Hinduism - Lesson 7

Key Themes in the Upanishadic Vision (Part 3)

Maya is the ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance they choose, thereby concealing the true nature of Brahman. Karma is the principle that what you sow, you alone reap.

Lesson 7
Watching Now
Key Themes in the Upanishadic Vision (Part 3)

5. Maya

a. Problems in the history, usage and translation of the term – ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance that they choose.

b. A false way of looking at the world due to ignorance or the superimposition of ultimate reality upon it.

c. Avidya - Ignorance of the true nature of reality.

d. Adhyasa - Superimposition of a false view of reality on that which we encounter with our senses.

e. Lila - “sport” or “play” - reason given as to why Isvara created. There is no purpose for the creation of the world.

6. Karma

a. Act or Deed / immutable law of cause and effect.

b. Kinds of Karma

  • Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and one of the oldest. It is about 12% of the world population and about 95% are in India. Hinduism is difficult to define. There is evidence of civilization in the Indus valley as early as 2800 BC. The sacred literature that is the basis for Hinduism was created and developed over hundreds of years. It was originally transmitted orally and was eventually written down.

  • Introduction to fundamental ideas and literature that are basic to the Hindu religion. The first lecture given for this class is not available at this time. This lecture begins on the class outline at II, C.

  • Discussion of the influence that the Vedic tradition has on Hinduism. 

  • Mahavakyas is made up of two words meaning, “great utterances.” The creation stories are a collection of different stories with various themes. The world is created by a divine figure dismembering themself and their body becomes the world. The caste system has a racial element to it based on some of the creation narratives in the RgVeda.

  • The Upanishads are one strand of the Vedas. Brahman refers to the all-pervading reality in the Upanishads, not the Brahmin caste. The question throughout the Upanishads is, “Who or what is Brahman?”

  • Brahman is the ultimate reality of the universe. Our atman is encrusted with karma and stuck on the wheel of Samsara. A Hindu's goal, in the process of being reincarnated through thousands of lifetimes, is to rid themselves of karma so they can achieve moksa, oneness with Brahman.

  • Maya is the ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance they choose, thereby concealing the true nature of Brahman. Karma is the principle that what you sow, you alone reap.

  • A Hindu must work off their karma to be released from the wheel of Samsara and achieve moksa when their atman becomes one with Brahman. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve the goals of the Samkhya philosophy. Hindus see God as a material cause of the universe, not an efficient cause.

  • The Mahavakyas are “great sayings” that give you insights into core teachings of Hinduism. The Brehed Aranyaka Upanishad shows that Hindus believe that diversity can come through oneness and not be an “other.”

  • Sankara says that Brahman is unknowable and we can't perceive any of his qualities. The rope-snake metaphor is often used by Hindus to discuss the difference between perception and reality.

  • Hindu writers often use metaphors to illustrate and teach the essentials of the Hindu philosophy. In their writings, they refer to these metaphors in a way that assumes that you know and understand them.

  • The purpose of this lecture is to see the structure of Hinduism at a glance. Hinduism operates and a philosophical level and a popular level. Hinduism attempts to resolve the relationship between knowledge, works and devotion. The four stages of life and the caste system determine much of cultural structure of Hinduism. Hindus worship many Gods.

  • The three major dissent movements that area a challenge Hinduism are Buddhism, Janism and materialism. Hinduism is adept at absorbing other movements. Buddhism claims that there is a teaching that makes it possible for you to reach the state of Nirvana which is liberation from all suffering. The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama. The content of his teaching is the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

  • The key insight of the Upanishads is the identification of atman with Brahman. Buddhists deny both atman and Brahman.

  • The Bhakti marga is branch of Hinduism that emphasizes a spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.

  • The Hindu gods have identifying characteristics that make them easy to recognize when you see them in temples or other settings. The Trimrti are the three major gods of India which are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is not often visually represented, so Vishnu and Shiva are seen the most. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. Vishnu has 10 incarnations or avatars. These are partial incarnations and don’t represent the fullness of Vishnu.

  • The Siva icon always has the presence of the Trishal, which is a sacred weapon of destruction. There is also the nag (cobra), damaru (drum), third eye, Ganges river flowing out of his head. The dancing Siva has a damaru in one hand and a flame of fire in the other that represents creation and destruction of the world. He also has dreadlocks and the trunk of an elephant.  The third eye of siva is what Hindu women have on their forehead. The Siva Lingum is the most dominant icon in north India.

  • The Brahminical branch teaches that works and devotion lead to true knowledge (Upanishadic vision, tat twam asi). Bhaktis say that knowledge and works should lead to devotion.

  • The Ramayana is an epic account of India. It is the story or epic of Rama and Sita, and is the origin of the tradition of Suti. Mahabharata is the epic of India. It’s the longest collection of poems in the world. The Bhagavad-Gita  is the most important part of the Mahabharata. It talks about both the dharma of caste and the dharma of denial and renunciation.

  • Gurus integrate different parts of the marga system. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna declared the unity of all religions. He claimed to have visions of Hindu gods and Jesus Christ and Mohammed and that all religions lead to the same ultimate reality, sat chit ananda. Swami Vivekananda was the most well-known follower of Ramadrishna and brought his message to the western world. He accepts tat twam asi, the great insight of the Upanishads, but thinks that everyone, not just Brahmans can perceive that unity. (The last point of the lecture was cut short due to a technical limitation.)

    You may download the text of Vivekananda's speech by clicking on the Handouts link in the upper left corner.

  • These are nine of the major holidays celebrated in India. Sankara has been called India’s greatest philosopher. Sankara emphasized universals and Ramanuja emphasized the particulars, similar to Plato and Aristotle in Western thought. Sankara has greater status as a philosopher, but Ramanuja has had a great influence on how the masses practice Hinduism.

    The chart Dr. Tennent refers to near the end of the lecture is the “Three Vehicle Structure of Hinduism,” which is labeled Lecture 6 in the complete class outline pdf document on the class page.

  • Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was an upper jati Brahman teacher who converted to Catholicism. He attempts to explain Christianity by using Advadic motifs. Brahmabandhav is an example of how a Brahman can address the Brahminical community using a Brahminical line of reasoning.

  • There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.

In-depth survey of philosophical and popular Hinduism’s historical and theological themes. Exposure to current strategies being used to bring the gospel to Hindus and how Christian theology is being formulated in the Indian context.

Dr. Tennent occasionally uses pictures of Hindu gods or other visual resources in his lectures. You can download a document with these pictures by clicking on the Hindu Deity Pictures link. 



Dr. Timothy Tennent
Key Themes in the Upanishadic Vision (Part 3)
Lesson Transcript


Well, we have a lot to cover this week. We are continuing to build kind of the most basic building blocks of the Panasonic worldview from which everything is either affirming or in some way reacting against in various forms of Hinduism, as well as some of the major dissent movements in Buddhism and Jainism. So we were discussing karma. We have not yet completed karma, but I wanted to before we revisited some of the things about karma I wanted to just show you on the board here some of the ways that reality is talked about in Indian theology. And that's because in India they make a very important distinction between something that is ultimately real, which is the highest level this paramount. The paramount is a word that's used frequently in the literature for ultimately real. This is a way of speaking about Brahman or no good, a Brahman ultimately real. I'm always looking for pens. I guess its disappearance. I've got another one. The PDM article is an expression for ultimate reality. Now, I tend to make a distinction in my own writings on this between and this is used by some as well. Capital are real and then little are real. Because sometimes I think we made the mistake of assuming that when Indians say something is not real or as unreal, we mean by that. Or we take it to mean that they think that it's all illusory. And it's like all in your mind. And there are some schools of thought that they argue that kind of thing in Buddhism, but in Hinduism, that's not true. In Hinduism you have the realm of paramount, Ithaca, which at least so far we're looking at the expression of that is an irregular Brahman in the kind of classical Hinduism that's true to this very day.


There's a whole nother category. So doesn't we like China now? So doesn't we like China represents neither real nor unreal. It's an in-between category, ontological category. And it's not a category that we're that familiar with, but it's very important for the Hindu context. So that's what we like. Seana, not the real nor unreal. And I notice I have here neither real meaning Capital R and nor unreal. That's subdivided into two subcategories, one called David Hardaker, Which means this is the expanse for having right now. This is your daily experiences that are actually true to one's perceptual experience. So if you are eating a meal and or you are taking notes and in class you are sitting in a chair, you're in a room, that's a temperature, that's all. Have you ever had a cough? It's all the category of things that are real, that are not nevertheless identified with Brahman are ultimately real practical, daily experiences. Crotty Busacca is another category which refers to perceptual errors. We'll discuss this more later. This is the world, as we will see, as we perceive it, perception, perceptual errors where you think you see something that may not be actually true. For example, a very famous animal that to be a dream. You have a dream. The dream appears to be have a hurricane. You wake up and you realize it was not. It was a dream. So dreams can have the appearance of a greater reality than they have. And that's very critical. The whole dream thing is very important. Those because the dreams to them are a paradigm for all kinds of potential perceptual problems. So what I would argue is, just as the Western world would agree that the caused you have a dream, that you went out and hiked up a mountain and you woke up, you had never left your bed.


Everybody admits there's a different reality to dreaming about hike up a mountain, actually hike up a mountain. So they make the same kind of thing on a larger scale. How do we know that what we're experiencing here in this classroom is ultimately real? It may not be ultimate real. It may be at some other level of reality. So that kind of opens up the possibility that there are different levels of perception and they're not as convinced as Westerners are as to the correlation between perception and reality, which is why typically Western scientists, scientists that have made great progress because the whole basis of science is based in at least in part, on the ability to trust in your perceptions. We can look to the microscope and see things, observe things and so forth. If that fundamental kind of confidence is not there, then it breaks down picture whole worldview. So this is a definitely influenced Indians in many ways. Indians. No one, I don't think would deny that Indians lack the analytical ability to do great science because these are some of the greatest philosophers of the world are produced, These are tremendously bright people, but they have not been as successful in producing a truly indigenous Indian science. And there are wonderful Indian scientists that have studied in the West especially, and or adopted Western premises to science. But in terms of a truly Hindu based science, it simply is not very strong. And then you have the whole category, if you want to call it that, or at least the the possibility of something being unreal. My view is I don't know there's anything in Hindu writings or philosophy that actually speaks about anything that's absolutely unreal except logical contradictions in that sense.


They say, for example, they'll say things like Shankara says, The only thing I know of, it's unreal, absolutely unreal, is the son of a barren woman. That's example he gives or the horns of a hair, red hair, the horns of a hair, things of that nature. So in that sense, there's a possibility of unreality, but not as a real category of ontology. So the world operates at this level, not this level. So the word Maya Maya is working in some way in this category. And the reason it's Maya is not because it's unreal in an absolute sense. It's Maya because we think it's paramount to think of. We think it has ultimate reality. We think there is nothing, there's no greater reality than the world around us. That's essentially the site to find Maya as a false way of looking at the world due to ignorance. They call this a vidya or the superimposition of ultimate reality upon it. DACA. I believe both those terms on the back adjusted of number 11, number 12, 11 of which is the word for ignorance and offset, refers to the superimposition of a greater reality on a lesser reality. Could you elaborate? Just like in the second category, does something else like I'm having a hard time, I guess wrapping my western brain around something that the real non-real. I'm like, okay, I'll give you an example that you will surely accept. You do not believe that you are an illusion, right? Okay. So you believe that you have some reality. Do you pinch yourself? You hurt, all right. But you also believe that your reality is ontologically different than God's reality. All right? Because God is a necessary being. You're a contingent being you are Your being is totally dependent on his existence for your existence.


