But Corrupted … like orcs of middle-earth

In my last post I looked at the biblical foundation for how we should see ourselves and others – that we are made in the image of God. But the Veda Pusthakam (The Bible) develops further on this foundation. The Psalms are a collection of sacred songs and hymns used by the Old Testament Hebrews in their worship of God. Psalm 14 was written by King David (who was also a Rsi) about 1000 B.C., and this hymn records the state-of-affairs from God’s point of view.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:2-3)

The phrase ‘become corrupt’ is used to describe the entire human race. Since it is something we have ‘become’ the corruption is in reference to that initial state of being in the ‘image of God’. This passage says that the corruption demonstrates itself in a determined independence from God (‘all’ have ‘turned aside’ from ‘seeking God’) and also in not doing ‘good’.

Thinking Elves and Orcs

Orcs were hideous in so many ways. But they were simply corrupt descendants of elves

Orcs were hideous in so many ways. But they were simply corrupt descendants of elves

To better understand this think of the orcs of Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings as an illustration. Orcs are hideous creatures in appearance, conduct, and in their treatment of the earth. Yet orcs are descended from elves that had become corrupted

The elves were noble and majestic

The elves were noble and majestic

by Sauron. When you see the stately majesty, harmony and relationship with nature that elves had (think of Legalos and the elves of Lothlorien) and realize that the depraved orcs were once elves who have ‘become corrupt’ you will get a sense of what is said here about people. God intended elves but what he found was orcs.

This fits exactly with what we noted as a universal tendency among people, to be aware of our sin and need for cleansing – as illustrated in the Kumbh Mela festival. So here we arrive at a perspective that is very instructive: The biblical starting point of people as sentient, personal, and moral, but then also corrupt, fits with what we observe about ourselves. It is shrewdly spot-on in its assessment of people, recognizing an intrinsic moral nature within us that can easily be overlooked since our actions never actually match what this nature demands of us – because of this corruption. The biblical shoe fits the human foot. However, it raises an obvious question: why did God make us this way – with a moral compass and yet corrupted from it? As well-known atheist Christopher Hitchens complains:

“… If god really wanted people to be free of such thoughts [i.e., corrupt ones], he should have taken more care to invent a different species.” Christopher Hitchens. 2007. God is not great: How religion spoils everything. p. 100

But this is where in his haste to dismiss the wisdom of the Bible that he misses something very important. The Bible does not say that God made us this way, but that something terrible has happened since the initial creation to bring about this difficult state-of-affairs. An important event happened in human history subsequent to our creation. The first humans defied God, as recorded in Genesis – the first and earliest book in the Bible (Veda Pusthakam), and in their defiance they changed and were corrupted.  This is why we now live in Tamas, or darkness.

The Fall of Mankind

This landmark event in human history is often called The Fall. And we can perhaps understand it better if we think through what Adam (the name given to the first man) faced in his relationship with God when he was created. To give us some further insight we turn to a mid-8th century BC, Old Testament Rsi (or prophet) called Hosea. As he recounts in his book, his wife had repeatedly cheated on him and run off in a string of affairs. In the midst of his pain and betrayal God commanded him to go and find his wife, reconcile with her, and win her back. Then this episode is used as a picture to show how, in God’s eyes, the Israelites of the Bible at that time were like the cheating spouse, but God, like Hosea, was willing to reconcile if they would only come clean and come back to Him. In that plea comes a comparison to Adam:

“O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the LORD. “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight. … I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. But like Adam, you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust. (Hosea 6:4-7)

In other words, what the Israelites of Hosea’s day were doing was continuing what Adam, the first man, had started. There had been an agreement between God and Adam, similar to a marital contract of faithfulness, and Adam had violated it. The book of Genesis records that Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There had been a covenant or agreement between God and Adam that he would not eat from that tree – all others were available for him. It was not that there was anything special in the tree itself, but its presence gave Adam a free choice as to whether to remain faithful to God or not. Adam had been created as a sentient person, who was both made and placed into friendship with God at the same moment. Adam had no choice regarding his creation, but God gave him the opportunity to choose concerning his friendship with God, and this choice was centered on the command not to eat from that one tree. Just like the choice to stand is not real if sitting is impossible, the friendship and trust of Adam to God had to be given in the context of a viable alternative, and thus Adam was given a choice as to whether he would remain faithful in his agreement to God or not. We look more closely at this account – and what follows by deduction from it in the next post.

 

In the Image of God

In the last post I looked at how the Purusasukta goes back to even before time began and explains the mind of God (Prajapati) deciding to sacrifice Purusa. From this decision creation of everything followed – including the creation of mankind.

I want to now consider implications of what the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) says about this creation of mankind. So, in this spirit of considering, I want to chart an understanding of what the Bible teaches about us by looking at a key passage from this creation account.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

“In the Image of God”

Now what does it mean that mankind was created ‘in the image of God’? It does not mean that God is a physical being with two arms, a head, etc. Rather at a deeper level it is saying that basic characteristics of people are derived from similar characteristics of God. So for example, both God (in the Bible) and people (from observation) have intellect, emotions and will. In the Bible God is sometimes portrayed as sad, hurt, angry or joyful – the same range of emotions that we humans experience. We make choices and decisions on a daily basis. God similarly in the Bible is described as making choices and coming to decisions. Our ability to reason and think abstractly comes from God. We have the capacities of intellect, emotion and will because God has them and we are made in his image.

At a more fundamental level when we consider these aspects of ourselves we see that we are sentient beings, self-aware and conscious of ‘I’ and ‘you’. We are not impersonal ‘its’. We are like this because God is this way. In this fundamental perspective, the God of the Bible is not portrayed as a pantheistic impersonality as understood in later Hindu traditions, or like the ‘Force’ in the well-known movie Star Wars. The fact that humans are sentient persons rather than ‘its’ makes sense in light of this early teaching about God. We are this way because God is like this, and we are made in His image.

Why we are Aesthetic

We also appreciate art and drama. Consider how we so naturally appreciate and even need beauty. This goes beyond just visual beauty to include music and literature. Think about how important music is to us – even how natural it is for us to dance. Music so enriches our lives. We love good stories, whether in novels or plays, or more commonly today, in movies. Stories have heroes, villains, drama, and the great stories sear these heroes, villains and drama into our imaginations. It is so natural for us to use and appreciate art in its many forms to entertain, reinvigorate and rejuvenate ourselves because God is an Artist and we are in his image.

