Friday, February 24, 2017

The Myths of The Hindus

"And they have taken (for worship) gods other than Allah, to give them power and glory! No! Those "gods" (i.e. false gods) will deny their worship of them and will be against them as opponents [on the Day of Judgement]." (Maryam, 19: 82-83)

Today is a Public Holiday in Mauritius (i.e. Maha Shivaratree). Perhaps in the other countries also, they are celebrating the Maha Shivaratree. My Hindu friends have requested me that today in my Friday Sermon I talk about their three gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

So, in Hindu mythology, Vishnu is often referred to as the Supreme cause of all things and the creator of everything. He is often referred to as Isvara, the Supreme God. His superiority is admitted even by Brahma, the first person of the Hindu Triad and by Shiva, the third person of Trimurti. The vedic literature holds the second person of Trimurti, the Hindu Triad, Vishnu with as much reverence as Brahma. In fact while Brahma is believed to be the Creator in many vedic books, others assert that Vishnu was the first and the supreme cause of all things created. The creation is therefore attributed to him and it is stated that the world was produced from him, it exists in him and that he alone is the cause of its continuance and cessation.

A legend in the Bhagavata Purana informs us that on one occasion while the Hindu saints were performing a sacrifice on the banks of the river Sarasvati, a dispute arose amongst them as to which of the three gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva was the greatest. 

To resolve this dispute, they sent Bhrgu, the son of Brahma to heaven where he first entered the court of his father without paying him the usual honour, which enraged Brahma. However, since this grave impertinence was committed by his own son, Brahma assuaged his anger and spared Bhrgu the traditional punishment that would otherwise have meted out upon the culprit for such an insult to a deity.

Bhrgu, then went to the court of Shiva who tried to embrace him but the sage turned away from him at which point Shiva became enraged and seized his trident, desiring to kill and dispatch the saint. He was however spared by the timely action of Shiva's wife, Parvati, who fell at her husband's feet and with a most passionate plea appeased his anger.

After having been excused for his misconduct by Shiva, Bhrgu proceeded to the court of Vishnu where he found the god sound asleep in the lap of his wife, Lakshmi. 

The saint approached the couple and kicked Vishnu in his chest. As his victim awoke, he rose to his feet and bowed respectfully to his assailant. He then welcomed Bhrgu and requested him to be seated after which he begged to be excused for the fault he may have committed in ignorance and for which the sage might have found it necessary to kick the god. He also apologized for the pain which he might have occasioned Bhrugu and rubbed the foot of the saint, stating that this day he had been honoured, since the sage had imprinted on his breast, the dust of his sin dispelling foot. The Bhagavata Purana then goes on to state that by the time Vishnu had finished speaking, Bhrgu was so affected that he was unable to reply and with tears of emotion dripping from his eyes, he departed from the court of Vishnu. He eventually returned to this world where he narrated his experience to the other sages at which they all agreed unanimously that Vishnu must be the greatest of the three gods because he was not given to foul temper and passion.

Shiva is also stated to have lost to Vishnu when, on the first appearance of Sri, who later became the wife of Vishnu, Shiva became infatuated with her and attempted to possess her. However, since Sri turned away from him, he became extremely violent and she had to be eventually rescued by Vishnu who assumed the appearance of a beautiful woman to distract Shiva's demons and thereby enabled the gods to defeat Shiva and his demons.

There is also another legend in the vedic books that acknowledges Vishnu's superiority over Shiva in Shiva's own words. According to the Padama Purana, Shiva called Vishnu Paramsatyama, i.e. the Supreme Spirit and as Parambrahma, i.e. the great Brahma as well as Narayana, i.e. the absolute truth, with no beginning nor end, omniscient and omnipresent.

Krishna, the hero of the Bhagavad Gita is also generally believed to be an incarnation of Vishnu. He is said to have appeared during the third age of Dvapara-yuga to assist his friend and devotee, Arjuna, against the tyrant king, Kansa - the illegitimate son of the king of Mathura's beautiful but barren wife who had been beguiled by a demon who assumed the shape of her husband.

Verily, in a practical, logical and truthful view, these beings cannot be ascribed as god, for God, the True One is beyond all human weaknesses. God is beyond having to have any amorous affair with any woman, or taking any wife and begetting children, and God, the Real One, the Unique is One who never sleeps. He is Pure, unaffected by all that which affects humans and other of His creatures. These beings were either pious God-fearing beings whom the people have taken with the passage of time as gods or they were not even pious, as was the case for Shiva. By saying all this, it is not my intention to hurt the feelings of any of my fellow Hindu friends but to show them the right way and to make them conscious that the universe and man himself cannot have been created by such "gods" who fight but verily by one God who is beyond all passions and human weaknesses.

I end my Friday Sermon here today, with the words of Prophet Krishna (as):

(1) "The doubts that have arisen in the heart of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge."

(2) "A gift is a gift of integrity when it is given at the right place and time to the proper person, to one who cannot be expected to return the gift and given merely because it should be given." (Bhagavad Gita 17: 20).

In the Holy Quran Allah say: "Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, then follow not up what they have spent with taunt or injury, for them is their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall overcome them nor shall they grieve." (Al-Baqara 2: 263).

So try to understand  that even Vishnu or Krishna are creatures of God and they were not and definitely are not gods. Instead, they were pious devotees and messengers of God. So it is for me to show my Hindu brothers and sisters that our real relationship is with God alone, the True and Unique One. Only one God exist for He is the Author of our being. He has created all things necessary for our comfort, progress and success. Our life depends on His grace. Our parents, children, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, friends, countrymen, governments, countries, properties, wealth, rank, honour, position, business, jobs and our very lives are not closer to us than God, for all these are His gifts and He alone is the real Donor. Alhamdulillah. 

---Friday Sermon of 24 February 2017 (26 Jamad'ul Awwal 1438 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.