Q: Some scholars say that Ishwar does not act and has no properties. He simply witnesses whatever happens and universe is managed through the laws He has designed.
1. Ishwar on contrary is the most dynamic entity. And his properties are infinite. However his dynamism does not mean that He Himself changes but that He is source of all actions.
2. What we term as laws is actually Ishwar performing actions in most perfect manner. So perfect are these that we are able to see them being conducted accurately each time. Some of His actions thus can be translated into mathematical equations as well. And a repeatable perfect unexplained phenomenon witnessed by us is termed as ‘Law’ by us because we cannot go beyond it to know how it happens.
This is simply like a deaf-blind child being fed consistently by his mother since childhood whenever he weeps. And then the child claiming that its a ‘Law’ that whenever he cries, he gets food!
Unless there is a cause, there can be no effect. And Ishwar is the ultimate cause.
3. Shwetashwatar Upanishad 6.8 puts it as: Ishwar can conduct His duties without requiring external support. None is comparable or better than Him. He is the Supreme with infinite powers and infinite dynamism. Had Ishwar not been dynamic, it would have been impossible to create, manage and destroy the universe. He is animate, all-pervading and most active.
4. When he acts, he acts in most optimized manner depending upon the time and space for the particular action – neither less nor more. Afterall He is all perfect!
Q: Does Ishwar incarnate or not?
A: Depends on how you define incarnation. He does not incarnate or sends messengers in the way Prophet comes in Islam and son of God comes in Bible. Vedas clearly define Him as unborn, formless and unchangeable. On contrary Vedas state that He is able to perform ALL His duties at ALL times maintaining His unchangeable identity.
Refer Yajurveda 34.53 (He is unborn and maintaining One single identity always) and Yajurveda 40.8 (He is always uniform, without body, without nerves, without gaps and unchangeable).
Q: What about incarnations like Sri Krishna? He clearly asserts in Geeta 4.7 that whenever there is a decay of Dharma (virtues) and rise of Adharma (evil), I incarnate on this earth.
1. There is NO mantra in Vedas to assert that Ishwar takes birth. Since Vedas alone is supreme evidence, Geeta has to be interpreted only in lines of Vedas.
2. Sri Krishna was a noble yogi. It is natural tendency of noble people to desire for protection of Dharma and destruction of Adharma. Selflessness is an innate trait of great people. Thus Sri Krishna wanted to take birth again and again to serve the cause of Dharma. We bow to such great thoughts of Sri Krishna and that is why He is our role model.
3. Some people say that Ishwar has to take incarnation to destroy evil people like Ravana and Kansa. However this is too petty a thing for Ishwar to demand His flouting of Vedic rules and take birth. When He can create, maintain, destroy entire universe and manage the Karma-cycle of each soul, why should He take birth for such minute tasks? Afterall He resides within bodies of Ravana and Kansa also and governs each act of theirs. He can easily destroy them whenever He believes is right opportunity.
4. And if someone says He needs to take birth to set right examples, this is also incorrect. Because He is already setting greater examples by maintaining us all so perfectly. Can there be greater example than management of entire universe! The devotees would understand His greatness by this itself.
He guides us all though ‘inner voice’ and exemplary role models inspired by Ishwar whose deeds further inspire us.
5. Further Ishwar is beyond restrictions of hunger, thirst, pain, pleasure, ignorance, mortal actions, results of actions, life, death. Refer Yoga Darshan 1.24. If you read stories of incarnations, you would find these alleged-incarnations to be affected by these tendencies that can affect ONLY souls and NOT Ishwar. To say that Ishwar gets subject to these mortal traits is insult of all-perfect Ishwar.
6. If someone says that Ishwar is not affected by these traits but only pretends to be affected by these to demonstrate humanness, this again is insult of Ishwar. Because Ishwar is truth Himself. He is not a drama artist and never pretends. He exhibits only what is truth alone. He leads us from pretense towards truth. (Refer Yajurveda 31.18)
7. Also if we consider that Rama or Krishna were Ishwar Himself, there is nothing great that they achieved in their lives. For Ishwar, who can create, manage and destroy entire universe, killing some petty people on a small planet earth, and that too after lots of tortures and failures, is actually a mockery of His capabilities.
8. But if we understand true meaning of Avatar, things become clear. There is Ishwar in each soul. In fact, soul is within Ishwar. When a soul removes all barriers of ignorance, it is now driven by Ishwar alone. Such a soul is practically Ishwar because it has no separate will apart from that of Ishwar. These souls are Avatars.
If we consider these people -Rama, Krishna etc – to be Ishwar-driven souls, what they achieved was amazing and among greatest examples for rest of us. They thus are benchmarks for us to model our own lives and character in lines with true worshippers of Ishwar.