It is a question worth asking. Why are we so innately aesthetic, whether in art, drama, music, dance, or literature? Whenever I travelled in India I was always amazed at the Indian movies which feature music and dance even more than Western-made movies. Daniel Dennett, an outspoken atheist and an authority on understanding cognitive processes, answers from a materialistic perspective:

“But most of this research still takes music for granted. It seldom asks: Why does music exist? There is a short answer, and it is true, so far as it goes: it exists because we love it and hence we keep bringing more of it into existence. But why do we love it? Because we find that it is beautiful. But why is it beautiful to us? This is a perfectly good biological question, but it does not yet have a good answer.” (Daniel Dennett. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. p. 43)

The materialistic perspective on mankind has no answer to this fundamental question about our human nature. From the Biblical perspective it is because God is artistic and aesthetic. He made things beautiful and enjoys beauty. We, made in His image, are the same.

Why we are Moral

In addition, being ‘made in God’s image’ explains the innate moral capacity that is so common in all cultures, and which we covered in the moral teachings of the guru Sai Baba. Because we are made in God’s image and morality is intrinsic to His nature, like a compass aligned to magnetic North, our alignment to ‘fair’, ‘good’, ‘right’ is this way because this is the way He is. It is not just religious people who are made in this way – everyone is. Not recognizing this can give rise to misunderstandings. Take for example this challenge from the materialist American Sam Harris.

“If you are right to believe that religious faith offers the only real basis for morality, then atheists should be less moral than believers.” Sam Harris. 2005. Letter to a Christian Nation p.38-39

Harris is dead wrong here. Biblically speaking, our sense of morality comes from being made in God’s image, not from being religious. And that is why atheists, like all the rest of us, have this moral sense and can act morally. The difficulty with atheism is to account for this objective basis of our morality – but being made in God’s moral image is a simple and straightforward explanation.

Why are we so Relational

Thus Biblically, the starting point to understanding ourselves is to recognize that we are made in God’s image. Because of this, as we gain insight into either God (through what is revealed about him in the Bible) or people (through observation and reflection) we can also gain insight into the other. So, for example, it is not hard to notice the prominence people place on relationships. It is OK to see a good movie, but it is a much better experience to see it with a friend. We naturally seek out friends to share experiences with. Meaningful friendships and family relationships are key to our sense of well-being. Conversely, loneliness and/or fractured family relationships and breakdowns in friendships stress us. We are not neutral and unmoved by the state of relationships we have with others. Again, as a frequent visitor to India this comes out so strongly in Indian movies. There always seems to be family and romantic relationships strongly portrayed in these movies.

Now, if we are in God’s image, then we would expect to find this same relational tilt with God, and in fact we do. The Bible says that “God is Love…” (1 John 4:8). Much is written in the Bible about the importance that God places on our love for him and for others – they are in fact called by Jesus (Yeshu Satsang) the two most important commands in the Bible. When you think about it, Love must be relational since to function it requires a person who loves (the lover) and a person who is the object of this love – the beloved.

Thus we should think of God as a lover. If we only think of Him as the ‘Prime Mover’, the ‘First Cause’, the ‘Omniscient Deity’, the ‘Benevolent Being’ or perhaps the ‘Impersonal Atman’ we are not thinking of the Biblical God – rather we have made up a god in our minds. Though He is these, He is also portrayed as almost recklessly passionate in relationship. He does not ‘have’ love. He ‘is’ love. The two most prominent Biblical metaphors of God’s relationship with people are that of a father to his children and a husband to his wife. Those are not dispassionately philosophical ‘first cause’ analogies but those of the deepest and most intimate of human relationships.

So here is the foundation we have laid so far. People are made in God’s image comprised of mind, emotions and will. We are sentient and self-aware. We are moral beings with our ‘Moral grammar’ giving us an innate orientation of ‘right’ and ‘fair’, and what is not. We have instinctive capacity to develop and appreciate beauty, drama, art and story in all its forms. And we will innately and naturally seek out and develop relationships and friendships with others. We are all this because God is all this and we are made in God’s image. All these deductions are at least consistent with what we observe about ourselves as we laid this foundation. We continue in the next post to look at some difficulties.

 

 

Sacrifice of Purusa: The Genesis of all things

After verses 3&4 Purusasukta changes its focus from the qualities of Purusa to focus on the sacrifice of Purusa.  Verses 6&7 bring this focus about in the following way.  (The sanskrit transliterations, and many of my thoughts on the Purusasukta, have come from studying the book Christ in the Ancient Vedas by Joseph Padinjarekara (346 pp. 2007))

Verse 6-7 in Purusasukta

English Translation Sanskrit Transliteration
When the gods performed a sacrifice with Purusa as an oblation, spring was its melted butter, summer its fuel, and autumn its oblation.  They sprinkled Purusa, born in the beginning as a sacrifice in the straw.  The gods, sadhyas, and the seers sacrificed him as the victim Yatpurusena havisa Deva yajnam atanvata Vasanto asyasid ajyam Grisma idhmah saraddhavih Tam Yajnam barhisi prauksan Purusam jatamgratah Tena deva ayajanta Sadhya rsayas ca ye

Though not all aspects of these verses are immediately clear, what is clear is that the focus is about the sacrifice of Purusa.  The ancient vedic commentator Sayanacharya had this remark:

“the rsis – the saints and gods – bound the Purusa, the sacrificial victim to a sacrificial pole as a sacrificial animal and offered him in the sacrifice by their minds” Sayanacharya’s Commentary on Rg Veda 10.90.7

Verses 8-9 begin with the phrase “Tasmadyajnatsarvahutah…” which means that in his sacrifice Purusa offered all that he had – he held nothing back.  This demonstrated the love that Purusa had in the giving of his sacrifice.  It is only with love that we can give ourselves fully to others and hold nothing back.  As Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ) said in Veda Pusthakam (Bible)

“Greater love has no one that this:  that one lay down his life for his friends” (John15: 13).

Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ) said this to his disciples as he was willingly about to submit himself to the sacrifice of going to the cross.  Is there a connection between the sacrifice of Purusa and that of Yeshu Satsang?  Verse 5 of Purusasukta (which we have skipped thus far) offers a clue – but the clue would at first indicate that there is no connection.  Here is verse 5

Verse 5 in Purusasukta

English Translation Sanskrit Transliteration
From that – from a part of Purusa – the universe was born and it was made the seat of Purusa and he became omnipresent Tasmad Viralajayata Virajo adhi Purusah Sa jato atyaricyata Pascadbhumim atho purah

According to Purusasukta, Purusa was sacrificed at the beginning of time and it resulted in the creation of the universe.  Thus this sacrifice could not be performed on earth because the sacrifice was what brought the earth forth.  Verse 13 clearly shows this creation resulting from the sacrifice of Purusa.  It says

Verse 13 in Purusasukta

English Translation Sanskrit Transliteration
Moon was born from His mind.  The sun came out of his eye.  Lightning, rain and fire were produced from his mouth.  From his breath the wind was born. Candrama manaso jatas Caksoh suryo ajayata Mukhad Indra sca Agnisca Pranad Vayur ajayata

It is in the deeper understanding, rather than what we get from hearsay, of the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) that it all becomes clear.  We see the beginning of this clarity when we read the writings of the Rsis (prophet) Micah.  He lived about 750 BC and though he lived 750 years before the coming of Jesus Christ (Yeshu Satsang) he foresaw his coming by noting the city where he would be born.  He wrote

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from days of eternity. (Micah 5:2)

Micah predicted that the ruler (or Christ) would come out of the town of Bethlehem.  750 years later Jesus Christ (Yeshu Satsang) was born in this town in fulfillment of this vision.  Seekers after truth usually focus their wonder on this aspect of Micah’s vision.  However, it is the description of the origins of this coming one that I want to draw our attention to just now.  Micah predicts the future coming, but he says that the origins of this coming one are deep in the past.  His ‘origins are from of old’.  The origins of this coming one predate his appearing on earth!  How far back does the ‘… of old’ go?  It goes to the ‘days of eternity’.  Other sayings of True Knowledge in the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) clarify it further.  In Colosians 1:15 the Rsis Paul (who wrote about 50 AD) declared about Yeshu (Jesus) that:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

Yeshu is declared to be the ‘image of the invisible God’ and the ‘firstborn over all creation’.  In other words, though Yeshu’s incarnation was at a precise time in history (4 BC – 30 AD), he existed before anything was created – even to eternity past. He did so because God (Prajapati) has always existed in eternity past, and being his ‘image’ Jesus (Yeshu Satsang) would also have always existed.

The Sacrifice from creation of the world – the Genesis of everything

But not only has he existed from eternity past, the Rsis (prophet) John in a vision of heaven saw this Jesus (Yeshu Satsang) depicted as

“…  the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8)

Is this not a contradiction?  Was not Jesus (Yeshu Satsang) slain in 30 AD?  If he was slain then, how could he also be slain ‘from the creation of the world’?  It is in this paradox that we see that the Purusasukta and the Veda Pusthakan are describing the same thing.  We saw that Verse 6 of Purusasukta says that the sacrifice of Purusa was in ‘the beginning’.  Joseph Padinjarekara in his book Christ in the Vedas indicates that the Sanskrit commentary on the Purusasukta tells us that this sacrifice of Purusa in the beginning was ‘in the heart of God’ (he translated this as the meaning of the Sanskrit ‘Manasayagam’).  He also references the Sanskrit scholar NJ Shende as saying that this sacrifice in the beginning was a “mental or symbolic one” (NJ Shende. The Purusasukta (RV 10-90) in Vedic Literature (Publications of the Centre of Advanced Study in Sanskrit, University of Poona) 1965.

So now the mystery of the Purusasukta becomes clear.  Purusa was God and the Image of God from eternity Past.  He was before anything else.  He is firstborn of all.  God, in his omniscience, knew that the creation of mankind would necessitate a sacrifice.  This sacrifice would require all that he could provide – the incarnation of Purusa into the world to be sacrificed as a washing or cleansing from sin.  It was at this point that God had to decide whether to go ahead with creation of the universe and mankind or not.  In that decision Purusa decided to be willing to be sacrificed, and the creation went ahead.  So mentally, or in the heart of God, Purusa was ‘slain from the creation of the world” as the Veda Pusthakan declares.

Once that decision was made – before time even began – God (Prajapati – The Lord of all creation) set about creating time, the universe and mankind. Thus the willing sacrifice of Purusa caused ‘the universe to be born’ (verse 5), the moon, sun, lightning and rain (v 13) to be made, and even time itself (spring, summer and autumn mentioned in v 6) to begin.  Purusa was firstborn over all this.

Who are the ‘gods’ that sacrificed Purusa?

But one puzzle remains.  Purusasukta verse 6 says that the ‘gods’ (devas) sacrificed Purusa?  Who are these gods?  Veda Pusthakan (The Bible) explains it.  One of the Rsis, David, wrote a sacred hymn in 1000 BC that revealed how God (Prajapati) spoke of men and women:

“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ (Psalm 82:6)

Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ) 1000 years later commented on this sacred hymn of Rsis David by saying:

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? (John 10:34-36)

Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ) affirms the Rsis David’s use of the term ‘gods’ as true scripture.  In what way is this so?  We see in the creation account in the Veda Pusthakan that we are ‘made in the image of God’ (Genesis 1:27).  So in some sense perhaps we could be considered ‘gods’ because we are made in the image of God.  But the Veda Pusthakan explains further.  It declares that those who accept this sacrifice of Purusa are:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:4-5)

When Prajapati-Purusa made the decision before the creation of the world to offer Purusa as the perfect sacrifice, God also chose people.  What did he chose them for?  It says very clearly he chose us to be his ‘sons’.

