Purpose of this site

    Man is a spiritual being, longing and searching for answers for the purpose of his existence in this world. All living beings, once born must die at some point of time. But man being a thinking being is very conscious of death and looks for means to attain immortality. He is well aware that this 'immortality' is not available in this life on earth and therefore mankind has been looking for answers from within and without. The religious history of this world has seen many a great saints, prophets and avatars who have propounded different philosophies to explain the very 'existence' as such and often left all the unanswered questions to the will of an Ultimate Reality, which they called by various names. Some inferred the very existence in this world is a misery and therefore the objective is to escape from this life, many others viewed man as a sinner and therefore need to be saved to achieve salvation and others regarded the world as testing grounds for preparing ourselves for a sensual life in an ideal world called "Paradise". In a few cases the founders themselves established a new sect consisting a group of dedicated followers, while in many other instances the faithful followers went on to establish a new sect, which in due course were recognized as different paths or religions to achieve this said objectives. Generations of communities have been habituated to such beliefs and whether an individual likes it or not, he often settles down with 'path' imparted to him by his mother religion. Belief then comes mostly by habit. However, there are other means of believing also.

"There are three means of believing: By Inspiration, by Reason and by Habit"
Blaise Pascal

"Instinct, reason, and inspiration are the three instruments of knowledge"
Vivekananda (Complete Works II 389.1)

Great prophets, sages, saints and avatars believed in what they taught because they were Inspired.  When we look at the history of these inspired sages, one point becomes very clear, and that is, that they became Enlightened after much self inflicted toil and struggle. Every man cannot be expected to base his faith purely on inspiration. The next basis for belief is by Reasoning and this comes after a thorough investigation. Swami Vivekananda, the prophet of modern India, said "I am sure God will pardon a man who will use his reason and cannot believe" (Complete Works VI 12.3) and even asked "Why was reason given us if we have to believe?" (Complete Works VI 12.3). Thiruvalluvar also talks about Realization of Truth after investigation:
 

"கற்றீண்டு மெய்ப்பொருள் கண்டார்" "Those who have learnt & realized the Truth" (Kural 356)

Unfortunately, reason sometimes adapts to the faith one follows and the believers are led by the misguided impression that they are talking rationally.  It is also true that a vast majority of people have no time for doing this investigatory exercise and realize the unifying truth behind all faiths. So they invariably end up believing by habit. That is why perhaps Confucius said:

"The people may be made to follow, but may not be made to know" (Analects  8:9)

There are also other constraints which force people to inherit the religion of their forefathers. This site follows the middle path: that is believing by Reason. And the conclusion drawn is that there is no religion which does not talk about the Truth and at the same time there is none which talks about It completely. Since all traditional religions have their own shortcomings, they cannot be substituted for another but only supplemented.

Every religion has been shown by its rivals to contain some inconsistency or the other. This has been amply demonstrated in various websites on the internet. Unfortunately such criticisms serve no purpose as the faith professed by the critic himself contain many shortcomings! As we will see in the different pages of the website, contradictions between religions exist only "non-essentials" since in "essentials" they are all one.

Comparative religion and ethics has been a favorite subject of mine and none other than Swami Vivekananda and Thiruvalluvar provide befitting answers for all the doubts that arise in my mind. This site has been launched mainly for the purpose of evaluating the claims of various faiths to validity and investigating the truth in their criticisms of other religions. While doing so, I have also used this opportunity to make people realize that their local rituals and customs are not the essence of the Eternal Religion. In Vivekananda's own words.....

"Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied expressions of THE RELIGION, which is Oneness, so that each may choose that path that suits him best"  (CW 6:416)
 

  N.V.K. Ashraf
First uploaded in January, 2001; Improved in October 2006

 

Home Claims and Criticisms Voice of Vivekananda Tirukkural translations What is Double-"V"?
Hosted by www.Geocities.ws

1