Friday, June 8, 2012

How authentic are the scriptures?

Many people ask this question and there are various theories and opinions about this topic. All scriptures are very old books, some going back thousands of years, we don't even know when they were compiled for the first time. I think it's waste of time to argue about their authenticity, we don't have enough data about it. I think whatever scriptures we have overall they are very useful and are full of knowledge and lessons about life (Bible, Qur'an, Guru granth sahib, Gita, Upanishads and many more). They cover almost each and every aspect of life, discussions in them cover topics about most of problems we face in day to day life and also offer possible solutions. Most of the time the messages in these scriptures are delivered through many stories with lot of interesting characters and themes. It's very easy to deliver complicated message via interesting story, people understand it in much better way and also remember the message because of that story, our ancestors realized it and that's why most of these books contain lot of interesting stories. We still use this technique of story telling to teach our kids, we tell them lot of bed time stories which have some lesson imbedded in them, same way these scriptures try to convey their message to us.

Why to debate that whether incidents mentioned in them really happened or not? Is it going to make their contents better or worse? These books are source of knowledge and if we don’t want to take any lessons from them then its better to just ignore them. These things (scriptures from all religions) are gift to us from our ancestors, we must value them, one can definitely raise questions and argue about theories and philosophy mentioned in them. It's necessary to validate and test any information we receive, we should not believe anything blindly. This process of analysis will surely help us to realize how wonderful these texts are, they teach us so much but only if we are willing to learn. Mostly these scriptures are concerned with spiritual knowledge, some of them do talk about many scientific things but mostly they are about spirituality and meaning or aim of human life. If someone is not interested in things discussed in these books they are useless for them and it's simple fact to understand for both who believe in them as well as who don't believe. It’s like if you are not interested in movies or engineering or chemistry then anything related with that subject will not appeal to you or rather will sound very boring and complicated and it’s quite natural to feel like this, nothing wrong in it.

All these books are there from centuries, there are also different versions of them. As these books are very old, there are some doubts about authenticity of their contents and many of these questions are quite reasonable. There are also many theories about who wrote these books and also whether original contents were modified or not, if modified then to what extend. I think all these questions are  interesting for historical prospective and archeological research, there is lot of research done in this area. Results of that research are very interesting and are published in various journals and books. Naturally not all devotees agree with these findings as it hurts their feelings and also many think that as these books are sacred they should not be criticized or analyzed. I personally think they should not get disturbed by these findings because they do not reduce importance or significance of these books. We should study them and if possible also contribute towards them (many people did that in past but for some reason this process was discontinued). Because of sacred status of these books its almost impossible to challenge anything written in them or edit anything (even if it's out dated or wrong). All these books were written in certain era and many things written in them were according to that era and socioeconomic conditions. When people or devotees insist to follow everything in these books as it is, it creates problem as some of the things are not relevant in today's world. If people who claim these books as their property (by associating them with particular religion or sect) want to preserve good messages and teachings mentioned in these books then its important for them to show some flexibility and broadmindedness. Knowledge is not stationary, it's always evolving, every day new information is generated, it's continuous process.

Many people also argue about whether Ramayan, Mahabharat or people like Ram, Krishna really happen?  Devotees who consider them as God reject these doubts altogether and want to stick to their beliefs, this is expected from devotees and people who want to question their existence try to find technical faults in stories about life of these characters. In this process of argument both sides miss the actual benefit which one can get from these books. One side considers these people and books as sacred and worship them blindly without trying to understand the true meaning of their messages and other side rejects them just because of some technical doubts. Arguments like whether Jesus was God or not or Krishna was real or not are endless, it’s not these people who are important but their teachings are, so if you don’t agree to their teachings then they don’t exist for you, it’s as simple as that. For me personally question of their authenticity doesn't matter, I don't worry about it. I consider these books and these people as source of knowledge and useful information, I read all these books like many other books I read. I don't associate any of these books with any particular religion for me they are all same. I take from them whatever I feel is relevant to my situation or whatever appeals me and leave the rest. If I find anything in them which sounds somewhat wrong I don't hesitate to raise question about it or even criticize it (after doing some research). I share my beliefs and whatever I understand from these books and people who hear or read it are free to agree or disagree with it. I have my opinion and beliefs (and they can change over time) and people can have theirs, there is nothing wrong in it. The problem is not with anyone's beliefs but when they become really assertive about their beliefs (almost dictatorial) and start projecting them as 'facts' and are not willing to listen other side of story. I think that our society is evolved enough to understand that there can be more than one truths, more than one ways to reach same destination and also realize that many religions, beliefs can coexist together peacefully.