He's not keen on you for your existence. So therefore, that's a different category of ontology. So they're simply acknowledging that there is an ultimate reality that is ontologically independent and there's everything else is dependent. And sometimes we may perceive that we have a greater reality than we do. We forget that we're dependent upon God. We live as if we're completely ontologically independent. That's ultimately part of the problem of sin. So they're actually observing something that we ourselves accept to a certain degree that there are different ways of speaking to reality, even in our context. But for Indians, it's just much more important in their thinking than in the typical kind of Western conversations. Does that help great other questions or comments about and I only we're going to come back to this kind of from time to time, this overall structure. So I want to put it up here just to maybe give you at least a little framework and then we can begin as time goes on, to fill out a little more of the, um, the way this actually works and some of the discussion from the issue of mind in terms of can be a major flaw in their understanding is you can't trust your senses to perceive reality or unreality. How can you even make those sorts of distinctions? Right. Well, that's that's a good question. And one of the terms on this sheet actually is the term yoga. I believe it's I included that as one of the top ten. Yeah. Number nine, there are different ideas about this, about how much you can trust your senses, how trustworthy they are, and whether there might be other ways in which we can access knowledge. So you're still thinking along the axis of that The best way to access knowledge is through rational kind of reasoning approach, and by using your senses, you're a potential great scientist because you trust it.


So what they're saying is maybe there are other ways that we can gain information apart from our senses that require some sort of a sensory decision. I don't know if I call it a sensory decision. It does involve some rational decision, maybe, but if as a sensory someone is sitting in an ashram somewhere and they're meditating and they try to void themselves of all of their sensory inputs, ears, smell, sight, all of that, and they begin to from their perception and I, I agree with you understand time trying to observe from their perception, they begin to gain insights into reality that they believe transcend their senses. Then they're not actually, from their point of view, arguing this is a sensory experience, but a supra sensory experience senses. I couldn't resist. It makes them super senseless. In fact, I never forget one time I was at this debate and this guy said, said to the Hindu India. Right. That's a contradiction. And to contradict what you're saying is a contradiction, it's a break the law of contradiction. And the person said, that's no problem for us. We don't mind being contradictory. What's for us is like the fatal blow of any, you know, debate. But he wasn't too concerned with being contradictory. In fact, I wrote down the whole quote, It was a profound quote about how great contradictions are, but I seem to have lost the quote. Okay. We'll come back to this from time to time. I have said all along, Maya is the most difficult concept to actually understand in the Hindu worldview, and it is the most widely misunderstood in the West because of that, because it's generally translated as illusion. And I think it operates at a little higher level than that.


But I must admit it is a level that eludes kind of easy, easy definition. So we'll continue to kind of flesh that out. But that gives us at least, I think, a working definition of it. And some of the other discussions will help to clarify some things about it. The six of our ten key themes is the term karma. This is the one you've probably heard of the most because it's kind of gone into the the vocabulary of the West. The word karma literally means act or deed. And I believe we at least introduced in a general terms the idea that this is the immutable law of cause and effect. I made the comment last time, It's not just that you reap what you sow, but you alone reap what you alone have sowed. What we did not discuss are the different kinds of karma in this actually is quite important in the discussion, though you don't often hear this referred to in the West. But there are three different kinds of karma. You don't need to know that the Sanskrit terms for these, but I'm giving you them in parentheses in case you're interested. But essentially you have three different ways that karma operates. And. Someone's life. So here you are. This is your life span. All right? You're born at point a are as a reborn at point A you. You emerge and you have past karma that you have accumulated over multiple lifetimes and existences. And previously that is accumulated karma, you see. Is the point A there on the thing are point one a humankind cheetah. All of your lifetimes, all pretty existence build up essentially like moral baggage. So you have cause and effect. Cause and effect. Every effect is the result of a cause.


Or because what all effects everything is linked together and this accumulates. And so you have essentially, like, a ledger. Here, here's your ledger. And you have whenever you perform karma or you work off karma, then you can you can lower the ledger. But this ledger continues to grow. These are your moral debt, as it were, and they must be paid off by you. That's fundamental Hindu and Buddhist thought. No one else can satisfy your karma for you. You alone must satisfy it. Everything that comes in to challenge this are all, you know, things from the side. The basic view of karma is that you alone must deal with this. Now, so that's accumulated karma now. The advantage of the second Con Cremona, which is being performed karma, is the human transmigration is very high in this kind of karma. And that whereas a a stone or a tiger will be very low in this kind of karma. This is the karma that's currently being worked off. That's what's called being performed is the karma. You're satisfied the human existence is, comparatively speaking, a good position in order to work off karmic debt. This puts a certain priority or certain advantage to the human incarnation because you can begin to deal with karma that you have accumulated in past lifetimes once you're a human. Now, this means maybe sutra may mean that you perform military service. Maybe if you're a soldier, it means you clean toilets. It doesn't necessarily mean that you get to be a Brahmin. This is true for everybody. If you are born as a shooter, you can, by virtue of being born a soldier, you're satisfying some of your karmic debt. And by following your Dharma as a shooter or doing your duty as a shooter, you satisfy a lot of karmic debt.


And the point hopefully the point will be that you might be reborn, hopefully as an upper caste person. If you're already upper caste, you want to be born back as a Brahmin. If you're a Brahmin female, you want to come back as a Brahmin male. If you're a Brahmin male, you want to make sure that you have satisfied all of your karma in any previous lifetime, which is almost certainly if you're born a Brahmin male, you've already done you have karmic debt. You satisfied by virtue of your life as a Brahmin. And then there is the karma that you take on in this particular life, because obviously as you live your life now, only you have the opportunity to be relieve the karmic debt, but you can also take on some karmic debt. You will say you want to eat meat or you are to your eye where it is to actually see an untouchable person or unseeable person that's considered to be bad karma. So you walk along one day and you're a Brahmin, and also you look up and you see an untouchable. That's karmic debt that you just immediately took on at that moment. So there's different different kinds of karmic debt. And this is largely how their whole ethical system functions, because according to their ethical framework, the way to maintain ethical guidelines is to present karmic consequences for everything. So therefore, evil deeds or deeds that they believe to be socially unacceptable can be eliminated through placing karmic consequences that are very high. So imagine, for example, stealing from a Brahman is a very high consequence. And so that guess how ethical structures work in essentially a system that doesn't have the ethical frameworks that we have in Christianity. Yes.


