective of gender, caste, class, race, region or religion, is not found in the religious testament of any faith, or ancient religion.

In fact, all religions promise a safe heaven or paradise, liberation or moksha or nirvana but for their own flock. No religion speaks about the inclusive civil rights of all humanity. No world religion speaks of establishing a non-discriminatory social order. There is no fatwa against killing a non-believer. There is no testament against raping and stoning to death a female or Dalit. In fact, all religious preachers practise social discrimination, and have disfranchised the non-believers, women, the poor and the outcast.

Those who think the conflict is between the West and the East or Islamic world often justify terrorist violence due to the hopelessness of “the oppressed minorities” who turn to “violence and terrorism to avenge the majority oppression” But, according to the Concerned Scientists and Philosophers, it is an irrational political reasoning. (The 21st century Manifesto). For poverty and discrimination are not country-community-or religion-specific. In fact, there are no innocent followers of any caste, region or religion that have not violated the human rights of women and the weak. No race, region, religion or, caste, class or creed was or is free from wrongdoings against “other” humans.

In the Hindu belief system, the social status is determined by the Law of Karma. If you are born as a woman, poor, or Dalit, that is divine dispensation based on your karma (wrongdoings) in the previous birth. There is, however, some redemption for those who die drinking the holy water of the Ganga. But there is no constitutional provision to grant equal human rights to women and the poor in any holy book of any world religion.

Although banned under the Constitution, Hindutva votaries still worship satis (widow burned alive) and the neo-conservatives still commit “honour killing.” Raping and killing nuns by Hindu fanatics is symptomatic of the same sickness which drives Islamist jihadis to stone helpless women to death. We must be reminded of the ghastly act of burning alive an Australian Christian missionary, along with his two children, by Hindutva gangsters. But no Hindu saint or religious head cried of curse, or condemned Hindu rightist crimes.

Similarly, those who raped and killed thousands of helpless women, and massacred Bangladesh President Mujibur Rehman and his family were not the oppressed poor minority. The genocide of the majority Muslim Bengalis was committed not by Hindutva men but by the Muslim majority state of the Islamic Republic. Those who issued a fatwa and attacked Taslima Nasreen, author of Lajja (the Shame), were not oppressed Kashmiris.

Mrs. Malalai Kakar, 40, mother of six children, was a high profile first policewoman officer in Kandhar. She was investigating crimes against women and children in the Muslim majority Afghanistan. “We killed Malalai Kakar. She was our target and we successfully eliminated our target,” boasted a Taliban spokesman. In another case, a film director of the Netherlands was killed for making a film on the women’s struggle for equal rights in an African Muslim society.

A multireligious nation, India adopted a secular and democratic Constitution granting inclusive equal rights to all citizens, irrespective of gender, caste, creed, region or religion. But religious conservatives of all colours actively oppose the political theory of separation of state and religion. The Christian world faced this problem in the 18-19th century when the Pope ruled the West. But theological polity cannot survive the challenges of scientific restructuring of society.

Dhirendra Sharma

(The writer belongs to Centre for Science Policy/Concerned Scientists & Philosophers, Dehradun. Email: www.psaindia.org)

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-pag...icle5229383.ece

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#1546 - November 04, 2013 08:41 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Libido: No to Lacto-veganism, yes to vegetarianism

After 30 years, I no longer support lacto-veganism. It does reduce libido as we are never sure we get all the proteins and vitamins we need. That has been my experience. I support vegetarianism which includes consuming fish and eggs. It took me a long while to make this admission! About 20 years.&#8232;&#8232;

Lacto vegans may risk loss of libido if they do not consume enough zinc and proteins. Without zinc the body struggles to produce testosterone, the key hormone that sparks sexual desire in both men and women. Zinc is primarily in meat, dairy and shellfish. Even worse, common vegetarian foods like whole grains and beans can interfere with the body's ability to absorb zinc.

I'm sure my vegetarianism led to a drop in testosterone levels. It took the fire out of me. That precisely was one of the reasons for me becoming a vegetarian in the first place for I was a violent person then in my 20s and wanted to curb that tendency. It was a smashing success. I stayed out of jail. Smashed the libido too. Wife left me too eventually. Became a Hindu brahmacharini. Now you boys don't do it, I tell you!

&#8232;&#8232;Good sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds and pecans. New research suggests that low levels of protein "which can plague vegetarians if they don't get enough foods like tofu or wheat gluten" boosts a body chemical that sucks up the hormone that puts us in the mood.&#8232;&#8232;

Low levels of protein are linked to high levels of sex-binding globulin, which locks up testosterone so the body can't use it, according to a study by Dr. Christopher Langcope of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Once the testosterone is bound, it is not available to the tissues," he said. Older vegetarians, especially men, take note: The effect may be especially pronounced in older men, says Dr. Langcope.&#8232;&#8232;

In addition to beans, tofu and wheat gluten, vegetarians can get protein from "peanut butter, brown rice, any kind of nuts, soy milk, and even oatmeal.

