Friday, January 2, 2009

Polytheism is The way.

Many people may draw parallels with other political ideologies (1 and 2) and Hinduism when they read the Gita. Perhaps verses as these may fill them with glee that theirs is the right way of worship.
Chapter 7

मत्तः परताराम नान्यत
किन्सिद अस्ति धनञ्जय
मई सर्वं इदम प्रोतं
सूत्र मणि-गाना इव

"O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread."

But then, there is this:


कमैस तीस तैर हरता-ज्नानाह
प्रपद्यन्ते ’नया-देवातः
तम तम नियमम अस्थाया
प्रकृत्या नियतः स्वया।
"Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures."

यो यो यम् यम् तनम भक्तः
श्रद्धायार्सितुम इच्चाती
तस्य तस्याकालम श्रद्धाम
तम एव विदाधामी अहम्।
"I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship some demigod, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to that particular deity."

सा तय श्रद्धया युक्तास
तस्याराधानाम इते
लभते का ततः कमान
मयेवा विहितन ही तन।
"Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone."

Thus, while worship onto Shri Krishna/Vishnu is to be the ideal case, the Gita mentions that worship of the demigods is also allowable.

What is wrong if we are polytheistic? In fact, I would say polytheism is the right way. Now consider an atheist person. He has no God to worship. So, he would look onto humans who have lived within recorded history as his heroes. Now does he regard only one human as a hero, and disregards all of them? Quite unlikely, because most people have a pantheon of heroes they derive their inspiration from. This is because we never see all the qualities we desire imbibed in the True human.

Replace heroic humans as Gods (deities to be specific) and we get polytheism. So what is wrong with polytheism? Why is it absurd?

In fact, I find Monotheism absurd to think of. That there is one God, and only one name. Doesn't it smack of dictatorship and autocracy? Humans would never submit to one king, one prime minister or whatever. So, why should he submit to one God? Have monotheists ever thought of, that since they ascribe to God the attributes of ultimate power, what would happen if God, like man would get corrupt? What if absolute power corrupts God absolutely? Don't they smell anything fishy in this construct?

It is thus only feasible that a polytheist/henotheist approach be taken and dictatorship of any kind, even of God should be abhorred.

Epilogue: A post intended to act as a suggestion to pagans to counter the brain washing of the missionaries. Hope you agree.


Gandaragolaka said...

well...Polytheism is not per se what Hinduism is/aims for.

The fact that we can worship any rock by the side of a minor village road, any tree in a nearby town, and any guest as a God only goes to show that we see the same divine stuff in every entity living or non-living.

As Krishna expounds in Geeta, this world is maaya, the grand dream of the Ultimate Divinity. And anything created by that Ultimate Being will always have that essence of that being, right from rocks, trees, and fellow humans.

Hinduism is not exactly a polytheism. It is called Henotheism--many forms of the same One. No polytheistic religion can survive for long against the onslaught of Monotheistic religions. Hinduism actually provides the basic tenets and principles on which these Monotheistic religions are based. They are just old wine in new bottle.

So the next time you encounter a missionary, tell that all the good things of their good book are copied from our own stuff. In fact, any person born on this planet by default is a Hindu :) Its only to protect their vested interests that the other religions fight on to keep their identity alive.

Karmasura said...

"In fact, any person born on this planet by default is a Hindu :)"

Can you explain this deeper? Is this in reference to P.N. Oak's book "Vedic Influences Outside India" ?

Karmasura said...

"No polytheistic religion can survive for long against the onslaught of Monotheistic religions."

It would also help our cause, if you explain how Monotheistic religions end Polytheist religions.

Gandaragolaka said...

Well, I can explain your first question in 2 ways:
1)the first would of course lead to the book pointed out by you. Also, read this:

2) the second is a bit deeper and what I actually intended to say. Any person born is in a completely non-indoctrinated state-- someone who is totally innocent and like a clean slate. This is really what according to Hinduism is called "nishkalmasha", or without any defects (faults). In this state, a person has absolute independence to choose his/her own method of worship and attain the ultimate consciousness. A child which is kept and brought up without any sort of indoctrination would ultimately hold religious views closer to Hinduism than any other Monotheistic cult.

Hence proved :)

And regarding Monotheistic religions ending Polytheistic ones, it is a personal opinion that the transition from Polytheistic to Monotheistic religion is a process of human spiritual evolution. Its like moving from having different scientific theories for simple facts of life towards a unified field theory, something that can explain everything in universe.

The only problem is, right now, there are different theories each claiming to be the real unified field theory.