Often these days in debates on religion and violence, it is not uncommon to hear statements like “all religions are equally bad” (or equally good). I contest this apologetic statement which is designed to reduce pressure from religions to wean themselves away from terrorism and violent value systems. I also propose case that all ‘indic religions’ (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism) have value systems that encourage “seeking” as opposed to “being told” about revealed divine laws — thus inculcating an ability to accept dissent and engage in debate for spiritual growth and learning. This is opposite of how Abrahamic religions’ value systems are designed —they dictate to the individual, revealed inviolate laws of the creator via his prophets and as captured in usually one holy book.
India has its ethos rooted in a rather liberal idea of God. At the root of Hinduism is is an idea of a ‘Brahman’ which cannot be translated to God in English. The idea of Brahman is that of a certain ‘consciousness’ that pervades all that we see manifest in the Universe (and is the cause for all that exists). With this idea it was easy for the Rg Vedic seers to proclaim — “Truth is ONE; Sages call ‘it’ by many names”. Said in other words, “just as all rivers lead to the ocean, all religions lead to the same Creator”. “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti”: Truth is one, sages call it by various names. This is the central theme based on which has the entire foundation of the Indian civilization, it’s endless religions and sects, and it’s culture been built. This is a “core value” system tha
Forgive me, Oh, Shiva, my three paap! I came on a pilgrimage to Kashi forgetting that you are omnipresent. In thinking about you I forgot that You are beyond thought. In praying to You I forgot that You are beyond words. Adi Shankaracharya The injunctions from Judaism, Christianity and Islam forbid “graven images” in which a key distinction is made between the concept of a “creator” who is transcendent, separate and distinct from “His” creation. All “worship” is reserved for the creator alone; it is a serious offense to worship anything other than the creator. This leads to iconoclasm, literally. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, for instance, was no random act of vandalism. It was duly authorized by the Supreme Court of the Islamic government of Afghanistan constitute
In his speech at the UN, while appealing for instating such a day, Prime Minister Modi’s reference to yoga was made in the context of climate change and going back to basics. He said: “Yoga … embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise, but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change.” Yoga as a way of life to ‘heal the planet’ may appear far-fetched at first glance. But in his speech, Modi had tried to take yoga from a form of physical exercise to a way of life, a spiritual philosophy. He is n