NOTES FROM the BOOK: Am I A Hindu? (continued)
by Ed Viswanathan, published by Halo Books, copyright 1992.

This book is a question and answer type dialogue between an American born boy who asks his father many questions about Hinduism. The father is a Hindu man.

(Continued from page 112)

-- Vata is responsible for both physical and psychological movements -- both muscle tone and moodiness.
-- Pitta governs heat and metabolism.
-- Kapha maintains structure and stability.
[p.116] -- Jyotisha means both astrology and astronomy.
-- Origins of Jyotisha in India date back 6,000 years.[?]

[p.117] "Some say that once upon a time astrology was a very well-developed science, but today's astrology is only a skeleton, with most of the valuable knowledge lost due to the practice of utmost secrecy by the learned men of Hindu society."
"Man is essentially an electromagnetic network. So movements of planets and stars which affect the Earth's magnetic field should also affect the magnetic field of human beings."

[p.119] Ancient India developed a very high system of mathematics.
-- Ramanujam -- the man who knew infinity.
-- Long before Ramanujam & Arabs, India had great knowledge in mathematics. The zero & the decimal system were invented by ancient India.

[p.120] "Aryabhata, who lived from 476 to 520 A.D., is the first Hindu mathematician known to the world." He gave a rule for the solution of equations, and accurate determination of the value. A later mathematician, Bhaskava (1114-1160 A.D.), used differential calculus.

[p.121] Bhakti Yoga -- 6 different forms of relationship with God.: 1) sexual love; 2) love for wife or husband; 3) love for child or parent; 4) love of parent for child; 5) friendship; 6) affection for servant for his master.
Sage Narada -- one of the greatest exponents of Bhakti Yoga.
"Lord Krishna promises in the Bhagavad Gita that he Himself will undertake the burden of the day-to-day problems of a devotee who has dedicated himself to God by surrendering his free will." The same idea is repeated in the Bible, too.

[p.122] The goal of Bhakti Yoga, like other yogas, is salvation. Bhakti leads to total dissolution of the ego. According to Hinduism, ego is the cause of all problems.

[p.123] Vaishnavism -- devotion to Vishnu or Krishna.
Bhakti renaissance happened in India from the 12th through the 16th centuries.

[p.124] 5 Bhakti schools of Hinduism: 1) Ramanuja's school; 2) Madhava's school; 3)Nimbarka's school; 4)Vallabha's school; 5) Chaitanya's school. (Sankirtan: Krishna & Radha worshipped. Chaitanya said: "God is everywhere and in everything; and yet God is nowhere and nothing except Himself, to be found in the highest heaven."

[p.125] "The Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON), started by Sadguru Prabhupada, is based on Chaitanya's school of thought."

[p.129] RAJA YOGA is a very scientific path of God-realization. God is treated as pure energy.

[p.130] "In Raja Yoga, a devotee tries to achieve a state above the mind and in a way tries to achieve a mindless state." It is difficult to explain in simple terms. In Raja Yoga, thinking becomes an involuntary process all the time, unlike most of us who think voluntarily much of the time. The goal is a state of mind called Samadhi, where the mind is formless, but can assume the form of anything it meditates upon. The devotee realizes the ultimate truth.

[p.133] Samadhi means "union with God". Savikalpa Samadhi means "having separateness", the duality of perception is maintained. The devotee purposefully maintains this separate identity most of the time.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi means "having no separateness". Duality of perception does not exist at all. Devotee becomes one with God.
Four levels of consciousness: 1) waking state; 2) dreaming state; 3) dreamless state or Sushupti; 4) Turiya, above the mind, highest level of consciousness.
Jivanmukta -- "a person who is liberated while living."
Videhamukta -- "a person who is liberated after death, living in a soul."
"Jivanmukta lives in the world just like any one of us, but he is not attached to this world."