Where would all of us that in terms of karma, would we have better or worse karma than like Dalits or shu goods or. Yeah, it's difficult to say. I would say that essentially this whole discussion a historic. At least is happening within the context of the Varna system. So it doesn't really happen. There's not a lot of discussion among Brahmins about how this relates to Muslims or Sikhs, much less a secular Western or a Christian person in the West. In more modern times, of course, this has been given all kinds of permissions, and many Hindus will will say that the Westerners have got to understand karma is what is clouding their ability to see the truth of the Hindu vision, the pan-Islamic vision, so that you have some discussion about Westerners being encrusted with karma. And certainly theoretically, it's got to be true. But I think it doesn't really play in very strongly to most of the Hindu discussions because all this classical discussion is done by Indians for Indians in India and doesn't really deal with outside influences. How far did Indians accept this doctrine? Obviously. So how far the Hindus accept this karma? I had to the where you are in India, of course. And also how you mean by the accept it. If you mean if you're an area like in the Northeast where you're from, the seven northeastern states or you're in parts of Kerala, you know, you're not going to have a strong belief in this, of course. But in most of India, this is widely accepted by Hindus. Now, it's not accepted in terms of a theological structure by Christians, but it is the social realities of it are widely bowed to by Christians and Muslims alike because there are certain cultural barriers to the who marries, who, who eats with who, who lives with who and all that.


And that continues in much of India. So I would say my experience, the current system is very, very high. In fact, I have here somewhere my notes. They did a survey of Indians and they asked them two questions. Number one, do you consider yourself part of the Varna system? They just ask asked this question. And then two If so, which Varna do you belong to? It was really interesting because of those who responded. There's about only about it was like 70 to 75 someone there. Percent of Hindus believe they were in the Varna system. But there was a lot of confusion about what the question meant because there are people in fact, there was at least a 10% overlap of people who said on one end, I'm not in the Varna system, but only because they view themselves as outcast. They were Dalits and they thought either I'm not in the wrong, I can't even be in the Varna system. So then there were. But that shows they accepted the whole concept even though they were outside it. There were a 10% of a lot of people who weren't sure if they were Dalits or should address. They just didn't know. They didn't know if they were Dalits or shooters. They weren't sure if they're in or out of the caste system. So that was that shed light on a the confusion among the minds of many people in popular Hindu and villages. But also there's still a extremely high percentage of Hindus or of Indians that believe in it, and they'll of Hindus extremely high, extremely high. And India has 700 million Hindus. So I would say it's very, very high, especially in Hindu people's. When you're witnessing a people, do you take certain concepts like karma, for example, as bridges to the gospel? Well, I think the problem and we'll look at this much more later in the course because that obviously is an important point you're making.


But I think in a short answer and for now that there's no question that you cannot preach among Hindus in India without and or with Buddhist for that matter, without dealing with karma, the question is whether you want to use as a bridge or not. That bridge is a kind of open question. I think the key is to acknowledge that karma creates a situation where vicarious suffering is impossible. So the idea of Christ suffering for your sins goes against the entire doctrine of karma. I have articles written in the Times of India where people have written in and said things like this said, How in the world can Christians believe that what somebody did, however great? And we think Jesus wonderful too. We think he's a great teacher too. We think we revere him as a god, too. But how can these Christians actually say that what somebody did 2000 years ago can in any way affect their lives today? How's that possible? I mean, for Hindus is absolutely incredulous. Say that's because the karmic idea that there's no way that Jesus can take your karmic debt. So I think part of the challenge is if you preach in India not being aware of karma, you will have huge problems. Whether the karma karma uses as a bridge, you know how you define a bridge. If by bridge you mean that showing them the article ludicrousness how ludicrous it is to to pretend as if we don't affect each other. We can't influence each other. I think is a very helpful thing because many Indians, when they think about it, realize that what people do does affect us. I use example last week about the man coming home drunk every night. You know, to say that person is not causing suffering for his family and the family's only satisfying their own karmic debt totally independent of his drunkenness is ludicrous.


And there's not too many Indians that, if you pressed him, would not understand that point. And yet in the theology of karma, it's not that way. Okay, so is everyone clear on the three different categories? Are kinds of karma, the accumulated karma from the past, the current karma being worked off, and the karma you may take on in the current incarnation that you're in. Okay, great. Number seven, the one that you all are waiting for. How in the world do you get off the wheel of some samsara? Well, moksha, this is the kind of salvation concept. This is your release from the bondage of samsara. Moksha means release. This is the goal of Hinduism. It's the appropriation of the basic truth that if you work your karma off and you have satisfied all of the accumulated karma, you have satisfied all the karma in your present life, then you can be released in the world. Samsara We mentioned this whole wheel idea and if you are released from that, your Atman is reunited with Brahman and the different ways you can sell your apartment is reunited with Brahman. You can say up and finally realized it's oneness with Brahman. There's different ways you can say it precisely, but essentially it is realizing there's no distinction between the ultimate I, the essence and the soul of the universe itself. Ortman is Brahman taught to. I see. Once that realization occurs, then you can achieve moksha. Yes. How can they be certain that whatever constitutes a person's essence, when you die, it's going to be that same essence is going to continue on as a rabbit or as a Brahman or whatever. There is no guarantee of that within the house. So what happens is your karmic your karmic debt continues on.


