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Some questions from readers and my answers
(Please Note: The questions from the readers have been reproduced "as is", without any editing or corrections)

Hello Mr. Hari,
Your site and content was great. Your explanation was very logical and it really gave a different perspective of things. I would like to mentioned that you Aum construction from crucifix and crescent, is that relevant? The reason being, the Aum, doesn't have to be constructed from both. and we know the origin of crucifix came because jesus was crucified in a crucifix. So, it looks like, the last para is irrelevant, as there is
1) no causative relationship between these two
2) aum is much more than a combination of these two. This reduces the significance of Aum and for whatever it stands for
3) we are not trying to prove ourselves christianity or islam. I would really appreciate if you consider this and remove this reference or mention a word about what you were trying to do there. Otherwise, your entire site was great and keep it up.
Thanks a lot.
Ramkumar Sridharan

Dear Ramkumar,
Thank you very much for your feedback. I am really happy to note that you found my site informative.
I understand your reasoning on the Aum animation and agree with you partly. I guess I have not made myself clear as to the true intent of that animation and hence the fault is mine.

You are absolutely right in saying that Aum need not be constructed from the crucifix and the crescent giving the impression that it is derived from these two symbols since that reduces the significance of Aum. The intention was not for such a conclusion to be drawn. The real intent of the animation was to symbolically suggest that the concept of God set out in Christianity (represented by the cross) and Islam (crescent and star) is incomplete when compared to the absolute knowledge of the Vedas (Aum). The intention was not to suggest a synthesis of Christianity and Islam would yield the canons Hinduism. I am very sorry if that is what that animation conveyed to you.

Having said that, I do believe that there is more to the choice of the cross and crescent as these religion's icons than merely the fact that Christ died on the cross and Islam follows the lunar calendar. I do believe that there are forces beyond our comprehension that drive us to make our choices. For instance, Christianity could have chosen the Holy Grail, the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the star that heralded the birth of Christ as their symbols instead of choosing such a distressing symbol as the cross, which was an instrument of torture and death. It is like the people who revered Gandhiji idolizing a miniature replica of the pistol that killed him and carrying it as a locket!

I do suggest in my opening paragraph: "... mathematical interpretations (in the case of Christianity & Islam) of the religion's fundamental icons that seem to suggest that there may be more to the choice of the religion's symbols than mere theological history and opportunistic proselytization." So why was the cross chosen? Perhaps one may rightly argue that the cross represented a most powerful symbol for proselytization, reminding the prospective Christian that Christ died for his "sins" and thus subjecting him to a crude but effective form of psychological blackmail. I do not contest that theory and find in it a valid and probable explanation. But I would like to propose a softer alternative theory. One which looks at this whole business of religions from a more holistic perspective. One that brings forth the underlying interconnectivity of the major religions (I have considered only Hinduism, Christianity and Islam here; although I accept Buddhism and Judaism as major religions, I am not discussing them since I consider Buddhism as an offshoot to Hinduism and Judaism's closeness to Christianity).

Being a Hindu, I believe in unseen forces and realms in our midst that somehow influence our decisions and actions. After all actions begin in the minds of men. And what are minds, but intangibilities that can perhaps be influenced by other intangibilities (beyond our senses and physical instruments) that we know nothing of. I must now stress that this does not mean that every seed of thought that germinates in our mind is influenced by these unseen forces; a certain latitude is definitely there. In fact, I feel that the vast majority of our thoughts that influence our personal karma are mostly our own devoid of any outside influence. But those high level ideas, those revolutionary concepts that become milestones in our history are triggered by the unseen realms. Hence such revolutionaries (be it in any field), who take up volumes of our history are but vessels to these phantom forces. Let us take the case of the Islamic crescent (and star) and investigate how it came to represent the religion. I am reproducing the following lines from an Islamic website that traces the rise of the crescent as Islam's symbol:

"It wasn't until the Ottoman Empire that the crescent moon and star became affiliated with the Muslim world. When the Turks conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, they adopted the city's existing flag and symbol. Legend holds that the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Osman, had a dream in which the crescent moon stretched from one end of the earth to the other. Taking this as a good omen, he chose to keep the crescent and make it the symbol of his dynasty."

