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10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hinduism

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hinduism

1. Hinduism’s core principle is pluralism.

Hindus acknowledge the potential existence of multiple, legitimate religious and spiritual paths, and the idea that the path best suited for one person may not be the same for another. The Rig Veda, one of Hinduism’s sacred texts, states Ekam sat vipraha bahudha vadanti, or “The Truth is one, the wise call It by many names.”

As a result of this pluralistic outlook, Hinduism has never sanctioned proselytization and asserts that it is harmful to society’s well being to insist one’s own path to God is the only true way. Hindus consider the whole world as one extended family, and Hindu prayers often end with the repetition of shanti – or peace for all of existence.

2. Caste-based discrimination is not intrinsic to Hinduism.

Caste-based discrimination and “untouchability” are purely social evils not accepted or recognized anywhere in the Hindu scriptural tradition. The word “caste” is derived from the Portuguese “casta” — meaning lineage, breed, or race. As such, there is no exact equivalent for “caste” in Indian society, but what exists is the dual concept of varna and jāti.

Sacred texts describe varna not as four rigid, societal classes, but as a metaphysical framework detailing four distinctive qualities which are manifest, in varying degrees, in all individuals. Jātirefers to the occupation-based, social units with which people actually identified.

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Varna v/s Caste – The Hidden Truth

Varna vs Caste

“India was the motherland of our race and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages. She was the mother of our philosophy, mother through the Arabs, much of our mathematics, mother through Buddha, of the ideals embodies in Christianity, mother through the village communities of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.”

– William James Durant (1885-1981), American writer, historian, and philosopher.

The debate about caste system in Hinduism has been raging for over a century now. Every layman who has even a little knowledge about Hinduism, talks about only two things-‘Caste system and the Aryan Theory’. The whole narrative about Hinduism today, even among Hindus, is only about these 2 things. ‘Manusmriti’ is quoted as proof of how the Brahmins had subjugated the lower castes through the millennia and kept them down at a level where they could never rise from. The Britishers thus portrayed themselves as the ‘New Aryans‘ who came to rescuethe ‘Dalits’ form the tyranny of the Brahmins and the upper classes. The ignorant, poverty stricken masses now had a scapegoat– the Brahmins and a stick– ‘the rigid, evil caste system  and the Aryan Theory‘ to beat them with. This was manna from the heavens for the radicalized muslims who were in full Jihad gear after the fall of the Caliphate in Turkey. They too latched on to the same agitprop to justify their brutal, genocidal invasions as just another crusade to civilize the local barbarians, like the Aryans did before them. The fact that, lack of any evidence, archaeological or historical made no difference. Propaganda became the new history of India and what was taught by the British was left untouched by the well-trained anglicized ‘British Sepoys’ even after Independence.

When the 1st Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru made this remark ,

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Varnas – A journey to its roots

Varnas  A journey

We see divisions all around us – in nature, in society, within government, within our own body. Even an ant or honeybee colony seems to have division of labor. Interestingly even in socio-economically evolved west we see such patterns are strong and even run in families. We see doctors marrying doctors, engineers run in families, needless to say software consultants marrying another one. A simple insight into William Sears family of doctors is sufficient to prove that human beings build their success based on their family roots. Even in US, though there may be not many recognizable patterns, serving armed forces usually runs in the family for many. 

So if it is natural for humans to gravitate to comfortable patterns, then why casteism in Bharat has become a monster? In fact, casteism is not Varnashrama. We saw in Fourfold Hindu Dharma, that four Varnas exist: Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. In this article, we will definitely stay away from the socio-econo-political aspects of Varnas, in their current form of casteism. We are going to challenge the traditional thought of Varna as a birth-right.

Our gaze is going to be centred more on the spiritual angle. This will enable us to get rid of some of the common misconceptions, some deliberately mischievously propagated by West. Many well-funded proselytizing agencies from West are deepening the fractures invented by the British legacy we have inherited. 

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Karwa Chauth

 Karwa Chauth

"Karwa Chauth’ is a ritual of fasting observed by married Hindu women seeking the longevity, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. It is popular amongst married women in the northern and western parts of India, especially, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

The Time:
This festival comes 9 days before Diwali on ‘kartik ki chauth’, i.e., on the fourth day of the new moon immediately after Dusshera, in the month of ‘Karthik’ (October-November).

The Meaning:
The term ‘Chauth’ means the ‘fourth day’ and ‘Karwa’ is an earthen pot with a spout – a symbol of peace and prosperity – that is necessary for the rituals. Hence the name ‘Karwa Chauth’.

The Ritual:
Married women keep a strict fast and do not take even a drop of water. They get up early in the morning, perform their ablutions, and wear new and festive raiment. Shiva, Parvati and their son Kartikeya are worshiped on this day along with the 10 ‘karwas’ (earthen pots) filled with sweets. The Karwas are given to daughters and sisters along with gifts.

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The Power of a United Hindu Community

The Power of a United Hindu

Now it is time to increase our efforts to work together and make Hindus a concerted force that is recognized by everyone. Of course, we know this is not easy and is going to take time, but the sooner we all get started, the sooner we can accomplish it. But there are those of us, such as those I am sharing the stage with, who have already been working on this for years. We only ask that you all make a stand to join together, to make a powerful and strong Hindu community.

