Man has always had a fetish for oneupmanship. Arbitrary moral pegs are merely ways to ensure that fetish of competing thrives. How can one become Good, if everyone is on the same plane of human-ness? One becomes Good only in comparison powered by the scale of morality. It is important to note that Morality is always pegged to a time and geography (culture/society) and is “outward bound”. You are moral only with respect to the contemporary morals of your society. What was moral for George Washington is absolutely immoral for most Americans of this age (slavery) and what is moral for Americans (women’s freedom of expression) is immoral for most Saudis. Since Morality is outward bound, it has no bearing nor relevance to Spiritual journey which is necessarily inward bound!
Difference between Hinduism and Believers’ Ideologies
As we had discussed earlier, Hinduism was built upon the distilled Yogic wisdom (Is Yoga Hindu and Yoga and Hindu Activism). The understanding that the Yogis gathered was intertwined within the society and that culturally took shape as Hinduism. Belief systems that came from outside – Islam and Christianity in particular – came as antagonistic systems. Their aim was not to enhance the spiritual index of the society but conquest. That is why the pioneers of these two religions in India rejected the cultural wisdom and ways. In fact, most Sufis and Islamic mullahs while converting Hindus made sure that they served beef to the new convert to ensure that his past was denigrated and wiped off. Similar efforts were done by Christian evangelists as well. It is instructive to know that there are hardly any cows in Arab deserts. So it could hardly have been some Islamic ritual. It was carefully created to denigrate Hindus and their ways.
In rejecting Hinduism, these religions of believers also rejected the wisdom of the Yogic sciences. That is why, for most part, Yoga’s only real repository today in cultural milieu is Hinduism.
Reza Aslan’s Machiavellian Documentary on CNN
CNN has started a program called Believer – anchored by Resa Aslan – a Muslim who many call – with good reason – an apologist for radical Islam (also here). Whatever is being done in the name of jehad and Islam is somehow argued away by folks like Reza by meaningless cliches like “ISIS Islam is not Islam” or “Islam is a religion of peace”. He has taken his prejudiced mind to cast a complete program on Hinduism and India, without having any perception or clarity on what he is dealing with or talking about!
Someone who has been brought up on ideas of declaring something “Good” and something “Evil”, something “Haram” and something “Halal”, something “God” and something “Satan” (when no one has ever met either!) then it is tough for such a mind to ever grasp that a cosmos where galaxies regularly devour other galaxies and one being eats up another in the animal kingdom, a Cosmic God is beyond the social constructs of “Good and bad”!
One, who is happy with artificial moral constructs, can therefore be expected to have this urge to “sanitize the Divine”! Slivers out of the Cosmic God are carved out and the Believers God is assembled. Not because he (not even a she mind you!) resembles the existence we live in – however contradictory to our sense of morality it may be – but because it suits our narrow moral definitions of time and our geography.
Such a man, when faced with India, where the Sages had the courage to simply take the Cosmic God at its face value of what was manifesting in his/her/its creation and say “God encompasses both Good and Evil? – can only make prejudiced judgments. Aghoris are tough to handle. Because they don’t differentiate. To know the ways of the Cosmos, and align with the creation of the creator they bring themselves to a point where what is considered filth and what is considered pure is treated the same way by them.
The horror and the judgment that followed the Aghori’s handling of his feces in Reza’s show was because of our moral prejudices and NOT because of how the Cosmic God manifests the Creation! After all, plants take in the filth so the flowers and fruits can bloom!
Aghoris’ way is not for everyone. In fact, if one is not properly prepared for such a tough ride, one shouldn’t even be allowed near the Aghoris. Specially when one is a strait-jacketed believer. Life is what it is. Everything comes to you. You cannot choose. There is no use making up ideas of what life is. You need to live through it. The best way to do it is by looking at life the way it IS! A Believer does NOT have the honesty or the truthfulness to look and perceive life the way it IS. He is always busy justifying things.
And, that is where Reza got it all wrong.
He selected Varanasi to explore the fundamentals of Hinduism and instead of doing an honest job about it, he followed the stereotypical Western prejudice ingrained by Indiana Jones. That mindsets – coming from the Western Abrahamic mindset, reduces everything unknown, albeit rich in different dimension as tribal or barbaric. Whatever is different becomes bad. Heck, this mindset has been equating everything East of Mediterranean as the same culture with turbans, flying carpets and stupid people. Just that its a mockery of their own understanding.
Kashi or Varanasi, beyond the pollution (which needs work surely) has been regarded as the doorway to Nirvana or Moksha. To get a better understanding of Kashi / Varanasi, please see this short clip.
The actions and rituals done in Kashi are quite complex in spiritual terms. What has been done in that one city is tremendous when one has the right perception. Here is another clip to help one understand some of it.
One would have thought that a documentary on CNN would have had more rigor and been more honest and responsible. If one was discussing Varanasi, one should have been the place from the eyes of Hindus and regarded Spiritual Gurus. Not from the eyes of prejudiced Believers! It is like evaluating Galileo’s work by the clergy of his time. It is dishonest and Machiavellian!
Seeking, NOT Believing
Hinduism is built on Seeking, not Believing. Even today, if the flame of seeking lights up in anyone and one does the necessary work on himself, he can become the Divine himself. It is very possible for anyone to reach the Krishna consciousness or Shiva consciousness today. The door to divinity was never closed and will never be. Unlike in the belief systems, where claim and franchise of divinity has been frozen in history and with certain people. It is not possible for anyone to claim anything contrary or different from what Mohammad claimed he got from Gabriel while he was in a cave alone. Of course, that there is not just no witness to that but his claims of superiority are based on his own claims of divine transmission (unverified as they are) is even more annoying and damning. The self-declared claim to privilege of divine message admits no challenge since. There can be no seeking in such an ideological framework. For life – as changing and as whole as it is – cannot be shut in a few words of self-declared pronouncements. Ask Galileo and his fight to “prove the obvious” about the Earth!
Krishna is not great because he was the only one possible by some writ. He is great because he attained to his highest nature by his own work. Anyone can do it. But he did it like no one ever has. If one has the patience and the will reaching Krishna’s level is not out of bounds. There is no artificial barrier of any edict or pronouncement out there which will stop you from KNOWING yourself fully! Krishna’s greatness wasn’t outward but inwards. He knew himself better than most can. Knowing who you are is not predicated on a social contract or policy. It is your doing. It is your self effort. Make it and be Krishna.
For that Seeking is needed. Not believing.
Galileo showed the obvious to those around him because he seeked in a society that believed in some made-up theory of the world. His seeking was based on his own understanding and to enhance his perception of the world he lived in. That it was revolutionary for others was because they had been fossilized in the stone of self delusional belief born out of extreme narcissism. Man is the center of the Universe became important to those who wanted to control the narrative of God. If they weren’t the center of the Universe, how could the God which was Cosmic – and not human centric – ever align with them?
In a society, where the door to divinity is open to anyone if one can make the self effort needed, a man brought up on fossilized ideologies was looking for a fossil. And, somehow a living, breathing and dynamic world of seeking offended his fetish for concretized life, that never is.
Reza’s problem was that his Belief collided with the Truth of Creation. And he couldn’t handle it.