Last updateThu, 10 Aug 2017 9am

Hinduism - An Inner Gaze

Hinduism An Inner Gaze

Sanatana Dharma’s expression has been morphing with times. The great Rishis of the yore have predicted the impact of yugas (time) over the values followed in each yuga. Bhagavatam gives a graphic description of Kali Yuga with a bull standing on one leg. Of the four aids available, Tapah-Soucham-Daya-Satyam  “austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness”, we are now left with only Satyam. Only Truth is the remaining aid. We will use this to turn our gaze within.

The sad truth is Hinduism discussions begin and end with Casteism. Caste, as understood today, is not even an original Hindu idea. The Varna-Ashrama dharma is totally defunct and non-existent and the distorted caste representation is such a travesty. For this reason alone, we will not focus on it. (Read more about Varnas – a journey to its roots)

In Kali Yuga, the most effective path available is bhakthi. The modern man’s mind, colored heavily by commercialization and materialism, has reduced bhakthi to a transaction. The love for the para has been replaced it with the evil trinity - I, ME, and MYSELF. What can I get by this deal with this God of my imagination? If I cannot get it, maybe another idea of God (or even different God) may give this is the delusion. This fatal flaw has spawned an entire ecosystem of exploiters and fulfillers. This is the reason why there exist fake swamijis, proselytizers, and rabid hinduphobic bashers, not to forget the sepoys and left media.



Influence of Shri Rama and Ramayana on Humanity

It is difficult to describe the word DHARMA satisfactorily as it is expansive and intricate. As Sri Swami Shivananda said, “Dharma is like a priceless jewel with numberless facets of brilliance of knowledge”. Dharma has several meanings —THAT WHICH BEHOLDS THE UNIVERSE IS DHARMA.  It means natural laws (prakriti dharma),  justice (nyaya dharma),  natural characteristics (swabhaava dharma), different species (jaati dharma),  social conduct (samaja dharma),  religious conduct (shroutha dharma),  vedic varnaashrama dharma, paaramaarthika dharma,  aachaara dharma,  neeti dharma,  pravritthi dharma, nivritthi dharma and others.  That which is the cause of prosperity and salvation is dharma.  A law of nature which beholds all creations is called dharma.  Dharma bestows perennial happiness and adharma produces sorrow and misery.  That which is eternal is dharma.   

Only God is eternal.  Great personalities have defined dharma in different ways.

“That which takes us from the world to MOKSHA is dharma.” Vinoba Bhave

“That which makes you forget yourself is dharma” Masti Venkatesha Iyengar

“If you protect dharma, it protects you.” Bhaasa

“Dharma is in action, not in blind belief.” Dr. Radhakrishnan  

“Good of everyone is dharma” Shankaracharya  

“Dharma is self sustaining “ Madhvaachaarya  

“Service for others is dharma” Swami Vivekananda   

“Whoever feels sorry for others’ misery and feels happy with others is a dharmatma”-Bhagavatha

“Truth, non stealing, conquering anger, feeling sorry for mistakes committed, cleanliness, firm mind, discrimination between good and bad, absence of haughtiness, control of senses and good education are the essential parts of Dharma” Yajnavalkya



Krishnas Personality

We refer to Sri Krishna mentioned in Chandogya Upanishad (Devakiputra) and not Krishna of Rig Veda (1.116.23) or Krishna of Kowsheethaki Brahman (30.9) or Aithareya Aaranyaka (3.26). We consider Krishna as a syncretic deity of four: - Naarayana, Vishnu, Vaasudeva and Gopaala.

Krishna has been ruling the hearts of millions for a long time. His Avathaara was for establishing righteousness (Dharma) on a firm foundation.

The care he took of the cowherds, his curing Kubja of her deformity, his protecting the honour of Draupadi and his bestowing the wealth to Kuchela indicate his care for the weak.


Why is Yoga Strictly Hindu?

Why is Yoga Strictly Hindu-

Is Yoga Hindu or not? This question was answered differently by different prominent Hindu and Non-Hindu leaders, during “The International Yoga Day”. A lot of them, Hindu leaders in particular, severely criticized those, who aligned Yoga with Hinduism. People, who normally oppose the view of Yoga being Hindu, come up with analogies such as “will gravity become Christian, just because Isaac Newton, a Christian, discovered the laws of gravity”? Any sane person would say that it cannot be. Did anyone ever say that ZERO is Hindu because, Aryabhatta, a Hindu, invented it? None. Then why it is only in the case of Yoga, that people are linking Hinduism to it? Is there any validity to this argument?

