This post looks at how we can reconcile extremist destructive religions with the instruction to respect all people who believe in God. Interestingly a fellow Saivite has just published a post looking at the issues at the other end of the spectrum, In “Devas on the head of a pin?” he asks how can we give enough credit to the beliefs of other religions where the teachings appear to be different but the truth behind must be the same.
I have been prompted to think about this by an interesting comment by Kodanda, where he talks about sattvic and non-sattvic religions. He asserted that the Hindu proclamation “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” or “There is one truth (God), but sages describe it differently” could only be applied to sattvic religions. Religions that promote violence, conversion by force, threats, bribes or deceit, that subjugate unbelievers should not be included in this. It is certainly possible that the sages who first wrote this had only come across Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism and not the exclusive religions who would like to see an end to all other beliefs.
At first I was worried that this would contradict the teachings of my sampradaya (Hindu schdenominationool) as Gurudeva says:
How Do Saivites Regard Other Faiths?
Religious beliefs are manifold and different. Saivites, understanding the strength of this diversity, wholeheartedly respect and encourage all who believe in God. They honor the fact that Truth is one, paths are many. Aum.
His Nandinatha Sutras also say:
SUTRA 231: INTERACTING WITH OTHER FAITHS
Siva’s devotees properly respect and address virtuous persons of all religious traditions. They may support and participate in interfaith gatherings from time to time with leaders and members of all religions. Aum.
SUTRA 232: NOT DEMEANING OTHER SECTS OR RELIGIONS
Siva’s devotees do not speak disrespectfully about other Hindu lineages, their beliefs, Gods, sacred sites, scriptures, or holy men and women. Nor do they disparage other religions. They refuse to listen to such talk. Aum. Continue reading
Islamic group launched "Christmas is Evil" poster campaign
Just before Christmas an Islamic group in the UK launched a poster campaign. Mr Rumaysah, a spokesman for the group, told the Mail that he was unconcerned about offending Christians. He said: “Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it”.
This sort of attitude is seen in fundamentalists followers of all exclusive religions, not just Islam. Showing equal disregard for other faiths, the Christian fundamentalist Pat Robertson said “Siva [is] the God of Destruction, and his consort, the Goddess of death [Kali] — that black, ugly statue there with all those fierce eyes”. [This is wrong in almost every way, Saivite Hindus Immanent love and transcendent reality]. He also said that Islam is “…motivated by demonic power. It is Satanic and it’s time we recognize what we’re dealing with”. Not all Christians and Muslims are extreme like this; I have written previously about Muslims and Christians who acted with friendship towards Hindus. The attitude that it is acceptable to insult other faiths is one of the dangers of exclusive religions though, the religions that teach that they have the only right way.
Celebration of Lord Krishna's birthday
This contrasts with those who follow inclusive religions: Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists, Buddhists, and many more. I am a Saivite Hindu and attend a temple in the UK where most of the other attendees are Vishnavas. I see Shiva as the ultimate God, whereas Vishnavas see Vishnu or one of his avatars as the ultimate God. Vishnavas believe that Shiva is a created demigod, and I believe that Vishnu is just one of the five actions of Shiva, which are creation, preservation, destruction, veiling and revealing. Many Vishnavas see Krishna as the ultimate God, but as a Saivite I don’t believe in full avatars. To people following exclusive religions these might seem like unsurmountable differences, but I and many other Saivites worship next to Vishnavas regularly. Continue reading
Someone recently commented that my blog was anti-Christian. It was certainly not my intention to be anti-Christian, though my condemnation of the fundamentalist, evangelical Christian Right may have given that impression.
A while ago I wrote an article “Muslims, friends of Hindus“. I had not written a post about the friendship between Christians and Hindus, perhaps because I take for granted the fact that there are many Christians who want friendly, supportive relations with other religions. In fact in Britain probably a majority of Christians would be against aggressive conversion tactics. Continue reading
“Do you know who the most important person in town”, said Andrew, “It is the policeman. Without him we would not be safe, and traders would move away. He is the most important person in town.
Maria thought about this and replied. “What you say is true, but what is really important about this town? People miles away come and see it because of our famous author. Without him nobody would have heard of this place any further away than the next village.”