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.
- "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.
- "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
- "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
- "And the eyes of them both were opened . . . ." – Genesis 3 : 7
- "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
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
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
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."
"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,
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
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
1 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
Note that this principle doesn’t apply to orthodox Christianity,
since it is negated by its claim of uniqueness.