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Notes:
Presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #89, Center for Bahá'í Studies, Acuto, Italy (June 29, 2009).

Mirrored with permission from irfancolloquia.org/89/premanand_hinduism.


Dashavatara and Progressive Revelation

by Anupam Premanand

published in Lights of Irfan, Volume 11, pages 223-256
Wilmette, IL: Irfan Colloquia, 2010
Abstract:

In this thesis, the phenomenon of the Divine Revelation from Hindu and from the Bahá'í points of view is studied in the background of the Religion as an eternal process. The Hindu concept of Ten Mahavatars, called Dashavataras, is mentioned and their mythological, spiritual, and evidently logical import is taken into consideration. Sri Krishna represents Hindu Faith of Dashavatara as a representative Avatara and Bahá'u'lláh, the Bahá'í revelation. The interpreted substance and the logical reasoning of the concept of God, the nature of man and his abilities and limits of knowing God through the recognition of Avatara are analyzed based on Bhagavad–Gita and the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh.

All through the thesis, naturally informed personal metaphysical comments through the Words of Sri Krishna and Bahá'u'lláh are added thereby giving a meaningful outcome at successive stage of the thesis. Concept of Progressive Revelation according to the Bahá'í Faith is also clarified and a synthesis of succeeding revelations of Dashavatara in Hinduism and Progressive Revelation of the Bahá'í Faith is made. All through, the Writings from Hindu scriptures like Bhagavad–Gita, Patanjali Sutra and Upanishads and similarly from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, Kitab–e–Iqán and other Bahá'í scriptures are also quoted extensively in order to provide an authentic comparative base to the ideas presented.

Dashavatara is linked to the Bahá'í conception of immemorial process of Revelations of ‘from the beginning that hath no beginning’ and the logical and scientific idea of human evolution through the role of divine revelation at each succeeding stage of human evolution represented by each of the Ten Avataras in Dashavatara.

The nature of Avataras and the Manifestations of God are comparatively analyzed. The nature of soul is found to resemble, to a great degree, both in the Bahá'í and Hindu points of views.

Perhaps, Bahá'í Faith and Hinduism are two most common Faiths who have spoken in the loudest terms of the eternal nature of Religion. In the words of Bahá'u'lláh “… the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future” and the Hindu term “Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Law”, inspiring to study and compare the Hindu and the Bahá'í conception of Revelation, which are found to be strikingly similar.

Initial introduction to Hinduism and the Bahá'í faith is also provided, culminating the thesis with their influence on the world society from ancient times to today. Emphasis is made on the unity and commonality of the phenomena of Hindu and the Bahá'í Revelations rather than the differences thereof. This harmonious unity of divine revelations which, to the author, is the concluding reality of all divine revelations viewed in human benefit from their teachings of spiritual and personal nature rather than from their social teachings. Because humanity can survive only in unity and cooperation, and it is the emphasis on the commonalities and not on the subordinate differences which gives rise to the feeling of oneness and harmony among diverse people, so to preserve and protect the future of mankind.
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