Hinduism in its true sense
How we should start to talk about something which is so vast…I don’t know. So, starting the talk on Hinduism in an unconventional style. Well, we can start with basic questions like what is Hinduism? or before that what is a religion? and is Hinduism a religion? In a rough sense, the answers to these questions seem to what we can say obvious one. But let us introspect to some finer level. Hinduism is now used for a particular set of people referring to certain established rituals and traditions. But has it been so always…when there was no religion. Was there Hinduism? To start with, let us go long back in the history of human civilization and ponder over the origin of the concept of god. When humans became enough mindful and started realizing the things around them, the things which benefited them every day a lot..for those..a natural respect aroused among humans. e.g. trees, rivers or water, mountain, rain, sun etc. We can see that there’s a god for almost these in every ancient religion. Similarly, a fear created by the things they found dangerous, like fire..storm..thunder etc. This respect and fear over a course of time led to worshipping them through different rituals and this way god and religions came into the culture.
Hinduism has evolved from something which was not a religion but a way of living life, leading life to its best aspects. It was never created..rather it evolved about of knowledge and experience of several generations. Taking hints from great epics Mahabharata and Ramayana,(although it existed before the time of these scriptures too), it must have had happened this way..that the Rishis-the persons with immense deep knowledge, of the time, would have suggested some rules which a human should follow in order to make living reasonable. These rules carried forward for so many years, refined & redefined time to time took the form of a system, a human was required to follow. This system had no name. It was common to all. It was like air..no other form existed.
It went on so for civilizations to come and go. (Not for entire earth, but for the land mass of Indian subcontinent and neighbourhood. It existed even in time of Harappan civilization..so the geographical area is not clear..but certainly not whole earth. The ancient Roman and Greek system of religions resemble much to Hinduism). Even for those time, nothing like Hindu and Hinduism existed.
With moving time this system of living got corrupted and as an alternative new simpler form of the system came into nature like Buddhism and Jainism. These were brought up a single human figure and real sense these are religions, having one god..one way of worshipping and common rules for everyone.
It was when foreigners invaded Indian landmass…first Muslims, then others…the word ‘Hindu’ originated from ‘Indus’. To differentiate this section of people(which were once ‘the only’ on this landmass), they were being called as ‘Hindus’ and their way of living life was considered as another religion ‘Hinduism’.
Even as a religion Hinduism holds better and logical understanding of rituals and traditions. I would try to explain a few. In Hinduism, most of the things of common life are connected to god. It has a reason behind it…that even an illiterate would do same as the literate one. For consider, a literate person would know the scientific reasons for why Neem, Banyan, Peepal etc are most beneficial trees and these should not be cut but grown more. Now, these are connected to religious rituals saying that these trees are sacred and most favourite to god…so even an illiterate would not cut the tree..but would take care of it..so that the god is happy. Same is for river Ganga and cows. Similarly, let us consider the disease chickenpox..which in Hinduism is considered as ‘माता जी आ गए है..’ (in rural areas especially) so for cure and precautions one has to know that is viral disease..and the measures taken for the disease. But as thinking to another way ‘माता जी आ गए है’ so no one would touch the patient.. ‘माता जी’ का favourite Neem hai so…Neem leaves bed is used…unknowingly the scientific medical reasons.
And so for every ritual or tradition in Hinduism..there is a logical scientific reason(s). Even the people who don’t know the reasons, they are getting benefited just by following it as a part of worshipping God.
In Hinduism, there is no, the blind faith of following a single human figure. Everyone has a god of his interest…and that’s why so many gods. One can worship; as the god of music, as the god of machines, as the god of wealth or even as the god of sex.
Islamism, Christians, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Jainism-each of these had a founder or more profound. And every founder admitted that he had only rectified and cleared up the aberrations and distortions that had crept into the religion. He had not conceived the religion as such since it had been there from the beginning of creation. These preceptors were historical persons. The tenets of their religious precepts depended on how they lived their own lives. If in future, historical research unearths hitherto unknown faces of their lives, that is very likely to generate doubt about what they had propounded.
Swami Vivekananda writes in this context, “If at any time, historical evidence about the existence in these personages in ancient time became weak, the whole building of these religions tumbles down and is broken to pieces. We escaped this fate because OUR RELIGION IS NOT BASED ON PERSONS BUT ON PRINCIPLES. THAT YOU OBEY THIS RELIGION IS NOT BECAUSE IT CAME THROUGH THE AUTHORITY OF A SAGE, NO, NOT EVEN OF AN INCARNATION, Krishna IS NOT THE AUTHORITY OF VEDAS, BUT VEDAS ARE THE AUTHORITY OF KRISHNA HIMSELF”
A study of the history of religions will tell us that this school of evolved out of this Vedic religion.
Islam came from all religions. The metaphysical contents of Christianity evolved out of Judaism and its ethical contents evolved out of Buddhism. Buddhism had reached Palestine before the birth of Christ. In the same way, Judaism had taken its roots from Zoroastrianism. That Buddhism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism have been born out of Hinduism don’t need much of research.
The well-known scholar of comparative religions, Max Muller, states, “The Vedic religion is the only one, the development of which took place without any extraneous influences.” During the parliament of religions held in Chicago in 1893, the Christian preacher Morris Phillips had said, “it is evident the deeper we push our inquiry into the source of the Vedic religion, the purer and simpler we find the concept of God”
With time the religion has become corrupt with peoples misunderstanding, misleading and its more and more politicization. But still its core is pure and it has existed and survived for so long in contrast that all other ancient religions have practically gone extinct. It because of its dynamic form..it allows reforms according to need and is open to the sources of intellects to accommodate change and differences in it.
Thus…Hinduism is to be glad of and its true form to be revived.