QUESTION: THE HINDUS BELIEVE IN GOD BUT, THERE ARE THOUSANDS OR PERHAPS MORE GODS THAT HINDUS WORSHIP. HOW CAN THIS BE EXPLAINED?
Yes, Hindus staunchly believe in God. But the Hindu concept of God is far too different from the ideas of God projected, promoted and proliferated by other religions. Their ideas may have percolated in the Hindu population over the years, and may have been adopted sometimes out of need to survive or for convenience, but the basic Hindu concepts still remain unaffected and untarnished. The recipe of the Hindu religion itself may have got evolved over time, touched and altered the trajectory of opinions, and eventually morphing into other sects and factions. But in the end the basics remain.
The modern science has been striving to search the root cause from which the universe evolved. Their efforts are mainly concentrated around the physical world. The so called spiritual and psychological aspects have not been taken into account, as if they do not exist at all, and play absolutely no part in the manifestation of the worldly phenomenon. This tendency in the western thought is not necessarily a matter of attitude, but is mainly due to a feeling of helplessness that nothing can be worked out if we do not have a yard stick to measure things. This is true about anything that can be classified under ABSTRACT. Things like mind, love, ambition, zeal, sadness, affection, jealousy so on and so forth fall under this category. Such intangibles cannot be defined, and even if attempt to do so, we will only be playing with words, substituting one ambiguous word for another. The conclusion? There is no yard-stick! This means we cannot measure everything and collect data to work on something.
Pursuing the same line of thought a little further, we now realise that the things that we can actually measure are NOT absolute realities! The space-time-continuum has changed the total concept of reality. What we consider as ‘real’ is only a tentative workable aspect. And because we call live in this tentative and workable world, we just use the word ’real’, which is again a loose and a tentative concept.
I would not venture to say that the Hindu sages and thinkers of Vedic period were equally advanced in Vedic sciences and technology applications as we are today. Possibly, many physical sciences were not even born at that time. But one must accept that those ancient sages did employ all the knowledge they had about the human body and mind to pursue the search of the absolute reality of the universe. It is striking, that we, living in the present age, have not made any noteworthy significant advance over whatever was known to the Vedic scholars about reality. The post Einsteinian intellectuals have pushed aside the Newtonian and Euclidean models, but at the same time they have only half-succeeded in replacing them with more precise ones. They all seem to be fumbling in the nebulae of diverse ideas about almost everything under the Sun.
The decade old developed Quantum Mechanics is also a controversial subject, with some for and some against its fundamentals. Never-the-less it can provide answers to many mathematical and physical riddles, where conventional mathematical approach renders itself helpless and lost.
The same can be said about Vedic mathematics that came into limelight, and became a rage only recently. Although the fundamental underlying principles are still obscure to us, the application of its methods to several mathematical and astronomical problems has yielded the desired and satisfactory result.
More or less, similar confusion of thoughts and idea must have prevailed during some of the Vedic period. A reference to the “Song Of Creation” in the Rig-veda, very well confirms this state of confusion and further uncertainty, and at the same time lights up the way of further development of philosophical thought, (Historians fix the Vedic period around 4000 to 5000 years BC).
“There was not then what ‘IS’ nor what ‘IS NOT’. There was no sky and no heaven beyond the sky…
What power was THERE; WHO was that power? Was there an abyss of fathomless waters? There was neither death, not immortality then. No signs of night or day. The ONE was breathing by its own power in deep peace. Only the ONE was, nothing before, nothing beyond.
Darkness was hidden in darkness, all was fluid and formless. Therein in the void, by the fire of fervor, rose the ONE, and in the ONE arose LOVE, the first seed of the soul. The truth of this, the might sages found in their hearts, which sought with wisdom. The sages discovered that bond between the being and non-being.
Who knows the TRUTH? Who can tell us whence and how arose this universe? The Gods are later than its beginning. Who knows therefore whence comes this creation?
Only that God who can see the truth, only it (because there were no genders then!) knows whence came this universe, and whether it was created or un-created. He only knows…or perhaps he knows not! “
In this verse we have the beginning of the philosophical inquiry. The verse underlines that for the progress of the mind, man requires both, doubt and faith !
To this inexplicable, formless and fathomless ONE, the Hindus call “OM”, symbolised as the. The same ONE is sometimes referred to as the BRAHMA or Parabrahma. Often they tried their best to explain and elaborate this unfathomable inexplicable ONE. But is no wonder there is so much diversity in their descriptions, owing to the inherent character of this concept, never-the-less, the essence always remains the same.
…..to be continued into section 1.2