Volume 7 - Issue 09
September 2009
Other Articles

MULTI-FAITH QUIZ ON THE PRINCIPLE
OF NON-DUALITY

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 world’s religions have been gifted to humanity as paths to rediscover our own reality. Along these paths are strewn many lofty ideals, philosophies and tenets, products of the surrounding climes and cultures, historical contexts and emotional temperaments of the peoples they were designed to enlighten.

To perceive the synthesis of these apparently diverse philosophies and understand that there is One God who has created the religions through His prophets and seers, must be the goal of any serious seeker, especially the devotees of Bhagavan Baba. 

For He commands us:

“Get rid of religious and philosophical differences and enlarge your matha (religion) and mathi (mind). There is only one God, and He is the indweller of your heart. If you realize this truth, the entire humanity becomes a single race. There is only one religion in the universe and that is divine love (prema). Complete unity of all religions can be seen only in Prasanthi Nilayam. This principle of unity is the sign of true devotion.”

We hope that this H2H quiz which attempts to bring out this principle of unity as advocated in different religions will serve to help in the understanding of this profound philosophy of non-dualism and lighten our lives.

1. Sikhs believe there is only one God, who has infinite qualities and names. He is the same for all religions; God is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. All that we see around us is God's creation. He is everywhere, in everything. He is fearless and without enmity. His form is indestructible. Only God is without birth or death. He is enlightened with His own light. He has and will exist forever. The Sikh sacred scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, teaches non-dualism by stressing the importance of treating every person as an equal:

“He is within - see Him outside as well. There is no one other than Him. As Gurmukh, look upon all with the single eye of equality. In each and every heart, the Divine Light is contained.” GGS Page 599 ||2||

According to Sikhism, what causes people to suffer, thereby creating dualism in human behaivour?




 

2. Jainism preaches universal brotherhood, and emphasizes the equality of all life, advocating harmlessness towards all, whether these are creatures, great or small.

The Jain philosophy teaches that each soul is a separate individuality, uncreated and eternal in existence. It has lived from time immemorial in some embodied state. It evolves from the lower to the higher condition through the Law of Karma, or cause and effect. It takes fresh bodies after death so long as the karmas, or forces generated in previous lives, have not been fully worked out.

Jains are the followers of the Jinas. "Jina" literally means "conqueror." According to the Jain philosophy, how does a Jain become a Jina?




 

3. The Buddha’s main concern was to eliminate suffering, to find a cure for the pain of human existence. His philosophy is a practical one, aimed at the happiness of all creatures. Buddha laid out a clear path to the goal and also observations on how to live life wisely.

During a Divine 2006 Discourse, Swami revealed some of Buddha’s teachings: “True wisdom lies in seeing oneness. Advaita darshanam jnanam (experience of non-dualism is true wisdom). It is a sign of ignorance to see duality ignoring the underlying unity. Dual­ity is not the truth. In this manner, Buddha enquired deeply and ultimately had the experi­ence of “I am I”. That is true realization. To contemplate upon the principle of “I am I” is true meditation. No other sadhana (spiritual practice) can match this.”

According to Swami, how did Buddha attain the appellation “Buddha” (the enlightened one)?




 

4. The life and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels form the basis of Christianity. In Christianity, God is understood as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a single infinite Being who is both within and beyond nature, personal both in His immanence and in His transcendence.

According to Swami, which one of the three statements made by Jesus at different stages of His life, led Him from duality towards non-duality?




 

5. In nearly all its variations, the philosphy of Judaism is based on the affirmation of the existence and oneness of God; the ultimate reality as a single, all-powerful God who created and rules the world. This belief of one indivisible God is expressed par excellence through the prayer in the Shema Yisrael: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4).

The great 12th century Jewish philosopher, Maimonides, describes God in this fashion: "There is a Being, perfect in every possible way, who is the ultimate cause of all existence. All existence depends on God and is derived from God."

Closely tied in with this idea is the fact that God is universal. He is not just the God of the Jews; He is the God of all nations. God transcends time. He has no beginning and no end. He will always be there to fulfill His promises. When Moses asked for God's name, He replied, "Ehyeh asher ehyeh." That phrase is generally translated as, "I am that I am".

According to Swami, who is “that” referred to?




