The concept of God It is first of all necessary to establish what is meant by the term “God”. This term is used to designate a Supreme Being endowed with the qualities of omnipotence and omniscience, which is the creator of the universe with all its contents, and the chief lawgiver for humans. God is generally considered as being concerned with the welfare of his human creatures, and the ultimate salvation of those who follow his dictates. God is therefore a person of some kind, and the question whether such an entity exists or not is fundamental to all theistic systems.
In contrast to this notion of a personal God some modern theologians have interpreted the term “God” as representing some kind of abstract principle of good. This view was first developed in the ancient Indian Upanishads where God is equated with an abstract principle, the Brahman. The ancient Indian philosophers could entertain such a view because they also had a theory of karma, which really does away with the need for a personal God. Buddhists too have a theory of karma, which is different from that of the Hindus, and which even more unequivocally dispenses with the need for a deity.
The use of the term “God’ to denote an abstract reality by monotheistic theologians who have no theory of karma is difficult to justify, consequently this is merely a device to explain away the contradictions that arise from the notion of a personal God. In fact the actual practice of theistic religion proceeds as if God is a real person of some kind or other. Buddhism Buddhist gods Buddhism has 33 Gods the most potent one of them all is Indra. It is Buddhist beliefs that the gods and spirits are with us persistently. The mountain Meru can be compared with mount Olympus of the Greek gods.
Buddhists believe that on top of this sacred mountain are the 33 gods with Indra as their principal. Buddhism primary principal is moral strength and exercises. It is concluded in three regions. The first is the principles of lust, which belongs to the realm of animals, humans and various divine essences. The realm of the gods consists of six levels, which are the liberation of material desires. The subsequent region compromises entities that are born in the dominion of the Braham gods liberated from lust and wishes, they constitute a term of embodiment.
They divide in four stages which seventeen levels represents the degree of emancipation the spirit has reached. The last region is where mater has ceased to exist, the third and infinite Nirvana. A ceasing that does not characterize obliteration, but an absence of matter and place. The Buddhist perception of a divine entity Buddhism has been described as a very pragmatic religion. It does not indulge in metaphysical speculation about first causes; there is no theology, no worship of a deity or deification of the Buddha. Buddhism takes a very straightforward look at our human condition; nothing is based on wishful thinking, at all.
Everything that the Buddha taught was based on his own observations of the way things are. Everything that he taught can be verified by our own observation of the way things are. The Buddha pointed out that no God or priest nor any other kind of being has the power to interfere in the working out of someone else’s Karma. Buddhism, therefore, teaches the individual to take full responsibility for himself. For example, if you want to be wealthy then be trustworthy, diligent and parsimonious, or if you want to live in a heaven realm then always be kind to others.
There is no God to plead for or to ask favours from, Buddhists sees it as there was no corruption possible in the workings of Karma. Do Buddhists believe that a Supreme Being created the universe? Buddhists would first ask which universe do you mean? This present universe, from the moment of the ‘big bang’ up to now, it is but one among countless millions in Buddhist cosmology. The Buddha gave an estimate of the age of a single universe-cycle of around 37,000 million years that is quite plausible when compared to modern astrophysics.
After one universe- cycle ends another begins, again and again, according to impersonal law. A Creator God is redundant in this scheme. No being is a Supreme Saviour, according to the Buddha, because whether God, human, animal or whatever, all are subject to the Law of Karma. Even the Buddha had no power to save. He could only point out the Truth so that the wise could see it for themselves. Everyone must take responsibility for his or her own future well being, and it is dangerous to give that responsibility to another.
The Buddha argues that the three most commonly given attributes of God, omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence towards humanity cannot all be mutually compatible with the existential fact of dukkha, which is the “argument from evil” which in the Buddhist sense could be stated as the argument from dukkha, suffering or unsatisfactory. The Buddha did not encourage speculation on the existence of Iswara, among his disciples. He wanted them to confine themselves to what was within their field of awareness, that is, to understand the causes of suffering and work for its mitigation.
He preached that the individual was a product of ignorance and an illusion that were responsible for all the suffering and evil. He therefore urged his disciples to become aware of the various aspects of their individual personalities and work for Nirvana, which was, but the total extinction of this individuality and cessation of all becoming and changing. From the enlightened to a supreme being Gradually the concept of God, as contrasted with the Absolute, began to appear in Buddhism. Its sources are back in the early days of this differentiation of the followers of the Lesser Road and the Greater Road.
