I hope you can understand my pronunciation and I want to tell you that there must be many among you who know much more about Sanatana dharma. And I accepted the invitation not because I know more about Sanatana dharma but because I grew up as a Christian and may be can value it even better and can see clearly why it is so special. And also I noticed that it is very difficult for you to mention anything about dogmas of as a religion. So that is the reason I want to first touch on why Sanatana dharma is best, then I want to come why it is portrait as worst, then I want to come to common aspects and what is different between Hindu dharma and Christianity & Islam. And in the end, I want to come to the point that we have to introspect in to the discourse about religion, it is letting now a days.
I want to start with a sloka from the Veda. Please join in if you know. If basically means our studies be fruitful, may no enmity arise between us –
“Om sahana vavatu;
Saha nau bhunaktu;
Saha viiryam karavaavahai;
Om shanti, shanti, shanti”.
Sanskrit is the oldest language and the most perfect. How is it possible? I mean there is no doubt that India is sacred look civilisation, even if google search or Wikipedia tells it is Mesopotamia, it is just can’t be true. And the rishis had so much knowledge. And you have this great treasure of knowledge about all fields – mathematics, music, medicine, economy and every field you have so much knowledge. But I want to touch here mainly on one point which impressed me most. When I came to India 38 years ago and it is this point that all is Brahman. Brahman has become oasis; everything is permeated by one great Brahman. It means, it is also in us, it is very important for our life ultimately. So when I came to India I landed up in Kanyakumari by chance, there was a memorial for swami Vivekananda, and I bought a book called ‘gyan yoga’. And when I read it, it was trust set which I always felt is true but what I couldn’t have expressed so clearly. It impressed me so much that I really wanted to live accordingly. But I had no idea how to live, what impressed me was that there is like one ocean like Brahman and waves are like persons, and we the persons think we are separate and have separate form. And we see only ourselves waves, and some of us are very firm that there is no ocean at all. But ultimately, when our form goes we are nothing but the ocean.
And there is also an example given, why we don’t see the truth. Because completely veils the truth. A rope lying on the ground, and it stimulate so then if I think it is a snake, then I see only a snake and I’m frightened at everything, I look straight it is a rope, I look and say truth but I think it is something else. So basically we look always only at Brahman – it’s a divine, and we see something else, but we have to discover the meaning of life also, we try to discover truth about ourselves. So this divinity is in us, we have to put it in to our lives, for me it was little easier, because soon after I landed up at Kumbh mela in Haridwar in 1980 – ardh-kumbh it was. And there I met Tiwraha baba and Anandmayamaa. And in their surroundings, it became much easier, I started to read Upanishad, I started to read a lot, and specially Anandamayamaa, she stressed very much on bhakti, she said feel that Bhagwan is moving his legs when we walk. Feel actually, his loving, him praise, and feel 24 hours a day, be aware of his presence.
So when I got up in the morning I wanted to be aware 24 hours a day, when I brush my teeth I’d forgotten about it but I mean aspiration is here. And in this surrounding it was much easier. So it’s when I started to write about it also. Now is it true that divine is really in us? I mean just she claimed does not mean it is true. So first we have insight of rishis who said they have experienced it. Second, we have also the Upanishads; they explain how to come to this conclusion by questioning. Upanishads are question & answers in many cases. Am I a body, no? Am I a mind, no? Always changing, I’m unchanging. I have a body, I have a mind. so this is one point that you come by gyaan, by gyanayoga, you question what is true, what can I really know about truth? And one comes to the conclusion that actually I can only know that I’m. Nothing else, I cannot say you are there because I may be dreaming. And actually the rishis claim this is more like a dream or like a virtual reality. It is not serious what we see here. And now science also supports it. They came to the conclusion that all is one energy. And the rishis say this energy is conscience. I think scientists will have to turn inside to discover this. At least they have discovered that all is one. There are no separate objects, separate entities at all.
