Talk:God/Archive 7

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Spirit

Why do you think the concept of God is independant from the concept of spirit? I don't agree at all. Sam [Spade] 17:07, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

spirits are a superset of gods: A god may be seen as a sort of spirit, but a spirit is not necessarily a god. It is therefore easily possible (and indeed attested in aboriginal cultures) for a concept of spirit to have existed without a concept of god. dab 17:09, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I would say that the spirit is God. Sam [Spade] 20:06, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
but then you are a theist. would you call God the spirit of a tree, a fountain, or a stone? Shamanism. dab 08:00, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes, I would. I'd go further, to say that everything is God. I'm a monist, btw. Sam [Spade] 19:52, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Sam, I respect your position. However, I believe you benefit from millenia of modern thought. The question is, would ancient people believe the same thing? I would think not, given monotheism is generally considered to be a much more recent development. Shane King 08:59, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)
millennia of 'modern' thought? wow... or maybe just from a couple of centuries of brahmanic thought, as the case may be :-D dab 10:15, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I meant "modern" in the relative sense: compared to early humans. ;) Shane King 10:56, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)
Just a note... following the later Upanishads (still pre-Buddha) Brahman became firmly established as neutral, attributeless, not really 'God' in the monotheistic sense. "Brahma" is the creator god, and yes, there's a big difference. In that sense, "saguna brahman" is ultimately a monotheistic concept, but "nirguna brahman" can't properly be defined as monotheistic, but rather goes a step beyond. --LordSuryaofShropshire 19:14, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)
I think our primary question here is the timeline on when "saguna brahman" and "nirguna brahman" first became present in Hindu theology. Sam [Spade] 19:52, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Brahman

The disagreement between Sam and me seems to mainly surround the status of monotheism in India. If I understand Sam correctly, he thinks that worship of Brahman as monotheistic God is at least 4000 years old. Clearly, this is supported by the Upanishads. But then in the Upanishads you easily find numbers like 640,000 years. I don't dispute that Brahman is God at all. Why, I have listed him on Names of God as a member of the Trimurti. But this section is about the historical development of monotheism, so the question is not, is Brahman God, but "for how long has he been worshipped in this form". The answer to this is, probably less than 2000 years. Even Indian tradition admits that the Rigveda is the oldest source they have. The text of the Rigveda is aged 3200-3500 years, and may contain memories and verses as old as some 4000 years. I have studied Sanskrit and the Vedas for quite a few years now, and I am familiar with the opinions of different scholars. Let's cut to the chase: 'brahman' is not a creator God in the Rigveda. I have fought for the etymology section on Brahman, some time ago. Take a minute to read it. In the Rigveda, brahman means prayer or worship. See also [1]. Now of course you may say it is POV to say that pre-vedic religion didn't have monotheism, because we don't have any sources. But this leads to madness. You may as well say that it is POV if we don't say that 6000 years ago, monotheistic God was worshipped as a green winged Elephant in the Amazonas, because I cannot prove it wasn't so. I admit I am a bit impatient to have to go through the facts about this, because this is something you can educate yourself about by reading Rigveda, Brahman and related stuff (also, books, if you don't trust WP), and I shouldn't have to burden this page with background knowledge. The beautiful thing is that monotheism was emerging when our sources set in, i.e. it wasn't there as an established fact. Records allow us to trace how starting at around 1000 BC, the concept slowly gained ground (while our earliest sources go back to 2000-3000 BC!). Of course, the practice of dating (i.e. History) is much younger (Herodotus). For this reason, we don't date the texts by the numbers in them (which may be any number up to millions of years) but by text-external criteria like languge and material. dab 08:37, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm sorry that you think my opinion is rooted in lack of research. Perhaps I can explain this again: Sanatana Dharma is known to be the oldest proven existant religion. Brahman is the Godhead of Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana Dharama claims to have been existant for far longer than 4,000 yrs (actually by definition it claims to have always existed). It is very POV to suggest that Brahman was not worshipped as the panentheistic creator God 4,000yrs ago. You have no evidence of that, and we do have the claims of a religion which is proven to have existed since then to contridict you.
we have the claim of "aged 4000" of a religion ... claimed to be aged 4000. why proven? this is like "the Bible is true: the Bible says so". The claim (or definition) of having existed forever is not exactly evidence that they are anxious to get their dating right, it's more like redefining "right" or "forever" or "existed" (or all of these terms) dab 17:28, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Your example of "green winged Elephant" is as useless as the pink unicorn of atheism, its a red herring of no value. The fact is, it is very POV of you to suggest that Sanatana Dharma was polytheist 4,000yrs ago. the best evidence we have is either inconclusive (archaeology, etc.. afaik) or contridicts you (The teachings of Sanatana Dharma itself). Please reconsider your stance. BTW, I have no problem w you clarifying the origins of western or middle eastern monotheism, your facts are correct on that. Its the POV that that was the first monotheism ever which I take stern issue with. Sam [Spade] 16:43, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
well, I would be very interested what evidence you can present that looks even remotely admissible in a scientific discussion about anything called sanatana dharma in 2000 BC, worship of a god called brahman, or indeed any positive evidence of the form of spirituality practiced at that time. Do you reject Rigveda as the earliest source for Indo-Iranian religion? Do you contest that there is no god brahman in the RV? The only evidence we have concerning the time preceding the Rigveda is based on the indirect method of assuming that whatever is present in both indic and iranian tradition will probably have been present then. this includes the word "deva", the gods Mitra, Varuna, Dyaus, and possibly some others, maybe a concept of "form" called "brahman". I assume you are familiar with Mayrhofer's etymological dictionary? Let me cite it for you:
brahman: in ältester Bedeutung etwa "Formung, Gestaltung, Formulierung (der Wahrheit)... in jüngerer Sprache personifiziert ('Gott Brahman'). ... IIr. mp. parth. brahm "Form, Erscheinung, Verhalten, Tracht".... neuisländisch bragur "Weise, Art, Sitte, Ton, Gedicht, Melodie".
inadmissible, of course, is just a random guru saying "it was so" without showing any proof: this is my Green Elephant. Just because your guru told you doesn't make it encyclopedic. We may, of course, good cultural relativists that we are, insert a cautionary statement that Hindu teaching claims to go back such-and-such a number of millennia. But seeing that all other POVs need to present their evidence, I don't think this is a very powerful argument in a historical section (as opposed in an article on Hindu mytholgy of course). dab 17:03, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I placed a note on Talk:Hinduism, and am certain we will have enough educated involvement to form a proper concensus shortly :). Sam [Spade] 17:11, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)
He said, smiling :) (sound of the trample of the approaching Hindutva hordes... *ducks* ;) dab 17:16, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The concept of Brahman has been present from the time of the Vedas. In the Vedas, it has been recognized throughout there is one undefinable Ultimate Reality called Brahman who controls the forces of natures, such as devas. A famous verse from the Taitrya Upanishad states: “From fear of It the wind blows; from fear of Him the sun rises; from fear of Him Agni and Indra and Death, the fifth, run." But for practical purposes, in many of the Vedas, there was a concious effort to equate Brahman with a personal supreme Being. For example, Shri Rudram, in the Vedas, the most ancient verse praising Shiva describes Rudra as this supreme Brahman. Also a similar pattern as identifing Rudra with Supreme Brahman comes in the Kena Upanishad. http://www.geocities.com/advaitavedant/kena.htm Vaishnavites stress Vishnu was the supreme Being from a passage in the Vedas, called Purusha Suktma. see http://www.sanskrit.org/Ramanuja/Ramanuja&vaishna.html So early on there was an attempt to identify Brahman with a personal Supreme Being. I would say Shaivism, specifically, is the oldest Hindu religion. Shiva has the most temples in India. Varnasi or Benares, the most sacred site of Hinduism and dedicated to Shiva has been in existence easily more than 2000 years, possibly 4000 years or more. I disgree with Sam about Brahman per se being worshipped. Early on, there was an attempt to identify Brahman with a personal supreme Being, i.e., Shiva and Vishnu. Brahman also is to be distinguished with a creator god, i.e., Brahma. Brahma was never worshipped although he was recognized as a member of the Trimurti. This pattern is similar to Christianity. Correct me if I am wrong but I don't believe that the Holy Spirit is worshipped directly.