It was among the latter division of Buddhism that the dual conception of God and the Absolute finally matured. Step by step, century by century, the God concept has evolved until, with the teachings of Ryonin, Honen Shonin, and Shinran in Japan, this concept finally came to fruit in the belief in Amida Buddha. Hinduism Brahman Brahman is the central theme of all the Hinduisms believes. Brahman is the indescribable, inexhaustible, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, rudimentary, eternal and absolute principle who is without a beginning and without an end. He is not like the other gods either.
He is incomprehensible even to almost all the gods. Brahman is not adulated in the temples and other places of worship but in one’s heart and mind as the in dweller of the material body. He could also be described as a pantheistic God. That is why we do not see any temples or forms of ritualistic worship existing for Brahman either at present or in the past. We only hear of fire sacrifice, later to be called Nachiketa fire. Perhaps the sacrifice was more a meditative or spiritual practice involving the sacrifice of soul consciousness than of ritual worship.
Whatever it is, the fact is that Brahman of the Upanishads is more appealing to the seekers of Truth and Knowledge than seekers of material gains. Even during the Islamic rule when the principles of monotheism challenged the very foundations of Hinduism, Brahman was never brought into the glare of public debate to challenge the invading and overwhelming ideas of the monotheistic foreign theology. Brahma Brahma is one of Hinduism many deities. He is depicted as the rudimentary creator. Among his creations are the Universe, animals, plants and man. He is depicted as an entity with four arms, the four arms symbolises the four cardinal points.
In his four hands the Brahma is carrying an item, each with its own representation. The jar containing water symbolises the source of life, since water is the spring of all living. A spoon, which epitomizes the sacrifices, conducted during worship. In one of his arms there is a lotus flower, it denotes the Universe, humanity and purity. There are also illustrations of him portrayed with the four books of Veda in his hands. Brahma also has a vessel, the goose, which is significant for wisdom. Another characteristic that separates Brahma from the other deities are that he has four heads.
There is a legend concerning the acquirement of Brahmas four heads. When the first woman was created she was carved out of his own body. Her beauty immediately enchanted the supernal, but she resisted and hid from Brahma. To be able to have supervision over his beautiful creation he acquired himself three new heads. In present time Brahma is seen as inconsequential God and the extent of his worship is greatly less than it has once been. There are very few shines dedicated to him. His wife, Sarasvati, is the goddess of wisdom and learning. Many, especially the students or the brahmacharis of the Vedic schools, worship the celestial entity.
Vishnu Vishnu is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the worlds and looking after their welfare. He rules Vaikunth. He has a number of followers all over the world who venerate Him as the Supreme entity. A number of temples have also been built in His honour right from the post Mary period. Though He was a minor deity in the early Vedic period, He became very popular with the rise of Vaishnavism during the subsequent periods. Some of His incarnations are also worshipped in many parts of India and they attract wider following among people than Himself as Vishnu.
Most famous among his incarnations are Rama and Krishna. They have millions of devotees all over the world. Balaji is also one of Vishnus incarnations, and he is equally famous. His temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh is considered to be the richest Hindu temple the world and attracts huge number of devotees throughout the year. Vishnu is also worshipped as Dhananjaya, Narayana, Anantasayana, Kapila, Narasimha, Varadaraja, Srinivasa and Jagannathaa. His consort Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth is equally popular. Especially the seekers of material wealth worship her in many households regularly.
She is also adulated variously as Padma, Kamala, Sita, and Narasimhi. Shiva Shiva is the destroyer of the worlds. He is the supreme celestial who is easy to be pleased. He is as admired as Vishnu and he is the chief deity of Saivism, which also became popular in the same period as Vaishnavism. In fact a long rivalry existed between the two, each side claiming their supreme deity to be the paramount supernal of the universe. While Vaishnavism caught the imagination of the householders and seekers of material comforts, Saivism caught the imagination of the renounces and seekers of knowledge.
Today both these gods are extremely popular across the length and breadth of Hindu society. Shivas anger is the anger of righteousness, not to be confused with the petty anger of the human beings. It is born of out of a specific divine purpose, to destroy something in order to create something new. It is the manifestation of energy whose intent is to create purity of purpose and harmony of structure in the object of destruction, but not to destroy some thing for the sake of destruction only. He is the destroyer of negativism and egoism and purifier of the consciousness with abundant grace.