So now how to live life? Basically you follow dharma and dharma is inbuilt in us, we have a conscience which tells us what is right and wrong and if we are not sure what is right & wrong then scriptures also help. You have such a wonderful division also, like stages in life. Accordingly, student has a different dharma from an old man or from a house holder. Also, according to your profession what you’re doing, you have a different dharma. You have such a wonderful, complete system, the mind-set which it makes is the most ideal for harmoniously living together. Because Bhagwan is in me, it means I can draw my strengths from inside, I should do it now may be. From I’m not used to speaking, I have to tell you, but he is also in you. That means you’re kind to others, also in animals, in nature, so you let everybody live, and you live and let live. The most ideal way, the golden rule, don’t do to others what you don’t want to be done to you.
And also one more point I should mention – why us have so many Gods in Hinduism. Actually this gods is very mischievous translation for devas. Devas are powers which are greatest sense of human being, which are absolutely essential for our existence here. Like the Sun for example, we could not live without the Sun. So if we do pranaam to the Sun, it makes sense because everything is conscience, I mean I’m composed of three billion cells, so what a westerner would say – what nonsense, how can you trust a ball of helium, so it is your fuel but much much better. All the devas are ultimately nothing but Brahman and Upanishads clearly explain it. Ganpati for example is a Brahman. Devi is Brahman, only this really exists but there are options trying to approach indescribable, unimaginable truth by even loving devas , by loving a form which help somehow. And therefore there is no problem in India with so many streams side by side. There are people who worship Shiva, who worship Krishna, who worship Devi, it doesn’t matter, and everybody is accepting it. Now why Indian culture and Hindu dharma is so much vilified?
There is so much unfair, relentless attack, you are called intolerant, oppressing women, target religious minorities, even now in recent years rapists, terrorists, I mean it is completely unfair, out of. It has to have an agenda; it cannot be honest or sincere. Like on German TVs, Arundhati Roy for example claims for and she was telling how women are oppressed in India, another guy I don’t remember his name was telling every minute a woman is raped in India. It was absolutely terrible, it just make/put India down. So I feel, reason is basically because India has so much knowledge and because nobody should know how profound the knowledge in India is, and nobody should get interested in India. So it is usually don’t talk about India except in negative term. And the reason was probably because otherwise people may desert the church. It actually happened when Vedas were first reached west, western universities; the elite in the west were very much impressed. Voltaire for example, was fighting the church, he was saying the Vedas are the greatest gift to the humanity and we’re eternally indebted to India. He went to prison for fighting to church. There are so many people in Germany who praised Vedas. Church was already in education because they have to indoctrinate their children. So I feel the agenda was ‘Hinduism’ was coined as a new word, it was put side by side with religion and immediately as inferior religion, because Christianity is only through God, and Hindus have so many Gods, so it must be inferior. And, I for example, already knew in primary school that India has cast system, these two things – many Gods, wrong because we have the true God, and many casts, and cast system very oppressive, very bad, and untouchable. I remember this untouchable ‘unruble’ in German, it left a big impression on me when I was in school. And I did not know at that time in school that 100 kilometres from my place there was a concentration camp, I went to school in 50s & early 60s, and I came to know about concentration camps only in high school because professor of Latin showed us a documentary, he made the point to educate us. Otherwise we would have not known really. But we know about India one thing, and this one thing was cast system. This definitely was one very mischievous agenda. And then of course the Macule came, he in 1835 proposed to cut off Indian from sacred culture, introduce English education system which is still doing so much harm to India and at the same time you were told your tradition is not worth anything. And there is a lecture on the net, not a lecture, talk written of born professor to be in a university, German university in 1839, 4 years after Macule, and there he tells, that all we are very lucky, because a missionary has come from India, missionary from our area has come back from India, and he has donated to our university, eleven volumes of an ancient Manu script. And he called it a great ornament, see it a great treasure. And then he said our treasure is very small compared to treasures which are there in India house in London. He knew value of it. There is a podcast on the net with K S Bala Subhramanium, professor from Kupuswami research institute in Chennai, there he said it can be taken on record that Dr Padama Subrahmanium, a famous dancer and scientist, she went for a program in St. Petersburg, and there she went to a museum, and the director of the museum, showed her Indian Manu scripts department. And he told her that there are over 1000 Manu script, the Russians had captured them from the Germany. And among those palm leaves, there was one on missile and Russia built its first intercontinental ballistic missile from the knowledge from this palm leaf.
