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Dual, non-dual and qualified monism!
Duality vs Monism!
Different philosophies to suit different mindsets!
Many rationalists may swear that they perceive the world through their five senses of perceptions like everyone in this world. How an Advaitin can assert that all these are mere illusions of the mind? Yes, their argument is correct, in their standpoint. The non-dual philosopher says that God only manifests as all this and the core substance is god. They aver that it is only cotton which has become a cloth and subsequently dyed with many colors. In the end product, we never perceive the fundamental base cotton! What is seen is only a beautifully designed shirt or pant or sari or chudithar. If we look at the world, there are many different varieties of view point regarding creation, creator and wherewithal of creation!
The world of creation is analyzed by many based on certain truths contained in the scriptures like Veda, Upanishad and epics. In the Bagawat Gita, which contains the precious teachings of the Lord to the ignorant warrior Arjuna, there are certain esoteric points which prove that the creation is part of the Lord. The Lord affirms that all the beings are part of him, a projection of his will. These assertions could be interpreted in many different ways by ordinary worldly people, devotees and realized souls. While the worldly people take it as real since the Lord has willed it and created it. The devotee sees the creation as a play of god, a miracle of god. The self realized person looks everything as the Self pervading the creation. They look at the creation as god and not as creation.
To suit the different mindset of people, three philosophies have evolved as per Hinduism. They are dual, non-dual and qualified non-dualism. The dual minded person treat the world and god as different and the individual can not merge or reach god. In qualified non-dual philosophy, the individual could reach the realm of god by practicing the various disciplines mentioned in the scriptures. For the non-dual practitioners, there are no two entities as being perceived. God or the SELF alone exists.
In a way, we can look at them as primary education, intermediate education and highest education like Doctor of Philosophy. The teaching pattern in primary schools is through figures, shapes and alphabets besides counting numbers. In intermediate stage, a student learns all subjects in the normal level without specialization in any. He has to study literature, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology etc. In the advanced stage, the research student takes up a particular thesis and proves his theory through dissertation. But all this pertain to learning though there are different stages. We are all embodied beings and hence it is easy for us to treat god as an embodied form. Hence, all over the world, in each religion, different customs are adopted for worship. While in Islam, idol worship is prohibited whereas in Hindu culture, varieties of forms of godhead are worshipped. In Christianity, many worship Jesus, the Cross, mother Mary with infant Jesus and even some other modes.
Here I would like to clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong to conceive different forms for worship. In ancient Rome or Greek culture, even some mysterious forms of animals and birds were worshipped. The ancient man has worshipped the fire, the water, the sky, the stone and the snake. This may look superstitious but there is a basic truth. God is formless. Hence a formless god could be worshipped in any conceived form. If there is a specific form for god, then the all pervasive quality is defeated in this assumption. Hence, the formless god could assume any form as he chose for different times on different occasions in different places.
Hence, in Hinduism, some of the ancient incarnations are a Fish, a boar, a man lion and a dwarf boy besides full incarnations like Ram, Krishna etc. Though incarnations can happen anywhere, most of the incarnations happened in India due to the following reasons. From ancient days, worship of nature and god was undertaken through fire rituals and sacrifice. Vedic civilization flourished for thousands of years. But in the West, religion and rituals started much later and it was restricted to certain areas of the globe. Islam flourished in West Asian countries. Jesus was the sole cause for Christianity. The supreme sacrifice of life in the Cross earned him much honor and his subsequent resurrection baffled the mind of materialistic people everywhere. Only much after his ascension, Christianity started spreading everywhere. Today, we have locomotive engines. Previously, coal was used as fuel in the rail engine. By continuous burning of fuel in the chamber, steam was generated which was used to drag many compartments attached to it. Hence India acts as an engine for the entire globe. This is the one reason why many incarnations happened in ancient Bharath (India)
Also, India was a tolerant nation which welcomed all those who flew from their countries unable to intolerant regimes and persecutors. Three of the disciples of Jesus found asylum in India and their mortal remains are preserved in the churches in different places like St.Thomas Mount and Goa. So long as people are ignorant, they have to pursue spirituality to dispel their ignorance.