Grounds for a New Apologetics Discussion/Dialogue/Debate with Ankit Dhawan Concerning an Analysis of the Vedas in Light of the Bible and the Bible in Light of the Vedas

August 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Dialogues

 

I am enamored by the sincere effort put in by the most kind and merciful administrator of this facebook page in responding to my question. Although, I am not in complete understanding of all the answers to my questions, but bulk of my misunderstanding about Christian faith has been straightened out. Previously, I was getting all messed up by some of the writings inspired by Calvinism, where the texts did a good job in promoting their view using direct scriptural quotes (Authors such as RC Sproul, EI Packer, Ravi Zacharias etc.). I have been diving into the matters of faith for last two years, thanks to a Christian colleague (I am indebted to this person for life!). But, before this site answers to my questions were uncovered in Vedic study. I seek the site administrators permission to attempt an analysis using Vedas. This will be solely for the purpose of establishing convergence of these revealed scriptures in promoting the love of Godhead. So far (mind you, I am a novice!), I am encouraged by my study of these two paths that lead to this goal. Yes, the outside crust of rituals and rules may be different, but as you dive deep you will find the core is the same. Do I have permission to discuss my comparative analysis? I do not wish to offend anyone.

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  • New Apologetics Thank you for your response. We welcome your comparison to the Vedas, and we would like to continue to respond to your questions until there is no further misunderstanding. We will be responding to your questions on God’s sovereignty tomorrow, hopefully.
  • Ankit Dhawan Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I will begin with a small prayer to the Spiritual Master, who is similar to the concept of *tradition* and is bonafide source of Vedic knowledge that is passed on from from one authorized guru to another through *disciplic succession*. This succession is very important in Vedic culture so as to eliminate the possibility of contamination. Here goes the prayer:

    om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
    caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
    Translation:” I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ig- norance, with the torchlight of knowledge.”

    I sincerely hope that I don’t mis represent the teachings of Vedas, and for that I will be using scriptural references or purports of Masters who fall in the disciplic succession. I seek apology in advance for any transgressions.

    1. Who am I? 
    According to Vedas, I am the spirit soul (Aham Brahmasmi: Ref- Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda). As spirit soul I am part and parcel of the Supreme. I am not born, nor do I die. I cannot be destroyed or cut into pieces or burnt. The nature of Spirit soul is explained by the Supreme Personality of Godhead (known as Bhagavan in Sanskrit) in Bhagavad Gita (part of the Vedic scriptures). I will give links to the specific verses that deal with the nature of Spirit soul.
    http://vedabase.net/bg/2/12/en
    http://vedabase.net/bg/2/13/en
    http://vedabase.net/bg/2/17/en
    http://vedabase.net/bg/2/20/en
    http://vedabase.net/bg/2/22/en
    http://vedabase.net/bg/2/23/en
    The Spirit soul enjoys eternal life full of knowledge and bliss in the *Spiritual World* under the protection of the Supreme. This eternal relationship between the Supreme (God) and Spirit soul is described as *svarupa* in Vedas. In the original svarupa, living entity or the spirit soul enjoys five kinds of relationships with God: Shanta (passive), Dasya (servitor), Sakhya (friend), Vatsalya (paternal) and Madaurya (conjugal love). So, we were all doing just fine enjoying our svarupa in the Spiritual world with God. As Spirit souls, we are qualitatively the same as God (but not in quantity: think God as infinite and us as infinitesimal), which is sat-cit-ananda i.e. we are eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. God is the fountainhead of sat-cit-ananda. Now, Spiritual world is 3/4th of God’s creation and Material world is only 1/4th. At this time, I am only explaining “Who am I” and “what is my relationship with God”. At this juncture I am not fallen and still in God’s kingdom, which is the Spiritual world. The nature of Spiritual world is nicely described in Vedic literature. I will give references in later posts. In spiritual world, all exchanges between God and Spirit soul are pure love without any tinge of contamination. This love is beautifully explained in your postings (I think the term for unconditional and unselfish love is Agape). Next we will dive into why are we separated from God and what are we doing here.