In other words, the Veda Pusthakan (The Bible) declares that men and women were chosen when God chose to fully give Himself in the perfect sacrifice to become children of God through this sacrifice.  In that full sense we are said to be ‘gods’.  This is true for those whom (as Yeshu Satsang declared above) to those ‘to whom the Word of God came’ – to those who accept His Word.  And in that full sense it was the needs of the future sons of god that bound Purusa to his sacrifice.  As Purusasukta verse 6 says ‘The gods performed a sacrifice with Purusa as the oblation’.  Purusa’s sacrifice was our cleansing.

The Sacrifice of Purusa – the way to heaven

So we see in the wisdom of the ancient Purusasukta and the Veda Pusthakam the plan of God revealed.  It is an awesome plan – one that we could not have imagined.  It is also very important for us because as the Purusasukta concludes in the 16th verse

English Translation Sanskrit Transliteration
The gods sacrificed Purusa as the sacrifice.  This is the earliest established principle.  Through this the sages obtain heaven Yajnena yajnamajayanta Devastani dharmani prathamanyasan Teha nakam mahimanah sacanta Yatra purve sadhyah santidevah

A sage is a ‘wise’ person. And it is truly a wise thing to yearn for obtaining heaven.  This is not out of our reach.  It is not impossible.  It is not only for the most ascetic of holy men who through extreme discipline and meditation achieve moksha.  It is not only for gurus.  On the contrary it was a way provided for by Purusa himself in his incarnation as Jesus Christ (Yeshu Satsang).

The sacrifice of Purusa – No other way to heaven

In fact not only has this been provided for us but the Sanskrit commentary by Sayanacharya between verse 15 and 16 of Purusasukta says

English Translation Sanskrit Transliteration
Thus, the one who knows this becomes able to reach the state of deathlessness.  No other way is known for this Tameva vidvanamrta iha bhavati Nanyah panta ayanaya vedyate

No other way is known to reach eternal life (deathlessness)!  Surely it is wisdom therefore to study the matter a bit more thoroughly.  Thus far I have jumped around through the Veda Pusthakam (The Bible) showing how it tells an overarching story of God, mankind and reality that is echoes with the story told in Purusasukta.  But I have not looked at this story in detail or in order.  There is much more to learn, many more rsis and hymns and principles that are revealed.  With this as our motive, I would like to invite you to explore along with me the Veda Pusthakam in more detail, starting at the beginning, learning about the creation, what happened that required this sacrifice of Purusa, what happened to the world that brought about the flood of Manu (Noah in Veda Pusthakan) and how the nations of the world learned and preserved the promise of the Perfect sacrifice that would free them from death and grant eternal life in Heaven.  Surely that is something worth learning and living for.

Verse 3&4 – The Incarnation of Purusa

The Purusasukta continues from verse 2 with the following. (The sanskrit transliterations, and many of my thoughts on the Purusasukta, have come from studying the book Christ in the Ancient Vedas by Joseph Padinjarekara (346 pp. 2007))

English Translation Sanskrit Transliteration
The creation is the glory of Purusa – so great is his majesty.  Still he is greater than this creation.  One fourth of [the personality of] Purusa is in the world.  Three fourths of Him are still living eternally in heaven.Purusa arose upwards with three quarters of himself.  One Quarter of Him was born here.  From that He spread life in all living beings. Etavan asya mahima ato jyayamsca PurusahPado-asya visva bh u tani tripad asyamrtm diviTripad urdhva udait purusah padou-asyeha a bhavat punah tato visvannvi akramat sasananasane abhi

Imagery is used here that is difficult to understand.  However it is clear that these verses are speaking about the greatness and majesty of Purusa.  It states quite clearly that He is greater than creation.  We can also understand that only a part of his greatness is manifested in this world.  But it also speaks of His incarnation into this world – a world of people where you and I live (‘one quarter of Him was born here’).  So when God came down in His incarnation he manifested only a part of His glory in this world.  He emptied Himself in some way when He was born.  This is consistent with how Purusa was described in verse 2 – having ‘limited himself to 10 fingers’.

This is also consistent with how Veda Pusthakan (Bible) describes the incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth.  It says of him that

My purpose is that … they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)

So Christ was the incarnation of God but the manifestation of it was largely ‘hidden’.  How was it hidden?  It explains further:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name, (Philippians 2:5-9)

So in his incarnation Jesus ‘made himself nothing’ and in that state prepared himself for his sacrifice.  His revealed glory was only partial, just like the Pususasukta states.  This was because of his coming sacrifice.  The Purusasukta follows the same theme since after these verses it turns from describing the partial glory of the Purusa to focus on his sacrifice.  We look at that in our next post.

Verse 2 – Purusa is Lord of Immortality

We saw in the first verse of Purusasukta that Purusa was described as all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere-present.  We then raised the question whether Purusa could be Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ) and embarked on a journey through Purusasukta with this question in mind.  So we come to the second verse of the Purusasukta which continues to describe the Man Purusa in very unusual terms. Here is the Sanskrit transliteration and the English translation (The sanskrit transliterations have come from studying the book Christ in the Ancient Vedas by Joseph Padinjarekara (346 pp. 2007)).

Second verse of Purusasukta

English Translation Sanskrit Transliteration
Purusa is all this universe, what has been and what will be.  And he is the Lord of immortality, which he provides without food [natural substance] Purusa evedam sarvam yadbhutam yacca bhavyam utamrtatvasyesano yadannenatirohati

Qualities of Purusa

Purusa is superior to the universe (the whole extent of space and matter) and is Lord of Time (‘what has been and will be’) as well as ‘Lord of immortality’ – eternal life. There are many gods in Hindu mythology but none are given such infinite qualities.

These are such awe inspiring attributes that they can only belong to the one true God – the Lord of Creation itself. This would be Prajapati of Rg Veda (synonymous with Yahweh of the Hebrew Old Testament). Thus this man, Purusa, can only be understood as an incarnation of this one God – Lord of all Creation.

But even more pertinent for us is that Purusa ‘provides’ this immortality (eternal life) to us. He does so not using natural substance, ie. He does not use natural processes or natural matter/energy of the universe in the granting or giving of eternal life. We are all under the curse of death and karma. This is the futility of our existence from which we long to escape and for which we work so hard in doing pujas, bathings and other ascetic practices. If there is even a small chance that this is true and that Purusa has both the power and the desire to grant immortality it would be wise to at least become more informed about this.