He resides in Kailash atop an icy mountain. The ice signifies the ignorance of a frozen and static consciousness (the waters of Hindu scriptures). The word “Si” means cool (sheetal) and the word ” va ” to live (vasa). The word “Shiva” therefore means he who lives on the top of cool mountains (of frozen consciousness). Concept of God Hinduism is characterized by not only one Supreme God but also by many gods and goddesses, such as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi, Parvathi, Saraswathi and so on. In Hinduism they are regarded as the manifestation of Iswara, the Universal Creative Consciousness, or the Saguna Brahman.
In addition to gods and goddesses, in Hinduism also come across the worship of many objects such as trees, plants, rivers, lakes, snakes, hills, the various planets, some stars, constellations, the sun, the moon and so on are objects of their veneration. The Hindus worship the gods and goddesses variously adding further complexity to the manner of worship in Hinduism. They may worship them all or only some of them at a time, or venerate each of them separately as the Supreme God himself. Generally, the present trend is that most of the Hindus believe and worship many gods simultaneously in the hope of receiving blessings from many of them.
Some times this may even create confusion in their minds as to whom to worship in a given situation. But most of them resolve these problems in their own individual ways. There are traditions according to which each Hindu god is to be worshipped on a particular day in a week, month or year and many follow these traditions. There are certain specific rules and regulations to be observed by the devout Hindus while worshipping them, which involve performance of specific rites, rituals and chanting. Many observe these rules with great sincerity.
Polytheism is an integral part of Hinduism, despite of opposition from certain intellectual quarters over the centuries. After contacts with Islam and the Christianity of the British, attempts were made by some educated Hindus like Raja Rammohan Roy and Keshab Chandrasen to discourage polytheism. The reformist movements like Brahmo Samaj were products of such a reaction. But their impact did not last long as is evident from the way present day Hindus visit the temples and worship various gods, observe the festivals and celebrate the glory of gods and goddesses.
They may listen to numerous discourses delivered by enlightened persons, go through numerous books on religion, but they hold their gods and goddesses to their chests dearly and worship them with deep devotion and sublime faith. There is a certain purity of approach and innocence of faith in this practice that is rarely seen elsewhere. The average modern Hindu, who is devoted to his religion, is very clear in his mind as to his approach in this matter. He worships the gods and goddesses because he believes in them and is sure of their existence in the higher worlds of God’s creation.
He conducts himself in tune with the supposed expectations of his beloved gods. For him life without them is simply a sacrilege, which he is sure he cannot afford. It is not for the sake of society or family, though that is not entirely absent, but for himself and his own welfare he worships them and holds them with highest regard in his mind. On a given day a devout Hindu, may worship his gods or goddesses in the morning, noon or in the evening or whenever he chooses to, even while his mind is busy with worldly matters. He may worship them in the comforts of his own house or visit the near by temple or shrine.
In the past there were violent clashes and heated debates among groups of devotees worshipping different gods. Presently there seems to be a total reconciliation and integration of these divergent beliefs into one acceptable whole. Today a majority of the Hindus accept different gods whole-heartedly as a part of one large Divine family without any sense of conflict or animosity in their minds. The gods belong to different worlds and planes of existence and assist the mankind in various ways. At the highest level are the Trinity, namely Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, each ruling a particular divine realm.
Conclusion Hinduism is a monotheistic as well as polytheistic religion. This could be referred to as a henotheistic religion, where Brahman is the supreme God. The two religions concept of god differs since Hindus believe that God can interfere in their lives, subsequently Buddhists do not believe that an entity of divine origin can interfere with their lives. Buddhists believe that everything is based on the individuals own perception of reality. Everything that Buddha taught can be verified by observation of the way things are. Buddhism can be described as a very pragmatic religion.
It does not indulge in metaphysical speculation about first causes; there is no theology, no worship of a deity or deification of the Buddha. Buddhism takes a very straightforward look at the world and its condition. Nothing is based on wishful thinking, at all. While Hinduism concentrates more on the devotion and adoration of gods and endure the scriptures and its dogmas. The teachings of Gautama have continued to evolve during the past two millenniums. Subsequently the concept of Buddha has evolved from an enlightened Buddhist, to deification as a deity. He is no more referred to as the human personality of Gautama.