The great debate between followers among the major Hindu philosophical school, Vedanta, from followers of Advaita philosophy on one hand and the strict theistic schools such as those of Ramanuja and Madhva on the other, focused on the true nature of Brahman, on whether Brahman was essentially attributeless or with attributes, i.e., a personal Supreme Being. Sankara believed that Brahman was essentially attributeless but becomes a personal God through association with Maya. Ramaunja and Madhva vehemetenly disagreed and stated that Brahaman was with attributes, i.e., a personal God, Vishnu. They argued that passages that suggest attributelessness meant that Vishnu was devoid of the three Gunas, i.e., Satvic, Rajasic and Tamas which humans or matter is conditioned with. (one example) See a very informative article, http://www.nalanda.demon.co.uk/vedanta.htm#The%20Theist%20Revolt (Hindu response against Buddhism) and http://www.dlshq.org/download/hinduismbk.htm#_VPID_93

So early on, Hindus recognized that there was an Ultimate Reality-being-non-being, i.e., Brahman that was the source of everything. So Brahman, as a abstract reality was not per se wworshipped for 4000 years. It was Shiva or Vishnu that was worshipped for 4000 years or more. The Vishnu sahasranama identified Vishnu with the supreme Brahman and comes from the Mahabharata which schollars argues is at least 3500 years old. (many state that it is 5000 years old.) As I have stated, the concept of Brahman per se was too abstract so early on there was an attempt to identify this Brahman with a personal supreme Being, either Shiva (i.e., Rudra) or Vishnu.

