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.
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 ....