[p.134] "According to the Tantras, the body is an assemblage of 5 sheaths or Koshas."
They are: 1) Annamaya -- made of food; 2) Prana -- vital energy; 3) Mano -- mind; 4) Vijnana -- intellect; 5) Ananda -- bliss.
The 5 sheaths of self manifest as Jiva. These are: 1) matter (Prakti); 2) life (Prana); 3) consciousness (Manas); 4) intelligence (Vijana); and 5) bliss (Ananda).

[p.135] Clairaudience -- hearing sounds which the normal ear cannot hear. Clairvoyance -- power of discerning objects not present to the senses. Telepathy -- capability of transferring and receiving thoughts. The above 3 words and the capability of materializing and dematerializing at will, are all seen as Siddhi or an occult power.

"In Hinduism, a Siddhi is an obstacle in the path of God-realization, as it develops ego in a devotee. So Hinduism looks down upon Siddhis. But some are born with Siddhis, like Christ-like masters and Christ himself. In Jesus Christ and masters like him, Siddhis flow out like fragrance out of a rose. "Christ gave no importance to his powers at all. He did not try to influence the public opinion with his Siddhis. In fact, he had aversion for people who came for his occult powers. 'Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye cannot believe, go to thy home, there thy son liveth', is a symbolic statement of Christ's aversion to Siddhis. All great Hindu saints acted exactly like Jesus Christ." Using drugs to develop lower-level physic powers is most dangerous. Hinduism forbids the use of drugs in Yogic practices. "....Siddhis are developed in a human being by the rise of Kundalini power or serpent power through the spinal cord. Kundalini power resides in Muladhara opposite the sexual organ at the bottom of the spinal cord in every human being. It is believed that as a human being evolves spiritually, this power rises up slowly and it goes through the six centers (Chakras) in the spinal cord and finally merges in the topmast part of the brain known as Saharara. At that point the person develops Siddhis. So it is believed that artificially stimulating that power from its resting point by chemicals can do serious damage to the body, since the ordinary body is not designed to meet such a tremendous force."

"Some mantras (chants) like Pranava or Gayatri can bring about the unfoldment of consciousness, and there is no limit to such unfoldment. These Mantras are of the highest order, so they develop Siddhis naturally and slowly, so they are always welcome. Some Mantras, like the Vasikarini Mantra which can be used for a specific objective, in this case to attract or win someone over. Almost all who know a little bit of spirituality also talk about occultism, especially Hindu occultism, in their daily sermons. But nobody tells the audience what exactly occultism is -- what is dangerous, and what part is good. Hinduism states that occultism should not be sought. If they come to you, they should come as a by product of your pursuit of God-realization."

[p.137] "Hindu theologians consider: black magic; spells to injure; and dangerous practices of Yoga as occultism... Normal breathing exercises like the Hamsa(?) method are not occultism. Kriya Yoga is not occultism."

"Occultism is found everywhere in the world. The U.S. dollar bill has symbols of occult: the Egyptian pyramid; the third eye of the Hindu God of Annihilation, Lord Siva (or the all-seeing eye of the Christian churches of England); and the statements 'Annuit Coeptus' (meaning 'new order of the ages' -- the Aquarian Age, occurring after the Gold, Silver and Bronze and Iron Ages). The word 'pentagon' had an occult beginning."

[p.139] Hindus believe in life after death. Karma: for every action there is a reaction. "Every action, even every thought produces a reaction."
"Hindus believe that every thought and every action is weighed on the scales of eternal justice."
Hindus believe that the body alone dies, the soul never dies. The path the soul takes is decided upon by the past actions, known as Karmas.

[p.140] "According to Hinduism, every thought, however insignificant it may be, is counted,...a thought never dies...it may lose strength, but it never completely dies. If you repeatedly think about the same thing, that thought becomes a power source. (i.e.: If you repeatedly think that you will get into an accident, then your wish will be fulfilled. The same with positive thoughts."

