Introducing Venu - Talking Hinduism, the Baha'i faith and life

Sep 2010
4,461
Normanton Far North Queensland
#11
I'd just like to add something to Tony's question about vastness. It is said that if you ask 100 Hindus the same question, you'll get 101 different answers. That also illustrates our vastness. I should have made it clear from the beginning that I'm no authority, just one guy out of a billion. This is why Venu and my answers will be really different, and if we added a few more, they'd all be different as well.
That said, there is also a certain amount of ethnocentricity within Hinduism, as some Hindu folks (including myself) haven't gotten out enough to truly realise its vastness. Therefore, we may speak about it as if our version of Hinduism is representative of all of Hinduism, which would be folly.
Sorry i didn't say this earlier ... should have.
I erred. Post 9 above was meant to be in the other thread. maybe the mod could move it.
I see it is good to have it in this thread as well Vinayaka.

I also liked Earths post above. You may also have gotten a great smile from that post.

Regards Tony
 
Likes: Adrian009
Feb 2019
70
Chicago
#13
I agree that Christ did not teach exclusivity but Christianity has become exclusive because of the addition of man made traditions and misunderstanding of the Gospels that Christ never intended.

As you probably know Baha'u'llah speaks of the underlying purpose of religion:

"O ye children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men…Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure."

And the unity of religion:

"…the Bearers of the trust of God are made manifest unto the peoples of the earth as the Exponents of a new Cause and the Bearers of a new Message. Inasmuch as these Birds of the Celestial Throne are all sent down from the heaven of the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His irresistible Faith, they therefore are regarded as one soul and the same person. For they all drink from the one Cup of the love of God, and all partake of the fruit of the same Tree of Oneness."

The Challenge therefore is to appreciate what all the recognised religions have in common and better understand the apparent contradictions or inconsistencies. Shoghi Effendi, the leader of the Baha'i Faith from 1921-1957 stated in regards to Christ:

"As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully recognized, that the reality of the mystery of the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary is confessed, and the primacy of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is upheld and defended. The Founder of the Christian Faith is designated by Bahá’u’lláh as the “Spirit of God,” is proclaimed as the One Who “appeared out of the breath of the Holy Ghost...” Shoghi Effendi

So how does the designation 'Son of God' assist us to understand the Spiritual Reality of Christ AND the underlying unity of religion?

Let's consider some key verses:

In Matthew 1:18-25 it is written:
"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ”The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”-- which means, “God with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus."


We know from the Baha'i writings that the virgin birth is upheld as a Divine mystery.

We also consider
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that however believes in Him should not perish and have everlasting life." John 3:16


This is important to emphasise Jesus' Uniqueness and Greatness in contrast with the quote you mention where "we are all sons of God".

The phrase Sons of God and Children of God are used many times through both the Old and New Testaments.

Sons of God: Genesis 6:2, Genesis 6:4, Job 1:6, Job 2:1, Job 38:7, Matthew 5:9, Luke 20:36, Romans 8:14, Romans 8:19, Galatians 3:26

Children of God: John 1:12, John 11:52, Romans 8:16, Romans 8:16, Romans 8:21, Romans 9:8

The significance of John 3:16 in contrast to these other verses along with the story of the virgin birth clearly sets Jesus apart from ordinary men. So the 'Son of God' designation highlights the Uniqueness and Greatness of Jesus when compared to the rest of humanity.

However other religions have also used different designations such as Moses being the 'Friend of God', Muhammad being the 'Seal of the Prophets' or Baha'u'llah being the 'Glory of God'. These different designations may serve a similar purpose to highlight the Uniqueness of a particular Man who Manifests God's Greatness with a Revelation that transforms communities, traditions, morals, and even civilisations.

Therefore the 'Son of God' designation of Jesus is consistent with the underlying unity in all the Great Prophets or Manifestations of God.

