Friday, September 18, 2015

A Discussion with a Hindu

In response to my comments on article Which Quran, Mecca or Medina?, Mr G asked: 
Sorry I disagree with some of this. Why should there be a limitation on the numbers of prophets. Furthermore , when God comes into this world and gives his message, his message takes precedence over the messages of all the prophets. Since Arabia was a violent society when Mohammed appeared and gave his message, we can accept him as a prophet. However, recently in India we had a prophet by name Chaitanya and gave the dharma for the entire Iron Age. His gave the Mahamantra or congregational chanting of holy name of Krishna as the means of deliverance of the souls. There was a Muslim in Bengal who became his devotee and adopted the chanting of the holyname. You are welcome to do more research on Chaitanya .

My reply: Of course we disagree, which is why we profess different faiths. It is important to ask the questions we have, so that there is some clarity.
According to the Quran, God cannot be seen by mortals, and thus conveys His message indirectly, as stated in this verse:
[Quran 42:51, Translator: Pickthall] And it was not (vouchsafed) to any mortal that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation or from behind a veil, or (that) He sendeth a messenger to reveal what He will by His leave. Lo! He is Exalted, Wise.
We also believe that God will come, but that will be when our brief respite on Earth is over, as indicated by this verse:
[Quran 2:210, Translator: Pickthall] Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels? Then the case would be already judged. All cases go back to Allah (for judgment).
We believe that there will be no more prophets after Muhammad (may peace be upon him) as it is stated in this verse:
[Quran 33:40, Translator: Pickthall] Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah is ever Aware of all things. 

Mr G responds: If the Almighty God decides to come unto earth no man can stop him coming into the earth. 500 years ago there was a similar conversation between Akbar and Birbal and Akbar finally had to accept that God can come if he want.
BG 9:11
Avajanthi hi Maam Mudha
Manushim Tanum Ashritam
Param bhavam ajananto
Mama butha Maheshwaram.
Translation :
Fools deride me when I descend in the human form. They do not know my transcendental nature and my supreme dominion over all that be. 

My response: Almighty God can and does do whatever He decides to do.
The verse is simply informing us why the Almighty God does not. He has given us a brief respite in mortal form so that we can earn His forgiveness before Judgement Day is established. Last few verses of Chapter 33 of the Quran inform us why we must be judged, and why we must seek forgiveness. 

Mr G states: Just because he is in mortal form he is not a mortal, this is what the BG verse is clearly saying. 

My response: Perhaps I'm not explaining clearly... 
We humans have been given mortal form for our brief respite on Earth by Allah (the Deity, the one and only God that we Muslims believe there is).  
Allah has not bestowed on the mortal form the ability to see Allah. 
Hence, Allah does not allow us to see Him. 
Therefore, Allah speaks to us indirectly through revelation and prophets. 

I have read some excerpts of the Vedas long time ago and thought that it was very similar to the teachings of Quran and Torah. Bhagavad Gita seems different. 
1) How similar or different you find the teachings of the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita? 
2) If they contradict each other, which Book do you hold more sacred? 
3) Which teachings do you follow? 
4) Do most Hindus also believe as per your answers to the above three questions, or is the popular faith different from your faith?  

Mr. G replied: Bhagavadgita supersedes all the Vedas. It is the supreme teaching of God himself. To know God you will need divine vision when he descends on earth. There are no such restrictions as God can not descend on planet earth . We believe he can descend on earth primarily for two reasons. One to annihilate the miscreants and establish dharma or religion and another to protect his devotees.

My question: What is the origin of all the Vedas? 

Mr. G replied: Just like Quran, these are considered divine revelations received by various sages in bygone era. At least they are from 3000 to 2090 BCE. 

My question: Who is Brahma and who is Om? Are they demigods if Krishna is Supreme God?  

Mr. G replied: Brahma a demigod who is the chief engineer within the material universe. Krishna talks about material world as well as spiritual world in Bhagavadgita (BG). I will use this acronym going forward. Brahms created the first Adam and Eve in Hindu cosmic world. Om is a sacred sound.

My query regarding the answer that 'Bhagavadgita supersedes all the Vedas.': 
Please see the following excerpts from Is this information incorrect? 

The Sanskrit word for philosophy is darsan or 'seeing', which implies that Hinduism is not based merely on intellectual speculation but is grounded upon direct and immediate perception. This, in fact, distinguishes Indian philosophy from much of Western philosophical thought. The oldest and most important scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas, which contain inspired utterances of seers and sages, who had achieved a direct perception of the divine being. The Vedas are considered to be eternal, because they are not merely superb poetic composition but represent the divine truth itself as perceived through the elevated consciousness of great seers. 

In general, Hindu scriptures may be classified into two divisions: Sruti scriptures and Smriti scriptures. 

Sruti in Sanskrit means "that which is heard." Thus the Vedas are the eternal truths that the Vedic seers, called rishis, are said to have heard during their deep meditations. The Vedas are not considered the works of the human mind, but an expression of what has been realized through intuitive perception by Vedic rishis, who had powers to see beyond the physical phenomena. As such, Vedas are considered of divine origin. The Vedic truths were originally transmitted by the rishis to their disciples over thousands of years. At a later date, these were compiled by Sage Vyasa for the benefit of future generations. India's teachings are not speculative. They are based on divine revelations. Indeed, the revelations are so cosmic that they approach more closely the findings of physics and astronomy than the pious pronouncements of preachers. The rishis made claims so cosmic that even modern physics seems only to be catching up with them and realizing, after every scientific breakthrough, that the ancients were there long before them. Sruti include the Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) and the Bhagavad Gita. The Vedas are the primary scriptures of Hinduism. Each of the four Vedas consists of four parts: Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads. 

Smriti means "that which is remembered." Smriti scriptures are derived from the Vedas and are considered to be of human origin and not of divine origin. They were written to explain and elaborate the Vedas, making them understandable and more meaningful to the general population. All authoritative writings outside the Vedas are collectively referred to as Smriti. Smriti inlcude the Dharma Shastras, Nibhandas, Puranas, The Epics, Agamas or Tantras, Darshanas and Vedangas (Upa Vedas). According to Alain Danielou distingused Orientalist, " The Puranas provide genealogies, which go back to the sixth millennium B.C. E.  and are probably largely authentic. The stories and descriptions of the various regions of the earth and the various civilizations living on the "seven continents" provide priceless documentation on the world's oldest civilization."

The Smriti are considered the secondary scriptures of Hinduism. These scriptures are classified in the following diagram:

Classification of Major Scriptures

Note: Each of the four Vedas consists of four parts: Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranykas, and Upanishads.

The Bhagavad Gita is a part of the Epics (The Mahabharata).
(image source: The Hindu Mind - By Bansi Pandit).

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