Friday, November 25, 2016

BUILDING DIVINE RESIDENCY MORE RELEVANT THAN KNOWING GOD HE OR SHE


If God or the Supreme Being is He, She or It; residing in heaven, up there in the sky or just omnipresent in the known or unknown universe. Do we need to indulge in this debate? Not really. Rather we create our own god based on noble thoughts, ethics, and good karma.
Besides His numinous and varied perceptions God also offers a meaningful perspective which can be created by the assembly of good thoughts. And the divine residency begins in that on-going construction.

Basically, it is an eloquent temperament we are trying to build which gives rationality and practicality to the institution of God.

The ecumenical concept of God of being the supreme governor who creates, sustains, and destroys the universe, and everything else including what influences our lives, does not reveal the reasons behind all the puzzles and mysteries of His or Her observable deeds.
In other words, our perception of God as being a creator with His mystical powers which sustains the universe, can not comprehend many universal and natural phenomenon.

One reason is that man is just one of the millions of creatures who is microscopic in His infinite and colossal universe. Still,our imaginations and metaphysical attempts know no boundaries to fathom His magnanimity. For a moment let us compare a human being to a small ant who is trying to study God up there in the celestial world.

But we don’t. Because this has been ingrained in our cognitive senses that man is the favored work of God as being the most intelligent among all His living creations. And that we are the only ones capable of studying His multi-dimensional but conceptual-based existence.

Perhaps, that little ant may be thinking the same. It may be believing humans walking tall up on the ground are the unintelligent creatures. Or we are the gods for the ant. Who knows!

Philosophers, saints, scientists, and even common man have all tried to study God and came up with varied perceptions and explanations. Imagination is very basic part of human psychology.

However, these discernments seldom explain what role God plays or His reasons of our happiness, sorrows, and everything else we come across in our day to day lives. We see, face or endure tragedies around us every day in this world of turmoil. And then ask God ‘why’.

While respecting some or most of the known realizations and imageries about Him, we take another view of God which we assemble by intelligent and ethical thoughts to help us in explaining His involvements in the events we experience in our lives.
In this endeavor by mobilizing rational and moral thinking we are creating those karmas which can rationally explain the cause or causes of events personally experienced by us or happening around us where God may be involved or may be not.

We are the major players to generate events and thus know the reasons for their results. Nevertheless, we can leave unexplained experiences as part of His mysterious ‘lila’ or play.
Instilling nobility or divinity in our thoughts is a continuous exercise of creating virtuous karmas. And that is where the grammar of God is involved both as a verb and as a noun merging into one entity.

It is a disciplined and conscientious undertaking to attain the practicality of God in our midst.

We are told, to be honest, humble, and sincere, be considerate and helpful to others, be merciful, forget and forgive, love fellow beings and care for the environments, including animals, plants, and nature. And everything else which is pious, pure, and morally firm to bring us closer to God realization.

While retaining the truism of these universal teachings we can contextualize them through our intellective senses to guide our day-to-day personal lives. This is where the blueprint of our construction begins to apprehend His pragmatics.

-Promod Puri
editor, and writer for:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

