Are GODs just symbolic ???
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Jul 18 13:48:20 CDT 2002
On Thu, 18 Jul 2002, Rajesh Sarin wrote:
> I am sending a few ideas gathered from reading one of the
> Books "SATYAARTHA PRAKASH" by Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
Beware this Dayananda Saraswati was 19th century nastika of the worst
kind. No relation at all to this Swami Dayananda who is a respected
contemporary teacher of Advaita Vedanta.
> What I understood (maybe I am wrong !), from the Book, is written
> below. I MAY BE TOTALLY WRONG IN UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT, PLEASE
> CORRECT ME,IF SO.
> MY UNDERSTANDING FROM THE BOOK :
> As per Vedic Religion, there are no God Figures as Vishnu,
> Shiva, Rama, Krishna, Devi Durga, etc.
Dayanadas' "Vedic religion" was nothing more than a figment of his fevered
Vedic religion is not something to be reconstructed from speculations
about the past, it is alive today. And those who follow the Vedic
religion today most certainly do believe in all the Devas.
> and also no place for
> IDOL WORSHIP.
As another figure who lived in colonial times Dayanand was beholden to the
Western notion that an invisible man in the sky is somehow more profound
than a physical form. Nowadays most people will see that for the rank
prejudice it really is.
> The Names of VISHNU, RAM, SHIVA, DURGA, etc, are
> the names given to qualities of the Omni-present God, as described
> in the Vedic literature. Swamiji has also described the meanings of
> each of the words VISHNU, RUDRA, RAMA, SHIVA, etc at the very
> begining of the book.
It is true that the Vedas do not mention murti puja per se but then they
don't mention an omni-present God either. Nor does it mention the bogus
"Vedic havans" that his followers practice.
Dayananda has a peculiar idea of what consists of Vedic literature too.
He thinks only the samhitas are Shruti (a view which was invented by
Western historians of the 19th century and has no support from any
classical Indian philosopher.)
> But later on, after the advent of Jainism & Buddhism and increase of its
> popularity, the Vedic Culture, who has no God -> IDOL WORSHIP,
> got relatively less popularity. Meanwhile, Buddhism & Jainism were known
> for its Elaborate Temples, Well Decorated God figures, Big Idols
> of their Gods.
This is total rubbish and no historian today takes such a view seriously.
Even when Buddhism and Jainism were at their peak, Hinduism was alive and
kicking. Have you seen the inscription of the great "Buddhist" emperor
Ashoka at Junagadh? In it he commands his subjects to respect Brahmanas
and Shramanas. He calls himself Devanamapriya -- beloved of the Gods,
hardly a Buddhist title. Other literary and archaeological evidence also
suggests the continuity of Vedic culture during this time.
> Hence, Hinduism also Created God Figures from great People known
> and from Great Epics viz. Mahabharata, Ramayana, Gita, etc, which
> became the source for Creation of GOD IDOLS. Hence, thereafter Idol Worship
> AND Godly Attributes were given to GREAT ONES like RAMA, KRISHNA and Big
> Temples were created for Worship. Also PURANAS were created for these GODs
So does Dayananda think that once there was a man with an elephants head
who later got worshipped? This is absurdly simplistic.
Once again he demonstrates his lack of literary and historical knowledge.
The Puranas in their written form as we have them today may date no
further back than the Gupta era (early centuries AD.) However that they
have roots in older works is well accepted by historians. Even in the
Vedic Samhitas themselves there is mention of stories such as Indra and
Vrtra, the three strides of Vishnu Bhagawan etc. which are found in the
Bhagavata and other Puranas.
> Hence, myth, epics, and mythology created most of the Gods we know of today
Well ok so what? This is the religion we have which was passed down
through the generations and which has continuity with the past. Why drop
all that for a fantasy?
The only thing sadder than this misbegotten hodgepodge is that there are
still some gullible people in india who take it seriously.
> I am attaching a file - zipped form and original
form, which gives
> relative dates for the Origin of various Religions AND Religious Books.
> This also says, that the PURANAS were created later to the Advent of
> Buddhism and Jainism.
> (See attached file: Sacred Texts Timeline.htm)(See attached file: Sacred
> Texts Timeline.zip)
At least at first glance this seems to be riddled with errors.
For a more scholarly look at contemporary research on these subjects
readers are advised to see the volumes of the "History of Indian
Literature" series published by the Harrassowitz Co. Wiesbaden, Germany.
Particularly Vol 1. fasc. 1, "Vedic literature (Samhitas and Brahmanas)"
by Prof. Jan Gonda, and Vol 2. fasc 3. "The Puranas" by Prf. Ludo Rocher.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/
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