There so many things which are there in the ancient text, in fact I met, in 1984, one German from German university, he had a project for 2 years in India to search the ancient text not for spiritual clues but for scientific clues. So it means west takes it very seriously but you are told not to take it seriously. And I’m sure if you’re academia, in western English university will not look to the west but would cooperate with Sanskrit pandits who don’t speak English or who speak English badly, they have much more knowledge, and modern science would not be western science but it would be Indian science. And I said, anyway it would be Indian science; they steal it but don’t tell you really.
One more point, often people call me Sanghi, same thing thrown at me which may be thrown at you also, for example, don’t you know, Manu smiriti let punish Dalits. If by chance they heard, Vedas. I’m sure it is interpolated; it cannot be there in the original script, also Brahmins were eating beef, when you see what else is said in the text, it just cannot be, it is so out of , and those who translated the text, they are not well meaning people to you so don’t take it at the face value. People go in to defensive, try to well we can change it, it is not so important. Don’t believe it. But I feel times are changing. Indians have great friends, there is no doubt, they really admire your capacities, and even it will be much more if you do sadhana, discover this divinity in you. For example, Srinivas Ramanujan. Sometime I mentioned he had gone to a television studio and told Arnab Goswami as a way I got his formulas in my dream, how would we react? But it is true, I really see it as, Rishis had access to different level of consciousness. And it is shared, and we have to develop a capacity to access these different plains.
Now to the point – common and different aspects between Sanatana dharma and religions – Christianity & Islam. Communists, they all worship one supreme. So often it is said, what is wrong in we all worship god, you call him Sis. There was someone who told in TV what is wrong if I worship Krishna or Christ? And if I feel it is quite ignorance. Cause there is a big difference. The church started with its claim that we alone have the truth. God wants all to believe this only and if you don’t believe you go eternally to hell. No evidence, no proof, a claim. And Islam followed, a few centuries later. So the Christian got, they tell us the story, 2000 years ago, God has sent his only son to us and because God has compassion, because all the humanity is still suffering from the original sin. So through his text and resurrection, we can save on one condition that you have to acknowledge that Jesus is the only son of him, and you have to believe in him, and have to get baptised. Nobody, of course, heard it in the beginning, but as soon as it became state religion in Roman Empire, Christians went berserk; they looted, burned and destroyed temples. Even Sita Ram Goel says several Hindu temples in Rome also. And killed intellectuals, they went all over Syria, Egypt, and sets house it got up to now 2 billion followers. In the beginning lot of violence, in Germany 880 refusal of baptism were death sentenced. If you refuse baptism, you could be killed. And there is a comment by one of the advisor to the king of the empire Karl and he said yes, you can force them to baptism, but how can you force them to believe. But church managed to do so up to a certain extent because they indoctrinated children, if you are born in a Christian family you cannot leave, means you cannot get out. In Germany you could get out only in 1847 and in Spain only in 1978. They got religious freedom means they could leave the church. Before that you were bound and the word religion comes from a word called ‘religar’ in latin which means ‘to bind’. Earlier I used to very charitable and thought it means to bind to God, but it basically it means to bind to a doctrine. Otherwise why will this term religion be used without Christianity was here, it was also used when the troops went to Vienna, it was also first time used for the Islam the religion of Musalmaan. This religion definitely means to bind to a doctrine. And it is a doctrine which requires blind belief. Now there is one issue, of course Christian god is jealous, he loves his followers, hates others, and man cannot think about it because man never know the truth that what we’re told. You just have to believe because god has revealed it. That is one thing, tries to manipulate you and make you like sheep, to follow, also tell you that you’re chosen, you are very lucky, as a child I knew already that you are lucky because you are born in right religion. God loves you, you know the true God, and like this and all others. I remember a missionary came from India and he was telling, making us pray, we are praying for poor, hungry, heathen children of India. They also hear of dear Jesus and are saved like us. Missionaries may seriously believe that they have to bring you out of the darkness, but we have to stand up also and make/show them that not like this.
