Friday, May 01, 2009

WHY I AM A HINDU

There are three main religions in the World. There have been three widely acclaimed works criticizing all three RELIGIONS with identical titles.
The title of each work has been “Why I Am Not A Christian or Muslim or Hindu” Each of the authors Namely Nobel Prize winner Bertrand Russell, Ibn Al Rawandi and Illiah Kancha have looked up the discrepancies , blemishes in their respective religions and have espoused on them. It is healthy to criticize and introspect one’s belief. It is a prerequisite for evolution. Accordingly I would welcome all such works. Yet one must tread with caution with all such works. At least the one by Illiah Kancha is an
extremely superficial work and filled with Hatred. When one has been at the” receiving end “ of a social system, Loss Of Objectivity is an obvious fall out.
I am euphemistically a “Born Hindu”. Yet the phrase of being born Hindu or Muslim beats me. One is born a Human being. One is born of Hindu or Muslim parents. But no one is born with a religion. Why can’t it be like our professional careers, matter of simple choice, without any baggage to be discarded or vented against?
Coming to the Subject of the blog, Why I am a Hindu. Primarily one must define the premise first and then extrapolate from there. Hence the premise WHAT IS HINDUISM. I have read several articles expounding on the origin of the word Hindu and its Arabic origin. This intellectual exercise itself in Un Hindu. The word Hindu and its Arabic origin are absolutely irrelevant and all such deliberation is a mere intellectual diarrhea. Let us discuss its contents. There are several texts which have explained the Concept of Hinduism without using the word. Swami Vivekanand rejected the word outright and substituted it with Vedantik. Supreme Court of India too opined that one who believes and abides by Vedas and Upanishads is a Hindu.
Hindu is a DHARM disparate from Religion. Hinduism is a DHARM and not a religion. This is the first important input required to get even a faint understanding of Hinduism. All other systems of belief commonly known as RELIGION begin with a Founder and culminate in a BOOK. Once you have dead institution prevailing over intellect the “Man” becomes a “Great Beast” as described by Alexander Hamilton.
In Hinduism one of the important works is “Brahma Bhasya” by Adi Shankaracharya the 8th Century philosopher. The opening lines are “Atho Jigyasa Bhav”, “Let us question (Brahma the Creator)”. Signifying that everything all concepts are subservient to man’s intellect and subject to examination.
I would like to simplify the perception of Hinduism. An anecdote of an encounter of a Rabi and Goering illustrates percepts of Hinduism.
A Rabi was brought in the presence of Goering. Goerring maliciously told him that Talmud was a very ordinary book. There was nothing great about it. He did not understand why Jews accepted such an ordinary text with so much veneration. Rabi smiled and said “Mr. Goering , you have not been bale to understand Talmud”.
Goering took it as an affront and asked the Rabi to prove his contention.
Rabi said:”I would ask you three questions. If you are able to answer any one, I would accept that you have understood the Talmud”.
Goering in contempt asked him to go ahead.
Rabi : The First question,” Two men wearing WHITE clothes slide down a chimney. One emerges spotless, other all darkened with soot. Who will go for a WASH”?
Goering says, “Obviously one who has emerged all covered with dark soot, he will go for a wash”
Rabi,” Wrong! They look at each other. The one in spotless clothes sees other darkened guy and presumes that he has become dirty too and goes for a WASH. While the other guy looking at his friend all spotless believes that he too is spotless and does not go for a WASH”
Rabi: The Second question,” Two men wearing WHITE clothes slide down a chimney. One emerges spotless, other all darkened with soot. Who will go for a WASH”?
Goering: “It is the same question”.
Rabi, No It’s different.
Goering: “OK now I know the answer. The Guy with spotless clothes would go for a wash”.
Rabi: “Wrong. They are human beings and would not react such mechanically. The one with soiled and darkened clothes would go for a WASH”.
Goering got exasperated said,”OK! Let us have the last question”.
Rabi: The Third question,” Two men wearing WHITE clothes slide down a chimney. One emerges spotless, other all darkened with soot. Who will go for a WASH”?
Now Goering got really annoyed and said “What nonsense this question has been comprehensively answered and yet you pose again”.
Rabi: “No Mr. Goering, this is a fresh question. Please answer.”
Goering:” Well I don’t know of any third answer. Both the possible answers have already been tried”.
Rabi: “The correct answer is, it is impossible for one person to remain spotless and one dirtied, if both have undergone identical experience.” The correct answer to all three was this only. But you without referring to the Basics kept mulling over frivolous details”.
Hinduism too says one thing,”Go to the basics”.
The FOUR MAHAVAKYAS’ The Kernel of Upanishads’ emphasize that “Superimposition of WE over ME is God hood. Dharma is an attempt to manifest the inner self. Understanding ones own consciousness is DHARMA. Being a more alive and a conscious person is DHARMA”.
I would like to distinguish between Religion and Dharma with another analogy. We say “अग्नि का धर्म है जलाना”। now let us translate it verbatim. It would say “The Religion of Fire is to Burn”. The statement becomes meaning less. Hence it is evident that Religion and DHARMA are two very distinct ideas.

