Volume 7 - Issue 12
December 2009
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MULTI-FAITH QUIZ
ON

THE SPIRIT OF SACRIFICE

Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

 

The Prophets, the Saviors and the Redeemers come to save and redeem the creation. In redeeming and saving the mankind they take upon themselves all human suffering and sacrifice everything. Bhagavan Baba says: “The true secret of enjoyment lies in sacrifice. Sacrifice has also been declared to be the only means of achieving immortality. Giving up what is taken in is a law of life. It applies to breathing, food and other things. Likewise, the wealth which one acquires should also be given back to society. Wealth includes not only riches, but every other form of acquisition including knowledge, scholarship, and skills of various kinds. The knowledge you have acquired through education should be imparted to others.It is by such sharing that your education gets enriched and purposeful. If you do not impart the knowledge you possess, it becomes useless. This means that the more you give, the more you grow.”

The importance of sacrifice can never be overemphasized. Take the divine teachings of any Divine Incarnation or Messenger of God, sacrifice forms a significant tenet of their discourses and the lives of these enlightened beings are sagas of sacrifice. In the current quiz, we intend to take you through these different faiths and highlight how sacrifice is central to every religion’s philosophy and message.

1. The heart of Jainism is non-violence stemming from love and compassion towards all beings. Jains live by the truth proclaimed by their master, Mahavira: “One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, fire, water and vegetation disregards his own existence which is entwined with them.”

Mahavira taught the Jains that there is no quality of soul more subtle than non-violence and no virtue of spirit greater than reverence for life. Jains thus believe that the only way to save one's own soul is to protect every other soul, and so the most central Jain teaching, and the heart of Jain ethics, is that of ahimsa (non-violence), stoicism, reduction and/or sacrifice the desire for material things.

According to the great sages of Jainism, what is the most sublime quality that one should practice which will qualify as a true sacrifice?

Be truly compassionate towards all beings
Have a peaceful disposition
Have self-restraint
Practice non-possessiveness

 

2. All Buddhists know that Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment only after he managed to develop himself through self-discipline, self-restraint, self-sacrifice, and abstaining from all kinds of evils; and practicing morality, rejecting worldly pleasures, sacrificing his own comfort for the sake of others spiritual development, and by purifying his heart and mind and realizing the true nature of life and the world.

During a Divine Discourse, delivered in 1988, Swami narrated how Buddha shows what true sacrifice means: “Buddha was once asked: ‘Who is the richest man in the world?’ Buddha replied: ‘He who has much satisfaction (with what he has) is the richest man.’ To the question, ‘Who is the poorest man?" Buddha replied: ‘He who has many desires.’

“A Maharaja, who was listening to Buddha's sermons on contentment and renunciation, wished to earn the approbation of Buddha. Buddha used to keep with him always a rattle-drum. His disciples once asked him: ‘Master! Why are you always keeping this rattle-drum by your side?’ Buddha replied: ‘I shall play on this drum the day a person who has made the greatest sacrifice approaches me.’ Everyone was eager to know who this person would be. Such persons are often the forgotten men of history. Wishing to attain this distinction, the Maharaja loaded his elephants with considerable treasure and went to Buddha. He hoped to offer the treasure to Buddha and earn his praise.”

According to Swami, what kind of giving did ‘true sacrifice’ mean to Buddha?

That which you value most
That which is most needed at that moment in time
That which requires a lot of courage
That which fills others with inspiration and love

 

3. The Bible states that Jesus once told his disciples, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life from My sake will find it."  Matthew 16.24-25

Swami once mentioned: “Every saint and prophet who strove to uplift the downtrodden and open the eyes of the blind to the splendour of God and Grace, had to be ready and willing for the ultimate sacrifice. One has to expect trouble and welcome the chance for sacrificing all that one clings to, while one is upholding Truth and righteousness. Likewise, Jesus demonstrated and preached the power of faith and, ultimately, invited on himself the supreme sacrifice of life itself.”