Hope these references help. Raj2004

Much, thanks, insightful comments as always, Raj. I don't agree about the precise nature of the worship of Brahman (I would argue that Brahminism is the oldest branch of Hinduism, and that worship of, and the developing of a relationship with Brahman directly, and without an excess focus on Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna or others, is the true heart of Sanatana Dharma) but I think it is clear from his statement and links that knowledge of of Brahman existed very far into the past. Even if this POV is disputed or countered, it must be expressed alongside the others w neutrality. Sam [Spade] 14:18, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
let's see. I readily concede your points about the Upanisads, and about "2000 years ago". The dispute surrounds "3000 or 4000 years ago" (not to mention "forever"), i.e. times earlier than the Upanisads. The earliest hymn to Rudra would be RV 2.33 [2]. The earliest verse praising Rudra:
  • 2.33.3 Chief of all born art thou in glory, Rudra, armed with the thunder, mightiest of the mighty.
This tavástamas tavásaam is indeed worthy praise for a supreme God, but of course similar praise is also addressed to Indra, Soma and whatnot. But it's a nice preconception, so to speak, to the great success of the future Shiva, and I am glad you drew my attention to this verse. As to association of Rudra with brahman, the only place where I found Rudra mentioned next to, not 'Brahman' but, Brahmanaspati is in 10.65 [3], which hymn is not in praise of Rudra at all, but simply a list of gods, viz.
  • May Agni, Indra, Mitra, Varuna consent, Aryaman, Vayu, Pusan, and Sarasvati, Adityas, Maruts, Visnu, Soma, lofty Sky, Rudra and Aditi, and Brahmanaspati.
where, I would say, Rudras humble postition in the list is in fact strong evidence against his 'supreme' status. But maybe you have another verse in mind, which I could not find? In that case, could I ask you to cite it? Or if you want to argue that Brahmanaspati/Brhaspati rather than Rudra, was 'supreme', we would of course need to start over, and I would have to show you that Brahmanaspati, just like Rudra, is one among many (polytheistic) gods of the Rigveda. Obviously the facts about the Upanisads etc. need full attention, and should be detailed in articles on Brahmanism, Upanisads, Hinduism, and even in this article under 'conceptions of God', no doubt about that. But please not in a historical section about the emergence of Monotheism!. In any case, I am still not sure if the claim here is that there is monotheism in the RV, or rather that the Upanisads themselves are 4000 years old
dab 14:23, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Again, the concept of reaching Brahman, directly through Jnana (or knowledge), Sam was alway recognized as a difficlt path. Lord Krishna said in the Gita, Diffiult is tbe path of those seeking the Unmanifested, for those who are embodied. So allthough Brahmanism was practiced by a few for thousands of years, at the same time, worship of a personal supreme Being (Shiva or Vishnu) was contemporaneous. As for Rudra not being equated with Brahman, Dab, see this link. http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/series/shri_rudram/verses_from_the_shri_rudram-1.htm and http://www.mypurohith.com/Rituals/Namakam2.asp Early on Shri Rudram identified Rudra with Brahman. Regarding the shrI rudram, it is said:

vR^ixasya mUlakena shakhAH puShyanti vai yathA | shive rudrajapAtprIte prItA evAsya devatAH | ato rudrajapAdeva bhuktimuktiprasiddhyataH ||

Even as by (watering) the roots of a tree, all its branches are nourished, so by pleasing Shiva with the chant of the Rudram , all the gods are pleased. Therefore, the attainment of bhukti - enjoyment (not against dharma)- and mukti - liberation- is only through chanting the Rudram with devotion. why would ancient peoples not identify Shiva with this supreme Brahman. I think we should read the Shir Rudram and its commentaries for answers.

The reason, There are many gods identified in the Vedas is that Rudra is seen as the source of all manifestations. see shaivite perspective, http://www.shaivam.org/shpvediy.htm and http://members.tripod.com/~saran/shpvediy.htmand for Vaishnavite persepective, http://www.dvaita.org/shaastra/gita/gita_sara/gs-007.html (only one God in Hinduism, #56 and see Shri Krishna is the supreme God; #57.) Even the most sacred prayers for Hindus, state the Trimurti concept. for example, the Shri Rudram, the most sacred prayer for Hindus and Shaivites in particular describe Vishnu as an aspect of Shiva. (Vishnu in Kaliasa) Likewise, two of the names in Vishnu sahasranama that refer to Shiva are Shiva itself, name #27 and name #114 Rudra. Using these two interpretations, and ignoring the occasional and rare tensions between Vaishnnvaites and Shaivites, these two prayers, from one point of view, indicate that Vishnu and Shiva are the one and the same.


Raj2004

again, I completely concede all you say about Vedanta and Upanisads. There is really no need to cite this, because I completely agree. Shiva/Rudra was and is identified with Brahman in the Vedanta. Please understand that this is not the point we debate here at all. My claim is:
  • the Vedanta texts are roughly 2000 (certainly less than 3000) years old.
  • there is no evidence of this identification of Rudra with Brahman in earlier texts
  • we do have earlier texts, prominently the RV, where Rudra is not identified with Brahman, but appears as a polytheistic god.
Please tell me which, if any, of these three statements are disputed. dab 15:08, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Vishnu and Rudra same Anuvaka 5

Namo bhavaya cha rudraya cha namah sharvaya cha pashupataye cha namo nilagrivaya cha shitikanthaya cha namah kapardine cha vyuptakeshaya cha namah sahasrakshaya cha shatadhanvane cha namo girishaya cha shipivishhtaya cha namo midhushhtamaya cheshhumate cha namo hrasvaya cha vamanaya cha namo brihate cha varshhiyase cha namo vriddhaya cha samvridhdhvane cha

Salutations to Him who is the source of all things and to Him who is the destroyer of all ills. Salutations to the destroyer and to the protector of all beings in bondage. Salutations to Him whose throat is black and whose throat is also white. Salutations to Him of the matted locks, and to Him who is clean-shaven. Salutations to Him who has a Thousand eyes and a hundred bows. Salutations to Him who dwells on the mount and who is in the form of Vishnu. Salutations to Him who showers blessings very much and who bears arrows. Salutations to Him who assumes a small size, and Him who is in the form of a dwarf. Salutations to the great and majestic one, to Him who is full of all excellence. Salutations to the Ancient One who is loudly praised by the scriptures.