There is a point which is terrifying for children which you usually cannot imagine is eternal hell. No really, you may laugh but it is really true. I was 9 years when a friend who was protestant she convinced me not to go to church on mass on Sunday. Protestant for them it was not a terrible sin, for us catholic it was a terrible sin; you will go straight to hell. So we played, I did not go, I did not tell my parents, but afterwards t I was so terrified that I could die before I had confessed my sin to the priest, for some months we went for confession, we had to tell whatever we did wrong. So I was really-really frightened now I cannot imagine myself. If I die now and if a car hit me and I die, for all eternity I will be in hellfire, I mean if you imagine it. There is an ex Muslim on the internet, I hurt him recently, now he is an atheist somehow and he said it frightened him so much that he decided, he said eternity, even one year is too much, even 10 minutes is too much, he even put a match stick on his skin and he said it’s painful, no? so then he said, I found out it is basically usually more sincere people who really believe it, I could not care less but those who are sincere take it seriously so he found out that boys up to 15 years in Islam cannot make a decision before the age of reason, that is 15 years for boys and 9 years for girls, he goes to paradise if he dies so he decided to do suicide. And he tells it, said when he was twelve he jumped out of a window of his school and broke two legs and one arm. For 3 months he was in hospital, lost 1 year in school, his parents were devastated, they sent him afterwards to counselling, he wanted to say accidentally he fall, but he couldn’t tell his parents because he gave his watch to his friend before he jumped, but I mean take it seriously. Because those boys say yeah when you are twelve and you believe it, how it can change when you are 18 suddenly, you still believe it.
One more important thing happened that the church did lot of first, they first started this claim that only we arrived first and everybody has to follow and Islam followed. And then the church also in 553 AD there was a council in Constantinople and there they decided to call belief in rebirth wrong. You must not believe in rebirth, up to then it was very common that people believed in rebirth. Even Jews believe in reincarnation. Even now through the bible it was clear that there were two instances in bible which clearly say, yeah it is, only explanation is through rebirth. It forbade believe that means people are more frightened. How can I experiment if I have only one life? May be church is right. That is many people see it like this, may be they are right. Better stick to same. Islam of course has even today blasphemy laws in Pakistan mention to get killed for voicing your opinion. And one thing is very painful in that in the Quran violence is permitted, basically against kafirs. And there is Cypriote recently was giving an interview, he is now in his eighties, around 85-87. Old man and they now say we will persecute him. He admitted in this interview that in the 1970s, he was there and was killing Christian Greeks, was killing kafirs. Then somebody asked him, the interviewer asked him, was it difficult to kill Greeks, your neighbours basically and then I could not believe but he really said it nothing more pleasurable then to kill kafirs. He mentioned and for some type of men this type is the attraction and we need to be honest, we need to see it also.
And the state of affairs in lands which have converted to Christianity and Islam, all have converted. There is no Christian and no Muslim in the world who has not ancestors who were not Christians or Muslim. Because they came only recently, 2000 years ago and they were pushed to convert. Because it does not make sense that’s why they have to use violence and also indoctrination. Now since we can get out of the church, of course many-many have got out. In Europe now, Germany has 55% Christian. In England now, it is not a Christian country anymore and but the problem is that we are lost, we become atheist, big moral degradation in our countries. A friend recently, he is from America, he went to America and came back and said you can’t believe what moral degradation has happened in last 30 years in America. It is really painful. And no meaning in life, people don’t see meaning and they think enjoy and it is a very sad state somehow. And in Muslim countries of course it is very reprimanded and women are oppressed. Yesterday only I saw a woman, a Pakistani woman elected was telling life for women in Pakistan is very difficult on TV. Now compare this with India, liveliness and colourfulness, when I came I was actually envying Hindu children that they are not brainwashed in to eternal hell, there was nobody frightens them. Really, mean you kindly mention but we take it seriously and specially children when somebody big tell them something ‘eternal hell’.
