Category Archives: Religion

Atman & Paramatman

Does the spider have an atman? There is some energy that is animating the spider. It is not as sophisticated as the energy which is animating the human body. But, in both cases, it is some kind of energy, which we may call atman. So, atman is not the same thing as some human identity, or any other identity.

The concept of atman is not the same as the idea of “soul” in Christianity or in other Semitic religions. All those ideas are based on the human identity one has been attached to while living. So he wants the same identity to continue after death as “soul”.

Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man: self-protection and self-preservation. For self-protection man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on its parent. For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal Soul, which will live eternally. In his ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically.

The objective view of PARAMATMAN and ATMAN is very different from the subjective view of God and Soul as described above because the psychological factors of self-protection and self-preservation are not there.

Bhakti Yoga starts out with the subjective view of God and Soul. On the other hand, Jnana Yoga seeks to obtain the objective view of PARAMATMAN and ATMAN directly.

The Law of Evolution

A person represents that part of the universe that is trying to evolve. We may think that an individual may not succeed in making a change beyond the conditioned change. But, by the grace of God, he may very well make a breakthrough.

You cannot just make an arbitrary change. Any change you make must continue the evolution that has taken place; it must be in harmony with what exists; and it must not generate an inconsistency. That is the law of evolution.

In other words, to reflect sanity, any postulate you make must be continuous, harmonious and consistent with the universe that exists.

You may postulate anything, but it may not necessarily be consistent with the environment around you. To make it consistent you’ll have to change the environment too, otherwise, you are simply conditioning your mind. It would be self-hypnotism, or MAYA as called in Hinduism.

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Time

Time represents what is persisting. And that, which is persisting, is either an actual evolution of knowledge or just a conditioned mind. In other words, you are either going up the Know-to-Mystery scale, or you are going down.

But Time is the simply the abstract notion of PERSISTENCE.

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God & Universe

VEDAS say that everything has evolved from God, because God is not separate from the universe.

But Christianity gives God a human like beingness and says that God created this universe. In other words, Christianity postulates a separation between God and the universe. But that is an inconsistent postulate. God is not just an image or reflection of humanity. God is the entire universe.

God has always been the universe–then and now. God has been the evolving universe all along. We are part of God and spearheading this evolution.

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The Law of Spirituality

The main lesson that I have learned about meditation is to be non-judgmental and non-resistive in perceiving what is there. The mind does its own thing, and that is a phenomenon worthy of observation too.

Regulation of what one says to others is part of being thoughtful. But I see no reason why one must regulate or suppress one’s own thoughts from oneself in meditation.

In fact, in my view, such a suppression of thoughts brings about a lack of clarity in one’s consideration of what is there.

When you suppress your undesirable thoughts they stay with you. They don’t go away. You are simply not-is-ing them (telling yourself it is not there) using your idea of morality.

But as you closely examine your thoughts you suddenly realize why the undesirable thoughts are there. The moment you know this underlying truth, the undesirable thoughts vanish forever.

You may get rid of your undesirable thoughts only by as-is-ing them (seeing them as they are). This is mindfulness meditation.

This is the basic Law of spirituality. Religions get derailed and get a bad name when the followers do not follow this Law of Spirituality.

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Morality

People are often conditioned by social morality enforced by the Church. This gets into conflict with their natural sense of ethics. A person who has fixed beliefs about morality is heavily denying that he has any undesirable thoughts, while he is full of them.

A person who is regulating his thought by suppressing them from himself is not being honest with himself. Therefore, he will not be able to resolve his undesirable thoughts and make spiritual progress.

In short, morality is imposed on a person by the society. The sense of ethics is natural to the person. An imposition of morality suppresses the natural sense of ethics of the person and conditions his thinking.

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Grace

The mechanical element is the predictability of things and associations according to existing conditioning.

The true spiritual element is the unpredictability of the appearance and disappearance of things and associations. It is this unpredictability of the spiritual element that is interpreted by humans as the “grace of god”.

But, like any dichotomy, “spiritual and mechanical” form the two ends of the same graduated scale. In other words, these concepts are relative to each other.

