[Reader-list] Non-Dualist/Monistic, Monotheism and the Polytheism

يا سر ~ ɹısɐʎ yasir.media at gmail.com
Sun Jun 6 12:20:55 IST 2010

I have always known that the conception of divinity in Islam is that it is
everywhere and in everything. taking this to its
literal-logical-interpretative extreme you get pantheistic arguments similar
to Ibn-Arabi which may me the same or similar in conception with Dharma. on
the other hand Platonistic, Aristotelean, and Parminedean arguments equate
the primary cause and Being in many different combinations, including the
possibility that the material world is an illusion.  this in fact goes
perfectly well with the modern physics view of an ultimately unknowable
divine reality or just reality, as it shows up in quantum phenomena and
astrophysics. then again as you say in 'Advaitic SivA' the different names
and forms of the ultimate reality become the 99 names of the divinity in
islam. in fact the monotheistic tradition just keeps the ultimate reality
separate from the manifestations and even names, images and representations.
This happens more in the Muslim & Jewish worldviews although not always
strictly, and certain Christian sects, certainly not all. i am afraid i do
not buy your arguments. You ought to read the same subject matter in other
traditions and not rely on the 'scientific' evidence  which is decidedly
empirical and limited, in order to prove a metaphysical point.


ps: are you bound in holy matrimony or is it contractual.

On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 9:40 AM, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com>wrote:

