[Advaita-l] Religion that I am born into

Raghavendra Hebbalalu hs_raghavendra at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 17 18:06:50 CST 2004


> --- latha vidya <lathavidya at yahoo.co.in> wrote:
> >  
> > People should not mislead others into believing
> that
> > they can convert to any religion as their limited
> > intellectual and reasoning directs.
> Is the intellectual and reasoning ability of those
> who
> say 'stick to your own religion', unlimited ?

It requires more than intellectual and reasoning
ability to give the advice to 'be a better follower of
your current religion'. Shri Chandrashekhara Bharati
had that spiritual ability. That is why they are
Jagadgurus. Please note that this was a recommendation
to a particular individual and not a general
recommendation. We tend to misquote people by
generalizing a statement made under specific

We have had examples of people born in other religions
who became Hindus and achieved great success in the
Spiritual Realm. Some achieved the same Goal of the
sanAtana dharma when they were in their Dharma itself.
Sadguru Sivayasubramuniya swami, Sister Nivedita and a
few other people come to mind in the former case.
shishunALa sharIf and kabIr come to mind in the latter
case. But if somebody wants to join (this is generally
the case) or try out a different religion just for
curiosity or a certain high but temporary vairAgya or
because of a new age fad, we can only say "wait and
watch. If your desire to join a new religion has not
diminished, then please do so." Or, we can ask them to
consult real Gurus who can guide them in what they
*need* and not just what they want.

Real seekers will get the guidance they want because
they are *real* seekers. 

> > Birth into a
> > particular religion is not an accident. My past
> > deeds decide my eligibility to be born into a
> > particular religion that becomes my Swadharma and
> my
> > Parama Dharma. 
> If you advocate so much that 'birth' into a specific
> religious background is because of 'past deeds', why
> can not you advocate that the tendency and interest
> to
> choose a different religious practice is also
> because
> of 'past deeds' ?

Exactly, this argument can be used both ways. So, it
needs a Guru who can look at the karmic profile of a
person and then guide him or her. It is always on a
case-by-case basis and can never be a blanket
statement like 'convert' or 'don't convert'.
> If one's 'past deeds' were so much binding and
> guiding
> one, then one should have so chosen to 'stick' to
> religion of birth all the time. But, it is not the
> case.
> Religion is 'man made'. No question of eligibility
> or
> otherwise. 

I would disagree here. Eligibility is there in the
form of the required mental preparation, be it in this
janma or the previous ones. But, please note that I am
not implying that all brAhmaNas in this birth have
that eligibility. Just as SanyAsa is not given to all
and sundry who request for it, conversion to another
religion is not recommended for everybody. This is a
very private matter between the person and the
person's Guru.

The external emblems of a religion may be man-made.
The Vedas/Vedic Truths are apauruSheya and hence the
Dharma stemming from it is apauruSheya (not man-made).

> When you agree that if I am 'destined to', then why
> ifs and buts such as 'I strive with sincere effort'.
> Who is propelling that 'effort' ? 

This is a rhetorical question. I will answer it
anyway. It is the jIva propelling that effort. Since
each jIva has free-will, it can choose its own path.
> If one is 'destined' to change religion, one will
> change. Why prescribe some rules about it ? and
> preach
> them not to, unless one can agree that 'being
> preached' and 'preaching' is one's destiny ?

One preaches because that person made the decision to
preach. This is free-will. Listening to the preaching
or not is also free-will.

> So, being born into a religion is of no consequence
> and 'past deeds' have no connection to
> 'enlightenment'
> !! ?? 

vAlmIki was a robber. But he attained to the Highest
because he worked towards it and also because of the
Grace of God. He was able to attain to the highest not
because of, but in spite of his past deeds. His
prayatna was of that order.  

> Such questions can only try to bring out the real
> drive/reason for change. Change itself can not be
> stopped. Sure one can study one's religious
> scripture.
> If truth be the same every where then by changing
> scripture, nothing is lost any way.

But the check has to be made in the sAdhaka why he/she
wants to change the religion he/she has been born in.
Once this is clearly identified in one's conscience as
the right way to go, then that becomes the way to go.


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