“Do you believe in GOD?” a Western atheist friend once asked me.
“Your question to me is incomplete, irrelevant, and unessential…” I said.
“Why is it incomplete?”
“There are many concepts and beliefs about GOD. So, first, you have to explain your concept of GOD and then ask the question – Do you believe in ‘this particular’ concept of god?”
“I believe in NO-GOD…” he said, “but how come the question is irrelevant?”
“I don’t have to subscribe to any beliefs, that’s why. You already have a set belief. Your belief is "no-God". Belief is NOT the truth. A belief has nothing to do with truth. And, whether you believe in it or not, TRUTH doesn’t change…”
“But why is it unessential?”
“For, I am a practicing Sanatan Dharmi. The idea of believing in God is alien to us. Our ancestors and scriptures did not teach us to believe or disbelieve. Belief is not mandatory to be a Hindu. It is just an optional part. We are asked to seek truth and experience the GOD if you want to…”
"Uday, everyone is a truth-seeker only," he said.
"I don't think so. You are already conditioned with a belief system. Truth-seeking is not possible in any faith system or religion, because their concept of truth is already provided in their Holy books as the final thing – all you can do is following it blindly as truth! A believer can never be a truth seeker as he is conditioned with the so-called truth (as per belief) which is already given in the respective Holy Book and not supposed to think beyond that. If you seek truth, you will be thrown out from those religions."
"So you mean to say, only Hindu is a born truth seeker?"
"No. I didn't say that. A vast majority of modern Hindus are believers. The only plus point is that, when you are born as a Hindu, you have a lot of choices - belief is an optional part - you can believe if you want, that's all. If you want to choose a personal God, well, you can select from a pantheon of 330 million God. Or you can create a God as per your imagination. When you realize the limitations of beliefs, you may start seeking truth. A true Sanatan Dharmi follows Dharma, not belief. Even Gods are not above Dharma. By following Dharma, he/she will realize the truth. Vedanta-sutra says: "athato brahma-jijnasa" meaning "Now is the time to inquire about Brahmam or the Absolute Truth"
"Uday, what's Dharma? What's Brahmam? "
"Dharma is the duty, responsibility, right, and privilege altogether. It totally depends upon your Varna (profession) and Ashrama (age-group) or Kala (time) and Desa (geographical location). Brahmam is cosmic consciousness, which is manifested as the universe. The force is within you and outside you, everywhere. You do not have to believe the force or energy. Just as you don’t have to believe the sun." (Source: From my books: "Why Am I a Hindu? The Science of Sanatan Dharma" and forthcoming title "The GOD ILLUSION".)
"So, I will reframe the question. Personally, do you believe in the Hindu concept of God?"
"I adore and respect all concepts of God. I do believe and follow some concepts in Hinduism that I can explain logically and scientifically or rather rationally."
(Broadcast article no: 111, First published August 25, 2006)
A question from Mohit Wazir from Jammu Kashmir, an engineer by profession, who has joined my WhatsApp broadcast with a question: "Is killing a mosquito sinful?"
Sin is a religious belief. Some religions believe that human is a born sinner. That's just their belief. Many religions use the concepts of sin and guilt to exploit human beings.
A large section of Hindus also believes in Punya and Papa (equivalent to sin). But unlike other religions, Hinduism has more than 2000 sacred scriptures. So you can't say all Hindus believe that. I don't.
According to Upanishads, a human being is born as "Punyatma" - so, you are born as pure! There is no sin.
However, beliefs apart, theoretically speaking, as per authentic scriptures, we only have Dharma and Adharma. As said in the above article, it depends on many factors. I will give you my example. I am a vegetarian and I stand for non-violence, as per my Dharma. I can't even bear the sight of someone killing an animal. But what about a butcher? He must kill animals to make a living. It is just his job. That's also his Dharma. Remember, Vyadha Gita (teachings of a butcher) is as important as Bhagavad Gita (teachings of Krishna)! So Dharma depends on many factors.
Your first responsibility is your Sareera (body and mind). When something tries to destroy it or hurt it, you have every right to protect it. Every moment you are killing billions of cells within your body and outside your body. Billions of viruses are also attacking your body cells and your antibodies are killing them… I hope you got your answer!
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