    vedabase.net

    Bhagavad-gita As It Is Chapter 2 Verse 12
  • Ankit Dhawan So far, I think the similarity is (1) Your focus on Scripture and tradition is equivalent to Vedic tradition of “Sastra-Sadhu-Guru”, which means knowledge is to be gained by Scriptures, bonafide guru who is in the disciplic succession and in the association of devotees; (2) soul does not die; and (3) God is love. The differences are: (a) Vedas were spoken by God Himself and passed on initially through oral tradition using exact verbatum from God to mankind using disciplic succession. Bible on the other hand is series of law books and testimonies that are inspired by the Holy Spirit, but authored by men; (b) you say that soul is born at the time of conception, whereas Vedas say that soul is unborn. It passes from one body to another to fulfill certain purpose that we will get into later (reincarnation). Vedas describe that there are 8,400,000 species of material bodies that the spirit soul can possess depending on what desires he is trying to fulfill (law of Karma- to be dealt later). There are some references in Bible that suggest reincarnation (John the Baptist as incarnation of Elijah), but I have heard strong rejection from Christian friends.
  • Abet Layug Is this spirit-soul related to Atman? Is it Just Maya?
  • Ankit Dhawan Albert: No maya yet in my post…. it is all pure spirit.
  • Ankit Dhawan So far, I have only dealt with our constitutional position as spirit souls in relation with God in our original home- the Spiritual World where all different kinds of exchanges (passive, servitor, friendship, paternal love, conjugal love) are happening in the spirit of Agape- pure love. Now, I will talk a little bit about God. This is a very vast concept that I do not profess to know a whole lot, but I will share as much as I can. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Himself says that after many many births, only one in a million may know Him (BG 7:19.. link:http://vedabase.net/bg/7/19/en). Anyway, God is a person… the original person. His name is Krishna…. (Link: http://srimadbhagavatam.com/1/3/28/en1)… actually He has many names, not to be confused with many incarnations and He lives in the topmost Spiritual planet called Goloka Vrindavan. There He is enjoying loving relationships with spiritual living beings as per the svarup of the spirit soul. God or Bhagavan has three aspects in which He is revealed- a. The Supreme Person (Krishna); (b) Localized Super soul- as localized Super soul, God resides in the heart of every living entity including plants and animals.. (kind of similar to Holy Spirit); and (c) impersonal Brahman or the impersonal effulgence. (Ref:http://vedabase.net/sb/1/2/11/en). So, there are many spiritual seekers in Vedic following who are trying to realize these three different aspects of God. We can get into the details of each of His aspects if desired. But, for now it is suffice to say that the Original Personality of Godhead- Sri Krishna is the Bhagavan realization and only in this realization one can enjoy loving relationship with the Supreme. Now, He is the source of everything- the Absolute Truth. In order to create, God expands into plenary expansions and these are the source of all different incarnations. This is a very vast subject and I will do dis service by trying to explain Lord’s incarnations in one posting. For now, just note that plenary expansions are for specific purpose and are not different from Krsihna. All the while these incarnations are working, Lord is enjoying His pastimes with His devotees who are in the Spiritual world. Lord’s plenary expansions are different from living entities in the fact that spirit souls are separated parts and parcels (that is separate individuals) while plenary expansions are not separated from the Lord. 