Most of the apologists decrying “Hinduism or Hindutva” do it by cognizing PRIESTCRAFT for Hinduism.
The level of discussion on Hindutva in the Talk shows in the media with Pygmies masquerading as Intellectuals is of the level of EKTA KAPOOR serials. Totally devoid of any substance. These talk shows are vain efforts to have a fabricated consciousness.

I am a Hindu as it TELLS ME “Aham Brahmasmi”. As it says “Atho Jigyas Bhav” as it says “Ekal Satya, Vipra Bahudha Vadanti”. As it liberates me to THINK and not be relegated to being a “Great Beast” of Alexander Hamilton.

22 comments:

kochi said...

WAH I saw the topic and i thot this would be another bigoted blog! It is nice to have someone give n unbiased definition of hinduism! Loved the story!

Aman Kumar said...

Old habits die hard. You disappointed your readers once again. Nowhere in the post have you even tried to answer the question “why are you a Hindu?”One feels cheated after reading the whole post.

You talk about intellectual diarrhea, but you yourself indulged very deep into it when you talk about “born Hindu” and “religion vs dharma” debate. It is absolutely clear in almost everyone’s mind that born Hindu refers to someone born to Hindu parents. Discussion seems is totally useless to me.

Religion according to Wikipedia is “an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion) I agree that Hinduism is very different in character from Islam and Christianity. But it fits the above definition. I don’t care if you call it a dharma or religion; we all know what we are talking about.

In the end let me have a go at the question that you could not answer. Let the truth be told. As opposed to what you would like to believe (probably to create an intellectually satisfying illusion for yourself), you are not a Hindu by choice. Most likely, you are a Hindu because 1) you were born to Hindu parents in a Hindu family; 2) you were conditioned as a Hindu from childhood and 3) because of social customs and norms. But its an open question “why are you Hindu?”

kochi said...

aman kumar??? i presume you are a hindu, educated and of course rational. you are disappointed?? i am flabbergasted! u cant find answers ???? i am not surprised. we find answers where we wish to other wise we become obtuse. Do read it again. u say "u disapppointed ur readers once again " ??? why do u read if everytime u are disappointed?? i think u just like to criticise . Do read with the blinkers off. you will see reason.

kochi said...

btw aman kumar ..what are you??? hindu?? non hindu?? human??? out of choice or conditioning??? i cant stand people who argue for the sake of arguing and are merely out to see flaws whwere there are not!!!feel like grrring!

Aman Kumar said...

@ Kochi

Thanks a lot for your insightful and constructive comments. I particularly liked the way you presented the logical and concrete arguments in support of your case. Also, I would really like to congratulate your civilized way of questioning my human credentials.

Thanks again for your unasked for contribution to an otherwise constructive debate.

Keep “grrring”…!!!

-- Your non-human flaw-finding fan with blinkers on :)

kuldip said...

Old habits die hard. You disappointed your readers once again. Nowhere in the post have you even tried to answer the question “why are you a Hindu?”One feels cheated after reading the whole post.
IT’S A SUBJECTIVE COMMENT NEEDS NO RESPONSE.
You talk about intellectual diarrhea, but you yourself indulged very deep into it when you talk about “born Hindu” and “religion vs dharma” debate. It is absolutely clear in almost everyone’s mind that born Hindu refers to someone born to Hindu parents. Discussion seems is totally useless to me.
AGAIN IT’S A SUBJECTIVE COMMENT NEEDS NO RESPONSE.
Religion according to Wikipedia is “an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion) I agree that Hinduism is very different in character from Islam and Christianity. HERE YOU CONTRADICT YOURSELF AND ACCEPT MY CONTENTION. THIS IS WHAT I AM BEATING ABOUT THAT HINDUISM IS DIFFEENT. But it fits the above definition. I don’t care if you call it a dharma or religion; we all know what we are talking about.
THE VERY FACT THAT YOU PICKED UP WIKIPEDIA TO QUALIFY HINDUISM AS A RELIGIOM SHOWS you are not convinced about your own percepts.YOU ARE ARGUING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUING. You have just tried to obtain some definition from some source to buttress your argument. I can similarly quote from some other source reinforcing my argument.

