Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Hindu way of life

One fundamental thing that must be cleared up about the Hindu way of life is that with the termHindu there is no “ism”. Today the word Hindu has taken a different meaning because of theso-called Hindutva and other such organisations, but the word Hindu essentially comes from the wordSindhu. Anybody who is born in the land of Indus is a Hindu — it is a cultural and geographic identity. Itis like saying “I am an Indian”, though it is a more ancient identity than being an Indian. “Indian” is onlyabout 60 years old. Hindu, on the other hand, is an identity that we have always lived with — we call thiscountry Hindustan and whatever we did in this culture was Hindu.

Being a Hindu does not mean having a particular belief system; there is no particular God or ideologywhich one can call as the Hindu way of life. You can be a Hindu irrespective of whether you worship aman-God or a woman-God, whether you worship a cow or a tree. If you don’t worship anything you canstill be a Hindu. So you are a Hindu irrespective of what you believe or don’t believe in. At the same time,there was a common line running through all these — in this culture, the only goal of human life isliberation or mukti; liberation from the very process of life, from everything that you know as limitationsand to go beyond that. God is seen as one of the stepping stones; God is not held as the ultimatething. This is the only culture on the planet which is a godless culture in the sense that there is noconcretised idea of God in this culture.

You can worship a rock, a cow, your mother — you can worshipwhatever you feel like because this is a culture where we have always known that God is our making.Everywhere else people believe that God created us. Here we know that we created God so we taketotal freedom to create the kind of God we can relate to. If you like the tree in your garden you canworship it and nobody thinks it is absurd. You can worship a stone on the golf course and nobodythinks it’s absurd. If you can relate to that, that’s what you worship because what you are reverentialtowards is not important; being reverential is what is important.

There is so much misunderstanding about these things because there is a certain dialectical ethos tothe culture where we want to express everything in a story or in a song; but in a way, it is a science ofhow to take a human being to his ultimate potential. tks nidhthi..

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