"&#8232;&#8232;The most hard-to-find nutrient for those who go completely vegan (no meat, seafood or dairy products) is vitamin B-12. Found exclusively in animal products because it is produced by microorganisms that live in animals, a deficit in B-12 can cause "tiredness, breathlessness, listlessness, pallor and poor resistance to infection," according to the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom.&#8232;&#8232;

Sex drive may or may not be directly related to B-12, but tired, pale, out-of-breath vegetarians should perhaps be concerned about their partner's lack of libido. B-12 is easily available as a dietary supplement.

We shall eat, not blindly following traditional practices, or what some book from the past dictates, but according to the information available today and what our nutrition needs are.

The theory is that malnutrition and decades, even centuries of low protein diet (read lacto-veganism) makes Indians mentally deficient, conservative with an inability to learn (cognitive impairment) and change. We were talking to a wall all along. If we have to consume supplements, then something in deficient in the food culture.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india...ow/24728280.cms

"Indian scientists have finally decoded how long-term protein deficiency, a problem faced not just by malnourished children but also healthy-looking adults, impairs brain functioning. They have shown how protein deficiency reduces the ability of brain cells to process information, leading to learning disabilities, difficulty in memorizing and delayed response."

We cannot change the Indians by reasoning with them. Malnutrition makes them insecure, inability to process new ideas, obstinate to change. The first step in reform is to get the Indians to change their diet, change their food culture, eating habits and table mannerisms.

I have given all the proof these last few months on malnutrition and its dire effects.

Pathma
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Edited by Pathmarajah (November 04, 2013 08:46 AM)

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#1547 - November 13, 2013 03:14 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Cognitive Impairment, Epistemology & Malnourishment



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india...ow/24728280.cms

I did some research on 'cognitive impairment', a condition that affects malnourished persons among others. Usually we gloss over casually and pay scant attention, often derisively, to such terms. I think it deserves far more attention. Most of us all display "cognitive impairment" when it comes to maths! And other peoples' family problems. This is understandable.

Suppose a person holds a certain belief or claim, and we present him with some new information. It is incumbent upon the person to revise his views in the light of the new information, if it is a fact. That is the rational thing to do. First we establish whether the new information is indeed a fact, knowledge, a justified true belief. If so, the old view has to be immediately abandoned in the light of this new evidence.

Descartes argued that we can raise skepticism (doubts) on almost anything we claim to know, that nothing can be taken as a fact. Therefore we have no knowledge of anything. We don't know anything about the external world. He argued rigorously that he exists, and he thinks, and this is the only fact in the world. "I think, therefore I exist." In everything else a doubt can be raises.

Epistemology is the study of what is knowledge, when is something knowledge, how can we know knowledge, when is a claim, a proposal or a belief true?

When they meet some conditions. If certain necessary and sufficient conditions are met, then we have knowledge. These are:

1. we have verified it is true by way of a reliable method,
2. we are justified in thinking it, and ruled out the possibility it is false, ruled out all skeptical hypotheses.
3. that our certainty of it is not a prejudiced inference from our other prior false beliefs,
5. this certainty we hold to this new information is sensitive to truth, that is, if presented with new contrary evidence we are bound to change our belief,
6. our corollary beliefs about this subject have also been mostly accurate.

When a person is presented with rigorously established evidence as above, he is bound to revise his previously held belief. That is what a rational person does. Cognitive impairment is the inability to do so! It is world-widespread for several reasons; one is illiteracy and the lack of proper education. Another is incredulous disbelief for no reason or religious predisposed to disbelief.

Yet another reason is malnourishment, which prevents persons from processing and understanding new information. Such persons persist with previous beliefs despite new evidence to the contrary being presented. We find it in senior citizens too, which eventually leads to dementia and Alzheimer's. A cognitively impaired population finds it difficult to change, there is resistance, a tendency to retain status quo and orthodoxy, to block out new information, and is argumentative.

*cognition is a group of mental processes that includes attention, memory, producing and understanding language, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Cognition usually refers to an information processing. Cognition is a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Impairment is the inability to do so adequately.

I think I just described Indian society.

So first we have to provide clean water, and balanced meals, before undertaking any reform. There is nothing more basic than this in a society.

When discussing virtue as the basis of morality, Aristotle was asked if slavery is justified. "Can one think and reason? If not, that one is fit to be a slave," said Aristotle. He equated rationality with virtue. Slavery was accepted in ancient Greece. Slaves reconciled to it as they found themselves dysfunctional in Greek society and so preferred it.

I find it difficult to talk to someone in India. He is unable to comprehend, is argumentative and tells you why it won't work. Societal pressure to conform is a major factor. But that same person when he visits my country, when in a new and relaxed environment, seeing for himself a different and changed society, has some money to spend and carry himself with self esteem, is much more reasonable and amenable.

