Hinduism is sophisticated yet simple!

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Reply Sun 6 Sep, 2009 01:37 am
Hi all,
As an outsider, I am gaining a healthy respect for this old and ancient religion. (earlier known as the sanatan dharma).

I used to be dismissive of this religion as i was bred and raised as a christian. What with its 33 crores (1 crore = 10 million) deities, gods and goddesses, no authorities, naked babas, mysticism, tantricism etc. And again, what with its mythologies - appearing totally out of tune with todays logic and times.

If one study hinduism and its theories, we will be surprised to know how simple it is inside. While on the exterior, it looks so complicated or, by a diffrenet perspective, quite sophisticated.
note: sophistication may not be the right word, but still i would prefer it.

For e.g. The Hindu temples in south India, is adorned and replete with architectural sophistication, symbolism and sculpturistic (so to say). Yet on the inside is a simple sanctum having an image or a stone. I find this very interesting.
 
salima
 
Reply Sun 6 Sep, 2009 08:43 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
hi jack-
i have read that some dont consider hinduism to be a religion at all but a way of life. the forms it takes among most people i have met here are the simplest imaginable as you say-and i have yet to meet anyone who has read anything higher than the bhagvad gita. and that too they would rather watch on television-but it is true with most religions that the members dont really understand the highest meaning within the simple rituals.

what is see also is that as soon as someone is introduced to the rest of the world they seem to become agnostic or atheist-it is my guess that hinduism has millions of followers that are in name only, with no faith or belief. education alone isnt enough to have an effect, because their education includes their customs and traditions.

they do have authorities, unfortunately. there are poor people who have to pay pundits to read something over their relatives' dead bodies before they believe they will have any peace after death. i lived among some wealthy people who (like their peers) were giving away huge sums to pundits to 'bless' their houses, stores, business endeavors, child's marriage, etc.

sorry, i dont mean to be negative. but i feel that all religions would be helpful if they were only understood by the people who believe in them. and i dont know of any religion that doesnt suffer from this problem.
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 6 Sep, 2009 09:37 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;88419 wrote:
Hi all,
As an outsider, I am gaining a healthy respect for this old and ancient religion. (earlier known as the sanatan dharma).


Hi,

I also enjoy studying Eastern philosophies/religions. Most of all I enjoy trying to find the essence. Like all philosophies/religions, Hinduism is subject to many interpretations based upon personal experiences. Here is one interpretation that resonates with me, since it bears similarities to Daoism.

Hinduism - Cosmos

1) Hinduism is quite simple: Brahman(the "creator" god) IS his creation. The cosmos is not so much a creation, but more an emanation from him. His essence lies in all created objects, including human beings. This means that the multiplicity of the cosmos--with all its gods, goddesses, humans, animals, and other beings and objects--is actually a unity; it is one divine being.

This is strikingly similar to my own ideas that everything evolves out of center of Consciousness, which is also very similar to the Doaist concept that Yin/Yang and Qi all evolved out of the Dao. And everything evolved out of these basic forms and energy.

2) For the part of Hinduism rooted in the Vedas that views life as good, the human problem is how to enjoy life, or, more precisely, how to enjoy one's lives. Since the samsarasystem continually causes people to be reborn after their deaths, every life should be lived to maximize one's enjoyment both in the present life and in future lives.

This I would consider the Yang side of Hinduism. The desire and enjoyment of each Individual Consciousness to explore, learn, create, and share with others (itself).

3) The part of Hinduism that views life as bad defines the human problem in a different way. Since life is not a good experience, many lives are definitely not pleasant. The problem therefore is how to stop living. A person could kill themselves of course, but that would only cause a rebirth. The problem is obviously how to get out of the system of samsara, how to die without being reborn. The solution is to gain moksha, namely, release. The simple characterization of this goal is for a person to realize the true nature of the cosmos. That is, they must come to the understanding, with every fiber of their being, that atman and Brahman are one and the same. The key is to realize this with "every fiber of their being"; head knowledge does not count.

This I would consider the Yin or frustration part of Hinduism, which is similar in form to Buddhism. The recognition, as in any game, that in order to learn one must encounter problems, obstacles, and frustrations in not being able to find what one is after.

Putting it this simply, in a very tight interpretation of the Hindu cosmos, may be too much simplification. But, it does relate very closely to Daoism and Buddhism, which seems reasonable to me.