[p.141] "Jesus spoke volumes when he said 'Love thy enemy' (Luke 6:27)... By sending positive love thoughts to your enemy, you become a generator of love. If your enemy refuses your thoughts of love, your thoughts will boomerang back to you, so you can't lose! Jesus said: (Matthew 12:36) 'Every word that men shall speak, they give account thereof in the day of judgment.' "The laws of Karma and reincarnation explain many of the inequalities around us. God will never punish us. God has created man, near to perfection and has given him the free will to decide whatever he wants. God never interferes with man's decisions. There is no such thing as being 'cursed by God'. (See Bhagavad Gita, 5:14, 15 & 4:14). We ourselves make our lives miserable or happy... There is no 'revenge of God'.

"IS GOD BOUND BY THE LAW OF KARMA?"
"Hindus believe that even God is bound by the law of karma once he takes human form. When God came down as Krishna, he had to be killed by a hunter because he had killed the hunter in his previous life in a very cunning manner."

[p.143] "Hindus believe that when God came down as Jesus Christ, he took over the karmas of all his disciples and thousands of devotees around him. Then to fulfill the law of karma, he allowed himself to be crucified. Jesus Christ allowed himself to take care of the karmic debt of his apostles and the devotees around him. Each time he saved someone from death, and each time he cured incurable diseases of people, Jesus Christ was voluntarily accepting their karmic load."

"The all-knowing, all powerful Christ could have easily (with one glance) transformed the whole Roman army into his obedient devotees. Instead he allowed them to torture and crucify him. Why? The only answer is that the all-knowing, all-powerful Christ was obeying the law of karma, the unwritten law of the universe."

[p.145] "The first mention of reincarnation in world history is in the Rig Veda, but the ancient Egyptians also believed in the transmigration of souls."

"According to a recent survey, 1 in 4 Americans and eastern Europeans now believe in reincarnation. Increasing numbers of people around the world are involved in past-life regression therapy to discover who they were in previous lives. Reincarnation is part and parcel of the New Age movement."

[p.146] In the Bhagavad Gita (2:22), Lord Krishna said: "At the time of death, the body dies but the soul never dies. The soul passes from one body to another after death like a body changing clothes. The soul goes on taking an endless number of bodies, until the soul exhausts all karma attached to the soul. This process is known as reincarnation....To explain further, Hindu saints found out that our lives are neither an accident or chance, nor is God responsible for the inequity among us. According to Hinduism, life is a stream which flows ceaselessly, without beginning or end. All things are part and parcel of this existence. Everything exists life after life, until it has achieved the true knowledge of itself or unity of the individual soul with God. Each of us will have many opportunities to realize our true identity. The doctrine of reincarnation offers hope to all. Nobody is punished forever. The best among us will achieve salvation by one life and the worst among us will achieve salvation by many lives."

[p.147] "Salvation happens when the individual soul exhausts all its karmas and merges with God, the infinite soul... All men will not necessarily reincarnate as humans in their next lifetime. If a man exhibits beastly character throughout his life, he will reincarnate as a beast. Lord Krishna said, 'I make the cruel and vicious persons take birth again and again as ferocious animals.' [Bhagavad Gita (16:19)]. ...the Vedas talk about 8.5 million species of life, right from Amoebas to semi-gods. A man can take any one of these life forms. Sometimes the soul will also remain in a standstill state for long periods of time without taking any body at all. However, please understand that the soul can get rid of its karma only if it takes a body. So, for attaining salvation, the soul is bound to reincarnate!!!"

Lord Krishna said that, "Whatever form one thinks of during the time of death, one will attain that form." He also said, "...when a man dies his soul takes with it the sum total of good and bad karmas." [Bhagavad Gita (6:40-43)].

[p.148] One can make life better by positive actions. Actions are good if the motive behind the action is good. If one commits suicide, such action will condemn the soul for thousands of years, and it will be forced to start life all over again from the lowest of the evolutionary ladder. The soul will have to wait countless numbers of years to finally take a human body again. Sometimes the soul will also remain in a standstill position, becoming a ghost without taking a body, as per the Mahabhagavatam.

[p.149] Reincarnation theory agrees with Darwin's theory of evolution, but goes one step further by saying the soul can go back to lower forms of life.