Compared to Rsis of Veda Pusthakam (Bible)

With this in mind let us consider one of the oldest sacred writings in human history. It is found in the Hebrew Testament (called the Old Testament of the Bible or Veda Pusthakam). This book, like the Rg Veda, is a collection of oracles, hymns, history and prophecy from many different Rsis who though they breathed long ago, they lived and wrote in different eras of history. So the Old Testament is best thought of as a collection or library of different inspired writings combined into a book. Most of the writings of these Rsis were Hebrews and thus are descendants of the great Rsi Abraham who lived about 2000 BC. However there is one writing, written by the Rsi Job who lived earlier than Abraham. There is yet no Hebrew nation when he lived. Those who have studied Job estimate that he lived about 2200 BC, over 4000 years ago.

…In Book of Job

In his sacred book, called Job after his name, we find him saying the following to his companions:

I know that my Redeemer lives,

and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

And after my skin has been destroyed,

yet in my flesh I will see God;

I myself will see him

with my own eyes—I, and not another.

How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

Job speaks of a coming ‘Redeemer’. We know that Job looks to the future because the Redeemer ‘will’ (ie in future tense) stand upon the earth. But this Redeemer still ‘lives’ in the present – though not on earth. So this Redeemer, like Purusa in this verse of Purusasukta, is Lord of Time because his existence is not bounded in time like ours is.

Job then declares that ‘after my skin has been destroyed’, (i.e. after his death) he will see ‘him’ (this Redeemer) and at the same time ‘see God’. In other words this coming Redeemer is God Incarnate, just as Purusa is the Incarnation of Prajapati. But how can Job see Him after his own death? And just to make sure that we did not miss this point Job declares that ‘with my own eyes -I and not another’ will see this Redeemer standing on the earth. The only explanation for this is that this Redeemer has provided immortality to Job and he is anticipating the day when this Redeemer, who is God, is walking the earth and has provided immortality to Job so that he also is again walking the earth and seeing the Redeemer with his own eyes. This hope has so captivated Job that his ‘heart yearns within’ him in the anticipation of this day.  It was a mantra that transformed him.

…and Isaiah

The Hebrew Rsis also spoke of a coming Man that sounds very similar to this description of Purusa and the Redeemer of Job. Isaiah was one such Rsi who lived approximately 750 BC. He wrote several oracles under divine inspiration. Here is how he described this coming Man:

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—

2 The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of the shadow of death

a light has dawned….

6 For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:1-2,6)

In other words The Rsi Isaiah is foreseeing and announcing the birth of a son and this son ‘will be called … Mighty God’. This news will be particularly helpful to those ‘living in the land of the shadow of death’. What does this mean? Our lives are lived knowing we cannot escape our coming death and the karma that rules us. So we literally live ‘in the shadow of death’. Thus this coming Son, who will be called ‘Mighty God’, will be a great light or hope to those of us who live in the shadow of our coming death.

…and Micah

Another Rsi, Micah, who lived at the same time as Isaiah (750 BC) also had a Divine Oracle about this coming person. He wrote:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

though you are small among the clans of Judah,

out of you will come for me

one who will be ruler over Israel,

whose origins are from of old,

from ancient times. (Micah 5:2)

Micah said that a Man would come out of the city of Bethlehem in the region of Ephrathah where the clan of Judah (i.e. the Jews) lived. What is absolutely unique about this Man is that though he ‘will come’ out of Bethlehem at a certain time in history, he pre-existed this origin since the beginning of time. Thus, like Verse 2 of Purusasukta, and like the Coming Redeemer of Job, this Man will not be bound by time like we are. He will be Lord of Time. This is a Divine ability, not a human one, and thus they are all referring to the same person.

Fulfilled in Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ)

But who is this Person? Micah here gives us an important historical clue. The coming Person would come out of Bethlehem. Bethlehem is a real city which has existed for thousands of years in what today is called Israel/West Bank. You can Google it and see it on a map. It is not a big city, and never has been. But it is famous the world over and is yearly in the global news. Why? Because this is the birthplace of Jesus Christ (or Yeshu Satsang). This is the city he was born in 2000 years ago.  Isaiah gave us another clue because he said this person would impact Galilee.  And though Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ) was born in Bethlehem (as foreseen by Micah), he grew up and ministered as a teacher in Galilee, as Isaiah had predicted.  Bethlehem as his birthplace and Galilee as his place of ministry are two of the most well known aspects of the life of Yeshu Satsang (Jesus Christ).  So here we see predictions from different Rsis becoming fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ (Yeshu Satsang).  Could it be that Yeshu is this Purusa/Redeemer/Ruler that these ancient Rsis foresaw?  Given that answering this question could be the key that unlocks how we who live in the ‘shadow of death’ (and karma) may be given ‘immortality’ it certainly is worth our time to consider. So we continue our investigation as we move further through Purusasukta and compare it with the Rsis of the Hebrew Veda Pusthakam.

 

Considering the Purusasukta – the Song of Praise of Man

Perhaps the most famous poem or prayer in the Rg Veda (or Rig Veda) is the Purusasukta.  It is found in the 10th Mandala and 90th Chapter.  It is a song for a special Man – Purusa (pronounced Purusha).  Because it is found in the Rg Veda it is one of the oldest mantras in the world, and thus it is worth studying to see what we can learn of the way to Mukti or Moksha (enlightenment).

