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Faith - How much and Where to Stop

From: Vijay Srinivasan (Vijay_Srinivasan_at_praxair.com)
Date: Fri Mar 08 1996 - 05:38:42 PST

There have been several comments by Mani in the last Bhakti Digest that I would 
like to respond in a sort of general way. At the very outset I would apologise 
to Mani if my comments are in anyway not complimentary to his intelligence and 
talents. 

Francis Bacon once said that he is ready to beleive all the fables in the world 
rather than beleive that this universal structure is without a mental frame.  I 
think it was a question of faith on the part of Bacon and he was strongly 
refuted by Russell and others who beleived that a human personality is nothing 
but a accidental collocation of atoms.

Vivekananda once said that if you have not seen God what right you have to say 
that there is one.

We know this much that in the scheme of things there is something that is 
unknown and that unknown is no less real because it is an unknown.  We also 
know that the atma is ever self-realized (if we beleive in the concept of atma 
for which I think Mani may not have any proof as much as I have no proof for 
the puranic stories) and our action neither taint nor glorify that atma.  This 
is indeed true of a prapanna too, for once assured of His grace what is there 
left for him to be accomplished.

The act of creation, from a butterfly to Brahma, is indeed the sport of God.  
He plays this sport to divinize the atma (i.e. to restore its inherent nature) 
and the Lord could have played this sport in any other way and divinized all 
living beings in one stroke, for He has no limitations and His will is always 
self-realized.

For those of us who beleive in Sanathana Dharma, the vedic way of life or the 
ways shown by our forefathers is the way to play the game the right way, that 
the Lord wants us to play.  The right way can be found through shastras (giving 
due considerations to time and place), which I think, is the collective wisdom 
of our rishis.  What at first sight appears as mere rituals, unsuitable for the 
time and place we live in, gains meaning as we practice it.  Those actions 
indeed are permeated with love, compassion and the finest and noble human 
feelings.  It is again the Lord who decides how long or short our game is.  
Therefore, all actions like observance of Ekadashi, performing Sandhyavandhana 
are only in the service of God and there is nothing to be ridiculed about them 
if they are performed in the right way including paying attention to their 
details.

We should always bear in mind that those peolpe who benefit from the ways shown 
by our fore-fathers (which many find it a fashion to call as rituals) have as 
much thought about life and philosophy as are arm-chair philosophers.


Vijayaraghavan Srinivasan