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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How do you explain a Hindu?

Posted by: "Sudhir-Architect" ar_sudhirkumar
Sat May 9, 2009 5:39 pm (PDT)


Hindu - How do you explain it?‏
Next time you can give this answer if you are asked to explain a HINDU:

Four
years ago, I was flying from JFK NY Airport to SFO to attend a meeting
at Monterey , CA . An American girl was sitting on the right side, near
window seat. It indeed was a long journey - it would take nearly seven
hours. I was surprised to see the young girl reading a Bible unusual of
young Americans.

After some time, she smiled and we had few acquaintances talk. I told her that I am from India .

Then suddenly the girl asked: 'What's your faith?'

'What?' I didn't understand the question.

'I mean, what's your religion? Are you a Christian? Or a Muslim?'

'No!' I replied, 'I am neither Christian nor Muslim'.

Apparently she appeared shocked to listen to that. 'Then who are you?'

'I am a Hindu', I said.

She
looked at me as if she was seeing a caged animal. She could
not understand what I was talking about. A common man in Europe or US
knows about Christianity and Islam, as they are the leading religions
of the world today. But a Hindu, what?

I explained to her - I am born to a Hindu father and Hindu mother. Therefore, I am a Hindu by birth.

'Who is your prophet?' she asked.

'We don't have a prophet,' I replied.

'What's your Holy Book?'

'We don't have a single Holy Book, but we have hundreds and thousands of philosophical and sacred scriptures,' I replied..

'Oh, come on at least tell me who is your God?'

'What do you mean by that?'

'Like we have Jesus and Muslims have Allah - don't you have a God?'

I
thought for a moment. Muslims and Christians believe one God
(Male God) who created the world and takes an interest in the humans
who inhabit it. Her mind is conditioned with that kind of belief.

According
to her (or anybody who doesn't know about Hinduism), a religion needs
to have one Prophet, one Holy book and one God. The mind is
so conditioned and rigidly narrowed down to such a notion that anything
else is not acceptable. I understood her perception and concept about
faith. You can't compare Hinduism with any of the present
leading religions where you have to believe in one concept of god.

I
tried to explain to her: 'You can believe in one god and he can be
a Hindu.. You may believe in multiple deities and still you can be
a Hindu. What's more -you may not believe in god at all, still you can
be a Hindu. An atheist can also be a Hindu.'

This
sounded very crazy to her. She couldn't imagine a religion
so unorganized, still surviving for thousands of years, even
after onslaught from foreign forces.

'I don't understand but it seems very interesting. Are you religious?'

What can I tell to this American girl?

I
said: 'I do not go to temple regularly. I do not make any
regular rituals. I have learned some of the rituals in my younger days.
I still enjoy doing it sometimes.'

'Enjoy? Are you not afraid of God?'

'God is a friend. No- I am not afraid of God. Nobody has made any compulsions on me to perform these rituals regularly.'

She thought for a while and then asked: 'Have you ever thought of converting to any other religion?'

'Why
should I? Even if I challenge some of the rituals and faith
in Hinduism, nobody can convert me from Hinduism. Because, being a
Hindu allows me to think independently and objectively,
without conditioning.

I remain as a Hindu never by
force, but choice.' I told her that Hinduism is not a religion, but a
set of beliefs and practices. It is not a religion like Christianity or
Islam because it is not founded by any one person or does not have an
organized controlling body like the Church or the Order, I added. There
is no institution or authority.

'So, you don't believe in God?' she wanted everything in black and white.

'I
didn't say that. I do not discard the divine reality. Our scripture, or
Sruthis or Smrithis - Vedas and Upanishads or the Gita - say
God might be there or he might not be there. But we pray to that
supreme abstract authority ( Para Brahma) that is the creator of this
universe.'

'Why can't you believe in one personal God?'

'We
have a concept - abstract - not a personal god. The concept
or notion of a personal God, hiding behind the clouds of secrecy,
telling us irrational stories through few men whom he sends as
messengers, demanding us to worship him or punish us, does not make
sense. I don't think that God is as silly as an autocratic emperor who
wants others to respect him or fear him.' I told her
that such notions are just fancies of less educated human imagination
and fallacies, adding that generally ethnic religious practitioners in
Hinduism believe in personal gods.

'Good that you agree God might exist. You told that you pray. What is your prayer then?'

'Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu.. Om Shanti , Shanti , Shanti ,'

'Funny,' she laughed, 'What does it mean?'

'May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.'

'Hmm ...very interesting. I want to learn more about this religion. It is so democratic, broad-minded and free' she exclaimed.

'The
fact is Hinduism is a religion of the individual, for
the individual and by the individual with its roots in the Vedas and
the Bhagavad-Gita. It is all about an individual approaching a personal
God in an individual way according to his temperament and inner
evolution - it is as simple as that.'

'How does anybody convert to Hinduism?'
'Nobody
can convert you to Hinduism, because it is not a religion, but a set of
beliefs and practices. Everything is acceptable in Hinduism because
there is no single authority or organization either to accept it or to
reject it or to oppose it on behalf of Hinduism.' I told her - if you
look for meaning in life, don't look for it in religions; don't go from
one cult to another or from one guru to the next.

For
a real seeker, Loving each and every creation
of the God is absolute and real. 'Isavasyam idam sarvam' Isam (the God)
is present (inhabits) here everywhere - nothing exists separate from
the God, because God is present everywhere... Respect every living
being and non-living things as God. That's what Hinduism teaches you. That is
where you can find the meaning of life.

Hinduism
is referred to as Sanathana Dharma, the eternal faith. It is based on
the practice of Dharma, the code of life. The most important aspect of
Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on
ideas. It is open to all & moreover Natural. Hindus believe in
one God (not a personal one) expressed in different forms. For them,
God is timeless and formless entity.

Ancestors of
today's Hindus believe in eternal truths and cosmic laws and these
truths are opened to anyone who seeks them.
The British coin the word
'Hindu' and considered it as a religion.

I
said: 'Religions have become an MLM (multi-level-marketing) industry that has been trying to expand the market share by
conversion. The biggest business in today's world is Religions.

I am a Hindu primarily
because it professes Non-violence - 'Ahimsa Paramo Dharma' - Non
violence is the highest duty. I am a Hindu because it doesn't condition
my mind with any faith system.

A man / woman who change's his / her
birth religion to another religion is a fake, and does not value his /
her morals, culture and values in life. Hinduism was the first religion originated.

I am proud of my religion and proud of who I am.

OmNamo shiva....... .......
Thanks & Regards,

Sudhir Srinivasan
Architect

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