It can hardly be said that I have a reasonable amount of knowledge about other religions, but I'm quite confident that I have got the basic ideas right to delve on the topics that Abrahamic and Dharmic religions don't see eye to eye on. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Vedic scriptures state that every living entity, from the ant on the earth to the material god in the heavens, desires happiness.
raso vai saha.
God is rasa or bliss.
rasam hy-evayam labdhvanandi bhavati.
The individual living entity, the spirit soul, attains happiness only on attaining God.
Because the spirit soul is a part of God.
Loke nahi sa vidyet yo na Raam manuvratah
There is not a single living entity in this universe who is not a devotee of Sri Raam (a principal denomination of God in Hinduism).
Narakritim Parah Brahm.The original, most primeval form of God resembles that of a human.
Svechcha pad pritah vapuh,The supreme spiritual Entity known as God crystallizes His infinite, non-material substance into a divine Form.
angani yasya sakalendriya-vrittimantipashyanti panti kalayanti ciram jagantiananda-cinmaya-sad-ujjvala-vigrahasyagovindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, and substantiality, and who is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each limb of that transcendental figure possesses in itself the full-fledged functions of all the other organs, and He eternally sees, maintains, and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane” (Bs. 5.32).
Raam tvam paramatmasi sacchidanand vigrahaIdanim tvam raghu shreshtha pranamami muhurmuhuh
O Sri Raam, You are the Supreme Being, known as Paramatma! Your nature is of immortal existence, infinite knowledge and limitless bliss! I pay my obeisance to Your lotus feet again and again.
My dear Lord Shiv, I know that You are the controller of the entire material manifestation, the combination Father and Mother of the cosmic manifestation, and the Supreme Brahman beyond the cosmic manifestation as well. I know You in that way.
- Srimad Bhagvatam 4.6.42
“That abode of Mine is illuminated neither by the sun and the moon, nor by fire (electricity) but by My personal light alone. And anyone who reaches it never comes back to this material world.”– Bhagavad Gita 15.6, a verse spoken by Sri Krsna Himself.
The glories of Vaikunth’s residents, who are all beyond the material world of five elements, of Vaikunth-lok, and of Vaikunth’s Hero (God), cannot be described with examples drawn from the world of five elements.- Brhad Bhagvatamrtam Canto I, 4.40 & 4.41.
Lord Shiv tells His internal potency, Parvati:My dear Consort, beyond all the spiritual planets, there is a divine, eternal abode called as Saaket, which is unachievable for even the greatest of yogis. However, that excellent station can be achieved by chanting the pure name of Raam in an authentic manner.– Padma Puran.
Aishvaryasya samagrasyaviryasya yashasah shriyahjnana-vairagyayosh chaivashannam bhaga itingana
- Vishnu Puran 6.5.47
Isvarah Paramah KrsnaSat-chit-ananda vigrahaAnadir aadir GovindahSarva Karana Karanam.- Brahma Samhita.
The Supreme Lord has a form which is Sat (Immortal), Chit (Full of knowledge and Consciousness) and Ananda (Bliss). He has no origin and is Himself the cause of all causes.
daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te- Bhagavad Gita 7.14
This divine energy of Mine, Maya, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is extremely difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.
sattvaṁ rajas tama iti guṇāḥ prakṛti-sambhavāḥ nibadhnanti mahā-bāho dehe dehinam avyayam- Bhagavad Gita 14.5
Material nature consists of three modes – goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.
sattvaṁ sukhe sañjayati rajaḥ karmaṇi bhārata jñānam āvṛtya tu tamaḥ pramāde sañjayaty uta- Bhagavad Gita 14.9
O son of Bharata, the mode of goodness gives rise to considerable happiness; passion conditions one to fruitive action; and ignorance (tamas), if entertained for a long time, covers one’s knowledge and gives rise to madness.
guṇān etān atītya trīn dehī deha-samudbhavān janma-mṛtyu-jarā-duḥkhair vimukto ’mṛtam aśnute- Bhagavad Gita 14.20
When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.
yah maya thagini jaan reyate vidhi darpat, yah atishay balwan revishvamitr parashar se muni, maya maahi bhulan reyehi nahi mithya tattva maan man, shakti jaan bhagavan rebinu Hari kripa jaati nahi kaisehun, saadhan kiyehun mahaan repai 'Kripalu' Hari kripa hoye tab, jab bhaju Shyam sujaan re.- Prem Ras Madira (1.3.83), a treatise on the highest devotion, by Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj.
My dear mind, know Maya to be the greatest deceiver. She is so powerful that even Lord Brahma, the Creator of this solar-system, is fearful of her. Great ascetics like Vishvamitr and Parashar fell under her spell. She is not some imaginary entity (as followers of Shankaracharya proclaim) but the power of God! One cannot free himself of her clutches, no matter how great his endeavors, but only by the grace of God. Shri Kripaluji Maharaj reminds the mind, "Grace is bestowed only on those souls who practice devotion to Krsna (called Shyam here)."
