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By Prakhar Patidar
Atheism sounds like such a paradox, the belief of not believing. It is the rejection of the idea of a god or deities and, in turn, religion. However, it is not as black and white as it may seem. Belief systems are a multilayered grey area that comprises all the worldviews that exist in the world. Theist: someone who believes in God can be someone who ardently believes in the creator of the universe and follows their religion as best as they can. It can also be a person who accepts the existence of God but renounces religious rituals because to them, rituals aren’t necessary. Similarly, an atheist is a person with an absolute lack of belief and/or any inclination towards religious practices of cultural significance like festivals or, it can be a person who rejects God but accepts cultural byproducts of religion. What’s common between the two is knowing what one believes in. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes is agnosticism: when a person entertains the existence of God but insists that it can’t be proven or disproven.
Historically, science in its classical opposition with religion has been a field that harbours an inclination towards atheism and agnosticism. It is understandable. What is in conflict here is religion’s reliance on faith and that of science on proof. Apart from science, inclinations towards non-belief and religiousness are observed amongst the young. Why is it that atheism appeals to the young?
In my opinion, it has a lot to do with identity. Identities are complex concepts people often struggle with, sometimes even for their entire lives. The question ‘who am I?’ is up close with ‘what does it all mean?’ on the list of most difficult philosophical questions. Who are we? There are several constructed categories we find ourselves in by the virtue of our birth: gender, nationality, religion, caste and class, etc, are all predetermines of the identity one is expected to grow into. Religion: if not the biggest, then at least one of the biggest influences on our identity and reality. The intention is in no way to throw a shade on religion; they are integrated into our socio-cultural fabric and have proven to be very rewarding for some. I merely suggest that since often these constructions don’t come with a choice, it isn’t surprising when people can’t resonate with them, especially in their formative years.
What happens if who you are conflicts with who you are expected to be?
You look for options that accommodate your reality than mould it.
BY MARIA WIRTH
This question is natural for any human being and is asked in every generation by many of the youth. I remember it troubled me a lot when I was young.
I don’t think I could have found the answer on my own because some basic philosophical knowledge about us and the universe is needed, but luckily I landed up in India and was even luckier to become familiar with India’s profound wisdom. This philosophical knowledge is contained in the Vedas and has painstakingly been memorized by Indian Brahmins and handed down to us over many millennia.
One could call the Vedic mantras as a “revelation” because the ancient Rishis clearly stated that they are apaurusheya, which means that they are not created by humans. This revelation however is not comparable with the so called revelations of Christianity and Islam, because it is not about a claim which can never be verified and which is not conform to common sense, like the claim, “if you don’t believe that this book contains the full truth you burn in hell forever.”
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In contrast, the knowledge in the Vedas makes sense, and part of it has already been validated by modern scientists. In fact Veda means knowledge in Sanskrit (from vid) or science in Latin.
Vedas say that in absolute truth there is only consciousness (called Brahman) and though unimaginable, it is described as truth-consciousness-bliss, Satchitananda in Sanskrit. From that eternal, infinite, blissful, conscious ‘void’, the world of forms and names appears, like on the one ocean plenty of bubbles and waves appear. Their form is temporary, the ocean is eternal. Nothing is lost, when the forms are lost. And ultimately even during their existence as forms, the bubbles and waves are nothing but the ocean.
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Similarly, claims Indian wisdom, are the forms in this universe in essence nothing but consciousness. There are myriads of forms in different realms – visible and also invisible to our eyes. Devas (usually translated as gods) are also forms, invisible to our eyes and far more powerful and long lived, but they are not the absolute reality. Unmanifested Oneness is the Absolute, is Brahman.
Science came meanwhile also to the conclusion that ultimately all is one, nothing can be separated, all is interconnected, but they have not yet acknowledged the ‘conscious’ aspect. Scientists call this oneness “energy” and assume it is dead, insentient, and they mistake the consciousness of the scientist as some chance happening.
Now this claim that all is blissful consciousness means, that Brahman must be also in us. And indeed, the Upanishad declare “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am Brahman). If this is true, then it must be verifiable.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: वनटांगिया समुदाय के लिए योगी आदित्यनाथ राम की भूमिका में, पर क्यों ?
Indeed the Rishis claim, you can know that you are not a small person in a big world, but that you are one with Brahman. And they give many tips how to go about discovering the truth of life.