    Next, we will get into Why are we here in the material world with material bodies?

    vedabase.net

    Bhagavad-gita As It Is Chapter 7 Verse 19
  • Ankit Dhawan 3. Why are we here? Now, as pure spirits we were enjoying our eternal loving relationship with God. Now being part and parcels of God, we are qualitatively similar to God and as such some of us express desire to create just like God does. This is where we run into trouble, as there can only be one creator in the Spiritual world- God. So, our propensity to create, which is derived from God, poses a conundrum for God. But, God being Love committed to giving us everything that we desire gives into our rebellion. Rebellion in the sense that now we wish to be the God… Now, here I think this desire is similar to Adam and Even eating the forbidden fruit. The difference is that in Bible only two individuals rebelled, whereas in Vedas as bunch of us expressed this desire. It should be noted that these rebellious souls are in minority as most of spiritual entities are perfectly fine in serving the Lord in pure Love and accepting His love in return… note that both sides are deriving pleasure in giving to each other. Anyway, back to rebellious souls- God is giving into their desire to “Lord it over” desire. He does that by creating material universe. There is a whole process on how material world is created from Lord’s energies, which I will skip for now. Some of the plenary expansions that I spoke about in my last post are used for the purpose of creating, maintenance and annihilation of material world. To create, Lord’s Narayan (Maha Visnu) expansion lies down in the causal ocean and breathes out innumerable material universes from the pores of His body. Each of the innumerable material universe, then has another expansion called Garbhodaksai Visnu who manages creation in that particular universe. And further, within each material planet there are innumerable living entities and within the heart of living entities, another plenary expansion Ksirodaksai Visnu resides (Super Soul or Holy Spirit). This Supersoul is looking after the desires of each and every embodied spirit soul. At this point, rebellious spirit souls are given material bodies and put into this material world. There are 8,400,000 different species of material bodies that God has created for living entities to enjoy their desires. Some of the characteristics of material world are: (1) it is fundamentally dark and it requires Sun and Moon to get illuminated; (2) it is temporary- it get’s manifested, stays for a duration and then it is annihilated; (3) spirit souls act under the influence of three modes- ignorance, passion and goodness to lord it over the resources. 
    Now, this influence of the three modes namely mode of ignorance or passion or goodness is similar to the concept of “Original Sin”. It is like a birth disease that one is infected as he tries to fulfill his desires. This fulfillment of desires is called Karma. (Ref: http://vedabase.net/bg/3/5/en). Now, in this material world we have an eternal soul (no change there) and material body, which is temporary. Body is constantly changing- from baby to toddler, from toddler to youth, from youth to man, from man to older man and then death. Death is a transient state where the soul changes an old body and enters into a new body depending upon the desires he had at the time of death. This cycle of birth- death goes on repeatedly, unless one comes to the realization that permanent happiness is only in the Spiritual world and he himself desires (free will) to go back to Godhead. The basic activities of all living entities is eating, sleeping, mating and defending. These activities are functions of body. When one gets human form of body, he gets the facility to think about matters such as “Who am I?”. Only in the human form of life one can make spiritual inquiry and using “Shastra- Sadhu- Guru (Scriptures, devotees and Spiritual Master)” combination make plans to get out of this material world of miseries. I may have skipped over several opportunities to provide references, please let me know if you have specific request.

