(Introduction : Ms Maria Wirth is from Germany and has been in India for the past 38 years. She is the Author of the book ‘Thank you India – a German woman’s journey to the wisdom of Yoga’)
Did we ever notice that only Hinduism mentions the Universe ? The reason is that only Hinduism knows about the vast dimensions and the huge time frames of the Universe of which our earth is just a speck. Ancient cultures like Maya, Inka, Sumeria, and others may also have reached out to the stars, but they were all destroyed either by Christianity or by Islam, and Bible or Quran were enforced as ‘the truth’.
Only Hindus have still preserved this knowledge which in all likelihood originated in India itself. There are still millions of valuable ancient texts in India, even though millions of others were burnt by invaders on the premise that only one book is needed. In Greece in contrast, there are estimated to be only some 20,000 texts.
Sanatan Dharma contains incredible knowledge
Surya Sidhanta is a major text with incredible knowledge about the Universe dated – hold your breath – at least 10,000 years ago. The ancient Indians knew that the earth is round or rather elliptical, that it goes around the sun, they knew the distance to the sun and moon; they knew that the distance is 108 times the respective diameter – the reason why sun and moon appear of the same size from the earth. Their knowledge was truly inspired or ‘God-given’.
Puranas are a treasure trove of knowledge
The Puranas (Purana means ‘old’ and according to tradition, these were composed by Veda Vyasa around 5,000 years ago), which are often dismissed as mere myths, are also a treasure trove of knowledge. They talk among other things about the creation of the Universe (the ‘Big Bang’ and ‘expanding Universe’ theory were in all likelihood inspired by them) and about the periodic withdrawal after billions of years, about the original, unmanifested One Source and the Gods in-charge of Creation, Sustenance and Dissol-ution, who evolved from the One Source. Clearly, the ancient Indians were at home in the Universe.
The Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana even claims that there are ‘myriads of Universes’, a view which may now be taken more seriously by science after certain experiments in Antarctica had strange results. The timescales which the ancient Indians proposed are incredibly huge.
Christianity taught that earth is flat !
Now compare this with the Abrahamic religions. Judaism, the parent religion, as it were, of Christianity and Islam claims that the earth is some 6,000 years old. Christianity and Islam didn’t challenge this view. Both did not look beyond this earth and actually hold very primitive ideas about it. Christianity taught that the earth is flat and static and that the sun moves over it until 400 years ago. Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher, was burnt to death in 1,600 CE because he refused to disown the theory that the earth goes around the sun. Imagine – he was brutally killed for stating the truth and only 400 years ago …
Islam says that the sun moves, not the earth !
Islam too considers the earth as flat and mountains were placed to stabilize it (Q15.19). Like Christianity, Islam also says that not the earth, but the sun moves, and runs to its resting place at night. There was clearly no idea about the vastness of the Universe, as Q 67.5. says ‘We have decorated the heaven of this world with lamps and we made them as missiles for pelting the shaitans and thus prepared for them the scourge of flames’.
So naturally, these religions don’t mention the Universe, because they had no clue about it. It is truly unfortunate that they dumbed down the intelligence of the human race. They destroyed the natural urge to discover the truth about us and the Universe. Only since Christianity lost its power to punish views which are not in tune with the teaching of the Church, science took off in the West.
Progress of science was inspired by Indian knowledge
There is no doubt that the sudden tremendous progress of science in the recent few centuries was greatly inspired by Indian knowledge. Some western scientists themselves acknowledged this. Einstein said, “We owe a lot to the Indians”. Famous scientists like Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Oppenheimer or Tesla studied India’s ancient wisdom. And Mark Twain opined : ‘Our most valuable and constructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only’.
Even in the 1970s and 80s, India’s wisdom had a rather good image, after the Beatles were inspired by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation. The contribution of India for example to Transpersonal Psychology was also acknowledged at that time, yet was meanwhile erased at least from Wikipedia.
However, in our modern times, this has changed. Hindu Dharma and Hindus, especially Brahmans, who preserved the knowledge system over many millennia, are unfairly vilified and ridiculed by the mainstream religions. They are accused of ‘oppressing minorities’, of ‘rape culture’ and even of terrorism. It happens rarely that anything positive is said about the Hindu tradition, when it actually produces the most humane mind-set, as it is based on Dharma, which means to do what is right under the given circumstances.
Are the institutionalized religions afraid that they will lose their followers if they come to know about the knowledge still stored up in India ?
What good things are there in Hinduism that Islam and Christianity lack ?
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 2,000 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 the Guru and the 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 (Sages) 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 ?
Christianity and Islam divide between believers and unbelievers
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 Vaidik 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.
An unbiased observer will come to the conclusion that Hinduism has many beneficial aspects the others are lacking !
What good things are there …
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 have 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.
Hindus have suffered greatly from the views of Christianity and Islam, which insist on blind belief in their doctrines !