Trip Around the Sun
46 of 52 – Hindu
Have traveled about 517,000,000 miles - 6 weeks to finish the Trip Around the Sun.
A long essay was sent – arguing that beliefs cannot be “chosen.” The first line:
Particular attention will be devoted to the idea that it is possible to choose beliefs.
One hopes to win the
lottery, but one does
not believe he will.
Hope is a choice, while
belief is forced upon
the thinking man by data.
- Chuck Borough
When people of religion speak of belief, they are usually (without knowing it) speaking not of belief, but of hope.
We do get to choose what to hope for.
Additionally, what we hope tells a lot about what we are.
(Is someone currently "hoping" for war?)
Quote sent from atheists:
of you not to pollute the soul of childhood, not to furrow the cheeks
of mothers, by preaching a creed. Do not make the cradle as terrible as the coffin.
Preach, I pray you, the gospel of Intellectual Hospitality.”
- - Robert G. Ingersoll, 1887
I believe this is the ideal - freedom of thought - but I have never known how to achieve it.
What do we do - tell Americans in various religions that they cannot teach their children to believe in that religion?
I've watched the "brainwashing" - and seen both what I didn’t like about it - and what seemed to be very beneficial - less dope use - less smoking - less drinking - more college degrees - better leaders in society - better fathers and mothers - etc. And the help for these benefits lasts for years and years.
How do we achieve all this - and leave out religion? Will groups of atheists put together sufficient programs - and stick to them for years and years? It is not their record of activity.
I certainly would not want to start over – and try to
raise my five children without the help given by a good religion - and all the
effort it brings from organized people. From what I’ve seen of groups of
atheists, there is no way they could or would provide sufficient support for
From the internet:
The term 'spirituality' has nothing to do with religion, as commonly understood. In fact, according to Sahaj Marg, spirituality begins where religion ends.
Religion enforces an externalization of the mind in man's search for God. Mysticism or spirituality internalizes the search and directs the mind to the heart of man where the search should really commence.
(To the heart? Where? In one of the ventricles? One of the Atria? Or in the thick muscle about the left Ventricle? [My questions are not intended simply as sarcasm.] What is this heart so many speak of and never define? Why use the metaphor – let’s talk about the actual. – If there is an actual.)
God is not something external, waiting with a rod in hand to punish us for our transgressions.
He is inside us, and being inside, if He punishes us, He has to endure that punishment Himself.
(He? Himself? There is a male something inside our hearts? Even for the ladies?)
Spirituality, therefore, focuses man's attention on the divine effulgence radiating in one's own heart, which effulgence is created by the presence of the Creator Himself in the heart. (Again – Heart, Himself ???)
This immediately presents the Divine in an altered light and brings Him to a proximity with one's own person which can hardly come any nearer. Being within us, such a Being is not only always accessible, but readily reachable, and all that spirituality requires of us to achieve the sense of oneness with God, is to focus the mind inwards and approach Him with love.
(I can understand how these metaphors can become influential in one’s life – but wouldn’t it make sense to recognize that they are metaphors?)
Hinduism is a religious philosophy rather than an abstract religion. It is based on the realization of truths and varied experiences of thousands of sages from days immemorial and immortalized in the ancient scriptures: The VEDAS. Hinduism was not founded by any single founder; nor is it based on any single epic. The great epics, MahaBharata and Ramayana were also written during these ancient times. According to Vedic philosophy, every individual is potentially divine. The gradual unfolding of the human divinity through various ways of self-culture, social and family duties, responsibilities and ideals is the objective of the religion. We believe that the supreme power manifested itself through various AVATHARS (Incarnations) through the ages and will continue to do so to establish universal Dharma. The supreme power is conceptualized through the trinity.
(Somehow the older data is, the more it is trusted. Among scientists, it is the opposite – the newer the data, if tested, the more trusted. Often, newer data supplants older.)
Deities: (three hundred and thirty-three million Gods)
(Hmmm – If Mormons were to give it a number – what would it be? Isn’t it interesting that the base Ten system of numbering – presumably the invention of man – should work out so that the number of gods has six zeros all in a row in it? I mean, why not 133,463,743 gods?)
The most prevalent expression of worship for the Hindu comes as devotion to God and the Gods. In the Hindu pantheon there are said to be three hundred and thirty-three million Gods. Hindus believe in one Supreme Being. The plurality of Gods are perceived as divine creations of that one Being. So, Hinduism has one supreme God, but it has an extensive hierarchy of Gods. Many people look at the Gods as mere symbols, representations of forces or mind strata, or as various Personifications generated as a projection of man's mind onto an impersonal pure Beingness. Many Hindus have been told over and over that the Gods are not really beings, but merely symbols of spiritual matters, and unfortunately many have accepted this erroneous notion about the Gods. In reality, the Mahadevas are individual soul beings, and down through the ages ordinary men and women, great saints and sages, prophets and mystics in all cultures have inwardly seen, heard, and been profoundly influenced by these superconscious inner plane beings. Lord Ganesha is such a being. He can think just as we can think. He can see and understand and make decisions - so vast in their implications and complexity that we could never comprehend them with our human faculties and understanding.
Visit: Shri Mandir –
They are “open” from to on Sundays. Apparently, there is no meeting with a time. They said to come anytime within those hours. I will go at .