    vedabase.net

    Bhagavad-gita As It Is Chapter 3 Verse 5
  • Abet Layug Please allow me to some questions…. Is there really a concept of soul in bhagavad gita? who is the one subject to samsara… the man or the soul (If there ‘s any)? Is this realization that you have mentioned related to Moksha?
  • Ankit Dhawan Little more about the process of transmigration of soul. We get our material body so as to fulfill our desires to lord it over. As soon as our desires get the covering of modes of nature (ignorance, passion or goodness), they become perverted…. instead of acting to satisfy God, we act to satisfy ourselves (selfishness), agape or pure love becomes lust… so, we are put into this illusional situation where we are made believe that we can enjoy separate from God. Even things that we consider altruistic- charity, are nothing but manifestation of mixed mode of goodness and passion, and they tie us to the body. As embodied souls we have a choice to stay under the influence of our superior spiritual nature (soul) or the inferior material nature (attached to body). Most of us, myself included, identify ourselves with body and bodily designations- fat, thin, black, white, American, Indian, Hindu, Muslim, boy, girl etc. As long as we identify with body, we will keep enjoying the material world where we get temporary relief from miseries of “birth, death, old age and disease” .. however, this material world is full of dualities and defaults to darkness and misery (think about it, if there is no Sun or Moon- this earth is dark…. the joy of birth ends with sadness of death, there is winter and there is summer.. hot and cold etc). Anyway, the soul is packed in two material shells- subtle body and gross body. Subtle body (mind you this is still material) is mind, intelligence and false ego- the one that ties us to the body; and surrounding the subtle body is the gross body that we see. This is made up of five basic elements- earth, water, fire, air and ether. When the body dies, the gross body is deemed useless and is destroyed. The subtle body carries the soul out. Imprinted on the subtle body are impressions of soul’s desires throughout his previous life. Based on these imprints, the subtle body petitions the super soul to give a suitable body that will facilitate the imprinted desires of soul on the subtle body. Example: If someone is overly indulging in meat eating, that desire is imprinted on the subtle body. When the human form dies, the super soul sanctions a body suitable for flesh eating and as an example the soul in this case enters into a tiger’s body to fulfill his flesh eating desires. Another aspect of transmigration is that the new body forgets the previous life. This is to enable the embodied soul to start afresh. Lot of people have represented reincarnation as a system of penalty and reward based on good or bad deeds. But, fundamentally God, who has given Himself up completely to us in pure love, is providing us suitable material body to fulfill our desires. Our job in human form of body is to meditate and understand these facts under the guidance of Spiritual Master & Scriptures and progressively move from the mode of ignorance to passion to goodness. Only in the mode of goodness, can one think about finding relief from this repeated birth and death.

    I think both Biblical and Vedic scriptures demonstrate the highest form of love exhibited by God. Both provide mechanism of free will. The difference is that Vedic framework gives the process of reincarnation to facilitate our own journey back to Godhead, while Bible does not provide reincarnation as mechanism. According to Bible, we only get one shot and there needs to be a higher sense of urgency. Moreover, Bible provides for redemption through Jesus, which is not there in Vedas. Vedas provide a different mechanism that will be discussed in a later post. For those looking for references, there are plenty of verses in SB and BG from where I have picked up the concept.
  • Ankit Dhawan Albert asks: Is there really a concept of soul in bhagavad gita? who is the one subject to samsara… the man or the soul (If there ‘s any)? Is this realization that you have mentioned related to Moksha?

    AD response: Yes, there is concept of soul in Bhagavad Gita. This is very nicely explained in chapter 2, I have given links in my postings. 

    The souls desirous of lording it over (or in other words rebellious souls) are given the facility of material world or Samasara. What you call man is a bodily designation of this rebellious soul.

