The Vedic Culture and Vedas are complete in themselves but Hinduism which is non-Vedic belief system with all its ritual and conduct oriented practices has been contributed largely by the priests to suit their convenience!
Vedas were in Vedic language which was a high class language. Rig Veda (excluding chapters II and X) were written before the Christian Era in Vedic language. Vedic language is not Sanskrit. It is the same language in which the Zoroastrian Scripture Zend Avesta is written – a form of Persian language. All the other scriptures of India are written in Sanskrit. These include Rig Veda Chapter II and X and the Upanishads, Brahmanas, Puranas and the Vedantas. These were written during the Christian Era after the Thomas ministry. As the use of this language diminished, it became a tough language for the commoners. The priests, who were supposed to be expert of this language, translated it into Sanskrit language and manipulated the meanings in time and gradually, all the practices changed.
The DaVita, Vedanta borrows concept from Abrahamic religions, such as Eternal Damanation [of certain souls destined to hell forever] which goes against the belief of most Vedanta schools, which sate that soul attain liberation.
It looks like the creator creation theory is also borrowed from Abrahamic religion and on the base new belief system has been introduced giving it a Vedic outlook and propagated all non-Vedic rituals and worships by someone in the past.
St. Thomas is said to have come to India to spread Christianity in the first century AD. It first spread among the people of the Malabar coast and in areas near present-day Madras.
There is a total discontinuity in the concept of God before and after the entry of St, Thomas. As we goes in deeper in to annals of religious history then we become aware of the fact that, the Vedic gods were personifications of Nature and their worship essentially sacrifices to these Natural Forces to appease them. All of a sudden by first century, we encounter Vedantas. Vedanta literally means “End of the Vedas,” though it is today interpreted as "the essence of Vedas."
Vedantas, which appeared as theological discourses, presents a supreme Godhead, “Para Brahman’. Such an idea was not even remotely conceivable in the Vedic context.
New Gods like Maheshwara and Vishnu appeared. The concept of Maheshwara. Vishnu means Sky or Heavens. Vishnu simply means God of the Heavenlies or one who pervades everything. Then we have the concept of incarnation – God taking flesh in human form to save humanity. All these suddenly appeared after the entry of St, Thomas.
This was also the time when most of the Vedic gods passed into oblivion. Their place was taken by the trinity of gods, with Brahma as the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. It is believed that when evil is rampant, various incarnations of Vishnu enter the world of men to save them. Krishna is one such 'avatar'.
There are many contradictions, Brahma Vishnu and Maheshwar are the three main GODs but they are one. Brahma is the creator of this universe (Generator), Vishnu is responsible for the smooth conduct of the same (sustainer), & Maheshwar is Destroyer! But if you go and read Vishnu Purana, he is characterized as the supreme power.
Further, due to many caste and sub-caste prevailing in the society, some more rules and principles were added for the benefit of these priests. Can you imagine how would you get rid of the sin you committed by killing a cat? You will have to make a golden cat weighing equal to the dead cat and hand over this golden cat to the priest chanting for the purification of individual soul! Hinduism is different from Vedic religion.
Vedic religion was modified and reintroduced with new add-ons by Sri, Sankara a great Advith Master to uplift the Vedic culture and Santana Dharma [Hinduism], which were in ruins in the clutches of Buddhism. 18 puranas were introduced in the name of Veda Vyasa.
As one goes deeper in the annals of the history, it indicates the fact that ,somewhere someone has added the puranas in the name of Veda Vyasa the grand master of Vedas. It is impossible to accept and believe that Veda Vyasa authored and introduced puranas which has all conceptual gods because:-
In Vedas the God has been described as:-
Nirguna (Without form and properties).
Whereas Vedas reveals ONE GOD but Hinduism filled with 33crores of gods Vedas reveals God as Spirit (Atman or Brahman ) and no form whereas Hinduism worship god in the form of various non-Vedic idols of god against Vedas .
Vedas say that God does not have any form and exist as light, but in Hinduism people idol worship with their inherited personal god.