Moksha-Nirvana Buddhism Most people have heard of nirvana. It has become equated with a sort of eastern version of heaven. The term for entering the final stage redemption, Nirvana, is also used by other religions around the world, notably Jainism. Actually, nirvana simply means cessation. It is the ending of passion, aggression and ignorance, the cessation of the struggle to prove our existence to the world, to survive. Among these believers it is taught that the soul, upon experiencing death, may elect to enjoy a sojourn in Paradise prior to entering Nirvana, the ultimate of existence.
It is proclaimed that this new salvation is attained by faith in the divine mercies and loving care of Amida, God of the Paradise in the west. In Buddhist philosophy, the Amidists hold to an Infinite Reality which is beyond all finite mortal comprehension; in religion, the supporters cling to faith in the all-merciful Amida, who so loves the world that he will not suffer one mortal who calls on his name in true faith and with a pure heart to fail in the attainment of the supernal happiness of Paradise.
The great strength of Buddhism is that its adherents are free to choose truth from all religions; such freedom of choice has seldom characterized in a western faith. The eightfold path is the first step towards Nirvana. When an individual reaches enlightenment and subsequently Nirvana the purpose of life reveals itself for him. When the journey towards the celestial providence is completed the devotee has reached a stage where there is no longer need for worldly desires. The word itself means extinction. The enlightened Buddha is now redeemed from the eternal cycle of samsara and its reincarnation.
This belief occurs in Hinduism as well, the distinction is that Buddhists do not believe in the eternal soul. For a Buddhist devotee there is only karma after the cessation of life, and karma is always located in new entities. Karma is the result of our deeds in the individuals previous lives. Bad karma means in resulting in negative consequences in reincarnation. The person will inherit the negative trades of a human, ignorance and poverty, but if the previous life has been good than subsequently that person will be blessed with the fortunes of life. A person with bad karma can be reincarnated as an animal or worse a stone.
The eightfold path The path to liberation from these miserable states of being, as taught by the Buddha, has eight points and is known as the eightfold path. The first point is called right view, the right way to view the world. Wrong view occurs when imposing expectations onto different situations. Expectations concerning a wishful result, or a fear of what result might be. Right view occurs when seeing things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. By abandoning hope and fear and take joy in a simple straightforward approach to life.
The second point of the path is called right intention. It proceeds from right view. When allowing us to abandon expectations, hopes and fears, there is no longer need to be manipulative. A person does not have to try to manipulate situations into the persons own preconceived notions of how the moments should be. The third aspect of the path is right speech. Once the individuals intentions are pure, there is no longer need to be embarrassed concerning speech. When there is no arterial motive behind peoples statements there is no need for hesitation during conversation.
Instead people can express their opinions bluntly. The fourth point on the path, right discipline, involves a kind of renunciation. An important issue is the need for surrendering peoples tendencys to complicate issues. Instead simplicity is practiced. When conceding the frivolous complications that clouds relationships it is possible to come to terms with others much easier. Right livelihood is the fifth step on the path. It is only natural and right that every person should earn its own living. Often, many of employees do not enjoy their choice of work.
The urge to come home and be free from work is much greater than the willingness to go to work. The sixth aspect of the path is right effort. Wrong effort is struggle. People often approach a spiritual discipline as though they need to conquer their evil side and promote their good side. This causes the individual to try obliterating the tiniest negative tendency. Right effort does not involve struggle at all. When perceiving objects as they are, work can be made much easier, gentle and without any kind of aggression whatsoever. Right mindfulness, the seventh step, involves precision and clarity.
The modern person is mindful of the tiniest details of experience. The way things are, the way of conversation, the performance of jobs, posture, attitude toward friends and family, every detail. Right concentration, or absorption is the eighth point of the path. Usually it is absorbed in absentmindedness. The mind is completely captivated by all sorts of entertainment and speculations. Right absorption means that there are completely absorbed in knowing, in things as they are. This can only happen if the devotees have some sort of discipline, such as sitting meditation.
Argumentation might even say that without the discipline of sitting meditation, the eightfold path could not be conducted at all. Sitting meditation cuts through absentmindedness. It provides a space or gap in the preoccupation of the mind. Karma Both religions believe in reincarnation, and both are certain of the concept of Karma. The law of karma suggests that a person’s mental and physical actions determine the progress of his life on earth. Whatever actions are undertaken. Both the good and bad actions impact life in several ways and bring twists and turns in the course of life.