MANUSMIRITI AND WOMEN

(From the book Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions by Promod Puri)
Since bias knows no boundaries, Manusmriti not only expounds the social distance between the upper and lower castes, but it also delineates the status of women by curbing their rights. It lists guidelines for men in selecting marriage partners and puts a stamp of their superiority by creating gender inequality.
In chapter 3 with numbered paragraphs here it is what Manusmriti prescribes:
8. One should not marry women who have reddish hair, redundant parts of the body [such as six fingers], one who is often sick, one without hair or having excessive hair and one who has red eyes.
9. One should not marry women whose names are similar to constellations, trees, rivers, those from a low caste, mountains, birds, snakes, slaves or those whose names inspires terror.
10. Wise men should not marry women who do not have a brother and whose parents are not socially well known.
11. Wise men should marry only women who are free from bodily defects, with beautiful names, grace/gait like an elephant, moderate hair on the head and body, soft limbs and small teeth.
61. For if the wife is not radiant with beauty, she will not attract her husband; but if she has no attractions for him, no children will be born.
62. If the wife is radiant with beauty, the whole house is bright; but if she is destitute of beauty, all will appear dismal.
147. By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house.
148. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.
149. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband's) families contemptible.
150. She must always be cheerful, clever in (the management of her) household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure.
151. Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father's permission, she shall obey as long as he lives, and when he is dead, she must not insult (his memory).
154. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshiped as a god by a faithful wife.
155. No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed by women apart (from their husbands); if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that (reason alone) be exalted in heaven.
156. A faithful wife, who desires to dwell (after death) with her husband, must never do anything that might displease him who took her hand, whether he be alive or dead.
160. A virtuous wife who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste, reaches heaven, though she has no son, just like those chaste men.
161. But a woman who from a desire to have offspring violates her duty towards her (deceased) husband, brings on herself disgrace in this world and loses her place with her husband (in heaven).
And in Chapter 9 Manusmriti further explicates under each numbered paragraphs that:
3. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence.
10. No man can completely guard women by force, but they can be guarded by the employment of the (following) expedients:
11. Let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfillment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils.
29. She who, controlling her thoughts, speech, and acts, violates not her duty towards her lord, dwells with him (after death) in heaven, and in this world is called by the virtuous a faithful (wife, sadhvi).
30. But for disloyalty to her husband a wife is censured among men, and (in her next life) she is born in the womb of a jackal and tormented by diseases, the punishment of her sin.
In this dehumanized and demoralized portrait of the unequivocal surrender of a woman from childhood to death, restricting every step of her stage in life, one wonders if there are few soft spots of dignity, honor and some rewards for her sacrifices in the Manusmriti.
Yes, there are. Along with the prejudice against low caste Hindus and women, Manu has some cheering exhibits in the otherwise demeaning declarations in the Manusmriti.
In Chapter 3 with numbered paragraphs of Manusmriti his preachings and observation include:
55. Women must be honored and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands, and brothers-in-law, who desire (their own) welfare.
56. Where women are honored, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honored, no sacred rite yields rewards.
57. Where the female relations live in grief, the family soon wholly perishes; but that family where they are not unhappy ever prospers.
58. The houses on which female relations, not being duly honored, pronounce a curse perish completely as if destroyed by magic.
59. Hence men, who seek (their own) welfare, should always honor women on holidays and festivals with (gifts of) ornaments, clothes, and (dainty) food.
60. In that family, where the husband is pleased with his wife and the wife with her husband, happiness will assuredly be lasting.
These silver linings in the Manusmriti provide a built-in support to decertify those defamatory statements which are not only illegal as per the constitution of India is concerned but morally, spiritually and ethically wrong.

Monday, November 21, 2016

From The Pen Of Baba Bulleh Shah


Parh parh Alam te faazil hoya
Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na

Translation: You read to become
all knowledgeable
But you never read yourself
You read so many books
to know it all,
yet fail to ever read your
heart at all.

Bhaj bhaj warna ay mandir maseeti
Te kaday mann apnay wich warya ee na

You run to enter temples and mosques
But you never entered your own heart)
You rush to holy shrines to play a part,
Would you dare enter the shrine of your heart

Larna ay roz shaitaan de naal
Te kadi nafs apnay naal larya ee na

Everyday you fight Satan
But you never fight your own Ego
You are quick to attack the evil one,
yet pride is a battle you have not won.

Bulleh Shah asmaani ud-deya pharonda ay
Te jera ghar betha unoon pharya ee na

Bulleh Shah you try grabbing that which is in the sky
But you never get hold of What sits inside you.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Hindu Swastika Exhibits Tolerance, Fortune and Auspiciousness

By Promod Puri
Despite being stigmatized as Nazi emblem of anti-Semitic, hate and violence, Swastika, the world’s most recognized sign, represents an auspicious and sacred symbol in Hinduism.

Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘svastika’ which simply means ‘lucky’. The geometric pattern of Swastika is believed to have its origin over 10,000 years ago in the Indus Valley Civilization. It got worldwide eminence and adoption over the centuries.

Many civilizations from Asia to Europe and even in the American continent adopted Swastika as a simple design relating to martial, religious, business and cultural trends including the belief that it brings good luck, prosperity and all things auspicious.

Swastika has been abandoned now by most societies and nations. For the plain reason that it is aligned with notoriety. It is a fascist symbol of intolerance and violent intimidation. Racists organizations and militant outfits post Swastika signs to signal rampage and terror against minority communities of different cultural and religious backgrounds.

Even with that perception which goes against the secular, liberal and democratic traditions of Hinduism, Swastika still has the same reverence and acceptance in the Hindu faith as has been since antiquity.

Although Swastika does not carry much Hindu philosophical interpretations, it does bring spiritual inspiration. It is believed to represent creator Brahma. Its four arms exhibit “Purusartha” which is an important doctrine of Hinduism. Purusartha advocates four co-related facets of life. These are dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Dharma seeks conscious conduct of life on moral values. Artha means economic liberty. Kama emphasizes pleasure and enjoyment in life. And moksha denotes seeking mukti or freedom from the worldly web to seek oneness with the Supreme-being. Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions.

Besides its spiritual values Swastika in Hinduism is more popular as a ritualistic identity mark in the performance of religious rites symbolizing devotion and divinity. Its use in the Hindu religious or ceremonial events is at the discretion of performing priests. As such Swastika is a ritualistic symbol.
Using Swastika in whatever formation is not at all mandatory in Hindu rites. The choice is made through regional customs and traditions.