Rich
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 04:56 am
@richrf,
Hi rich

Like salima pointed out, and by an interpretation of a supreme court judge, hinduism can be best described as a way of life. In the formal sense of the term Religion it does not fit in. However, some scholars and a few dictionaries do mean Religion as a way of life.

Let me give some clarifications: On Hinduism ( earlier known as the sanatan dharma) I wish not to go into its core philosophical contentions, but would rather stick to what may be called as its externalities.

The religion (lets call it one for easier purpuses) is quite extra ordinary, comparatively speaking. No other religion, even considering other eastern philosophies has such a vast system of knowledge, mythology, custom and rituals, and varied interpretation of life in general. It has an extra ordinary collection of philosophical pursuits and followers of such persuausions following different rituals and rites under the common belief that they are all hindus, and believing, more importantly, that they are following a Hindu way of life.

richrf;88474 wrote:
Most of all I enjoy trying to find the essence. Like all philosophies/religions,


You are a true philosopher.

richrf;88474 wrote:
Hinduism is subject to many interpretations based upon personal experiences. Here is one interpretation that resonates with me, since it bears similarities to Daoism.


I have little idea of Daoism, but i would like to point out, that a sizeable bit of philosophies ( and most of the eastern philosophies) has proliferated out of India, having its core philosophies based on the Vedic scriptures.


richrf;88474 wrote:
Brahman(the "creator" god) IS his creation. The cosmos is not so much a creation, but more an emanation from him. His essence lies in all created objects, including human beings. This means that the multiplicity of the cosmos--with all its gods, goddesses, humans, animals, and other beings and objects--is actually a unity; it is one divine being.


You have caught the idea very well. Although i should say that the interpretaion of what Brahman is, also has differnt and slightly varying meanings within the belief system.

richrf;88474 wrote:
And everything evolved out of these basic forms and energy.


I am also inclined to such understandings, more or a little less.

richrf;88474 wrote:
Since the samsarasystem continually causes people to be reborn after their deaths, every life should be lived to maximize one's enjoyment both in the present life and in future lives.


The samsara system or the Karma philosophy is a very sophisticated knowledge/concept system. I have certain reservation about its aspects. But lets leave that aside for a while.


richrf;88474 wrote:
3) The part of Hinduism that views life as bad defines the human problem in a different way. Since life is not a good experience, many lives are definitely not pleasant. The problem therefore is how to stop living. A person could kill themselves of course, but that would only cause a rebirth. The problem is obviously how to get out of the system of samsara, how to die without being reborn. The solution is to gain moksha, namely, release. The simple characterization of this goal is for a person to realize the true nature of the cosmos. That is, they must come to the understanding, with every fiber of their being, that atman and Brahman are one and the same. The key is to realize this with "every fiber of their being"; head knowledge does not count.


Your choice of words is not how exactly i would put it. But by the end of your para, the menaing you convey is fairly accurate with regards to the philosophy we are discussing.


richrf;88474 wrote:
Putting it this simply, in a very tight interpretation of the Hindu cosmos, may be too much simplification. But, it does relate very closely to Daoism and Buddhism, which seems reasonable to me.


You are right. It seems simplified. But you need congratulations, because the eseence of communication is simplification. And since you were able to acheive it in such a small space is credible, and shows a good grasp of the subject.

As far as the relation is concerned, all major philosophical pursuits has its roots in the vedic system. Thanks
 
richrf
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 08:08 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades;88660 wrote:
Hi rich

As far as the relation is concerned, all major philosophical pursuits has its roots in the vedic system. Thanks


Hi,

I wouldn't be surprised at all. It would be interesting to trace back the roots of the vedic system. It would not surprise me at all the the ancient vedic system was the source of the shared core ideas as Daoism and Buddhism.

Thanks for your comments.

Rich
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 08:16 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
I've read a great deal of Hindu texts, including several translations of the Bhagavad Gita, the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, and much of the Mahabharata.

I wouldn't call Hinduism, to the extent I understand it, a "way of life" any more so than Judaism or Christianity is to a daily practicioner of it. But it is certainly anything but one uniform religion -- you have everything from highly abstract conceptions of the Brahman all the way to Shinto-like worship of individual deities --- and everything in between. It's highly heterogeneous, and what else could you expect in a nation so large and populous and historically and geographically diverse?
 
salima
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 09:36 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;88701 wrote:
I've read a great deal of Hindu texts, including several translations of the Bhagavad Gita, the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, and much of the Mahabharata.

