Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
This is a small attempt in my own way to present a few aspects of the related topics. The readers will definitely know that it is impossible to do justice to issues, subjects, topics in a kind of work like this. I always say there are better persons who have produced better and authentic works than this. It is just my musings! It is just a step enabling one to take the ‘first step’ to know these subjects in depth. I was asking myself the question why I write in English mixed with Thamizh? The answer is simple. English is not only the universal language but is the only language of communication for me with the grand children settled in USA and even daughters who have not known the mother tongue Thamizh! I mix Thamizh because I love it and I find treasures in it!
As you read, you would find more questions [answered and unanswered] in tune with the title!
I am giving here my observations on certain issues touched upon in some sections over here.
The present scientists cannot turn into philosophers as they are found to be totally biased. But there was a philosopher, brilliant and excellent, who at one and same time could be a scientist and logician too. That was Adi Sankaracharya. Was Albert Einstein a scientist-philosopher? May be. There could have been a few more like him. But I don’t think anyone is anywhere near Adi Sankaracharya!
Many of the Hindu beliefs when contrary to reason are thrown at God, as His omnipotence thus stifling enquiry. The idea, concept of rebirth, death of the body not of the Soul may be one such old belief but that alone is not any reason to laugh at it or reject it. [In Christianity there is a doubting Thomas!] Bhagvat Gita: [Chapter IV] 40-But the man who is ignorant, who has no faith, who is of a doubting nature, perishes. For the doubting soul, there is neither this world nor the world beyond nor any happiness.
Beliefs on Soul
The notes on the soul and life principle of various religions are from ‘collected sources’.
Brahman – Saguna and Nirguna
What is Saguna Brahman and Nirguna Brahman? Our Vedopanishad works give an idea of God for the sake of ‘ordinary’ [those without the study of scriptures and not taking to the path of attaining knowledge]. One is with form, name and the other is without any form, name. We all look up to the God in some form and name and thus communicate with the God. We have Kuladevata, Ishtadevata etc. Those who have taken to the path of knowledge may not necessarily look up the same way. Amongst them who had taken to the path of knowledge both Saguna and Nirguna kinds can be seen but ultimately it is only through obtaining, attaining “that knowledge” that even such persons would get emancipation. Their path to emancipation is much faster and easier than those of the ordinary.
I have referred to ‘chakravyuh’. Chakravyuh is a formation of army and a great strategy to inflict maximum harm, loss to the enemy. Abhimanyu in fact learns this while in the womb during the conversations between Lord Krishna and Arjuna when his mother also is present. Unfortunately the conversation was incomplete and didn’t cover the strategy of winning this formation. Hence Abhimanyu didn’t know of this, could not counter it and ultimately got killed. Lord Krishna and Arjuna knew this counter strategy. True, we are caught in this but remember there is a counter strategy to win over this!
Creation and God
The common knowledge is that God is the creator of this Universe. Who else could have created such a greatest wonder? There are references to this effect in the scriptures too. But it is still a question of interpretation. Scientists are still researching it. I do not, personally, subscribe to this idea that God is the creator. For me, HE is the savior but not the creator. God does seem to worry about the ways of Creation. That is why he doesn’t claim ownership of Creation. HE says he is only a witness! But at the same time he wants to put Creation in order when it goes haywire, out of control and when evil men and things dominate. That is why HE asserts that HE would keep coming whenever required. Lord asserts: பரித்ராணாய ஸாதூநாம் விநாஸயச துஷ்க்ருதாம் தர்ம ஸமஸ்தாபநார்த்தாய ஸம்பவாமி யுகே யுகே. From this it is clear that HE has some control but not total control or that the Creation is his. I will dwell more on God when I would ‘attempt’ to present HIM in another write-up.
Death – causes
An act of God, amongst many things, includes earthquake, flood, hailstorm, lightning-thunder, rain, storm and tsunami. This is coined by the insurers. Why do they want to project God in this fashion? Is HE really responsible? Does HE not do better things? As for animals we have not allowed them their space. We have encroached upon their space; hence they come into our place and even kill us. Also we get killed during encounters with animals in their domain itself. Encroachment of their space is mainly because of destruction of their domain for commerce, self-aggrandizement. The name of the game is ‘economic development’. It leads us to a further issue, question can there be sustainable economic development? In Thamizh we say கரணம் தப்பினால் மரணம் karanam thappinal maranam – While doing somersault if you miss out it is death. Similarly your deeds in life are like ‘performing somersault’. If you miss out one step away from the righteous path you are finished!