So who is Purusa?  The Vedic texts tell us that

“Purusa and Prajapati is one and the same person” (sanskrit transliteration Purusohi Praja pati)  Madhyndiya Sathapatha Brahmana VII.4:1.156

The Upanishads continue on this same line by stating that

“Purusa is superior to everything.  Nothing [nobody] is superior to Purusa.  He is the end and the highest goal” (Avykat Purusah parah.  Purusanna param kincitsa kastha sa para gati)  Kathopanisad 3:11

“And verily beyond the unmanifest is the supreme Purusa… One who knows him becomes free and attains immortality (Avyakat u parah Purusa … yajna tva mucyate Janturamtatvam ca gacchati) Kathopanisad 6:8

So Purusa is Prajapati (The Lord of all Creation).  But perhaps even more important, knowing him directly affects you and me.  The Upanishad says:

‘there is no other way to enter eternal life (but through Purusa) (Nanyahpantha vidyate – ayanaya) Svetasvataropanisad 3:8

So we will study through the Purusasukta, the hymn in Rg Veda that describes Purusa.  As we do so, I will hold perhaps a strange and novel idea before us to consider:  Is this Purusa spoken of in the Purusasukta fulfilled in the incarnation of Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) around 2000 years ago?  As I said, this is perhaps a strange notion, but Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) is known as a Holy man across all religions and he did claim to be the incarnation of God, and both he and Purusa are sacrificed (as we will see) so this gives us  good reasons to consider this idea and explore it.  The sanskrit transliterations, and many of my thoughts on the Purusasukta, have come from studying the book Christ in the Ancient Vedas by Joseph Padinjarekara (346 pp. 2007)

First verse of Purusasukta

Transliterated from Sanskrit

Translated into English

Sahasra sirsa-PurusahSahasra ksah sahsrapatSa bhumim visvato v rtvaatyatisthaddasangulam Purusa has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet. Encompassing Earth on all sides, He Shines. And he limited Himself to ten fingers

We saw above that Purusa is the same as Prajapati.  Prajapati, as explained here, in the earliest Vedas was considered the God who made everything – He was the “Lord of all Creation”.

We see in the start of the Purusasukta that Purusa has a ‘thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet”,  What does this mean?  ‘Thousand’ is not meant to be a specific counted number here, but means more ‘numberless’, or ‘without limit’.  So the Purusa has intelligence (‘head’) without limit.  In today’s language we would say he is omniscient or All-Knowing.  This is an attribute of God (Prajapati) who is the only one who is All-Knowing.  God also sees and is aware of all.  Saying that Purusa has a ‘thousand eyes’ is the same as saying that Purusa is omnipresent – he is aware of all because he is present everywhere.  In a similar way, the phrase ‘a thousand feet’ represents omnipotence – unlimited strength.

Thus we see in the beginning of the Purusasukta that the Purusa is introduced as an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent Man.  Only the incarnation of God could be such a person.  However the verse concludes by saying ‘he limited himself to ten fingers’.  What does this mean?  As an incarnate person, Purusa emptied himself of his divine powers and limited himself to that of a normal human – one with ‘ten fingers’.  Thus, though Purusa was Divine, with all that entails, he emptied himself in his Incarnation.

The Veda Pusthakam (Bible), when speaking of Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) expresses exactly the same idea.  It says:

… have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Philippians 2: 5-8)

You can see that the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) uses exactly the same thoughts as the Purusasukta does in introducing Purusa – infinite God incarnating to a limited human.  But this passage in the Bible moves quickly to describe his sacrifice – as Purusasukta also will.  So it is worthwhile for anyone who desires Moksha to explore these oracles further, since, as it says in the Upanishads:

‘there is no other way to enter eternal life (but through Purusa) (Nanyahpantha vidyate – ayanaya) Svetasvataropanisad 3:8

We continue verse 2 of Purusasukta here.

Achieving Moksha – Freedom from Karma

Karma, like gravity, is a law that is acting on you and me.  Karma can mean many things, but the fundamental idea is that we have deeds, and the merit for virtuous deeds and the penalty for evil deeds attach to our souls.  Unless our deeds are completely virtuous then there is a payment required of us, and unless that payment is made we are in bondage.

All of us instinctively feel this in some way.  And by our knowledge and wisdom we have invented many ways to deal with accumulated karma.  There is karma marga (way of works) where we labor hard to have good works.  There are mantras and pujas that are recited.  There are festivals and bathings that are sought, such as the Kumbha Mela Festival.  These ways are all difficult and we never have assurance that our efforts have been sufficient.  Were the motives behind our actions good enough?  Were a sufficient number of deeds good enough?  We are never sure. And so, like gravity, we live in karma, unable to break free and attain Moksha.  This is why before doing pujas people say the Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram (“I am a sinner. I am the result of sin. I am born in sin. My soul is under sin. I am the worst of sinners. O Lord who has the beautiful eyes, Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.”)

Prajapati / Yahweh: God who Provides in Sacrifice

So who is this ‘Lord of the sacrifice’?  And how can He save us from this Law of Karma?  In the very earliest Veda texts, the God who was Lord of all Creation – the one who made and controlled the universe – was called Prajapati. It is through Prajapati that everything else came into being.

Around the same time that the Rg Veda was written down, about 1500 BC, another set of scriptures was also being recorded in another part of the earth – in what is now called the Middle East.  These earliest Hebrew texts of the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) is known as the Torah.  The Torah begins with the declaration that there is one God who is the Creator of the whole universe. In the transliteration from the original Hebrew this God was called either Elohim or Yahweh and these names are interchanged back and forth throughout in these Hebrew texts. Thus, like Prajapati in the Rg Veda, Yahweh or Elohim in the Torah was (and is) Lord of all Creation.

Early In the Torah, Yahweh also reveals Himself as the God ‘who Provides’ in a remarkable encounter with the Rsi called Abraham. We will look at this encounter in more detail later. For the moment I just want to note the similarity with Yahweh who provides (transliterated from Hebrew as Yahweh-yireh) with that of Prajapati in Rg Veda who is “the protector or supporter of creatures”.

