A reply to Dr. Zakir Naik

Hindus generally don’t criticise other religions in spite of the fact that Christianity and Islam not only criticise, but demean Hinduism badly. Zakir Naik is only one example. Do Hindus know what is preached in the innumerable churches and mosques across India? I know for sure that Hindu gods are called devils by Christian missionaries. Yet Hindus neither defend their gods nor challenge the Abrahamic dogmas in spite of having a solid philosophical basis for their beliefs, which is lacking in Christianity and Islam.

Some years ago, Zakir Naik had ridiculed Ganapati and thrown a challenge to prove that Ganapati is God. I assume he means by God the Supreme Being that Muslims call Allah.

Now what do we know about Allah?

Foremost, Allah is great and merciful, and the faithful as well as the unfaithful are loudly reminded of it five times a day. He also knows what all human beings are doing, but is separate from them. It is claimed that Allah has communicated his final words to Prophet Mohamed. Those words are in the Quran. Allah declared that Islam alone is true. So, all human beings must follow Islam because other paths are wrong. And they must hurry up, because every human being has only one life.

Those, who do not accept Islam during their lifetime, will be thrown into eternal hellfire where “boiling water will be poured over their heads that not only melts their skin but also the inner parts of their bellies…” (Q22.19-22)

Clearly, here is where Allah’s mercy ends. He does not brook any dissent. And the Azan, which started compassionately, ends with: “Oh Allah, guide us to the Right Way. The Way of those whom You have favoured, not of those who have earned Your wrath…” Al-Fatiha 1

This means, Allah is merciful only to his followers who are called Muslims and he is wrathful to those who are not Muslims.

Dr. Zakir Naik, I am confident that I got the concept of ‘God’ in Islam right because Christianity has a similar concept. And I dare to claim that it is not true. Can you prove (and this challenge goes also to Christian clerics) that Allah/ God is indeed so unfair and divisive? Can you prove there will be this huge cauldron of fire where billions of people will burn for ever after Judgment Day? Do these claims of “eternal hellfire for unbelievers” not rather have the purpose to keep the flock in check? To divide and rule?

There are about 2 billion Christians, who are told they have to remain Christians, otherwise they can’t go to heaven. And then there are about 2 billion Muslims who are told that they have to remain Muslims, otherwise they can’t go to paradise. Both religions had plenty of time to sort out which one is true, but they did not do it. Why? Because they cannot prove it. They can only make claims and counterclaims and fight among themselves, between Muslims and Christians and with heathens or infidels. They do this for the last 2000 years.

Under these circumstances, can anyone claim that Islam or Christianity is beneficial for humanity? Is it not time to have a thorough check of what REALLY is the truth?

In regard to the absolute Truth, Dr. Zakir Naik, your ancestors, the Indian Rishis, made valuable contributions and you can be proud of them. In ancient times, long, long before Christianity or Islam appeared on the scene, the Rishis had a very mature understanding of Brahman which would be ‘Truth’ or ‘Supreme Being’ or ‘God’ in English. Brahman is not personal, not a superhuman entity somewhere in heaven, not male or female, not jealous of other gods, not revengeful if ignored, but it is Sat-Chit-Ananda, the conscious, one essence in all names and forms – like the one ocean is the essence of all the waves.

The Rishis realised that this universe is a wrong perception of Brahman. They called it Maya, not really true, only apparently true.

For anything to qualify as absolute Truth, it has to be always – past, present and future – and it has to be self-evident.

The Rishis came to the conclusion that nothing fulfils these criteria except pure (= thought free) consciousness. This consciousness is here and now, always, everywhere. Yet we miss it because we focus only on things or thoughts, emotions, etc.  – like, when we focus a torchlight in a room only on the furniture and miss the empty space. Infinite space, which throbs with life and love is actually a good metaphor for Sat-Chit-Ananda – the highest truth that underlies names and forms (nama-rupa).

Science has meanwhile discovered the Sat-aspect of the truth. Oneness is there. To discover that this Oneness is also aware (Chit) and blissful (Ananda) scientists would need to turn to their own consciousness to research further instead of looking outside. Let us see whether the scientists will support also the claim of the Rishis that this whole manifestation is alive and full of bliss.