[p.150] [Bhagavad Gita (5:14)]: Lord Krishna says, "God does not create karma or activities for beings, nor does He induce people to act, nor does he create fruits of actions. It is the nature that creates actions.@ In verse 5:15, Lord Krishna says, AGod does not assume anyone's sinful or pious actions. True knowledge is covered by ignorance."
"The Vedanta Sutra states, 'God neither hates nor loves anyone, though He appears to do so.' ...God has given us free will and our fate is decided by our own actions and our own thoughts. Each moment of our life we are doing things which decide our fate. Our past actions in our last life determine the trajectory of travel of the soul in the present."

[p.153] "Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.), founder of the first Christian school in Rome, wrote in his Dialogue With Trypho that the soul inhabits a succession of bodies, but that it cannot remember its previous lives....Another Christian theologian, Origen, tried to incorporate much of the beliefs of the Greeks and Hindus to Christianity. Those ideas became so controversial that in the 6th century they were officially condemned....The teachings of Origen on reincarnation were thus expunged from the Church, never to return."

Gnostics believe also in an impersonal God -- a nameless, unknowable being called the 'Abyss'.

[p.154] "Christ neither supported nor condemned the theory of reincarnation...."
According to Hinduism, Christ died on the cross to take care of the karmic debt of all the Apostles and all the devotees around him. Hindus do not believe that Christ took care of the karmic debt of humanity. If he had done this, there would be no sickness or poverty in the world.....Only by the law of reincarnation can we explain them... Hindus do believe, however, that those who surrender their will to Jesus Christ will have no sin. Also in the Bhagavad Gita (18:66) Lord Krishna says, 'If a man gives up all material and religious activities and surrenders his will to Me, then I will save him from all karmic debts and so-called sins.' The only problem is only one in a million can practice this method of God-realization because man, by nature, wants to do everything as his ego dictates. Even the great apostles of Jesus had difficulty with this. Peter failed to believe Jesus fully when He asked him to walk on water. Peter even lied to save himself at the hour of the crucifixion of Jesus. Thomas doubted the divine nature of Christ even after His Resurrection.

[p.156] "Christians view time as linear, with a definite beginning and a definite end, whereas Hindus believe that time is cyclic, an endless repetition of events."

[p.157] "The sacred syllable AUM (OM) stands for the Absolute...It is uttered at the beginning and end of most Hindu prayers. Sage Manu said that the monosyllable AUM means 'earth', 'sky', and 'heaven'. AUM is considered as the very essence of the Vedas. Some say that 'A' represents the waking state, 'U' represents the sleep state (Nidra), 'M' represents the deep sleep state (Sushupti) and the combination AUM represents total consciousness."

"The Mandukya Upanishad says, 'AUM -- This syllable stands for the whole world.' The past, the present, the future, everything is just the syllable AUM. Even 3 fold time, too, is just AUM."
In the Bible AUM is mentioned as the Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The exact parallel line in the Rig Veda reads, "In the beginning was Brahman, with whom was the word [AUM] and the Word was truly the Supreme Brahman.' The word AUM, Christian 'Amen' and Mohammedan 'Amin' all represent one and the same."

[p.159] Mantra Yoga brings about changes in material consciousness by the agency of sound.

[p.161] There are many mantras in Hinduism. The Hare Krishna devotees chant: 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare', to free one from karma or bondage, according to the Srimad Mahabhagavatam.

For a Christian, the very name of Jesus is a great Mantra. In Catholic tradition, 'Hail Mary' is used as a very powerful Mantra. [p.165] 'TM' or Transcendental Meditation was started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1956. It is essentially the Mantra Yoga which he revived and introduced to the world. TM promises a drugless state of mind with inner peace and knowledge. TM is a science, not a religion. TM has saved many lives from spiritual decline. There are also many other methods of meditation and chanting mantras.

[p.167] "The word 'meditation' originated from the Latin word 'meditari' with the Latin root 'mederi', meaning 'to heal'. So meditation is the science of healing. By meditation one enters a state of mind where there are no thoughts. Mind is a space where thoughts repose."