The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [an outcaste].- Bhagavad Gita, 5.18
ātmānagvaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi śharīraṁ rathameva tubuddhiṁ tu sārathiṁ viddhi manaḥ pragrahameva chaindriyāṇi hayānāhurviṣhayānsteṣhu gocharānātmendriyamanoyuktaṁ bhoktetyāhurmanīṣhiṇaḥ (1.3.3-4)
The living entity (soul) is the passenger of the chariot of the body. The driver of the chariot is the intellect. The mind is the rope which controls the five horses bound to the chariot, and the five horses are the five senses viz. tongue, ear, nose, eyes and the sense of touch.
Kumudini kai jaane parimalBhramar sakal bhogitaseTaise tuj thave naahi tujhe naamAamhich te prem sukh jaani- a popular abhang of the most popular Marathi saint, Tukaram.
The lotus flower doesn’t know its own fragrance, but the bumble-bee enjoys it. Similarly, o God, you may not know the sweetness of your name, but we are well-versed with the bliss hidden in it.
Awaghe jan jhaale lokpalSoere sakal praan-sakheTuka mhane aata khelato kautukeJhale tuzh sukh antarbaahi- another abhang of Sri Tukaram.
All the living entities around me have become dear to me as my very own life. Tuka says, now I play in this cosmos for Your pleasure, and Your infinite bliss has pervaded every fiber of my being, both inside as well as out.
Anandache dohi anand tarangKai saangu jhaale kahicheeya baahiPudhe chaali naahi aavadeeney- another abhang by Tukaram.
I feel like I am floating on the ocean of infinite bliss. This bliss has no boundaries, how shall I describe it? Because of this, all my material desires (beginning with lust, greed, etc.) have completely fallen away from me.
O my companion, worldly comfort is an illusion.As soon as you achieve it, its charm dwindles away.I have chosen the Indestructible as my refuge,Him whom the serpent of death does not devour.I have actually seen that abode of limitless joy.Meera’s Lord is Hari (Krsna), the indestructible.- Meerabai, one of the most famous poet-saints of India.
“Having recognized the Lord within, my thoughts rest only in Him. Now wherever I cast my eyes, I see none else but Him. Since realization came, here, there, everywhere the Lord alone I see.”- Kabir, another saint of Northern India, whose poems have stood the test of time.
Says Kabir:Lord, I weave the cloth of Thy NameThe fruitless toilOf weaving for the worldHas come to an end;I have attainedThe dazzling state of bliss —Free from fear, free from pain,I am the weaver, O Lord, of Thy Name;I weave and reap the profitOf inner rapport with Thee.I am the weaver of the Lord’s Name.
We are now living in the heavenly planets, undoubtedly as a result of our having performed ritualistic ceremonies, pious activities and yajñas and having studied the Vedas in our previous human lives. However, our lives here will one day be finished and we will return to the cycle of transmigration. We pray that at that time, if any merit remains from our pious activities, we may again take birth in Bhārat-varṣh as human beings able to remember the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord is so kind that He personally comes to the land of Bhārat-varṣh and expands the good fortune of its people.- Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.28
All the gods in the various heavens speak in this way: How wonderful it is for these human beings to have been born in the land of Bhārat-varṣh. They must have executed pious acts of austerity in the past, or the Supreme Lord Himself must have been pleased with them. Otherwise, how could they engage in devotional service in so many ways? We gods can only aspire to achieve human births in Bhārat-varṣh to execute devotional service to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu, but these human beings are already engaged there.- Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.21.
The people who take birth in this tract of land are divided according to the modes of material nature — the mode of goodness [sattva-guṇa], passion [rajo-guṇa], and ignorance [tamo-guṇa]. Some of them are born as exalted personalities, some are ordinary human beings, whereas others are extremely abominable, for in Bhārat-varṣh one takes birth exactly according to one’s past karma.- Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.19
na paraye ’ham niravadya-samyujamsva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vahya mabhajan durjara-geha-srnkhalahsamvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna- Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.32.22)
Krsna says: My dear gopis (the souls who loved God as the beloved), your meeting Me is innocent and immaculate in every respect because it is devoid of even a single iota of desire for your own happiness. It is overflowing with supremely pure love. Although the bonds of affection for the members of one’s own home are impossible to overcome, you have completely demolished them. Thus, for loving service to Me, you have transgressed the moral laws of this world. Even if I lived as long as the gods I would be unable to requite even one drop of your love, sacrifice and service. All of you may free Me from debt simply by your own gentle nature, but I am forever the debtor of your prema (the term that denotes spiritual love of God), and will always continue to be.
ashlishya va pada-ratam pinashtu mamadarshanan marma-hatam karotu vayatha tatha va vidadhatu lampatomat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparaha- Shikshashtakam, verse 8
Let Krsna tightly embrace this maidservant, who has fallen at His lotus feet or let Him trample Me or break My heart by never being present before Me. He is completely free to do anything and everything He likes, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.
If Radharani didn’t control the fire of separation She feels for Sri Krsna with Her power of Yogmaya; if She were to let out a mere vestige of that smoke out of Her heart, the entire material cosmos, will all its infinite galaxies and solar systems, would reduce to ashes immediately.
“Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its inconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend or fathom. This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures.”