    Moksha: Moksha means liberation from material life. There are two kinds of liberation- one for those who seek to merge into the impersonal aspect of God (I explained three aspects- Bhagavan, Paramatma and Brahman), and the other who wish to re-establish their svarupa in the Spiritual world. The ones who seek Brahaman realization and merge into the effulgence are usually called seekers of Moksha. However, the true moksha is to re establish our loving relationship with the Personality of Godhead.
  • Abet Layug Thanks Ankit …. Now I realize that it is safe to translate atman as soul since some translated it as self or inner self… Please correct if I am wrong… Is there only one way to discover Brahman…. to be a Sanyasa?
  • Ankit Dhawan Albert: Please allow me some time to address your question about realizing Brahman… short answer for now is “No, sanyasa is not the only way to realize Brahman?” In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna never asked his friend and disciple Arjuna to become a sanyasi. Alternatively, Arjuna was being encouraged to fight and even kill his relatives. Very intriguing plot… nowhere close to sanayasa!
  • Abet Layug Thanks again Ankit….yes I knew that story…. so it is not mandatory to fulfill the 4rth stage of life.
  • Ankit Dhawan So far I have described Vedic view on who we are? Who is God? Where do we come from? Why are we here? Why are we “separated” from God? There is a whole lot to describe about material and Spiritual world, that I have skipped because of tiime and frankly my lack of complete knowledge. If anyone is interested to understand in more detail, I recommend “Bhagavad Gita- As it is” by Srila Prabhupad. 
    Next I wanted to dive into how to get out of this material world and go back to our real home in the Spiritual world. Bulk of Vedas are full of rituals (similar to the Old Testament) that discuss how to live our life while in the material world. If one reads these rituals from 10,000 ft level, they may look like very mechanical and ritualistic ceremonies to deal with reactions one generates from acting in the material world. However, under expert guidance (this is where Spiritual Master becomes critical) one can understand the hidden meaning and premise behind these rituals. Most of these rituals are meant to progressively elevate humans from deep material life to Spiritual realization. There are several paths recommended in the Vedic Scriptures in the form of “Yoga”; namely Karma Yoga (cleansing through action), jnana yoga (cleansing through knowledge); dhyana yoga (cleansing through focused meditation); and bhakti yoga (cleansing through devotional service). Yoga basically means connecting- that is, connecting spirit soul to the Supreme. What we normally know in the West as Yoga is the A-B-C of Dhyana yoga where they teach preliminary postures to keep the body healthy in order to make it fit for spiritual realization. Unfortunately, under the influence of the modes of ignorance and passion, world today is only looking at yoga as gymnastics to lower the body fat and increase sexual vitality. It is very sad! Now, think of these different paths as alternate ways to get to the one lane highway of Bhakti or devotional service that leads back to home. So, karma or jnana or dhyana yoga are useful only if they lead to bhakti, and through bhakti only one can attain God (re:http://vedabase.net/…/55/enhttp://vedabase.net/bg/18/55/en ). Very briefly I will talk about these different type of yogas…
    Karma Yoga: One of the characteristic of spirit soul is that it is always active. When this soul is embodied in a material encasement called body, his activities are mostly towards fruitive actions. We all work with an expectation that our work will be rewarded. In Vedas, there are Karma Kanda sections that discuss what are *allowed* activities versus *prohibited* activities. When we are in the bodily concept of life, we should work only in accordance with activities according to Vedic injunctions. The whole human society is divided in a framework of four *Varnas* and four *Asrams* according to ones age and propensity towards certain kinds of work as awarded by the material nature. The four Varnas are: Brahmin or the learned class (don’t confuse this with Brahman realization that I mentioned previously, that is different); Kshtriya or the administrative and warrior class; Vashyas or mercantile class and Shudras or the worker class. The four Asrams are based on ones age: from 0-25 years it is Brahmchari Asram or student life; 26-50 is Grhstha Asram or the married life; 51-75 is Vanaprstha Asram or the renounced life; and lastly the Sanyaas Asram is completely absorbed in devotional service with 100% renouncement. So, based on one’s past karmas, one is given a particular Varna and he is suppose to perform the duties of that varna as well as the asram. This part of framework was grossly mis represented and polluted by modern day Brahmins, who converted this God given system into caste system based on birth. (ref: http://vedabase.net/bg/4/13/en). Anyway, when one acts according to the duties prescribed by Vedas for his Varna & Asram for fruitive results, he is called Karmi. One can convert Karma to Karma Yoga by giving up all claims to the results of action and offer the results to the Lord. (Ref:http://vedabase.net/bg/2/47/en). So, when only works as a matter of duty without worrying about the results and offers the results to the Lord, He is understood to be in Karma Yoga. He ceases to gain or loose any karmic reaction for these activities. This mentality ultimately leads to Bhakti.
  • New Apologetics Thank you for posting this. We will read it carefully and respond as soon as possible.