Vedic culture has been changing the world throughout the ages. For example, many have offered their respects to the Vedic culture, such as Henry David Thoreau who said: “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.”

Or Arthur Schopenhauer: “There is no religion or philosophy so sublime and elevating as Vedanta.”

And, of course, Ralph Waldo Emerson who mentioned, “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”

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हिन्दू धर्म : एक जीवन दर्शन, ना कि एक विचारधारा

हनद धरम एक जवन

भारतीय परम्परा और संस्कृति में शाश्वत जीवन मूल्यों को हीं 'सनातन धर्म' कहते हैं। कालान्तर में  टिप्पणीकारों न इसे हीं 'हिन्दू धर्म एवं दर्शन' के नाम से संबोधित किया। आधुनिक काल में विचारधाराओं पर आधारित लिखित इतिहास में 'हिन्दू' एवं 'धर्म' के बारे में जनमानस में विकृत सोच पैदा की गयी। यदपि भारतीय चिंतन में धर्म, विचारधारा (Ideology) का नहीं अपितु जीवन दर्शन (Life Philosophy) का विषय है फिर भी जनमानस में इसे विचारधारा  के रूप में हीं प्रस्तुत और प्रसारित किया गया। सभ्यता के इतिहास में शायद हीं किसी शब्द के साथ इतना छेड़-छाड़ किया गया हो जितना की "हिन्दू और धर्म" के साथ किया गया है। परिणामतः लोगों में अपनी हीं संस्कृति के प्रति भ्रम पैदा हुआ। कहना न होगा, यहीं भारतीय वैदिक समाज में हींन भावना पैदा करने, एवम विघटन का एक प्रमुख कारण रहा।                                               

पुनः आधुनिक इतिहास साक्षी है कि कालक्रम में बाहरी आक्रान्ताओं के द्वारा भारतवर्ष का लूटपाट,धन का दोहन, तथा इस्लामिक एवं यवन सत्ता तंत्र ने भारतवर्ष का जितना नुकशान नहीं पहुँचाया उससे कहीं अधिक नुकशान विचारधाराओं पर आधारित  विद्यालयों एवम् विश्वविद्यालयों में पढ़ाया जाने वाला पाठ्यक्रम और उससे बनने  वाली मनोदशा  ने पहुंचाया।         

विचारधारा का हीं दुष्परिणाम है-आज पश्चिम बंगाल में आतंकवाद का मोड्यूल। एक समय राष्ट्रवाद, संस्कृति, कला तथा साहित्य के क्षेत्र में देश का गौरव बढ़ाने वाला राज्य हिंसा,लूट-पाट, तथा कुव्यवस्था का प्रतीक है। करीब -करीब यहीं हाल पुरे देश का है। सत्ता लोलुप दलों एवं नेतावों ने इसे पुरे देश में फैलाया। कहना न होगा कि गाँधी जी द्वारा खिलाफत आन्दोलन के विचारधारा को समर्थन देने से यह रोग स्थायी हो गया और साथ हीं राजनीति में तुष्टिकरण की भी शुरुवात हुई। देखते-हीं-देखते नेतावों के द्वारा इसका उपयोग जाति-वर्ग में भी किया जाने लगा।

पुनः,आधुनिक कालखंड में भारतीयता को 'तोड़-मरोड़' कर प्रस्तुत करने के उत्तर्दायित्व जिस 'विचारधारा' ने किया उसे  सम्मिलित रूप से "वामपंथ" या साम्यवाद और मार्क्सवाद कहते हैं। जैसे-जैसे  वामपंथ नामक यह महामारी देश में फैलना शुरू हुआ,नाक्सलवाद,माओवाद,आतंकवाद,समाज एवं परिवार का विघटन तथा धर्मांतरण आदि जोरों से शुरू हो गया। वर्तमान NDA सरकार के स्वच्छ भारत अभियान का एक हिस्सा इस गन्दगी की सफाई भी होनी चाहिए।

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The Basis of the Hindu Identity and Cause for Unity

The Basis of the Hindu Identity

There are many factors that make up the Hindu identity, and they help outline the similarities among all Hindus, and actually help unify us in that identity and purpose in life. So let us go through some of the most important points.

1. First of all, all Hindus can be said to follow Santana-dharma, and Dharma is the path to complete balance and harmony. But that balance is based on realizing our spiritual essence, which means our spiritual identity beyond the body and the ever-changing material existence in which we find ourselves. And the processes for spiritual realization, there are more than one, are described in the Vedic texts, which is our second point.

2. Hindus accept the authority of the Vedic texts. This is the foundation of our Dharma, and to not accept the authority of the Vedic literature is to be avaidika. We don’t have only one book, but a whole library that describes and helps us understand the difference between matter and spirit, and how we are essentially spiritual beings, but also the different ways of understanding the Absolute Truth, or God.

One of the unique features of the Vedic literature is that it is based primarily on questions and answers. It is not a religious dogma that must be accepted without question, but we find that we can ask any question we want, and chances are it has already been asked and answered somewhere in the Vedic shastra.

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