Thanks for reading and your comments are always welcome.

Reference:
1. Interesting read for some inforamtion about Bhagavad Gita and historical facts about it, http://www.vvshirvaikar.de/Dnyaneshwari/PROLOGUE.html 
2. http://www.biblica.com/bibles/faq/3/
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Quran

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at vvt1974@gmail.com)

11 comments:

  1. I typed in Google
    Bad Bible verses
    Bad Koran verse
    Bad Hindu verses
    Bad Gita verses
    And the following links came up

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible7.htm

    http://www.evilbible.com/August.htm

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/023-violence.htm

    http://infidelsarecool.com/2008/01/top-10-quran-quotes-every-woman-must-see/

    Nothign came up for Hindu or Gita on Google.


    The reason why religious texts are argued over is because they are used by other religious people to condemn another’s way of life, when they should live and let live.

    Its used to justify killing and terrorism with some justified instructions from their gods in their books .
    They teach people not to take certain medicines or food or taking protection to avoid children.
    Its used to demonise idol worshippers, women, claim to territory and even justify wiping out other faiths or sects.
    All this goes on today via lessons from scriptures.

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    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Anonymous, as I wrote one can find some objectionable verses in almost all religious scriptures (including almost all scriptures claimed by Hindu religion). These are very old texts ans its quite natural that some of the views expressed in them are out dated now as they only represent mindset of people or communities living in that era. These views are now outdated and sound totally outrageous and if people want to criticize them it OK but I wonder when people try to defend these views.

      I put the same key word (Bad Gita verses) in Google and found this,

      http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/the-satanic-verses-of-bhagavadgita-1589187.html

      Many people interpret these scriptures differently and take whatever message they want to take from them. Bible and Qur'an are associated with two of the most popular religions of the world that's why there is lot of material available about them on net.

      I totally agree with you when you say that many of these scriptures are used to challenge emotions of people and justify many mistakes committed in past (and even in present). That's why I advocate critical analysis and open discussion about these books no matter from which religion they belong.

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    2. You are so predicable. I knew you would be busily doing great research to find something bad about Hinduism. In the end you found a very poor website with a bloke whos got a grudge against Hinduism.
      You should have just linked up to this website instead.
      http://selfrealization-vinay.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/bhagadvad-gita-as-it-is-or-as-it-is-not.html

      http://selfrealization-vinay.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/bhagadvad-gita-as-it-is-my-perspective.html

      http://selfrealization-vinay.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/krishna-man-or-god-part-i.html

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    3. haha...so as expected you are outraged again to read something which doesn't agree to your point of view or say something bad about your religion...

      So according to you the person who wrote something bad about Bhagavad Gita has some grudge against Hinduism and others who are writing against Bible or Qur'an or any other book don't have any grudge against those religion but are doing some great social work...interesting..I don't use double standards...you said you didn't find anything against Hinduism or Gita with those key words that's why I put that link. I don't have to do any great research for this...this particular link was right on first page of the search results...:) I posted it that doesn't mean I agree to its contents but at the same time I am not upset or angry after reading them..

      The blog links which you posted in your comment are not about 'Bad Gita verses' or 'Bad Hindu verses' two of them are about some 'misleading purports' from Prabhupad's book and that book has nothing to do with Hinduism...ISKON doesn't represent Hindu religion nor Prabhupad's book. The third one is about my opinion about Krishna's character and his personality from epic Mahabharat....get a life man...allow others to express their opinions and concerns...learn to respect them...challenging them or arguing is perfectly OK...and we should show some restrain while doing it...

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    4. Lol now youre a mind reader.
      Far from that i was having an amusing banter with you by adding your links but you obviously are making bad assumptions again as usual.

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    5. I dont read minds I read only comments...and no assumptions..only an observation...:)

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  2. Ive done further research into this guy whom you linked up so proudly linked up (and his bad verses). This guy is nothing more than a spiteful being who hates Hinduism and probably converted to Christianity and in today’s words would be termed a terrorist.

