One of the many differences in the approach to reality between abrahamic religions and dharmic traditions is related to the good and the evil.
In the abrahamic faiths, the “good” is represented by God/Allah and the “evil” by the Devil/Satan. But let´s go a little more in detail: this is an artificial demarcation, that does not correspond with the real nature of the things in this Universe. What is the injunction for Christians and Muslims given by their respective sacred books?:
- for Christians: go and spread the Gospel (by hook or by crook). The epitome of the best among the good people are the saints, people who mostly, have taken this injunction till the extreme, like St. Francis Xavier, who was considered a saint because he converted too many people, especially in India, through Goa Inquisition, :”The fathers of the Church forbade the Hindus under terrible penalties the use of their own sacred books, and prevented them from all exercise of their religion. They destroyed their temples, and so harassed and interfered with the people that they abandoned the city in large numbers, refusing to remain any longer in a place where they had no liberty, and were liable to imprisonment, torture and death if they worshipped after their own fashion the gods of their fathers.” wrote Filippo Sassetti, who was in India from 1578 to 1588.” (WIKIPEDIA). Is a saint involved in this terror really “good”??
- for Muslims: is it not the jihad nowadays the epitome of the best among the good? Those who do for Allah whatever is required, even killing the infidel, because it is sanctified by the Quran. Sorry to say, these are not extremist, these are good muslims who are following strictly the violent injunctions of the Quran. Is it “good” being an staunch muslim?
See these posts of Maria Wirth, so well written recently:
The good and the evil in Dharma
Sanathan Dharma is the constantly alive development of the highest observations of the rishis of yore, who observed the Nature and the human nature innerly as a whole, and as a result of their highest insights it was acknowledged that the best living is the living in accordance with these universal operating laws. No dogmas to be blindly believed, but truths that can be universally accessed eventually by anyone who learns to become in tune with those laws by means of spiritual evolution.
Nature itself brings the blessing of the rains for the fields as well as the devastating floods. If Nature could be “good” and “bad” according to human mental pattern, then all belonging to Nature shares both traits in them, including human beings and the Gods. No one is completely “good” or completely “bad”.
Ravana was a “demon” by western conceptualization, an asura in dharmic terms who in the purana Ramayana is the kidnapper of the Goddess Sita, the embodiment of purity, Rama´s wife. But he was an staunch devotee of Shiva and got many boons from Him. Moreover, it is stated that he attained enlightenment. Ravana was born just to fulfill his role as the villain in Ramayana. Without his role, Lord Ram could not have been the Avatar of Vishnu who came to the earth to establish a role model about how to be a dharmic ideal man. Because of the importance of his role as the counterpart, he was killed by Bhagavan Himself, granting him by this death the enlightenment. Will this be understood from a western mental framework? Rarely, and the result of this and many other´s misunderstandings has brought what Mr. Rajiv Malhotra calls “atrocity literature”, in which Shri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda were homosexuals according to these twisted western indologists ( “Kali´s child” book, by Jeffrey J. Kripal) or Shri Ganesha´s trunk symbolises the phallus, by another brilliant dirty mind, Mrs Wendy Doniger. DIRTY LENSES ANALYSING SACREDNESS CAN NEVER SEE BUT DIRTINESS.
As I keep repeating, western framework IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be universal. It doesn´t apply to Dharmic worldview, for instance. In fact, western worldview doesn´t apply to any other culture than the western culture itself. And the decay of the western world is a proof that it doesn´t work even for itself, because it is not attuned to the real flowing of the Universe.
No matter whether it is a westernised hindu, or a westernised westerner ;-), that if s/he tries to see the things through a western lenses, the result will be a total misunderstanding and misinterpretations of the Dharma.
Transcending good and evil
My Divine Mother Kaali, one of the most misunderstood forms of the Ultimate, holds in Her Divine Eyes the look of the utmost Daya, Compassion. This is the clear example of a complete round apparent traits of good and evil in the Form of the Mother. She is the slasher of fear!! She is the slasher of Time with Her dagger!! The vanquisher of illusions!! Just our temporary human existence, and our identification with it as our ultimate truth, prevents us from realizing the Eternal that we are, and She beats the Time, so the eternity may arise in us. This is Her anger!! The anger because of our blindness in identifiying WHO WE ARE, the divinity in us. The anger in killing the demons that are the inner obstacles for our divine realisation!
This is the suppossedly “terrific” Mother Kaali that my beloved respected Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa worshipped and adored, the same one who broke into pieces Her own image in Shri Ramkrishna´s mind in order for him to be able to transcend the dualities of the world and by that transcendence, attaining Brahman´s conciousness, in which Shri Ramakrishna remained the rest of his life. Thank you my Mother for revealing your real Nature.
JAI KAALI MA!!
This is NOT moral relativism
Because REALITY lies beyond good and evil, detachment is encouraged as a means to the path of transcendence. But detachment basically means:
- learning to not being torn up by sorrows and mad with happiness.
- at the same time that involvement in the dharmic behaviour and deeds, as long as we are not enlightened, with detachment from the fruits of our actions, being only Bhagavan the Giver of them.
In any case, this trascendence is not moral relativism at all. From a dharmic viewpoint, being “good” as long as we are on the path, and not enlightened, is being realistic, by promoting the “good deeds” but by also accepting our inner darkness as part of our nature. Far from the sense of guilt that abrahamic religions impose through that ideal (unrealistic) of. for instance, christian”sainthood”, where theoretically only good is to be pursued. But when analysed, we see that even saints were not so “good”.
Whatever develops from an unrealistic premise cannot result in true, but can only trap the followers on the way.