During a Divine Christmas Discourse delivered in 1972, Swami clarifies on the real sacrifices that Jesus made while He was on earth: “People talk of the sacrifice of Christ as evidenced by His crucifixion. But, He was surrounded and bound, and crowned by the crowd who captured Him with a crown of thorns, and later, He was nailed to the cross by His captors. A person bound and beaten by the police cannot say that he has sacrificed anything, for, he is not a free man. Let us pay attention to the sacrifice that Jesus made while free, out of His own volition.”

According to Swami, what should one sacrifice that would mark as a celebration of Jesus’ Birthday?

Our time set aside daily for devotional acts
Sacrificing at least one or two desires and the ego
Sacrificing some bad habit
Sacrificing some material offering to the Church

 

4. For Hindus, a sacrifice typically entails either making offerings to a deity as an expression of homage and devotion or giving up something, often one's own possession, advantage or preference, to serve a higher purpose.
The Sanskrit yajna is often translated as "sacrifice" but also means worship, devotion, offering, love, and oblation. It is especially used to describe the offering of ghee (clarified butter), grains, spices, and wood into a fire along with the chanting of sacred mantras. The fire represents agni, the divine messenger who carries offerings to the celestial beings. The offerings can represent devotion, aspiration, and seeds of past karma.

During the 1972 Summer Showers Discourses, Swami explained: “In the word Gita, there are two parts, “gi” and “ta”. “Gi” indicates sacrifice, and “ta” indicates spirituality. Therefore, this book Gita teaches us both sacrifice and the real nature of the soul. If we understand the spirit of the Gita, we will know that it has taught us that the most important trait of a human being should be sacrifice. The Gita has also taught us what kind of sacrifice it is. It should be “karma phala thyaga”, or sacrifice of the fruits of the deeds we do. The Gita never taught us that we should give up action. It has taught us to do everything, undertake every action for the pleasure of God, and never desire for the fruits thereof.”

According to Swami, Sacrifice is the essence of ____________.

Human nature
All relationships
Success in all worldly endeavours
Spiritual life

 

5. Many of the writings in the Baha’i Faith speak of the true significance of service and of sacrifice. “We must be like the fountain or spring that is continually emptying itself of all that it has and is continually being refilled from an invisible source. To be continually giving out for the good of our fellows undeterred by the fear of poverty and reliant on the unfailing bounty of the Source of all wealth and all good – this is the secret of right living.”  (Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, in Baha'i Funds: Contributions and Administration)

In one of Abdul-Baha’s tablets called “O thou who art attracted by the Fragrances of God!” he wrote: “O maid-servant of God! It is incumbent upon thee, since thou hast attained the knowledge of God and His love, to sacrifice thy spirit and all thy conditions for the life of the world, bearing every difficulty for the comfort of the souls, sinking to the depth of the sea of ordeals for the sake of the love of faithfulness and burning with the fire of torture and regret like unto a lamp while the light is shining from thee unto the surroundings.

“O maid-servant of God! The mystery of sacrifice is that man should sacrifice all his conditions for the divine station of God.”

What was the first ‘Divine station of God’ that Abdul Baha was referring to?

Mercy
Kindness
Forgiveness
Sacrifice

 

6. For Sikhs, a total sacrifice is the first and the foremost essential pre-requisite for earning and attaining His Grace Eternal.
Their tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh was unparalleled, as no other sacrifice could be greater than his. He himself inspired his father, Guru Teg Bahadur, to sacrifice his life for the sake of the nation and humanity. The common men were filled with courage and enthusiasm to become fearless too and came forward to perform their duties and become ready to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the nation.

In His Sathya Sai Vahini, Swami lauds Guru Gobind Singh’s sacrificial spirit thus:

“Undeterred by tortures that forced him to shed his own blood and the blood of his own beloved, deserted by those for whom he had undergone such torture, he did not utter a word of blame against his compatriots, but, entered the Deccan and gave up his life, as the King of Beasts does when his heart is hurt. May that great person’s fame persist forever on earth! Such eminent leaders render the whole of mankind indebted to them, for they serve the best interests of all men everywhere.”