could you please stop citing Vedanta texts? I already admitted above that there is not the slightest dispute about these! If you don't reply to my points about earlier texts above, I think this will all be quite pointless (although I dig your style of chanting mantras at me when I'm desperately trying to have a rational argument ;) dab 15:18, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Hey, lets be calm, I think me and Raj have a similar point, which is that since Sanatana Dharma has been existant for such a very long time, we should be able to assume that certain fundamental aspects also have been constant. The lack of a clear stance in earlier texts in no way implies (in my interpretation) any disagreement w more modern texts, especially when the precise date of nearly all of these texts is questionable at best (and if need be, we can always fall back on "their eternal" as an argumnent ;) Sam [Spade] 15:33, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sorry for citing Vedanta texts. But Rudram is not part of Vedanta, or end of Veda, which are the Upanishads. Rudra is identified with supreme Brahman in the Rudram, which is part of Yajur Veda. http://www.geocities.com/parasu41/rudram_chamakam.html if Hindus didn't identify Him with the supreme Brahman, why would they go to Benares for 4000 years? As I recall, the Upanishads were written around 1800 BC , much more than 2000 years. The Yajur Veda is itself older than the Upanishads. As for historical evidence, honestly, it is hard to prove anything more than 2000 years or after Christ. But the fact that shir rudram is part of yajur veda and the fact that Benares or Varnasi is the oldest pilgramge site for humans indicate a time span considerably greater than 2000 years. Why would Hindus go to Benares all this time if Rudra or Shiva was not the Supreme Brahman? Raj2004

As I recall, the Upanishads were written around 1800 BC wow, you have a good memory ;o)
anyway, not to lose from sight what we argue about here, how about a modified wording:
The monotheistic religions of today are of relatively recent origin, historically, although Eastern religions (notably Hinduism, and religions of China) that have concepts of panentheism are difficult to classify along western notions of monotheism vs. polytheism, and sometimes have claims of being very ancient, if not eternal
I imagine your concerns are addressed here, as well as my point made? the cost is a slighlty lenghty wording, but maybe we can still reduce that. dab 15:43, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, I don't mean in that way. I recall reading about the writing of the Upanishads. The Vedas, like any religious texts have a lot of meanings and is subject to multiple interpetations. Monism, Monotheism, pantheism, panentheism all stem from the Vedas: I think you should incorporate these views. The monotheistic religions of today are of relatively recent origin, historically, although Hindu religious texts, the Vedas, as all religious texts are subject to multiple interpretations and exhibit various philosophical concepts, monism, monotheism, pantheism, and panentheism notably. see also the wikpedia discussion about henotheism: "While Hinduism is generally monistic or monotheistic admitting emanating deities, the early Rig Veda (undeveloped early Hinduism) was what Max Muller based his views of henotheism on. In the four Vedas, Muller believed that a striving towards One was being aimed at by the worship of different cosmic principles, such as Agni (fire), Vayu (wind), Indra (rain, thunder, the sky), etc. each of which was variously, by clearly different writers, hailed as supreme in different sections of the books. Indeed, however, what was confusing was an early idea of Rita, or supreme order, that bound all the gods. Other phrases such as Ekam Sat, Vipraha Bahudha Vadanti (Truth is One, though the sages know it as many) led to understandings that the Vedic people admitted to fundamental oneness. From this mix of monism, monotheism and naturalist polytheism Max Muller decided to name the early Vedic religion henotheistic.

This, however, is clearly a one-man view. Extremely advanced, indeed unprecedented and thitherto unduplicated ideas of pure monism are to be found in the early Vedas, notwithstanding clearly monist and monotheist movements of Hinduism that developed with the advent of the Upanishads. One such example of early Vedic monism is the Nasadiya hymn of the Rig Veda: " That One breathed by itself without breath, other than it there has been nothing." To collectively term the Vedas henotheistic, and thus further leaning towards polytheism, rather than monotheism, is to ignore the clearly monist bent of the Vedas that were thoroughly developed as early as 1000 BCE in the first Aranyakas and Upanishads." Raj2004

thank you! thank you! this is exactly what I had in my original paragraph: "monist bent of the Vedas were thoroughly developed as early as 1000 BCE", "One example of early Vedic monism is the Nasadiya hymn of the Rig Veda", viz. the hymns (10.129/130) I was referring to all along. I was only objecting to dates significantly earlier than 1000 BCE. dab 15:56, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As for dates older than 1000 BC, history older than 3000 years are hard to measure. what I object is your stating that Hindu monotheism is only 2000 years old. 1000BC means 3000 years ago. Why focus only on that Rig Vedic hymn? Instead focus on the Shri Rudram, which is the most sacred prayer for Shaivites. Shri Rudram must have been chanted earlier than 1000 BC. Let's examine the historical city of Mohenjo-Daro. "Mohenjo-daro (literally, "mound of the dead"), like Harappa, was a city of the Indus Valley civilization. It is somewhat better preserved than Harappa, and therefore an informative source on its parent civilization. It was probably built between four and five thousand years ago, and was abandoned around 3700 years ago, probably due to a change of course of the river which supported the civilization. It was rediscovered in the 1920s by archaeologists." from wikpedia. Mohenjo-daro is at least 3700 years old and I have heard there were images of Rudra even then. What you could say that documentary evidence states the concepts of monism and monotheism is at least 3000 years old but undocumentary evidence (the existence of Shri Rudram in the Yajur Veda, which was composed earlier than the Upanishads) and the fact that Benares or Varnasi ( the oldest pilgramage site in the world and shrine to Shiva) indicate such concepts existed considerably earlier, perhaps 4000 years or more. http://www.templenet.com/Ganga/varanasi.html Don't get me wrong. The concepts of monotheism may have evolved in Judaism as well. Elohim from wikpedia: "The form of the word Elohim, with the ending -im, is plural and masculine, but the construction is usually singular, i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective when referring to the Hebrew god, but reverts to its normal plural when used of heathen divinities (Psalms 96:5; 97:7). There are two theories as to why the word is plural: In another view that is more common among both secular scholars and polytheists, the word's plurality reflects early Judaic polytheism. Originally meaning "the gods", or the "sons of El," the supreme being, the word may have been singularized by later monotheist priests who sought to replace worship of the many gods with their own patron god YHWH alone. "