I wouldn't call Hinduism, to the extent I understand it, a "way of life" any more so than Judaism or Christianity is to a daily practicioner of it. But it is certainly anything but one uniform religion -- you have everything from highly abstract conceptions of the Brahman all the way to Shinto-like worship of individual deities --- and everything in between. It's highly heterogeneous, and what else could you expect in a nation so large and populous and historically and geographically diverse?


it is claimed that there is a way of interpreting and following hinduism for Everyman, from the illiterate to the scholar, poor man to the wealthy. even room to accommodate thieves, who pray to their deities for successful crimes. but i see every religion as having the same potential, that of interpreting it in the simplest to the most complex concepts. and i also believe that the highest understanding of all religions points to one truth.
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 7 Sep, 2009 04:47 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.
Mohandas Gandhi
The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.
Mohandas Gandhi
I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world.
Mohandas Gandhi
We are all God's children, brothers and sisters,
Mohandas Gandhi
God is, even though the whole world deny him. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.
Mohandas Gandhi
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Mohandas Gandhi
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Tue 8 Sep, 2009 12:28 am
@Aedes,
Aedes;88701 wrote:
-- you have everything from highly abstract conceptions of the Brahman all the way to Shinto-like worship of individual deities --- and everything in between. It's highly heterogeneous, and what else could you expect in a nation so large and populous and historically and geographically diverse?


The beauty in diversity is the essence of a fruitful living on earth. That goes as much for humans as it is for animals, i think.

The point here, i suppose is not what else could one expect, but that of a sense of excitement while wanting to celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment of acheiving unity in spite of the diversity. Lets compare. The diversity which we see is no way different to the diversity of culture, language, ethnicity which we see in the European continent. But we see, and history recorsd that Europe was and is divided at several fronts. Yes the Euro is, admittedly a good example of monetary unity, but nothing else.

Strangely, however, In India, even after the invasions of muslim and christian groups, having a completely diffrent view-point of life and its intracacies, the integrity of the nation remains as one single entity, if we leave aside the 1947 historical events as an exception.

The beauty of the religion is one of the factors of acheiving this kind of nationhood. More than the attraction for one's land, language, economic policies, ethnicity, culture or religion itslef, it is the liberal and democratic way of life, garbed in religious customs and rituals which, according to me is the cause of the strong belief in remaining an Hindu.

To become an Hindu, Hinduism does not impose any restrictions or rules or norms that need to be followed. Yes, the caste system imposed a social barrier, but no Hindu is forced to go to a temple, as the case is otherwise for a catholic child.

The religion is also rich in its accumulated wealth of knowldge while tackling metaphysical, physical, social, and medical systems of knowledge.

The combined knowledge systems may at first appear as incoherent, if one is only reading scriptures and myths like Mahabharata & Ramayana.

(Like gospels and parable's, these myths were designed to appeal to the common masses while diseminating the core understandings and philosphical theories in the best possible manner. Like any comunication expert and or an educationist would say, stories are the best way to communicate an idea or a moral.)

However, if one is able to decipher the Upanishads, The Geeta, The Advaita principles, and of course the four Vedas and their intrepretations, one may be able to understand the principle of life. If this understanding is acheived much of the intellectual struggle to understand life will be solved to a great extent.

In the case of Hinduism, it provides a vast system of knowldge that can be the basis for pursuing the quest for a full understanding. And the beauty is, that any person, irrespective of caste, religion, gender, age, qualification can pursue this knowldge system or philosophies by self motivation or under someone/gurus tutorship.

It allows and gives space to a vast and varied discipline's to be debated and discussed in an open and free intellectual environment. In other words a suitable environment for heterogenuity in the thought processes, - can be called as a range of intellectual ability.

There is no rigidity in the thought processes as one encounters in other religions for example in the Abrahamic religions where the notions are streamlined, and some allowance for stray thoughts are given, but no one is allowed to think from an completely different or opposite view-point or perspective.

Therefore the beauty of Hinduism lies in its essence, however contradictory and incoherent the outside structure appears to an outsider.

So, acheiving the impossible is above expectation and thats what we need to celebrate.
 
NonSum
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 06:58 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
richrf;88474 wrote:
Brahman(the "creator" god) IS his creation. The cosmos is not so much a creation, but more an emanation from him. His essence lies in all created objects, including human beings. This means that the multiplicity of the cosmos--with all its gods, goddesses, humans, animals, and other beings and objects--is actually a unity; it is one divine being.