Now the point I feel is a duty of Hindus and Buddhists, because Christianity and Islam are in the same boat, to bring truth in to this whole discourse or better even to bring quest for truth, which is Hindu dharma, instead of religion, instead of binding to a doctrine, why should anybody be bound? I mean we are all born free, what is I don’t know human rights, and we have to see that in the name of Christianity and Islam lot of suffering has happened. And therefore we also should not shy away from finding out what it is and try to convince them to get this inclusive mind-set of Sanatana dharma. It is very strange when Christianity and Islam convert Hindus nobody has any objections. But if only one family converts, not convert, it is not conversion, comes back to Hindu dharma – big shouting. It is absolutely incomprehensible; I mean it needs to be other way round.
When you’re born as a Christian you cannot, you are not allowed to think freely, you cannot, I think what there was it, who said it god has given me intelligence I think he wants me to use it, so we’re not meant to use it actually. Now why is Sanatana dharma is superior and others inferiors because they are based only in blind belief in story, there is no evidence whatsoever and it has harmful consequences also, like I don’t think colonialism possible, such prudent colonialism attitude that we’re chosen by god, so we are superior, we have true god on our side. And also the Muslim invasion, it could not have so brutal if they were not think these unbelievers are substandard, I mean they are not really human. And that it was so unhuman so painful, millions killed for no reason whatsoever, means wrong reasons.
Now Christianity and Islam claim, we only have one god, all others have more Gods. But ultimately it is more that they have diluted the concept of one god because in Sanatana dharma it is oneness, always one, everything is only Brahman. And in Christianity and Islam we have God, a separate entity and you must not claim that you are with one god, apart from this we have atheist, and we are human beings. Let us debate in interfaith dialogue, let us really debate, so far interfaith dialogues are really shame, I went to two and it was just a promotion of Christianity and Islam. I wrote in one article Christians praise Christianity and Muslims praise Islam and Hindus praise Christianity and Islam.
And the bill Hindus paid, there was very good lunch also. In Dehradun I was in interfaith dialogue, in Delhi one could not ask question, there was one good question, and I asked a question and the Christian priest he avoided, he immediately went to personal experience, my personal experience in Jesus, he will always tell immediately, I said it is not about what you feel, it is about doctrine, please speak about the doctrine, but he will not, no chance, so this claim that only we have one god is false, because the most pure oneness is here in India form ancient times and idol worshipers for them is the worst but we need to be clear in all these. Explain the Brahman is essence in all be experience and science supports it and now a days we talk so much about identity. Our identity ideally should be I am Shiva, I’m Brahman, I’m divinity this is my truth.
I don’t think top clergy believe what they teach to common people. The pope recently few years ago gave an interview, to a German weekly newspaper, and there he said that atheist will also reach a place where Catholics will reach means heaven. It was very great deviation, a normal person will say of course it is very normal but when the pope said it, it made a big splash. So soon after, Vatican spokesman clarified according to Christian doctrine, only Catholics, one has to be baptised, to go to heaven. Can you believe it? An example also, when I told my mother, when I was 18 years or so, I won’t go to mass on Sunday. Her first reaction was you will go to hell, I told her I will not go to hell. Many years later when I asked you still frightened that I go to hell? And then she said I’m not frightened any longer. And what happened was, her brother, my uncle who was priest who passed away now, he had told her I’m not worried about Maria she is a good person. He should teach, the common people should believe it. But even the priest does not and the pope surely doesn’t because the way many of them lived. They must be very much in to eternal hell if it was there. Also, in Islam if they really believe that jihadi if you kill kafir goes as a higher state in paradise, Quran it says somebody who does jihad, meant not as an inner jihad but an outer jihad he secure a higher state in paradise. So if they really believe this, then these old imams and mullahs who are terminally sick why they don’t do it. I mean they don’t believe it obviously. If you can indoctrinate young people, but when you get a little older you see different things. In Germany we have a saying, translated it means who believes it will get heavenly place, but this saying we say only when somebody says obviously a lie, I mean it is very clear that this cannot be the truth who believes it will go to the heaven. So I mean common people have some wisdom, but normally for a commoner it’s shhh… it is a revelation, god’s words, you must not touch it. And this I feel it reason why Hindus do not touch it because it’s god’s words, but then can there be three truths, first of all can there be two truths? Christianity claims only truth, Islam claims only truth, they never sort it out who is now true? They cannot sort it out, because it is not possible. And there cannot be three truths. There is one imam from Saudi Arabia also who was saying, I think Dr. Jakir Nayak also repeated it, afterwards I heard him also, he said the reason why no other religion is allowed in Saudi Arabia is because two and two is four, there is only one answer, it cannot be 3 or 8, 2 and 2 is 4 and Islam is true if it is a true answer. We have to debate it, I mean in most ancient revelation, there are three revelations, the most ancient which makes sense, the rishis would have never accepted if somebody coming and saying this is a truth, they will say give me some proof, give me some evidence, you cannot just claim something. And I feel we have to go back to that stage, also have to be more honest.
