[Advaita-l] How to get an hindu name? [and other religious paths]

Sanjay Verma sanjay1297 at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 13 22:08:57 CST 2004



Pranam to all!


Jurek <omeganlp at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

Being inspired by particular meaning of the name you start living it. However, essential understanding appears to be that your real name is Brahman, and that you wake up to this simply by realizing you (Atman) are Brahman.

Sorry for having to say it, but I am often confused by Easter teachers and practitioners advocating adherence to Christian religion. 

Please kindly note that Christianity in essence drives you in the opposite direction (telling you that you are created, (not-eternally existing), separate being (who is not God!) and who never gets close to God's ontological status by actually realizing that his real nature is being God'). 



I very much agree that although our essential “name” is eternally Brahman, as one grows spiritually, a worldly name *can* serve as a source of inspiration and contemplation. As one begins identifying with it, the personality traits of that “name” become a part of us in practice, not just in potential. No doubt, the ultimate goal is detachment of all worldly designations, positions, and identities. But some people need to first crawl and walk before learning to sprint. Others are able to run almost immediately after birth.


As for Christianity: Jesus said, “I and my Father are one and I and you are one.” This seems very akin to “aham brahmAsmi” and “Tattvamasi”. Jesus also said, “Anything I can do so can you.” Just as in the vast Hindu literature one can find *seemingly contradictory* interpretations of duality and non-duality, so too in Christianity if one reads the literature in totality, one may find examples (however undeveloped in practice) of the essential unity of all of existence. Let’s not confuse the modern practice of Christianity with the message of Jesus.


On a similar note about the practice of other religious paths and whether or not they ultimately lead (however indirectly) to the Absolute:


Previously, a question was put forth about how one who believes in nonviolence should respond to a Muslim regarding the slaughter of animals on Eid. 


Manusmriti 5:56 states:


“There is no sin in eating meat, in (drinking) spirituous liquor, and in carnal intercourse, for that is the natural way of created beings, but abstention brings great rewards.”


So, even in Hinduism, nonviolence is not a universal principle. A householder or warrior may still attain heaven (or reincarnation into a better life next time) by leading a righteous (but not monastic) worldly life. If one is aiming for moksha, then of course, ahimsa, vairagya, etc. are essential prerequisites. The Semitic faiths have heaven as their religious goal, and as such eating meat is not inconsistent with leading a spiritual life.


Sri Ramakrishna Parmahamsa has said [paraphrased]: Better is one who eats meat and is absorbed in God-consciousness than one who does not eat meat and is not absorbed in God-consciousness


It is interesting to note that where eating meat is prohibited in the shastras, so too is onion, garlic, acidic foods, pungent foods, and all other food and drink which are tamasic or rajasic. In fact, Swami Sivananda, in his discourses in developing vairagya states that onion and garlic are worse than meat (for the spiritual aspirant aiming for moksha).


The analogy of one person going to Bombay, another going to Madras, and a third going to Delhi is an invalid analogy. Obviously the three would not reach the same place. Spirituality is not merely a physical path, but is rather an awareness, a consciousness, or an attitude. From that perspective, a better analogy would be math. 2 +2 = 4, but so too 8 – 4 = 4, square root of 16 = 4, etc. If that doesn’t work for some, then let’s dispense with analogies and use direct examples from the religious texts.


Recall that Jayan and Vijayan were expelled from Vaikunta as a result of a Brahmin who cursed them due to apparent disrespectful greeting on their part. Vishnu did not annul the curse, but modified it by giving them the option: either pass numerous human lives as righteous people and return to Vaikunta after many such lifetimes or lead three lives as rakshasas and return to Vaikunta sooner. They both chose to return after three lifetimes. One such lifetime is Ravana (from Ramayana). So, one must be exceedingly cautious in passing absolute judgment about the apparent efficacy of other religious paths. It is not fruitful and in fact itself promotes violence.


All roads lead to the mountain top, but each soul begins [in this lifetime] its approach from different perspectives depending on his/her cultural and spiritual background. From this perspective, all paths to the mountain top are equally valid and even necessary, though some may appear more favorable and direct than others.


Om Shanti Shanti Shanti





The journey of a thousand miles begins
with a single step.--Chinese Proverb

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