Guess I have been reading a lot of stuff on Islam and Hiduism. Both in terms of history and philosophy. In India we who call ourselves Hindus must understand the term Hindu. Its become a misnomer for a ritualistic, paganish, religion. First and foremost Hindus must understand Hinduism is not a religion as defined by Cicero.The word religion : re =again and legre = lecture It would mean to go through again.Even the common usage of the word religiously means, to do some thing again and again as a matter of routine.The word Dharma does not have an equivalent english word. It comes close to words like "Nature", "conduct" etc.,.Hinduism is the Dharma of people who lived in the cradle of Indus valley. It was their way of living life consciously.The icon they worshipped were irrelevant. It got converted into a ritualistic polytheist paganish religion, after the invasion of Arabs and turks.People to shroud their cowardice starting looking for Gods. What was achievable only through courage and conviction they tried to achieve through Gods mercy or miracle.That started the long series of ritualistic worshipping. Worshipping and temples have been there since vedic period.That time it was in different percept. It was an altar to defuse all negativity and draw strength.It became a common refuge and escapist after the invasion and abject surrender by the weak hindu rulers during and post 12th century. Hinduism word is not to be found in any of the scriptures. But if we go beyond the word, this Dharma as defined in the Upanishads (the most relevant scriptures) is all inclusive.It is for all living being.Unlike Islam or Christianity it does not lay a pre condition that unless you convert and start worshipping a particular God or obey any particular book you can not achieve salvation.It repeatedly insists on spiritualism alone.Spiritualism is beyond any common percept of God.The Four Mahaakyas do give a glimpse of the Dharma (commonly known as hinduism). Let us pick up the most common one i.e., TAT TWAM ASI. In this statement there is no God. It only says Thou art that. That would mean we must shed our EGO alone to and understand that we are a subset of Him.This would hold true for all concerned, irtrespective of the Icons he or she is anchored to.A simple word like "Namashkar" used by all of us millions of times by all of us. How many have understood the message behind it. It is as follows : Namashkar= Namah+Akar. That is I bow (namah) to the God in your shape and physic(Akar).Such beautiful sublime eruditeness in everyday salutation. It woud be difficult to find a parallel in any other religion.Yet Hinduism today has become a symbol of derision. It has become a synonym for all that is fundamentalist,obscurantist,conservative and ancient.The so called English speaking chatterati masquerading as media has done immense harm to the percept of Hinduism. No doubt the Brahmins of India too have caused major damage over the centuries to a wonderful Dharma.These days largely the Brahmins have become irrelevant though. What is visible is lot more perceptible then what is written in the Books. The rituals have become the face of Hinduism. A whole Yuppy class has grown up in this country. The so called tomorrows leaders, passing out of the Business Management and such other colleges lately have become the visible face of India.I have interacted with a quite a lot of them. They are ashamed of being branded as Hindus.To them Hinduism is all about worshipping cows,celebrating strange festivals,being out of sync with the modern world's dog eats dog concept.Materialism and consumerism is the modern DIVA.The system is so corrupt that it also supports these percepts.A Manu Sharma or Vikas Yadav are not isolated examples. Power is all that matters.In such a world ofcourse Hinduism is orthodox, philistine and obscurantist.Regarding Islam and its effect on Hinduism in next post.