A blast of freshness

A blast of freshness

Saturday, December 6, 2008



Not that I am wise enough to write about a topic as vast ,as sacred , and as deep as Hinduism ,but hey it s an era where the democratic India has offered me with the liberty of freedom of speech. So ,I will write to content my crazy , petty heart . Hinduism …mmm it s one of the most talked about and revered religions ,partly because of it s ancient aura and mystic ways and to an extent thanks to the publicity created by a few political groups!! Whatever it be , it is one religion that has a high position in my heart and I believe that it is one of the most grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted religions. Having said this I have created enough credibility and space for myself to deal with the subject and yet create leeway for any mistakes I make in dealing with it.:-) .

To begin ,it is necessary to create an understanding on what is this religion ? Where did it s need arise ? Not that I am an atheist ( I am a strong believer ) ,but on some primitive research , there is enough evidence to show that all religions are but manifestations of the Nature ,The Sun (Supreme source of energy ) in particular and all the rites and rituals involve around astronomical observations. No wonder then that all the contemporary religions have so much in common .So can we say that religion is ,but a set of rules that was set forth by our very wise ancestors, based on astronomical observations ,which bring about a cultivated lifestyle ? Maybe yes , maybe No .. What is explainable through science is but just a drop in the Ocean ..There still exists so much of darkness that we need a bacon of torch to lead us through ,and this comes in the form of religion – in the form of faith in a religion.

Now coming back to our favorite topic , Hinduism – It pains me sometimes to listen to people who proudly acclaim to have understood Hinduism and abuse it citing their ostensibly superior reasoning capabilities. For instance I recently heard a person I admire say that our religion is not very apt because the great epics of Mahabharat portrays lot of guise , and tricks and cheating that Lord Krishna does in the name of Dharma ! I am unable to comprehend the inferiority in these great epics ,the illusion lies in us- not the epic . What we fail to understand is that –HINDUISM is a way of life , It is Sanathana Dharma – A set of rules by which if the whole world lives , there would be bliss and happiness .

The epics are not absolute truth – they are just means of educating people on ways to lead life . The main theme of Mahabharat is of Good triumphing over the evil inspite of all odds against them. Krishna is a symbol , a symbol of our purity and conscience ,which when followed undeterred will lead us to success . The Gita or the Vedas describe the existence of four genres of human beings – One “ Passively good- like the pandavas” , other”Actively good like Lord Krishna” and ones who are “actively Bad- like the Kauravas” . Now one might argue as to why Kauravas are actively bad when they too possessed positive traits like compassion and generosity ( Karna and Dhuryodhan s story) .. This is where the symbolism comes into place – It teaches us that the avarice , and anger are so strongly negative that they are single handedly capable of ruining the empire inspite of some humane traits . It teaches us to stay away from greed , anger and bad company .

Coming to the part where the ever righteous King Yudhistra gambles away his kigdom and wife- Many might argue that how could a king who was considered so righteous do such a thing ? Here again is the lapse in understanding – the lesson actually that is to be sought that no matter how good you are ,if you indulge in gambling and bad habits,you will have to suffer the consequence as the pandavas had to do .Here lies the beauty of the great epic s symbolism- that the laws of Nature are equally poised .

But one of the best part in the Mahabharat I believe is the Bhagvad Gita.One of the non subscribers argued that it was but rubbish as it denied individuality –It made arjuna the slave of Krishna .. Lamely seeing , maybe this would be the impression one gets , but again ,on deeper inspection into the symbolism- Lord Krishna is the charioteer who controls the horses and reins them –He is the symbol of our mind ,and the horses our body – the body does what the mind wants it to do . This is where Krishna (our mind) shows the “Vishva Roopam” and portrays that our Mind is all powerful and that when we have a controlled and clever mind , we can win every battle in life .And the deaths of the mighty warriors of the kauravas is nothing but the triumph of virtues over vices .(the kaurav army is a symbol of Adharma – the vices in all of us)

The epics are full of teachings if we are ready to follow them – They are full of examples on how to lead our lives in unison with ourselves. It shows to respect women( Draupadi vastra haran) ,but again the paradox is that some people see it as ill treating women ,which they proudly proclaim has been coming along since eons ,deftly misunderstanding the actual meaning of the episode! This is the lameness to which we can go !

The strength of symbolism in Hinduism is amazing .. The Shiv Ling symbolizes the confluence of the two sexes.. Our very famous and favorite God –Lord Ganesha is a confluence of all the virtues that one must possess to attain heights – His large ears symbolize that one must listen more and talk less .. His one side broken tusk ,and snake belted to the stomach symbolize control over desires and emotions. Hanuman symbolizes how in spite of being strong and powerful one needs to be faithful and humble..

The PETA sympathizers would be pleased to know that Hinduism ,by assigning several animals as mascots of the 3600000 gods talks about the protection of the varied wild life.

Right from snakes to cows are all considered sacred .. even trees are protected ..such is the fabric of this religion.

It is insane to talk about this indisputably great way of life without properly understanding it .

I would like to narrate a small story that happened when Swami Vivekananda went to Chicago to the Congress of religions , where he took the whole world by storm .

In the hall filled with the top heads from all religions , there were peole who came ,who spoke about their religions and went – finally came the chance of our torch bearer ,Swami Vivekananda was called upon the stage to deliver his speech. When he reached the stage to collect the Gita (the religious text) , there was a roar of sneer ,looking at the small text ,that was placed somewhere below all the other fat, thick religious texts .. But Swami Vivekananda was undeterred – He carefully removed the GITA from the bottom of the pile and addressed the crowd thus: “Dear brothers and sisters of America- True that this text is small , but did you realize that all this while it was in the bottom , it was carrying the load of all the other religions? Do you realize that this was the Base (literally) for all the other books—such is the greatness of our religion that it can tolerate the rest of the religions-in tolerance lies the greatness of Hinduism” .. the overwhelmed crowd gave him a standing ovation and rest is history .

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