GEMS FROM THE OCEAN OF HINDU THOUGHT

VISION AND PRACTICE

 

BEACH 10: HINDUISM FOR THE NEXT GENERATION

 

 

Wave 6:  Krishnavatara, the Miraculous – Page 3

 

Continued from page 2

 

 

The answer to all these dilemmas is simple. Notice that every argument that is being given has something to do with science and scientific rationale. Why do we bring in science and scientific temper into the picture here? Who told us that God has to behave in a scientific manner in whatever he does? The concept of God is not part of Science. The existence of God is not a question that science can answer nor does it want to pose it as a question for itself. When the existence of God itself has not been answered by science, what scientific mind thinks that God, if He exists, has to follow scxientific norms and rationale? How much of God do we know to assert that he has to behave only this way? Are we not transcending the limited confines of physical time, space and matter, which science set for itself? How can science help us where it has exhibited an inability  to express itself?

 

In fact Science has been truly scientific in saying that it has nothing to say on God. Have we ever thought of the matter that science explains, promises to explain and hopes to explain (in the future) only a fragment of what we call the universe around us and the universe within us? A large fragment of this knowledge is still untouched by science. Our entire mental universe, for example. Only the great religious leaders, from time immemorial, have ever dared talk about these. Only the Upanishads and scriptures of the East have treaded this path. In unravelling the mysteries of our mental universe, we cannot make much progress without getting into deep questions of philosophy, handed down to us by our religions.

 

Science and Religion are two sides of the same coin. Without the two sides there is no coin! More dramatically science and religion are like father and mother to us. In tracing one’s genealogy, suppose one refuses to look at the mother’s side. What kind of genealogical study would it be? What kind of genetic understanding would it give you if you refused to look at the mother’s side? This is what we are doing when we put the emphasis on science and refuse to look at our philosophical heritage and understanding.The complementary sides of Science and Religion can be seen from the following contrast between them shown in two columns of a table:

 

SCIENCE

RELIGION, reinforced by SPIRITUALITY

Has made major contributions to the minor needs of man.

Makes only minor demands for the major needs of man.

Informs man about all that is individual and all that is perceptible through the sense organs.

Transforms man by bringing to him

the holistic aspect of

a macro-perception.

By its very nature,

has to be subject to the rationale .

By its very purpose,

 has to transcend the rationale.

Exploits for humanity

the reductionist aspect of the universe.

Puts together

 the holistic aspect of the universe.

Unravels the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of things.

Reveals the ‘that’ and ‘why’ of things.

Is a collective obligation, answerable to the peers in the society.

Is an individual responsibility, irrespective of the experts in the society.

Takes care of mankind’s

micro-problems.

Undertakes to fulfill mankind’s

macro-aspirations.

Constantly pursues

a reconciliation between

infinitesimal smallness

(the sub-atomic)

and infinite immensity

(the super-cosmic).

Repeatedly reveals

a reconciliation between

infinitesimal smallness

(the individual soul)

and infinite immensity

(the transcendental absolute).

The ‘micro’ is in our scientific hands.

The ‘macro’ is in His invisible hands.

 

We are told Krishna was an Avatar of God. The concept of Avatar is an ascientific concept and is one of the most difficult to understand for the modern mind.  It is however the unique prerogative of Hinduism among all religions. In the long mythological history of the Indian nation and also in its historical past, there have been many – ‘too many’  for the dismay of doubters! --  occasions when the Absolute Unmanifest Godhead chose to manifest itself in flesh and blood, as a living presence, for the purpose of either putting an end to rank cruelty, hatred and wickedness, arrogance of muscle power or spiritual power or for the purpose of showering Divine Grace on a superhuman devotee and spreading of the cool breeze of spirituality.  Each one of these manifestations is a voluntary and planned descent from the absolute pedestal of the nameless and formless God.

 

Such a descent, where

the Perfect Godhead assumes an imperfection, as it were, (by limiting its infiniteness), to raise us imperfect humans towards the path of Perfection,

is called an Avatar.

 

It is only by His Grace we can even recognise such an Avatar.  We should feel honoured and doubly blessed if, in addition, we can enjoy his beatific presence.

 

 

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Copyright ©  V. Krishnamurthy  Aug.15, 2006