In one point, however, you are right, Dr. Zakir Naik: There is only one Truth, one God, which the wise call by different names. But the nature of it you got wrong. It does not send non-Muslims or non-Christians eternally into hellfire. The Supreme Being is indeed merciful and great.

But you wanted to know whether Ganapati is a deity.

May I explain a bit of your ancestors’ tradition which struck me as most profound when I came to know of it?

Sanatana Dharma is not only about intellectually knowing Sat-Chit-Ananda, but about realising it. Since Brahman is all pervading, it must be also in us (Ayam Atma Brahman). So we can tap and feel it. For this, however, we need to follow certain rules. We need to purify ourselves, lead a moral life, speak the truth, etc. To eat plenty of meat and have plenty of sex is not conducive for this purification. Yet one factor is very conducive: Bhakti – love for God.

Here Hindu Dharma brings in Ishwara.

The concept of Ishwara is close to the Abrahamic notion of a personal God but more benevolent. There is of course no eternal hell for unbelievers. Everyone gets chance after chance in life after life till he realises that he is not a separate wave, but one with the ocean.

Ishwara is God with attributes and has innumerable aspects, as this universe has innumerable aspects or human nature has innumerable aspects. These aspects are personified in different deities and the devotee can choose the one who is dearest to him. It helps to develop love for the invisible Truth – for example through Ganapati.

Those Devas are mistakenly much maligned by Christianity and Islam. They are not separate entities but kind of access points to the one Brahman, which is otherwise unimaginable. It is possible to feel familiar with them, to love them, to talk with them. And the scriptures leave no doubt that devas are ultimately Brahman.

And here, Dr. Naik, you may get an answer to your question whether Ganapati is ultimately the Supreme Being.

The Ganapati Atharvashirsa Upanishad, which is part of the Atharva Veda, states: “Tvameva kevalam karta si, tvameva kevalam dharta si, tvameva kevalam harta si.

Tvameva sarvam khalvidam brahmasi, tvam saksadatma si nityam.”

It means: You alone are the creator, you alone are the sustainer, you alone are the annihilator. All this is Brahman and you are that Brahman. You are indeed the Atman eternally.

This declaration, however, is not unique for Ganapati. It is said for other deities, too.

Yet the fact that this is written in a sacred text, is not proof enough. There are plenty of sacred texts in this world and if everything in them is blindly accepted as true, we end up with all kind of proclaimed truths which are not true. We need to verify what is declared as truth on the touchstone of reason, intuition and experience. If it contradicts all of these, it is not worth believing it and certainly not dying for it.

The proof that all deities are Brahman is because only Brahman really exists. Brahman is like the ocean. The waves are not separate from it. The name with which one worships the Divine, does not matter. What matters is how much devotion one feels. The greater the devotion, the more miracles can happen. Ganapati is loved by millions of Hindus worldwide. He is the door through which they try to access Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Sanatana Dharma is very ancient. And yet the Rishis had such deep insights, for example that the world is a wrong perception of what is really true, like seeing a snake at dusk when in fact there is only a rope. Westerners who ridiculed Hindus because they believe that the world is an illusion keep now quiet as science supports the Hindu view.

Meanwhile NASA scientists have detected the building blocks of DNA in meteorites. The Max Planck Institute in Germany published the first picture of the whole universe. It had an oval shape. Could it be possible that those who ridicule Hindus for worshipping a Shiva lingam might soon rethink their attitude, as well, lest they embarrass themselves?

Great men have come and gone in India’s ancient civilisation. Some have been made into gods. There is nothing wrong with it. The Divine is in all.

It should make you reflect, Dr. Naik that science keeps validating the insights of the Rishis, for example the mindboggling age of the universe, or the ultimate Oneness of all.

Attempts to vilify Indian tradition by you and others are successful because the British weaned Indians away from their tradition and most people know little about it. Yet if you are sincere, you will realise that the wisdom of your ancestors scores high over the worldview and the mind set of Abrahamic religions. The attitude of “We alone are right and you go to hell if you don’t accept our religion” is doing great harm to humanity. It may be helpful for world dominion, but do you want to live in a world where everyone has to wear a straight-jacket?

