Monday, January 02, 2006

Hinduism

Amar has a captured a couple of articles on the teachings of hinduism and brings out some really pertinent questions with regards to Hinduism. I think over the last couple of decades, for obvious reasons, the religions of the world are in focus. You will see a lot of articles comparing and contrasting the world religions and how they fare against each other.

There are some numbers here and you will see that Hinduism is ranked third (fourth if you consider the Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist group). Now that gets me wondering, as a Hindu, and someone who has been trying hard to find the truth what does being a Hindu mean?

Hinduism for me is is not a religion per se. It is a way of life which has been well documented, captured, refined while its passage from the people on the other side of the Indus to its modern form. There were, these good souls, so ahead of their time, who wanted to share their knowledge, findings and passed on the wisdom through various forms (Vedas, Upanishads, Gitas, Puranas and various scriptures) . They found a pattern and they presented a way to let you discover it at various stages of your life. It also left so much to imagination and interpretation (read Amar's blogpost above for some wonderful case questions) because again it is a way of life and what this -ism had done was leave some best practices, if you will, for others.

"Ekam sataha vipraha bahudha vadanti"

A lot of the above might be a gross over-simplification but then this is what makes Hinduism (and ofcourse its derivates) the world's most tolerant religion(s). In the above referenced blogpost as well as this blogpost Monotheistic religions Amar drives the point home.


Update: 1/9/2006
Hinduism has been a lot of things to various generations and people. It doesn't do justice to its name, its concept, its ideas if we bind it down to religion. It comes in various flavors as it acknowledges that we as humans are not all alike. But beyond the usual it also understands that even though we are superifically diverse we are again fundamentally one.

We are all on a journey. This is the part most of us understand to a reasonable level. Once you acknowledge this, then arises the intriguing part as to why this journey and where it might end. What is its purpose? What are my goal posts? These are natural questions for an inquisitive being that man is. He is all the while trying to figure out the destination of this journey and its interim stopovers. This is where, I think, Hinduism tries to simplify it. It has worked through this by providing a wide range of diversity in Gods, if you will, giving you multitude of options. Not only that, as Amar has quoted in one of his blogposts, "Hinduism is the only one which gives a choice to be a disbeliever!".

To be contd ....

6 comments:

amar said...

Thanks SJ for putting many of my thoughts into context. I have added some more comments in my blog.

I also think that, Hinduism is more than a "way of life", more than an "organized religion", and more than a "philosophy". Maybe, what we are following is something that is the highest attainable by humanity.

Also, I feel that you and me are Vedantists rather than Hindus. In one way this is being more specific, but gives a more precise definition of what we believe in.

amar said...

"Hinduism is the only one which gives a choice to be a disbeliever!".

Just like democracy is the only form of government that allows 'aggreeable dissent' and free-market is the only one that allows for 'agreeable monopoly'.

sj said...

You are right. Give the freedom of choice.

You know what would be another good blog for us, discussing democracy. I find it a good fit for today's times, but it needs refinement. What are your views on weighted democracy? Can it get us closer to Utopia?

amar said...

You are right. Give the freedom of choice.

You know what would be another good blog for us, discussing democracy. I find it a good fit for today's times, but it needs refinement.


I point you to two blogs I regularly read (the third one is Rajeev's, which I think you know anyway):

Secular-Right, which gives a conservative, but reasonably open perspective (they accuse the Europeans of bigotry). The posts are: About Freedom of Speech from S-R point of view and Archives of February.

The other point of view is on Atanu's blog.
Go to the sidebar and see the posts on "The freedom to be offended". They are very well written.

The third POV Rajeev Srinivasan's (you read it anyway).

Please read the posts on the blogs and let me know your views.

=============

What are your views on weighted democracy?

Regarding what is happening in world now-a-days, I agree with the the liberal point of view (Atanu). "If I have a problem with what you do in your home, then I should stay away from you or protest reasonably. Not threaten you with dire consequences."

Though, I used to like to Rajeev's perspective, I think it is a little too extremist. I still read him because, he gives me the "Hindu perspective."

What are your views on weighted democracy? Can it get us closer to Utopia?

Now-a-days, I feel, all the current squibbling is about Maya. It is good-for-nothing-squibbling-about-nothing!

Can chaos (utopia) in Maya lead us to a lesser understanding of Brahman? I don't know.

Can a Brave-new-world kind of world lead us to a better understanding of Brahman-Maya-Atman locus?
I don't know?

What would Shankara Say?

amar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
amar said...

SJ,
This is Atanu's article on the freedom to be offended that I was pointing you to.