Attached to that Ottoman, the manifestation of your essence could occur in multiple places. And in both cases the karmic is attached to that part of it. So not necessarily be a 1 to 1 correspondence. That being said, there is one school of Hindu philosophy which does believe it's always separate and it always stays individual. And even in even when you release from Moksha, you maintain your individual existence in Brahman. So there is a school of philosophy accepts that. But at this point, we're looking at the mainstream, which is essentially the idea that when your Ottoman reunites with Brahman, it's lost. And just the way he said the salt is lost in the water. In that analogy in the Punjab shots, there's no way you can take the salt out. You can't separate the salt from the water. It's there, but it's diffused into the whole. Any other question on Moksha? Yes, there's more. A general question about how do you see religion itself? Do they view it as a move? Your Christianity is sort of the greatest embodiment of truth, or do they view it more as like a political system that has good and bad? And that's just what you have to work with? Well, that goes back to the whole transmigration and karma thing. If you have a system that says there's no suffering that you accept, you experience except what you deserve through your actions, then it's not unjust. Part of the problem with what they believe is the way Christians deal with the Odyssey is that we accept that there is such a thing as innocent suffering. And so if you have a baby with cancer or whatever, then that baby we would say the end is in suffer. That raises the whole issue of the odyssey.


Why is this child being afflicted with suffering? India doesn't have that problem because whatever suffering exists exists because of that individual person's karmic debt. And so from their point of view, it is completely just as far as the question of what is the eternal truth. They definitely believe that even the most basic village Hindu believes that Hinduism is the son of tongue of Dharma. It's one of the most commonly praised statements in India that Hindu Hinduism is the eternal truth, and everything else is a reflection of some aspect of that eternal truth, including Christianity, and that ultimately everything finds its its oneness in Hinduism, which is Mormonism. They have that insight that there's only one ultimate reality to the universe. And because of that, they think all the dualistic systems that are present, be it Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, whatever, are ultimately less true at the level of param article than Hinduism. Well, such on that point. Let me quote you a I think a really great point that's made by Brom about who would hire. We'll look at him more later in the course. But he raises questions, as you just did actually. He says in his writings that the doctrine transmigration is unjust. The Hindus say this is absolutely just because it's your karma, you're paying it off. But he makes the analogy. He says, What if you want to have a boy, a schoolboy who commits an offense in school? You know, you are this it's not this 19th century India. It's not 21st century America. And the boy must stand before his comrades and receive 30 lashes. That's not unusual. Even today in India, you can be physically beaten by your professors, so watch out. Indians are always amazed at how has the word not say the word kindness, but how affable the American environment is.


I have no idea how this compares to the North East, but in the regular part of India, the same with the Indians, but mostly in the school. Do you have corporal punishment by your teachers? Yeah. In a school you've been head. Not. Not in the colleges, but in the lower school. Yeah, right. Oh, you're here. You're getting out to see us out of here. Anyway, so this little boy needs to get 30 lashes. All right, So he. So everybody who hears this story, they're so familiar with it because the Indians get their head, hands slapped with little rulers. And all this stuff is very much part of the education. The boy gets up before before he is minister the lashes. Someone comes up and he administers a little potion to the boy, a shot so that he forgets everything he's done wrong. He has no idea why he's being punished. And everybody that's observing the thing, they get a shot. So they have no idea why he's been punished. So the poor child being lashed away at. All right. He has no idea why. No one knows why he's been punished. They all just know he's being punished for something he did. But I ask the question, is that just is it just to punish someone when they do not know the cause or what they did? And that seems to be standard justice. Now, Rose, he's living in British India, so he's been exposed to Western conceptions of justice. But the whole idea is that if you commit a crime, you come for the court. They say, okay, Joy, you're guilty of X. She's tried, she's committed, she's girl, she's guilty, then she's punished. That makes perfect sense to O'Brien. This guy's a Brahman now, a Brahman convert to Christianity.


So he's saying is simply not just. And so no one except for Shirley MacLaine, remembers their past lives. All right. And that's how some of the clients always a general or some great you know, she never said, well, I was a street sweeper. You know, Indians do not know about their past lives. That's a modern Western kind of Hindu thing. The traditional Indians, when you're Ottman reemerges, part of the whole thing is a conscious link is dropped. So you do not have any conscious knowledge of your previous life or karmic deeds. So you don't know, am I being punished because I, you know, stole from a Brahmin? Am I being punished because I ate meat? I have no idea. Does that raise the question of justice? The other thing he points out is the the doctrine of evil itself is askew, because what they do is they put transmigration creates a chain of being that goes from, for example, a a worm is lower on the chain of being in a tiger. A tiger is lower in Champaign than a human being. So essentially what you have is this and the laws that I knew support this, this huge chain of being that goes down to lesser and less and other forms of life. And it assumes transmigration assumes that the lower you go down the chain of existence, the more evil it is is simply not true. That's a that's an improper view of evil. A worm cannot be viewed as evil because it cannot perform. The duties of a tiger is simply not true. You can't chastise a worm for not being able to attack something or run after something because that's it wasn't created that way. A worm has inherent goodness. It is created to do exactly what it's created to do, and that carries goodness.


And the Indian idea, the absence of any quality is an evil. And so they would say that a butterfly is more evil than an elephant. But is that true? Is that not a proper view of evil? I'll quote from who he says, The worm which lives upon filth is not at all unhappy because it cannot enjoy like the cuckoo, the sweetness of the lushness, fruits and cool purity of the Zephyr placed in the position of the cuckoo on a leafy bow of a mango tree. It will of its dirty home to say that the worm, because of its filthy ness, is suffering from a greater evil than the cuckoo, is only drawing upon imagination. So true. So true. So says so many times the the Indians that they come out of this can see a lot of unjust ness to raise your question. But in the traditional way they because a karmic one on one correspondence, they don't believe it's unjust. Well, and also what is the moral code for a stone or a worm? How does it trans migrate to a higher level? No, that's what happens. Say once that once you have a a worm, for example, the worm is very low on this being performed karma. So it takes a long time for that worm to migrate back up to the position of a human migration again. But the virtue of the fact that you're born a worm does satisfy some karmic that you can gradually work your way over thousands of rebirths to once again be in a position where you can really take care of some karmic debt in the human incarnation. So you guess we're always winding down to utter destruction. How come worms are going upwards? Well, the worm is going upwards, perhaps in a micro sense, but in the line, the larger sense, the overall creation is winding down.