A Baha'i perspective on Jesus as the 'Son of God'
Adrian,

I will respond in detail later with explanation from the Hindu Scriptures but for now, I wanted to say that the language of the scriptures often times has esoteric meaning and should not be interpreted literally. At this time, let me just focus on these verses and ask you some questions. The intent of these questions is to demonstrate that literal interpretation does not make sense.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. - John 1:10-12

Does "He" refer to Jesus? If so, was the world made through Jesus as the Bible is saying. Wasn't the world already made for millions of years before Jesus came in to the world? Did Jesus personally ever claim that he made the world? If the entire world was made by Jesus and if all people are his own, how is that Jesus did not go to South America or China or Japan and preach to the civilizations there? Are the Jews of Israel exclusively his own people? What does "received him" mean? If someone received Jesus in their house, did they become sons of God. What does "sons of God" mean? Is there a phrase like "daughters of God"? If not, why not and if so what does it mean. Are there phrases like "brothers of God", "sisters of God", "uncles of God", "aunts of God" and so forth? What does "believe on his name" mean? I suppose the Pope and the Catholic leaders believe in the name of Jesus. Does that imply that Jesus gave them the power to become "sons of God" and if so how has that power changed them. What about Mother Teresa? She definitely believed in the name of Jesus. Did she become a son of God or a daughter of God? What do these phrases really mean. Does anyone really understand?

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?” Jesus answered,, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, and yet you people do not accept our testimony.If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven— the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that however believes in Him should not perish and have everlasting life." John 3:1-16

If Jesus is the only begotten Son who can save people from hell or whatever, why did God wait for millions of years before sending Jesus. Did God not love the people that were born before Jesus. Are all those people burning in hell now because they did not have the blood of Jesus to wash off their sins. And that would include Abraham, Moses and Buddha from the past and Mahatma Gandhi from the recent times. But Hitler is in heaven because he called himself a Christian and accepted Jesus as his savior. Is that how God is working?

In the above passage, what does "born again" mean? Why was Jesus speaking in a language so difficult to understand. What has Moses lifting up a serpent got to do with son of Man also being lifted up. And lifted up to where? Does God have any daughters? Is there anything called "only begotten Daughter". Why is God always referred to in the Bible as Father? Why not Mother? If God is the Father and he has a Son, who is his Wife?
 
Mar 2019
27
Senegal
#14
Literal interpretations certainly make less sense than allegorical and metaphorical interpretations.

From the quotes given above I'd say the Son of God would be Adam, the first man. Which also is likely metaphorical as well for the origins of humankind, our ancestors. And then "children of Adam" or "Son of Man" is the rest of humanity.

Humankind is thus the One descended from Heaven, that is, set apart from the other animals of Creation somehow, and thus all will ascend to it (no matter how long it takes their souls to get there). But to do so one must become a Son of God, such as Jesus and other enlightened ones are.

This Baha'i belief of afterlife I'm alluding to actually may be a parallel to Hindu thought on reincarnation and samsara. While Baha'i don't believe in physical reincarnation, both believe that a soul must continue its journey until it has reached enlightenment and then will reach unity with God and eternity.
 
Mar 2019
27
Senegal
#15
God loves the world so much he gave it his only son (humankind). With our ability to rise above our animal nature towards spiritual perception.

"No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven- the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up"

Clearly states humans must be lifted above our animal nature. Leave the ever changing wilderness around us for the changeless eternity. No one has descended from heaven except the one (anyone, not a single individual) who has descended from heaven. I take this to mean someone who has, within their life, reached an enlightened state. They are the ones who, within life, descend from heaven, and thus are the only ones who ever have ascended there upon death.
 
Aug 2018
32
New Zealand
#16
Great questions! I had started this thread to enable Baha'is like myself to learn more about Hinduism. Now you are asking me the tough questions about my Christian Faith.

As you will appreciate the Christian Bible is the most studied book in Western Culture. My understanding is a work in progress. I was raised Christian but became a Baha'i in my mid-20s.

I will respond in detail later with explanation from the Hindu Scriptures but for now, I wanted to say that the language of the scriptures often times has esoteric meaning and should not be interpreted literally.
The Bible has many passages that should not be interpreted literally and we need to look deeper for meaning. However in doing so we need to consider the Bible in its entirety as well as well as the historic and scriptural context of any verse we study. There is a temptation to look at one verse in isolation, but we need to create an interpretative narrative that fits with the rest of what the Bible says.

At this time, let me just focus on these verses and ask you some questions. The intent of these questions is to demonstrate that literal interpretation does not make sense.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. - John 1:10-12

Does "He" refer to Jesus?
That is correct. The Gospel of John is important in establishing the 'Divinity of Christ' a separate yet intimately related theme along with the Jesus being 'Son of God'. They are both Christian beliefs based on key verses from the Gospel of John that are taken literally by the fundamentalists but have a more profound meaning as you suggest.

If we go to the beginning of the first chapter of John from which you have quoted we are immediately confronted with the strongest statements that suggest the Divinity of Christ.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:1-3

So Who is the 'Word of God' also known as the logos?