Secondly, as for the Aryans being not present 4000 years ago, the Aryan invasion theory is increasingly being discredited. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_invasion#Theory_of_migration_rather_than_invasion Again, why are you focusing on that Rig Vedic verse, Why not focus on Shri Rudram? How about the Gayatri mantra? They must have been chanted earlier. What about Vishnu saharanama which is part of the Mahabharata and identifies Vishnu with the supreme Brahman. That's older than 3000 years. The concluding verse from Vishnu sahasranama is telling: "The Rishis (great sages), ancestors, the Devas, the great elements, in fact, all things moving and unmoving constituting this universe, have originated from Narayana." (i.e.,Vishnu). This verse, if proof was necessary, is enough show that the Devas are subordinate to Vishnu or God. wikpedia states The Mahabharata is thought to have been derived from what was originally a much shorter work, called Jaya (Victory). While the dating of these is unclear, the events of the story may be reliably placed in Vedic India around 1400 BCE. Scholars have studied the astronomical activities described in the Mahabharata (like eclipses) and have claimed to have dated it to around 3100 BCE. so the presence of Vishnu sahasranama in the Mahabharata suggests monotheism at least 3500 years old. As for Saivism, it is properly monistic theism, and monotheism which are defined in the lexicon, http://www.himalayanacademy.com/resources/books/dws/lexicon/m.html and see panentheism, http://www.himalayanacademy.com/resources/books/dws/lexicon/p-q.html so really monotheism as defined by the West does not apply to Hindu thought. The world is only part of Shiva or Vishnu; i.e., God is more than the universe but at the same time is not separate from nature. In fact, Nature is part of him. so monistic theism is within a subcategory of monotheism but is the not the same monotheism as defined by Semitic religions. I think sam or you should put such a statement. The same concepts apply in Vaishnavism. So I think monistic theism is the type of monotheism found in Hinduism, about 3500 years ago. The typical semitic monotheism is generally not found in Hinduism, except for Dvaita, which emerged later, around 1200AD. so anyting that was 3500 years or older was monistic theism. I have created a wikpedia article on monistic theism discussing this. That's what I would conclude. Raj2004

I would avoid drawing the Aryan invasion and Harappan dispute into this historical section about the emergence of monotheism if at all possible. Western scholars widely agree that the Aryans arrived in Inda some 3000-4000 years ago, that the RV is some 3500 years old and the Vedanta about 2000-2500 years. Of course there are native POVs, and they should be respected. My figure of 2000 was referring to the Vedanta, my figure of 3000 to the early stages of emerging monotheism in the late RV. dab 15:34, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, then I would conclude, a specific type of monotheism, i.e., monistic theism was in the Vedas about 3000-3500 years ago but undocumentary evidence (i.e., oral tradition, the existence of the Gayatri mantra and shri rudram, Benares, and evidence of Rudra images in Mohenjo-daro suggest a longer history, perhaps ranges from 4000-8000 years.(according to Himayalan academy which states that saivism is the world's oldest religion. How about stating that? Raj2004

Mythology. Have a look at Sumerian king list: Do you seriously suggest we edit every historical article on WP for the fact that there is a sumerian POV that claims their kings have reigned some 500,000 years etc.? If we have not contemporary source, we can claim our ignorance. Sure, we can write: possibly, humanity was entirely monotheistic in 35,360 BC, but monotheism died out everywhere except in Harappa, so that to historians it looks as if monotheism was only "emerging" around 1000 BC. ;) sorry, no offense. let's just keep this section simple. If you like, we can phrase it like "historians believe" or something similarly weasly. dab 16:07, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, Dab but to say monotheism in Hinduism is 2000 years is too short. I would state an age of 3000-3500 years old and you can conclude that some historians believe it may have existed longer. If you can find the age of shri rudram and gayatri mantra that might help. I say 3500 years because Vishnu sahasranama that states vishnu is the supreme brahman comes from the Mahabharata and Mahabharata can be dated to 3500 years ago. The begining lines of Vishnu sahasranama is "Who ("kim") is the greatest ("ekam") Lord ("daivatam") in the world ("loke")?

Who is the one ("ekam") refuge ("paraayanam") for all?

By glorifying ("sthuvantah") whom ("kam") can man ("manavah") reach the Auspiciousness ("shubam") (peace and prosperity)?

