During the ‘Hinduism: A 2 Day Crash Course’ numerous discussions sprung up with beautiful analogies and explanations. One which stuck in my head is one I’d like to share with you.
Whilst dicussing the classification of Vedic literature, a discussion ensued regarding the idea of time in Hinduism. The conversation supported the scriptural evidence presented and concluded the acceptance of time being divided basically into four ages namely, satyuga, treta yuga, dvapur yuga and kali yuga.
Furthering the discussion it was established that the best way of obtaining liberation differed depending on the Yugas. For instance in Satyuga, the age was designed for meditation, Treta Yuga designed for performing fire sacrifices, Dvapur Yuga for performing ritualistic venerations and finally Kali Yuga for chanting the Holy name of the Lord.
In the same way the idea of evil also differed. In Satya Yuga, bad impressions and evil intentions manifested as separate beings who resided in differing worlds but would chastise earnest people and attempt to mislead them from the path of righteousness.
In Treta yuga, these evil personalities rather than residing in different worlds, started living and chastising spiritual aspirants in the same planets. A common eulogy are the traditional narrations of the Treta era such as that of the Ramayana, where earnest beings are chastised by demonic personalities but ultimately defeated i.e. Lord Sri Rama and Ravana. Here the idea of worshipping the Lord through sacrifices was concluded as the best means to eradicate evil and demonic intentions.
In Dvapur yuga, furthering the idea of the two sets of ideologies of good and evil, both were now seen to be born in the same family, let alone in the same world. A traditional account is that of Bhagavan Sri Krsna, who according to many Hindu traditions is regarded as the complete manifestation of the Supreme Lord incarnated on earth for the better of society appearing in the same family as that of the demonic Kamsa, who in relation would be regarded as his uncle. In the age of Dvapur, according to Vedic literature the best means of protecting oneself from the evil influences of such personalities and attributes was by performing ritualistic venerations to the deities established in the Vedas.
In Kaliyuga, the gradual decline and the barriers of good and evil is seemingly distorted both virtue of good and the ill attributes of evil are now present in the same person and hence the individual is constantly in a battle with himself knowing what is right but impelled to do wrong due to evil influences. In this age, the scriptures proclaim the best remedy to eradicate the evil tendencies which are not inherent within us but highly influential feeding material desire and diverting the individual from God is to glorify the supreme Lord through his name. The scriptures and our saints appreciate that the practical endeavours of performing rituals and sacrifice are arduous in nature with strict protocols needing to be adhered to, however with the realisation that the names of God are the most powerful in eradicating the influences of evil, the best medicine for the individual is to take shelter of the holy name.
On a side note I would like to thank Mickey Shah for explaining this beautiful example in the class. I appreciate that he heard this realisation from another individual but credit is due where it’s due.
There were many other discussions and topics in the course which were potent in providing many insights into the beauty of Hinduism and time permitting, they will also be uploaded when written.