If I were you, Dr. Naik, I would be worried especially about one thing: what if you wake up after death and there is NO paradise waiting for you? What if all those Jihadis, who were inspired by you, cursed you after realising there was no paradise for them? What if you are taking birth again in another form and reap the fruits of your actions of this life where you consciously or unconsciously distorted the truth? Rebirth is not only mentioned in the Indian texts. There is also plenty of evidence for it – over 3000 cases are documented in the archive of Virginia University.

Dr. Naik, I don’t know how deeply you believe what you preach. I know from personal experience how effective brainwashing in childhood can be. But I also know that it is possible to get out of it, and it seems the older one is, the easier.

For me, it was a great relief to come out of the Christian religious straight jacket and I would encourage you to also genuinely enquire into the truth. Your concept of God is not Truth. You quote a book as support. Truth does not fit into a book. Truth is THAT WHAT TRULY IS.

Your ancestors, the Indian Rishis, spoke from experience, not from book knowledge.

Yours Sincerely

Maria Wirth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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282 comments

  1. Govinda · · Reply

    I would like to see proof of quran word of god. For debate let us agree it is true. Can we be very sure all the words told by the angel are remembered correctly by the prophet and reproduced correctly. For sake of it let us agree Mohammed remembered everything. Can we be sure no one modified it after that? Words in language changes meaning over time. How can people be sure of holy book if they do not know it is really true?
    Same time Hindu dharma does not have a set rules.Each and everything can be questioned? Even existence of god can be questioned. As long as a person follows the rules of society even if they do not believe in god they are not sinners are per Dharma.

  2. Beautifully written with proper reasonings and comparisons. A delight to read your views on Sanatan Dharma.

  3. Khileshwar Verma · · Reply

    Very nice ….thank you

  4. How simply have you explained the core concept of Sanatana Dharma and of the Sat-Chit-Ananda. Thank you for writing this.

  5. muralidhar · · Reply

    Jai Meher Baba ! Bless you…..
    So called Hindus,masses also must have this understanding…..
    Along with Real Yogis &Christian Mystics,only real PIRs & Vali s are capable to Know the truth about the mystery of the Creation and have a glimpse of a Ray of The Creator.To know about “Realized Masters”,it is an another great journey for real seekers of Truth.

  6. DNTKumar · · Reply

    Good Explanation – Thank You Maria Wirth. Wonderful Message.

  7. Saraswati Shetty · · Reply

    Great Explanation.Always enjoy reading your opinions n articles.
    But a Moronic parrot like Zakir naik the Joker, will not understand anything

    1. Krishna murthy · · Reply

      If a person really deep in a sleep u can wake him up,but when it comes to a person who pretend as sleeping u cant wake him up.

  8. Jakuzzee · · Reply

    Brilliant reading. Whilst I strongly believe in the freedom of speech and the right of everyone to believe and express themselves however silly they may sound, I am no fan of Dr Zakir Naik. If anything, he should be banned from making speeches in public interest.

  9. hinduindian · · Reply

    It was spiritually enlightening to read your insightful reasoning on Sanatana….
    My humble Pranams to you.

  10. Varun · · Reply

    Excellent!

  11. Its pretty clear in the Holy Quran in multiple of places, to obey the one and only Allah, those who fall in the hands of devil/satan and choose a path against the Almighty/Allah will face consequences. For each sin people commit, there is a punishment, be it done by a Muslim or Non Muslim, so its not mention in the Quran that mere being a Muslim is enough to enter Jannat/swarag/Heaven. Please make that right in your book. Another thing you should know, Christianity was valid until the prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] was given prophecy by Allah. With Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] , all of the previous religion/deen/dharm/mazhab were demolished, as mention in the glorious Quran. So Quran is the final testament of Allah and Muhammad [peace be upon him] his final messanger. We believe in Jesus Christ as a messenger of Allah before Prophet Muhammad[phub] and many more.. names of some mentioned in The Holy Quran and some not.. So its also possible some Prophets might have been sent to this part of world [the ancestors of Hindus] which we the Muslims cant deny.. so all the previous authentic dharm/religions have a unity that they came from the one and only God, we call Allah. But the final word as mention by The God himself is the Holy Quran. Please connect the dots, you ll reach to a common ground.. if only you try to seek the truth and enlightenment..