9. Vedas have no place for stories of Biblical and Quranic incarnations. However if we adopt concept of incarnation as mentioned above, or even as that of Ishwar actually taking birth, it does not matter if we follow one thing. That while Bhakti of Ishwar is important, we will not shun our duties of fighting the evil in garb of worshipping the incarnation. The concept of Semitic incarnation is a very recent one. And since this concept emerged, we have got weaker and weaker. From being rulers of entire globe, we have brought ourselves down to a level where we have no proper rights in our own country. Let our Bhakti and belief in incarnation not become a roadblock to our Karma Yoga. Instead, let it become a stepping stone to even more Karma because we know Ishwar is helping.
And then, once we also become Mukta souls, the truth will automatically emerge.
10. Its a pity that we do not consolidate resources and energies to do true worship of Ishwar by following right examples of whom we worship as incarnations. That is why despite our best of noble intentions, genuine love for Supreme, we have stupid things like birth-based caste-system and gender discrimination, attacks by invaders like fanatic cults, christianization, corruption, immorality etc spread all around us.
11. True respect to Ram, Krishna, Hanuman etc would come by doing what they did – making our bodies strong, doing exercises to increase power, meditation, disciplined routine, high character, increasing knowledge, understanding our true Dharma or Vedas, fighting Ravans and Kansa all around, saving dignity of motherly-force (women) all around and establishing true Rama Rajya.
This is true worship of Ishwar and there are no shortcuts to this.
12. To those organizations and groups who vociferously defend concept of incarnation, our humble request is to set right examples by indulging in debates with Muslims and Christians, counter them actively, and spend a bulk of the billions of dollars they earn through donations at temples for defending the Dharma, working among so-called Dalits and untouchables, conversion movements, conducting massive Shuddhi programs and hence follow true examples of Ram and Krishna.
Adi Shankaracharya writes in his Paraa-Puja:
“How can we invoke or submerge (Ahwan and Visarjan) of the omnipresent Ishwar? What use is Asan or seat for One who is already holding us all? What use is water to clean feet and face of the Ishwar who is the most pure? How can we have him take bath? The entire universe is within Him, how can we put clothes on Him? How can we put Janeu or Yajnopaveet (Sacred Thread) over Him when He is beyond the division of Varnas or classes? How can we do physical worship of the one who is Unbroken, All-knowing, All-powerful, One and only One, Formless and Omnipresent?”
Q: I understand. So instead of incarnations, Ishwar/ God sends Prophets. Right?
A: The concept of Ishwar or God sending Prophets is the most silly concept to have. For example, Muslims consider that Allah is all-powerful yet believe in Prophets. Thus they imply that Allah is not capable enough to directly guide the living beings and hence has to use agents like Prophets and Angels to help Him out.
And look at the defective ways of God when he acts through Prophets. Jesus is supposed to be a Prophet and he could not help document the Bible properly. Whatever he did goes in vain because original Bible does not exist. Similarly Muhammad is alleged to be a Prophet of Allah but could not properly document Quran during his lifetime. He did not even know that his book will be called Quran. The Quran was later compiled only 20 years after his death, in most controversial manner. The oldest Quran available today is 300 years after Muhammad’s death and is said to be copy of the Quran compiled 20 years after his death. Such are the ways of those superstitious cults who believe in Prophets.
But Vedic Ishwar is truly all-Powerful and hence directly communicates with all souls instead of using agents. He revealed the Vedas at inception of humanity (refer Origin of Vedas ) and then continuously guides all living beings. He inspired us to secure Vedas – the oldest texts – in most rigorous manner. And what more, through His inner voice, He ensures that even if we do not have access to Vedas, we are still nurtured and guided by Him like a mother caring for her child.
Vedic Ishwar is within us and outside us. So He needs no third-party outsourcing agents to guide us. So ONLY such an omniscient omnipresent all-powerful caring and just Ishwar should be worshipped by us. All prophets are falsehoods and gravest insult to glory of Ishwar. Hence they should be immediately rejected by those who have any respect for Ishwar/ Allah or God.
Q: Does Ishwar not forgive sins of His devotees?
1. Yes He does. But only sins of future. By being true worshippers of Ishwar, our mind gets purified and hence we do lesser and lesser sins in future. Ishwar ensures this purification process.
2. But the sins of past are never forgiven. Each act of ours, good or bad, must provide appropriate results. No record is deleted. However the results are such that they are meant only for our best benefits to progress towards ultimate bliss. This is due to His unconditional kindness.