So it all started as a dream in a man's mind! Despite having more relevant symbols such as the cubical Ka'aba, the Arabesque 'Alla', the numerical Bismillah'ur Rahman ur'Rahim (sometimes denoted as 786), the humble crescent was adopted as the overarching symbol of Islam!

The adoption of the cross as the symbol of Christianity did not happen immediately after the crucifixion of Christ. In fact there are many theories as to how the cross went on to become the icon of Christianity. One of the widely accepted ones is in 312 C.E., Constantine, ruling the area now known as France and Britain, headed out to war against his brother-in-law, Maxentius, of Italy. En route he reportedly saw a vision-a cross on which were the words "Hoc vince," meaning, "By this conquer." After his victory, Constantine made the cross the standard of his armies. When Christianity later became the state religion of the Roman Empire, the cross became the symbol of the church.

So again it is a vision experienced by a man! So isn't it rather a strange co-incidence that of all the symbols these religions could have chosen they chose the very two symbols that could together represent the Gaussian plane of Aum representing all Existence and Non-existence?

So much for Christianity and Islam and their symbols. Now let us take a step back and explore the connectivity of Hinduism with these two religions. Before I continue, I must warn you that what you are going to read may appear to you as quite abhorrent. These are not exactly my ideas and have been discussed in detail in other websites as well. Please approach it with an open mind.

We all know that the two major deities of Hinduism are Krishna (incarnation of Maha Vishnu) and Shiva. And the two major figures of Christianity and Islam are Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed. There some striking parallels between Krishna and Christ as well as Shiva and Mohammed. These are available in the internet if you do a search.

Some of the parallels between Krishna and Christ are:
1. Both names have similar consonants (Kris)
2. Both were born under very trying circumstances.
3. The birth of both figures were foretold
4. The ruler of the land wanted both the babies killed and decreed large scale infanticide.
5. One lived in the midst of cowherds and the other in the midst of shepherds
6. Both exhibited large scale miracles.
7. Both were considered the embodiment of love.

Some of the parallels between Shiva and Mohammed are:
1. Both Shiva and Mohammed are connected to the crescent moon (Shiva has the crescent moon in his hair and also on the Shiva Linga, while the symbol of Islam is the crescent moon).
2. The name Mohammed itself is considered a twisted version of Mahadev.
3. The Holy Ka'aba of Mecca was a Shiva temple
4. The Sang-i-Aswad of the Ka'aba is a Shiva Linga

So it seems to me that the Vedic religion of Hinduism is the substratum on which other religions exist. Hinduism is like the ocean and the other religions are like the waves. They may rise and attain their crests of glory, but will fall and merge into the vast ocean.


Please explain why you think Mathematics is important in the context of spirituality.
Ashuthosh
"Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man, and the same God is the inspirer of all of them"

Hi Ashuthosh,

Although it may seem a trifle presumptuous, in today's context, when people are being divided by religion, something so uniformly accepted like Mathematics can indeed be the path to God. Not that there are no other paths to God. In fact, as God, the paths to God too are infinite. In a way, the passage by Swami Vivekananda that you had attached, seems to support this-"Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man, and the same God is the inspirer of all of them". Extending Swamiji's argument we can deduce that the Religions created by the material man will innately have his imperfections. Hence such religions shall be divisive to the many and useful only to the few. Such religions shall contain paths to God but shall also contain other things as well.
But Mathematics, abstract and unauthored, beyond time and space shows you God without the clouded lens of religion. The Mathematics I am implying is of a spiritual kind which is not just the study of numbers that point to God but also of a more experiential type that takes you to Him. It goes beyond the conventional idea of Mathematics that merely alludes to the analogies, to where our yogic paths are expressed as mathematical ideas.


