Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gods Part 2

From the mundane viewpoint , Brahman as the supreme deity remains linked with empirical measurement , the number "one ", but from the transcendental point of view ( the state of unchanging eternal being ) Brahman is the limitless and aattributeles Absolute where all opposites are reconciled .
Hence speculative monoism has existed alongside ritualistic polytheism from Vedic times to the present day thereby emphasising that reality is inexhaustible , beyond name and form , pervading and transcending all existence and earthly knowledge .
The vedic Gods were thought to rely on humankind's sacrificial offerings which sustained them ,and also kept the world process moving . But neither the Vedic Gods nor the other Hindu Gods are solely concerned with human welfare (in distinction with other religions ) for , Man is only a part of nature , in common with all other living things.

As classical Hinduism evolved out of a synthesis of Aryan , Dravidian, tribal and aborginal cults the old Vedic Gods of nature became less important and other Gods like Vishnu and Siva became important , by the 3rd century AD .
The formless Brahman in his personal form with attributes became Iswara ( for the followers of Siva ) or Narayana ( for the followers of Vishnu ). Along with Brahma ( "the secondary creator") , the three divine aspects of Brahman came to be known as the Trimurti , Brahma being the Creator , Vishnu the Preserver and Siva the Destroyer of the world .
Brahma is believed to grant knowledge , Vishnu liberation from rebirth , and Siva all worldly boons .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gods and Gods and more Gods Part 1

330 million, or 33 crores . Thats the official figure of the number of " Gods ".

" Gods " in the above context referring to the sum total of " Devas " or radiant ones ,lead by Indra , as well as various other categories of divine beings and spirits , like Gandharvas , Yakshas , etc . 33 Gods are described in the Rig Veda ( as in the iranian traditions )which are mainly personifications of the powers of nature , like the Sun , (Surya )the Wind (Vayu), Water ( Varuna ), Fire (Agni ) etc , but another passage says that they are all manifestations of the one Supreme Being .
Multiple levels of divine beings exist with varying powers . Humans can aspire to become one of the Devas through sufficent merit , which is a position held for a time till the merit is exhausted . Such aspiration is merely worldly and the real goal is to realise Brahman .

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Dvaita ( Dualism ) is the third and last of the principal Vedanta doctrines , the chief exponent is Madhvacharya. ( 1197-1276 AD).

According to Dvaita , God and the individual souls are eternally different ( hence dualism ). God is eternal, and both immanent to the world and transcendental to it . The world and souls are also eternal but distinct from one and another and both are entirely dependent on God , who establishes their various states of liberation according to their Karma . Liberated souls perpetually adore God but never attain complete union with God .

Adi Sankara ( of Advaita ) hailed from Kaladi in Kerala , Ramanuja ( of Visistadvaita ) hailed from Sriperumbudur in present day Tamilnadu , and Madhva ( of Dvaita ) hailed from Udupi in coastal Karnataka , all in south India .