 

6. In the Gathas, the most sacred texts of Zoroastrianism thought to have been composed by Zoroaster himself, the Prophet acknowledged devotion to no other divinity besides Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda is the beginning and the end, the creator of everything which can and cannot be seen, the Eternal, the Pure and the only Truth.

In Zoroastrianism, good transpires for those who do righteous deeds. Those who do evil have themselves to blame for their ruin. Zoroastrian morality is then to be summed up in the simple phrase, "good thoughts, good words, good deeds" (Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta in Avestan), for it is through these that asha (truth) is maintained and druj (falsehood) is kept in check.

In keeping with the Zoroastrian philosophy, in this world of apparent dualitities of good/evil, light/dark, etc…what can be the end result of keeping good company?




 

7. For Muslims, Allah is the only real Supreme Being, All-Powerful and All-Knowing Creator, Sustainer, Ordainer, and Judge of the universe. The Qur'an says: "Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." (Sura 112:1-4)

Islam’s philosophy is based on the idea that it is only possible for a true Muslim to remove the mind when one has totally surrendered his will to the Will of Allah. When this happens, there will no longer be any difference between Allah and His Servant.

Sathya Sai Baba is venerated as the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi who was regarded by Muslims as a Muslim and by Hindus as a Hindu. During a Divine 1992 Discourse, Swami narrated a story which demonstrated how Shirdi Sai Baba revealed the Oneness of God and proved to both the Muslims and the Hindus that this Unity can only be realized by one who has totally surrendered himself to God. “A controversy arose among the local people as to whether Baba was a Muslim or a Hindu. At one time he used to say: ‘Allah Malik! Allah Malik!’ At other times, he would say ‘Datthaathreya Malik’!

Whenever he shouted ‘Allah Malik!’ Muslims used to come to him in the masjid. His appearance was very much like that of a Muslim. Hence, many Muslims used to come to him. Hindus also used to come and offer incense to him. The Muslims did not approve of what the Hindus were doing. The Hindus did not like the way Muslims revered Baba. Consequently, bitterness developed between the two communities.”

When a dispute developed between the Hindus and the Muslims over serving Shirdi Baba, what lesson did Shirdi Baba teach them?




 

8. The Bahai philosophy is simplicity itself. It is expressed in this short quotation from Baha’u’llah’s writings, “The root of all knowledge is the knowledge of God.” Bahá'ís believe that although people have different concepts of God and His nature, and call Him by different names, everyone is speaking of the same One Being.

The principle of the unity of religion is at the center of Bahá'í teachings. Baha'u'llah proclaimed three cardinal principles: The oneness of ________, oneness of God and oneness of religion.




 

9. During a Divine 1962 Discourse, Swami explains why we see duality in this non-dual world, “All this creation and all this history is His Leela or rather, Himself, Brahma Sathyam, also, Jagath Sathyam. Only Jagath (world) is 'relatively real' until the distinction between Brahman and Jagath disappears and then even Jagath is seen to be Brahman, felt as Brahman, known as Brahmam. Then you know Sarvam Brahma Mayam, (All is full of Supreme Being).

To be more correct, there is no separate sarvam (all) to be recognized as mayam (full of). Brahman alone is, One without a second, Adhwitheeyam, Ekam, Nithyam, Vimalam, Achalam (Non-dual, Single Eternal, Pure and Immovable).”

According to Swami, who then created this multiplicity?




 

10. Swami often applauds Shankaracharya, a great expounder of non-dualism. “In India, many great people were born to teach us the spirit of this love, and also to teach us the oneness of all the beings in this world. Among the people who propagated such lofty ideals, Shankaracharya is one.”

During the 1973 Summer Showers, Swami narrated a story of his great philosophy of non-dualism, on which the foundation of Hinduism rests: “Many years ago, when in this country, righteousness and all that was dependent upon dharma, was on the decline, Adi Shankara appeared and propagated the ancient and Vedic dharma in the form of Adwaitha or non-dual philosophy.

He devoted all the time that was available to him and all the energy that was in his body for the purpose of propagating sacred Indian culture all over India. Shankara, during one such travel through the streets, noticed that in a house belonging to an old Brahmin, the owner of the house was reciting some rules of grammar. Shankara asked the Brahmin to tell him what he expected to get by reciting the rules of grammar.

The Brahmin replied that he had a big family, was unable to support such a big family and that he was acquiring some knowledge of grammar with which he hoped to go about and earn a little money to support his big family.”

What lesson did Shankara teach the Brahmin?




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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