The bad actions leads to suffering and unhappiness, while the good actions leads to happiness and spiritual success. Sometimes despite of all the good work and sincere intentions, the opposite may also happen. A student may prepare well for his exam and may fail. A very evil and wicked person may earn the jackpot. For a Hindu or Buddhist ordinary logic and intellect cannot explain these events. Instead the karma theory explains what determines peoples lives. According to the concept of karma, the events in life need not be determined by actions in this life, but also by the actions that occurred in previous lives.
This explains why an evil person sometime seems to succeed and amass wealth, while a good hearted soul may be passing through adversity. Hinduism Consequently to Hinduism Moksha is the emancipation of reincarnation. It is written that when reaching Moksha the atman will merge with the omnipresent and omnipotent Brahman. The realm of Moksha is described as a divine place of providence, where there is harmony and utter joy. There are many paths to achieve this celestial haven. The path of devotion is often referred to as Bhakti, it is the most common path of focus for present Hindus. The object of adulation is commonly Krishna.
The method of adoration that is conducted by todays Hindus is by singing and praising the deitys name repeatedly. Another road to salvation is the path of good deeds. It acquires the devotee to be kind and loving towards his fellow man. To never lie, steel or harm anyone else. Affection towards animals is also considered important since the majority of the Hindus are vegetarians. The course of knowledge and perception is an intellectual and demanding method of achievement. To reach Moksha the individual must study Holy Scriptures and through them reach thoughts that will lead to the final stage of emancipation.
The spiritual guide is called a guru. The scriptures are very clear as to what attitude towards the religious texts is to be. An individual must revere and respect the Vedas that are revealed texts directly coming from the supreme deity for the general welfare and guidance of the mankind. The attitude that is expected of a devout Hindu should include, respect towards the sacred books, proper study and understanding of them and proper observation of the truths and laws prescribed there in. An individual must learn to see the omnipresence of God in every thing and everywhere.
That devotee must also lead life in strict accordance with the laws laid down in the scriptures. He must perform daily rituals, various samskaras and live the four ashramas or stages of his life in accordance with the rules prescribed in the scriptures. The choice of privation is when an individual consciously chooses to endure a life of poverty and oppression. Many elderly men choose this path of redemption in their final years of living. They are called Sadhus. Another way to achieve the final stage of Moksha is through Yoga.
It is an ancient technique of exercising the body and senses to achieve fulfilment in concentration and deep spiritual transcendences. The word “dharma” has a very comprehensive meaning in Hinduism. Dharma means the Eternal Law, the Law of God. It is also all those factors that arise out of it or lead towards it. It means religion, beliefs, faith, justice, righteousness, performing morally acceptable actions, being on the positive side of life. It also means the individuals duty and responsibility towards himself and towards others. This is of considerable importance to reach Moksha.
According to the concept of maya, the very existence of an individual as a separate entity is unreal. As long as the individual thinks that he is different from the rest of the creation and strives to work for his own ends, protecting, furthering nurturing and defending his own ego or individuality, he suffers from illusion and his ego continues its journey into an unknown future shaped by his endless actions and desires. The purpose of human life is to realize this truth and work for unity with the Divine. Conclusion Buddhism and Hinduism concept of reaching the realm of eternity does not differ obscurely.
It is both there beliefs that there are many planes of existence that the individual must pass before reaching the final destination. Each plane symbolises a liberating of material desires and gaining enlightenment. Since Buddhism is consequently sprung out of Hinduism, the fact that the two has similar concept of a divine sanctuary and path to destine there is not as unanticipated. The slight difference between their path of reaching Moksha or Nirvana is that in Buddhism the devotee must follow all the rules of the eightfold path. In Hinduism the Hindu is given choice on which path to follow, none of them being less accurate than the other.
Buddhism depicts the cessation as being the ending of passion, aggression and ignorance, the cessation of the struggle to prove our existence to the world, to survive. Subsequently Hindus describe the cessation to be the atman will merge with the omnipresent and omnipotent Brahman. The realm of Moksha is described as a divine place of providence, where there is harmony and utter joy. Both religions believe that it is ceasing of life, the emancipation of reincarnation, except that Hindus believe that the atman will emerge with Brahman, in Buddhism the soul is considered to be an illusion.