3. Thus people who do special rituals, fastings, pilgrimage, baths in vain attempt to have their past records deleted are fooling themselves. You would thus see that fraud politicians, actors etc being bit too ‘close’ to Ishwar. Thus vulgar films start with picture of deity/ place of worship or a religious verse. Such people conduct massive religious events and visit temples, dargahs, mosques bit too often. Not only it acts as publicity stunt, they also do this as a balancing act to delete off the most disgusting sins they conduct on a regular basis.
4. But just as obesity is not cured merely by popping a pill or saying ‘Sorry’, the tendencies of sins do not get deleted instantaneously. It demands constant efforts and till that stage is reached, each sin committed would be accounted for without any deletions or account balancing.
5. In fact Ishwar does not wait to do justice. The moment we do any act- good or bad – He starts giving us the result. However tangible effects of these results are observed by us immediately or after some time depending upon the act and our own level of sensitivity. When there is a delay in sensing the results, we term it as results of a past deed. But in reality, the process was happening constantly right from the moment we conducted the deed. This is like diabetes happening continuously through each food we have eaten or exercise we have done or not or stress we took or not. But its effect may be manifested only after a period of time.
6. Further if Ishwar were to delete past records of sins, He can no more remain just. Because everyone would have tendency to conduct sins right now and then say sorry later like fraud people mentioned above. And if Ishwar listens to them, this would only motivate this foolishness of theirs even further. Even people who do not commit sins would be motivated to commit sins. Hence Ishwar being just and kind both, ensures that each and every act of ours are given the due fruits – neither less nor more but only for our benefit.
So ALL THOSE CULTS who attract people by luring them with forgiving of sins through Confession or Acceptance of Prophet (for example modern Islam and Christianity) are insulting Ishwar and fooling everyone including themselves. All sensible persons should immediately reject them.
Q: We hear that Ishwar knows whatever happend in past, is happening now and would happen in future. Thus whatever He knows, souls have to act accordingly. Hence soul is not free to act and merely is a puppet. Still soul is punished by Ishwar unjustly.
This allegation is true for those cults who believe that God has written everyone’s destiny beforehand. For example many Muslims, based on fake Quran and Hadiths, believe that Allah has compiled every future event in Lohe Mehfooz already and keeps it under his throne. They thus make Allah a psychopathic dictator who created souls and then forces them to act as per His whims. He punishes some souls, lures others to do sins and illegitimately favor other souls. If such a book indeed exists, that is only insult to Almighty Ishwar. Refer God Must be Crazy!
Further when Allah knows all, why He is required to create a book (Lohe Mehfooz) that ONLY He can read? Does He fear that He will have loss of memory? Also, does the book also has written that Allah will write Lohe Mehfooz? Such a theory is childish and full of blatant loopholes.
But such imaginations are not relevant for Vedic Ishwar.
a. Past refers to what was there but is no more existing now. Future refers to what does not exist right now. But Ishwar’s knowledge is always same and uniform and true. In other words things which do not exist does not fall in domain of Ishwar’s knowledge.
Future and Past is only for souls not for Ishwar who is beyond such a limitation of time. With respect to actions of soul, one can say that Ishwar knows past, present and future, but not inherently. In other words, Ishwar knows what a soul does and what results He has to give rightfully. But neither Ishwar has to look back in past to know history nor He needs to look into future to discover what is going to happen. He is always in present and possesses true independent knowledge at all times of both actions as well as results.
We shall discuss properties of soul later, but note that soul is somewhat free in acting in present (subject to its past actions resulting in its present sanskaars or tendencies) but completely dependent on Ishwar for results of these actions. Now Ishwar ensures that these results are such that the sanskaars of soul are modified to help the soul use his limited independence in best possible manner in order to increase his limit of free will further and achieve bliss in most optimal manner. This keeps happening every moment in a continuous manner.
The entire field of Yoga is based on harnessing this law of Ishwar to best of our benefit.
Q: Is soul also Ishwar and becomes Ishwar after salvation or Moksha? If not, what is Advait?
A: We shall study nature of soul in greater detail in a later lesson. But to briefly answer, soul is not Ishwar. If souls were Ishwar, it is already Ishwar right now. Why are we then unable to manage the entire universe right now and one soul (Ishwar) keeps fighting against another soul (Ishwar) when they are one and same? If you say because of Maya or Ignorance, this means that Ishwar is also affected by Ignorance. Now this is against Vedas which clearly say that Ishwar is beyond limitations of ignorance and remains so always.
Further if I am Ishwar and unable to realize that I am Ishwar, then who is managing the universe right now? If you say that I am drop of the ocean-like ‘major Ishwar or Brahma’ who is managing the universe, then what is the guarantee that that ‘major Ishwar’ is also not affected by ignorance and sins and hence managing the universe wrongly in corrupt manner? After all that Ishwar is also me myself and I know I am ignorant right now!