In the end let me have a go at the question that you could not answer. Let the truth be told. As opposed to what you would like to believe (probably to create an intellectually satisfying illusion for yourself), you are not a Hindu by choice. Most likely, you are a Hindu because 1) you were born to Hindu parents in a Hindu family; 2) you were conditioned as a Hindu from childhood and 3) because of social customs and norms.I NOWHERE SAID THAT I AM NOT BORN HINDU. I SAID I DESIRE THAT PEOPLE DO NOT BE PERCIEVED AS BORN HINDUS BUT BORN HUMAN BEINGS.SOME ONE IN MY FAMILY WANTS TO BE CONVERTED TO BUDHISM. WHY SHOULD IT QUALIFY AS CONVERSION. WHY NOT ADOPTION.IF THERE WAS NO BAGGAGE OF BEING BORN HINDU,IT WOULD HAD BEEN SIMPLER FOR THE PERSON.
But its an open question “why are you Hindu I HAVE SAID (IF YOU READ BETWEEN THE LINES) THAT I CONTINUE TO BE HINDU BY CHOICE BECAUSE OF THE LIBERALISM OF HINDUISM.NOT BECAUSE I WAS A BORN HINDU.

kochi said...

hahaha I visited today after so many days! Aman!!!!! hehehehe I am not at all an argumentative person, and the last person to argue whether I am hindu or not!!!! It makes no difference to me if i were a shudra! You seem to be raring for an argument. kuldip is more than able to answer you. But you seem to be young...I wonder why this fixation with definitions and verbiage???? Will I lose my hindutva, bramatva if i am defined differently???
aailal i read ur answer gain and i am grinning! was I rude?? i am sorry i do sound oafish my HUMAN ahem ahem ahema fan?????? hahaha truce?

Aman Kumar said...

{Old habits die hard. You disappointed your readers once again. Nowhere in the post have you even tried to answer the question “why are you a Hindu?”One feels cheated after reading the whole post.
IT’S A SUBJECTIVE COMMENT NEEDS NO RESPONSE.}

No its not subjective. I have mentioned that because you havent answered the question that was titile of your post. That's why it is disappointing,


{You talk about intellectual diarrhea, but you yourself indulged very deep into it when you talk about “born Hindu” and “religion vs dharma” debate. It is absolutely clear in almost everyone’s mind that born Hindu refers to someone born to Hindu parents. Discussion seems is totally useless to me.
AGAIN IT’S A SUBJECTIVE COMMENT NEEDS NO RESPONSE.}

Again, it is not. I have mentioned two “born Hindu” and “religion vs dharma” debates. I think they are similar to debate about the "name of hinduism" debaye, that you yourself call intellectual diarrhea.


{Religion according to Wikipedia is “an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion) I agree that Hinduism is very different in character from Islam and Christianity. HERE YOU CONTRADICT YOURSELF AND ACCEPT MY CONTENTION. THIS IS WHAT I AM BEATING ABOUT THAT HINDUISM IS DIFFEENT.}

All I have said, is that although hinduism is different than other primary religions, it still does not go beyong the accepted definition of religion. So we dont need to look for another word.


{But it fits the above definition. I don’t care if you call it a dharma or religion; we all know what we are talking about.
THE VERY FACT THAT YOU PICKED UP WIKIPEDIA TO QUALIFY HINDUISM AS A RELIGIOM SHOWS you are not convinced about your own percepts.YOU ARE ARGUING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUING. You have just tried to obtain some definition from some source to buttress your argument. I can similarly quote from some other source reinforcing my argument.}

Poeple, inculding you quote from different sources and people from time to time to give credibility to their arguements. It does not show your intellectuall backrupcy or lack of understanding. On the contrary it shows that what you are saying is something that is well accepted by credible sources and you are not just making things up. I am writing my master's thesis and we have to refer to credible sources for every thing that we havent proved. You are free to contradict my reference with a more credible one or giving your definition and showing how wikipedia's definition is not correct. Thats how, we as a society would progress.