    1. Today I’m going to write a book, with maybe 900-1000 pages, once it’s written I’ll declare, whatever is written in it was said to me by the only One ultimate God, and from now on all the books published until now stands invalid.
      I’m sure in this big world I’ll get some followers, and these followers would also testify my writing.
      Hey just a after thought , by merely writing a book, and stating in it that all previous versions now stand cancelled, I would be validating it myself, great.. What a great validation.
      I’m so sorry to all the great Rishi Munnis, who have written so many great things, which are justified, and also verified, by various sources that just by writing a book, I have made all your efforts of 1000’s of years go down the drain.
      “May peace be bestowed on all the Followers and also on all the non followers – More on Non followers as they know not what they are doing.”

      1. All the great work ‘authentic’ [what you call it came from Rishis and blah blah] from Hinduism/sanatan dharn, Christianity, Judaism and all the other divine religions from God is summarised in the final word of God, that is The Holy Quran.
        We the Muslim believe that 125,000 +- prophets were sent by the Almighty Allah to the earth. Now names of only 25 are known to us, some from Quran and some from Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] sayings..
        Who knows, May be some prophet came to the Arya samaj or this part of the world as well.. which we cant deny…
        Coming to your statement of writting a book… For your kind info, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] couldn’t read or write, he was not literate. Quranic ayats were revealed on him by God through the angel Gabriel..
        So its out of question that the Prophet wrote it himself. Another thing, whatever is written in the Holy Quran is impossible for a human being to write. If its such a peace of cake for anyone, many would have done that after the Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] put everything aside, let alone put the scientific knowledge into discussion, many things that the science explored recently, had been mentioned in The Holy Quran 1400 years ago… i can give you several examples.. so how did it come into the book when it was barely known, when science was nowhere close to those details..
        Quran is same everywhere you find it on earth, no contradiction, fabrication in its writting because its mention in the Holy Quran by the Almighty himself, “we have sent this book and ofc we are the protector of this”
        See it hold true to its words..
        And for you there is a challenge in the Holy Quran aswell, its mention in another place in the Holy quran, “Or do they say that he has invented it? Say (to them), ‘Bring ten invented chapters like it, and call (for help) on whomever you can besides God, if you are truthful.” (Quran 11:13)
        The Holy Quran is not only unique in the way in which it presents its subject matter, but it is also unique in that it is a miracle itself. By the term “miracle,” we mean the performance of a supernatural or extraordinary event which cannot be duplicated by humans.

    2. It is more than clear to entire world on how peaceful the islam is and how they grew from handful to millions and how they keep the islam intact with arms and fears and false. Let this be decided by masses and not by handful of misguided desperate narrow minded ill informed lost beings. One must be living under the rock not to realise this. so better they stop preaching and start practicing basic manners of living and let live.

    3. Lakshmanan · · Reply

      The problem with you is, like many, that you believe Koran is authentic. Lots of write ups available on the net about its questionable authenticity. Christians, hindus and human beings identifying with any religions-all indulge in crime. But no one quotes the sacred texts for his crimes as Muslims do. Unspeakable ghastly crimes are by Muslims in the name of Koran. Discuss with Ali Dina or Robert Spencer if you want to establish the Koran is sacred indeed. As per the oldest epic the world, Ravana dreamt riding on donkey before his death. I heard (do not have anything to quote) that your uneducated Mohammad after death, was sitting on donkey and God(s) did not allow him to paradise. Islam/Koran is stinking too much due to violence for the last 1000 years. Set your house in order. Then comment on people like MW. Just browse and try to reply Koran petition filed in Kolkata High Court before replying me (if you want to)

  12. […] article was originally published on Maria Wirth’s blog . It is being reproduced with the author’s […]

  13. You’ve said these words with such clarity that it’s obvious your words come out of conviction born of realisation. The World needs many more like you.

