Thursday, June 23, 2011

What is deliverance and liberation?

Hinduism, Buddhism, and JainismChristianityIslam

The Hinduism and its offshoots have one thing in common. Belief in rebirth. 'Moksha' , 'Nirvana' means for them the deliverance and liberation from the cycle of birth-death-rebirth.

Actions come with results, just as causes come with consequences and effects. We can see from common sense, if at all we have to enjoy/suffer the benefits/consequences of our actions, we must undergo them during this birth itself. No carry-forward business. 'Religions believing in re-birth' believe in carry-forward of consequences and results of actions.

The cause-effects experienced during this birth is often called 'prArabdha karma'.

The accumulated cause-effects through many rebirths is often called 'saMchita karma'. It is just like bank balance. 'Bad actions' means debit balance in red ink and is something like a loan/overdraft to be repaid. 'Good actions' means credit balance which can be drawn comfortably. E.g. Obedient sons, co-operative spouse, etc. Some preachers say there is netting. Some preachers say that netting does not take place. E.g.: Suppose we have 100 units good acts (called 'puNya') and 60 units sins ('pApa') we must experience the results of both separately. We cannot at all refuse to suffer punishment for the sins and offer to enjoy our net balance of 40 units good.

What is the hitch here?

A person must -repeat- MUST - await exhaustion of his accumulated cause-consequence demands.

The mOksha or nirvANa /deliverance / liberation refers to a state of relief from the bondage of rebirths. This is possible only if 'good acts' balance becomes 0, and 'sins' balance becomes 0.

Suppose, we have some good acts balance. We can enjoy. But while enjoying them, we may inadvertantly or recklessly commit new good acts and new sins. This persistently keeps us in perennial bondage.

How is it that a person should reach a state of non-performance of even a single thing good or bad?

Some scriptures like Gita say that 'you must perform acts and leave the results to God. Then nothing will attach you etc.'

This seems unworkable. The very important Hindu Epic Mahabharata had in its 18th part, indicated that Pandavas went to hell first and then to heaven later. It did not say what happened to them in heaven. Did they complete their tenure in heaven? Are they still in heaven? According to calculations of Hindu scholars in general, nearly 5113 years have elapsed since the commencement of kaliyuga - the Age of Sin. We have riddles here: How many earth years will Pandavas stay in heaven? Will they come back to earth again? If so, what forms will they take in their rebirths?
Will they be born in United States /Europe and become Presidents PMs of US / UK / France / Germany / Japan?

No rebirth. A sinner is condemned to hell. What will happen to him/her then? Will they remain in hell for ever?

E.g. Milton's Paradise Lost. Satan was condemned to hell by God. What had happened to Satan then? What will happen to Satan? When will it happen?

If it were Hindu philosophy, he would have been reborn as a donkey, just as 'ybrao a donkey' is born and await his death, while accumulating a few virtues and a lot of sins.

Christianity is very unclear about post-heaven / post-hell program for the faithful and the sinners. Enjoyment / suffering cannot be eternal and unending. Eternal enjoyment will be as excruciating as eternal suffering.

Christianity and Islam being Semitic religions of the West Asia, have a similar philosophy. No rebirth. Heaven for good actions. Hell for bad actions.

Then what?

I invite my readers to enlighten me. Just as the numerous rebirth cycles of Hinduism are excruciating, the prospect of eternal enjoyment/suffering will also become unbearable.

The idea that a person must enjoy/experience/suffer the consequences of his actions somewhere on Earth/heaven/hell, itself is not taking place 100%. Many cheats, merchants, industrialists, bureaucrats, politicians, doctors, lawyers (endless list) commit innumerable offenses and yet escape punishment before they die. Criminal cases against them get abated with their death. Their legal heirs enjoy the properties and wealth with glee and hilarity. The idea that they will stand before the God on their judgement day , is only a figment of imagination in all the three religions, without proof.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why maaya is delusive and illusive?

Maya is pronounced "Maaya" ('a' is long).

Maaya has several meanings in several contexts.

1. VISHNU MAYA (pronounced Vishn`u maaya): The illusions created by the God Vishnu.

Examples: a) Disguising as a beautiful damsel "Mohini", Vishnu deluded S`iva. This delusion has led to the story of a son being born to their Union: Swami Ayyappa.

b) Vishnu converted Sage Narada into a woman, got her married and made her to live a worldly life. When Narada's sufferings reached to an unbearable stage, Vishnu appears himself before Narada and told him that everything was Vishnu Maaya.

2. Shakti Maaya : Also called Yoga Maaya. The Mother Goddess in Hinduism is called Shakti and the illusion/delusion created by her is Shakti Maaya. She is also called Maaya. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda believed in this.

3. Other Gods may also have their own Maayas (delusions/illusions created by them). There is no bar.

4. Maaya in Advaita philosophy. : Often used in the meaning of ignorance and nescience . Here there are two branches.

a) Jagan Mithya - This world is unreal. Whatever we see is born (ja) and dead/going away (gan/gat). Mithya and Maaya are used synonymously in the phrase. Sankaracharya loved this phrase.

b) Avidya - Ignorance. It is our ignorance which forms a "mist" . We cannot recognise that this world is unreal because of the veil of ignorance. We have to remove this veil by "Nityaanitya vicaaram" (Eternal-Ephemeral analysis). We should contemplate and develop a capability to distinguish between what is real and unreal, permanent and transient. Removal of this ignorance is gnaana (or jnaana) - Knowledge and awareness. The process of this realisation is Gnaana Yoga.

There is no haziness on the above terms. They are very clear.

The God persons (Swamijis and Gurus who claim to be spiritual teachers) sometimes use the term Maaya quite loosely, often in conjunction with Karma, which in turn has several meanings.

This particularly happens whenver they are not in a position to provide any satisfactory explanation for a certain thing/situation/action, they take shelter under the terms of "maaya (illusion/delusion) and karma (consequences of actions of past birth).

Q: Can Maaya be distinguished from Supreme GodHead?

Ans: We are a part of the environment, nature, this world. Delusions and illusions exist. First time when we enter a place where there is some maaya, we may not understand the true position. Science can help us to get rid of this maaya. Eg. For a long time, people in India believed that there were "burning-ghosts". When science revealed that they were nothing but burning phosophorous released from bones of dead bodies, at least now some persons understand the phenomenon better.

There can be self-made delusions also. Example: A person may wear sarees and for the time being believe that he is a lady. Or a God person (guru) may believe that he is God. Some say that even our families, properties, jobs etc. are all delusions and illusions. This is partly true.

REFERENCES (Given for information of readers. I have not written anything above from the references. I or the readers need not agree with what is contained in the references.
Good work available on the net.
1. Author: Basant Kumar Lal. Publisher: Motilal Banarsidas.