  • Ankit Dhawan After discussing Karma Yoga, I am now going to briefly describe Jnana Yoga or Yoga through Knowledge. Some of us are more inclined to try to analytically understand who God is. So, there are scholars who study scriptures with deep meditation and engage in theological discussions and debates, with a sincere intent to know about God. Just like to a degree we are doing on this fb site. When one tries to analytically understand God, given sincere effort, he will come to the conclusion sooner or later that God can be known only as much as God reveals Himself to us. This revelation is not a function of our intellect, rather it is directly proportional to the degree of surrender we cultivate in the process of analytical study. (Ref: http://vedabase.net/bg/4/11/en). So, good analytical study will lead to the knowledge that God is to be understood through love and devotion and not by mental speculation. Now, having said this God also does not want you to blindly accept what anyone is saying. He wants us to inquire about matters of faith from bonafide sources. (ref: http://vedabase.net/bg/4/34/). So, this is the second path through Jnana Yoga. Please note that this path, if followed properly should lead to Bhakti Yoga, which I have previously called as super highway to Lord’s abode. Sometimes, certain aspiring transcendentalists keept trying the analytical approach and start zeroing in on the impersonal aspect of God, which is the Brahman. Such transcendentalists desire to merge into the impersonal feature of Brahman and loose their identity. Lord is very kind and He fulfills their desire. However, merging into Brahman, which is also called Moksha or liberation, is not the state of complete equilibrium as one does not reach the “ananda” or “bliss” stage of liberation. Let me confess, I don’t completely understand how this merging business happens so if there are questions, I may have to approach someone who is an expert in these matters.

    vedabase.net

    Bhagavad-gita As It Is Chapter 4 Verse 11
  • Ankit Dhawan After Karma and Jnana Yoga, there is Dhyana Yoga- which is focused concentration of mind. Precursor to dhyana yoga is Hatha Yoga- which is the science of keeping our body and min healthy. The perverted forms of Hatha Yoga are all around us in the form of learn Yoga for $30/ month and loose fat! So, dhyana yoga is the science of concentrating one’s mind on the “paramatama” aspect of the Lord- the one that resides in our heart. There are eight legs of this science which is also known in the yogi community as Astanga (astanga means eight fold) Yoga. This system progressively takes the living entity from gross body control to controlling senses, to controlling subtle body to ultimately realizing the atman (or spirit soul). Think of these stages as peeling the onion. This system consists of do’s and don’ts of a healthy human life (yama and niyama), and once outer body is healthy then it progressively takes one to taming the mind through intense focus. This requires a whole lot of practice and expert guidance. There are very few, if any, true Astanga yogis left who can elevate you to the topmost level which is the state of trance. It must be noted, that as one elevates himself through the different stages of dhyana yoga, he obtains supernatural powers. Some of these powers, also called siddhis, are seen even today in parts of India. There are some commentators who believe that Lord Jesus Christ spent his “missing years” in Kashmir India where He mastered the art of dhyana yoga and obtained siddhis that He used to cure the sick and raise the dead. Anyway, not to deviate from the issue at hand, Dhyana yoga may also lead to intense focus on the Lord’s localized aspect- Paramatama. When one realizes Paramatama, his desire to serve the Lord with loving devotional service becomes intense and this intensity propels the yogi to the path of Bhakti. So, dhyana yoga when done properly should lead to the super highway to Lord’s abode. Many fall in this effort and sense control is very difficult this day in age. The process requires going to a secluded place, siting silently for years etc. So, many consider this approach to attain Lord’s abode as impractical this day in age.
  • Ankit Dhawan One other side thing that I should have mentioned in creating the framework… our creation goes though four cycles before it is annihalated and recreated. These four ages are called: (1) Satya Yuga; (2) Treta Yuga; (3) Dwapar Yuga; and (4) Kali Yuga. There are 432,000 years in Kali Yuga- the present age and we have only gone though 5,000 years. Think of these ages as progressive deterioration of principles of religion.. in Satya Yuga, religion was standing on its four legs; then one was wiped out and in Treta it had 3 legs, then 2 legs in Dwapar and only one leg in Kali Yuga. If one wants to read about the predictions about Kaliyuga, that were made in Vedas, please read the link…http://vedabase.net/sb/12/2/en. For now, one should understand that people were very pious in Satya Yuga, they had very healthy and long life (thousands of years) which deteriorates with every age. So, there are certain practices in Vedas that were OK to do in other ages when men were strong and lived long. In current age- the Kali Yuga, we live 100 years at most. So, we do not have the time and resources to mediate in austerity for thousands of years. So, Lord has mercifully given a different plan to develop the love of Godhead for different ages. For now, the Vedas have said that the best way to get delivered in Kali Yuga is through the Holy name of the Lord. His name is no different than Him, since He is the Absolute. So, as much as one can, he should remember the holy name of the Lord just like a helpless child cries for his mother. Ref: http://caitanyacaritamrta.com/adi/7/76/en1.

