1. If good and evil are equally parts of god, then how would choosing good be any better than choosing evil?
2. If good and evil are the same, then how does one differentiate good and evil acts/attitudes in the first place?
3. How and why would anybody make any moral judgments at all if there is no essential difference between good and evil?
Ohh, and let me add a fourth question to that:
4. If all things are a part of god, then what makes humanity any more special than any other living creature? To put it another way, what makes the death of a human being any more tragic than the death of the ants that we step on, or the various plants and animals that we consume in order to sustain ourselves?
The reply given to DMPATRIUM:
So, I have some very conceptual questions to answer. For this we have to delve deeper into the concepts of Hinduism. Because you have now asked these questions, I will try my best to explain you the concepts and that even in brief. But am afraid still, this article may consume much of your space.
First of all, try to understand, that this discussion must not be regarded as a clash of religions or thoughts. This discussion should be regarded as the introspection for the humanity with a purpose of understanding the purpose of these religions and what it actually did. Why the humanity gave birth to the concept called religion and what purpose it answered?
Considering all the eastern religions as a part of Hinduism somewhere, or taking them as being influenced by this most ancient religion (as claimed in the main article), if I ask how many religions are there in the world. The answer should be three: Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. But I consider Hinduism as not being a religion altogether. Hinduism is not a religion. Yes, there are only two religions in the world. Now when I say religion, your mind unconsciously tries to compare them all. And hence, many of the principles and rules and conventions regarding religions, the westerns or the middle-eastern people experience in their religion, are thought to be obvious for other religions too. But in the case of Hinduism it is different.
For instance, the concept of holy books was not present in Hinduism. The Christianity has Bible and the Islam has Quran. This concept was not present in Hinduism. Actually, there are many books and vedas written in Hinduism. This religion (if we call it) is not based on one book. Bhagwat Geeta itself is a part of another holy book “Mahabharata”. I say “Bhagwad-Purana” is actually the holy book. Or maybe, I am still wrong. The Mahabharata is the longest Sanskrit epic. Its longest version consists of over 100,000 shloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet and has a meaning), and long prose passages (and detailed explanations). About 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Ramayana, leave apart the Bible and the Quran. There’s a long list of the epics written, the Rigveda, Yajurveda, the Upnishads, Puranas etc. Now, will it be right to categorize one book as a holy book? Still I regard Bhagwad-Geeta to be most superior, because of its concise size and one can find in it the actual enlightening knowledge. The biggest problem of Hinduism, I think, is that nobody today has time for so big volumes to study. It may take years to study properly even the one epic.!! Not even the Bhagwad Geeta properly. And hence, even after having a written material regarding this religion, I don’t consider it as a codified religion. Missionaries are not allowed, and the educated Indians are not that interested in what they said.
Religions were made with a purpose of making the life simpler and beautiful. The concept made to fight the wrong forces of monarchy and with a purpose to establish civilizations that bases themselves on human values. The principles (teachings, preaching) of Religions were similar to the principles of democracy, socialism, communism with just being in a different category. Their proponents at those times of monarchy did an attempt to improve the lives of individuals and the society with these new found principles. Now as there was no principle of democracy earlier but people in US gave it the initial shape, similarly, there were no notions regarding any religion in the world too. Now if we have a look on Quran, there are postulates based on which the property of the father must be divided in the family. This principle has nothing to do with God but still it is the part of the holy book. These religions became the rule books for the followers. It is similar to saying that my religion is “7 habits of highly effective people” and my Prophet is “Stephan Covey” who started this religion. And if am not following any of its principles, am not being perfect and I deviated; the other follower of this religion has a right to teach me a true lesson. This is what is happening in religions and sects. The holy books have been reduced to the “self-help book” or some kind of “rule-books”. A Discipline has been imposed. Note: there is a difference between rules and morals.
Another great difference is that before Jesus, nobody was Christian, and before the Prophet of Mohammad there were no Muslims. But in Hinduism it’s not like that. Before was a Hindu, After was a Hindu. Then was a Hindu, Now is a Hindu. If Ram started this religion then how come Dashrath (Ram’s father) was a Hindu.
Another difference: a huge follower base which Christianity and Islam have, proves that to create a huge massive human force behind one person or one cause and generate a massive army to fight for one cause, one single holy-book of the size of Bible or Quran is enough. There is actually no need to write so many vedas and huge volumes of epics and complex stories about Gods and their lives. One could have assembled a huge man force just by one book, or one person, or one prophet. Then why, Hindu rishis and others have written so big volume of work. Nowhere in Hindu scriptures or any of the Hindu scripture have the word ‘Hindu’ appeared. They never say that Hindu is brother of Hindu. Hindu’s are always lamenting that Hindus are never united! We should take care of brothers and those who don’t follow are kafirs.!! Or likewise blasphemies.!! Whatever they wrote was applicable to all humans, doesn’t matter who you are where you from. “Meditation will calm your mind and emotions” is a fact. Whether you are Hindu or Muslim or Christian doesn’t matter. Infact, in Hinduism there’s a story about a person who hates Shivji, and Shivji professes that hate is also a kind of love. Now please don’t ask me how.!!