It indicates clearly all the gods with form and attributes are mere imagination based on the false self. The ideas of conceptual gods are reality on the base of false self within the false experience. Thus all the belief systems are based on the false self. Thus their idea of god is mere belief based on their religious doctrine. In Adavita lord means Ataman and Ataman is Brahman.
If people who indulge god or guru glorification are not Advitins because they have accepted belief of god as true god and they forget the true god is Atman their true identity, which exists without the body and the experience of the world.
If God exists, as he does for religionists and yogis, and exists separately from them, then there is duality, which always implies contradiction. On ultimate point of view God is an mere belief or an idea, a thought, an object, therefore the self or witness, contradict God.
When there are two, one thought contradicts another for one thought comes at one moment, and the other at another moment, both moments contradict; one cannot say they are identical. He cannot find non-contradiction in this universe.
One the ultimate point of view, the individualized God does not exist, because his existence implies that, one is different from Him. Any kind of difference means contradiction. Nothing whatsoever other than the consciousness exists, thus for non-dualists the consciousness itself is ultimate truth and ultimate truth itself is god. Non-duality means the negation of second thing.
Truth is not only that which is beyond contradiction, but also that in which is no possibility of contradiction. Such a state can only be realized as non-duality, where there is no second thing other than consciousness. The illustration for that is deep sleep but sleep is not the ultimate reality. It is merely an analogy.
Brihad Upanishad declares:-, "if you think there is another entity whether man or God there is no truth." This is the teaching since time immemorial of those who have inquired into truth.
Consciousness alone which is permanent and eternal, unchanging in the changing world is reality. People hear of Brahman or ultimate truth. People can only imagine it. One requires words only to distinguish between is there and not there, but he can’t posit either of Reality, because his saying so is only an idea, not reality. Ultimate truth is beyond words. Words are of use, however, as a thorn to pull out the thorn of other words that hinder knowledge.
Intellectually knowing the truth is only an imagination, whereas realizing the truth is knowing it as such.
Thus orthodoxy which misleads the seekers of truth, therefore seeker of truth has to verify the truth on his own by reason based on the consciousness as self then only accept the un-contradictable truth.
And also in Yajurved says:
They enter darkness, those who worship natural things (for example air, water, sun, moon, animals, fire, stone, etc).
They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti. (Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol etc.)
"Deep into shade of blinding gloom fall asambhuti's worshippers. They sink to darkness deeper yet who on sambhuti are intent."
[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Giffith pg 538]
"They are enveloped in darkness, in other words, are steeped in ignorance and sunk in the greatest depths of misery who worship the uncreated, eternal prakrti -- the material cause of the world -- in place of the All-pervading God, But those who worship visible things born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time."
[Yajur Veda 40:9.]
So, Yajur Veda indicates that:-
They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti. (Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol etc [Yajurved 40:9]
Those who worship visible things born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time." [Yajur Veda 40:9.]
When Yajur Veda declares that they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time."
When the religion of the Veda knows no idols then why so many gods and goddesses with different form and name are being propagated as Vedic gods. Why these conceptual gods are introduced when Vedic concept of god is free from form and attributes.
Who introduced concept of god with attributes and attributeless gods, when Yajur Veda says: - those who worship visible things, born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like), in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness. Therefore, all these add-ons proves that the form and attribute based concepts are introduced by some sages of the past with new belief system and code of conducts in the name of Vedas.
Sruti is made the final or exclusive authority in apara Vidya and that for supporting the tenet of the CAUSAL relation or creatorship of Brahman, Nirguna Brahman = the "Absolute beyond qualities," which can be defined only in a negative way. For the Shankarian school = the Ultimate Reality, higher than the Lord. i.e. of Saguna or apara Brahman ... The support of Scriptural Revelation is, therefore, absolutely necessary for this hypothesis of cosmology, this Saguna or apara (= inferior) Brahman, but not for the absolute truth of Nirguna Brahman.
