Monday, August 08, 2005

Hinduism is Open Ended?

The most open ended statement that is! Most Hindus seem to take pride in the fact that Hinduism is open-ended. I am not sure whether the Hindus are the non practicing ones or those who practice the religion. I guess they are the non-practicing ones just as I am. But is Hinduism open ended after all? One can be a Hindu even without visiting temples, praying Lord Rama or making sacrifices. Hinduism does not call the non practicing Hindu a heathen or a kaafir. It does not say that every non Hindu should be converted. It does not claim to be the best religion. It does not say that all what has been written has to be interpreted literally or is Correct! It does not ask you to put your faith in what Prophets or priests say. It does not ask you to visit a temple every sunday. It doesn't say whether Krishna resides in a temple and where The temple is. It is also not responsible for the ills in the Indian society. It doesn't support the caste system. It believes in oneness of this creation. I am the same as all others around me, live or alive, all are manifestations of the one who resides in all and in whom all reside or are a part of. It surely does not ask one to be complacent. How can one be complacent when one has to pay for his own actions? It isn't that it does not lay any rules. That there is no escaping the fruits of your action especially when Hinduism believes in reincarnation, is a very fundamental rule that should make men think before they act. Only ignorance can make a Hindu complacent. The fact that Hinduism unambiguously says that one has to pay for his actions, it is not open ended! Saying that it is open ended is a nice way to balm ones conscience.
It isn't that there is no literature to enlighten the ignorant man. There is the Gita which is considered to be the essence of the four Vedas that are a part of Hindu literature. Well, unfortunately the Gita does not say that Lord Krishna will atone for your sins. Lord Krishna, I understand loves the righteous. It does not matter whether he/she is a righteous Hindu, non-practicing Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or a Jew as long he/she is a righteous human being. There are a lot many stories which have eye opening symbolism and are custom made for any one looking to get interested in a more righteous life. Thankfully, we have many interpretations of the stories too.
It is tragic as one of my Hindu friends pointed out that Christianity/Islam and other religions are taught in schools in India, though Hinduism is never a part of the curriculum. As a result of which all are ignorant about the Hindu religion, a religion that is the oldest, maybe Jainism is older. A religion that has survived brutality of many other upcoming religions and in the long run has welcomed them with open arms. In my friends school the Hindus were taught Moral Science while the Christians were taught the Bible! Well, he was in a convent school. Would it not have made sense if the school gave all the children an unbiased peek into what all the religions had to say. Just the essence of what is righteous via the many stories and symbolism the sacred texts of all religions are replete with. They wouldn't have to run many classes in parallel and wouldn't have inculcated a sense of being different in the children who for most part of the day shared the same classroom. Anyway, whatever the claim of the people who run the school they themselves are no saints and will pay for their actions. Just that the immediate effects will be visible in the children they educate.
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