Quotes from Hindu Scriptures
Once the Christian preacher Dr. E. Stanley Jones was addressing a University in India on Christ. After he finished, the Hindu president of the University stood up and said, "If what this man says is not true, then it doesn't matter. But if what he says is true, then nothing else matters." (from Billy Graham Approaching Hoofbeats p.189)
There are some statements in Hindu scriptures that some would find surprising.
"...Whosoever follows a false doctrine of the Self will perish." Chandogya Upanishad p.77 (the sage Prajapati was speaking)
"Living in the abyss of ignorance yet wise in their own conceit, deluded fools go around and around, the blind led by the blind." Katha Upanishad p.17
"The good is one thing; the pleasant is another. These two, differing in their ends, both prompt to action. Blessed are they that choose the good; they that choose the pleasant miss the goal." Katha Upanishad p.16
"Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My [Krishna's] devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet." B.G. 7.20-23 p.394-399
Hinduism on Hinduism
"Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth...." B.G. 2.43 p.129-130
For those who minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline [Upanishadic Hinduism] is always difficult for those who are embodied." B.G. 12.5 p.616
"O son of Prtha [Arjuna], in this world there are two kinds of created beings. One is called the divine and the other demoniac. I have already explained to you at length the divine qualities. Now hear from Me of the demoniac. Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them. They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust." B.G. 16.6-8 p.749-751
"Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in the mode of passion worship the demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits. Those who undergo severe austerities and penances not recommended in the scriptures, performing them out of pride and egoism, who are impelled by lust and attachment, who are foolish and who torture the material elements of the body as well as the Supersoul dwelling within, are to be known as demons. B.G. 17.4-6 p.773-775.
"...Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord [Krishna], can understand Your personality." B.G. 10.14 p.525
"Because Bhagavad-Gita is spoken by the Supreme Personal-ity of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly read Bhagavad-Gita." A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Bhagavad-Gita As It Is p.32. Introduction
Sacrifices were very important in early Hinduism.
"The wedding procession of Surya went forward as Savitr sent it off. When the sun is in Agha they kill the cattle, and when it is in Arjuni she[the bride] is brought home." Rig Veda 10.85.13. There is a dual context of the marriage of Surya the daughter of the sun and human marriages modeled after that.
"Finite and transient are the fruits of sacrificial rites. The deluded, who regard them as the highest good, remain subject to birth and death." Mundaka Upanishad p.44.
"He, O Gargi, who in this world, without knowing this Akshara [changeless reality], offers oblations, performs sacrifices, practices austerities, even though for many thousands of years, gains little: his offerings and practices are perishable. He, O Gargi, who departs this life without knowing the Imperishable, is pitiable. Bu the, O Gargi, who departs this life knowing the Akshara, is wise." Brihadaranyaka Upanishad p.98.
From the Horse sacrifice in the Rig Veda
"Whatever food remains in his stomach, sending forth gas, or whatever smell there is from his raw flesh - let the slaughterers make that well done; let them cook the sacrificial animal until he is perfectly cooked. Whatever runs off your body when it has been placed on the spit and roasted by the fire, let it not lie there in the earth or on the grass, but let it be given to the gods who long for it. Those who see that the racehorse is cooked, who say, 'It smells good! Take it away!', and who wait for the doling out of the flesh of the charger - let their approval encourage us." Rig Veda 1.162.10-12. p.90.
"For the emperor I will sing a splendid, deep prayer, one that will be dear to the famous Varuna who struck apart the earth and spread it beneath the sun as the priest who performs the slaughter spreads out the victim's skin. Rig Veda 3.85.1.
Even today, the Vamacharis sacrifice kids (goat, not human) and water buffalo. Thuggees and Khonds sacrificed people.
Present at many religious occasions was a hallucinogenic drink called Soma. We do not know exactly what Soma was, but it was made from a leafless plant. It was either a real plant, a fungus, or possibly a mushroom. Soma supposedly gave access to the gods, and Rig Veda records many personal experiences of its effects, perhaps many parts of its were written under the influence of soma.