NS: I believe that you are confusing 'Brahma' (creator god, one of the Hindu trinity) with 'Brahman' (essential Reality) who transcends both the manifest and unmanifest, including the gods. "Atman," (Self) is the essential being of each of us, as distinct from what we commonly take ourselves to be, i.e. 'jiva' (body, mind, acts). Even the gods, such as Brahma, are essentially a Self (Atman). One comes to spiritually realize that they are not a human, god, demon, etc., but a pure Self; and that, that Self is not distinct from the one Atman of all beings (solipsism). I.e. Atman IS Brahman.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 07:13 am
@NonSum,
NonSum;90289 wrote:
Even the gods, such as Brahma, are essentially a Self (Atman). One comes to spiritually realize that they are not a human, god, demon, etc., but a pure Self; and that, that Self is not distinct from the one Atman of all beings (solipsism). I.e. Atman IS Brahman.


Thanks for the clarification. It does seem very similar to other Eastern philosophies in which different aspects of the human existence are all manifestations of the same source - i.e. two sides of the same coin.

Rich
 
NonSum
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 07:40 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Hi Rich,
Yes exactly, the exoteric teaching of all the major eastern philosophic/religious traditions are very similar. But, I would include the strong esoteric 'mysticism' strain within western religions as well. Some have called Meister Eckhart (12th century RC priest) "a vendatist." Then you have the Sufis within Islam, and also some of the Hasidic teaching within Judism. The choice of terminology can vary radically, but the essential 'enlightenment religion' message spans the world's cultures, and dates back for millennia.

Plenty of mystics lurking (often undercover) in western philosophy as well, e.g. Hegel, Kant, Wittgenstein, et al.)
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 08:07 am
@NonSum,
NonSum;90298 wrote:
Hi Rich,
Plenty of mystics lurking (often undercover) in western philosophy as well, e.g. Hegel, Kant, Wittgenstein, et al.)


Hi NonSum,

My favorite recent discovery is Heraclitus. Not much left of what he wrote, but what little there is so much. And yes, Hegel must have been influenced by Eastern philosophy in some way, particularly Daoism. I originally explored Hegel and Kant before exploring Eastern philosophies.

Thanks again.

Rich
 
NonSum
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 10:54 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
I suspect Heraclitus (father of western philosophy) was in touch with the so called, "gymnosophs" ('naked philosophers,' i.e. yogis) from the east. It seems 'fathers' themselves have fathers farther east.
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 11:31 am
@NonSum,
NonSum;90346 wrote:
I suspect Heraclitus (father of western philosophy) was in touch with the so called, "gymnosophs" ('naked philosophers,' i.e. yogis) from the east. It seems 'fathers' themselves have fathers farther east.


Yes, that is my guess. I read that the city that he lived in Greece was a major center of trade with the East.

Rich
 
CygnusX1
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 11:58 am
@NonSum,
NonSum;90289 wrote:
Originally Posted by richrf
Brahman(the "creator" god) IS his creation. The cosmos is not so much a creation, but more an emanation from him. His essence lies in all created objects, including human beings. This means that the multiplicity of the cosmos--with all its gods, goddesses, humans, animals, and other beings and objects--is actually a unity; it is one divine being.

NS: I believe that you are confusing 'Brahma' (creator god, one of the Hindu trinity) with 'Brahman' (essential Reality) who transcends both the manifest and unmanifest, including the gods. "Atman," (Self) is the essential being of each of us, as distinct from what we commonly take ourselves to be, i.e. 'jiva' (body, mind, acts). Even the gods, such as Brahma, are essentially a Self (Atman). One comes to spiritually realize that they are not a human, god, demon, etc., but a pure Self; and that, that Self is not distinct from the one Atman of all beings (solipsism). I.e. Atman IS Brahman.



The Hindu position, (or one school of philosophical thought on creation), is that the whole universe, matter and non-material forms arise from Brahman, (the creator). Brahman may also be included as the prime mover in the non-theistic philosophies of Hinduism, for example Advaita, (pure non-dualism). Which attempts to explain that ALL things arise out of Brahman, and thus resolve back into Brahman - that the changing and impermanent universe, and thus time that we perceive arises out of Brahman - which is itself in a state of eternal non-change.

A Universe of change arises out of a state of non-change? a paradox? maybe not... its all about potential - does the eternal state of non-change have within, the potential for change?