The Sruti itself says: "This Atma is NOT to be attained by a study of the Vedas. [Katha Upanishad I, 2, 23.]
Therefore, all the non- Vedic add-ons and attribute based knowledge, which are inferior, have to be bifurcated and excluded to know the ultimate truth. The seeker of truth has to drop all the inferior knowledge based on the attributes and go beyond Vedas to understand assimilate and realize the ultimate truth or Brahman.
One has to go beyond Vedas means go beyond religion. Go beyond religion means, go beyond concept of god. Thus, going beyond Veda, religion and conceptual god means going beyond illusion. That is end of Vedas [Veda –antha]
When one goes into the annals of the history it looks like the true Advith expounded by Sri Sankara and his param guru, Goudpada was lost or mutilated by the orthodox cult, because their preaching is based on non-duality and practices are based on duality.
Sri, Sankara says in Brahma Sutras: that Brahman is the cause of the world, whereas in Mandukya he denies it. This is because he says that at the lower stage of understanding, the former teaching must be given, for people will get frightened as they cannot understand how the world can be without a cause, but to those in a higher stage, the truth of non-causality can be revealed.
Sri, Sankara himself has warned us not to use ambiguous words, and to practice semantic analysis in his book "Definition of one's own Self. [" Page 199, v.24 of "Sankara's Selected Works]
Buddha found religion in such a worthless state, with so many vile animal sacrifices, that he attacked religion. Sri, Sankara did not seek to destroy religion like Buddha but he advocated reforming it for better. He did this because he saw that the masses had to have some form of religion as they were not ripe intellectually for truth.
Sankara's sex experience in Benares and occupying the body of another man and then having sex intercourse with his wife, is a story created by pundits hiding the real fact. Sri, Sankara had the scientific spirit and when told by Saraswathi the woman that he was talking freely about sex, being a Sanyasi, he wanted to know the truth by having actual intercourse himself and thus learning by experiment and observation. Thus, this has to be viewed by the seeker on the rational standpoint, because the sex is part of the illusion on the ultimate standpoint. Sri, Sankara stressed the great importance of freeing our use of words from all ambiguity.
Buddhists and Jains did not believe in the Vedic positions, did not accept the scriptures. Hence, Sri, Sankara had to meet their objections also. Biographical anecdotes about his persecution of Jains and Buddhists or of his challenges to self-immolation for the loser of a debate are all foolish tales fabricated after his lifetime either by his own followers who took him to be a religious propagator but not as a philosopher by the dualistic cult.
The religious pundiths of Adavitic sect relate boastfully pseudo-historic stories of how Sri, Sankara's school put down, persecuted end exterminated the Buddhists, as though this was something to be proud of. However these stories are either exaggerations or false stories fabricated by pundits or priest craft. The religious pundits are mere followers of religion, never having understood the depth of Advitic philosophy. Sri, Sankara gave religion and scholasticism and yoga no less than philosophy, to the world.
His commentary on Mandukya is pure philosophy, but many of his other books are presented from a religious standpoint to help those who cannot rise up to philosophy. most people of India believe in mysticism and deification and very few keen on rational truth.
Sri, Sankara had only four fully trained disciples, although he advised some kings. His doctrines spread after his lifetime. His books were dictated to secretaries as he traveled. So, only few were capable of understanding his philosophy.
Sri, Sankara always traveled and he never lived in a monastery. He simply instructed his disciples to build one here and there " and then left because he was busy spreading his doctrines.
Some who followed Sri, Sankara are mere followers of religion, never having understood the Advaitic philosophy are religious scholars not Gnanis, and they are unable to grasp the non-dual -truth.
Sri, Sankara says seeker must first know what is before him. If he cannot know that, what else can he know or understand? If he gives up the external world in his inquiry, he cannot get the whole truth.
Some thinkers hold views of Maya which are entirely incorrect and untenable. They do not know Sankara's Upanishad Bashyas, but only the Brahma Sutra Bashya. The followers of Sri Sankara have constituted a religious sect. Thus all movements ultimately degenerate.