I arrived at – Something was already going on. This time I was mindful of the collection of shoes outside the doorway. It was raining – and the shoes did not have a place to go that would be entirely dry – so I set mine down upside down against the wall.
On entering I saw many statues – all about the same height (3 feet or so) across one entire wall – perhaps twenty of them. They were very decorated and colorful – most had the appearance of female forms – fully robed and ornate.
In the center was a more dense collection of these – along with some other items for ritual use. A small area of carpet was in front of this – and a family of five were seated legs folded there along with the “minister.” He was doing all the talking, so far as I could hear – without intruding and sitting with them.
There was only one other person in the large room. I approached him and introduced myself quietly. He welcomed me – but in conversation, it appeared he did not speak lots of English. I am handicapped with a single language. I think he was telling me that after the rituals were over with the family, the leader would come and talk with me.
So then I quietly spent my time walking about the room looking at pictures and statues and trying to learn a little. There was a small tall table with nine small statues (about a foot tall) – oriented in a square – three rows of three. Around the outer edge of this table were labels for seven of these. There was a little area or two that looked like glue – like two of the labels had fallen off.
The labels that were present were: KETU SATURN MERCURY VENUS MOON MARS and RAHU
I wondered if perhaps the missing two were two more planets – probably missing Pluto, as it was discovered long after the “religion” was well established. (About 1930)
1930 is very recent indeed – even relative to the very small amount of time that religions have been known among men on Earth.
Are Keto and Raha two names for planets?
I almost appears that astrology or something similar is part and parcel of this religion.
I watched the family with the religious leader – he was singing – like chanting – and every once in a while, he would drop a few kernels of rice in a metal pan on the altar area.
This went on for about half an hour, after which each member of the family was greeted warmly, and they thanked him and left the building.
He then approached me – a little carefully at first – I’m sure I do not look the part. Soon we were friendly, and he was most helpful with questions, etc.
I asked what the rituals were about with the family. (It appears this is the way religious meeting are held – one family at a time – no congregation.)
He said that it was a blessing for the family. I asked about the rice. He said it was symbolic of having little to give to God – but giving it anyway. (It reminded me of the Widow’s Mite story.)
He said, “God is only one – He has no name – He has no shape.”
“He is beyond our intellect – We cannot reach there.”
“He has thousands of forms – thousands of arms – thousands of legs.”
“But,” I said, “You always refer to He, Him, etc. Do you view Him as male?”
He said, “Brahma is the creator – God in Sanscrit is male – but there is male and female – and no creation can occur without both.”
(This is much like our word “Elohim,” which also is a both-gender word.)
He told me that the letter “om” was formless – and represented the one God. It is a combination of A, U, and M. We say “Oooommm,” to get in tune with the one God.
if Hinduism was mostly or all Indian. He said that
I asked about the red dot placed just above the eyebrows in the middle of each one’s forehead.
It is a Yoga meditation focus. It represents two things – knowledge and good luck.
Men wear it during rituals to represent knowledge and good luck.
He said a woman wears the red dot to bring long life for her husband.
At this point, I let him know that I am a scientist – that my questions and way of thinking sometimes are a little stressful even among those in my own religion (and I told him I was Mormon).
Then I asked, “Are you aware of any testing of this? That is, have thousands wearing the red dot and thousands not wearing the dot had comparisons of the longevity of their husbands measured?” He saw some humor in this, but it’s actually just a simple serious question. Some things are hard to measure – but this would be very simple indeed.
I told him about the administration of oil in praying for healing – and indicated that I had always thought this an easy test also. We could measure in double-blind testing whether or not the oil has any advantage to the outcome.
Experiments like this one are always unwelcome in religions. Yet after someone else does the experiments – if they are supportive of a belief, then the religion likes to talk about the experiments. (Tobacco and cancer is a good example.)
He said he was not aware of any such experiments. My expectation – all other things being equal – life expectancies would be the same for both groups.
Life expectancy has been going upward for quite a while – but due to science, communication, transportation – distribution of food, etc. The religions have been around for a long time – and have made no difference – except when they adopt habits based on real data – like advice in the Word of Wisdom.
If the husband dies, and the woman is then a widow, she removes the dot. She may apply a yellow dot when she is involved in rituals.
The dot is placed at the center for both anger and knowledge.
He wrinkled his brow to show how anger is centered there.
I wrinkled my own – and said, “This is anger.” He said, “Yes.”
Then I wrinkled it again – and said, “This is deep thought.”
He laughed and said, “Yes – I see you are a scientist.”
I asked about the 330,000,000 Gods.
He laughed a little. He said there were originally 33 Gods in Hinduism – and it has changed over time to 330,000,000 Gods. It appears there are 33 main ones – but that essentially every living being may become a lesser god.
He was soon to serve another family – only this time he would go to their house. I thanked him – and asked if tomorrow night’s HOLIKA DAHAN was a good time to visit and learn some more.
He said, “Oh yes – that would be very good.” I asked if the fare would all be vegetarian, and he assured me there would not only be no meat – but no milk – no cheese – nothing from animals. I’m planning to go at 7:00 pm tomorrow night – Monday.
Shri Mandir invites you to join the Bonfire, the burning of Holika, Pooja of Fire, Dances, and Songs of Holi followed by Potluck Dinner.
Sounds like my kind of church meeting. I’ll report on that function in the next report.
46 of 52 – Hindu