Academic journal article International Journal of Humanities and Peace

The One and the Many: Unity in Diversity

Academic journal article International Journal of Humanities and Peace

The One and the Many: Unity in Diversity

Article excerpt

The Divine or the Ultimate Reality expresses itself in many names and forms -- in male and female aspects e.g.: compassion in Buddhism by Kwanin-Kwanon, green Tara, White Tara, and Red Tara, adding a dimension of healing, purity and strength to the manifestation; The Buddha as All Compassionate One, or Allah as Rahim or Rehman (the most merciful/ compassionate) in Islam, and the Lord or King as being the Sovereign or Supreme used in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism. The most common ways of addressing God in Hinduism as the master of all are surrender, sacrifice as offerings from devotees and servants of Gods. In Hinduism, all gods and goddesses are representations of Divinity in the many qualities of consciousness in the manifest world. The Divine is One, the Infinite, Immortal, Eternal, The One Without a Second, but the names and forms of the Divine are many and diverse in the phenomenal world. They embody in the finite the imprint of the Infinite Spirit in the three hundred and thirty billion thousands of gods and goddesses which reveal the essence of Divinity in unique form.

India and Hinduism have been called a culture of spiritual billionaires or trillionaires. It has also been labeled as "polytheistic," "pagan," "heathen," and what not. Those who do not comprehend the vast, versatile and complex language of Indian art, architecture, music, mathematics, metaphysics, mythology and symbology as archetypes of life, the embodiment in form and name of the great truths of the Infinite and the Eternal--miss the entire point of Hinduism and its vast culture of consciousness -- that myths, symbols, sacred rituals, sacred journeys, mantras (chants) and pilgrimages are not ends in themselves but are pathways to the Infinite, and they symbolize the qualities of consciousness, means or vehicles of communication for liberation and self-realization in the individual and the community for transformation, that they are processes of initiation.

As Shakyamuni Buddha says: "Making offerings to me now and making offerings to a statue of me in the future will be of equal merit ... This is due to the blessing power of the Buddha, but ordinary beings cannot understand this."

And Rabindrath Tagore has said: "The great is to be found in the small. The Infinite within the bonds of form. And the Eternal freedom of the soul in Love."

Hinduism, therefore, has gods and goddesses that are personal -- Sita Rama, Radha-Krishna, Ishvara-Ihsvari, Ganesha Hanuman, Brahma (Creator of the Universe), Vishnu (nurturer-preserver), Shiva (destroyer of ignorance and evil and regeneration of the universe), Shiva and Shakti, Mahasarasvati (goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music and science), Mahalakshmi (goddess of good fortune and beauty) and so on and so forth.

The Brahman (godhead) as the Absolute, as impersonal aspect represents the Cosmic Divine, as immanent in the universe in every nerve, fiber, cell, breath, atom or molecule that vibrates with its power and force and light, connects, unites, integrates and transcends it -- is the Transcendent Divine. In Judaism, Abraham and Sara (transliteration/ abbreviation for Saraswati) are mentioned. In Christianity, God is expressed as the Father, Jesus as the Son and the Holy Ghost as the Spirit. Islam, Christianity and Judaism all are classified as monotheistic. Hinduism has a monotheism in advaita Vedanta, and in its deistic, theistic and polytheistic forms and names coalescing towards the Brahman (godhead).

The Hindu Festival of Lights (Diwali) and Yom Kippur in Judaism both have similar emphasis on lights and work from a lunar calendar and occur around the same time of year. Historically, the Christian Church adopted several beliefs from the "pagans." The most glaring example is that of Christmas, which corresponds strongly to a Mithraic winter solstice festival. The Christmas tree is quite evidently a derivation of a well-documented pagan German custom. …

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