    Next, I will briefle explain Bhakti Yoga in my next post. Thanks you very much!

    vedabase.net

    Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 12 Chapter 2
  • Matt Tillman (Moderator: Please consider the spirit in which the following is offered.) I appreciate the questions concerning the Vedas, but they have little or nothing to do with Catholicism. When the Secret Service teach their recruits how to identify counterfeit (fake) cash, they do not give them examples of fake money, they only give the recruits REAL money. Once you know the real thing, the fakes are easy to spot. I personally never researched Islam or Mormonism or any other religion, because I believed I had already the Original Message.
  • Ankit Dhawan I write here only after I got the permission from the moderator. Those who have the real money and know it is real, need not fear fake money. What about if the question is not about real or fake at all? It may be the same treasure, one called Dollar in one region, Pound Sterling in another? Anyway, I don’t mean to offend the readers. If the moderator so chooses, he can remove my posts. It will not offend me. I came here to ask my questions and I have gotten most of them answered. Thanks!
  • Ankit Dhawan Ok! Now let’s get to the Superhighway back to Godhead- Bhakti Yoga. When one is in constant remembrance of the Lord 24×7, irrespective of what activities he is doing, he is said to be in Bhakti Yoga. As you might think, Great! this is another idealistic path that we have no power to implement. Lord says- not to worry! Just get started with some faith. Ref: http://vedabase.net/bg/9/22/en. It is not our endeavors that will get us to the Lord, but it is our cooperating free will that enables us to receive God’s love (this connects very well to what you have been saying). Here Lord says it in black and white- “I carry what they lack and preserve what they have”. There is no “may be”/ “perhaps”/ this interpretation versus that interpretation. Now, to get little more deep into Bhakti. There are two kinds of Bhakti- Spontaneous agape love for God or Raganuga Bhakti; and progressive & regulated Bhakti or Vaidhi Bhakti. The situation with conditioned souls (that is us) is so bad that we cannot take to spontaneous bhakti right away… very rare! That’s why all religious scriptures call for elevating yourself step by step to look beyond material gains and losses (“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”- Luke 16:13). This stage is when the embodied soul is in the mode of goodness (remember the three modes I talked about? igorance/ passion/ goodness). That’s why for conditioned souls a more systematic bhakti is recommended, called vaidhi bhakti. There is a commentary that describes the process (Nectar of Devotion): 

    adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya
    tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah
    athasaktis tato bhavas tatah premabhyudancati
    sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah

    “In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Krsna consciousness, which is matured in bhava, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life.” In the prema stage there is constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. So, by the slow process of devotional service, under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, one can attain the highest stage, being freed from all material attachment, from the fearfulness of one’s individual spiritual personality, and from the frustrations resulting from void philosophy. Then one can ultimately attain to the abode of the Supreme Lord. 

    As you can see, Vaidhi bhakti leads to Raganuga Bhakti where you are constantly engaged in serving the Father. Now, if you had the patience and courage to read my postings and with this understanding you studied the life of Jesus Christ, you will conclude without fail that He was a Maha-Bhagavata (Lord’s greatest devotee). God considers Maha Bhagavatas as good as Himself (ref:http://vedabase.net/bg/7/18/en). So, no wonder Jesus said what He said… Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:8-9). 

