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  The Source of Bias against Hindus – Part II  


By: George Thundiparambil, Germany
May 26, 2003

The Vedas and the Original Sin

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The Source of Bias against
Hindus - Part II George Thundiparambil
The Source of Bias against Hindus - Part I George Thundiparambil
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Since the publication of "The Source of Bias against Hindus" at IndiaCause, I came to know more of the affront to the Indian community and also of the depths which western and Indian "secular" academicians traverse just to paint a miserable picture of Indian culture and religion. Many of my readers responded, among them some Indian Christians who, I discern from their aggressive postures, probably were taken aback by my calling Christianity fundamentally flawed. I accept that they have every right to question my claim on civilized terms and conditions. One of those readers even seemed to have doubts about which ‘Hindus’ I was referring to; probably a veiled finger pointed at the several ‘jathis’ making up the fabric of Hindu society, or an attempt to make a distinction between Vedic Hindus and others. To such of my readers, I would recommend www.hindu.org and www.atributetohinduism.com for a good start on coming to know who is a Hindu, and what is Hinduism. For the benefit of my readers who are shocked by the charge of the basic flaw in Christianity, I must explain a bit more, but after planting both my legs firmly on this blessed earth.

We start from the basic premise that we are all human beings regardless of religious beliefs and practices. Human beings are distinct from other organic beings in this world by the characteristic of abstract reasoning. We come to know what is happening light years away or at the sub-atomic level through abstract reasoning. That is to say, at the basic level, humans can be defined as that specie distinguished by reasoning, or in other words, the ones who think. The real history of humans is the history of thought. The Rig-Veda is the first human literature, and thereby forms the genesis of human thought. In biological terms, it marks the birth of the human gene. Humans expect things to happen as they think how it will happen, because every progress that they have made was won by reasoning based on experience. Every technical progress that humankind has made came to us through the age-old process called trial-and-error. The same stands for spiritual progress. When something happens contrary to experience, humans panic. Adi-Sankara has told us to reject the scriptures and not experience when they contradict each other, for which act the great acharya was excommunicated from his own Namboothiri ‘jathi’ by its foolish leaders. The acharya has further told us that scriptures are something to be understood literally and not to be interpreted, and that’s how the verity of a text can ever be verified.

An Indian Christian who lives in America writes to me after reading my article: "The Christians do know for sure, that Christianity is not just a religion, it’s a way of life, and the only sure way to heaven. And for that reason and because of the great commission given by Jesus himself, we the Christians do want the people from other religions to know this truth and accept Christ as their saviour. This truth needs to be heard and accepted by even the so-called "liberal Christians", who compromise the word of God and believe in "all religions are same" or "all Gods are equal" theories, which is a lie and many other half truths."

The Rig-Veda says, "Truth is one, but sages call it by various names." Therefore, the Christian quoted above calls the Hindu scriptures a "lie". I am not mentioning this to inflame passions, but to spur thinking and examine the two opposing statements which make up the basic characteristics of two religions. The Christian position is: "Jesus is the only truth." Evidently, Jesus is not the ‘truth’ that Rig-Veda is talking about, or he wouldn’t be unique. As human beings, we are made equal by the sword of reason. We cannot accept both to be valid. Therefore we will proceed to examine further.

The Christian statement is the challenger to the former, not the least in a chronological sense. The Rig-Vedic statement existed before Jesus made his claim as the unique ‘truth’. So it is up to the challenger to prove himself, because experientially speaking, it is not every day that somebody pops up and claims to have the monopoly on truth.

The said Christian correspondent writes further: "No religion, other than Christianity, promises a sure way to heaven, and no person other than Jesus himself has claimed to be God or God's son."

So, the claim is that Jesus is unique because he is the "son of God" and has "promised a sure way to heaven".

(Intellectually, one can argue for the case of one god with the same reasons that can be applied to argue for the case of a multitude of gods, not to mention the existence of numerous devils. It may also be proved that a god could have a son, if at all the existence of a god could be proved, but it is another matter to prove that he could have only one son. One can also argue that there is neither god nor devil, because we have no material evidence outside books.)

The crux of Christian theology is the concept of ‘original sin’. If there is no ‘original sin’, Jesus Christ is a paper saviour. From what does he save us, if not from the ‘original sin’? The Christian belief is that humans are convicted to fiery hell from their origins and one needs to baptise and come into the grace of the son of god in order to circumvent this punishment and gain eternal life in heaven. (We are not concerned here with Christians who do not believe in Jesus as a saviour from original sin, or as the son of god, because then that Jesus is not unique and thereby do not challenge the Rig-Vedic statement.) So, we’ll have a close look at this enigmatic ‘original sin’ and how it came to be.

