SV: creation of human kind

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 26 13:53:07 UTC 1998

"In the Mahavastu, MaudgalyAyana returns from a visit to the purgatories
and only delivers a sermon on the well-deserved punishment of the
But a few centuries later, the people of India could not bear to think
of such cruel pains and penalties as the doctrine of karma inflicted
on the unfortunate transgressors of the moral law. They had developed
that almost feminine tenderness and sentimentality, which would not
allow the representation of tragic scenes on the stage and banned real
tragedy from Indian literature. The same gentle temper rose in revolt
against the old doctrine of karma. The Mahayanists evolved the humane
teaching that even a sinner was not destined to suffer in the three
states of woe, as the bodhisattvas could cancel his Demerit (pApa)
by giving him some of their Merit (puNya). Avalokitezvara was described
as releasing the sufferers from the purgatories (hells) without paying
any regard to the law of karma. Here again the Mahayanists nearly
abrogated the old law of karma and replaced it by the new gospel
of karuNA. The old teachers proclaimed that the cosmic law demanded
"an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". But Mahayanists taught that
love was the supreme law. ...
It sprang from the heart of the Indian people, who could not tolerate
the idea of protracted suffering of any description. The philosophers
subsequently provided it with a rationale."
p. 191, Har Dayal, The Bodhisattva doctrine.

Please note that Vaishnava bhakti movement comes few centuries
later than the bodhisattva bhakti of Mahayanism. Vaishnava bhakti
mass movement  starts in the Tamil Alvar poems and spreads
northward until Chaitanya was born in Bengal.

p. 32, Har Dayal,
"In fact, the very word bhakti, as a technical religious term,
occurs for the first time in Indian literature in a Buddhist
treatise and not in a Hindu scripture. The TheragAthA speaks
of bhatti: 'so bhattimA nAma ca hoti paNDito JatvA ca dhammesu
visesi assa'. This anthology contains verses that go back to
the earliest period of the history of Buddhism, and its final
redaction took place in the middle of the third century BC."

N. Ganesan
>In Hinduism, God cannot control the law
>of karma, yet God is still seen as all-powerful.

Just for the record, as far as I am aware, in the Hindu tradition, God
described as the controller of the law of karma.  One reference for this
a quote from a translation of Brahma-samhita by Bhaktisiddhanta
Thakura of the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition:

"I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, who burns up to their roots all
activities of those who are imbued with devotion and impartially ordains
each the due enjoyment of the fruits of one's activities, for all those
walk in the path of work, in accordance with the chain of their
performed works, no less in the case of the tiny insect that bears the
indragopa than in that of Indra, king of the devas" (Sri Brahma-samhita,
verse 54).

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