In what way does Yahweh provide? We have already noted the need we have to get free from Karma, and we have noted the mantram which prays to the ‘Lord of the Sacrifice’.   The Rg Veda expands on this by telling us:

“The actual sacrifice is Prajapati Himself” [Sanskrit: ‘Pajapatir yajnah’]

Sanskrit scholar H. Aguilar comments on this by translating from Sathapatha Brahmana the following:

“And indeed, there was no other (victim) meet for sacrifice but that one Prajapati, and the gods set about offering him up in sacrifice. Wherefore it is with reference to this that sage has said: ‘The gods offered up the sacrifice with the help of the sacrifice – for with the help of the sacrifice they did offer up him (Prajapati), the sacrifice – these were the first ordinances, for these laws were instituted first” H. Aguilar, The Sacrifice in the Rg Veda

The Vedas from the earliest time declares that Prajapati (or Yahweh) recognized the need we had so He provided for our Karma in a self-sacrifice. How He did it we look at in later articles as we concentrate on the Purusa-Prajapati sacrifice of the Purusasukta in Rg Veda, but for now just think how important this is. The Svetasvataropanisad says

‘there is no other way to enter eternal life ( Sanskrit: Nanyahpantha vidyate – ayanaya) Svetasvataropanisad 3:8

If you are interested in escaping Karma, if you desire Moksha or enlightenment then it would be wise to be informed about what has been revealed about how and why Prajapati (or Yahweh) provided for us through self-sacrifice of Jesus so that we can escape karma and gain heaven.  And the Vedas do not leave us hanging.  In Rg Veda is the Purusasukta which describes the incarnation of Prajapati and the sacrifice He made for us.  Click here to see the introduction to Purusasukta which describes Purusa like the Bible (Veda Pusthakam) describes Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) and his sacrifice to bring you Moksha or Mukti (immortality).  Then we continue through these vedas and see how the ancient Rsi Job could declare his freedom from Karma and his anticipation of eternal life – he had been given Moksha.

The universal need for sacrifice

Sages and rsis through the ages have known that people live in illusion and sin.  This has resulted in people through all religions, ages and education levels having an instinctive awareness that they need to be ‘cleansed’ in some way.  This is why so many participate in the Kumbh Mela Festival   and why before doing pujas people say the Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram (“I am a sinner. I am the result of sin.  I am born in sin.  My soul is under sin.  I am the worst of sinners.  O Lord who has the beautiful eyes,  Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.“) as explained in my post on the Kumbh Mela Festival.  Hand-in-hand with this instinctive need for cleansing is a sense of need to give a sacrifice to ‘pay’ in some way for our sins or the darkness (Tamas) of our lives.  And once again in the sacrifice of the pujas, or in the Kumbh Mela and other Festivals people give sacrifice of time, money, asceticism in order to meet this instinctive need to give sacrifice.  I have heard of people taking a cow and holding it by the tail as it swims across the river.  This is done as a puja or sacrifice in order to earn forgiveness.

This need to give sacrifice has been around as long as our oldest religious texts have been around. And these texts affirm what our instincts tell us – that sacrifice is very important and must be given.  For example consider the following teachings:

In the Kathopanisad (Hindu text) the protagonist Naciketa says:

“I indeed know that fire sacrifice leads to heaven and is the way to attain heaven” Kathopanisad 1.14

The book of the Hindus says:

“It is through sacrifice that man reaches heaven” Sathapatha Brahmana VIII.6.1.10

“by means of sacrifice, not only men but gods acquire immortality” Sathapatha Brahmana II.2.2.8-14

So it is through sacrifice that we gain immortality and heaven (Moksha).  But the question still remains as to what kind of sacrifice and how much is sufficient to meet the need to make a ‘payment’ or earn enough merit against our sins/tamas?  Will 5 years of asceticism be sufficient?  Will giving money to the poor be a sufficient sacrifice?  And if so, how much?

Prajapati / Yahweh: God who Provides in Sacrifice

In the very earliest Veda texts, the God who was Lord of all Creation – the one who made and controlled the universe – was called Prajapati.  It is through Prajapati that everything else came into being.

The earliest Hebrew texts of the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) is known as the Torah. The Torah was written approximately 1500 BC, around the time that the Rg Veda was composed. The Torah begins with the declaration that there is a God who is the Creator of the whole universe. In the transliteration from the original Hebrew this God was called either Elohim or Yahweh and they are interchanged back and forth throughout in these Hebrew texts. Thus, like Prajapati in the Rg Veda, Yahweh, or Elohim, in the Torah was (and is) Lord of all Creation.

Early In the Torah, Yahweh also reveals Himself as the God ‘who Provides’ in a remarkable encounter with the Rsi called Abraham. We will look at this encounter in more detail later. For the moment I just want to note the similarity with Yahweh who provides (transliterated from Hebrew as Yahweh-yireh) with that of Prajapati in Rg Veda who is “the protector or supporter of creatures”.

In what way does Yahweh provide? We have already noted the instinctive need for people to give sacrifice, but vaguely without assurance that the sacrifice that we bring is sufficient. What is so interesting is that in this very specific area of our need the Tandyamaha Brahmana declares how Prajapati provides for our need. It says:

“Having made a self-sacrifice Prajapati (the Lord of all Creation) offered himself for the gods” Tandyamaha Brahmana, chapter 7 of 2nd khanda.

[the sanskrit transliteration is “Prajapatirddevebhyam atmanam Yajnam krtva prayacchat”].

Here Prajapati is in the singular.  There is only one Prajapati, just as in Torah there is only one Yahweh. Later in the Puranas literature (written from 500 – 1000AD) there are several Prajapatis identified. But in the earliest text quoted above Prajapati is in singular – there is only one. And in this statement we see that Prajapati himself gives or is the sacrifice and He gives it on behalf of others. The Rg Veda confirms this by saying:

“The actual sacrifice is Prajapati Himself” [Sanskrit: ‘Pajapatir yajnah’]

Sanskrit scholar H. Aguilar comments on this by translating from Sathapatha Brahmana the following:

“And indeed, there was no other (victim) meet for sacrifice but that one Prajapati, and the gods set about offering him up in sacrifice. Wherefore it is with reference to this that sage has said: ‘The gods offered up the sacrifice with the help of the sacrifice – for with the help of the sacrifice they did offer up him (Prajapati), the sacrifice – these were the first ordinances, for these laws were instituted first” H. Aguilar, The Sacrifice in the Rg Veda

The Vedas from the earliest time declares that Yahweh or Prajapati recognized the need we had so He provided for us in a self-sacrifice. How He did it we look at in later articles as we concentrate on the Purusa-Prajapati sacrifice of the Purusasukta in Rg Veda, but for now just think how important this is. The Svetasvataropanisad says

‘there is no other way to enter eternal life ( Sanskrit: Nanyahpantha vidyate – ayanaya)  Svetasvataropanisad 3:8

If you are interested in eternal life, if you desire Moksha or enlightenment then it would be wise to journey along to see what has been revealed about how and why Prajapati (or Yahweh) provided for us through self-sacrifice so that we can gain heaven.  And the Vedas do not leave us hanging.  In Rg Veda is the Purusasukta which describes the incarnation of Prajapati and the sacrifice He made for us.  Click here to see the introduction to Purusasukta which describes Purusa like the Bible (Veda Pusthakam) describes Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) and his sacrifice to bring you Moksha or Mukti (immortality).  Click here to understand how to receive cleansing from this sacrifice of Jesus.