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

So the Word made flesh and the only begotten of the Father is clearly Jesus. If it isn't clear then the next few verses are unmistakable.

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 1:15-18

So the verses seem to suggest the Jesus is the Word, the only begotten Son, and indeed God Himself.

We must go deeper to unravel the Divine mysteries of these exalted verses. But lets just enjoy the mystery for now.

If so, was the world made through Jesus as the Bible is saying.
Jesus the man, No. God who Manifested Himself through Jesus, yes.

The Baha'i writings use an analogy of a mirror that perfectly reflects the light of the Sun. If the Sun speaks through the mirror, and the mirror says I am God, then this is the truth. If the mirror says I am just a mirror, then this too is true.

Bahá'í Reference Library - Some Answered Questions, Pages 113-115

So in that sense, the Manifestations of God can be both God and not God.

It is interesting to me that both Vaishnavas and Christians see Krishna and Christ as Vishnu (God) and God incarnate respectively.

Wasn't the world already made for millions of years before Jesus came in to the world?
Of course.

Did Jesus personally ever claim that he made the world?
No, but He alluded to His Divinity.

If the entire world was made by Jesus and if all people are his own, how is that Jesus did not go to South America or China or Japan and preach to the civilizations there?
God is Omnipotent and the Father and Son are one.

I and my Father are one.
John 10:30

Interesting this was blasphemy in the eyes of some of the Jews who heard these words.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

John 10:31-36

So Jesus has defended Himself with reference to a Hebrew Bible verse from Psalms 82:6

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

So now we are not only sons of God, but we are all gods!

Are the Jews of Israel exclusively his own people?
No, but its important to understand the special role the Jewish people had in establishing the Abrahamic Faiths and the role of Jewish people will play in end times eschatology.

What does "received him" mean?
Probably to whole heartedly believe in Jesus and follow His Teachings.

If someone received Jesus in their house, did they become sons of God.
They may not have believed in Him.

What does "sons of God" mean?
We are all sons and daughters of God.

Is there a phrase like "daughters of God"? If not, why not and if so what does it mean.
Abrahamic religion is typically patriarchal but He or he is used generally to mean both sexes. So sons also means daughters.

Are there phrases like "brothers of God", "sisters of God", "uncles of God", "aunts of God" and so forth?
In the Bible? I'm not aware there is.

What does "believe on his name" mean?
As a Manifestation of God, even His name has great spiritual power.

I suppose the Pope and the Catholic leaders believe in the name of Jesus. Does that imply that Jesus gave them the power to become "sons of God" and if so how has that power changed them. What about Mother Teresa? She definitely believed in the name of Jesus. Did she become a son of God or a daughter of God? What do these phrases really mean. Does anyone really understand?
We're all sons of God, men, women, children, believers and unbelievers alike. God loves all. The Christians don't always see it that way though.

That's probably enough for now :) I better get back to my work. This is one interesting conversation!
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Feb 2019
70
Chicago
#17
Great questions! I had started this thread to enable Baha'is like myself to learn more about Hinduism. Now you are asking me the tough questions about my Christian Faith.

As you will appreciate the Christian Bible is the most studied book in Western Culture. My understanding is a work in progress. I was raised Christian but became a Baha'i in my mid-20s.
I will now try to present the Hindu perspective on the Christian trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost which in Hindu Scriptures are referred to as Sat, Tat and Aum. These truths come from the Bhagavad Gita and the teachings of the Hindu monk and Yoga Master Paramahansa Yogananda. These are very esoteric truths and may be new to you. But if read them with an open and receptive mind you will know that these truths apply universally and have been taught by all Manifestations of God which is why Jesus refers to Moses raising the serpent. The serpent that Jesus refers to is the Kundalini energy coiled up at the base of the spine (lowest chakra) like a snake which awakens as man makes true spiritual progress. The Hindus always represented Kundalini energy with a snake because of how it moves in the spinal cord in deep states of God communion. If properly controlled, it can rise to the highest chakra in the brain and in the process make man realize his relationship with God through personal experience as opposed to intellectually understanding it. The relationship that man has with God is that of created and Creator and in human language, depending on which society the scripture is revealed in, people refer to it as son and Father or child and Mother or man and Maker. The seven chakras along the spinal cord are referred to in the Bible as the seven churches because they are centers of spiritual power. See this Hindu representation of Kundalini around the 7 chakras and a parallel reference in the Bible in allegorical language.

