Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

Question 1: Everyone in spiritual life talks about ego, and that it is the greatest impediment when it comes to attaining God. What, actually, is ego? How does it cause trouble to us?

Answer 1: “Ego… is the self-asserting principle…born of ignorance…It is the ego which has created the idea of separateness from God or the Atman, It is the ego which is the ROOT CAUSE of ALL human sufferings and births and deaths.” (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 2: How do we know whether we have ego? Or, whether we are acting out of egoistic tendencies? Are there are definite signs of the existence of ego?

Answer 2: “…ego identifies itself with the body, mind, prana, and the senses. Wherever there IS ego, there are mine-ness, SELFISHNESS, LIKES and DISLIKES, LUST, ANGER, greed, HYPOCRISY, PRIDE, JEALOUSY, delusion, arrogance, conceit, impertinence, vasanas (=tendencies), trishnas (=cravings)…”   (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 3: How do we get rid of this ego that causes so much trouble?

Answer 3: “…destrouction of thought, DESIRES, cravings, mineness, selfishness, JEALOUSY, PRIDE, LUST is really destruction of mind or egoism. Control of SENSES also is annihilation of the mind or egoism.” ( (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 4: Do people who are in spiritual life or who practise religions have ego?

Answer 4: “This egoism assumes a subtle form. The gross egoism is NOT so dangerous as the subtle egoism.”  (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 5: I have known people who claim that their religion is the truest and the rest are bogus, or they claim that their group, congregation, church, mosque or temple is genuine and the others, although they may belong to the same religion, do not belong to the true path of and to God. Are they actually working under the influence of ego?

Answer 5: “..Institutional egoism is a subtle form of egoism. The man identifies himself with the institution and gets ATTACHED to the institution or cult. He has no broadmindedness or catholicity.”  (pgs. 44-45, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 6: How to easily detect ego as it is so subtle and abstruse?

Answer 6: “The working of egoism is very mysterious. It is VERY difficult to detect its various ways of working. It NEEDS a SUBTLE and SHARP intellect to find out its operation. If you practise INTROSPECTION DAILY in silence, you WILL be able to find out its mysterious ways of working.”  (pg. 44, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 7: In your answer to Question 2 you said if we identify ourselves with the body, mind, senses, etc., it is an indication that we have that lurking ego in us. If this is so, what about our feelings regarding foreigners, strangers and people who do not belong to our society, culture, etc. Is that feeling of seeing the difference between us and others in terms of nationality, attainment, class, status, etc., the work of ego too?

Answer 7: “The seed of this ego is the differentiating intellect or Bheda Buddhi… This ego likes his own birth, place, and district, people of his district, own mother tongue, his own relations, and friends, his own ways of eating, mode of dressing. He has his own predilection and preferences, He dislikes others’ ways of eating, dressing, etc. (pgs. 44, 45 Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda).

Question 8: You see, I have spiritual friends—great spiritual friends, who are excellent advisers, guide and counsels. They have the little tendencies that you have described. Does it mean they too have the ego?

Answer 8: “It is the ego which has created the idea of separateness from God or the Atman… This ego wants to exercise POWER and INFLUENCE over others. He wants TITLES, prestige, STATUS, RESPECT, prosperity, house, wife, children. He wishes to domineer and rule over others. If anybody points out his defect his vanity feels offended. If anyone praises him he is elated. This ego says, ‘I know everything. He does not know anything. What I say is quite correct. What he says is quite incorrect. He is inferior to me. I am superior to him.’ He forces others to follow his ways and views.”  (pgs. 44, 45 Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda)

Question 9: It, indeed, is subtle and dangerous. But how to destroy it?

Answer 9: “This ego lurks like a thief when you start introspection and self-analysis. It will ELUDE your grasp and understanding. You must be alert and vigilant. If you obtain the GRACE of the Lord through JAPA, kirtan, prayer and DEVOTION, you CAN EASILY kill this ego.”  (pg. 46, Jnana Yoga by Swami Sivananda) 


Hidden Origin of Islam

Posted: July 26, 2013 in Islam

A Christian thinks, “There will be peace if all people embrace Christianity”. A Muslim thinks, “There will be peace if all people embrace Islam”. This is an erroneous notion. Why do people in the world fight ? Why do Catholics and Protestants fight ? Why do Saivites and Vaishnavites fight ? Why do brothers fight among themselves ? The heart must change. Greed and selfishness must perish. Then alone there will be peace in the world.

People merely talk of religion. They are not interested in practicing it, in living it. If Christians lived by the Sermon On The Mount, if the Buddhists followed the Noble Eightfold Path, if the Muslims truly followed the teachings of the Prophet, and the Hindus shaped their life in accordance with the teachings of the Lord, of saints and sages, there will be peace everywhere.

Peace, to be lasting and constructive, must be achieved through God. There can be no peace without the Lord or God. God is Peace. Root yourself in Peace or God. Now you are fit to radiate peace.

(pg. 314, Bliss Divine)

Swami Sivananda, “Hells are not imaginary fiction as ordinarily conceived of by the modern rationalistic mind….Hells, therefore, are as much real worlds as the regions of Indra or this mortal earth of ours. They are regions with difference only in the subtlety of the plane of their manifestation. They differ in the degree of the state of Consciousness revealed through them. The sufferings inflicted on the sinners may be taken to mean either an actual birth in such regions, or a life on earth with such entanglements, where one will undergo such pains either directly or through the agency of others. (pg. 97, What Becomes of the Soul After Death).