When it is said that Yoga is Hindu, one must understand that it is neither about the usage of Yoga nor about the practical applicability of Yogic principles, but about the basic philosophy of Yoga. It may be is not too popular, to call Yoga strictly Hindu/Dharmic, but whether some one likes it or not, it is actually the case. One needs to understand not just Yoga but also the differences in the basic philosophies of Dharmic Religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) and Abrahamic Religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) to appreciate the fact that Yoga is Hindu/Dharmic in nature

The most important part of Yoga is adhyatma vidya (Inner Science). It has 8 parts or anga and so it is called Astanga Yoga.


Hinduism’s Tree of Unity in Diversity – The Core of Sanatana Dharma

How should a 20 year old Hindu understand Hinduism?

Inspired by the idea of Unity in Hinduism triggered by Rajiv Malhotra

1. Background

As a 20 year old, many questions on Hinduism end up coming into the mind of a boy/ girl brought up in a Hindu household. If brought up in a good Hindu environment, such a kid should probably be aware of some a few key Shlokas, few episodes from the Purana/ Itihasa literature as well as certain terms (Karma, Yoga, Puja, etc) from the Hindu texts. If lucky, they may have picked up a few basics on how to undertake important Pujas. Some bright kids may even be ready for deep texts like Yoga Patanjali or Shankara/ Ramanuja Bhasyas on the Brahma Sutras or even complex texts by Abhinavagupta, etc. Most however may not even be prepared for such texts till the end of their lives. More importantly, most remain unaware of the need for being exposed to such texts and their relevance to our day to day lives. Key reason for such state of affairs for most current day Hindus is ignorance about the core of Hinduism.

Paper below attempts to propose a basic core that defines Hinduism; this should provide a useful foundation for our 20 year old friend to look at all aspects of Hinduism with a more informed eye. More importantly, a visual representation of the core in the form of a tree is given for internalization by all Hindus. No detailed argumentation and referencing is given to keep the idea simple. A call is made for a great joint venture by learned Hindu scholars to expand this core at the end of the paper.


Ten 21st Century Challenges for Hindus

Ten 21st Century Challenges for Hindus

Every 6th person on this Planet is a Hindu and Hindus still constitute the overwhelming majority in India – nearly 80% of the population. Humanity needs thus to re-discover the wonder that is Hinduism, the oldest spirituality still in practice in the world. It is also true that Hindus must to rise to the challenges of this second millennium. Here they are – in order of difficulty.

  1. Break the Polytheist image. One of the most enduring clichés about Hinduism is that Hindus adore a multitude of gods and goddesses, which makes them heathens in the eyes of Christians, thus good to be converted to the ‘true’ God, often with unethical financial baits; & ‘kafirs’ for Muslims from all over the world, particularly from neighbouring countries, such as Pakistan, which encourages them to wage a jihad on India.

Yet, Hinduism, whether you want to call it a religion or a spiritual system, is without doubt one of the most monotheist creeds in the world, because it always recognized that the One is Many and that He incarnates Himself or Herself in a multitude of forms – hence the million of gods & goddesses in the Hindu pantheon. Vedic Sages (from the Vedas, the oldest and most sacred Scriptures of Hinduism) had understood that man has to be given a multiplicity of different approaches to the Unfathomable. And truly, for the Hindus, the Divine cannot be “this” or “that” – neti, neti. In its essence, He cannot be several – or even one – and thus can never be perfectly seized by the human mind. Indeed, Hindus, who were once upon a time the best dialecticians in the world (and this is maybe why they are today the top software programmers of this planet), were able to come-up with this kind of equation: a) God is in the world; b) the world is in God; c) the world is God; d) God and the world are distinct; e) God is distinct from the world, but the world is not distinct from God; f) it is impossible to discern if the world is distinct from God or not… Never has the unique nature of Hindu polytheism been better defined.


Shades of Hindutva– Examining challenges from within and without

Shades Of Hindutva Examining  1

Hindutva, a stock of knowledge and way of life unique to Indian civilisation, is being viewed differently and is facing challenges from within and without. On January 21, M. Venkaiah Naidu, India's Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, tweeted: "Feeling immensely motivated by seeing the great Hindu monk of India, Swami Vivekananda, who has taken…[the] message of Hindutva across the globe. Naidu made the comment after visiting the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari. In this sense, Hindutva is seen as a universal way of life, and was presented in this meaning by Swami Vivekananda at the Chicago Parliament of the World's Religions in September, 1893. In Chicago, Vivekananda had stated: "We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.