Logic Questionable?
The critic continues: 'If Kali does not breathe on my hand, -- which is what I expect will happen --you will say that I did not have the intensity of Bhakti that Ramakrishna had. Every time I fail you will say this. How do I ever know that I have fulfilled the conditions of the experiment?' This is a standard criticism by the intelligentsia about the claims of Hinduism. In fact this criticism can be generalised and abstracted, without reference to the experiment on Kali's nose as follows:
'In Hinduism, those who suffer are told that they suffer because of their karma accumulated in their previous births. One is asked to pray to God to win His Grace. If one does not get anything in answer to one's prayers or if one does not appear to make any progress in his repeated and sincere attempts at spiritual disciplines, one is told that one's karma in previous briths was so negative that all these prayers and disciplines were not enough to offset them! How does anybody ever know how much intensity of feeling one should bring into one's pursuit of the divine and in one's prayers or spiritual disciplines? How much is good enough?'
The bottom line
The bottom line of this criticism is that Hinduism seems to get away with referring to the unknown past and saying: 'Perhaps you were a terrible sinner in your previous births. That is why, in spite of all those good things you are doing now, you are not getting God's Grace.' This according to the critic makes the entire logic of Hinduism totally suspect and on the basis of this criticism one may go on questioning everything in Hindu philosophy, including the highest truths of the Upanishads.
The basic question, then, comes back to square one.
February 2, 1999
Copyright V. Krishnamurthy
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