By worshipping ("archantah") whom can a man reach

                   auspiciousness (peace and prosperity)?" Yudhistra's question to Bhisma

As for mythology, Western scientists discounted the recently discovered hobbit man as a myth or legend until they found evidence. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3948165.stm so I found to call everything mythlogy insulting.

Raj2004

ok Raj. I didn't mean to insult you. I hold mythology i very high esteem, and on Human I advocated that the mythological pov be treated on a par with biological, cultural and religious povs. History, however, chooses to be a discipline apart from mythology. I agree very much with your numbers 3000-3500 years, putting early indic evidence ot monism on a par with egyptian and chinese. the wording I am defending here was [4]:

Historically, the concept of a singular God is relatively recent. In the Ancient Orient, many cities had their own local god, but this henotheistic worship of a single god did not imply denial of the existence of other gods. The Hebrew Ark of the Covenant adapted this practice to a nomadic lifestyle, paving their way for a singular God. The cult of the solar god Aten is often cited as the earliest known example of monotheism, but even if Akhetaten's hymn to Aten praises this god as omnipotent creator, worship of other gods beside him never ceased. Early examples of monotheism include two late rigvedic hymns (10.129,130) to a Panentheistic creator god, Chinese Shang Ti and Zoroastrian Ahuramazda. The worship of polytheistic gods, on the other hand, is prehistoric, possibly reaching back as far as the paleolithic. Today, monotheistic religions are numerically dominant (mainly due to the missionary efforts of Christianity and Islam), but polytheism, and to a lesser extent also animism, survive.

where I do not even cite a date. I merely say that rv has early evidence of monotheistic thought. dab 18:21, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No problem, Dab I can conclusively agree with you about 3000-3500 years ago. what I didn't agree was that evidence of this monistic theism was only 2000 years old. That's was the point I only disagreed with. sorry for the misunderstanding. perhaps we got sidetracked. Why not be more specific, state the shri rudram, which is a vedic hymn to shiva as brahman, or the gayatri as well and the Vishnu sahasranama which can be dated to the Mahabharata." Raj2004

yeah, we can cite these in the Hindu-section of "conceptions of God", of course. Although the gayatri really just says "we want to be like Savitr" (is Savitr identified with Brahma somehow?) dab 11:34, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No. The Gayatri mantra has many interpretations. Initially, the meaning was that it was addressed to the Sun, which is an aspect of Brahman. http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa061003a.htm?terms=Gayatri Later it came to be interpreted to be an univeral prayer to the impersonal absolute. Orthodox Hindus chant this hymn every day. It is the most chanted vedic hymn. Raj2004,November 15, 2004

by all means do incorporate this information into the "Hinduist conceptions" section! dab 12:12, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
btw, what is this "Very (Immutability)" attribute? The others are all sanskrit words, but this must surely be wrong, or a typo? dab 15:07, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I think it is a typo. don't remember what the exact spelling it is. I believe that was pasted it from the Vaishnavism article. Brahman is supposed to have 6 unique characterics. Raj2004

ok, I googled. The section is still weak, though, and should give more information (what "other schools"?). dab 16:12, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, I agree. I am sure others will edit it and contribute more to that discussion. Raj2004

Dispute header

I can't say I'm perfectly satisfied, but I think the article is more than neutral enough to remove the dispute header. What say you, good sirs... (and theoretical madam's ;) 01:18, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

- I would have to dissagree. There is a definition and explination for 'A goddess' however there is no such thing for 'A god', it's more for 'God'. While they both are needed here, 'god' should be defined and explained first, then 'God' that way any reference to a 'god' can be more understood as such. Oh, and "goddesses" goes to "goddess", but "gods" goes to "list of deities". What's with that?
-64.123.10.122 17:10, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

ToC

why for His sake are all 'conceptions' subsections to 'unity or trinity' now? This is either a typo or a very silly edit. dab 08:25, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I actually had it a bit different, but two people now seem to think this version is better. Whosyourjudas, who reverted me when I changed it from the current, and sunborn, one of whose edit summaries is "other than that, I see nothing wrong with the TOC", I assume refering to whosyourjudas's revert. Since there appear to be two people agreeing w the current state of things, and two (you and I, I assume?) disagreeing w it, we have a complete lack of concensus. I'd just as soon wait awhile, esp. since whosyourjudas has other ideas which I pretty strongly disagree with(Having #Theology have exactly one subhead (#Conceptions of God), which has exactly one subhead (#God as Unity or Trinity), which then has the other sections, is ugly and illogical. I suggest combining the first two into one section (e.g. #Theological conceptions of God or #Theology and conceptions of God) and dropping #God as Unity or Trinity entirely. This would look and read much more cleanly.), including deleteing the whole "trinity vrs. unity" section. Sam [Spade] 18:19, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
this is obviously not a pov dispute, but one of layout, and common sense. the subsections to "God as unity or trinity" are not about the question of unity vs. trinity at all. what gives?? dab 18:24, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Well Be bold and fix it, if it irks you so ;) I just don't want to since I got reverted, and there doesn't seem to be much agreement w the way I had intended it to be. Whosyourjudas thought what I did was ugly :( Sam [Spade] 19:50, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
OK, I tried again. Thoughts? Sam [Spade] 14:21, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I like the ToC at this point. Only the arrangement of "conceptions" strikes me as a bit random (we should probably group the Abrahamic stuff together. At the moment, Hinduism and "the Ultimate" is squeezed in between Christian/Jewish/Muslim and Biblical). dab 11:36, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I actually ordered it somewhat according to which sections I thought needed more additions made to them. I felt that was perhaps the least POV, altho alphabetical might work as well. A more POV, but also perhaps more useful (to the reader) format might involve placing sections we assume the reader might be more interested in higher up, but I alightly oppose that concept. Sam [Spade] 13:49, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
no, I think both alphabetic ordering (in this case) and 'reader interest anticipation' is bad policy. The stuff needs to be ordered systematically. I made all the 'Abrahamic' sections subsections to 'Jewish, Christian, Muslim' now, since that's the logical thing to do. dab 15:03, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
"since that's the logical thing to do"
Haha! Alrighty then, now that we have that cleared up... Sam [Spade] 15:13, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
is this sarcasm? I don't get it: I meant: it's logical to put aspects of Jewish/Xian/Muslim conceptions under a header "Jewish/Xian/Muslim conceptions", that's all. dab 16:04, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Maybe, essentially I found your "since that's the logical thing to do" humorously presumptive, since there were other logical options. That said, its not very important to me, and the fmt on this page is near to my last priority ;) Sam [Spade] 16:17, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Actually I like the edits you made after reviewing them ;). The only subtle concern (and one which I have no answer for) is the mathematical section being under "modern", when it is in fact quite old, and included within many other views (such as Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, etc...). Sam [Spade] 16:22, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