And if the worm doesn't crawl out of its filthy ness or evilness, as they would say, then ultimately the worm will be destroyed in the last Yuga and would not make it out. I don't know. That's that's a good question. There may be. I guess your point is, if the whole universe is increasingly becoming wicked, why would things not tend toward gaining more karma than losing karma? That's a good question. They say they've got both. That's a good question. I have to ask that to my Hindu friends sometimes. So they say. So then having this chain of B come about like how was it decided that a tiger is better than a butterfly, better or less evil or whatever? Yeah, that's the most that comes out of the laws menu because laws maneuver news give the consequences of what you'll be reborn as if you do this or that. And so eventually it creates a code that which ranks things. Okay, well, let's see. Number eight, we've already discussed quite a bit, and that's the concept of Mormonism. Mormonism argues there's one ultimate principle of existence or being reality is not divided. There's not God and other, there's only Brahman. And there is definitely this is a strong point within the Dante's school that this one major school of Hindu philosophy, But there are many Indian schools that simply deny monism. It's not at all true to say that Hindus are monastic. You get that in summary books and so forth. But what they're really saying is that the dominant school of Hindu philosophy is monastic. That is true. But even within that school, it does not necessarily mean you don't have individual ness in the larger sense as describe monastic life. We'll have to look at that later.


Mormonism is definitely something that is propagated by this particular school of philosophy, and it is definitely influenced the way people think about Hinduism. Nagarjuna Brahman is the only ultimate reality. According to medical Hinduism, the part of shot at Vision. Right now we're just exploring the Panasonic vision. Just keep that in mind. Now once we get these ten things down and we kind of go through some of these texts and the punch shards, then we can begin to see how Hinduism has reacted to or embraced kind of the overall vision of the upon the shards. Any question about Mormonism. Yes. When you talk about liberty, Mukti is just another word for moksha. Mukti is used almost interchangeably with moksha. So it's just another term for it. Woman's release. Women's freedom. It's just too many words like, yes, how does the brain and that form families and how they reconcile that belief to this idea that karma is one's own problem? Well, first of all, the perception of individual existence is part of the karmic debt. And so therefore, the idea that one is encrusted with karma, which gives one the perception of individual existence, is part of this whole second category here. This is just like China. So therefore, when a person goes into Moksha, they not only lose their karma, they lose one of the one of these. This loss to that is the individual self. Now, granted, we're not yet at the point of saying that. And you know this, that all Hindus don't believe that. But that particular school believes that the perception of your individual ness is part of the the signs of your karmic debt. And that in crusting over they say it's like a mirror. One of them is the mirror.


And if you look in the mirror without anything on it, then what you'll see is Brahman. The problem is the mirror is dirty mirror mirrors crusted all over. So you can't see Brahman. So you're looking for yourself. And so part of what you do when you satisfy your karma is you're cleaning the mirror off. And eventually you'll see reality as it truly is. And you'll see there is no self taught. Tom, I see you are actually Brahman, but in the meantime, you are caught. You're trapped in the perceptual error. That's part of what karma does. Karma traps you into the perception of your individual ness. Okay, let's now go to yoga. I have a question. Yes. What's the point of being a parent on this planet if you have no more carbon to pay off? Well, if a Brahman while Brahman is still alive, a Brahman is satisfying. That last little bit of karma that's being performed in this lifetime. So that Brahman must satisfy that in his lifetime. So Brahmans are very careful about their, generally speaking, about their diet and about all that, because they don't want to take on karma because a Brahma, even Brahman male, can be born back as a Shuja or as a Dalit if they do something stupid. According to most rabbinical views, that's how they keep their community separate. So they're very careful not to. For example, if a Brahmin wants to marry a Shuja or a Dalit, the consequence or catastrophic for that Brahman. So because of that, that is the purpose. They're trying to maintain that purity of their from an equal position. Mm hmm. They do. They are. I mentioned last time there are these certain great teachers of rabbinical teachers who claim later in life that they have gotten past that point and their karma no longer touch them.


And then that's when some of these gurus will, like, start collecting cars and they'll start, you know, engaging in all kinds of sexual activity and stuff that is goes against medical codes. But that's only a certain group of people that are very powerful, that feel like they have got a big enough following. They can kind of buck the system a little bit. Yes, they will remember when they come back. Whenever they come back and when do some of them even care. Right. But you still want to get released from this existent and that. And again, only this one school, this Vedanta is arguing that you don't have conscious knowledge of it. So there are other schools that do. So it's difficult to make that generalization. But the Brahmans and rabbinical Hinduism, they still view that life is ultimately a suffering experience, Brahman or not, and therefore you want to be released from the wheel of suffering. And Western worldviews would generally view life as an affirmative experience, and therefore we don't have that desire to escape it as this part of the Hindu worldview. Yes. How widespread in Hinduism is the belief that an avatar can pump you out of the real world? We'll need to develop that later. The avatar is very, very important. But it's not until Buddhism comes and challenges this basic rabbinical idea that you have the Hindu absorption of that which creates the possibilities of all these avatars, all these incarnation, so that well, without that later, it's very widespread. It's very important. Now, whether or not that whether that person that God has the ability to actually take your karma is a very Buddhist idea, is not a funnily Hindu idea. So the question is how does that is interpreted with the son who worships a particular date, in particular village, temple or whatever.