  14. Hi Maria, please do not demean yourself responding to pigs like Dr.Naik and his ilk.

    1. Sorry but this is not good advice. We need to realize that general public is impressionable and can easily be disinformed by people with agendas. Such people need to be called out and exposed. More importantly, their disinformation needs to be responded to and debunked. Of course we can respond to and debunk disinformation (and misinformation) only if we ourselves are learnt enough. For this reason we need to spend time learning about our belief system and teach it to others so that people don’t fall prey to harmful propaganda done by Zakir Naik and his ilk.

      1. Venkataraman Gopalakrishnan · ·

        Yes, all Hindus must take the effort to learn more about the beauty and everlasting nature of our own Hindu dharma. It is also called Sanatana Dharma. We must educate our fellow neighbours in a wsy that does not instigate them to act negatively. We must also show to the world that we represent the goodness of what Hindu Dharma is all about. Let us help all we can, irrespective of caste and creed, so that all alike will realize the truth about Hinduism. Then, more will embrace and be guided by our goodness and pure values for the betterment of future generations of mankind to come.
        Let us eschew negative values like anger, hatred and the like. Let us all practice more compassion towards our neighbours. Let us all make a cincerted effort to make the world a better place to live in.

  15. Aliasgar Bakrolwala · · Reply

    The Azan does not end with, ‘The path of those whom You have favoured – Not the path of those who earned Your anger – nor of those who are astray.
    This is the ending of Surah Fatiha, the 1st Surah of Quran.

    1. Thank you. I thought the 1. Surah is chanted. How does it end?

  16. Wow Maria, what a great reply to such a low life person.
    Being a believer in Sanatan Dharam I can only say, may he someday realise, what harm he is doing to the society, and even, if in his death bed he realises it, and selflessly accepts that there is just one truth, but different ways of reaching it, he might well come out of this birth & death cycle, and be part of the eternal Brahma.

  17. First of all Islam claims that Koran is revelation from God. How can it be revelation from God when the whole Koran is said to have revealed to Prophet by an angel? Angels are said to mislead human beings. There are many instances in all religious books where angels and devas become jealous and misleading sometimes. In the old Bible it is said that angels spoiled men and women. How can a revelation that came from an angel be considered true revelation from God? Revelation should come from the Pure Light of God. All other revelations are subject to scrutiny and evaluation. for falsities. True revelations are received by great rishis and sages who transcend the sixth spiritual sky. The place of angels and devas are below the sixth spiritual mandala and therefore the revelations received through such angelic agencies cannot be taken as the final word of God.

  18. yogesh Gawali · · Reply

    An excellent insight into an understanding of deification in Sanatan Dharma. I read your articles with great interest which makes me feel proud of being Hindu. Many thanks to you Maria ji.

  19. Why Hinduism continues to hit roadblocks despite its unparalleled rich spiritual history? The reason is the distortions, dilutions and interpolations the scriptures have undergone in the hands of some greedy Vaidikas. Let us first see what is the basis of the Dharmic Order of India? Is it based on Trimurty tradition or Manu tradition? First this should be decided. In the Trimurti tradition or Hinduism, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and several other deities are mentioned as authorities of creation through puranas written down to satisfy various sects in India that existed from time immemorial. But in Sanatana Dharma or Manu Dharma, Manu is the creator, not Brahma. Who is this Manu? Everything originates from Manu. For this reason Manu is called the progenitor of mankind and the cosmic time cycles are calculated in terms of Manvantara after the name of Manu. The concept of Adam has originated from Manu. Manu and Satarupa were the first man and woman God created, it is written in the Upanishads and Puranas. But the Vedic tradition distorted the original Manu Dharma in order to promote Trimurti spiritual order in which brahmin is also made a god (brahmana devo bhava). The history of Manu was omitted except the mention of his name in scriptures. The texts mentioning the history of Manu are lost. In fact Sanatana Dharma does not promote devi-deva worship, but the worship of Brahman alone through the medium of an enlightened spiritual master. This is what the Upanishads and sacred texts like Bhagavat Gita teach. Sanatana Dharma is Ashram-centric or Guru-centric spiritual culture, whereas Trimurti system or the present day Hinduism is temple-centric or priest centric culture. It has caste laws attached to it, Caste laws are found in the puranas, epics and smritis like Manu Smriti. These texts (puranas, epics, smritis) are not authoritative scriptures as they have undergone several distortions in the hands of Vedic scholars during the course of several ages. Rishis have said to weed out these interpolations and accept only the original teachings just like we separate pebbles etc. from grains bought from shops. Caste system alienate people from each other as they are arbitrarily made high and low. There is no caste system in Sanatana Dharma, whereas Hinduism advocates and practises caste system which has done immense damage to Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) and Hindu unity. Unless this spiritual distortion brought about by selfish Vaidikas is corrected, Hinduism will continue to face its challenges and existential crisis.