> Non-Dualist/Monistic, Monotheism and the Polytheism
> By
> Rabinder Kumar Koul
> Objective:
> Our world has many varied views of the ultimate reality/existent, some
> based on the Dharma traditions of India, some based on the scientific
> tradition of the modern world and yet some others on the religious
> world view of the Semitic traditions. When we talk about reality and
> ultimate existent, one looks at the modern science for guidance and we
> ignore the truth claims made by Semitic religions (as these are
> fundamentally contrary in their approach and attitude to the
> scientific view). On the other hand when we talk of religious world
> view, people lump Dharma traditions also in to that. The dominant
> narration currently classifies the truth claim by religions and Dharma
> traditions in terms of internal scheme provided by Semitic religions.
> This classification is based on Monotheistic and polytheistic
> categories that are internal to the Semitic religions.  The thrust of
> this note is to show that this classification is incomplete and narrow
> and can not capture wholly the different versions of reality that
> includes scientific, Dharma based and religion based view points
> simultaneously. An alternative classification is presented, that is
> internal to the Dharma tradition, and it is shown to capture not only
> the Scientific and Dharma view, but also the Semitic religious view of
> reality in its classification scheme.
> Begin Digression:
> Here I am distinguishing Dharma from religion, even though outsiders
> have translated Dharma as religion for us. The reason for this
> separation is the dilemmas this translation creates, when we apply
> this translation in situations, where Dharma as a conceptual category
> can easily applied and religion as a category cannot be used. Take for
> example the commonly understood distinct domains.
> .       Living
> .       Humans
> .       Animals
> .       Plants and vegetables
> .       Non-Living
> .       Conceptual
> In all the above cases the notion of Dharma is applicable. For example
> my wife is called my "Dharma Patni", but I have no religious wife. My
> dharma changes as to what aspect is under consideration. Similarly an
> animal has his Dharma, but not religion. As do vegetables have Dharma,
> but no religion. The non-livings too have their dharma, but no
> religion. In fact the Dharma itself has Dharma, but religion has no
> religion.  These dilemmas can be sorted out only when the Dharma is
> understood in all its varieties, and must not be translated as
> religion.
> In this note I use instrumental cause in the sense, say, of a potter
> making a wheel. He becomes the instrumental cause here and the
> material cause for the wheel is the mud that is used to make the pot.
> Even though potter is the instrumental cause, he is not the efficient
> cause. That cause will be assigned to his consciousness (Atman).
> However sometimes the instrumental cause may coincides with the
> efficient cause. Since these may coincide in the same agent, namely
> 'God" in Semitic traditions.
> End Digression
> Introduction:
> Very often limitations of our language bind us and cannot let us see
> beyond these limitations. The Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions are
> bound by these inner constructs. They can only classify the world’s
> spiritual traditions in to Monotheistic and polytheistic traditions.
> These are the blinders put on them by the nature of their discourse.
> This classification is not broad enough to encompass the
> non-Judeo-Christian-Islamic wolrd views and traditions. This
> classification based on Monotheism and Polytheism is internal
> compulsion of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions, because they
> posit two separate classes of realities. First one of these two
> realities is called God, and the other realities are every thing else
> “that exists”, and is by its very nature different from God. In
> general, God creates these other no-where and can vanquish these in to
> non-existence. Technically the God is the instrumental cause and not
> the material cause. There is no connection between the nature of the
> God and the nature of the other realities. Thus, Judeo-Christian
> reality is of many kinds. There is God, then there are angles, then
> there are Men, women, then beasts and then in-animate things. All of
> these are distinct from each other and are fundamentally different
> existents, in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic worldviews. Such a model of
> the reality is called the Polyistic model of the reality. God is just
> one category of reality in their worldview (even though highest) but
> in existence are many different kinds of realities, completely
> dis-jointed from each other in a fundamental way. In other words, the
> Judeo-Christian-Islamic view of the reality is a collection of
> distinct and materially un-connected realities, which are
> fundamentally different in Character from each other. Looking from
> this perspective, their “reality view” is Polyistic worldview. The
> highest of these Categories, namely God, has no material commonality
> with the rest of the existents. The humans among the rest who are
> endowed with a soul (another existent) has no commonality with God
> either. Hence even in principal Christian/Islamic traditions have no
> possibility of knowing or experiencing God directly, except through
> the word of an individual, who is classified as prophet. Implicatively
> this category of “God” is relegated to the mere belief.  And this
> belief has to be maintained in the face of all the other evidence,
> logical, material or experiential that may arise in due course. That
> is irrational is relegated to a deserving and desirable status. Thus
> these traditions, because of the very nature of their worldview, have
> no possibility of substantiating their first category of reality they
> call God/Allah etc. while living or dead. Therefore, the system is not
> only Polyistic but also irrational faith. I.e. Ask no questions and I
> will tell you no lies.
> On the other hand, the scientific worldview as propounded by the
> modern Physics is Non-dualistic worldview. Based on the experimental
> observations and the internal consistency arguments, it claims that
> there exists one fundamental reality (principal) from which both the
> space-time and matter along with their dynamics arises. This eventual
> reality (principal), call it Grand-unified-Quantum-Gravitational
> reality, is what is hinted at by the modern Physics. Even though this
> ultimate description is not with us currently, but we have a large
> portion of it already at hand. The success of the modern physics is
> testimony to that. Thus modern physics emphasizes that the ultimate
> reality is one from which all else comes forth and that all else is
> fundamentally tied to this underlying existent through dynamics with
> some symmetry breaking/phase transition processes. The diversity of
> the states of mater and the geometry of the space-time arises out of
> this principal by some symmetry breaking principals and “observational
> principle”, inherently contained in the theory. This Scientific view
> of reality is Non-dualistic fundamentally at variance from the
> Judeo-Christian Islamic worldview. Its foundations lay in experience,
> postulation and logical deductions. Fundamentally the world view
> postulates that if some thing exists, then it can be experienced or
> deduced from that is experincible. Even though a conscious observer