{In the end let me have a go at the question that you could not answer. Let the truth be told. As opposed to what you would like to believe (probably to create an intellectually satisfying illusion for yourself), you are not a Hindu by choice. Most likely, you are a Hindu because 1) you were born to Hindu parents in a Hindu family; 2) you were conditioned as a Hindu from childhood and 3) because of social customs and norms.I NOWHERE SAID THAT I AM NOT BORN HINDU. I SAID I DESIRE THAT PEOPLE DO NOT BE PERCIEVED AS BORN HINDUS BUT BORN HUMAN BEINGS.SOME ONE IN MY FAMILY WANTS TO BE CONVERTED TO BUDHISM. WHY SHOULD IT QUALIFY AS CONVERSION. WHY NOT ADOPTION.IF THERE WAS NO BAGGAGE OF BEING BORN HINDU,IT WOULD HAD BEEN SIMPLER FOR THE PERSON.
But its an open question “why are you Hindu I HAVE SAID (IF YOU READ BETWEEN THE LINES) THAT I CONTINUE TO BE HINDU BY CHOICE BECAUSE OF THE LIBERALISM OF HINDUISM.NOT BECAUSE I WAS A BORN HINDU. }

Point noted. It was just my take on it. I should not have taken a shot at your personal life/choice. What I said is true for 99.99% people. May be you fall in the other 0.01%.

Aman Kumar said...

@Kochi,

My motive here is not to argue, but is to show the other side of the picture, start the debate in a constructive manner. so that we all can grow and learn from each others perspectives. I am more critical when people from a faith, country, party go on raving about their own beliefs.

I have not liking for debating over definitions. But even though we might not agree on one definition of Hinduism, I think we all agree that different people mean different things when they mention Hinduism. Some people are not even sure of what they actually mean. Others like me have a constantly changing perception of Hinduism. I try to challenge other peoples perception in order to understand their understanding, to broaden mine. This debate abut if it is a region or dharma was in fact started by kuldeep and not me. If you look at my earlier comment, I said that to me, it doesnt matter what you call it.

I don't like to put comments like my second one, because it leads us nowhere. It is often an ego clash. Things that you said or the way I responded can be done to anybody on any topic at any time. But I think we were both able to convey what we wanted to.

kuldip said...

I did answer why I am a Hindu in the concluding para.Yet if you feel disappointed,it is subjective.
"Born Hindu" was just loud thinking (most of the musings are) yr terming it as an intellectual diorrhea is a subjective comment.Religion vs Dharma is the core of my Blog.These are two disparate ideas.All other ideas are semitic. They do begin with a prophet and culminate in a Book.
A wiki definition normally is more verbiage then concept. It would try to cover up a wide spectrum.Yet except Hinduism the other two religions are semitic religion.They dissuade an individual from thinking.They prescribe a dead institution as the FINAL AUTHORITY.I OBJECT TO THAT.
Your comment was more at personal level then about the content of the blog.
Each text has few Nodal points. You have not cognized them.Such as a "DEAD AUTHORITY" vs consciousness.Priestcraft distinct from Hinduism.Medias attempt at "THE FABRICATED CONSCIOUSNESS" etc.,

kochi said...

religion and dharma are disparate???? please explain

Aman Kumar said...

I am too busy with my thesis right now. Would respond only after 27th May. Cheerleaders are requested to have some patience ;)

kochi said...

oiyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...leave me out guys!

Mohammed Umar Kairanvi said...

do you want to know why we are muslims? read antimawtar.blogspot.com

In the Vedas, the Bible and in the final Grnthon Buddh which come in the form of Rishi was announced, he had proved the boss Mohammed, so it inspired me me that it is necessary to open the truth, even if the people are going to feel bad - Dr. -- Upadhyay Vedprkash

वेदों में, बाइबिल में तथा बौद्ध् ग्रन्‍थों में अन्तिम ऋषि‍ के रूप में जिसके आने की घोषणा की गई थी, वह मोहम्‍मद साहब ही सिद्घ होते थे, अतः मेरे अन्‍तःकरण ने मुझे यह प्रेरणा दी, कि सत्‍य को खोलना आवश्‍यक है, भले ही वह लोगों को बुरा लगने वाला हो।--डॉ. वेदप्रकाश उपाध्‍याय--

read Five books in english in one pdf in this topic
http://www.scribd.com/doc/8620683/Kalki-Avtar-Book

kuldip said...

Mr Kairanwi
You are indulging in verbiage.If you want to equate Ram with Mohammed you are indulging in blasphemy one way or other.Please comment on my blog. What you are writing are extraneous to my blog content.

KrRahul said...