This all will lead to fallacious logic which may sound good in poems and quotations, but cannot be termed logically sound.
Vedas nowhere give such a concept of soul being Ishwar and instead clearly state that soul and Ishwar are separate.
Advait refers to the Vedic concept of One and Only One Ishwar. It means that there is only One Ishwar and no more. He alone is to be worshipped.
Q: If that be so, why did Shankaracharya talk about Soul and Ishwar being same?
A: Shankaracharya was a Vedic scholar who lived during an era when atheism was getting prevalent. He countered Atheism by arguments that whatever can be proved by Atheism, can be proved even more convincingly by considering Soul to be Ishwar itself. Had he not done so, we would not have been able to safeguard Vedic wisdom. We are deeply indebted to Him for serving this great cause.
When Shankaracharya was born, already the traditions of deriving scientific knowledge from Vedas was almost non-existent. Vedas were being considered books of rituals alone. Thus even Shankaracharya did not dwell into Vedas and focussed on Vedanta, Geeta and Upanishads which were most popular during those times. He thus based his arguments on these great books and countered Atheism. He did this as per instructions of Nyaya Darshan which allow Vitanda or relatively better logic to counter a more dangerous convention in short-term. Note however that scope of Vitanda is restricted only to logical reasoning and NOT facts themselves.
Here is an example of Vitanda:
All apostates who reject Islam and propagate against it should be killed – Zakir Naik
From point of view of apostate, rest of the population has rejected his religion and are propagating Islam, hence they should be killed and not him.
But its a Muslim majority state. Hence its the apostate being against the entire state who should be killed and not rest of the people of the state. – Zakir Naik
By this logic, Muhammad must have been killed when he first propagated Islam. Because he was the only one knowing Islam and entire state did not believe in Islam.
Note that we do not imply that all people should be killed or Muhammad should have been killed. But we use these arguments ONLY to counter a stupid argument that is very prevalent among large number of ignorant people.
Same is the case with Advait arguments. Shankaracharya used these to establish existence of Ishwar and counter atheism. And after he had defeated all anti-vedic Atheist ideologies but before he could provide us more from his brilliant intellect, he died at a very young age of 32. So we wrongly consider him as believer of Soul=Ishwar.
In fact there are a large number of verses from his commentaries on Vedanta, Upanishads and Gita that hint at his being a believer of Ishwar and Soul being different. This would be a different research based discussion all together that we may take up once bulk of believers of foreign faiths of West have been brought back into the original Vedic fold in next few years.
But regardless of the intellectual debate, just imagine the wonders he could accomplish within such a short time! 25 years is the minimum time required to covered the very basics of gurukul education. And at age of 32, we have a great scholar who changed the future of our country and world! Let us all bow to his great brilliance and pray to Ishwar that He gifts us all with similar intellect.
Q: Is Ishwar Saguna or Nirguna?
Q: Is Ishwar Raagi (full of passions and emotions) or Virakta (one who has renounced passions)
A: Ishwar is neither of them and beyond such tendencies. Because passion is for things which are not already part of us. And renunciation happens for things we possessed earlier. But Ishwar already possesses whatever is required and cannot renounce anything because He is always omnipresent.
Q: Does Ishwar have any desires?
A: Ishwar does not have the kind of desires that we see in souls. Souls desire for things they do not possess. So how can possessor of everything desire anything? And being completely blissful, He does not need to desire for even bliss. However He motivates the creation, maintenance and destruction of universe with the objective of providing happiness to souls. This is termed ‘Iskhana’ of Ishwar or purposefulness of His actions.
Those who consider that Ishwar desires worship from souls (like Zakir Naik) are actually insulting Ishwar as being self-indulging praise-loving dictator. Whatever worship we do is to improve ourselves and no way affects the Ishwar.
We shall discuss nature of our own Self subsequently.
Note: We have provided views directly from Vedas which may be different from what many of us may have been led to believe in for various reasons rising due to sidelining of Vedas. However for sake of unity we would not like to debate unnecessarily on these topics until we have addressed the foremost priority asevident from our prayers in Vedic Worship – strengthening of nation in rightful manner.
May Ishwar grant us all the wisdom to adopt the Dharma followed by our role models like Rama and Krishna. And specially encourage our own brothers and sisters who follow foreign cults full of superstitions and blind-faith to come back to their original home of Vedas. May we all unite together and make our nation the world-leader in benevolence for entire world. The only way for this is true worship of true Ishwar and may that happen very soon!
This article is an interpretation of works of Swami Dayanand Saraswati as available today.
This article is also available in Gujarati at http://agniveer.com/god-vedas-hinduism-gu/