Since Brahman is unknowable by our mere mortal and even supernatural notions, it is beyond comprehension or explanation, and to witness Brahman is to return to Brahman, (a state of nothingness - or always-ness, eternal bliss like non-being). Since all is Brahman (pure non-dualism), we are in fact Brahman, only we are oblivious to this nature as we only understand the universe in terms of duality and separation.

For more info regarding Advaita see Hinduism "schools of Vedanta" > http://www.hinduism.co.za/schools.htm

Here's what wiki says about Brahman..

"In the Hindu religion, Brahman (ब्रह्मन्, brahman, nominative brahma, ब्रह्म) is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this Universe.[1] The nature of Brahman is described as transpersonal, personal and impersonal by different philosophical schools. "

more here > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman

namaste _/|\_
 
richrf
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 02:00 pm
@CygnusX1,
CygnusX1;90360 wrote:
The Hindu position, (or one school of philosophical thought on creation), is that the whole universe, matter and non-material forms arise from Brahman, (the creator). Brahman may also be included as the prime mover in the non-theistic philosophies of Hinduism, for example Advaita, (pure non-dualism). Which attempts to explain that ALL things arise out of Brahman, and thus resolve back into Brahman - that the changing and impermanent universe, and thus time that we perceive arises out of Brahman - which is itself in a state of eternal non-change.


Yes, this is very much how I interpret Daoism.

Movement of the Dao, emerges out of of the Opposites of Two (Yin/Yang) and from this polarity of opposites comes the Third - Energy/Change (Qi), and from this comes the multitude.

Thanks for the background. Very nice reading.

Rich
 
NonSum
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 06:32 pm
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Hi
Cygnus: The Hindu position, (or one school of philosophical thought on creation), is that the whole universe, matter and non-material forms arise from Brahman, (the creator).

NS: The confusion between the names: Lord Brahma, creator god, and The Brahman, Reality itself, is easy to make, and easy to see why it is commonly made. But, Brahman, being alone all that is, never acts, nor changes. All actions (e.g. creation) are done by the forces of nature (prakriti), and the presiding gods are but a part of those same forces. Brahma personifies the creative aspect of nature, Vishnu the preservative aspect, and Shiva is the destructive aspect. (Aryans tend to model the world in threes, while the orient goes for twos, e.g. yin & yang.)

C: Advaita, (pure non-dualism). Which attempts to explain that ALL things arise out of Brahman, and thus resolve back into Brahman - that the changing and impermanent universe, and thus time that we perceive arises out of Brahman - which is itself in a state of eternal non-change.

NS: It is a basic tenet of Advaitism that "Brahman alone is, nothing else is." That we perceive a universe, which pulses between the 'day and night of Brahman,' is not the doing of Brahman, but of minds deluded by maya. A common Advaitist analogy is, 'mistaking a post for a man when seen in the dark.' The post has not changed into a man. It was always just a post. What changes is our imagination overlaid upon the post. Likewise non-dual Brahman, is only mistaken as a changing dualistic universe. As you say, "it is a paradox," and a paradox is 'an Apparent contradiction.'

C: Since Brahman is unknowable by our mere mortal and even supernatural notions, it is beyond comprehension or explanation

NS: "Unknowable" to the mind, but not unknowable, or there would be no such thing as 'Self-realization.' Brahman is Self-awareness Itself. Those who look to their own Self-experience, rather than their mental conceptual self-thought (ego), are directly experiencing their Atman (true Self); which is none other than the one Self of Brahman. "Tat tvum Asi" (You are That)

Have a quote from Shankara, the founder of the Advaitist school:
"Perfect knowledge is attained by an absolute discrimination between the Atman and the non-Atman. Practice discrimination between the Atman and the individual self."
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 01:21 am
@NonSum,
NonSum;90459 wrote:
Hi
NS: The confusion between the names: Lord Brahma, creator god, and The Brahman, Reality itself, is easy to make, and easy to see why it is commonly made. But, Brahman, being alone all that is, never acts, nor changes. All actions (e.g. creation) are done by the forces of nature (prakriti), and the presiding gods are but a part of those same forces. Brahma personifies the creative aspect of nature, Vishnu the preservative aspect, and Shiva is the destructive aspect. (Aryans tend to model the world in threes, while the orient goes for twos, e.g. yin & yang.)