And that makes a big difference on where you are in India and who you're talking to. So it's not like a solid view of that. But you're right, that does begin to shake up all of this a little bit. Right now, learning the kind of the baseline. And then when looking look at all the hard carping against it, because this is definitely the baseline in which everyone is fighting against or affirming or whatever. Fighting for yoga is a term which many of you have have heard a lot as you did the term karma, because it's so much a part of the American vocabulary. If you were to go out in the streets of Boston, you stop ten people and ask them, what is yoga? They would probably say, What? What is yoga? What do you associate with yoga in your own mind? Stretching and meditations, right. Some kind of meditative activities like spiritual aerobics or whatever. And you go to your classes and everybody in Hollywood apparently sign up for your glasses. Seems like nowadays. And it kind of has the eastern flavor to it or whatever. So that's true. Yoga does do that. But actually we need to go back a little bit. And for at least for the moment, just forget that you have this association with yoga about meditation. Let's just point that out. Yoga originally is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, the School of Yoga. It's one of the major full of schools like Vedanta. Yet we're going to look at all of these later. But right now we're just kind of give you some of the terms. But there was a particular view, another school of philosophy known as Sam Ka, which is on the handout there, the Sam core, which did believe in individual existence and our individual consciousness of one's existence.


All right. So they actually raise the question that you raised. How in the world Sam can has this great insight into reality, but how in the world can the average person achieve it? If you can't figure it out rationally, if you can't do this, perceptual errors, all of us are bound. How can you achieve it? A school of yoga came up as a pathway or a means a What's the word for this? Maybe I might say a technique in order to achieve the insights of Sam Ka. So basically the school yoga said, We believe that Sam's philosophy is true, but they don't have a clue how to get somebody at that point to see their truth. We'll give you the technique. If you follow our school, we will lead you to the truth of Sam's code. So essentially, yoga became used broadly in India to refer to any technique or path to get to some greater realization. So people will say, What's your yoga? What I mean by that is, what is the path that you're following in order to achieve moksha? So everybody is acknowledging, okay, here you are, you're stuck in a world of samsara. You want to achieve moksha. How are you going to get there? And so some people said many of the Hindu schools have great, brilliant insights, but they don't help the average person that's sitting in a bazaar somewhere in a street or whatever know how to get from where he is or where she is to that point. And so there needs to be some technique, some methods. So yoga becomes kind of an umbrella term for technique, method of achieving moksha in one of the most dominant ones is through meditation. So yoga became a path or a way.


They it a marga is their term for it. Mark is the word for path towards liberation. So what originally began as a philosophy of yoga to achieve the goals of Sabka philosophy. And they particularly said in order to achieve, implement the philosophy, you must go through meditation. So it gradually broke out into that. All kinds of believe that if you follow the eight step meditative process of yoga and you learn to control your breathing techniques, you learn to control your posture, your breath control constant. Try different things. Then eventually you can achieve moksha. So people began to borrow yoga as a way to help them to achieve moksha. And so today, you can be a follower of yoga, and especially in the West, it can be a kind of a way of just centering yourself, clearing your mind, relaxing all the way up to achieving some huge, lofty philosophical goals. It can be everything in between. And it's not at all today identified, particularly with Sam the way it originally was. The term ohm we mentioned already. This is part of this great mantra and a part of their idea is that if you can control your breathing, then you can focus your consciousness and your body. There is energy flowing. This ohm mantra is also flowing through your body. It's a cosmic homology. So if you can control your body, you can control the universe. If you can control your body, you can control your ability to get off the wheel of samsara. So the whole idea of classical homology is very important to yoga because they say your body is a microcosm of the universe. So there's power flowing through your body just way there's power flow into the universe. The OM resonance right resonates through your body the way it resonates so the universe.


So if you can focus and concentrate and control your breathing, then you can be liberated out of the bondage of samsara. So that's today. The broad use of the word yoga is probably the best one to have in your mind in this course, even though it's used the way it's used in the West and a kind of a particular way. Thoughts are comments about the term yoga. Yes. Matthew. Sam is a one of the schools of philosophy that believed that there are two eternal principles in the universe rather than one. One of those principles is Brahman. The other is nature and matter. So the eternal city of matter and the reality and essence of Brahman. So they did not want to deny the reality of nature the way Vedanta did to take this to ultimate principles. It's a form of dualism. Eternal dualism in some of the six schools of philosophy is Yoga School. And Sam, there are two separate. They are two. They'll go to school and yoga. It's just a it is a path. But to be fair, they also added one little philosophical insight. They said that they believe that the principle of Brahman that Sam was reaching for was actually God. They wanted to kind of bring in God into it. So yoga is probably, of all the schools of Hindi philosophy, more mystically oriented than others, which is why they believe that Americans might be more apt to accept yoga philosophy than any other reasons why it is propagated in the West. Yes, they didn't mean to cheat. You achieve the insight of Sam. Oh, so it's not me. I don't mean to have achieved something like achieving Moksha, but achieving the insights that those insights of Sam Cooke, which they basically accepted, was the Hindu perspective of kind of how Americans approach yoga.


Well, there's different ideas about it. Back in the 1800s, there was a big move led by a guy named Swami Vivekananda who came to the West as a missionary to the West to propagate Hindus in the West. So they said that in order to propagate Hindus in the West, we had put accommodations into the same kind of fight that goes on in Christian circles about how much can you or should you accommodate to a culture. One of the examples was with yoga, because Americans find it very difficult and painful to sit in the yoga position because we're not used to sitting that low to the ground where you sit in chairs. And so one of the concessions that was made was that American yogic exercise. Many of them take place in chairs, rather, on the floor, because many Americans just simply could not get in the position, because Indians will sit very normally, like in the marketplace. They'll sit like this all the time in this. Right. Like if you just sitting around and talking, I would fall over here. I mean, this is not to mention cross-legged. Okay. That's an easy, more difficult. But I get nervous as I can't get up. All right. So if I sit like this, they can sit for hours at school and in D.C. next week, I'm there. They'll be sitting for hours at night. The voice talking is like this. After about 5 minutes like this, I'm about to die because I must live in stretch. That way. We don't sit that way. So they're very flexible and they can get on the ball in the ground, cross their legs over as a comfortable position to sit in and meditate in. So and they're in some people very critical because the thing is so much based on your exact body position that people say, how can you have yoga in a chair? It's just impossible.