Holy Men It is men like Buddha, Jesus and Muhammed who are regenerative and creative moral influences. It is not due to any historical accident that these great souls continue to receive homage from a large portion of humanity. The philosopher and the scientist, the rich and the poor, the peasant and the ordinary wage-earner continue even after millenniums to hold them as ideals, and measure their own conduct by the standards set by them in precept and example. Buddha
What we know about Buddha with any certainty is only this, that overwhelmed by the pain and misery of life, he wandered away from his princely realm, deserting his community, his wife and child, in search of light to solve the problem of cosmic pain. The light that he received showed him the unreality of all life. Life, according to him, could not be mended. The only remedy, therefore, is that it must be ended. Actions, good as well as bad, are the products of desire. Therefore, to end all actions and ultimately all life, all desires should be annihilated. The aim of life should be to negate itself to attain to a desire less state.
Nirvana, to which no category of life or consciousness is applicable, for which reason it is indescribable. Such a metaphysics could lead only to a limited kind of negative morality, i. e. not to tell lies, not to injure any living being, not to be selfish, not to be harsh, but to feel mercy for the unhappiness of all life, not to mix with others on the ordinary social plane, but to prefer the life of the monk who lives on the charity of the wage-earner or the rich, and to engage in no occupation that constitutes the sum total of human civilization and culture.
The beneficial influence of Buddha on some aspects of the life of those who revere and follow him lies in the fact that even some portions of negative morality form a necessary part of ethics, although they could be effectively useful only in their application to the practical affairs of life. One can very well value the philosophy and life attitude of ‘non-attachment,’ if it is a non-attachment of the kind preached by Krishna as related in the Mahabharta, namely, that a person must remain detached from egotistical ambitions and desires while doing his duty – even while fighting a battle for a righteous cause.
Duties emerge only in the complexities of human relations and predicaments. This Karma Joga, as presented by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, comes very close to the positive ethics of Islam. Goethe said that if you tried to understand him by analysis, then you might find out and calculate all the food that had gone into him, so much milk and vegetables, and so many cattle and sheep and pigs, and so much air and water, and organic and inorganic material.
The same is the case with the intellectual and moral outlook of man; you may analyse it into its elements but you can never explain away the distinctive outlook of the individual. Jesus The real triumph of Jesus and his valuable contribution to the uplift of humanity are his preaching and Practising the love of God and Man, exposing the superficialities and hypocrisies of the rigid legalists and worshippers. For him, a pure heart full of love is the essence of all true religion.
He found that Judaism, which, from Abraham downward, had produced great prophets, had deteriorated into a religion of ritual, and ceremonies from which the spirit had departed. He confined his teaching to this vital mission and left aside the whole political, economic and cultural life of the Jews, in the belief that if hearts were changed for the better and religious outlook was genuinely incorporated, laws and customs and the various institutions of civilization would get a new meaning. Jesus preached that when universal love ruled the world it would be transformed into a Kingdom of Heaven.
The Jews were expecting a Messiah who would make them politically dominant and powerful, but when they found this candidate of Messiah hood proclaiming that the Kingdom of Heaven was within the individuals own soul, they were disappointed and considered him to be a charlatan and an impostor, who was incapable of delivering the goods. They wanted to get rid of Caesar, but here was a man who said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. ” If he had stirred up a political revolution the Romans might have crucified him, but not the Jews who would have welcomed such a revolt with a sporting chance of success.
He invited the Jews to a spiritual revolution, promising to them that if they first sought the Kingdom of Heaven in the inner recesses of their own souls everything else would certainly be added unto it. The crowds that began to gather wherever Jesus went, believed him primarily to be a faith healer. The few disciples who attached themselves to him were poor and ignorant people. For the most part they were men of weak and superstitious faith, and of wavering and dubious loyalty, one of them betraying Jesus for a few coins.
According to the Gospel, they could not keep themselves awake during the night when their Master felt the approach of death. It is said that these disciples got utterly dismayed, their hopes having been shattered by the Master’s crucifixion that the Jews believed to be a dishonourable end of the cursed. Their faith revived only when some on the third day saw him alive after his crucifixion. The religion of Jesus suffered from calamity. As Jesus was not a married man, his followers, who took him for a model, began to consider marriage as a concession to the lower, unregenerate animal nature of man.
Jesus had said nothing against marriage. Jesus was not an ascetic but, because he had no opportunity to deal with the practical affairs of life, his followers gave an ascetic bent to his creed. This asceticism continued to develop among the religious enthusiasts and saints in Christian society sometimes to very irrational and perverse extremes. The world and the flesh were identified with the devil and were considered as essentially opposed to the spirit. Mohammed Neither did Islam claim to be a religion taught for the first time by Muhammed.