"Stretching out in flight, holding the stem, the eagle brought the exhilarating and intoxicating drink from the distance. Accompanied by the gods, the bird clutched the Soma tightly after he took it from that highest heaven. When the eagle had taken the Soma, he brought it for a thousand and ten thousand pressings at once [Soma is made by pressing the plant against stones]. The bringer of abundance left his enemies behind there; ecstatic with Soma, the wise one left the fools." Rig Veda 4.26.6-7 p.129
"This, yes, this is my thought: I will win a cow and a horse. Have I not drunk Soma? Like impetuous winds, the drinks have lifted me up. Have I not drunk Soma? The drinks have lifted me up, like swift horses bolting with a chariot. Have I not drunk Soma? I turn the prayer around in my heart, as a wheelwright turns a chariot seat. Have I not drunk Soma? The five tribes are no more to me than a mote in the eye. Have I not drunk Soma? The two world halves cannot be set against a single wing of mine. Have I not drunk Soma? In my vastness, I surpassed the sky and this vast earth. Have I not drunk Soma? Yes! I will place the earth here, or perhaps there. Have I not drunk Soma? I will thrash the earth soundly, here, or perhaps there, Have I not drunk Soma? One of my wings is in the sky; I have trailed the other below. Have I not drunk Soma? I am huge, huge! flying to the cloud. Have I not drunk Soma? I am going - a well-stocked house, carrying the oblation to the gods. Have I not drunk Soma?" Rig Veda 10.119.1-13 (all) p.131-132.
Castes : Apartheid of the Gods?
A key reason for Hinduism in 1500 B.C. was to keep the darker skinned people in the place and forbid intermarriage with the lighter skinned conquerors. The first surviving reference to the caste system is in the Rig Veda.
"When they divided the Man, into how many parts did they apportion him? What do they call his mouth, his two arms and thighs and feet? His mouth became the Brahmin; his arms were made into the Warrior [Kshatriyas], his thighs the People [vaisya], and from his feet the Servants [Sudras] were born." Rig Veda 10.90.11-12 p.31.
"O son of Prtha [Arjuna], those who take shelter in Me [Krsna], though they be of lower birth -- women, vaisyas [merchants] and sudras [workers]--can attain the supreme destination. How much more this is so of the righteous brahmanas, the devotees and the saintly kings. Therefore, having come to this temporary, miserable world, engage in loving service to me." B.G. 9.32-33 p.497-498
"The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste]." B.G. 5.18 p.293
One of the most important concepts in Upanishadic and later Hinduism is the self. There is the personal self, inside every being, which is like a spark of the universal self called Brahman. Brahman is impersonal, but in a few forms of Hinduism has a personal part too.
"The Imperishable is the Real. As sparks innumerable fly up-ward from a blazing fire, so from the depths of the Imperishable arise all things. To the depths of the imperishable they in turn descend." Mundaka Upanishad p.44-45.
An important part of early Hinduism that survived into later Hinduism is the principle of reincarnation: spiritual recycling.
"This vast universe is a wheel. Upon it are all creatures that are subject to birth, death, and rebirth. Round and round it turns, and never stops. It is the wheel of Brahman. As long as the individual self thinks it is separate from Brahman, it revolves upon the wheel in bondage to the laws of birth, death, and rebirth." Svetasvatara Upanishad p.118
"Of those ignorant of the Self, some enter into beings possessed of wombs, others enter into plants--according to their deeds and the growth of their intelligence. Katha Upanishad p.22.
"Know that all states of being-be they of goodness, passion or ignorance--are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense, everything, but I am independent. I am not under the modes of material nature, for they, on the contrary, are within Me. Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible" B.G. 7.12-13 p.379-380.
"Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination." B.G. 9.30 p.494
"It is written: 'He who knows the joy of Brahman, which words cannot express and the mind cannot reach, is free from fear. He is not distressed by the thought, 'Why did I not do what is right? Why did I do what is wrong? He who knows the joy of Brahman, knowing both good and evil, transcends both." Taittiriya Upanishad p.58.
"My sons kill their enemies and my daughter is an empress, and I am completely victorious. My voice is supreme in my husband's ears. The oblation that Indra made and so became glorious and supreme, this is what I have made for you O gods. I have truly become truly without rival wives. Without rival wives, killer of rival wives, victorious and pre-eminent, I have grabbed for myself the attraction of the other women as if it were the wealth of flighty women." Rig Veda 10.159.3-5.
The Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna does not want to kill his cousins. Krishna tells him to kill them because
"O descendant of Bharata [Arjuna] he who dwells in the body can never be slain. Therefore you need no grieve for any living being. Considering your specific duty as a ksatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation. O Partha, happy are the ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets. If, however, you do not perform your religious duty of fighting, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter. People will always speak of your infamy, and for a respectable person, dishonor is worse than death. The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you insignificant. Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you? O son of Kunti [Arjuna], either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up with determination and fight." Bhagavad-Gita 2.30-37 p.114-121. Some see this as cold-blooded.
"Do not burn him entirely, Agni, or engulf him in your flames. Do not consume his skin or his flesh. When you have cooked him perfectly, O knower of creatures, only then send him forth to the fathers. When you cook him perfectly, O knower of creatures, then give him over to the fathers...." Rig Veda 10.16.1-2 p.49
"And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt. Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti [Arjuna], that state he will attain without fail. Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krsna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt." B.G. 8:5-7, p.419-421.
"Those who study the Vedas and drink the soma juice, seeking the heavenly planets, worship Me indirectly. Purified of sinful reactions, they take birth on the pious, heavenly planet of Indra, where they enjoy godly delights. When they have thus enjoyed vast heavenly sense pleasure and the results of their pious activities are exhausted, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus those who seek sense enjoyment by adhering to the principles of the three Vedas achieve only repeated birth and death. But those who always worship Me [Krsna] with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form--to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have. Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, o son of Kunti [Arjuna], but they do so in a wrong way. I am the only enjoyer and master of all sacrifices. Therefore, those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down." B.G. 9.21-24 p.481-485.
The B.G. Has Many Pregnant Ideas
"The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata [Arjuna]. It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father." B.G. 3-4 p.684-685
Will the Real Supreme God Please Stand Up?
In the Kena Upanishad, Indra, and the gods of fire and wind did not recognize Brahman. Brahman talked with them. So Brahman one who can talk and disagree with beings.
"That which cannot be expressed in words but by which the tongue speaks--know that to be Brahman. Brahman is not the being who is worshipped of men. That which is not comprehended by the mind but by which the mind comprehends--know that to be Brahman. Brahman is no the being who is worshipped of men. That which is not seen by the eye but by which the eye sees--know that to be Brahman. Brahman is not the being who is worshiped of men. That which is not heard by the ear (etc.) Brahman is not the being who is worshiped of men. That which is not drawn by breath (etc.). Brahman is not the being who is worshipped of men." Kena Upanishad p.30-31.
"I am the Supersoul, O Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all living entities. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings. Of the Adityas I am Vishnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marici, and among the stars I am the moon. Of the Vedas I am the Sama Veda; of the demigods I am Indra, the king of heaven; of the senses I am the mind; and in living beings I am the living force [consciousness]. Of all the Rudras I am Lord Siva, of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am the Lord of wealth [Kuvera], of the Vasus I am fire [Agni], and of the mountains I am Meru." B.G. 10.20-23 p.532-535. It continues in the same way. I am all-devouring death, and I am the generating principle of all that is yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, fine speech, memory, intelligence, steadfastness and patience." B.G. 10.34 p.544. Krishna has a rather positive self-image.
"But of all gods Indra is supreme, for he approached nearest of the three [Indra, fire, wind] to Brahman and was the first of the three to recognize him." Katha Upanishad p.32.
"Assuredly all is Brahman. Let a man, freed from the taint of passion, worship Brahman alone." Chandogya Upanishad p.64.
Deceptive Teachers in Hinduism
In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, deliberately false teaching about Brahman is written down. We know this, because it first gives Gargya's teaching on Brahman, and then teaches "Nay, nay! Do not speak thus of Brahman." Now to give false teaching, but to immediately correct it, is a style of teaching what is believed to be true. There is nothing wrong with that. But what about giving deliberately no-good and useless teaching, and not correcting it?
In the Chandogya Upanishad p.76-77 the renowned teacher Prajapati taught Indra the god and Virochana the demon for 32 years what was stated to be false information about the self. After they left, "But Prajapati, looking after them, lamented thus: 'Both of them departed without analyzing or discriminating, and without truly comprehending the Self. Whosoever follows a false doctrine of the Self will perish." Chandogya Upanishad p.77 After that, Indra realized that was false, and returned to Prajapati, who taught Indra is different doctrine for 32 years, which was also false. After that Indra realized that was no-good and useless, and returned to Prajapati for another 32 years. Prajapati then taught him a different doctrine, which was also no-good and useless. Finally, Prajapati spent 5 years teaching Indra the highest truth of the Self.