Having had the saviour, it was tough going for the early fathers of Christianity to decide on what exactly was the ‘original sin’ from which their saviour had saved them. After internecine battles, each calling the other heretic, everyone settled for the authority of Paul, the writer of the ‘Epistles’ in the New Testament. He points out that the ‘original sin’ is the "disobedience of one man", which alludes to Adam’s rejection of the ’Lord God’s’ command to avoid the "fruit of the tree of knowledge", and which offence is alleged to have become binding to the whole human specie. I shall illustrate the sequence from the Bible, so that one can judge for oneself with total objectivity.

  1. "And the ‘Lord God’ commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." – Genesis 2 : 16-17.

  2. "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die; For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." – Genesis 3 : 4-5

  3. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." – Genesis 3 : 6

  4. "And the eyes of them both were opened . . . ." – Genesis 3 : 7

  5. "And the ‘Lord God’ said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. . . .So he drove out the man . . . " – Genesis 3 : 22-24

(The biblical quotes are all from the King James Version)

The "knowledge of good and evil" comprises the whole range of knowledge.

Statement 1 is made by the ‘Lord God’, the supposed father of Jesus.

Statement 2 is made by a serpent who is portrayed as an antagonist of the ‘Lord God’. Statements both 1 and 2 pertain to the same topic, but are opposing prognoses of the effect of eating the forbidden fruit.

Statement 3 indicates that the woman proceeded to pluck and eat the fruit after making an evaluation for herself, like any other woman who would go to an orchard and pick fruit, eat and then share it with others.

Statement 4 affirms that the statement-2 prognosis is correct with regard to the effect of eating the forbidden fruit and endorses the serpent’s version as the correct one.

Statement 5 which is a statement made by the ‘Lord God’ himself, once again endorses the view of the serpent and he "drove out the man" so that he does not eat the fruit of the tree of life and live forever. From this admission of the ‘Lord God’, it is apparent that without eating the fruit of knowledge, it would be impossible to reach for the fruit of life and live an eternal life. Unwittingly, he also admits that he is only "one of us", which means he is "one" of many "gods".

Before we examine whether the human act constitutes a disobedience, we have to understand the circumstances (the setup) which created it, so that we can relate to it in order to judge it. It means that we have to compare it with something already existing prior to that. We have to evaluate the dramatic setup with the scale of our prior experience in order to make head or tails out of a truly bizarre scenario.

The said Christian correspondent writes in the same letter, "When God created man, evil was already present."

The "evil" the correspondent speaks about is the serpent who was already existent, when the ‘Lord God’ was manufacturing humans, and who divulged information to the woman, the verity of which is endorsed by its opponent the ‘Lord God’ himself (statement 5). Therefore, in order to truly understand the ‘original sin’ setup, we have to identify and place the serpent in our consciousness, because it was already existent prior to the genesis of ‘original sin’. That is, it was already existing in human consciousness. It means we have to look in prior scriptures.

So, we look at the Vedas which was existing prior to the advent of the Bible.

‘Adi-Sesha’, which means the ‘serpent of the primal age’, is an appellation of Siva.

As a symbol, the serpent is Siva’s ornament.

Siva is addressed by the term Jnanamurti – the embodiment of knowledge.

Siva is the singular god who grants immortality ("fruit of eternal life") to his devotees (see Markandeya-purana for identity of messages: "Ye shall not surely die" of statement 2).

See the two quotes on Knowledge from the Vedas:

"May us guru and sishya be together blessed by the one that is jnanaswarupa (substantiated knowledge). Let him nourish and animate both of us with the exalted fruit which is called knowledge." – Kadopanishad

"O Sathakritho, if you, kind as you are, desire to bestow happiness on us, please let us be gifted with the most auspicious wealth of jnana (knowledge)."Sama Veda, verse 173

From experience, we find that the Genesis of the Bible is an attack on the already existing concepts such as Knowledge (as "auspicious wealth") and Siva (as a spiritual symbol). We also find that the motivation for this attack is the ’Lord God’s’ animosity against human beings whose quest for eternal life had to be thwarted one way or the other, and towards this purpose, he lies.

The ‘original sin’ of the human beings is the consumption of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In any secular court of law, this act cannot be proved to be disobedience, since the ’Lord God’ lied about the effect of consumption of the fruit, and his bogus command in the first place was made with an ulterior motive. Now we have a new concept on our hands based on a false assumption; a whole specie condemned for eternity because their ancestral mother exercised her essence of ‘thinking’ and defied a god who lied about a certain fruit. Any system of thought based on an illusory concept is itself fundamentally flawed. In Christian theology, this problem is cunningly circumvented by making the ‘Lord God’, the culprit himself, the Supreme Judge. In every discussion, therefore, he has the last word.