I WRITE THIS E-MAIL BECAUSE IT HAS SUCH IMPORTANCE TO ME. I AM IN A SEACH FOR THE CREATOR AND BELIEVE IN YOUR WRITINGS. WOULD I BE WRONG TO ASSUME THAT MOSES MAY HAVE KNOWN THE "INNER KNOWLEDGE".......AS IT RELATES TO GOD.
A TRUE STORY IS WORTH TELLING HERE.........SEVERAL YEARS BACK I WAS IN A CHURCH ALL ALONE.......A MAN WALKED IN AND SAT NEAR ME. WE ENGAGED IN CONVERSATION AND HE STATED: "I HAVE COME A LONG WAY, AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT WHEN YOU THINK OF GOD, YOU MUST THINK IN MATHEMATICAL TERMS. I THOUGHT HE WAS ODD FOR TELLING ME THAT.....FOR HE SAID IT LIKE HE WAS RELATING VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO ME. THE PIECES HAVE NOW FELL INTO PLACE. IT IS SAID THAT WHEN THE STUDENT IS 'READY" ....THE TEACHER WILL APPEAR, MY DEAR FRIEND, IF I MAY CALL YOU THAT, WOULD YOU GUIDE ME? I KNOW YOU MUST BE VERY BUSY........BUT, COULD YOU PLEASE TRY. BECAUSE OF THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO ME, THROUGHOUT MY LIFE TIME, I KNOW IT MUST HAVE MEANING. I ALSO FEEL AND BELIEVE THAT "GOD'S NUMERICAL FORMULA EXISTED WITHIN VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE THROUGHOUT TIME... DAVID... JESUS... ETC. I DO NOT THINK OF MYSELF AS "IMPORTANT"..........BUT ALSO REALIZE THAT GOD HAS A "GOD PLAN" IN EFFECT. I FEEL I AM WITHIN THAT PLAN?
Seekingway

Dear friend,

Let me first thank you for your email. The most important thing one needs when one embarks on a search for Truth is that fervent thirst for it. It should not be a halfhearted quest undertaken in shallowness. It should be borne out of a deep and uncompromising desire to know the Unknown. You should first ask yourself how serious you are in this quest for Truth. The next step, I believe, would be in unlearning much of that knowledge acquired and hitherto held unshakeable (and unquestionable) in the boundaries of our mind. Once the mind is emptied of such "baggage", it becomes more receptive for what is to come.

I do not know about Moses, but certainly many before our time have experience the Ultimate Reality in them and Moses may surely have been one of them.

Yes, I certainly agree with the man you met at your church regarding the Mathematical parallels of God.

As for your regarding me as a teacher, I am a bit amused; since I myself am only a student in this grand "University" of God. However, I shall try to give you whatever advice/guidance that I deem to be true. You are free to question/accept/reject it.

Regarding your belief that you are not "important", I beg to differ, since I believe that every soul in this world is equally important, since every soul contains that spark of the Infinite within them. Yes every soul including the most evilest terrorists to the most saintly of men.



I like the short story published on sulekha which led me to your web site. I liked the web site and like any typical malyali am an aspiring writer.

I was born and brought up bombay and currently live in USA. I am an atheist and find it difficult to accept many concepts provided by religions. I have a soft corner for buddhism and have been reading a little bit of Thich Nhat hanh. I even tried my hand at Nicheren buddhism and in my earlier days rajneesh.( as Pune was pretty close)

I would like to hear from you and have a dialogue.

Take care

Thomas

Hi Thomas,

Thank you for your feedback on my story and I am glad you liked it.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in being an atheist/agnostic. In fact, some of my best friends don't believe in God. Given a choice between an atheist and a fundamentalist (of any religion) I would always prefer to befriend the unbeliever. The most important thing is to be a good human being and personally, I have actually noticed that atheists tend to be better human beings than strict adherents of religion. They are more open to discussion and willing to change their viewpoints. Frankly, there have been moments in my life too, when I have doubted my own convictions of a God!
I am not surprised that you have been attracted to Buddhism. Buddha Himself, has never talked about God.

Regards,

Hari