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On Sacred Religious Scriptures

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Every religion is blessed with many holy texts which guide the faithful. If it is the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana and Mahabharata for the Hindus, it is the holy Qu’ran for Muslims, the sacred Bible for Christians and so on. Every such scripture not only contains deep spiritual truths but also practical guidelines to help man lead a righteous life. The ultimate objective of these powerful texts is to help man identify himself with God and thereby, make his life on earth meaningful for both himself and others.

In the current quiz, we wish to dwell on these sacred volumes which have guided man for centuries and will continue to do so with their superlative wisdom and light.

1. Extolling the importance of scriptures, in His Divine Sutra Vahini, Swami wrote: “The scriptures are expressions of the Truth acquired by sages while delving into the Reality. The words emanated from the inhalations and exhalations of the Divine Breath. They were heard from no embodied entity; they did not arise out of anyone’s imagination. Hence, they are described as impersonal (a-pourusheya) and eternal (saswatha).

Only the scriptures can liberate people, through that illumination named knowledge. They regulate one's life and foster it, guarding it from grief.”

According to Swami, what is one of the most important lesson one derives from the scriptures?


2. Written by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, the ‘Kitáb-i-Aqdas’ is sometimes also referred to as "the Aqdas", "the Most Holy Book", or "the Book of Laws". The book outlines the essential laws and principles to be observed by His followers, lays the groundwork for Bahá'í institutions, and articulates His vision for the development of human civilization.

What is the first duty extolled in the first verse of this Holy Book?


3. The Dhammapada sometimes translated into English as 'Path of the Dhamma', is a versified Buddhist scripture traditionally ascribed to the Buddha himself. According to tradition, the Dhammapada's verses were spoken by the Buddha on various occasions. Most verses deal with ethics.

The Buddha taught that human beings desire one thing: pleasure (sukha). They find instead suffering (duhkha). The cause of that suffering is selfishness or self-centeredness (trishna). If this selfishness and self-centeredness is totally extinguished (nirvana), then all suffering and pain cease.

Which of these is the first saying of the Dhammapada?


4. The ‘Koran’ literally "the recitation"; is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims regard the Koran as the culmination of a series of divine messages and view the Koran as God's final revelation to humanity. It is the prime source of every Muslim's faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects which concern human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures.

The Koran has one overriding theme, endlessly repeated and elaborated throughout the text. What is that?


5. ‘Agama’ means "a traditional doctrine, or system which commands faith". The collective term given by the Jains to their Sacred literature is called Agamas. The Jain Agamas contain the sermons of their founders. They were later codified by their trusted disciples into the languages of the people for the larger benefit of the masses. The Jains generally agree that the Agamas constitute the inspired wisdom of Lord Mahavir, when he attained perfection and Omniscience.

Which of the following is one of the most profound teachings of the Jain scriptures?


6. "Tanakh" is the compendium of the teachings of God to human beings in document form. The name "Tanakh" is a Hebrew acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Tanakh's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah ("Teaching," also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings") forming the covenant between God and the Jewish people are the foundation and Bible of Judaism. It is also called the Hebrew Bible.

The word ‘Adonai’ is repeated often in the Tanakh. What does it signify?


7. For Christians, the Bible not only contains the word of God; it is the word of God. The New Testament portion of the Bible, contains the life and teachings of Jesus in the four Gospels, the letters of the Apostle Paul and other disciples to the early church and the Book of Revelation. Jesus is its central figure throughout.

Once, when Jesus was asked: "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" What was Jesus’ reply?


8. The role of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book, as a source or guide of prayer, is pivotal in worship in Sikhism. It is more than just a scripture for the Sikhs. The Sikhs treat this Granth (holy book) as a living Guru, an eternal Guru, a sacred conduit for wisdom and guidance.

The religion depicted in Guru Granth Sahib is based on experience and belief which requires that religion be reflected in daily life. Harmony of the mind, utterances and deeds is the main sign of spiritualism.

The text in which the Granth is written is a script called Gurmukhi. What does ‘Gurmukhi’ mean?


9. Zoroastrianism is a religion founded in ancient times by the prophet Zarathushtra, also known as Zoroaster. The holy book of Zoroastrianism is the ‘Avesta’, which includes the teachings of Zarathushtra written in a series of hymns called the ‘Gathas’.

The Gathas are highly abstract sacred poetry, worshiping Ahura Mazda. They promote a comprehension of righteousness and cosmic order, concepts of social justice, and stress the need for individual choice between good and evil.

What are these ‘Gathas’ also considered as?


10. In Hinduism, the most succinct and powerful abbreviation of the overwhelmingly diverse realm of Hindu thought is to be found in the Bhagavad Gita, also known simply as "The Gita". The Gita speaks of cultivating the intellect, properly using the body, and always remaining equipoised in relation to the greater Self.

The Bhagavad Gita truly presents itself as a liberation scripture, universal in its message. It discusses selflessness, duty, devotion, and meditation, integrating many different threads of Hindu philosophy.

During the first Summer Course on Indian Culture and Spirituality in 1972, Swami mentioned that apart from the paths of Karma, Bhakthi and Jnana (Work, Worship and Wisdom), the Bhagavad Gita has also given mankind a great saying. What is this important dictum?


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-Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 6 Issue 09 - SEPTEMBER 2008
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