According to Sanatana Dharma, Naraka is a place where souls are sent for the expiation of their sins. There is just not one naraka, but several. To be specific, there are seven. In these seven, there are 29 regions of suffering (pg. 26, Karma & Diseases). Often, when references are made to “hell”, it is always in the plural, viz., “hells”, “hellish planets”, etc. They are called by several names: Raurava, Maharaurava, Vahni, Vaitarani and Kumbhika. These abodes are meant for short stay. The places where souls dwell longer to suffer are Tamisra (darkness) and Andhatamisra (blinding darkness).

Those people who lay hands on another’s wealth, children and wives are born in Tamisra region. The Jiva experiences there extreme pain being bound with mortal cords and violently hurled into the dark regions. He has no food or drink. He is beaten with clubs, and by holding out threats and being brought to a state of weary affliction, the Jiva drops down in a swoon.  (pg. 26, Karma & Diseases)

In Andhatamisra, Jivas are born who deceive husbands and appropriate to them selves their wives and other property. Such Jivas are cast down into this hell to suffer torments where they lose all understanding and sense through excessive pain. The Jiva suffers like a tree whose roots are cut. (pg. 26, Karma & Diseases)

Those who grossly identify themselves with this physical body and regard the wealth of the world as their own, fall into a hell called Raurava. Those people who torment people here on earth become subject to the torment of poisonous worms called Rurus in this dangerous region.

Maharaurava is of the same type. Those men who indulge in passions are eaten here by carnivorous (flesh-eating) animals.

In the hell called Kumbhipaka, dreadful fiends begin to boil in oil that cruel and merciless person who cooks and eats living animals, birds and the like.

The seven hells are superintended by Chitragupta and others. Yama is the chief ruler in those seven hells also. Chitragupta and others are only superintendents and lieutenants employed by Yama. They are all under Yama’s government and suzerainty. Chitragupta and others are directed by Yama.

For those of us who are familiar with Srimad Bhagavad Gita’s pronouncement about the soul: “Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not” (2:23), may find this notion of the perfect soul that is not affected by anything not congenital or innate to its nature a little contradictory. However, if you read Gita 4:14 (“….He who knows Me thus is not bound by actions.”), you will know what the first sentence means. Refer also to Gita 16:16, 16:21, 1:42, 1:44. [Please see some excerpts from Swami Sivananda’s “What Becomes of the Soul After Death” at the bottom of this article: the point about how could a perfect soul suffer will be further elucidated].

This idea of expiation in hells is mentioned especially in our Vedas, Itihaasa and Puranas and even in the Samhitas  Aranyakas and Upanisads. In Iso Upanisad, for instance, speaks of ‘darkness’ instead of hell. Srimad Bhagavatam, Garuda Purana and Visnu Purana have elaborate descriptions of many hells. They are situated above Garbhodaka ocean. {Bhagavatam 5:26:5)

Yama Dharama Raja, the Lord of Justice, puts living beings after death for appropriate punishment, for example, in boiling oil. According to Madhvacharya, the propounder of the Dawitin philosophy, even Mukti-yogyas (=souls that are eligible for mukti or moksha or liberation) can experience naraka. The evidence of which can be found in Mahabarath, for instance: Yudisthira maharaj, who was in every way a fit candidate for moksha, went to naraka (hell), but momentarily, to atone for a sin he committed on the battle field.

After the period of punishment is complete, souls that entered the hell are reborn on earth in human or animal bodies. Therefore neither naraka nor swarga are permanent abodes.

Naraka, which is often referred to as Yama Loka is not equivalent of the Christian or Muslim Hell. Unlike most other religions, especially Abrahamic religions, according to Sanatana Dharma hell  is a temporary purgatorium for sinners or papis: Yama’s divine assistant Lord Chitragupta maintains a record of the individual deeds of every living being in the world, and based on the complete audit of his deeds, dispatches the soul either to swarga or to the various Narakas according to the nature of their sins.

In this regard, as explained above, no one, not even people who are fit for moksha and people, who have done a majority of good deeds, could come to naraka (akaYama Loka) for redemption from the small sins that they have committed—after they have suffered for their sins, they would incarnate in any form or be sent to heaven, depending on their karma.

At the time of death, Yamadutas (sometime referred to as “Yama Pinggalas“) come to take away sinful souls. Swami Haridoss, quoting the scriptures, has said Yama personally comes only for virtuous souls.

Excerpts from “What Becomes of the Soul After Death“:

“There are two kinds of souls, viz., the individual soul or Jivatman or the human soul, and the Supreme Soul or Paramatman. The individual soul is an image or reflection of the Supreme Soul. Just as the Sun is reflected in different pots of water, so also the Supreme Soul is reflected in different minds of different persons.

“Soul is spirit. It is immaterial. It is intelligence or consciousness. It is Chaitanya. Individual soul is reflected Chaitanya. It is this individual soul that departs from the body after its death and goes to heaven, with the senses, mind, Prana, impressions, desires and tendencies. It is endowed with a subtle astral body when it proceeds to heaven.

“When the water in the lake is absorbed, the reflection of, the Sun in the water merges in the Sun itself. Even so, when the mind is annihilated through meditation, the individual soul merges itself in the Supreme Soul or Paramatman. This is the goal of life.

“The individual soul has become impure through cravings, desires, egoism, pride, greed, lust and likes and dislikes. Hence it is finite (Paricchinna), it is endowed with limited knowledge (Alpajna) and limited power (Alpa-Saktiman). The Supreme Soul is Infinite, Omniscient and Omnipotent. It is an embodiment of knowledge and bliss.

“The individual soul is under bondage through ignorance and limiting adjuncts such as mind, body and senses. It is mere appearance. It is illusory. When it attains knowledge of the Imperishable, it is freed from limiting adjuncts and bondage. Just as the bubble becomes one with the ocean, so also the Jiva becomes one with the Supreme Soul when ignorance is destroyed.” [pgs. 14-15]