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Stages of Life in Hindu Dharma – A Concept Misunderstood by Modern Intellectuals

Stages of Life in Hindu Dharma

Hindu Dharma which is known to be the oldest of all religions in the world, is more a way of life than a religion. The Hindu way of life involves dividing an individual’s life into 4 stages as: Bramhacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. These 4 stages of life have always been misunderstood in the past few decades by equating them with modern monotheistic definitions giving rise to confusions and misinterpretations. Let us look into what Hindu Dharma says about these 4 stages of life in detail.

Brahmachari is a term usually used to describe the unmarried individual. The Brahmacharya stage is used to represent the life of an individual before his marriage. This can be further classified into two phases as Shishya (Student) and Snataka (Graduate). The student phase involves a vrata called Brahmacharya Vratha where a student maintains a disciplined way of life in which his concentration lies only on gaining knowledge. The student is hence prevented from thinking about, speaking about, playing with,looking at, personally talking with other gender as these things might distract his concentration from acquiring knowledge which is now-a-days a common thing among young teenagers.

The student after his completion of studies enters into the graduate phase of life after the Samavarthana (Graduation Ceremony). This ceremony is associated with the end of formal education of the student in Gurukul and the Brahamcharya Vratha. This ceremony is used to signify that an individual is ready to enter the Grihastha phase of life and is introduced to things associated with wordly life like wealth and other necessities of household.

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What is the True Meaning of Sanatana Dharma?

What is the True Meaning

As Hindus like to claim, there is no religion called ‘Hinduism’ because Hinduism is a way of life. Even our country’s courts have declared so. What we have in India or Bharat is ‘Sanatan Dharm’, an eternal existence. Existence? Is that what Dharm is? Well ‘Dharm’ has many connotations and there is no word in English which can define it completely. Loosely, ‘Dharm’ is ‘that which is your true nature’ … this means that for the tree, Dharm would stand for giving shade or fruits; for the river, it would mean giving life-fulfilling water.

For Human beings Dharm means a lot of things but mostly it would mean living life the way it should be led – with justice, seeking knowledge, protecting the weaker, by being generous, by working to your complete potential, by living with discrimination & Viveka Budhi. Sanatan Dharm is the only religion (if it can be called so) which has a Different Philosophy for every age and every life form.

Unbelievable, isn’t it? So is Hindutva and Hinduism the same? All other religions have fixed rules – then why doesn’t Sanatan Dharm or Hinduism have any fixed rules? So much so that even rituals like marriage (not all marriages have the ‘saath phera’) or worship of God, have no fixed rules. A simple question will answer this puzzle. If a person kills another, it is an action liable for punishment; but if this is done on the border to protect the country, it is an action liable for reward, isn’t it? This shows that there is no concept in life which is fixed or permanent, then how can the philosophy to be followed in life, be unchangeable? So then what is the broad framework by which we can define Hinduism? Let us see:

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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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Culture Wars against Hindus

Culture Wars against Hindus

The foremost source of unrelenting and egregious slander against Hindus is India’s film industry, led by Bollywood. Pakistani marauders were halted at the border in 1948 and repudiated every time subsequently, but its surrogates managed to seize control of India’s film industry. The economics of film making, forbidding bona fide investment until recently, allowed the Muslim underworld and its associates to infiltrate the industry by funding it. They were able to dictate the agenda of the film industry, insinuating a thoroughly anti national ideology and institute a standing critique of all things Hindus as well as propagate blatant and slanderous lies. Producers and directors became their playthings and selected artistes found a privileged entry in exchange of reciprocal favours that included every type of venal personal degradation.

Villains of every description, from torturers, rapists, murderers and espousers of every retrograde social custom, somehow sport a tilak and worship some incomprehensibly weird Hindu deity. By contrast, the gentle Muslim neighbour or preacher or Christian priest epitomises generosity and brotherhood. Both unfailingly reach out to look after the confused Hindu facing some personal crisis and resolving some tricky problem engendered by their own absurd religious prejudices. The abandoned Hindu mother, brutally trampled underfoot by her devout Hindu mother-in-law, always finds a teaching job in a Christian school, under the mellow guidance of a mother superior. In Kollywood, Bengali society is often depicted terrorising an educated and independent Hindu girl, in love with a Muslim boy from a humble background, also in keeping with the illusory egalitarian ethos peddled by Bengal’s neutered cultural elite. There are exceptions of course, but they truly underline the contrary rule of demonization.

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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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