In commentary to "Brahma Sutras Sri, Sankara writes." "The highest beatitude is not to be attained by Yoga." [Sacred Books of East Series page 298 Vol.1.] And he also says Samadhi is the same as sleep [p.312]. ---this indicates that yoga is not the means to self-realization. And yogic Samadhi is not non dual wisdom.
Sri, Sankara's commentary to Brahma Sutras [Chap.3.4.50] shows that the Gnani "should pass through life", not run away from life and should take a middle course between seeking worldly honor and worldly abasement.
Sri, Sankara varied his practical advice and doctrinal teaching according to the people he was amongst. He never advised them to give up their particular religion or beliefs or metaphysics completely; he only told them to give up the worst features of abuse: at the same time he showed just one step forward towards the truth. Sri, Sankara was extremely precise and careful in his choice of words.
Sri, Sankara did more than write books or initiate Sanyasins: He brought India into a unity as a nation. He advised the mass: Worship what they wish, remain in their particular religion, but remember also they are part of a larger whole.
Few Pundits have caught the spirit; they are merely fond of his words. Sri, Sankara’s spirit is that of an appeal to reason, with scripture dragged in as a second and lesser support afterwards.
Sri, Sankara' gave religious, ritual or dogmatic instruction to the mass but pure philosophy only to the few who could rise to it. Hence the interpretation of his writings by commentators is often confusing because they mix up the two viewpoints. Thus they may assert that ritual is a means of realizing Brahman, which is absurd.
Centuries have passed since Sri, Sankara appeared; yet it is very hard to find his true teachings understood anywhere in the world today. It is because so few could rise to his level. Hence dualistic cults and devotional sects came in existence prospered.
It may not have been possible for him to have written so many books during such a short term of existence of 32 years. The truth is that he wrote very few books. Those actually written by him were Commentaries on Brahma Sutras and the Upanishads and on the Gita. All other books ascribed to him were not written down by his own hand. They are merely collections of notes recorded by his disciples from his sayings, talk and discussions.
Sri, Sankara wrote his commentaries on Mandukya commentary first, and then as this revealed that he thoroughly understood the subject, his gurus requested him to write the commentary on Badarayana's Brahma Sutras, which was a popular theological work universally studied by Advaitins. That is why his commentary is written from a lower dualistic point, for those who cannot rise higher, save that here and there Sri, Sankara occasionally has strewn a few truly Advaitic sentences.
Since, the Hinduism is mixer of many ideologies one gets confused which is true philosophy, because the dual, non-dual and qualified non-dual philosophies all are based on Vedas. And many believe their inherited beliefs of their forefathers are pure and sacred without verifying the facts. All rituals and individualized gods are added time to time. Only when one tries to go deeper in annals of history one will be able to find that all the present days’ beliefs and rituals are not part of the Santana Dharma /Vedic religion.
It is necessary for the seeker to do his homework, and verify the validity of all the claims, rather than blindly believe, what others expound as knowledge, till, the un-contradicted truth is obtained.
The seeker must have the courage of Buddha to accept the truth and reject the untruth. Since Buddha rejected religion, idea of god and scriptures, therefore, it is evident that, he has gone through every aspect and verified and found them to be inadequate and useless for the pursuit of truth.
Even Buddhism is mixed up with regional culture and traditions of the local religion, wherever it existed. Thus to get the full essence from Buddhism is very difficult.
The Buddhist scriptures were completely distorted by the time of Adi Sankaracharya. Adi Sankaracharya had to criticise the Buddhist literature prevailing then as the Buddhists themselves were confused as to what Shunyata is. Vasubandhu and his disciple Dignaga (the latter lived about a couple of centuries before Adi Sankaracharya) could not retain the original teachings of Lord Buddha.