well, the implication is "modern mathematical definitions". the mathematicians we mention are modern (Cantor, Goedel). if you can cite an ancient mathematical definition, it should go to another section (eg. Aristotelian, Negative theology are quasi-mathematical). dab 16:35, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Worship of Brahman

I understand that it is rare, but some do worship Brahman directly. Also, I disagree that most Hindu's worship Vishnu or Shiva. Do we have any cite on that? Finially, I think the Trimurti link is a good one. Sam [Spade] 19:05, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes, we do. Sam Most adherents worship Vishnu or Shiva. http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_303.html (70% Vaishnavites); http://www.dlshq.org/download/hinduismbk.htm#_VPID_71 Most schools of theology in Hinduism are based on worship of Vishnu or Shiva. Most Hindus believe that Vishnu or Shiva are the same; Shakti is the way to reach Shiva; and Ganesh and Murugan are simply differents aspects of Shiva or Devi. It is hard to measure this because most Hindus are willing to accept different forms of God. I would suspect that most are Smarta in belief.

As for Brahman, practically no one worships the abstract reality directly so as a practical matter, and as the theological schools correctly pointed out, Brahman should be visualized as a personal supreme Being. Raj2004

Oh, ok. I took it that people were worshipping Shakti and Ganesh, etc... as their personal god, I take it this is not the case. Sam [Spade] 14:14, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sam, it's such a small percentage of the Hindu population. The eighteen puranas mainly glorify Shiva and Vishnu. Besides the three divisions, shaivism, vaishnavism, and saktism, there hasn't been any theological school devoted to Ganesh and Murugan.(Skanda) In Hinduism, generally, a major theological branch has a major philosophical schools. The Agamas are another major theological texts that is devoted to worship of Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti. No such text exists for Ganesh or Murugan. Even the worship of the Sun is also denoted as worship of Vishnu or Shiva. THe sun is called Surya Naryana]. Similarly, the same goes with Shiva. Hope this helps. As for your quote, no one worships Brahman directly. see this quote by Bansi Pandit: "This doctrine recognizes that the Ultimate Reality possesses infinite potential, power and intelligence, and therefore cannot be limited by a single name or form. Thus, Hindus view the Ultimate Reality as having two aspects: impersonal and personal (see Figure 1). The impersonal aspect of the Ultimate Reality is called Nirguna Brahman in Hindu scriptures. Nirguna Brahman has no attributes and, as such, is not an object of prayer, but of meditation and knowledge. This aspect of the Ultimate Reality is beyond conception, beyond reasoning and beyond thought" http://www.ikashmir.org/hindudharma/2.html as for worshiping Brahman, the Gayatri mantra is probably the best way of praying to this impersonal Absolute directly if that is what you mean by worshipping Brahman. Raj2004

It isn't, I am refering to Brahmanism, and the theology of traditional Brahmin priests and practicioners. Sam [Spade] 18:06, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Traditional Brahmin priests chant the Gayatri mantra everyday so I believe we are talking about the same thing. They recognize the Impersonal Absolute and the Gayatri mantra is non-sectarian and is a prayer primarily to the Impersonal Absolute. http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa061003a.htm?terms=Gayatri also Brahmanism is practicing vedic hymns and the Gayatri is the jewel among them. see 1911Britanica web site, http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/B/BR/BRAHMANISM.htm Hope this helps. Raj2004

Wow, theres alot of info there, I will have to move it into the wiki article~! Sam [Spade] 14:51, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, thanks. I think you can copy all the relevant info as the material is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Copyright must have expired. Raj2004 Also Brahmins did not exclusively worship the impersonal Brahman; they worshipped Shiva through the Vedic hymn, Shri Rudram, http://www.vishuji.com/srirudram.htm and Vishnu through another Vedic hymn, Purusha Suktam. Additionally, worship of Vishnu was through the Vishnu saharanama which dates from the Mahabharata. Raj2004

