Monday, 2 June 2008

I am a Hindu....


In the Lancaster University campus I've made a lot of new friends...some from countries I had never thought I would...mainly Pakistan. Since we share a turbulent past and a chaotic present .It was tough at first not to be judgmental towards them. As we got to know them better my prejudice waned...

We travel together, have dinners at each others place...discuss a lot of various topics..but completely avoid controversial subjects like the Kashmir issue..

One of the topic was about Hindu Religion. The only traditions of Hindu culture which they knew, was after seeing innumerable Hindi Movies and "Saas Bahu" serials.

I never knew it will become so difficult to answer the question "Who is a Hindu?" and "What is exactly Hinduism?". My husband and I both tried to explain them the concept, which I am sure was hazy at the most.Hindu Culture is so vast and old...how to encompass so many traditions in a single line...

Finally I decided to research a bit and came across these 2 definitions which I thought were the closest explanation possible.

"When we think of the Hindu religion, unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any two gods; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion of creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more."

"Philosophically, Hinduism is an attitude of mind, and an outlook on life. But it is not only that. It is a number of cults, among which one may choose. And, whatever cult it may be, it is a cult, one of the immemorial Pagan cults, surviving in the midst of the modern world. The Hindus are one of the few modern civilised people who are openly Pagans." - Savitri Devi

Many books have been written about Hinduism but none can actually describe us Hindus.Its hard to explain why we worship god who has a head of elephant or why our gods have so many hands and so many heads.Gods who drank , cheated and still we worship them.

Basically Hindus believe that whatever the path you choose to worship, all will ultimately lead to the same god. Hinduism is more like a free spirited path towards achieving Moksha (when you are fee from the worldly concept of self) and where you achieve ultimate peace, ultimate knowlege , ultimate enlightenment and ultimate paradise. There are no compulsory rituals, no books to follow nor any method in which you can become a hindu.

To become a Hindu I guess you just need to follow any path you have chosen to reach god. You should be truthful in your beliefs. You can also adapt parts of teachings of Hinduism into your your life.

Ultimately all of us believe in a power greater than everything. All of us are trying to understand it in whatever way possible . We have just chosen different ways to do so..but ultimately its one and the same thing.

3 comments:

harshavardhini said...

Vinita and I have had long discussions over this topic over the last few months and I am glad that she has finally penned it down :). Yes, Hinduism is the way of life! To explain it in very simple words I would like to add that, "we need not follow hinduism to be a hindu". In other words we are not required to perform a certain set of rituals to continue to be a Hindu and neither do we cease to be hindus if we do not follow these rituals. It is all about faith. Our religion has evolved over the years, by that I do not mean that it keeps changing. It simply means that is is progressive and not regressive in nature. And that is what life is all about. Life progresses and even civilisations have undergone changes and Hinduism adapts itself to it. So far relating to Gods with faces of animals is concerned, it also has significance. The religion also possesses foresight and therefore it suggested people centuries ago to worship animals so that we don't kill them and preserve nature. And when some religions talk about not believing in idol worship, Hinduism strongly believs in it. The main reason being that we humans always try to relate ourselves to something or someone we would like to worship. We try and relate ourselves to it. Not that all Hindu Gods were saints and all were right at all points in their life. They too made mistakes, but their good deeds overpowered the bad ones and that is when we can say that we are following the path of 'Dharma'.

vijay said...

we are hindu to live happyly with fullfilment..

most of practices are scintific in nature and good foe our heavenly living..

all gods and godesses are primarily reflecting mother nature and its benefit to us..

everything is in a circle incliding living dieing...

one needs to refelect one self what he is and what he is doing being a Hindu..

harshavardhini said...

Vinita and I have had long discussions over this topic over the last few months and I am glad that she has finally penned it down :). Yes, Hinduism is the way of life! To explain it in very simple words I would like to add that, "we need not follow hinduism to be a hindu". In other words we are not required to perform a certain set of rituals to continue to be a Hindu and neither do we cease to be hindus if we do not follow these rituals. It is all about faith. Our religion has evolved over the years, by that I do not mean that it keeps changing. It simply means that is is progressive and not regressive in nature. And that is what life is all about. Life progresses and even civilisations have undergone changes and Hinduism adapts itself to it. So far relating to Gods with faces of animals is concerned, it also has significance. The religion also possesses foresight and therefore it suggested people centuries ago to worship animals so that we don't kill them and preserve nature. And when some religions talk about not believing in idol worship, Hinduism strongly believs in it. The main reason being that we humans always try to relate ourselves to something or someone we would like to worship. We try and relate ourselves to it. Not that all Hindu Gods were saints and all were right at all points in their life. They too made mistakes, but their good deeds overpowered the bad ones and that is when we can say that we are following the path of 'Dharma'.

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