    Thank you very much for the opportunity. Personally, I do not see any difference between Bible and Vedas at the core. They are vastly different at the surface, but as you peel the onion- layer after layer, you will see the same God being revealed. Jesus says-” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7). And in Vedas, Krishna says: 
    sarva-dharmān parityajya
    mām ekaḿ śaraṇaḿ vraja
    ahaḿ tvāḿ sarva-pāpebhyo
    mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
    “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”

    vedabase.net

    Bhagavad-gita As It Is Chapter 9 Verse 22
  • Ankit Dhawan Just to clarify the last verse. When Krishna says abandon all varieties of religion, He is not asking anyone to give up their faith. He is talking about all occupational duties that tie oneself to the body or flesh. Understand that He is asking all of us to be Christians or Muslims or any other valid path in a truer sense. We usually have wrong notion of religion as faith. Religion is one’s true and eternal relationship with God that does not change because bodily designations are different. I thought I should clarify as someone pointed that out to me.
  • New Apologetics Matt Tillman Paul Tobin The questions concerning the Vedas have very much to do with Catholicism. Our position is that truth, goodness (desirability) and beauty are convertible terms. Therefore, whatever is attractive to the adherent of any worldview is (despite our biases) what is *true* about that worldview. This may seem at face value to be an affirmation of relativism, but we assure you (and will prove it if requested) that it is quintessentially Catholic. 

    We invited Ankit to engage us in a comparison of Catholicism with the Vedas because we want to demonstrate that every attractive element of the Vedas is present (and amplified to its fullness) in Catholicism. Thus, if a devotee of the Vedic system of thought were to become Catholic, he or she would not have to renounce the essence of what draws them to their position.
  • Ankit Dhawan I thank you for the opportunity. I am largely in agreement with your sentiment re: Vedas and Bible. My study so far finds Vedas more comprehensive than Bible, but in all honesty I have not completely studied both therefore my thoughts should be taken with a grain of salt. I find relief in your observation that there may be truth, goodness (desirability) and beauty shared by these two revealed scriptures. When I see myself and bulk of human population engaged in unrestricted sense gratification, it pains me that we have forgotten the real purpose of human life. I will leave you another one of my favorites…http://vedabase.net/sb/1/2/8/en

    vedabase.net

    Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 2 Verse 8
  • New Apologetics Ankit Dhawan Note that we haven’t forgotten to analyze the Vedas in response to your inquiry. The analysis will make the most sense after you understand the Catholic position without the distortions which you’ve been given from outside. We are almost at that point.

  • Ankit Dhawan With the amount of activity this fb page has generated, I can see why you haven’t responded to Vedic commentary. Your first priority is Bible and Catholic related queries, and I appreciate that. However, as eager you have been to dispel my misunderstandings about Christian faith, I am equally eager to present to the Christians true Vedic understanding. West only knows about Vedic culture through the lens of Christian scholars, who have reduced that ancient religion to mundane idol worship of ghastly looking gods. Just as you are pained by the perverted version of Christianity propagated by some denominations, I am heartbroken by the demoniac interpretation of Vedas by most, including some Hindu scholars. 
    I am not here to impose or convert Christians into Hindus or vice-versa. Even Krishna does not impose his teachings upon His dearest friend Arjuna… After explaining Bhagavad Gita to him, in 18th chapter He says: 
    “Thus I have explained to you knowledge that is most confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do as you wish”
    That is all I wish to ask of you and other Christian brothers.
  • New Apologetics Ankit Dhawan The delay has nothing to do with prioritizing the Bible over the Vedas, but is the result of us needing to first dispel the misunderstandings concerning the nature of the basics of Catholic teaching. Prior to that being done, our comparison of the Bible to the Vedas will not make any sense. It seems that we are almost at a place where the relevant misunderstandings (which are no fault of yours) are exposed, and we think that with the forthcoming answer to your excellent questions on the origin of sin, we will then be able to fruitfully compare the texts.