The move

Why was this page just moved twice by Bart133? Was this concensused? --Whosyourjudas (talk) 01:05, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sorry. I was trying to disambiguate it from deity. Bart133 01:08, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Absolutely not, move back to God ASAP! Sam [Spade] 01:50, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Moving a contentious page without checking for objections beforehand is very poor form. Shane King 04:30, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)
very poor, although the idea has some merit. moving back. dab 07:33, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
bloody hell, it seems the page history of the article is gone! I don't know why, I did use the 'move' button to move it back (the Talk:God history is still here!). This would of course be quite a sad loss, and I'm trying to figure out what happened :( dab 10:05, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
the history is not at God, monotheistic either. It should have been moved there with the first move, and moved back here with my move. I don't understand this at all, sorry :o( dab 10:09, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
ok, the history is back (phew, I was worried, there). I don't get this at all. Probably a caching phenomenon... dab 13:09, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I also think that moving this page to God (monotheistic) — I think that would be the canonical form — is likely a good idea. That is, after all, what the page is about. Many wrong links will be created with the form Apollo is a god in Greek mythology. . . I would make god a disambiguation page for God (monotheistic) and deity. Smerdis of Tlön 14:55, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I am not so sure. I insist that this article is not only about the monotheistic notion of God, but also about its (polytheistic) history, and about the word "god" itself (viz. etymology). But we could in principle make this a more general article about both God and god, and move the bulk of the present article to a new main article God (singular) or God (monotheistic) or Singular God. But I don't know if there will ever be a consemsus about any such scheme (due to "main article fixation", i.e. people want 'their' God to be right there under God and not buried in a specialized article) dab 15:00, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
This page should not be moved, nor does it need to be hacked up anytime soon. At some point, some parts of it could be moved, but now is not the time. Sam [Spade] 16:15, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree we still need to consolidate consensus and polish wording. But it is rather long already, and thought should be given as to how to divide it. dab 16:19, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I disagree adamantly. There is currently no need to substantially reduce the scope of this article. That was already done very recently, removing polytheism and other related ideologies. The article is in the best shape it has been in a very long time, and carving it up, or even contemplating carving it up would be counter-productive at this time. (altho not quite as counter productive as moving the page, mind you!) Sam [Spade] 16:40, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
exporting material to specialized articles doesn't reduce the scope of the article. if just makes it more accessible. (see "main article fixation" above;) indeed I would also oppose a reductoin of scope. dab 17:57, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Names

Sorry, I have nitpicked at this before, but here

(Which ironically may be more accurate, as in "the One true God".)

I don't get the irony at all. How is this "more accurate" (than what?) (I also don't understand why "One" is seen to be more 'politically correct' (again, than what?). dab 16:28, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I get the impression he is referring to something similar to the ultimate, absolute infinite, or monism, but maybe I am just reading my own metaphysics into him, since I am about as confused as you are by the suggested "irony" or political correctness (maybe by political correctness he means liberal christianity?). Sam [Spade] 16:42, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I added another link to that line to help clarify... see entry on Oneness. Also note that the entry for One also mentions One as a euphamism for God. One is "more accurate" because it takes away any one religious group's "claim to fame" for naming God. It's also more 'politically correct' as it does not imply any specific sexuality as using He, Him, Father (or She) would. Maybe you can reword the entry to make it more clear in your minds, but I still feel the entry has an important spot on the list. --Thoric 00:04, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If that's how the United Church argues, it's fine, of course (so the pronoun referring to One would be It? not sure if many people will feel that this is an improvement:)
in my mind, "One" is simply an English word, just like "God", only one that already has another (mathematical) meaning. But I guess it's an ellipsis rather than an euphemism, i.e. "One" for "One God", with a new taboo to name Xem? I think we'd just find a statement by a representative of that church and quote that ,rather than guessing what might be their rationale. Sorry again, I don't mean to censor you, I just didn't get the idea. dab 00:17, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Some people (especially Mormons) think God is a man, with a real physical penis. Alot of other people think God is an anthropomorphic spirit, also possessing of a penis. So all this Xem and Oneness stuff is not inclusive of their views. Also, which United Church uses this "oneness" concept? If we simply know that, we can look into why they do it independantly :) Sam [Spade] 13:49, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
nothing on this page is inclusive of everyone's views. it's a list of views. that said, I'd just like a link to organisations which do call God "the One" and/or "Xe", and we can then model the list entry on their statement. As it is, it does hang in the air. dab 14:19, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
found something [5] (Religious Science). This seems pretty obscure, though, and I suggest we move the concept under "the Ultimate". Only major (major) religions get a place in this list, the full list is at Names of God. dab 14:24, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've never seen a church use Xe/Xem/Xyr... which church is that? I've seen the United Church of Canada use One. Although they use One both as a pronoun, and as a proper-noun, and also still use God. They have not (yet) eliminated the use of the word God. I know that some New age religions have adopted the use of One as well, but I'll have to track down the references. By the way, why should only "major religions" get a say on this page? That would certainly not make this page's view neutral if it did not include views from agnostics, deists and philosophers. --Thoric 14:39, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
They use 'One' as a pronoun?? "The One created heaven and earth, and One saw that it was good."? (the Xe part I made up, btw, for lack of a more suitable pronoun). Ok, let's say United Church of Canada and Religious Science, for the moment. dab 14:41, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)