And here we have the meaning of life: discover who you really are. You are not what you think you are, but you are one with all. When you discover it, you won’t run any longer after happiness in the world. You have discovered the ocean of bliss within you.
“Know Thyself” was also encouraged in ancient Greece and probably in all ancient cultures which unfortunately have all been destroyed. Only the Indian culture is still alive and still has true wisdom preserved, though it was also greatly damaged by Christianity and Islam, which want to make man forget his innate divinity.
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These two religions in life, which require blind belief, claim to be about the spiritual well-being of humanity. In fact, it may be just the opposite: over the last almost 2000 years of life they cut off humanity from the source of spiritual well-being which can be found only in one’s union with the Divine Existence.
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored, and hence promotes some commercial links.)
The Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’ or ‘the reason for being’ combines purpose, passion, vocation, and profession. While Ikigai may be presented as a philosophical concept, its discovery is unique to every person and makes life worthwhile and rewarding to live. A new book by author-entrepreneur Atul Khekade weaves an engaging story on this individual journey to Ikigai.
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The novel ‘Me Ki Gai’ is a man’s journey to discovering himself and his own Ikigai zone when guided by a mystic character saving him from a life-ending situation. It is the story of Parth, a young adult who is looking to start his career and build a better lifestyle for himself and his family.
He discovers his Ikigai through his own experience along the journey with Krisha. Prabhudas, the mystic, guides Parth with a systematic process that may help millions of people discover their own.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: सीरीज की समय सीमा पर विचार किया जाना चाहिए : कोहली
Housing some profound, heart-touching explanations on the Japanese concept of finding direction and purpose in life, ‘Me Ki Gai’, the author believes, can come to the aid of the millions of people who lost jobs and hope during the COVID-19 pandemic, and discover their own reasons for jumping out of bed in the morning.
ALSO READ: Mental Health Issues During COVID Pandemic
“But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. If looked within, the principles of Ikigai may help us build a new world with a more rewarding personal and professional life,” the author said. (IANS)
By Dr. Devakinanda Pasupuleti
An Acharya is a highly learned person with a title affixed to the names of learned subject. The designation has different meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism and secular contexts. Acharya is sometimes used to address an expert teacher or a scholar in any discipline, e.g.: Bhaskaracharya, the expert mathematician.
19) OṀ ĀCHĀRYABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
OṀ (AUM) –AA-CHĀ-RYA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ आचार्यभूम्यै नमः
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In ancient India, education, the panacea for all maladies and problems of life, was imparted more by personal contact than by lectures and discourses. The student learned more by observing the teacher’s life than by hearing his teachings. Hence the teacher had to be that which he wanted to make of his student. It is this philosophy of education that is reflected in the word āchārya. It is only he or she who successfully gathers (āċinoti) the essentials of dharma and wisdom from all sources and practices them (āċarati) in his or her own life that deserves the appellation- ‘āchārya’. The word is also frequently used as an honorific for men of great erudition and learning. It is also applied to an adviser or preceptor guiding sacrificial rites. The wife of a āchārya is called āchāryaṇi.
In the strictest sense, the title applies to one, who follows Vedic scriptures, traditions and values in his life and becomes an ideal for his fellow beings In the olden days, during times of oppression by despot kings, foreign invaders and proselytizers, teachers like Sri Śankarāchārya, Sri Ramanujāchārya, Sri Madhvāchārya, Sri Vallabhacharya, Sri Vidyaraṇya swami, Sri Dayānanda Saraswati and many more reformed society and brought fame and glory to the title. They participated in debates with opponents of Vedic religion -like Ćarvāka schools of thought (materialism that denied the existence of all non-temporal objects) and cults which propagated unethical and abominable practices in the name of religion. With their vast spiritual knowledge these āchāryās strengthened the foundations of Hinduism and re-established Sanātana dharma. Even now, there are many ācharyās trying to restore the balance of Vedic values facing stiff opposition from several quarters.
If it wasn’t for these Acharya , our Sanātana Dharma would have been wiped off the face of the Earth, as has happened to many other cultures like Māyan, Incan, Aztec, Roman, and Greek.
The land on which āchāryās and āchāryaṇis walk, is our land- ‘Āchārya Bhūmi.’