Death – Preparation
Some of us prepare ourselves well by insuring! May or may not be for good; it is good for saving some money loss. What about the good mental and physical health for the body? More than that what about Soul? How do we insure all these?
Ghost – Brahmahathi
Lord Rama too is afflicted by the ‘brahmahathi’ sin [dosham-evil, guilt] as Ravana, a Brahmin is killed by him. To ward of this evil he performs rites [prayachitham பிராயச்சித்தம் atonement, expiatory ceremony] at Rameswaram! Ravana’s lineage goes like this. His father is Sage Vishravas, his grandfather Sage Pulastaya [mind born son of Brahma and one of the saptha  rishis and great-grandfather is God Brahma. Ravana’s half brother is Kubera whom we all worship to become rich! Do you know, Kubera himself lost his kingdom to Ravana. This story tells us that money is impermanent; may come and go. Not a big deal. Don’t give too much importance or attachment to it or get crazy or mad about it.
I have used a word ‘libation’. This comes from Roman usage ‘libatina’. Libatina is an Italian deity for earth and the Roman Goddess of burials.
The one way to insure good health of the body is to live [or at least learn to live] in tune with nature and with nature’s products [avoiding chemical products]! If I may be permitted to add, the following are a few more on this. Do some basic physical exercise [don’t over do it], amongst them walking being the first and best. Be moderate in your habits [drinking, eating, sleeping, talking]. Moderation in all your activities of daily life is very important. Avoid lies, hypocrisy, injuring others [by words or otherwise, physically or mentally]. Do not give in to addictions of whatever kind. These days one has to be competitive. But remember not to chase or crave. Be the best, need not always be the first. A few such ‘tips’ can be found in my book ‘Sacred Thread – பூணூல் – Yajnopaveetam” [pages 140, 145-147]. Try, keep your mind clean so that nothing haunts you. Be in communion with God which gives you that calmness, inner joy and strength [both physical and mental].
Lord Yama almost lost his life and power because of Markandeya! He had had to run around in the earth to perform rites propitiating Gods and Goddesses as atonement due to the curses of Rishis! Obviously he also erred. To err is not only human!
Lord Yama – British Rule in India
Unlike Lord Yama who is Justice Personified the British Rulers had their own ideas of justice for the freedom fighters in India. They had many places of ‘hell’ like Andaman and meted out inhuman punishments. Sri V.O.Chidambaranar had to draw the oil press [செக்கு chekku] like a bullock.
Lord Yama – not in his clutches
My note on Edgar Cayce is purely from memory. Swami Nityananda Giri [disciple of Thirukovilur Thapovanam Swami Gnanananda Giri] has published a book on Avudai Akkal and her works. Sandipani’s son was taken away by Shankasura, a demon and was killed. Shankasura hid himself in the sea as a conch. Lord Krishna gets hold of this demon in the conch form and it is this conch which is with Lord Krishna, known as ‘Panchajanya’. Sridhara Iyyaval was a Vedic scholar, an orthodox Brahmin and mystic and at the same time a reformer and revolutionary. On a ‘sraddha’ day before feeding the Brahmins [representing pitrus] Iyyaval fed a Dalit! He initiated a young widow with the Veda Mahavakya and turned her into a saint. He brought river Ganges into his house well at Thiruvisanallur. Incidentally, at the author’s family deity temple [Sadaiudayar at Papankulam, Kallidaikurichi, Thirunelveli Dist.] Dalits have the first right to worship! About Tiger Varadachary’s end time the author read [in 1960s] an article in the then Illustrated Weekly of India, Bombay.
We come to learn one more lesson through Nachiketan’s journey to Lord Yama’s abode. ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ a dictum in Vedopanishad. The guest to our place should be treated as God himself. While Nachiketan reaches Yama Loka [with the very physical body, due to his powers of penance] Lord Yama was away and the security at the Gate didn’t allow Nachiketan entry into the abode of Lord Yama. He was made to wait for 3 days without being attended and without any food, water. On return Lord Yama learns about this, calls on Nachiketan and profusely apologizes for what had happened. Also offers him three boons, one each for the three days of wait!