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About Hindu Unity
by S. ‘Vyas’
Our scriptures have many prayers to bring unity among all the people, particularly among us, the Aaryan (Hindus). Still, it is a fact that we are not sufficiently united. Most of us think that our religion is great, but we cannot defend our beliefs when challenged by non-Hindus. We show so much tolerance that we are considered foolish and coward by other cultures. We are a majority in our own homeland, and still we have no enough political power to pursue our interests. We are the largest democracy in our homeland, but we are mostly ignored in world affairs. We have suffered many holocausts, and still we are not learning from our history. The mountain Hindukush is a reminder of a great Hindu holocaust. In local language, Hindukush means a mass slaughter of Hindus. Let it remind us our history, suffering, so that we can learn from it; because when ignored, history repeats.
All these problems we have, because we were not, and are not, properly united. Evidence of this is seen in our small local community (in NM) which is a representative sample of 900 million Hindus of the world. By knowing, analyzing, and studying what is happening here, we can make a good inference as to what might be happening almost everywhere in the Hindu world. If we could come up with a workable solution, it would be useful to all Hindus of the world as well.
In a couple of religious gatherings, someone said that Shakti, Durga Ma, is the Supreme power and Krishna has no power without her. The root of power of all Gods is Durga. They said this without quoting specific scripture verses or without quoting any bonafide Hindu aacharyas. In contrast, previously someone quoted the Book of Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita, and indicated that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all other devas and devis are serving Krishna. This conflicting preaching is an example of Hindu’s dis-united condition. Many Hindu communities might be working to build temples like we have been doing locally, and all face the same problem: Which deity to choose as the Supreme deity? Or, which deity will bring more community support to the temple?
When a community gets a temple, then all kinds of preachers come to preach; and all preach different and sometimes opposite to other preachers. The surprising and sad thing is that the audience does not care to check the qualification of the preachers. Is this unity? Hardly any preacher informs the audience as to what Hindu path he/she is preaching. Do the preachers care about our unity? No one asks him/her who taught him/her what he/she is preaching. If any person on street says he/she is the President of USA, all would laugh it him, but if anyone says us Hindus that he/she is God or Goddess, we bow down to him/her and donate money, even ask for a boon sometimes. Someone shows us some magic, and we accept him/her as God. My dear Aryas, please think about these things. Are we acting smart? I think not.
Some Hindus say Vedas and scriptures have all contradictions, and so, are worthless. This then means that our religion is worthless. My guru Sri Prabhupada says that there is no contradiction in scriptures. The problem is, he says, we either are less intelligent to understand it, or no one has explained scriptures to us as they are (without contradictions.)
Let me explain our Hindu situation by an example of a crowd at a mountain valley. Suppose there is a big mountain, and all different climbers live at the valley of the mountain around it. Obviously, there are many ways to go to the top of mountain. Some ways are easy, some hare hard, some are safe, some are risky, some cost more, some cost less, some are short, some are long, some are good for one season, some are good for another season, etc.
Now suppose that only a few in the past have gone to the top, and most in the valley do not know how it is at the top, nor do they know a way to go up there. Some have chosen a way but hardly climb, and they tell others that all other paths are wrong paths. Others have chosen a way, but keep on changing ways not knowing they are changing. Some walk on many ways a little, and hence just roam in the valley. They think they are broad minded, and those few who stick to their path are narrow minded. Some have made new ways which do not go to the top but below the valley, but most followers cannot know this until too late.
Now all these guides of different paths tell the world that theirs is the only way to go to the top, and all other paths are wrong. So, these guides and their followers quarrel with other guides and followers about it, but hardy anyone climbs on their path. They do not make any effort to go up on their path, but they do all the fighting and arguing to get more people willing to walk on their paths. When you ask how it is on the top, some guides cannot give a clear idea, some give a description, and all descriptions are different.
The condition of Hindus is just like the above example. Think the people in the valley as all Hindus, the guides are all the preachers, the mountain is Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism with all its various true and false sampradayas, The top of mountain is mukti, moksha, or Vaikuntha, or akshar dham, or the Supreme God.
A solution to the above problem in my view is as follows:
A. Bhagavad Gita is known all over the world as The Book of Hinduism. It is the condensed summary of the Vedas which is the basis of Hinduism. Therefore, my dear Hindus, please accept Gita as the Book of our religion.
B. Gita describes all the various ways to get mukti or God. It also says that Bhakti yoga is the best and easiest. Bruhannarayana Purana says:
hrenaRm hrenaRm hrenaRm kevlm!
klaE naiSt @v naiSt @v
naiSt @v gitrNywa .
This means that In this Kali Yuga, Hari Nama Sankirtana is the only way for mukti or to attain God or His abode. Hari Nama Kirtana is Bhakti Yoga. Therefore, my dear Hindus, please accept Bhakti Yoga as your Sadhana.
C. Now there is one Supreme God, Krishna (Gita 15.18, 10.2, etc.,) Brahma Samhita (5.1, 5.39,) and other scriptures. and there are many devas and devis or demigods who work under the direction of Krishna. Srimad Bhagavatam 2.5.15 says:
naray[pra veda deva naray[a'gja,
naray[pra laek naray[pra moa>.