As far as Hindu symbolic representation is concerned Swastika does not conflict with Om. It is a ritualistic tool with option to use or not to use. Swastika does not produce sound. Whereas Om does, and it resonates as the primordial sound introduced in this universe and perhaps in the whole celestial world.

In the ritualistic traditions of Hinduism, Swastika can not be abandoned simply because it has gathered connotations of hatred and intolerance in the Western world. Hinduism sticks to its centuries-old tradition of reverence to Swastika as a symbol of auspiciousness and fortune.
Websites:

progressivehindudialogue.com
promodpuri.com
promodpuri.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hinduism, Diwali and swastikas: Explained

sunpaperlogodougtoddPublished on: November 1, 2016 | Last Updated: November 1, 2016 1:33 PM PDT
Douglass Todd
swastika
Vancouver's Promod Puri, author of a new book on Hinduism, has seen priests drawing swastikas during public prayers. "And the moment these ceremonies are over the swastika is erased.”
With Canada’s 500,000 Hindus celebrating Diwali throughout this week, the awkward topic of the religion’s swastika symbol has again arisen.
One young North American Hindu has confessed in a revealing, tender-hearted piece how he often tries to convince his mother not to put Hinduism’s swastika symbol on the doorstep during Diwali.
Since most of the Western world associates the swastika with Naziism, Parth Shah told NPR he becomes mortified that North Americans might think his family somehow supports such atrocities. His mother refuses to listen.
VancouverSunPhoto
“Using the swastika … is not at all mandatory,” says Promod Puri, who has self-published a ook on Hinduism. This photo was taken in 2000 when Puri was publishing The Link, a South-Asian B.C. newspaper. GLENN BAGLO / VANCOUVER SUN
Metro Vancouver writer-journalist Promod Puri, who has written a new book on Hinduism, explained to me that Hindu priests and Brahmin leaders don’t seriously consider banning the swastika because of its Nazi associations.
“The swastika is just a ritualistic symbol in Hinduism, which is mostly used in ceremonial events at the discretion of the priest class. Since antiquity it is being used, much before the German adaptation,” said Puri, who has retired from editing and publishing the South-Asian oriented B.C. newspaper, The Link.
“The swastika’s ceremonial use as such has never conflicted with Hindu theism, which prides itself as democratic and secular… Using the swastika in whatever formation is not at all mandatory.”
Even though many Hindus post the swastika on their windows or doorways as a symbol of good fortune and peace, Puri said he rarely comes across the practice among the roughly 50,000 Hindus in B.C., most of whom are in Metro Vancouver.
“However, I have seen Hindu priests drawing swastika while undertaking prayer ceremonies to mark some special events. And the moment these ceremonies are over the swastika is erased.”
Promod added that the swastika is not a key sign of Hinduism. That role belongs to the symbol of Om.
RELATED: How Hindu philosophy dovetails with Western philosophy
In praise of mixing religions, even when it’s dangerous
I asked Puri to write something to introduce readers to his self-published book, Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs and Traditions.
Here is an excerpt from what he wrote:
omred
Promod Puri says this symbol, of “Om” (or “Aum”), is the key one in Hinduism. Not the swastika.
“Why are there so many gods and goddesses in Hinduism? Why worship an idol? Is going to temple mandatory in the faith? What impact does the caste system have on Hindu society? Why do some rituals make perfect sense while others are so vague? What are the secular and diverse characters in Hinduism? What physics principles constitute the sound of Om? What is karma and its role in our day to day lives?
These are some of the many questions which intrigue the non-Hindu mind, as well as many among over half-a-million Hindu population in Canada, especially those belonging to the younger generation.
Wrapped in mystique and antiquity the identity of Hinduism lies in its wide-open structure which allows and lets develop diverse and distinct ideologies and practices without any governing body or binding scriptures.
Hinduism is not merely a religion, or as it is often referred, “a way of life.” It is a multi-disciplinary academy as well. It is a democracy of conflicting, contradicting and controversial thoughts and ideologies.
Beyond its practicing rituals, customs and traditions Hinduism thru its various schools offers comprehensive studies in philosophies, metaphysics and sciences.
As such it recognizes diversity of thought. The rational and liberal thought in Hinduism is the very basis of Sankhya School, which is one of the several ancient Hindu faculties infusing diversity in the theological philosophies of the religion.
An example of its rational and liberal acceptance of thoughts is revealed in Hindu theism in the following statement from the Rig Veda Chapter X, Para 129 which says:
Who knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,
Who knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?
Did He, do it? Or did He not?
Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He.