By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 07-08-2014
A Holistic Perspective – 1
In my ashram located at St. Louis, USA, near the idyllic confluence of Missouri and Mississippi rivers, I retreat and muse these days on the Holy Scriptures of world religions. In my long life span I have studied and seen how various religions representing God destroyed and still destroy humans made in the image and likeness of God. Fights and killings among religions have taken place all over the world. Currently, for instance, the war between Israel and Hamas (Palestinians) taking place in the Holy Land makes that place a very unholy land indeed. God wants a healthy, loving, and sacred relationship with people. Such a relationship cannot be had in a place where injustice, hostility, hatred, war, and bloodshed prevail. No relationship can thrive without understanding, trust, peace, and, above all, compassionate love.
All religions made their scriptures at some point in history canonical, dogmatic, and unalterable as they insist that they contain the very words of God. That scriptures contain holy and wholesome inspiration for faith and moral living is not disputed here. But that they cannot be adapted, interpreted, and, therefore, changed to meet the challenging demands of modern living is not accepted. It is absurd to think that a living God does not continue to send inspiring messages through his prophets and special spoke-persons to correct, when needed, the course of humanity. Christians believe that God spoke to the world through prophets at various times before God finally spoke through God’s son, Jesus the Christ (the Anointed). Jews believe that they are a people specially chosen by God, and that they are expecting a future Messiah (anointed savior) who will save them. Muslims believe that Mohammed is the last prophet through whom God’s definitive message is revealed. Hinduism believes in a Supreme Being that is Consciousness-Bliss. Every human is also that Consciousness-Bliss in some degree. Hinduism also believes its scriptures to be revealed. Buddha did not believe in God. He did not think God is necessary for human liberation. As the one who showed the path to liberation, only his teachings are enshrined in Buddhist scriptures.
My purpose here is not to examine the various claims of religions except to state that I do not believe in a God who discriminates by having a specially chosen people at any time in human history. I believe that everyone who wants to surrender one’s life in utter humility and selflessness to God, and discern God’s will in order to live one’s life for others as well as for oneself, and therefore for God, is capable of being a prophet, a messenger of God. After having said this, I do not want to take anything away from or diminish the special position or role accorded to certain guru or teacher in a particular religion. I strongly believe that God is as active in history now as God was before, and God communicates needed messages through fine-tuned human consciences. As the Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist scriptures influenced me the most, my reflections in the coming weeks will be on them. As I offer a critique or share my thoughts on them, I do not intend to diminish their perennial worth.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.