Wonderful piece. I would like to add to your opening sentences: There are only three ancient religions in this world: 1. Hinduism 2. Zoroastrianism 3. Judaism. Out of these three, only one is thriving: Hinduism. Secondly, if we superimpose your list of "three main religions in the world today" with these "three ancient religions we ever had", we get the clear answer to the "one" eternal religion - Sanatan Dharma which is also called Hinduism now a day. You have described wonderfully the difference between dharma and religion, though now a day I see a craze among the 'religions' to 'claim' to be dharma too. Hinduism in true sense can't be confined under the definition of 'religion' - with its one-man-show, one-book-to-chant-from, etc. But for the sake of 'discussions', we all some times refer to Sanatan Dharma as a religion. And it is not entirely wrong if we see things in perspective. Dharma has the essence of religion as a subset in itself. So for the sake of discussion, as you cite the examples of TV debates, we can for a limited time and in limited scope, take Hinduism as a religion and then compare it with other popular religions of the world, which are more like 'sects' than a religion per se. And I loved the third answer from the story you shared. Very poignant, very learned, very broad minded, and very deep. Keep it up. Hope to see more such posts. Regards, (Rahul)

KrRahul said...

Would also like to comment on one statement: /Yet the phrase of being born Hindu or Muslim beats me.One is born a Human being. One is born of Hindu or Muslim parents. But no one is born with a religion./ To be a Hindu, you don''t need a ritual. This is different from other religions where you need to be baptised or done some ritual to welcome you into their sect. Therefore, there are people who say that every human being is a born Hindu - and they become a Muslim or a Christian afterwards...

kuldip said...

Yes Rahul what you say about every one being Born Hindu has been my statement in several discussions.Yet as the definition of Hinduism is dicey and Sanatan Dharma could be a better word ,hence most of the people would not accept the stand every human being is a born Hindu.

kuldip said...

And speaking of Rituals it was ordained to go through YAGYOPAVIT to become a Hindu.

KrRahul said...

Objection on this oft-repeated (by non-Hindus to equate their baptism-like rituals with Hinduism) statement: “it was ordained to go through YAGYOPAVIT to become a Hindu.”

Yagnopavit ceremony is one of the 16 sanskars starting according to Hinduism. It is just one of the 16 sanskars and this statement tells all.

Yagnopavit ceremony was done at the time the person was young and before he was to entering “education” and training to get gyan. As we know, youngsters in India used to leave their parents house and go live at the Gurukuls – teacher’s house – to get educated. And this sanskar was done before they were to enter Gurukul to get learning, knowledge and training. It was never a “gate way to Hinduism” as some people would love to see it that way.

Also, it is widely said that this ceremony gave the person the status of “dwij – twice born”, representing that the person is now on the path of knowledge and enlightenment.

I myself have undergone this ceremony, and I took up many vows which basically were meant to keep us on right path, to respect our elders, a promise to remain brahmchari until I finish my studies, to be disciplined, etc, etc. Nowhere it involves something like “welcome now to “Hinduism”!

Yagyopavit – sacred thread - is only a “symbol” of the vows the person has taken, and it is a reminder to the disciple of his vows to righteousness.

Yagnopavit ceremony can’t be said to be a ritual to welcome a person to “become” a Hindu.

Spriha said...

One word- The Manusmriti.
Hinduism for the common man.
What you evoke is philosophy and philosophy never has anything to do with dogma. Hinduism to those who 'practice' it would not relate at all to the idea of questioning everything. It's all conformity and non-compliance from where I can see.

Bharat Mishra said...

I am Human first, hen a Hindu. I am a skeptic and Hinduism allows me to stay in comfort with my belief. I can question my religious belief and even question existence of Go. None to interfere. I can go to temple, say my prayers. I can also chose not to go any temple; none to excommunicate me. I have liberal views for other religions, accept their point of view if it's reasonable. I am a Hindu. I don't impose my thoughts on others. Nor do I allow myself to be subservient to anyone. I am Hindu. I draw my inspiration from Upanishads,which allow criticism of self and my faith. I am a Hindu. It's not a religion but a way of life.
Adi Shankaracharya explained once: " Forgive me Lord for my efforts to comprehend you although I know you ar formless. Forgive Oh Lord to see you in the confines of a temple although I know You exist everywhere."
My father didn't visit temples. He used to recite an Odia couplet: " Purohita, suddhaputa hoi mandira re ka puja karahe? Ye Devata Shrustira aloka se Devata ki andhAkare rahe?" Meaning: Whom do you worship inside a temple by purifying yorself and liting a lamp? The God who is the source of light, does He live in darkness?
I am a Hindu. Liberal to other religions.