    He say "The West Should (Militarily) Invade India",

    "India is a slow but deadly poison".

    the Bhagavad-gita is "Hindu terrorism"",

    His purpose in life is to destroy India "'Unite Against India' is my political slogan".

    He portrays the most revered Indian king Shivaji as dishonest, irreligious and barbaric.

    "Freedom for India is an insult to freedom", he is quoted as saying in a dialogue named "The East Unleashed".

    He is full of praise for England and Great Britain. "The Great Glorious Britain".

    "The world can never be in the state of right order, strong government, and good influence unless London is truly and literally established as its capital", he seems to advocate!

    "India is the most intricately barbarous, subtly dangerous and obdurately evil state in the world."

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    1. Thanks again for your comment. Let me say that I am not at all interested in who this person is and what are his views about Gita or India or England. I just posted his link because you wrote you didn't find anything when you put that key word in Google search. It was just a technical point nothing else. I did not even bothered to read anything related with this article as it didn't interest me.

      I do not know anything about this person and can't comment on what his religion is or what is his profession. I also can't judge him based on few lines quoted which are supposed to be his views on some topic until I get entire story (why he wrote these things, what is the reason behind his views, how he supports his hypothesis, etc.). I already said in my comments that everyone has right to express their opinion and I don't have problem with that person expressing his...I may not agree with them, my agreement or disagreement is within my control but his expression is his right.

      There are many people who hate each others religion or countries and anyone who criticize any religion or country for whatever reason is not very popular among followers of that religion or that country, its a natural reaction. If you ask people from any particular religion about criticism directed towards their religion (for eg. criticism about Bible or Qur'an) then they will also express similar views about those commentators.

      But whats your point here? His opinion about Gita is not valid or he is not entitled to write about Gita or anything else...

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    2. some of the statements which you quoted made by that person are ridiculously funny....:)

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  3. There is nothing funny about what he wrote. He appears mentally deluded and as such are a danger to society.
    Its people like him who stir hatred in others and cause of much grief.
    In light of his hatred for Hindus and Indians which are a danger to incite hatred and violence then his views are wholly biased too.
    The freedom to express something does not mean you take advantage of it and spew for the sake of hate.

    The same goes with some of your opinions on Hinduism and Hindu texts and Gurus. You too I find are abusing your right of free speech to post incorrect information to the public and mislead them. I have already discussed all this with you and dont wish to waste my time doing so again.

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  4. thanks again for your kind words...I dont have tendency of being judgmental about others opinion..if I dont agree I argue against it, I put my point of view with whatever rational I have but never challenge others tight to express their opinion...

    [There is nothing funny about what he wrote. He appears mentally deluded and as such are a danger to society.]
    for me they are funny as they don't make any sense...it will be interesting to check in what context these statements were made, but right now I am not interested in that.

    [Its people like him who stir hatred in others and cause of much grief.]

    yes its people with such type of mentality, who don't like to listen to others opinion, who want to force their own ideas on others spread hatred...sounds familiar to you...:)

    [In light of his hatred for Hindus and Indians which are a danger to incite hatred and violence then his views are wholly biased too. The freedom to express something does not mean you take advantage of it and spew for the sake of hate.]

    freedom to express means freedom to express nothing more nothing less, what to express is entirely that person's choice and there are laws to control it, your or my opinion doesn't matter...may be you think differently and want whole world to go by your point of view anything against your views is anti-Hindu or anti-Indian....:)

    [The same goes with some of your opinions on Hinduism and Hindu texts and Gurus. You too I find are abusing your right of free speech to post incorrect information to the public and mislead them. I have already discussed all this with you and dont wish to waste my time doing so again.]

    Till now I have not written any blog post about what you call Hindu texts, Hinduism or Gurus. I wrote posts about a book called 'Bhagvad Gita As it is' which is written by Prabhupad and for your kind information this particular book is not Hindu text by any definition. You continuously throw your baseless allegations without proving anything, I have answered EACH and EVERY comment of yours (or questions). I am not abusing my rights, I am using it.
    I don't see any difference between lines which you quoted in your comments (which you don't like and feel they stir hatred) and few lines in Prabhupad's purports (some of which I mentioned in my post)...but one you are defending and other criticizing..strange, any way continue on your path, I know your time is valuable, use it wisely...thanks again for your comments and time...:)

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