It is also very clear that the charge of ‘original sin’ is baseless, unwarranted and engineered to create havoc among human beings by suppressing their very essence of ‘thinking’. If one cannot accept this spurious ‘original sin’ posited by Christians, there is no room for any Jesus Christ. When somebody puts forward a case, there should be some evidence that backs it up, and that evidence has to stand up to human experience and logic. "If fifty million people speak a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing" – Bertrand Russel.

The uniqueness of Indian civilization derives from her heart and soul – the Vedic thought – that redeems the very essence of humanity from the stranglehold of ignorance. Have a look at the English word ‘good’ from which the term ‘god’ is derived. It is derived from the Sanskrit ‘gadh’ (to hold fast) which again is derived from the root ‘dhri’ (that which holds), just as the word ‘dharma’ is. The existence of the concepts projected by ashtaguna (octet of positive excellences) before the appearance of the Bible redeems humanity from the charge of original evil. Hear the Dalai Lama, a representative of a religion older than Christianity, speak on this topic: "I believe that the basic or underlying nature of human beings is gentleness." (The Essence of Happiness, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 2001.)

The true greatness of the Vedas is that it provides a basic philosophy (intellectual muscle) to the natural spiritual expressions and spiritual evolution of humanity in all its hues and creates a harmony in chaos. It teaches us, no matter who we are, to perceive divinity in everything on this earth and beyond. Every form of spiritual exercise is equally valid and as good as any other. This is the hallmark of Vedic thought and forms the source of tolerance which distinguishes Hinduism and the Indian culture from every other religion and culture. This is the actual spiritual democracy, and not the freedom to convert others as argued by Christianity.

Essentially, there is no 'sin' included in Hinduism, let alone an 'original sin'. It is natural for humans to make mistakes that have a potential to harm other beings (not just humans), which are mentioned as paapa-karma. But mistakes are no 'sins' and occur due to ignorance. But once the ignorance is removed, the mistake doesn't repeat. On the other hand, an act of "charity" (such as the ’Lord God’s’ command) with an ulterior motive is a misdemeanour, because that is definitely unnatural, and it is what we in the civilized world call a ‘fraud’. Acts qualify according to the motivation.

If one looks at the western civilization, inspite of all the progress it has made in matters of technology and a certain refinement in polity that can be discerned in affairs within its own boundaries, its interactions with other countries and peoples consist of bullying, coercive methods and naked aggression. What I am suggesting is that the western civilization has not progressed from the days of savagery because of its dominance by Christian ideals. And the root problem that I can see standing in the way between the Christian West and real progress is the concept of 'original sin' and the phenomenal guilt it breeds. Voltaire was persecuted by Christians for his view that humans were basically good.

The Christian West dominates the world by sheer force and economic power alone, and not by the intellect, nor by its secular ideals of democracy and liberty. All the brainpower invested in the west is reduced to the strengthening of these two aspects – force and money. As an example, the power wielded by the US over its enemies as well as its allies consists purely of force and money. The moment the US loses these two instruments of power, they are worth as much as the contents of a garbage bag. This is true of all the western countries in varying grades, and now by the sheer dominance of its practitioners, this philosophy is being followed by non-Christian countries and is becoming, if it hasn't already become, a well-established norm in world affairs.

Christians deify power, the great symbol being the bearded father sitting in heaven eternally punishing and rewarding. True to "thy kingdom come on earth", one may see this ‘punishing and rewarding’ principle active in western international relations with respect to their enemies and allies. As such, the Christian West can never be objective especially where the non-baptised are involved, nor be spiritually progressive as long as it is in the clutches of this bearded father in heaven. Believing in a religion based on a malevolent and imaginary concept, whose very existence is founded on an attack on the Vedas (Knowledge) itself, how can a Christian be tolerant of Hinduism?

In Sivanandalahari, Adi-Sankara addresses Siva as: "O bestower of happiness and the embodiment of all goodness."

2  Ashtaguna – Bhoothadaya (compassion), Kshama (toleration), Anasooya (transcendence of envy), Shaucham (hygiene), Anayasam (tranquility), Mangalam (benediction), Akaarpanyam (generosity) and Aspriha (transcendence of desire for reward).

Note that this principle doesn’t apply to orthodox Christianity, since it is negated by its claim of uniqueness.

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Previous articles by:
George Thundiparambil

The Source of Bias against Hindus April 09, 2003


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