What was one of the biggest legacies that Guru Gobind Singh left behind for eternity?

Special aarti sung in every temple
The Holy Book of the Sikhs
Several homes for the aged
Free Schools in several villages

 

7. In the Avesta, the holy book of the Zoroastrians, Zarathustra is presented as a blessed poet and priest, to whom Ahura Mazdâ confided the sacred ritual texts and the other ingredients of the sacrifice for him to take them down to proclaim and use among mortals.

For the later Zoroastrians, he was the one who received Ahura Mazdâ’s word and transmitted it to mankind, which qualified him as a “prophet”. The followers of this religion are also called Mazdeans (or Mazdayasnians) after the Old Iranian term mazda-yasna, which literally means “he who sacrifices (performs a ritual of offerings) to Ahura Mazdâ.” Correspondingly, the religion is also called Mazdaism.

Instead of promoting human or animal sacrifices, what did Zoroaster teach his followers to sacrifice to their God Ahura Mazda? 

Their first earnings of the year
Any one bad habit per year
Their vows and thanksgivings
Observe fasting every Thursday

 

8. Muslims believe that sacrifice reinforces their loyalty and fidelity to Allah; for all other loyalties become secondary as they are sacrificed for the sake of this loyalty. In short, sacrifices bring one nearer to Allah. The process is mutually interactive: the stronger the faith, the greater the will and capacity to sacrifice; the greater the sacrifices, the more internalized and deeper the faith.

The religion of Islam also teaches mankind that sacrifices strengthen our inner spiritual and moral resources and develop qualities of character, which are essential to our struggle at every level. Secondly, they develop and reinforce cohesion and discipline.

Thus, sacrifices are essential for the development of all moral qualities, but especially for the development of patience, endurance, perseverance, fortitude, resolve and determination.

How does the religion of Islam want their followers to regard animal sacrifice as stated in the Koran?

Animal sacrifice will reward eternal life thereafter
Animals were created to be sacrificed
The highest form of sacrifice is of animals
Animal sacrifice does not offer any salvation to humanity

 

9. In Judaism, a sacrifice is known as a Korban from the Hebrew root karov meaning to "[come] Close [to God]".
The prophets point out that sacrifices are only a part of serving God and need to be accompanied by inner morality and goodness.

"Doing charity and justice is more desirable to the Lord than sacrifice" (Proverbs 21:3)

According to the Hebrew Scriptures, more than daily sacrifices, what is considered the highest ideal for all Jews?

The study of the Torah
Following the Ten Commandments
Observing the Sabbath religiously
Value of family

 

10. In Prof. Anil Kumar’s ‘Satyopanishad’, Swami enlightens us more on the topic of sacrifice: “Always remember that tyaga (sacrifice) is the highest and the best form of sadhana (spiritual practice). You have to sacrifice your time, money, resources, and energy. You should at least offer a tulasi leaf to God in worship. So, tyagenaike amrutatvamanasuh - Sacrifice makes you attain immortality. Tyaga is yoga, spiritual exercise.

“Love expresses itself as sacrifice. Love without sacrifice is meaningless and totally selfish. You have to sacrifice the body feeling or attachment to the body. You have to sacrifice your wicked thoughts and bad feelings. Sacrifice is your true nature. Sacrifice is a divine quality gifted to man. In fact, you are not doing anything great and special by sacrifice. You are doing it for your own self.”

Swami said: “Sacrifice is yoga.” According to Swami, what kind of yoga is sacrifice?

Yoga of senses
Internal yoga
Hatha yoga
Prema Yoga

Dear Reader, did you like this quiz? Is it too difficult? Is it interactive enough? Would you like more such quizzes? Please help us in serving you better by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

- Heart2Heart Team

 

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