[p.168] A controlled mind is the result of meditation. Krishna says to Arjuna, "Doubtless oh great warrior, the mind is difficult to subdue. It is restless all the time. But oh! Son of Kunti, the mind can be conquered by repeated exercises and dispassion to sensual objects." [Bhagavad Gita (6:34)].

[p.171} Brain waves: 1) Alpha (7-13 vibrations / second); 2) Beta waves (13+ vibrations / second); 3) Delta waves (4-7 cycles / second); 4) Theta waves ?(1-4 cycles/second).
Scientists discovered that humans could consciously put themselves into the alpha brain wave state. As a result, a biofeedback machine was invented. Therefore, this helps people relax.

[p.173] "Hippocrates (400 BC) said, 'Men ought to know that from the brain and from the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter, and jests, as well as our sorrows, pains, grief and tears."

[p.175] "...today death is defined as 'brain death' or 'the absence of electrical activity in the brain.'...The brain has been estimated to contain 10 trillion cells."
"Thinking and feeling are purely electrochemical activities in the brain cells."

[p.177] "Meditation as such, is positive. It has no inherent negative effects....People do many things out of fear of losing life but when they are sure that hey will not lose their life, they come to their senses....Eastern meditation involves the stopping of all mental activities resulting from the activity of the senses in sensual objects and the bringing forth of the true self or Atman. According to Hinduism, the Atman is deluded by thousands of thoughts and by meditation, one will slowly 'know thyself'. Remember Jesus Christ said. 'The kingdom is within', and by Eastern meditation, one is trying to achieve that.......one's limited ego becomes the universal ego."

"Some Christian theologians ask their parishioners to meditate on God. The problem.....is... concentrating on a God with a name and a form. When the mind picks up anything with a name and a form, it becomes restless, instead of becoming calm. Unless one transcends name and form, meditation is impossible."

[p.179] Pranayama is restraint of vital currents in the body, or controlled breathing exercises.
[p.181] In Taoism, the Chinese have a breathing exercise called T-ai-si or embryonic respiration. In some ways, Taoism resembles Hindu Hatha Yoga.

[p.183] Kriya Yoga is a very advanced form of Pranayama taught by Yogis in India. Swami Yogananda said this method leads to Cosmic Consciousness. Hatha Yoga is a yoga of postures, practiced for radiant health and longevity and relaxation. Those who practice Asanas or yoga postures regularly follow strict moral, ethical and dietary codes.

[p.185] ASHTANGA YOGA: 'Yoga with 8 limbs.'
1) YAMA (truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-violence)
2) NIYAMA (purity of mind , contentment, penance, study of scriptures, and meditation on God)
3) ASANAS (Postures)
4) PRANAYAMA (control of Prana)
5) PRATYAHARA (withdrawal of the senses from sense objects)
6) DHARANA (fixation of mind on any object)
7) DHYANA (meditation)
9) SAMADHI (final state of realization)

LAYA YOGA : Concentrates on awakening of Kundalini power. Also called KUNDALINI YOGA, achieved by meditation of the Chakras in proper order, under the guidance of a very competent Guru. Premature awakening of Kundalini is extremely dangerous, so caution is advised.

[p.188] The Hamsa method of meditation is watching the incoming and outgoing breaths, without interfering with breathing. It is easiest and safest. The 1st result is that you will fall asleep. Sleep is a hindrance to meditation, but once you've mastered that, you will go into a mental condition in which there is no thought at all. Your breath will slow down and you will enjoy great peace and happiness, like never before.

[p.191] TANTRAS are a branch of Hinduism. Most Tantric literature is still kept a secret. Most Hindus don't discuss it. 'Tantra' means 'to expand'. Unlike the rest of Hinduism, part of Tantrism believes in the enjoyment of material life. Tantrism and Saktism are almost same. In Tantrism the deity is Siva-Sakti, a combination of Lord Siva and his consort Parvati. It is a system of practices that is used for spiritual upliftment. The best part of Tantrism is it's knowledge about the vast untapped Kundalini energy in the human body. Tantrism also researched into alchemy (chemistry), astrology, palmistry, cosmology and even atomic theory.

