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Featured Hindu-Bahai Gita Discussion

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by sayak83, Jul 26, 2021.

  1. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Thread started for myself and @loverofhumanity to converse in detail about the verses of Gita.
    Basic question to be discussed: What does the Gita actually say, and is it compatible with the Bahai theology?
     
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  2. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I hope you use Easwaran's translation. In Hindu circles, it generally gets the highest recommendations. 'As it Is' is routinely heavily criticized by anyone other than ISKCONites.
     
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  3. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I think even Easwaran is not good enough. What satisfied me was the Gita Press Gorakhpur translation. But then I have come across other good ones as well. I will name them for consideration of the members.
     
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  4. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    A starting point as a Baha'i for a Hindu-Baha'i dialogue would be to consider what the Baha'i Faith has to say about the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna and Hinduism.

    We only have a few scant references to Krishna and Hinduism in our writings or from the talks of Abdu'l-Baha. For example:

    Blessed souls whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, or Muhammad were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. How can we deny such irrefutable proof? How can we be blind to such light?"
    ('Abdu'l-Bahá from a Tablet - translated from the Persian)

    The Message of Krishna is the message of love. All God's prophets have brought the message of love....
    ("Paris Talks: Addresses given by `Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in 1911-1912", 11th ed. (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1979), p.
    35)

    So in summary we haven't a lot to go on when it comes to Krishna.

    In regards Hinduism Shoghi Effendi has said:

    ...Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islám and the religion of the Sabaeans. These religions are not the only true religions that have appeared in the world, but are the only ones which are still existing. There have always been divine prophets and messengers, to many of whom the Qur'án refers. But the only ones existing are those mentioned above.

    So Hinduism is regarded as a religion with Divine origins.

    In regards the authenticity of the sacred writings including the Bhaghavad Gita we don't have too much to go on either. In response to questions of a more detailed nature Shoghi Effendi said it would be a matter for scholars to investigate further.

    Your question concerning Brahma and Krishna: such matters, as no reference occurs to them in the Teachings, are left for students of history and religion to resolve and clarify.
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi - 14 April 1941)

    We cannot be sure of the authenticity of the scriptures of Buddha and Krishna, so we certainly cannot draw any conclusions about virgin birth mentioned in them. There is no reference to this subject in our teachings, so the Guardian cannot pronounce an opinion.

    Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster and Related Subjects


    So in regards the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna and Hinduism we have little specific from the Baha'i writings to say.

    My personal experience in talking to some Hindus on this forum is they want to present Hinduism as being fundamentally and irreconcilably different from the Baha'i Faith where as Baha'is tend to look for common ground.
     
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  5. Marcion

    Marcion gopa of humanity's controversial Taraka Brahma

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    It would indeed be very nice to finally see that common ground factually (not vaguely) being demonstrated. After all those threads I have not seen it happen though. But perhaps when actual teachings are quoted we may see something happen after all.
     
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  6. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    The starting point is somewhat of a blank canvas where participants can contribute their knowledge and wisdom but also their ignorance and prejudice.

    Baha'is have a set of writings or scriptures they see as being sacred and from God. We have authorized commentary on those scriptures. The Baha'i writings envisage Hinduism as a religion with Divine origins. Even this simple statement is contentious Some will deny Hinduism is a religion at all and if it is, it is nothing like its Abrahamic counterparts. Others within Hinduism are atheists and will deny the existence of any God or gods and state Hinduism incorporates such a view.
     
  7. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    @adrian009 said:
    Well, I think the differences already start with the definition of God(s). As @Aupmanyav repeatedly pointed out, you can be a Hindu atheist, so the range of God(s) in Hinduism is from 0 to 1 to 33,000,000 (as it's often said ;)). I really don't see much of common ground besides talking about something like ethics. Of course, we can always exchange niceties such as "Bahai Faith teaches to be kind to your neighbor" and "Hinduism also says to be kind to your neighbor", so hooray, "we have something in common". I question the purpose of such exchanges but this is the interfaith forum so I will stop talking here.

    If I had to point to a member of an Abrahamic religion who really tries to understand and build bridges I'd probably choose @Conscious thoughts who always admits "that he doesn't know everything in advance". I think seeing a real common ground between religions is something that you actually experience, not something that you learned by heart and repeat from books. For example, when I visited the Berlin Shaolin temple, I took part in a 25 minutes meditation session. When I later took part in eucharistic adoration at my Catholic church, I felt "the same way" I had felt during the meditation at the temple. Call it "the same mechanism", "the same technique", whatever. I actually felt these two paths had something in common, but it would be grossly abbreviated, an example of poor knowledge of religions, crazy or intentionally misleading to claim that Shaolin Buddhism and the Catholic Church teach the same thing or originated from each other. Cui bono?

    The question I'd always ask is whether people consider mystical experience a valid source of knowledge of the Divine, and how it relates to "orthodox" scriptures that might say otherwise.
     
