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Religion Spirituality and Modern World




Page: 17/29

Hindu Books > Books By David Frawley > Hinduism : The Eternal Tradition, Sanatana Dharma > Religion Spirituality And Modern World

Page17

What is the Importance of Scriptures?

Scripture in the Western religious sense means the Word of God as revealed in a particular book like the Bible or Koran. Scripture can also stand for an inspired book or source teaching that a particular religion honors as very important. The books of various religions, like the Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism or the Tao Teh Ching of Taoism, may be called scriptures even though they may not literally be regarded by their followers as the Word of God, nor may the religion itself be theistic. In this vast universe, any number of scriptures or inspired religious books are possible. Hindus have many scriptures like the Vedas, Agamas and Puranas but none is regarded as the only Word of God or as literally true.

The supreme scripture, the real Word of God or the Supreme Reality, can never really be put in human language, which is inherently limited by time, place and culture. The Divine Word is a state of consciousness, best revealed in silence of mind. It is not a mere book that can be pulled off a shelf and quoted. It is best represented by mantra, particularly the mantra OM, which is the essence of the Vedas.

Different scriptures come into being relative to the varying needs of people according to time, place, culture, and individual temperament. This is the same as the differences required in food and clothing, though there are universal human needs for food and shelter. Some scriptures have much spiritual truth in them, others have very little. There is no standardized teaching or level of discourse in the various so-called scriptures of the world.

The idea that only one scripture is true would be like saying that only one type of food is good. The idea that all scriptures are equally true is like saying that all food is equally good. For this reason the Hindu tradition contains many works that have been given a scriptural status. These include the Four Vedas (particularly the Upanishads), Puranas (of which there are about twenty), Ramayana, Mahabharata (including the Bhagavad Gita), and Agamas. The highest truth is to contact the Word of God within the heart and discover God within oneself. Hence if a teaching does not point out a path of Self-realization, though it be called the Word of God, it cannot represent the highest truth. Higher than the Word of God is to know oneself.




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