Mantras are the gift of Tantrism to Hinduism and the world. Yantras, the geometrical figures and sketches associated with Mantras, came from Tantrism. Three important nerves, as per the Tantras are Sushumna, Ida and Pingale.

[p.192] In the Sushumna are 7 psychic centers:
1) Mudhala Chakra (@ base of spine ), has 4 petals & controls smell.
2) Svadishthana Chakra (@ base of genitals), has 6 petals and controls taste.
3) Manipurs Chakra (opposite navel), has 10 petals and controls sight.
4) Anahata Chakra (@ heart level), has 12 petals and controls touch.
5) Visuddha Chakra (in throat), has 16 petals and controls hearing.
6) Ajna Chakra (between eyebrows) has 2 petals and controls mind.
7) Sahasrava Chakra (located above topmost point of head) has 1,000 petals! Here the Yogi attains Cosmic Consciousness.

[p.193] Kundalini Power is a mysterious and powerful force in the human body. It is lying like a serpent in a coiled or inactive form at the base of the spine at the Mudhala Chakra. Kundalini remains dormant throughout peoples life. It is believed that as a person evolves spiritually by meditation or Pranayama exercises, this power slowly rises up through the Sushumna nerve. This rise of the Kundalini power is known as the awakening of the Kundalini. This power rises slowly and steadily and does not shoot up in a straight line. When it passes through each psychic center, the person will have complete control of one of the sense organs. No Samadhi (union with God) is possible without awakening Kundalini. It is said that this power rises up through the 6 Chakras and is united with the 7th Chakra and Cosmic Consciousness, the highest form of realization is attained.

Hindus don't discuss Tantrism because of the erotic nature of it. The Tantras also deal with black magic and sexoyogic exercises between male and female devotees. This will help both devotees to explore their senses rather than be subdued by them, and to actually make use of their sexual energy forspiritual upliftment. The woman who takes part in these erotic exercises is considered a Sakti.

[p.194] (Mother goddess). Some Tantric practices devotees follow the five m's: wine, meat, fish, parched rice and sexual union. During certain Tantric rituals devotees even resort to the use of dangerous drugs and chemicals. One Tantric practice is known as 'circle worship', where equal numbers of men and women meet at midnight in a chosen place such as a graveyard and engage in 'holy intercourse.' This is very elaborate, starting with acts of 'body worship'. Although Hinduism discourages sex during menstrual periods, Tantrics encourage it, believing a woman's energies are most vital then. There are hand gestures unique to Tantrism that symbolize sexual activities. Even the AUM symbol is seen by many Tantrics as a mystical symbol emphasizing the union of the male and female. Tantrism has its counterparts in Jainism and Buddhism, which has 4 schools of Tantre.
All these erotic rituals are against the basic fundamentals of Hinduism. Now you know why many Hindus don't want to discuss the Tantras. The existence of Tantrism in India is another example of Hindu tolerance. In any other religion, a thinking process like Tantrism would have been suppressed by violent force.

[p.195] SIVALINGA is a part of Tantrism. Today you will never see a Hindu temple without a Sivalinga standing in a Yoni. According to the Siva Purana, it represents the space in which the universe creates and annihilates itself again and again. As per the Tantras, it represents the phallus and Yoni (a representation of the male and female attributes of God). It also represents the creative principle of life.

YANTRAS are geometrical figures based on a certain mathematical forms and methods. Yantras represent deities like Siva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Krishna, and especially Mother goddess Sakti. Mantras and Yantras are very much interconnected. A Thought is expressed in subtle form as a Mantra and the same thought is expressed in subtle form as a Yantra. There are more than 900 Yantras.

[p.196] Mandala means 'circle'.

[p.197] A MUDRA is a very artistic representation of holding the hands and fingers to indicate a particular meaning.

