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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.


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


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.


Indra’s Net: Another Masterpiece by Rajiv Malhotra

Indras Net Another masterpiece by rajiv malhotra

There have been some very disturbing developments in recent decades related to Hindu Dharm. For most people who have grown in seemingly free, democratic environment such things would be hard to believe unless confronted with supporting evidence. One such development is the portrayal of Hinduism, as it existed before 18th century, as an incoherent mix of ideologies and that all Hindus owe a deep debt of ‘gratitude’ to the colonial masters to make Hinduism a legitimate religion. Maybe some credit of such distortion could be given to the iconic figures like Swami Vivekanand. At first glance such ideas might sound like ridiculous set of distortions but the implications are truly sinister. If, as portrayed, Hinduism is just a quaint mix of unrelated ideas, it becomes prone to being prey to the fragmentary and predatory tendencies that are in the first place projecting this image. Hinduism is the oldest living religion and like the vast ocean, has incorporated many astic philosophies over the ages. Sadly, this very diversity, expansiveness and openness makes it a challenging job to rebut any wild allegation with superficial evidence. It requires a very dedicated soul committed to the study of core Hindu dharmic principles both in theory and practice. Mr. Rajiv Malhotra is one such man on a mission.