This term Hinduism or Hindu, was coined by foreigners. It means people living beyond the river Indus towards the eastern side. The term was coined by Muslims near about 1200AD just to differentiate between the Muslims and the others (kafirs). According to them the people living beyond Indus were less enlightened because they were not following their “self-help book”. They differentiated and wanted others to improve. And hence, they created Hindus and Muslims. And when British came here they adopted the same differentiation. How does that mattered to them who Hindus were. Because what mattered to them was, that people in Indian subcontinent are not Christians again, because they are not following their “self-help book”. They were on a mission.!! Like the earlier foreign forces without understanding the local public or local culture, they reached a decision that Indians are not that enlightened.!!
Now, I tell you a basic theme, why my religion is not a religion. And if it is not a religion then what is it? When Christianity was created, other beliefs and sects were present. This religion created a faction. When Islam was created, another faction was created, may be they were not satisfied with what they had earlier to Islam. Hence, there have to be something to differentiate between the followers and the non-followers. Hence, some symbols were created. Hindus do have some symbols but they vary from culture to culture. Hence, they are less of a religious symbol and more of cultural. So, now, Islam gave some rules and regulations for Muslims and likewise for Christianity, for the Christians. They were beliefs. But the principles, rules and morals of Hinduism (if you call it) were different. At that time, may be 3000BC, people never needed armies. The religion was not for army sake. And the rules and conventions were not meant for a single sect: Hindu. They were applicable on humans. All humans.!! Yoga is a science, Meditation is a science. The Guna theory professed by Shri Krishna, is total enlightening psychology. All the psychological diseases, ranging from emotional disorder, bipolar disorder, split-personality, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many more, for which human are still not able to find solution, Meditation works for them.! Smoking and Drinking can also be got rid of with pure, true meditation. Meditation and yoga not only induces physical changes but behavioural changes also. The tone of speaking becomes polite. The voice becomes cleaner. I have never seen a yogi with a bad voice. One need not to go to gym, your body can attain a perfect shape by yoga and meditation itself. One may not get a body like that of Greek Gods but one will definitely attain a body like that of Shri Ram and Shri Krishna.
Hinduism is a Science. It should be studied like a Science. One got to be scientific to understand the principles of Hinduism. One got to be that much innovative, that much curious and that much progressive. Vivekananda is of the view, as the citizens become more scientific all religions will start crumbling. The dogmas will be shattered. The spirituality will emerge from the superstitions. Other religions have already started falling. There already has been a debate in Christian countries regarding separating religion and the state and the science. And what would be left is only Hinduism (if you still call it Hinduism).
Hinduism preaches democracy. Hinduism preaches secularism. A Hindu that hates non-Hindus is not a perfect Hindu.
The beauty of the truth is that everybody must meet at one point. Now you say what is good and what is bad. I tell you. Now, one religion teaches one something and the other teaches something else. And also, they teach rules, they teach discipline. If one doesn’t follow the others discipline, they are opposite to each other. And hence, one is good and the other is bad.! Hence, the Crusader wars, to eradicate bad. Hence the world war I and II, to eradicate bad.!! Whose bad?? When we teach them rules, discipline, this is what happens. One discipline fights the other discipline. Nobody sees what morals say. They see what the book says. If Stephan Covey tells to his students that everybody follow my book, and everybody will become perfect, world will become perfect. Maybe he’s not wrong rationally. But he’s not right even.!! People who study Dale Carnegie, Benjamin, Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Bal Gangadhar Tilak may also be perfect. Not understanding this fact, is bad.
Hinduism preaches morals and only morals, and no rules. How to pray, what to wear, how to wear, how to greet, is not the subject matter. There are absolutely no rules in this religion. Total freedom. North Indian Hindus don’t eat non-veg, South Indian Hindus don’t have any inhibition regarding non-veg. Kerala’s Hindu is completely different from Punjabi Hindu.!! There are morals: we should respect everybody, respect your elders, respect your teachers etc. Every sentence start with should. It preaches morals and not rules, and hence, if somebody breaks morals, doesn’t matter. But if you break rule, backlash is obvious. Hence, Hindus are peaceful.
I suppose your first three questions have been answered.
And now the fourth one: If all things are a part of God, then what makes humanity any more special than any other living creature? To put it another way, what makes the death of a human being any more tragic than the death of the ants that we step on, or the various plants and animals that we consume in order to sustain ourselves?
According to the Indian religion, Humanity is nothing special to other live forms in those terms. At homes in India, they preach their children to be careful and not to hurt other forms of living organism in anyway. The ants and the birds are so much respected that especially the food is kept for them. The ants are given wheat flour and the first piece of bread from our own food is always left for birds. This religion preaches we all are equal. Hinduism never preaches that we should not weep on the death of an animal, or otherwise, it also preaches that one should not weep on the death of the human being even. The holy-book Bhagwad Geeta is based on this notion only. That Arjun, o warrior, don’t weep the death of your relatives.!!! (I don’t think foreigners would be able to digest it. Moreover, our last rituals after death are also different. Hindu’s burn the body and also, all the things associated with the deceased are also donated, in order to wash the as many memories as possible.)
I hope you won’t mind the space taken by me. The Bhagwad Geeta, known to be most concise version is 700-verse scripture, and I attempted to preach and you wanted to learn the same, in just one article.!
Thanks for providing the space. And nothing was intended to offend, so please don’t mind if some offensive utterances have been done mistakenly. These topics are sensitive, meant only for mature people.