[p.199] KAMA means 'desire for sexual gratification'. KAMA SUTRA is a book that describes the daily routine of an ordinary man. It also describes picnics, parties, games, etcetera. The book elaborately discusses the art of making love. The book categorizes different forms of embraces, kisses and types of women. The intention of the author may be to teach a man how to woo a woman to become his bride, but his writings are much against the fundamental ideas of Hinduism because it could lead to spiritual decline rather than help man in his married life.

[p.201] GURU means God Himself, it does not mean 'teacher'. One of the essential qualities of a true Guru is omnipresence. There is no need to search for a Guru. If one seeks truth, hundreds of Gurus will come and knock on one's door to deliver it.

[p.202] "...there are 7 living masters, known as Saptha Rishis, who take care of the world forever. They guide us constantly in our spiritual aspirations. So there is no need to crave for a Guru. What an aspirant has to follow is righteousness and truth alone....Both the Jewish Kabbalah and the Rosicrucians also believe in 7 God-men who live in the east....Gurus need not necessarily come in body; he/she can come in spirit also."

[p.203] "All of us are like tiny portable transistor radios, and until we tune our true spiritual urge properly, we cannot hope to contact Christ-like masters. They are close to each of us, but yet they cannot come to us, since we are not functioning on their wavelength. Hinduism very clearly states the differences between 'Knowledge' and 'Realization'... Thousands know about God and scriptures, but one in a billion realizes God. At the same time, history has shown that scriptural knowledge is not a must for God-realization. Hinduism also believes that anyone who seeks the absolute truth will ultimately realize God...Only God-realized masters can differentiate between who is God-realized and who is not. Christ did not go after the learned men of the day, but the understanding souls of the day, who were on a pedestal as far as evolution is concerned."

[p.205] "Hindu scriptures do not recommend the worship of an idol as God."
Max Mueller said: "The religion of the Vedas knows no idols....An idol in a temple is exactly like a cross in a church. Both help men focus on God."

"In Raja Yoga, the scientific part of Hinduism, God is looked upon somewhat as pure energy."

The Bhagavad Gita states, 'Fools not knowing My unalterable transcendental nature think that I, the unmanifested, am equipped with a manifested form.'

[p.207] "As per the Christian Bible, everything came from the Word, and the Word was God. Similarly, we in Hinduism believe that everything came from Brahman, and Brahman is God. The vibratory aspect of Brahman is called AUM or OM. So Hindus say that AUM is God. From AUM came the Mother of God and the Godhead that is divided into 3 which is popularly known as the Trinity. They are Brahma (God of Creation), Vishnu (God of Preservation), and Siva (God of Annihilation)... When any of these 3 gods takes human or animal form, we call that an Avatar. Vishnu's popular Avatars are Rama and Krishna. Vishnu has 10 Avatars (some are animals)."

Consorts of all these gods are known as goddesses:
Saraswathi (Wife of Brahma and Goddess of knowledge);
Lakshmi (Wife of Vishnu and Goddess of Prosperity);
Parvati (Wife of Siva and Goddess of Power);
Radha (Wife of Krishna).

"According to the point of view of a Hindu, all gods are but representations of the one true God." Since no human description can ever do justice to His magnitude, the Rig Veda says, 'God or Truth is one, only men describe it in different ways.'

[p.210] "Some say that there are at least 330 million gods in Hinduism."

[p.212] NATARAJA -- the dancing god of India, actually Lord Siva, brings about destruction of the ego, and the visible symbol of the universe.

[p.215] KALI -- the mother Goddess -- the symbol of terror and death outside, but inwardly loving and compassionate. Her devotees worship her as primal energy or pure consciousness. KALI is black in color and is the consort to Lord Siva. She is usually depicted wearing a necklace of human skulls. Kali is usually associated with the left-handed swastika.

