Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On the Nature of Belief

On "The Heathen in His Blindness..." yahoo group, vnr1995 had a perspicacious statement, which I paraphrase - Satan (the Devil) **believes that** God exists, but Satan does not **believe in** God (which is why Satan is doomed).

We Hindus are not required to **believe in** anything, at least to the best of my knowledge of the Indic Traditions.  To my understanding, the Mimamsakas will tell you that the Vedic mantras retain their efficacy whether or not you **believe in** or **believe that** about anything about them.  In that sense, you are also not required to **believe that** about anything.

Of course, we Hindus **believe that** about many things.  However, no set of beliefs confers any kind of virtue.  In the Ramayana, both Rama and Ravana **believed that** about the same things.

One may be born into the Hindu fold.  One may join the fold and/or become a practitioner by only by practicing; one leaves the fold by explicit exit.

In bringing up Hindu children, I don't think they need to be told to **believe that** or **believe in** anything.  They just need to get a general understanding of the daily life, festival, emotional, intellectual, etc., aspects of practice; and their parents' own actions will be their immediate guide.

I think the same applies to the followers of Mahavira and of the Buddha, as well.