Friday, February 20, 2009

Ramana Maharshi : Why do religions speak of gods, heaven, hell

Question : Why do religions speak of gods, heaven, hell etc?
Ramana Maharshi : Only to make people realise that they are on a par with this world and that the Self alone is real. The religions are according to the viewpoint of the seeker. (Take the Bhagavad Gita for instance; when Arjuna said that he would not fight against his own relations and elders, in order to kill them and gain the kingdom, Sri Krishna said: ‘Not that these, you or I
were not before, are not now, nor will be hereafter. None was born, none has died, nor will it be so hereafter’ and so on.

Later, as he developed the theme and declared that He had given the same instruction to the Sun, through him to Ikshvaku, etc. Arjuna raised the doubt: ‘How can that be? You were born a few years ago. They lived ages ago’. Then Sri Krishna, understanding Arjuna’s standpoint, said: ‘Yes, there have been many incarnations of myself and yourself; I know them all, but you do not’). Such statements appear contradictory, but still both are right according to the point of view of the questioner. Christ also declared “Before Abraham was, I am.”

Question : What is the purpose of such descriptions in religion?
Ramana Maharshi : Only to establish the reality of the Self.

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