[p.216] Unluckily, during the early stages of Hinduism, human sacrifices may have been performed in front of Kali. No codes on human sacrifice are in any of the Hindu scriptures....But a tribe named the Thugs used to do human sacrifices until 1800. The British government in India finally eradicated the whole tribe including women and children. I am 100% sure that no human sacrifices are performed in any Hindu temples today....Human sacrifices are there in the history of all religions. In the Old Testament, one witnesses a God who was constantly angry and enjoyed human miseries. He demanded and sanctioned human sacrifices. Of course, one witnesses a very compassionate God in the New Testament. As far as the Bible is concerned, Jesus Christ is the sacrificial lamb for the sins of humankind. Today's Christianity abhors the very word sacrifice and it condemns all blood-letting sacrifices....Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son in the Old Testament, and in the Katha Upanishad the son of Vajasrabasa volunteered to be sacrificed to Yama, the God of Death....Again, references to the flesh of Christ & the blood of Christ during the Last Supper show that human sacrifices were prevalent even during the time of Christ. The prevalence of human sacrifice is the only reason why the omnipotent Christ used the words blood and flesh to indicate the magnanimity of his teachings. If Christ were born today, he would use words like DNA and electromagnetism to explain subtle matters to mankind."

[p.217] Extremely few temples in Calcutta do animal sacrifices. The majority of Hindus abhor such acts....Blood and blood products are not allowed in the vast majority of Hindu temples. None of the Hindu temples in the USA allow blood in any form, even meat products. Most Hindus are also vegetarians."

[p.217] To conclude that all who worship Kali also indulge in animal sacrifices would be erroneous, because, e.g., RamaKrishna Paramabam (?) worshipped Kali but was the personification of love and compassion in Hinduism.

[p.218] "Thugs" offered (sacrificed) only healthy young men to the goddess Kali. The British killed all Thugs by 1861.

[p.223] Mythology -- "the 'logic' of myth."

Krishna had 16,008 wives. Since Hinduism advocates monogamy, the reason Krishna had so many wives was because He was 'Pavamatam', or 'the Absolute Soul' and His wives represented 'Jeevatman', the individual soul trying to merge with 'Pavamatam'.

[p.224] "'Non-violence is the highest virtue' -- is written for the ordinary man. Of course Mahatma Gandhi used it effectively as a weapon against the British in India. But gods act on a different plane altogether, Their actions are not motivated by anger, greed, or selfishness. They act in a very mathematical and logical manner."

[p.227] "WHY IS THE COW SO IMPORTANT IN HINDUISM ?"
"When the Aryans settled in India, the cow was the only animal they had domesticated...In the Vedic age, cows were a real blessing to the community, providing milk, meat, butter and yogurt; and skin for shelter and clothing. This appreciation of cows made them later worship cows. Later still cows were seen as a 'symbol of motherhood'. Of course the majority of Hindus still avoid consuming beef, but they do not look down upon any person who consumes beef."

[p.228] "In the Ramayana, Sage Agasthya ate a ram so he could annihilate the demon Vatapi."
"...As per the Puranas written after the birth of Buddhism and Jainism, Hindus are forbidden from the consumption of any meat or meat products. With the problems of heart disease and cholesterol all over the world, we should propagate vegetarianism and abandon meat altogether."

[p.229] The red dot on the forehead of women is to focus on the 'third eye' or 'spiritual eye'. Jesus said: 'If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light' (Matt. 6:22).

[p.230-1] Both in ancient Hinduism and Judaism, male domination prevailed in their laws.
"Hinduism believes (today) that a woman who devotes her entire life to her husband is a Pativrata and is endowed with powers usually attained by sages."

[p.233] Child marriage used to occur in India, but now is illegal.

[p.234] 'Deva Dasi' system was set up initially somewhat like Christian nuns. Later these girls were used as temple prostitutes.

[p.235] Right now in India, women have better respect in social life as well as in professional life (true equal wages).

[p.237] "Sati" is the horrendous act of widows killing themselves by jumping into the funeral pyre of their dead husbands, sometimes willfully, sometimes forcibly by others. It was abolished in 1829 by the British. Sati is not part of Hinduism....According to the funeral hymns of the Rig Veda, after a ceremony of the widow sleeping next to the corpse of the husband, she was allowed to marry the dead man's brother."

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