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BIBLE: MATTHEW (Chapter 2)

[NOTE: I present here my interpretation and understanding of some of the religious texts.  I apologize ahead of time if my presentation does not quite agree with the traditional interpretation. I welcome any discussion and consequent correction.]

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BIBLE: MATTHEW (Chapter 2)

Verses 1 to 12 narrate the renown of Jesus right at his birth as the king of Jews. This summoned wise men from the East (by means of a new star) to worship him. It also alarmed King Herod of Judea.

Verses 13 to 18 narrate that Joseph, the father of Jesus, realized that Jesus was in danger. So, he, with his family, moved to Egypt. When King Herod heard of this escape, he ordered all boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity, who were two years old and under, to be killed.

Verses 19 to 21 narrate that when Joseph found out that King Herod had died, he returned to the district of Galilee, and settled in a town called Nazareth.         

A close up of a map

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Judea and the district of Galilee

This account emphasizes magical events, stark portrayal of evil, and fulfilling of earlier prophecies. Believers may take this story to be factual, which in their mind, adds to the mystique and, therefore, divinity of Jesus. Here we are seeing a viewpoint that is operating in mystery. It has a tendency to equate mystery with divinity.

From Wikipedia:

“Most modern biographers of Herod, and probably a majority of biblical scholars, dismiss Matthew’s story as an invention. Contemporary non-biblical sources, including Herod’s friend and personal historian, Nicolas of Damascus, provide no corroboration for Matthew’s account of the massacre, and it is not mentioned in the Gospel of Luke. Classical historian Michael Grant states “[t]he tale is not history but myth or folk-lore”, while Peter Richardson notes that the story’s absence from the Gospel of Luke and the accounts of Josephus “work[s] against the account’s accuracy”. Richardson suggests that the event in Matthew’s gospel was inspired by Herod’s murder of his own sons.”

As an overview, the wisdom taught by Jesus is wonderful and it speaks for itself. The question arises, “Why must such mystique be attached to Jesus?”

In my opinion, it may have been difficult for the Church to convey the wisdom of Jesus to illiterate people. So, mystique was added to attract attention. This seems to be the case with all religions in general.

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BIBLE: MATTHEW (Chapter 1)

[NOTE: I present here my interpretation and understanding of some of the religious texts.  I apologize ahead of time if my presentation does not quite agree with the traditional interpretation. I welcome any discussion and consequent correction.]

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BIBLE: MATTHEW (Chapter 1)

Verses 1 to 17 of this chapter trace the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham.

Abraham is the common patriarch of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In Judaism, importance of Abraham comes from a narrative in which God revealed himself to Abraham and made a covenant with him. In Christianity, Abraham is the prototype of all believers, Jewish or Gentile. In Islam Abraham is seen as a link in the chain of prophets that begins with Adam and culminates in Muhammad.

From wisdom point of view, the importance of Abraham comes for his spiritual insights from God. As remarked in BIBLE: GENESIS (Part 1):

  1. Heaven and earth are an extension of God because creator and creation cannot be separated from each other.
  2. God is not a human like beingness. It is rather a deep abstract principle describing order precipitating from chaos.

Therefore, we shall simply say that the importance of Abraham comes his own spiritual insights. There is nothing more mysterious about it.

Verse 18 talks about mother of Jesus, Mary, being pregnant through Holy Spirit. The word HOLY comes from the idea of being whole. The word SPIRIT originally referred to breathing or to life. Therefore, “Holy Spirit” refers to the very essence of life. The process of becoming pregnant and producing a baby is the very essence of life. It is looked upon as a miracle even today. This is indeed sacred. The Church gives it a special significance with regards to the birth of Jesus and makes it a matter of faith peculiar to Christianity.

Verse 20 talks about angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph. This is essentially Joseph having a realization about the ethical thing to do, but the Church again adds mystery to it.

We see in this chapter mystery and belief being entered into a human narrative to give it a special significance. The believers in this mystery may argue, but there is no more significance to it from the point of view of wisdom. Wisdom is what we need to apply in our daily lives to advance spiritually.

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