As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches - Revelation 1:20



For the sake of readability, I will break up my response in to multiple posts. My next post will have information from the Bhagavad Gita on Sat, Tat and Aum which are the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (also known as Holy Spirit or the "Word").
 
Feb 2019
70
Chicago
#18
Of this world I am the Father, the Mother, the Ancestor, the Preserver, the Sanctifier, all-inclusive Object of Knowledge, the Cosmic Aum and also the Vedic lore - Bhagavad Gita 9:17

My womb is the Great Prakriti in to which I deposit the seed of my Intelligence; this is the cause of the birth of all beings. Of all forms, produced from whatsoever wombs, Great Prakriti is their original womb (Mother) and I am the seed-imparting Father - Bhagavad Gita 14:3-4

It is solely My impregnating presence that causes Mother Nature to give birth to the animate and the inanimate. Because of Me, the words revolve in alternating cycles of creation and dissolution.- Bhagavad Gita 9:10

The Spirit or Unmanifested Absolute has no form or creator. It has no equal. When Spirit decided to manifest creation it became God the Father (Purusha in Sanskrit) and Holy Ghost the Mother (Prakriti in Sanskrit. Also known as AUM in Sanskrit). In to the womb of this Mother, the Father deposited his seed of Intelligence which guided the birth of creation and also became manifest in the creation (Son in English or Tat in Sanskrit. Also known as Kutastha Chaitanya in Sanskrit).

The Son is manifest in all of creation as God's intelligence to hold the cosmos together and guide its functioning in an orderly way. This Son or Tat or Kutastha Chaitanya is centered in man at the 6th chakra - spiritual eye - the center of light, wisdom, intuition and will power. When in deep meditation, the 6th chakra opens, the physical body is seen as condensed light energy as per the science of Yoga. It is confirmed by this verse in the Bible. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light - Matthew 6:22. The son of Man becoming Son of God by raising the serpent (Kundalini) or being lifted up spiritually is related to these esoteric truths. I will share more details in my next post from a Hindu perspective.
 
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Likes: PherJVv
Feb 2019
70
Chicago
#19
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. - John 1:1-3

God is Intelligent Cosmic Energy. When God thought of creation, that thought being a vibration of energy, made a sound. That sound is the Word. Since it originated in God, it was with God and as God's energy there was no difference between God and the Word since God is cosmic energy. This Word is known in the Hindu scriptures as AUM (Ameen of Arabs and Amen of Europeans). The Word also known as the Holy Ghost in the Bible or Prakriti in Sanskrit. As I said previously, God the Father deposited His Intelligence in to the Womb of Prakriti or Word or Holy Ghost which gave birth to creation. So the Bible says that all things were made by him and without him was not anything made. The Bible uses masculine gender for the Word but the feminine gender used in the Hindu scriptures is more appropriate.

An analogy may serve to illustrate how the One Eternal Spirit becomes the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Imagine the sun as existing by itself with nothing surrounding it - a mass of light. Place a blue crystal ball in its radiation. The sun exists in relation to the crystall ball. The sun is divided as the inactive white light beyond and around the crystall ball and as the essentially unchanged light appearing as blue light by its reflection in the ball. This division of one sunlight in to white and blue light is due to the dividing effect of the third object - the crystall ball. Just as the sun is solitary pure brilliance spreading its rays in space when it stands by itself, so Spirit without any vibratory creation is the Unmanifested Absolute. But introduce the blue crystall ball of a manifested universe, and Spirit becomes differentiated as the vibratory substance of all manifestations evolved from Aum or Holy Ghost with the Intelligence of God reflecting in the creation as the Son. Most analogies to define absolutes are at best imperfect intimations since by limited material nature they cannot depict the subtleties of spiritual truths. In the illustration of sun and crystall ball, the sun does not create the ball but Spirit can evolve as Father and Holy Ghost.
 
Feb 2019
70
Chicago
#20
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

As I said, all creation which includes the human body came out of the Word. So the "Word was made flesh" means the vibratory energy was condensed in to human flesh or human body with the only begotten Son (God's Intelligence) centered at the 6th chakra or spiritual eye. "We" means spiritually advanced souls who through deep meditation have realized their son-ship with God by experiencing the innate Son centered in the spiritual eye. The Word or Holy Ghost imbued with the Son or God's Intelligence is full of grace and truth.
 

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