Do You Look Forward to Being Dissolved and Absorbed?
"As the bees make honey by gathering juices from many flowering plants and trees, and as these juices reduced to one honey do not know from what flowers they severally come, similarly, my son, all creatures, when they are merged in that one Existence, whether in dreamless sleep or in death, know nothing of their past or present state, because of the ignorance enveloping them--know not that they are merged in him and that from him they came." Chandogya Upanishad p.69
The Chandogya Upanishad goes on to explain that the Self is like the fruit of a Myagrodha tree. Inside are extremely small seeds, and when you break them open, there is nothing inside. Also the Self is like salt put in water is the Brahman in all things.
Yagnavalkya is speaking to his wife, Maitreyi "As a lump of salt when thrown into water melts away and the lump cannot be taken out, but wherever we taste the water it is salty, even so, O Maitreyi, the individual self, dissolved, is the Eternal--pure consciousness of the many, in divine illumination, it disappears. Where there is consciousness of the Self, individuality is no more." Brihadaranyaka Upanishad p.88.
Food for Thought - Brahman is Hungry
"To him [Brahman] the Brahmins and Kshatriyas are but food, and death itself the condiment [that is, spice]." Katha Upanishad p.19
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead [Krishna] said,: Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain." B.G. 11:33 p.577.
O'Flaherty, Wendy Doniger The Rig Veda : An Anthology Penguin Books 1981, 1984 ~1400-800 B.C.
Prabhavananda, Swami and Frederick Manchester The Upanishads : Breath of the Eternal Mentor Book (c) 1948 The Vedanta Society of Southern California ~800-400 B.C.
Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Bhagavad-Gita As It Is Bhaktivedanta Book Trust 1986-1993. ~500 B.C.
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"Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods [devatah] and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures. I [Krishna] am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship some demigod, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to that particular deity. Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone. Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet." B.G. 7.20-23 p.394-399
"Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this. In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place." B.G. 2.43-44 p.129-131
"...Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can understand Your personality." B.G. 10.14 p.525
How was Hinduism started?
(Three minute history lesson with map. Apartheid)
What are the variations among Hindus?
(Ocean of beliefs, a zoo of religions.)
Just how broad are the beliefs of Hindus?
(Read from the list)
What are the main scriptures of Hinduism?
4 V. Up. some Ramayana, some Mahabharata, some Puranas)
What do you think of the Vedas?
(Hindus have to sacrifice a lot to believe it. Sounds like a different religion from modern Hinduism.)
Were Hindu beliefs ever taught in the early Christian Church? (No... But Hippolytus wrote of Hindus in 222 A.D. His work The Refutation of All Heresies is sort of a catalogue of false and strange beliefs. In Book 1 chap. 21 he mentioned the "Brachmans" of India. He describes the ascetics. So the early church knew of Hinduism, and recognized it as wrong.)
Irenaeus and other E. Church also had a lot to say about the gods of polytheism.
What do you think of the Upanishads?
(If you cannot bedazzle with brilliance, baffle them with baloney. See B.G.'s view of Upanishads)
What does Hinduism do to people?
(Not only poisons their mind, but their heart)
How do Hari Krishnas differ from other Hindus? Are they Hindus?
So what kind of fraud is involved in Transcendental meditation?
So what's afoot with the Divine Light Mission or Guru Maharaj Ji? (pun intended)
What do you think of when you think of Hinduism?
(C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters)
The Rig Veda mentions drinking soma. What is soma? (narcotic drink prominent in the religious ceremonies. Used when writing the Rig Veda?)
Why is Hinduism wrong?
How would an educated Hindu look at our Bible?
How would you share with Hindus? (ask both of us)
What's wrong with reincarnation?
Do the Hindu scriptures explicitly teach reincarnation? Where?
What are the varieties of belief in reincarnation? (either Mark or Steve)
Why are so many gurus coming to America from the east? (We normally think of the "pull" of money and lots of gullible people who would be their disciples, but we should also consider the "push" too. According to a Hindu friend of mine, they are the cast offs, the deviants from Hinduism that would not be able to find a following over there. So they go to the west.)
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by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.