NS: That we perceive a universe, which pulses between the 'day and night of Brahman,' is not the doing of Brahman, but of minds deluded by maya. A common Advaitist analogy is, 'mistaking a post for a man when seen in the dark.' The post has not changed into a man. It was always just a post. What changes is our imagination overlaid upon the post. Likewise non-dual Brahman, is only mistaken as a changing dualistic universe. As you say, "it is a paradox," and a paradox is 'an Apparent contradiction.'

NS: "Unknowable" to the mind, but not unknowable, or there would be no such thing as 'Self-realization.' Brahman is Self-awareness Itself. Those who look to their own Self-experience, rather than their mental conceptual self-thought (ego), are directly experiencing their Atman (true Self); which is none other than the one Self of Brahman. "Tat tvum Asi" (You are That)

"


Thanks NS
I am quite excited by your erudition about the basic entities involved in the core aspects of the Vedic philosophy. A few points :
1) The idea of Brahma is confused with the Brahman by the western world is understandable because the mistake is even committed by followers of the Hindu way of life - and those close to the heartland. There is an element of education (right knowledge) and a apparent similarity of words, although as you rightly pointed out they are two different concepts. It is natural, i suppose, or a propensity to imagine personal entities easily in our mind (The Devil in the Bible is an example) and get a form in the mind to be able to understand in this case, the creator, himself - that is the derived one.

2) The idea of Brahman is a highly evolved intellectual theory. There appears, to my limited knowldge, no parallel in the history of mankind, for a school of thought to have studied the physical nature of the cosmos, and conceptualise such an entity which, you describe as the Essential Reality. And today, we realise, including great thinkers and great scientists, perhaps using the causal principle to infer that we and the world around us are 'beings' due to the one Primeval Essence. The idea is almost a reality, today. (But who is to vouch for it?)

3) Yes, it can be said as true, that the process of so called self realisation is the path from the unknowable to the knowable. But, i have a little problem with this - to take it a little further. If you can oblige, please answer the following
a) How does self-realisation makes a Self equal to Brahman. (Atman is Brahman)
b) Even if so, how does this realisation ensure happiness or the bliss that we often hear off?

please excuse me if you find this trivial. Thanks
 
NonSum
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 06:41 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Hi Jack, Thank you for your generous words. You too seem well informed on this topic. I'm pleased, and impressed to find such rare "erudition" as I am finding here on this thread, and this site.

I totally agree with your point 1.

Modern theoretical physics, and cosmology, is well beyond my pay-grade. But, what I've read of popularizations, such as 'The Tao of Physics,' I believe you're right about about the Vedantic confirming trends in scientific explanations.

Jack: If you can oblige, please answer the following

NS: It's my pleasure to speak with anyone on this, most favorite of all, topics. I'm the one who's "obliged."

J: a) How does self-realisation makes a Self equal to Brahman. (Atman is Brahman)

NS: The common analogy is the one moon shining its reflected image into countless puddles. The puddle images do not need to be "made" into the equivalent of the moon's image; they are one and the same image, and only appear to be several and diverse. Likewise, there is only one actual Self, and that Self is the identically same Self as your true Self, my Self, your dog's Self, your dog's fleas Self, etc. IOW, Brahman is none other than You. The only way to discover Brahman is through your own direct apprehension of your true Self, i.e. Atman (i.e. Brahman as conceived to be within the individual). Once you clearly perceive "your" Atman, you come to realize that there is no real difference between Atman and Brahman.
"Subtler than the subtlest is this Self. Know the Self and Brahman
as one." (Katha Upanishad)

J: b) Even if so, how does this realisation ensure happiness or the bliss that we often hear off?

NS: "Happiness" is, of course, a relative term. Dualistically relative as compared to its opposite, and also relative to a distinct individual's emotional experience. Since the trans-personal experience of Atman-Brahman is absolute, it has nothing relative about it; neither happiness nor sadness. Both of these emotions are mental events, and You are not a cognition to be effected positively or negatively by such events.

That said, "Self-realization" is also called "liberation" (moksha), and "awakening". To be awakened in the middle of a dream of unending dreams, can have a liberating effect upon an individual that can rival being released from an endless prison sentence. But the term "bliss" is just a failed attempt to approximate what it is to live as a pure Self, rather than as an individual 'jiva' (body, mind, acts). There are no relative words for that experience. Suffice it to say, none of the liberated would swap that ongoing experience for all the happiness and bliss in the world.

"To act or to enjoy, to be dull-witted or cunning or intoxicated, to
be free or in bondage--all these are transient conditions of the
intellect. They have nothing to do with the Atman." (Shankara)
 
 

 
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