Discovery of God
This is a book on religious philosophy, giving history of all religions of the world. It gives the views of atheists, theists, agnostics, philosophers like Plato, Kant, Hegal, all prophets and thinkers like Bertand Russel. In the name of religion we find disturbance of peace . Writer has given solution to it, in Chapter 13. The appendix gives “essence of Bhagawat Geeta”. Observing those principles, we can create a better and peaceful society.
All religions respect non-violence, truth, peace, cleanliness, etc which are divine acquisitions, and they deride over-indulgence in sex, anger, arrogance, greed, ego, and laziness as qualities of demonic person. If all people meditate together, this will be emphasized and help to develop understanding and peace on the planet. Children are also to be brought up inculcating these laudable thoughts.
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With reference to pg no.75 - Experience of Brahma is supreme, meditation lower, chanting still lower and idolatry is loathsome.
Translation of verse given is correct. However, what had to be conveyed is idolatry, chanting, meditation, and experience of brahma(the ultimate) are the steps in an ascending order towards self realization. And none of the steps has less importance that any of the abovementioned due to reason that each and every soul, some or the other day, will have to go thro' each of this step. No step can be skipped. Interestingly this verse also helps us to know which step of self realization are we lying at and would also help serious seekers to show path as to what should be the next step.
Secondly "brahma sadbhavo" does not imply experience of brahma and it means realization of self as brahma (has to be conveyed by "aham bramhasmi"). sadbhav means feeling of being same or good.
Now why this verse suggests the steps is because not every soul is evolved enough to attain the stage of self realization directly. However, idolatry and chanting is the basic form of devotion against the supreme soul and can be done and followed easily and ritualistically. Once the devotee starts following steps above and starts understanding the greatness of idol he/she is worshipping he attains the closeness with the idol, same as that of girl/boy fallen in love keep on taking name of her/his lover frequently, keep remembering his/her likes/dislikes and to some extent even try to acquire some habits etc. (resembles idolatry and chanting) After some time a stage reaches wherein love deepens so much so that they like to stay immersed in each other's thought(meditation). Later when they unite at a highest point of love, they become one (non discriminatory feeling towards loved one). This way lovers attain highest stage in love. Similarly the steps mentioned in the verse help devotee reach and acquire proximity step by step.
If we ever see any newborn having proximity to any of the intermittent steps skipping initial steps that might be because of the reincarnation of the soul to attain the state of highest form of love with supreme being, having performed initial steps in earlier life.
This is what the verse tries to convey.
It's a good attempt to collaborate thoughts from so many sages in a single book, but taking meaning word to word would misguide readers.
The book is completely from a point of view of one Hindu to religion with others. The author is selective with religions. The worldview, if author to be believed is in Vedic religion. And each religion in the world has principle which were already been told in veda. Having said that, author has make the point that the religion are for peace of the world. But did not explained, with every religion is peace keeping machinery then why the world where 95% or more who follow religion, the violence still exist.
The book is especially critical to buddism, and states that the buddha was a follower of varna system and wanted Kshtriya varna to be dominant. However author provides no conclusive evidence for that.
Read the book, if having patience to go through one sided view of author.