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  8. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Why quote Abdul Baha and Shoghi? They were not manifestations. Say what Bahaollah said about Hinduism?
    Shoghi said that there is no reference in the teachings.
    Now, where is the mention of virgin birth in Hinduism? Why should that come up?
    Accept that there is no reference of Hinduism and Buddhism. Do not make up things.
    Don't forget that we have thousands of Gods and Goddesses.
     
    #8 Aupmanyav, Jul 26, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
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  9. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    The Baha'i Faith is consistently monotheistic. Monotheism is one of a variety of contradictory views within Hinduism.

    Common ground in regards ethics and morality is arguably far more important than theology. If religion doesn't lead to tangibly improved behavior amongst its adherents then what is the purpose of that religion?

    There are wonderful people across the spectrum of belief. Taking the time to genuinely learn about individual religions rather than arrogantly misrepresenting then is what distinguishes the sincere from the insincere.

    Mystical experience s at the heart of my faith. There is no dichotomy between such experience and scripture.
     
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  10. Marcion

    Marcion gopa of humanity's controversial Taraka Brahma

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    This is nowhere near a 'Gita discussion'. Can we please remain on topic?
    How does Krishna describe Himself in the Gita and how does this relate to how Baha'u'llah and other Bahai people describe Him?
     
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  11. Martin

    Martin Spam, wonderful spam (bloody vikings!)

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    Yes, it would be interesting to look at some actual 'Gita verses.
     
  12. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    IMHO, the Common ground does not belong to religions, it belongs to society. Religions needlessly take credit for it. Religion does not lead to improved behavior. That depends on the person's upbringing, education, experiences in life, what we Hindus term as 'Samskaras'. If religions led to better behavior, we would not have had so many wars.
    There is no proof of any mystical experiences. They are illusions of mind. Religions flummoxes people with the mystical for its own benefit.
    Bahaollah never mentioned Hinduism or Buddhism (Shoghi). They are making it up.
     
  13. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    We are discussing the Gita, though indirectly. The Gita is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Krishna provides Divine exhortation and guidance to Arjuna who is struggling with a moral dilemma, whether or not to participate in the Kurukshetra war where many of his friends and relatives are on opposing sides and there will be great loss of life. Arjuna falls into a state of despair. Krishna explains that it is Arjuna's Dharma or duty to fight. He teaches of the nature of reality, freedom from worldly attachments and karma.
     
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  14. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    Baha'u'llah answers some questions in regards Hinduism among other matters in the Tabernacle of Unity.

    The Tabernacle of Unity | Bahá’í Reference Library

    Tabernacle of Unity - Wikipedia
     
  15. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Then why did Shoghi say that there is no reference to Hinduism (of course, there is none for Buddhism) in the teachings, if he himself translated the Tabernacle of Unity? Is it not all made up by Bahaollah, his son and his great grandson, a family enterprise?

    What is the evidence for existence of Bahaollah's God or his appointment as a manifestation? Why should anyone care about what he may have written?

    Bahaollah said "Once the validity of a divinely appointed Prophet hath been established, to none is given the right to ask why or wherefore."
    Is this not a strange statement? Why should a prophet hesitate to answer why or wherefore? May I ask you, since you are a Bahai, what establishes the validity of prophethood of Bahaollah?
     
    #15 Aupmanyav, Jul 27, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  16. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Do you think there will actually be a discussion, or was your friend being 'friendly,' saying he'd like to have a Gita discussion, just to indicate that Hinduism is on the agenda, but with no real intent of actually discussing it?
     
  17. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    We will see. I have become busy this week with a work project. So it will have to wait a bit.
     
  18. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I hate to interrupt, but since hinduism and bahai (according to your links and general consensus of what hinduism is) are so different, why call bahai interpretation of eastern mysticism, symbolizing their gods, setting aside their images hinduism?

    Why call it something that it is not?

    I mean I can say I believe in an absolute reality (not represent) and say the images are god (not representation of) but that doesn't make me a Hindu... as a bahai, why call it that in 'any' sense of the word?
     
  19. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    That’s it in summary, along with our relationship with God, and how to foster and maintain it. The rest of it is the detailed hows and whys. Btw, Jesus later said many of the same things.

    /endthread. :D
     
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  20. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Y’know, I haven’t read Easwaran’s yet all these years later. Though I have it. I’m partial to Swami Mukundananda. He’s pretty close to the Sanskrit, which he provides. His commentaries make more sense than Prabhupada’s, which I think go off the rails. Prabhupada’s has the nerve to show the Sanskrit but with a translation that often gets a “What the actual ****?” He uses “the Supreme Personality of Godhead said ”, which is like fingernails on a blackboard for me, for śrī bhagavān uvāca. Mukundananda uses “the Supreme Lord said”, Mitchell uses “the Blessed Lord said”, which make far more sense to me. Swami Tapasyananda is pretty good too. Western translations are so-so. Stephen Mitchell’s is good, using plain English.
     
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