I think the children should sit on a chair at a table, wear a napkin and eat their midday meals in porcelain with fork and spoon. They should be treated with dignity which helps build their self esteem and self confidence. Isn't this why they are going to school, to learn values and be cultured and refined men and women? They should not be made to wash plates as it would be unhygienic. Rather crockery and cutlery should be washed by an automatic dishwasher where it is rinsed, soaped, washed and sterilised. This should be the culture in every home. In reforming culture we should start with the toilet and kitchen, and with water and food.

Pathma

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#1548 - November 15, 2013 10:38 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Malnutrition

watch from 3.30 to 5.00 min
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCe_5hvwdKM

EDx MIT

"Do you know what the threshold for the BMI is?
STUDENT: 18.5.
PROFESSOR: 18.5.
So 18.5 is under-nourished. And there is a large number of people that comes slightly below who are under-nourished by this standard.
There is about two billion people in the world who are anemic.
That means they don't have enough hemoglobin in there blood.
Not all of anemia is due to poor nutrition, but it's estimated that
maybe half of this is due to iron-deficiency anemia.
So it's a deficiency in one particular micro-nutrient, which is iron.
So that's about one billion people who are anemic due to some deficiency in iron in their diet.
These are deficiency in iron or difficulty in absorbing the iron.

A lot of these anemic people in India, and sadly Indians, combined the fact
that many of them are vegetarian and that their diet is rich in rice, which
is rich in phytates, which is an inhibitant for the absorption of iron.


Which is one reason why the rate of anemia is particularly high in India, is that on the one hand, they get less iron in their diet than other people at a comparable level of calorie intake just because those come less from meat. And on the other hand, they are less good at absorbing them due to the rice."

That is a double whammy for vegans and vegetarians. Being one means deficiency in zinc, iron, Vitamin B 12, anaemic, malnourished, lack of libido and suffer cognitive impairment. Basically a sick person, and who does not know it!

Vegans should switch and become vegetarian which includes fish and eggs, take B 12 supplements, and consume rice no more than 4 times a week!

Pathma

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Edited by Pathmarajah (November 15, 2013 11:38 AM)

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#1551 - March 03, 2014 09:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

The unified theory of events and outcomes


Determinism is the view that everything that happens is fixed by what happened before it, and the laws of nature, both of which cannot be changed.

Chaos theory is the view that dynamic systems are highly sensitive to initial conditions - an effect which is popularly referred to as the Butterfly Effect. Small differences in initial conditions yield widely diverging outcomes, rendering long-term prediction impossible.

Entropy is the gradual decline into breakdown, disorder and dissolution.

In this determinate world, due to chaos and entropy, it is impossible to determine the outcome and predict the future. The future is indeterminate!

Pathma

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#1555 - August 06, 2014 11:57 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang

Lowering of testosterone led to development of civilised human behaviour and values and the beginning of ethics and morality

http://www.dumb-out.net/lower-testosterone-led-emergence-modern-man-traits/2603

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#1558 - March 15, 2015 02:13 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Miserliness

Some of you withhold yourself in miserliness, and he who withholds himself in miserliness, withholds against himself,and Allah is need-free, but you are the needy, but if you turn away (others when you could help) He will replace you by some others, then they will not be like you. - Quran 47.38

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#1561 - April 10, 2015 01:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Are Prayers Answered?

If god answered prayers, wouldn't we be all be healthy, millionaires, happy and all dreams fulfilled?
But that is not the reality is it? In fact, it is otherwise.
Because that is not the way the world works. God wants to see what you actually do, and he responds accordingly, at his measured pace.

Pathma

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#1562 - April 10, 2015 01:35 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
Pathmarajah Offline
Member

Registered: July 22, 2004
Posts: 375
Loc: Penang
Mind Control - Is there a mind?

You dont know where the mind is located, and you cant see it because it is not made up of particles and does not bounce back light.
But that does not mean it is not there; it is simply a process (like photosynthesis) of our 'post' brain state - what happens in our neural firings is (later) reflected in our mind, like a screen. What it means is we have no control over it. In fact, we have no control over anything. Try it for yourself; pray and wish for something for yourself or others!

Pathma

.

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#1563 - April 15, 2015 03:54 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Extinct Religions, Ex-gods, Ex-pedestal Gods, Semeratheoi (Todays'gods), Anti-Gods, Polytheos (Gods of the Netherworld)

Several articles here by Dr. Archarya V.V.Raman

https://omnigod.wordpress.com/


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#1564 - May 19, 2015 01:37 PM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL
Dr. P. Priyadarshi at IITK- History of Ancient India over last 100,000 years

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l7VsR-dW-c&sns=fb


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Edited by webmaster (May 19, 2015 01:37 PM)

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#1566 - December 25, 2015 04:37 AM Re: Miscellaneous Articles [Re: webmaster]
webmaster Offline
Member

Registered: February 07, 2010
Posts: 1030
Loc: KL

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