Islam gathered the half-truths of the followers of different creeds and made them whole by supplying what had been dropped. It removed the veils of mythologies, superstitions and mysteries that had coveted simple rational and natural truths. It emphasises that there is only one omnipotent, just and merciful Creator and Sustainer, that this world is real and rational and not a place of perversion and punishment. It teaches that all nature is God-created, and existence is not divided between the Realms of Darkness and Light with God and the angels ruling in one and the devils creating or dominating the other.
It declares that the essentials of religion consist mainly of pure morality; mere beliefs and dogmas, and worship and sacraments are of no avail if a person is not just and merciful. Muhammed was not original in his monotheism, or in proclaiming that existence is governed by a rational and moral order that comprehends the seen as well as the unseen. He was not the first in making prayer the chief medium of communication between the helpless finite and the omnipresent and omniscient infinite. Miracles
When the unbelievers in Makkah asked the Prophet Muhammed to show them a miracle, he showed them the splitting of the moon. Another miracle was the flowing of water through Muhammeds fingers when his companions got thirsty and had no water except a little in a vessel. They came to him and told him that they had no water to make ablution nor to drink except for what was in the vessel. So, Muhammed put his hand in the vessel, and the water started gushing out between his fingers. So, they drank and made ablution. They were one thousand five hundred companions. Conclusion
Every religion has of necessity to have an institutional side. Some ritual of worship and some laws and regulations are necessary for the purposes of organisation. These things are the external shell to protect the core of morality and religion. But with the passage of time, the followers of a religion begin to identify religion with verbal assent to rigidly formulated dogmas and certain external observances and ceremonies. A person is considered to be religious if he gives this assent and observes some ritual, irrespective of the fact whether love or justice moves him in his dealings with his fellow men.
Jesus’ inspire of love, mercy and peace is identical with the teaching of the Qur’an and Buddhism and the Prophet of Islam, but the difference lies in its practical application to the actual problems of human existence. Real and living love is not passive and negative sentimentality. Love must be creative and positive. It is a light that should lead towards a better life. Religions have suffered from two extremes. They either become mere dogmatism, legalism and ritualism, or emphasising the spirit only, they begin to recommend flight from the practical realities of life and tend thereby to become life negating and ascetic.
Christian dogma and theology have set apart from the other great prophets and have deified Jesus from humanity into divinity. Not being satisfied with his divinised humanity, it made him an incarnation of God instead of Man of God”. The concept of incarnation, against which every great prophet of Israel would have argued against, stigmatising it as a most unforgivable blasphemy, was imported from the Asian religions where it still is a central doctrine.
Besides, some Mediterranean dogmas and mysteries were grafted on the simple monotheistic creed of Jesus. Identifying him with God Almighty Himself did no service either to God or to man. To this deification of Jesus, the doctrine of Original Sin was tacked in order to convince humanity of its innate depravity, for which the sole remedy was not a sanctimonious and virtuous life, but belief in the explicit suffering and sacrifice of “God’s only begotten son” recompensing the inheritable sin of humanity’s first progenitors.
Every great prophet suffers for the sake of humanity and is truly a saviour, but Jesus was made the Son and Saviour. The simple and sweet religion of Jesus was as a result clouded by irrational mysteries, which sapped the very foundations of morality by depriving man of free-will, and making God a benevolent but also a revengeful tyrant. This caused by the Catholic Church. Many Western Christian writers go on repeating the ill-founded opinion that there was nothing original in Islam.
If the Qur’an was only repeating over again what the Jewish and Christian Scriptures had taught or what the Zoroastrians and the Brahmins and the Buddhists already knew and believed, why was the whole world of established religion so bitterly antagonistic to it? In the realm of morals and spiritual life if one means by originality an idea or an utterance not found previously in any creed or philosophy, or never before inculcated by any moral and spiritual leader, then surely you cannot find it anywhere.
Neither Abraham nor Moses nor Jesus nor Buddha nor Muhammed said anything that could not be found either in the religious tradition in which they were born or in creeds and philosophies in other times and places. Many of the great moral teachers often make a direct reference to others, and even if they do not, one can relate their ideas to something that has gone before. To Pernilla Thank you for being patient and I apologize for not turning it in the day I was to. Enjoy your trip.