> plays a fundamental part in the outcomes of experiments of this
> theory, there is no explicit explanation or incorporation of the main
> characteristic of this consciousness’ as observer, namely its
> consciousness/awareness aspect in to the theory. However the
> Non-dualistic world view rules in physics. This scientific worldview
> of humans cannot be captured by the Monotheistic/polytheistic
> classification scheme, but can be captured by monistic/Polyistic
> classification scheme.
> Let us now consider Dharma traditions. These traditions are concerned
> with the nature of “Sat” i.e. existence. You can ask this question of
> the nature of “sat” from three different perspectives.
> ·       You ask this question from the perspective of the externally
> presented world. If you ask this question from the perspective of the
> external world, there are two possible perspectives.
> ·       You can ask the question from the perspective of an externally
> manifested particular. That question is characterized by the famous
> saying of Mahaarishi Vyaasa, “Athato Dharma Jignyaasa”. To understand
> the nature of existent of particular, one has to understand the Dharma
> of that existent i.e intense desire to know the “properties/qualities”
> that support this particular existent, to be. That is we should
> understand the Dharma of the entity under enquiry. This to the study
> of Dharma.
> ·       Instead of asking this question from the perspective of external
> particular, You can ask this question from the perspective of the
> universal existent as a whole. This again leads to another question
> and maxim stated by Mahaarishi Vyaasa “Athato Brahma jignyaasa”. That
> is intense desire to know Universal manifestation engulfing all
> particulars and including all particulars. This path of enquiry leads
> to irreducible existent and is characterized by the notion of
> “NirguNa-Brahman”.
> ·       Now a person can ask the same question from the perspective of his
> individual self. Here one implies by self what ever you consider your
> current state of self. Namely, you may think that I am Mr. X, I am so
> much tall, I am handsome or I am ugly etc etc. What ever you think you
> are, you start from there, and then enquire are you really that only,
> or that alone or are tou something else. This path is characterized by
> the question again Maharishi Vyaasa puts as, “Athaato Atma/Aham
> Jignyaasa”. That is intense desire to know the Aham or Atman.  And
> this study is following the study of Aagam-Tantra path. The path leads
> to irreducible existent that is called “Shiva”/“Shiva-Shakti” in this
> path.
> ·       The fascinating part is that this Sat=Atman=Shiva=Brahman. Of
> course
> there are other names used by different variations of these main
> directions of enquiry.
> I must also point out that even though my above description is based
> on Monistic/ Monistic theism based traditions. However the arguments
> go through (except the last point),with small alterations as we look
> at these issues from the Dvaita-Vaad perspective. All that is needed
> to realize is to maintain the efficient and the material cause is the
> same. The difference between the non-dual vs dualistic traditions of
> such genre (both efficient and material cause issue…) arises in
> assumption, if the part contains the whole or part is only part of the
> whole.
> Given the above summary, it is obvious that Indian traditions too,
> cannot be captured by the classification categories of the Monotheism
> and polytheism, since the tradition attempts to capture whole reality
> like Physics tries in Natural Sciences. The Semitic classification
> ignores the reality (existence) as a whole and is focused only on one
> existent called God (the efficient cause of the rest but not the
> material cause). Thus the monotheistic and the polytheistic
> classification can not capture the Indian notion of existent/“Sata”
> Alternate Classification:
> Indian traditions also provide an internal classification scheme that
> is broad enough to capture all the above views of reality, be it
> Judeo-Christian-Islamic, Indian, or Modern Scientific traditions. This
> reality classification scheme is given as
> ·         Non-Dualistic Reality: It has tthree possibilities as given
> below.
> ·         No-Reality (Nihilistic view)
> ·         Non-dualistic (Monistic) View (There is only one reality and
> every thing else arises from it)
> ·       Non-dual Monistic theism (as in Abheda Siva tradition or Abheda
> Shakta traditions as in saundariya Lahiri..)
> ·         Dualistic Reality: There are at least two distinct realities
> ·         Polyistic Reality: There are many distinct realities
> materially fundamentally distinct from each other
> Indian Vedic, Agamic/Tantric, Budhist, Jaina and Sikh traditions are
> all fall in to one of these as shown below.
> Non-Dual Tradition
> No- Existent    Budhism
> Only One Existent that appears as many  Advaitic Traditions / Modern
> Scientific view
> Dualistic traditions    Nyaya/Yoga/VaishishkA/Dvaita Shiva, Vaishnava
> Traditions/ Sikhism
> Polyistic Tradition     Judeo-Christian-Islam
> Even though Advaitic traditions posit only one kind of reality, there
> is more than one variety of Advaita. The difference is in the details.
> The consciousness plays a central role in the Advaitic traditions of
> India and every thing else eventually is shown either to be evolutes
> from it or only an appearance. Hence it also incorporates the aspect
> of Consciousness as observer that Modern physics does not address even
> though it plays a central role as an observer. This part is on-going
> work in Physics. In Advaitic traditions too, in my perspective a
> modern understanding of the evolutes of the TatvAs have to be better
> understood. That is a different story.
> It can be seen that this classification provides complete
> classification scheme for the Scientific, Dharma and Semitic religious
> world view. But in principle is a complete in the sense that any new
> world view will take its place within this scheme, so long we can
> enumerate its categories.
> Connection to Polytheism: Let me address this from the non-dualistic
> point of view.  In Advaitic SivA, the ultimate reality becomes all
> different names and forms. Thus, all form are equally sanctified and
> sacred and worthy of worship, since these all arise and return to .
> Here in lay the true roots of, what is called, Polytheism. Notice,
> even here when one worships no aspect of the existence is ignored. The
> Polytheism arises directly from the deep experience of the
> non-dualistic tradition. Monotheistic tradition falls far short of
> that and is completely oblivious towards the nature of all other
> existent reality. In fact, it is in direct contradiction of the
> messages from the modern physics since it considers all different
> existents as de-separate.
> On the other hand, if that non-dual reality posits reality as
> appearance only, then the foundation of this appearance of the form is
> the one ultimate reality in that form. In that case, one is always
> worshiping that ultimate principal in a given form.
> Therefore the attempts to show that Hinduism is monotheistic are
> misplaced, for its roots lay far deeper experiential ideals, and deals
> with the reality as a whole. For Non-dualistic traditions may contain
> (but not necessarily) the monotheistic aspect but in reality
> transcends it. The attempt to show otherwise is indicative of
> mis-understanding of Indian traditions.
> Ravindra
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