The Kumbh Mela Festival: Showing Bad News of Sin & our need for cleansing

The largest gathering ever in human history happened this year in 2013 – the Kumbh Mela festival which is celebrated only once every 12 years. A staggering 100 million people  descended on the city of Allahabad by the shores of the Ganges River through the 55 day festival season, with 10 million having bathed in the Ganges just on the opening day alone.

Devotees at Ganges for Kumbh Mela Festival

Devotees at Ganges for Kumbh Mela Festival

Organizers expected 20 million bathers on the peak bathing day of February 15, according to NDTV. I have been to Allahabad and I cannot imagine how these many millions could be there at once without all functions seizing up.  The BBC reported that huge efforts were made to bring things like toilets and doctors to meet the day-to-day needs of these people. These Khumb Mela numbers dwarfed that of the annual Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca that Muslims make – a ‘mere’ 3.1 million in 2012.

So why did 100 million people spend 120 billion rupees to bathe in the Ganges river? One devotee from Nepal reported to the BBC that

“I have washed off my sins”.

Reuters reports that

“I wash away all my sins, from this life and before,” said wandering ascetic Swami Shankranand Saraswati, 77, shivering naked in the cold.

NDTV tells us that

Worshippers, who believe a dip in the holy waters cleanses them of their sins,

In the previous 2001 festival I noticed on the then-BBC interview that pilgrim Mohan Sharma reported that “the sins we have created are washed away here”.

The universal human sense of ‘sin’

In other words, multiple millions will spend money, travel on crowded trains, endure congested situations and bathe in The Ganges River to have their sins ‘washed away’. Before we look at what these devotees are doing, let us consider the problem that they are recognizing in their own lives – sin.

Śri Sathya Sai Baba and ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’

In my ‘About Me’ page I wrote about some moral teachings from Śri Sathya Sai Baba, whose precepts I thought admirable. I reproduce them again below. Ask yourself as you read them “Are these good moral precepts to live by? Should I live by them?”

“And what is dharma (Our moral duty)? Practicing what you preach, doing as you say it has to be done, keeping precept and practice in line. Earn virtuously, yearn piously; live in fear of God, live for reaching God: that is dharma” Sathya Sai Speaks 4, p. 339

“What exactly is your duty?…

  • First tend your parents with love and reverence and gratitude.
  • Second, speak the truth and act virtuously.
  • Third, whenever you have a few moments to spare, repeat the name of the Lord with the form in your mind.
  • Fourth, never indulge in talking ill of others or try to discover faults in others.
  • And finally, do not cause pain to others in any form”  Sathya Sai Speaks 4, pp.348-349

“Whoever subdues his egoism, conquers his selfish desires, destroys his bestial feelings and impulses, and gives up the natural tendency to regard the body as self, he is surely on the path of dharma” Dharma Vahini, p.4

As I read these I found that these were precepts that I should live – as a simple moral duty. But have you really been living by them? Have you (and I) measured up? What happens when we fail or do not measure up to these precepts. Śri Sathya Sai Baba continues his teachings by answering this question in the following way

“Generally, I speak sweet, but on this matter of discipline, I will not grant any concessions … I will insist on strict obedience. I shall not reduce the rigor to suit your level, ”  Sathya Sai Speaks 2, p.186

That level of rigor is fine – if you always meet the requirements. But what if you do not? This is where the concept of ‘sin’ then comes from. When I miss the moral target, or fall short in doing what I know I should do then I sin and I am a sinner. No one likes being told they are a ‘sinner’ – it is something that makes us uncomfortable and guilty, and in fact we spend much mental and emotional energy trying to rationalize all these thoughts away.  Perhaps we look to another teacher other than Śri Sathya Sai Baba, but if he is a ‘good’ teacher, his moral precepts will be very similar – too hard to do.

The Bible (Veda Pusthakam) says that all of us feel this sense of sin, regardless of religion or education level because this sense of sin comes from our conscience. The Veda Pusthakam expresses it this way

Indeed, when Gentiles (ie non-Jews), who do not have the law (Ten Commandments in Bible), do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them. (Romans 2:14-15)

Thus this is why millions of pilgrims feel their sin. It is just like the Veda Pusthakam (Bible) says

all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

Sin expressed in Pratasana Mantram

This notion is expressed in the well-known Prartha Snana (or Pratasana) mantram which I reproduce below

I am a sinner. I am the result of sin.  I am born in sin.  My soul is under sin.  I am the worst of sinners.  O Lord who has the beautiful eyes,  Save me, O Lord of the Sacrifice.

This expresses the same spirit as the Upanishad prayer I referenced in Welcome to Vedic ConsiderTheGospel.

The Gospel ‘washes our sins’

The Gospel addresses the very issue that these devoted pilgrims are seeking – to have their ‘sins washed away’. It promises a blessing to those who wash their ‘robes’ (ie their moral actions). The blessing is one of immortality (tree of life) in heaven (‘the city’).

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

The Kumbh Mela Festival shows us the ‘bad news’ of the reality of our sin, and it thus should awaken us to look for cleansing.  Even if there exists only a remote possibility that this Promise from the Gospel is true, because it is so important, surely it is worthwhile to investigate it in a more thorough manner.

If you are interested in eternal life, if you desire freedom from Sin then it would be wise to journey along to see what has been revealed about how and why Prajapati (or Yahweh) provided for us through self-sacrifice of Jesus so that we can gain heaven. And the Vedas do not leave us hanging. In Rg Veda is the Purusasukta which describes the incarnation of Prajapati and the sacrifice He made for us. Click here to see the introduction to Purusasukta which describes Purusa like the Bible (Veda Pusthakam) describes Yeshu Satsang (Jesus of Nazareth) and his sacrifice to bring you Moksha or Mukti (immortality).