Or on all these the high cushions and all. So those are some of the things that that people harped about. But I would say basically Hinduism so flexible, so absorbing, they've accommodated so much of Western problems and challenges and tried to continue to work their way into the American system. Hindus is not doctrinally oriented, you know, so it's just experience oriented. So long as you're having experience, they can be very flexible. Okay. The last and final of the ten concepts is known as set chit. Ananda I probably should have written this also as a single term because actually that's what really pairs. But how they had the transmission to their pupil. Remember how he says, you know, they had come from an embrace and all that? So what happens is at the end of his life, people will kind of give a last testament or a last insight that summarizes their essence of their teaching. So it's a no small moment that the Last upon a Shard. By the way, commercial, you really can't get on with Hinduism very far without having a copy of the Upon Shards and the Bhagavad Gita. Even if you don't have the Vedas, if you've got to have the eponymous shards. Okay, so where were we in the Upanishads? If you go to that book and you flip through it and the very last upon us shot of the principal ones is this Vajra seeker upon a shard. Which one of the ones you are required to read. And in that you have essentially a transmission and a punisher that seeks to finally give some insight into Brahman. Amber how I'm near goona Brahman. Now remember how we said that there's nothing one can say for certainty about Brahman? So finally we have some basic and these are very basic but basic things said about Brahman.


But they become very, very important in later Christian discussions with Hindus. And so it's so important that you're aware of this. The three affirmations are that Brahman is bean being meaning he has ontology, so he has existence. This is, you know, the basic idea of being philosophically. He has consciousness. I mean, there's thinking there, there's consciousness there, there's awareness there. And that's very, very important. And finally, Ananda means literally means bliss. It is so important in Hindu writings this concept of Orlando like bliss. It doesn't just mean bliss mean like happiness. It means bliss in terms of total freedom from any kind of dependance. It's that more of that, that term. But all the great teachers and the philosophers, well, somehow or another have on and tied into their name. And so even myself, when I write books for Hindi audiences in Hindi, they are like pamphlets, whatever else. I never use the name Timothy Tenet because if you're walking through a Marketplace people pamphlet and it's like Timothy Tenno, that immediately tells them, this guy is not an Indian. He's some outsider who chunk it. But I go by the term. And the problem is if you want to use a North Indian name, so if you use a name, a South Indian name, like, you know, Sam George or something, that's just as bad as a foreign name. So you've got to use a North Indian name or the northern names are all related to Hindu gods almost exclusively. So again, this would not apply to north east names, but in the north north part of India. So, for example, the translator that I work with, his name is Shivraj Mahindra, very classic northern name. You know Shivraj. Shivraj means Shiva. Raj is the word for King, right? King Shiva.


Okay. So his name gives exaltation to Shiva, his last name. You'll now know his name is Mahendra Maha. Indra, the great Indra. Remember the Vedic God, Indra. So his name means King Shiva, the great Indra. All right. So that's typical of North Indian names. So I had to come with a name that was on one hand, sounded very North Indian and yet could point to Christ rather than to a God, a Hindu idol or whatever. So my name is Pray Rise, which is prime is the word for love in Hindi, King of Love. And then the last myth referring to Jesus. Jesus is the king of love, not me. And the last word in my last name is Garment. And again, this is all the minute I see. I don't know. You're a teacher, see? So they'll pick it up because that means you are a teacher of Hinduism, you know, Hinduism. And of course, Dharma, you know. So this is basically means the bliss of righteousness, the bliss of truth. So, Prem Raj Darmanin, do you see that on the stands? That's me. Do they call him for speaking engagements? Not yet. We're still working on that one. But I'm hoping that more and more we'll have some access to Hindu audiences as. There's people I mean, like surprise, surprise always calls me primaries and then of calls me Dr. Tenet. He'll call me Uncle Prime Rise uncle for him. Right. I love it. Anyway, so it's very much a part of the Hindu thing. You've got to have a good name. But Ananda is very, very important because even Brahmin is given this title, as it were, Ananda being conscious and bless. Now, what's important from this, at least in seed form at this point, we'll develop this more later, is there's actually three two ideas about the trinity that are latent in Hindu thinking.


One is totally inappropriate and doesn't help us very far. And there's this one there. One is the tri Murti idea, which we mentioned in context early on, the three faces of God, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This is a very popular idol in in India. And so some people have tried to take the idea of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as a kind of a Trinitarian concept that's embedded in Hindu thought. I found this to be highly unsuccessful because there's so many problems with this. This is just like crass idolatry here. Whereas sutra under such it under these three concepts, I think has been very, very fruitfully dealt with by many Indian thinkers as a doorway to try to communicate the trinity to Indians and where they can understand it. This book, although a bunch of he spends a huge amount of time trying to develop this, a good portion of this book is dedicated to his trying to make that connection theologically. Using the language of the punished sides is not easy to do, but it's certainly a doorway. And he's not the first nor the last or many others who've worked on this within the Christian context, who were mainly converts from brown mystical background who try to do that. So for now, we're just laying it out on the table as a seed point because this will be later revisited. Actually, not to the 19th century, but eventually 19th century. This is visited big time by famous Indians like Ram Mohan, Roy Cashapp, Sandra. And these are people that every Indian knows about. There are very famous Indian writers and thinkers that influenced the way Indians think. And during the British presence there, the Indians went through a long career of trying to find a way to cleanse Hinduism of what they believe were repulsive elements.


And they were very, very emphatic with the British presence there. And so during those times, there was a great openness to trying to find connections of Christianity with Hinduism. So this created a huge man literature, which is still being sifted through to this day in various writings and responses. Okay. Any question about this or any of the ten concepts? We now have the basic working vocabulary that will help us down the road. Yes. Did you say that? And that is the one that's the very end of the last part. Shots. Hmm. Yeah, it is. It's a very short upon a shot. Only a page or so long. And so you can. You'll definitely read that. And you can see that mentioned in that upon a shot.