Wisdom from Swami Dayananda Saraswathi
Tue, 22 Jul, 2008,03:38 PM
‘Narada Gana Sabha’ was jam-packed and overflowing on Sunday, with the religious elite of Chennai that had poured in to listen to Swami Dayananda Saraswathi’s luminous eloquence on a subject of imperative importance: Do all religions have the same goal?
’Only Hindus believe all religions have the same goal. All religions must have a goal and there is no doubt about it. But, they need not be the same or they cannot be the same. Religions are for human beings and not for Gods’; said Swami Dayananda Saraswathi.
While categorizing the religious goals as ‘Dharma’ and ‘Moksha’, Swamiji said that all religions are connected to Dharma and asked, ‘is Dharma universal? Is it religion specific? Does each religion have its own views on Dharma?’
Delving deep on Dharma, Swamiji took the concept of ‘Ahmisa’ and clarified that Ahimsa is not universal.
He connected the concept of Ahimsa to the ‘survival instinct’ of all living beings. ‘There is no exception to the survival instinct and no living being wants to get hurt and no one has the right to hurt others! Ahimsa is not subject to double standards! One can have ones own belief and promote one’s religion by respecting others irrespective of their beliefs.
The ‘freedom’ must not be abused! Though we believe in ‘Ahimsa Paramo Dharma’, other theologies believe in hurting others by various means to achieve their goal. There, the ends do not justify means. For them only end is sacred and not the means and hence they indulge in deception, seduction and coercion,’ averred the Swamiji.
He said that the Abrahamic religions do not accept even one common value whether it is Ahimsa or Mutual Respect or what ever.
Elaborating more on Dharma, Swamiji said, ‘Dharma has a matrix of values to make our choice and we can choose either to do, or not to do, or to differently do! Dharma is not a mandate of God, but a manifestation of God and its basis is knowledge, which doesn’t require to be taught.
This aspect brings the ‘universality of Dharma”. Swamiji added, ‘though law is subject to interpretation, in terms of Dharma all indigenous religions held more or less the same view until they are destroyed’.
Dayananda Saraswathi clearly distinguished between the ‘Moksha’ concept of Sanatana Dharma and the so-called ‘salvation’ propagated by other religions. He said, ‘other religions publicize ‘going to heaven’ as salvation. For them salvation is the need of a condemned or a damned person. They wax eloquent on ‘sin’, ‘sinners’ and ‘saviour’ and they save only sinners!
n the process, they address people of other faiths as ‘sinners’ and say that their God alone can save those sinners. We are not sinners; we are not born out of sin, not in this country; if others say that we are born out of original sin, then they are insulting our parents; we Hindus have highest respect for our parents and we will never subscribe to the view that they are sinners; this is ridiculous! Our prayer must be ‘Oh god, save me from these saviours! They also claim that their God alone can pardon us, save us from our sins for our salvation. They even claim that their God died for us! If somebody died for me, I am not responsible! I have the freedom to take care of myself and I am aware of it’.
Analysing the concept of going to heaven Swamiji said, ‘the other religions talk about heaven as a place, where one can stay permanently and happily without any problem, which are all ‘non-verifiable’ beliefs. Life after death and going to heaven are all non-verifiable.
When you say you are going to a place, then it must be bound by space and time. They say ‘heaven’ is the place of their God, but they also say that their God is ‘formless’. Does ‘formlessness’ require a location? A belief is subject to correction and verification! We believe in different forms of God and that He understands our prayers, which we conduct in different languages.
When a human can respond to different calls and catcalls, God can understand any number of languages. We also believe reaching heaven is a result of ‘Punya’, which in turn is the result of Prayer. Prayer is ‘Karma’ containing specific valid and sophisticated rituals. ‘Karma’ comes from the ‘Kartha’ and as Karthas, we earn Punya by the Karmas of Charity, Dharma, Bakthi, pooja, meditation and penance etc.
When our Punya gets exhausted, we come down to the earth, which means the permanent stay in heaven is denied. When all religions hold non-verifiable beliefs and if all religions accept others religious practices and their beliefs, how can there be a ‘dispute’? Only ‘harmony’ must be there!’
Swamiji concluded by saying, ‘this Jagath (world) is the manifestation of ‘Eshwara’ and ‘Dharma’ is Eshwara and it is non-negotiable. For us, the ‘means’ is much more important than the ‘goal’. We will follow Dharma in our means and God will take care of our end’
Dr. Padma Subramaniam, Bharathanatyam expert and Vice President of Dharma Rakshana Samithi which had organised the speech, welcomed the gathering.
In her welcome address she said ‘Hinduism caters to four different concepts namely Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha as clearly spelt out in Tamil scriptures as Aram, Porul, Inbam and Veedu. Sage Thiruvalluvar has dealt with the first three in his magnificent work Thirukkural through Araththuppaal, Porutpaal and Kaamaththuppaal, which would lead us to the fourth Veedu peru that is the Moksha’.
She also said that women are treated equally well in Hinduism, while they are either discriminated against or ill-treated in other religions. She cited the examples of Gargi, Maithreyi,
Avvaiyaar, Kaaraikkaal Ammaiyaar and Mata Amrithananthamayi Devi who have reached the pinnacles of glory in their service to humanity and divinity.
She called for ‘Unity’ among various religions and also made it clear that unity doesn’t mean uniformity and that Swamijis and Gurus are there to relieve humanity from conflicts and sufferings. She gave a small brief about Dharma Rakshana Samithi.
Cho Ramaswamy stayed clear of ‘religion’ leaving the serious topic to Swamiji and enthralled the audience with his humour and sarcasm on the current political scenario. He said that he has been invited as a ‘Speaker’ and that he would not go without speaking.
Being known for ‘confusions’ he wondered how he could give a clear speech! He said that Swamiji’s speech would be ‘new’ and ‘clear’ but not ‘nuclear’! Then talking about the magical figure of 271 and connecting it with Hindu concept of Advaitha, he said, ‘two of ‘us’ take ‘seven steps’ and become ‘one’. He also said that if the world does not have people like Swamijis and Gurus to throw light on us, then what is ‘Left’ will be ‘darkness’ and concluded by saying, ‘If the Left has a future in India, then India has no future’.
Swami Dayananda Saraswathi released a music CD on Aadhithyahridayam and Essence of Vishnusahasranamam sung by Unni Krishnan and composed by Rangasamy Parthasarathy.
Mathura Mangalam Jeer SWamigal and Hindu Munnani President Ramagopalan were also felicitated and honoured.