So which revelation is true? The Vedas is original, ancient, make sense, can be experienced, is greatly beneficial for harmonious living, and it makes human being better, and not worse. When a religion makes somebody worse, then it’s not. There is one point also when in religious class I remember having learned if there is a conflict between your conscience and church doctrine, you must chose doctrine. Now we have a problem, now a day, Islamic terrorism, in only three years migrants in Germany have managed to change the opinion of native completely. In the beginning people were welcoming them, volunteering, donating, and now common people are very-very wary, and what is the reason? Because many of them unfortunately, take the claim that we the Germans, kafirs are worst of creature and they can harm us. So this is, and we have a responsibility towards these young people because they are gullible. We have to expose a doctrine, if we only go after only Jakir Nayak and not after and not mention he can draws actually from Quran, then we’re not sincere, we’re not doing our duty, I mean it’s difficult I know but two points jihad and belief which are necessary for Muslim we have to question them, whether they can be helpful for harmonious society? If we want to have a global society, then, really we need to have mind-set which Sanatana dharma produces. We cannot have this divisive mind-set which says we alone are true and you go to hell. It is just not possible. I wonder what can be done, I don’t know every day new kids are brainwashed, it is going on daily, now every day, in Germany now there are kids, police is saying tell that when I will grow I will kill you because you’re kafir. So I wonder there is an Asian country could petition, could do something that in the name of the freedom of religion you cannot provoke hate and you cannot.
So religion is the sense of binding to a doctrine has to go, people cannot be forced blindly, and we need an atmosphere where eternal hell and also jihad is criticised and even made fun of, ridiculed. Like in the 1960 for example in Germany, suddenly we could criticise the church. Erik, Russian astronaut who had come back from space was telling he has not seen God. For us, I mean we started questioning and we could get out from the church by sense. The church did not reform, the clergy will not reform, they defence every doom but people have to get out. I think this is the only way to make people realise that there is more to life and there is meaning in life and we can discover it. We have to spread fifth good news, there is a friend in Missouri, she once told me that a woman came to her kitchen door, and told her have you heard of the good news? She said, no, what? And she said, Jesus has died for your sins. She said please leave my house. But we have really good news that divine breath is in, and if we do sadhana we can also feel it and it is verse line, we should really opt for trying to discover it, doing some sadhana, and I think it is no doubt the best option for all humanity, may be you can think how we go about to. I mean India has to stand up, at present there are two bullies and you allow yourself to be on defensive, and you have no need to go on defensive.
One more point what I feel very strongly also, thanks to Christianity and Islam and its genesis claims, we can use animals just like tables or whatever and kills him, I feel it is very wrong. 56 billions of animals are killed, cows, goats everyone is slaughtered. This would not have happened if Sanatana dharma would still be strong. In some cases it may be necessary, but such a massive brutal slaughter is too inhumane. There is an advice in much maligned Manu smiriti, it is very strong, somebody who sells animals, kills it, buys it, who cooks it, who serves it, who eats it, they all are murderers.
Thank you very much!