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IN History & Culture ON 07 Sep, 2016
Since morning it was a surprise for many when the #HinduismTheWayOfLife was trending worldwide on Twitter. It was originated by My Vote Today and the twitterites were very quick to react. While there were some tweets supporting the fact, others quickly got indulged in an offensive attack. There were also those, who were swift to draw a comparison with other religions.
However, the question remains that how many actually acknowledge the fact that Hinduism is not a religion and never was. Why don't we take a tour to understand why Hinduism is called a way of life and how the modern myths are responsible for portraying a completely different picture.
Hindu is a term that is coined in the recent times. If we see the ancient history, then a Hindu is someone who came from the land of Sindhu. It is not a religion, but an identity influenced by culture and geography.
It is often joked that the number of Hindu Gods are 330 million. However, there is a little history that clears this confusion. In Hinduism, it is encouraged to pray but not to any particular God. There is one true Supreme Being, and that can reside within anything. One prays towards the power to attain their full potential. There was a time when the population was very less, and everyone found their own means of worship. That's how the number is 330 million.
It is regarded as one such practice of life that has no beginning and no ending. The prefix of 'ism' was added much later to the world Hindu in an attempt to transform it into a religion. Sanatan Dharma is a belief system that talks about a universal law that describes the relationship of a human with himself/herself and the outside world including nature.
The ancient scriptures explain about the practices of life that clearly states that Hindu way is not an organized belief, but it deals with the science of salvation.
You will be surprised to know that there is nothing good or bad in the Hindu way. It is about conflict of one person's belief with that of other. Religion was very important in the ancient time and there were no strict 'rules' to follow.
Hindu way of life never says anything about sin. That is why there are no set rules like other religions where the followers are asked to do something and restricted from doing certain things. However, it talks about Dharma and Adharma. Dharma is empathetic, and Adharma is just the opposite.
Hindu way of life recognizes atheist and do not denounce them. It talks that there are ways of self-exploration until one can fully accept the concept of a Supreme Being. It encourages atheism to some extent showing the reason that through the doubts raised by it one will search for answers and thus evolve.
Hindu way of life always encourages an individual to explore their spiritual side to get the ultimate liberation. It focuses more on human well-being and freedom rather than establishing the prominence of God.
It is not a necessity in the Hindu way of life for an individual to worship the idols. An idol is just a reminder of the almighty God and a physical representation.
The caste system was something entirely different from the way of life of Hindus. Over the years, various historical events turned the occupationally based classification into a rigid social hierarchy.
It is often argued that women are subservient in Hinduism and on the other hand many female Goddesses are worshiped. In Hindu way of life, one form of energy worshiped is Shakti. Shakti is a primary female form. This way of life always regarded women in the same status as men. Sadly, years of cultural infiltration and oppression has drastically changed that picture.
There are not one, but many holy books in the Hindu way of life. The Bhagavad Gita is one among the many Gitas written in ancient India. Most importantly, the Gita is never an authoritative book like the Bible or the Quran. It never sets guidelines for the followers but offers rich heritage of beliefs and traditions. In modern times, we have twisted the Gita in a way that it seems like a directive from the Almighty God.
It simply explains that with each act an individual starts a chain of motion, and there is a corresponding action. There are consequences of the action that one experiences in this life or the next. It is explained that this cycle goes on till it reaches a stage where a soul is freed from the tedious process of rebirth.
If you go through the Gita, Vedas or Upanishads, you will be amazed to see there is a vast difference between the Hindu way of life and how we perceive Hinduism in the modern time. The Hindu way never supported the fanatical activities that are going on around in the name of Hinduism. It makes us think, do we really know what it means to be a Hindu?