Some Interesting Questions about Hinduism… (Part 2)
- Being ‘Hindu‘
Swami Vivekananda said
“Hindu religion does not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma, but in realizing not in believing, but in being and becoming.”
Mahatma Gandhi said
“If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth… Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God. Denial of God we have known. Denial of truth we have not known.”
When someone persisted with Mahatma Gandhi about his inner religious inclinations, this is what he said
“Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.”
And these thoughts define how I consider myself to be as a Hindu. This is what it means to be being a Hindu.
As a Hindu I have no problem in visiting a mosque or a church, mingling with people of any faith or even those who do not believe in any faith at all, I have no problem in discussing the good and the bad aspects of the religion, if anyone feels that way. There is no concept of blasphemy in Hindu religion. There is no single book which needs to be followed word by word. There is no Pope like institution, my god lives within me and I am free to worship it the way I would prefer to do that. I can communicate directly with the Supreme power running this universe, there is no need for me to go through any middlemen. Yes of course it is convenient to have a teacher (a Guru) to guide my path,
गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः ।
गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ॥
Gurur-Brahmaa Gurur-Vissnnur-Gururdevo Maheshvarah |
Gurure[-I]va Param Brahma Tasmai Shrii-Gurave Namah ||
The Guru is Brahma, the Guru is Vishnu, the Guru Deva is Maheswara (Shiva),
The Guru is Verily the Para-Brahman (Supreme Brahman/the supreme powerful being); Salutations to that Guru.
गुरु गोबिन्द दोउ खडे काके लागूँ पाँय
बलिहारी गुरु आपने गोबिन्द दियो बताय
Guru gobind dou khade, kaake lagoon paay
Balihari guru aapne, gobind diyo batay
If both, the Teacher (Guru) and God (Gobind) are there in front of me, to whom should I first bow
All glory be unto the Teacher (Guru), who showed me the path to reach the God
But even having a officially appointed/ socially accepted Guru is not a necessity. My parents/ elders in the family could also be my Guru, or even any one else for that matter, who can offer me knowledge.
I was born in a Hindu family, I didn’t worship regularly for in the first 3 and half decades of my life, for decades I never visited any Temple, I refused to participate in most of the rituals even if they were being followed strictly by my mother and other family members, I keep visiting Church, Mosque, Gurudwara and follow the decorum there with utmost respect, in the small temple inside my home apart from the idols/pictures of Krishna, Rama, Hanuman, Durga Ma, Vishnu, Shiva, etc., I have idols/ status of Jesus and Marry, Buddha, picture of Guru Nanak, I also have a copy of Bible and Quran kept nearby along with Vedas, Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhaagvat, when I pray to the Hindu deities every day, I also bow down and pray to all the others as well, including the picture of my late father and mother – I still continued to be a Hindu.
Many in my family eat non-vegetarian food, many do not keep any fast, still they continue to be Hindu. Most of my friends from other religions (Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist) have visited inside the temples and there is no threat to their own faith, its okay even if you do not bow down like the other devotees, no one will force you to do that. In Hinduism, everyone is free to follows their own way of life, pray to their own favorite God/Goddess, eat the kind of food they like, read the books they find interesting.
It is extremely hard to define a person as Hindu because there are no strict rules or regulations which one must follow to qualify as Hindu. In the most strictest sense, one can only get it by Birth (being born to Hindu parents), Hindu religion does not encourage conversions. At the same time it does not discourages people from following the Hindu way of life while remaining a part of whichever religion they would want to be.
One does not cease to be a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim when she/he follows any practices of Hinduism. Its must be one of the most flexible religion in the world.
There are many religion started in India, by noble personalities who were not fully satisfied with following the Hindu tradition of their time and started a separate path, which later on became a new religion in itself. These religions e.g. Buddhism started by Prince Siddhartha who become Buddha, Sikhism started by Guru Nanak, sects started by Mahavir Jain, Sant Kabir, etc., still have a lot in common with Hinduism – Hinduism accepted and acknowledge them as a separate identity, without feeling threatened.
These are some of the things that define Hinduism, you are free to pick and chose what you would like to believe in or follow in your life, it does not affect your status as a Hindu or any other religion that you may be following.
- Hinduism : Timelines and History a
- Hindu Gods and Goddesses; their families, friends and foes
- Hindu Scriptures
- Hindu Symbols, Rituals and Festivals
- Hindu Temples
- Hinduism a ‘way of life’ rather than a religion (mywesttexas.com)
- What Makes a Hindu? (rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com)
- Hindu and Jewish Parallels (monksandnones.wordpress.com)
- Gunung Kawi: Bali’s Rock Cut Temple (beontheroad.com)
- An Attempt to Tie Up Some Loose Ends Regarding Sanatana-Dharma and Hinduism (rollingwithvishnu.wordpress.com)
- Some Interesting Questions about Hinduism…(Part 1) (bhuwanchand.wordpress.com)
- The Hindu Religon (latonithomas.wordpress.com)
- Detailed Analysis of the INDIAN RELIGION (varungoyalindia.wordpress.com)
- Priest from both Hinduism and Islam (punjabibolo.wordpress.com)