Maria Wirth is a German and came to India for a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. She visited the Ardha Kumbha Mela in Haridwar in April 1980 where she met Sri Anandamayi Ma and Devaraha Baba, two renowned saints. With their blessing shecontinued to live in India and dived into India’s spiritual tradition, sharing her insights with German readers through articles and books. For long, she was convinced that every Indian knows and treasures his great heritage. However, when in recent years, she noticed that there seemed to be a concerted effort to prevent Indians (and the world) from knowing how valuable this ancient Indian heritage is, she started to point out the unique value of Indian tradition.
There are several good things in Hinduism which Christianity and Islam are lacking and which are obvious, provided a Christian or Muslim can get over the negative stereotypes with which Hinduism is (probably purposely) associated all over the world, like caste system and idol worship. In fact an unbiased observer will come to the conclusion that Hinduism not only has many beneficial aspects that the others are lacking, but also lacks the harmful aspects which Christianity and Islam have unfortunately incorporated into their doctrine and which have caused so much suffering over almost 2000 years.
The most glaring difference is that Hinduism is a genuine enquiry into the absolute Truth, into what we really are. It is not a fixed belief-system which must be believed as true, even if it does not make sense or agree with one’s conscience.
Yes, the Vedas also tell us about the truth and what we are: They claim that we are divine. The Divine is in all and all is in the Divine. The I or Self (Atman) is essentially the same in all (=Brahman). Thoughts attached to the pure I make it look as if the I in you is different from the I in me. Those thought-based I-s have their role to play in the world, like actors in a movie. Yet in the same way, as the actor doesn’t forget his true identity, we should not forget that we are one with Brahman.
But is it true? Or are Christianity and Islam right to claim that the Divine and we are eternally separate and that He (God/Allah) wants us all to believe this and if we don’t we are punished eternally with hell?
Hinduism does not demand blind belief, but gives valuable tips on how to analyze, what types of evidence exist, and the Vedas contain several Q&A sessions between guru and disciple, or husband and wife, or father and son. Like scientists who came meanwhile to the conclusion that all is one energy, we can come to the conclusion that all is awareness. Moreover, it is claimed that this Oneness can be experienced when the mind has been stilled, and many rishis have done so.
You are not what you see in the mirror. “You are non-local awareness independent of time and space”. This is the view of the Vedas, yet this particular quote is by Russell Targ who worked for CIA, NASA, Army Intelligence, etc. for 23 years. Interestingly, the video-talk, which contains this quote, was not accepted as TEDx talk. (It can be googled under ‘banned TEDx talk, Russell Targ’). Targ claims that everyone is capable of remote viewing, if properly trained. And how does he train? He quotes Patanjali.
It seems the US Intelligence agencies take Indian wisdom more seriously than Indians.
Now since it is very likely true that the Divine is in us, just let it sink in. This knowledge is not a small thing. It empowers. Is there anything what you couldn’t do, if you fully trusted your inner Being? There is no room for despondency, for unhappiness, depression. But it not only makes people internally strong, it also makes them kind, as the Divine is in others, as well.
Could there be a better reason for following the Golden Rule of not doing to others what you don’t want to be done to you?
And this big-heatedness extends also to animals and nature as a whole. It explains why the great majority of vegetarians are Hindus. Strangely, media portrays meat eating as normal even in India. Why? Would not even simple humanity require respecting the lives of animals, unless taken in self-defense?
These aspects and many other helpful aspects of Vedic tradition have ensured that India was a great civilization. Yet they had also a downside. Indians simply could not imagine that in the name of the Supreme, foreigners who came to their land, would not only discriminate against them but even kill many of those who did not subscribe to their view of the Supreme Being.
Here needs to be mentioned which harmful things Christianity and Islam have unfortunately incorporated into their religion which Hinduism lacks:
These religions divide between believers and unbelievers and ‘believers’ are defined very narrowly: Those, who believe in the fixed doctrine of the respective religion, are believers. It does not include Hindus, who are probably world over the greatest believers in the Divine Presence. Instead, Hindus suffered and still suffer greatly from this narrow view of Christianity and Islam, both of which insist on blind belief in their respective doctrine, which is based on what a particular person allegedly claimed as having been revealed to him by the Supreme personally as the one and only truth.
And even today, in the 21st century, in many countries this unverifiable belief is enforced with blasphemy laws with death as punishment.
by Maria Wirth