Monday, July 16, 2007

Hinduism - all about choice

God is the all pervasive concept in all major world religions.  The fabric of divinity is no ingrained in mankind's religious and spiritual belief and it is probably a futile attempt to tease out the rationality behind this concept. I apologize Mr. Dawkins.  Before, I continue to pontificate on the subject, I have to state that with respect to God, I am confused. As I have said elsewhere, I was born into a very conservative religious Hindu family, but have slowly transitioned into being an atheist finding comfort in the fact that, Hindusim, probably the oldest of all faiths allows one to be an atheist and still a hindu.

If I were given a chance to be reborn and if I were forced to choose a religion, it would be still be hinduism.  The main reason being the freedom to choose that hinduism bestows upon its followers.  The west primarily knows hinduism through the millions who bathe in the ganges.  However, what the west does not see is that hinduism is a collection of many faiths and that one can comfortably be one's true self and have a core sets of beliefs that might often be contradictory to the core mainstream concept of hinduism. 

The other major religions, have a single concept of god - Jesus and Allah and one cannot reject the existence of Jesus or Allah and still be true to their faith.  The faith and the belief system of both Christianity and Islam draw their inspiration from their prophets, unlike Hinduism.  Hindu faith precedes all prophets, personalities and at its heart are a core set of beliefs that are simple yet elegant, and can form the platform for all spiritual faiths. That is the contribution of hinduism to world faith.  I am convinced that there is no one correct route to salvation, if there is any.  There have to be many ways and it has to be about choice.  One should be able to choose one's belief structure and should not be told how it should be.  Yet, this belief structure should be so refined that it cannot be used against the well-being of humanity.   Like Mahatma Gandhi put it once, " If you are a true christian, you arer automatically a true hindu", and I cannot make it sound any simpler. That is the point I am tryign to make.

However, hinduism has much to learn from both christianity and islam onw how it treats the deprived.  Hinduism scores very poorly and has to evolve from its notion of karma, which is often conveniently used to explain pestilence in our world.  This pestilence is taken for granted due to the defeatist attitude that "karma" often propogates.  I find this the biggest roadblock in an otherwise refined faith that can allow us to be who we are, with or without accepting an all-powerful god.

Moreover, our spiritual evolution should not have a goal, other the process itself.  Ends, should not matter in our quest for who we are, in terms of our spiritual beliefs.  It should be about what paths we tread and what that makes of us as rational, sensible human beings.  Hindiums, I believe provides that choice.

1 comment:

Jayarama Krishnan said...

What I really like about the religion is that it emphasizes the strength of one's self, one's mind. By saying that God (not in a religious sense, but in the sense of the Absolute) is IN one; that one IS God, that the two are no different (Advaita), it bestows ultimate strength on one self!
It gives one the realization that he can guide his own destiny by taking the righteous path in his chosen field.
And Karma, I think is more to establish the relationship between actions and results; and should be taken in the context of current actions, rather than past actions. That current actions can affect future destiny; rather than that destiny is already determined by past actions.
When you realize this, you automatically try to improve your present actions.

Btw, I didn't know Gandhiji said that a true Christian is automatically a true Hindu! I've often said that, but that's from my own belief! Am glad you quoted that! :)