    If one has to understand Sanatana Dharma, Manu Dharma is to be understood. Manu Dharma is the cosmic order of spiritual evolution through the Manvantara time cycles. This spiritual evolution is presided over by an enlightened Guru in every yuga, such as Sri Ram in Treta Yuga, Sri Krishna in Dwapara Yuga. Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and others were spiritual masters of bygone ages. The spiritual tenure of these masters does not work in Kali Yuga, because Kali Yuga has its own unique Guru and Dharma. Therefore, the concept of an only Messenger of God or of a Final Messenger of God is a blind and irrational belief. It is against God’s spiritual scheme of evolution. Various gurus and great souls appear from time to time whose spiritual tenure lasts for short periods of time. After that those religious movements also degenerate and another spiritual guide appears by the Will of God for further spiritual guidance and evolution of mankind. This is the Dharmic Order in the universe and the Rishis called it rightly as Sanatana Dharma, i.e. the Eternal Spiritual Order. The basis of India’s tolerance towards other religions rests on this concept. Now all the world religions are on the brink of a collapse as they have almost outlived their spiritual tenure. Now this is the time for another spiritual renewal through a great Master. There are many prophecies about the arrival of such a Guru. In recent times, Sri Aravind Ghosh has seen in vision the arrival of that Supramental Light accompanied by Sri Krishna. That great Guru has taken birth in India, in the southern most State of Kerala – Gods’ Own Country. That supreme spiritual Master is none other than Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru, who came to re-establish Sanatana Dharma, the eternal spiritual order for further spiritual guidance of mankind.

  20. Venkat · · Reply

    Thanks for such clarity. You’ve put it all in a nut-shell. People who are trying to contradict this clearly have to perform a lot of mental gymnastics which convinces no one – not even themselves. But they are bound by dogma. But they are not doomed as you say. We’ll all realize if not in this birth – in a future one.

  21. Ravi Ranjan · · Reply

    धन्यवाद माते
    बहुत अच्छा लेख है। बहुत कुछ सीखने को मिला।

  22. All religions are based on faith – faiths that may or may not be representing truth, are merely dictates by an individual or a group of individuals based on views expressed by such individual. Even if it is presumed that such individual had had no malicious intentions of controlling minds of his followers, his views had been, will always be based on his own experience as perceived by him.

    Sanatan Dharm on the other hand is not a religion. Sanatan Dharm represents the universal laws of mother nature with nature itself as the enforcing power and not any individual or individual. If I jump into water, I am bound to get wet. Put hand in fire and hand will get burnt.

    Sanatan Dharm encourages each person to oneself explore and learn by experience rather than blindly follow someone’s dictates. Sanatan Dharm tells that truth is one that’s universal, knowledge is for every seeker, not a monopoly of anyone, and every individual is free to seek truth in ones own way.

    Sanatan Dharm UNBOUNDs, religions bound through fear and dictates!

  23. […] a solid philosophical basis for their beliefs, which is lacking in Christianity and Islam. ” Zakir Naik I appreciate Maria Wirth but with some modifications. Hindus do not think or write like she has […]

  24. Kumar chandan singh · · Reply

    Born in hindu family, i never liked performing Pooja and other traditional religious activities.
    I never felt any connection while visiting holy places and temples. Gradually i came to know about hindu dharm Saar tatva. And now i feel that every one is born hindu. Hinduism is there with everyone, with every single person in this world. Either we dont know it, supress it or override it.
    Sorry mybenglushbis not that good, so might not have used all words correctly.

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