Translation by Prabhupada: “The Vedic literature and made by and are meant for the Supreme Lord, the demigods are also meant for serving the Lord as parts of His body, the different planets are also meant for the sake of the Lord, and different sacrifices are performed just to please Him.” Other cantos also indicate that Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead from Whom all other incarnations, such as, Narayana, Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Buddha, etc. have come. All these incarnations are called Vishnu tatva. Therefore, my dear Hindus, please become a devotee of Krishna or Rama or Vishnu or Narayana. That is, become a Vaishnava, not a Buddhist who does not believe in God.
D. We Hindus worship at least one of the five deities: Vishnu, Shankara, Durga, Ganesh, and Surya. So, if you cannot choose to worship Vishnu, please worship one of the other above listed demigods, but know well that no demigod is superior or equal to Vishnu/ Krishna according to Gita. Each deva or devi has special ability. Even Prabhupada prays Saraswati devi as follows:
nmSte srSvit deiv gaEr vai[ àcair[e,
He prays, “O Saraswati devi please give me ability to spread Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Krishna Consciousness in the world.” This does not mean that Krishna has no power to give vidya or gyan. It means that Krishna has appointed Saraswati specifically to give gyan and vidya. She is running the Department of Education for Krishna. With this type of understanding, we can and should joyfully worship any deva or devi that are mentioned in the scriptures (and not any man-made deva/devi, like Santoshima) with love and devotion.
E. Now, there are Gita translations by many different people, and all are different. So then, you might ask, which translation is true? Obviously all translations cannot be true, because truth is only one, lies can be many. This question is answered by Krishna Himself in Gita. Krishna says (Verse 4.3) -ae is me soa ceit
Like the above, Krishna says to Arjuna several times in Gita that He is telling Gita to him because he is a friend and devotee of Him. That is, only a devotee and friend of Krishna can understand Gita as it is originally given by Krishna. Therefore, the Gita translations by Vaishnava aacharyas, and particularly, Bhagavad Gita As It Is by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is true translation of Gita. Therefore, my dear Hindus, please read and follow this Gita only. Others have translated Gita to suit their own mentality, he says.
F. The majority of Hindus are Bhaktas, and so, they believe that God and devas, and devis have a form. That is, Bhaktas are aakaravadis. There are other Hindus who are nirakaravadis. They are the followers of Shankaracharya and believe that God is formless. They are gyan yogis, where as Vaishnavas are Bhakti yogis. The gyan yogis or advaitis have a lot of brain power, where as bhakti yogis have a lot of love in their heart. A bhakta will never say he or she is God or wants to merge with God, and an advaiti says he or she is God, or he/she wants to merge with God. Thus dvaitis (bhaktas) and advaitis can hardly live in peace with each other. They could not agree with each other. According to Bhagavatam, we have this quarrel from the beginning of creation. The Sanat Kumaras (Brahma’s sons) were advaitis originally, but when they saw Vishnu in person, they immediately became bhaktas. Brahma’s youngest son Narada is the greatest propounder of Bhakti yoga.
Shankaracharya is the first Hindu advaiti aacharya in recorded history of our times. Many Vaishnavas consider him a bhakta in disguise of an advaiti, because he has sung:
-j gaeivNdm! -j gaeivNdm! -j gaeivNdm! mUF mte.He advises, “O fool, worship Govinda (Krishna).” He saved Hinduism from the spread of Buddhism. This is his greatest contribution to us and mankind. But after him, there came five great Vaishnava aacharyas (Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Madhva, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Vallabha) who refuted his advaita vada. They all debated with and defeated in public the greatest advaiti aacharyas of their times. Now, no advaiti at this time is greater than Shankaracharya, and no Vaishnava is greater than these Vaishnava aacharyas. Therefore, we dvaitis and advaitis cannot debate as best as they did. So, we have to accept the conclusion of their debates, that dvaita vada or bhakti yoga is the best, and it represents the truth. Therefore, my dear advaitis, please join bhaktas and worship Krishna. At the least, please do not confuse bhaktas with advaita vada. Bhaktas are moodhas, you could say. Have mercy on them please.
G. My dear Hindu Preachers, please accept the above, or seriously think and do something about uniting all the Hindus. Please do not preach if you are not initiated in a well established guru parampara that brings the original message of Krishna. Always tell your audience about your qualifications that are approved by scriptures for a preacher. Also, tell the audience which path you are preaching. Please never doubt or ridicule our scriptures or Krishna or devas and devis.
H. My dear Hindus, if you are an audience to a preacher, ask if the preacher has a guru in an ancient guru parampara. If he/she is not initiated in a guru parampara, it is not worth listening him/her, just as it is not worth getting a heart transplant done by a butcher. You need a qualified or certified or licensed person. To learn Dharma is a serious matter. See what Padma Purana says:
sTkmR inpu[ae ivà m<Ç t<Ç ivzard,This verse means, per Prabhupada, “Without being a Vaishnava or expert in the science of Krishna consciousness, a scholarly brahmana expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge is unfit to become a spiritual master (guru). But a person born in a family of lower caste can become a spiritual master if he is a Vaishnava or Krishna conscious.” (Gita 2.8 Purport).
AvEZ[vae guénRSyad! vEZ[v> ñpcae gué>.
Please request all preachers and gurus to help unite Hindus. If you demand, they probably would do something about it, because they need you as the audience. If you become a silent passive listener, all kinds of preachers would come to you and preach you contradictory things.
So, this is my humble request. With that understanding, let us pray:
` shnav vtu shnaE -un… shivyRm! krvavhE
tejiSvna vidtmStu ma iviÖsavhE
` za<it> za<it> za<it>.
Jai Sri Krishna! - S. Vyas