Eastern Scriptures: As I Understand Them
I have come to believe that there is so much practical wisdom in world scriptures (the ones I have studied) that they have answers for almost all of our present problems and dilemmas. There is, however, a deep-rooted male bias in these books (except Tao-te Ching which has almost none). The obvious example would be the Ultimate Reality or Supreme Being referred to as “He.” Goddess is positioned either at a lower hierarchical level than God or is seemingly not significant. This hierarchy also reflects in traditional households where father is the authoritative figure and mother functions as a mediator between the father and children.
I keep such biases in mind when I read the sacred books and glean the practical wisdom from them. I wish their points of view were androgynous rather than endocentric. But they are not. So I have to tread carefully between the lines so as not to diminish the purpose of my study. Embedded in these male biased books is useful emotional knowledge from which the essence of what it is to be human can be extracted.
“As I Understand It” is a modest effort, in weekly doses, to communicate with my readers what I learn from the sacred books. As I try to understand the scriptures in a contemporary context I express my own views on society, culture and religion. Imbibing wisdom contained in the world scriptures is our prerogative. By sharing this wisdom through concrete established writings I am not conveying personal opinions or empty words but tools for dealing with dilemmas in our daily lives.
These books are the world’s finest works of literature-essential nutrients for our spiritual health. Their subject matter is aesthetic, therefore personal as well as universal. They need to be interpreted and reinterpreted to meet the needs of changing societies. This is not to undermine their sacredness but to underline their significance. Life is transient. The wisdom of scriptures is eternal.
All the world scriptures are relevant to our lives. When understood well they have the power to make us physically and psychologically happier and healthier. They introduce us to different ways of understanding and experiencing peoples and cultures. Our thought needs to be informed by the resources of all human wisdom from all historical epochs. The world scriptures are thus important resources for making this world a better place.