Secular Character of Hindu Religion

Discussion in 'Chitvish on Hindu Culture & Vedanta' started by Chitvish, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hinduism is secular, giving scope for one to follow any of the numerous Gods, before him, in any manner he likes. The Vedic scripts dins into us that all religions should be honoured.

    Religion, which is eternal, is the property of all people. Any attempt to remove its influence from the masses will be only an exercise in futility. Whether one likes it or not, it is soaked in most of us and cannot be removed from us. For instance, one comes across a pavement dweller or a daily wage earner getting out of bed and worshipping even a brick or a stone to which he applies vermilion powder. For such persons it serves as a symbol of God and as the supreme power.

    What is relevant to Hinduism, is the basic faith entertained by all, that God will definitely come to the succour of those who believe him. The intellectuals however visit the temples or scriptural texts and derive the benefit. We can go to the extent of saying that the world cannot thrive without religious activity in some way or the other.

    The common factor in all religions is the belief that there exists in it Transcendental Truth, acceptable by all and applicable to all. This idea will continue to be entertained for all time to come. The purpose of religion is the creation of Divine Consciousness.

    There is only one God, though He has many forms and there are different paths to reach Him. The comparison is, a woman can be a mother, daughter, wife, sister or a friend to various people depending on her relationship with them. But she remains the same individual. So the basic concept is oneness in diversity.

    Why do Hindus worship God in different forms?

    Actually, Hindus believe in only one formless and all-pervading, all-existing, and all-blissful God. That formless God, however, can best be realized by concentrating on various forms of ideal personalities as recorded in the scriptures.


    In other words, the Hindu religion is flexible and provides many ways to develop one's spiritual ideas in order to suit individual needs. "Unity in the diverse plan of nature" is recognized in the Hindu faith. Just as people tailor clothes to fit their needs, Hindus have different gods and goddesses for their religious needs.


    All these gods and goddesses resemble humans, animals or natural forces such as wind, water, fire, sun, and moon; each has different powers to bless the world. These godheads, when worshipped, fulfill people's desires in an easier way, but with the same qualities of blessings as from one God or Supreme Reality.

    That the Supreme can be worshipped in any form is a concept unique to Hinduism. Such worship is truly a tribute to His greatness.The following verse in Sanskrit verse acknowledges the diversity of human society, practices and behavior.

    “Varied are the tastes and many are the paths to a goal.
    Some are righteous, some are not.
    Yet, all aim to reach the goal,
    just like all the rivers lead to the ocean.
    Similarly, man traverses to Thee.”

    It clearly shows that the ancient Indians had seen the virtue of secularism and forbearance. Secularism enhances freedom of not only religion but also complements reasoning and progress. It dispels the inflexibility and intransigence (die-hardism or stubbornness) of certain constricting religious beliefs and it is the greatest emancipator.

    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
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  2. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    To the point

    Hi Mrs Cv,

    i enjoyed todays article very much. In fact i read it over again. I like the fact where you have compared gods and goddesses to tailored clothing. A layman could not get a better description than this.

    I also really enjoyed the way you have derived the true meaning of "WHY" there are so many Gods . I think this article is a must read for people who think HIndus are mere idol worshippers!


    Thank you CV, very informative and nice...

    Purni
     
  3. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    made me think deeper

    Dear Chitra,

    Another thought provoking post .
    Religion has been around since the beginning & there has been pain & murders for thousands of years because of religion. so much confusion, accusation,.... over religion but sure this is not the intention of any religion.

    I feel its tooooo personal & close to our hearts that we shld follow the one that suits us with faith. Once we have faith, our religion will be far more nurturing & protecting & this is where each one of us make a personal commitment.

    I'm so proud to be a hindu & yes, Hinduism is the most secular of all religions.
    the para on why we worship different gods & goddessess is beautiful.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this week's post & with every week's post I'm learning more & now, I feel happy I'm getting a lot of answers that crossed my mind all these years. I thank you profusely for such enlightenment.

    Love & regards,
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Purnima !

    I am glad you enjoyed this week's posting.
    There is only one God who is formless and all pervading. But to realize that all-existing God, it is easier to concentrate on various forms of ideal personalities like Rama, Krishna as given in the scriptures.
    Let us accept that all roads lead to the same destination in Hindu religion.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  5. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thankyou, Meena !

    You are fast with your F B this week, to my delight !
    In a family, each member worships his or favourite deity ! There is nothing wrong & in fact, I think, it develops tolerance in us as well.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  6. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    i wish tv s could read this

    Dear chithra,
    I should say sabaash to this episode.I have a close friend who is christian.She would in college continuosly tease about our various Gods And Goddesses. I wish she reads this and realises how open and easy hinduism is. There is unity in diversity.It is true that whoever prays ardently to any of the forms accepted realises God and gets inmmense relief from problems. The attitude is what matters as you so often mention. Religion is only a way of life which will emancipate a living being. I am sure your articles are easy eye openers to youngsters and people in other faiths who do not know much about our faith.
    Thank you.
    regards,
    Meenu
     
  7. Kamla

    Kamla Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Applaud!

    Dear Chitra,

    Your this week's write up on the secularic character of Hinduism is truly praiseworthy. You have attempted a very difficult theme and have simplified it to clear up clouds in many people's thoughts. All the same, its significance will only reach those who really want to understand and respect, the cynics are bound to believe what they want, but then, they are cynics! Like Meenu said, most of us are plagued by ignorants questioning the 'many gods' in our religion. But to the confused mortal, what an easy way to concentrate on one idol who may represent his/her way to salvation. Like you say, God is omniscient and will be there where we want Him to be.

    Can you please give the original Sloka which you have quoted here? I would love to read it. Thanks in advance.

    Great going.

    L, Kamla
     
  8. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Meenu, one more point !

    I wanted to include this quotation of Sri Ramakrishna, but since already the post was long, I edited it.
    He says " There can be really as many Hindu Gods as there are devotees to suit the moods, feelings, devotions and socia background of the devotees".
    I think these are all the privileges, a Hindu enjoys !
    But ultimately, it all tapers down to " Aham Brahmasmi" - we are god !
    Well, let me not get into vedanthic jargons !!
    Thanks for your F B .
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  9. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Many thanks, dear Kamla !

    This topic was really tough to write, besides being abstract. But it has to be understood in the proper perspective definitely !
    I have been drafting & editing this topic for the past one month ! Finally I decided " Enough is enough" & posted it.
    Each of the Hindu Gods represents one aspect of the Supreme Power. Shiva takes on the destructive aspect. Vishnu preserves the working order of the universe. It goes on like this ! Each Hindu God is one tiny aspect of the Supreme Being.
    I do not have the original Sanskrit shloka - I copied the translation from an old religious magazine. In fact in the original the second line was" some are good, some are crooked". I corrected it to " some are good, some are not" lest it be misunderstood !
    You are very kind to me, Kamla, thankyou.
    Love & regards,
    Chithra.
     
  10. anjana

    anjana Bronze IL'ite

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    Another indepth topic!

    Dear Mrs C,
    Yet another heavy topic, as growing up always use to wonder why so many Gods in all forms and shapes. Made Ani read it right now and he found it very interesting. He even commented that you have an excellent command in the language.
    I always feel that Hinduism is a religion which is flexible and does not force anyone to follow or change his/her faith. But the traditions and religion is always confusing for the younger generations. I always try to explain the difference to Ani so he does not get confused. Well explained Mrs C. I may miss next weeks post since we are planning to go out of town. Will catch up later. What is your plan for next week.

    Love,
     

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