At first Vasubandhu did not agree with his half-brother Asanga and wrote one book on Abhidharma and later on he went to the side of Asanga and wrote a second book, where? he opposed his own earlier views on Abhidharma. Adi Sankaracharya? had to criticise the Buddhist knowledge? and literature of his time as he wanted to bring to us back the Pure Vedantic knowledge through his work on the Prasthanatraya.. That is why there is reference to the writing of Dharmakirti in Sutrabashya.
There is another aspect that in :- Vishnu Purana also says that Lord Buddha created confusion. In Sarnath he first taught about the Moral code which is basic. He talked about Anatma. Then? two decades later he taught the concept of Shunyata and? the tenets of the Mahayana Buddhism.? In spite of Nagrjuna's telling that Shunyata is not Nihilism and that Parajanaparamita also mentioning about the Shunyata after one leaves? the five? skandhas, there are and there will always be people who will go on calling Buddha's philosophy as Nihilism. About the origin of the? Tantric Buddhism also? there are controversies.
Hindus hold Lord Buddha being an Avatara of Lord Vishnu. It seems that in many Buddha viharas, probably more in Sri Lanka, there are statues of Lord Vishnu, which are looked at reverentially. by the Buddhists. Sri Ramakrishna paramhansa also says that there is no doubt about Lord Buddha being an Avatara of Lord Vishnu. Swami Vivakananda tells us about him very superlatively. Dr. Radhakrishnan says that he was a reformer of Hinduism. Personally I worship him as the Avatara of Lord Vishnu.
The scriptures are for ignorant masses, who wholly accept the material world as it presents itself. Wisdom is for those who have begun to realize that things are not what they seem.
Each sect concocts a God to suit its own purposes. Such concocted Gods have no value in pursuit of truth. Man himself suggests that there must be a God. It is an auto-suggestion.
Prayers and sacrifices belong to a premature stage of development. However when no answers come to prayers, struggle for existence presses man, and doubt arises again. Faith in religion weakens as man pays more attention to facts of life and this world.
Reason is the common ground for whole humanity in modern age, whereas the appeal to scriptural relations reaches only the sects. Those who argue that truth is only in their religion are vain logicians, depending on mere ideas, speculations and imaginations.
Truth is bitter pill. It becomes very difficult for the seeker to accept it at first; because of his inherited conditioning. Gradually he will be able to grasp it as he moves on.
The illusion is present only in ignorance where, 'I' and you are separate entity. In truth, there is neither 'I' nor you, nor, the illusion. Therefore there is no teaching, no teacher, and no student in reality.
Truth pursuit is a very personal journey. Seeker has to verify minutely on his own, “what is truth”, and “what is not truth”, before accepting anything as truth. The illusion exists as reality, only on base of the ego, which is he false self within the false experience.
For Gnani, who is aware of the fact that the self is not physical but self is consciousness, there is no illusion, even though; he is in the midst of illusion, because he is fully aware of the fact that, all the three states are consciousness. Therefore he is conscious of consciousness in the midst of illusion.
The language of the duality, invented by the within the duality, for use in the dualistic world, when used to describe non-duality, produces these apparent contradictions, because there no apparatus in non-duality, because noting exist other than the soul, which is in the form of consciousness.
Non duality is the state of oneness of existence and there is no scope for anything like non-existence in the realm of non-dual truth.
These are my personal views in pursuit of truth and it is mere sharing my views with the fellow seekers and is not intended to offend anybody's religious and theoretical beliefs.
The self-knowledge has to be acquired by realizing the self is not physical but self is the soul, which is in the form of consciousness. . Self-Knowledge or Brahma Gnana or Atma Gnana is the highest form of knowledge. However, this knowledge is not comprehensible for everyone because of their egocentric outlook. .
Knowledge is like a path and truth is the ultimate destination. Truth is one; knowledge varies from person to person according to their ability to comprehend. This does not make a person with lower knowledge "untruthful". He or She knows as much He or She can comprehend.
If one is seriously seeking truth then it is necessary for him the drop religion, concept of god and scriptures like Buddha and Sri, Ramana Maharishi in order to acquire non-dual wisdom in lesser time and effort.