Archive for February 2013

Why am I an Hindu?

February 28, 2013

A Hindu was flying from JFK New York Airport to SFO San Francisco Airport CA to attend a meeting at Monterey, CA.
An American girl was sitting on the right side, near window seat. It indeed was a long journey – it would take nearly seven hours.

He was surprised to see the young girl reading a Bible unusual of young Americans. After some time she smiled and we had few acquaintances talk.He told her that I am from India

Then suddenly the girl asked: ‘What’s your faith?’ ‘What?’ He didn’t understand the question.

‘I mean, what’s your religion? Are you a Christian? Or a Muslim?’

‘No!’ He replied, ‘He am neither Christian nor Muslim’.

Apparently she appeared shocked to listen to that. ‘Then who are you?’ “I am a Hindu”, He said.

She looked at him as if she was seeing a caged animal. She could not understand what He was talking about.

A common man in Europe or US knows about Christianity and Islam, as they are the leading religions of the world today.

But a Hindu, what?

He explained to her – I am born to a Hindu father and Hindu mother. Therefore, I am a Hindu by birth.

‘Who is your prophet?’ she asked.

‘We don’t have a prophet,’ He replied.

‘What’s your Holy Book?’

‘We don’t have a single Holy Book, but we have hundreds and thousands of philosophical and sacred scriptures,’
He replied.

‘Oh, come on at least tell me who is your God?’

‘What do you mean by that?’

‘Like we have Jesus and Muslims have Allah – don’t you have a God?’

He thought for a moment. Muslims and Christians believe one God (Male God) who created the world and takes an interest in the humans who inhabit it. Her mind is conditioned with that kind of belief.

According to her (or anybody who doesn’t know about Hinduism), a religion needs to have one Prophet, one Holy book and one God. The mind is so conditioned and rigidly narrowed down to such a notion that anything else is not acceptable. He understood her perception and concept about faith. You can’t compare Hinduism with any of the present leading religions where you have to believe in one concept of God.

He tried to explain to her: ‘You can believe in one God and he can be a Hindu. You may believe in multiple deities and still you can be a Hindu. What’s more – you may not believe in God at all, still you can be a Hindu. An Atheist can also be a Hindu.’

This sounded very crazy to her. She couldn’t imagine a religion so unorganized, still surviving for thousands of years, even after onslaught from foreign forces.

‘I don’t understand but it seems very interesting. Are you religious?’

What can He tell to this American girl?

He said: ‘I do not go to Temple regularly. I do not make any regular rituals. I have learned some of the rituals in my younger days. I still enjoy doing it sometimes’.

‘Enjoy? Are you not afraid of God?’

‘God is a friend. No- I am not afraid of God. Nobody has made any compulsions on me to perform these rituals regularly.’

She thought for a while and then asked: ‘Have you ever thought of converting to any other religion?’

‘Why should I? Even if I challenge some of the rituals and faith in Hinduism, nobody can convert me from Hinduism. Because, being a Hindu allows me to think independently and objectively, without conditioning. I remain as a Hindu never by force, but choice.’ He told her that Hinduism is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. It is not a religion like Christianity or Islam because it is not founded by any one person or does not have an organized controlling body like the Church or the Order, I added. There is no institution or authority..

‘So, you don’t believe in God?’ she wanted everything in black and white.

‘I didn’t say that. I do not discard the divine reality. Our scripture, or Sruthis or Smrithis – Vedas and Upanishads or the Gita – say God might be there or he might not be there. But we pray to that supreme abstract authority (Para Brahma) that is the creator of this universe.’

‘Why can’t you believe in one personal God?’

‘We have a concept – abstract – not a personal god. The concept or notion of a personal God, hiding behind the clouds of secrecy, telling us irrational stories through few men whom he sends as messengers, demanding us to worship him or punish us, does not make sense. I don’t think that God is as silly as an autocratic emperor who wants others to respect him or fear him.’ He told her that such notions are just fancies of less educated human imagination and fallacies, adding that generally ethnic religious practitioners in Hinduism believe in personal Gods. The entry level Hinduism has over-whelming superstitions too. The philosophical side of Hinduism negates all superstitions.

‘Good that you agree God might exist. You told that you pray. What is your prayer then?’

‘Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,’
लोका समस्ता सुखिनो भवन्तु !!! ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः !!!

‘Funny,’ she laughed, ‘What does it mean?’

‘May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. Let there be Peace, Peace,and Peace every where.’

‘Hmm ..very interesting. I want to learn more about this religion. It is so democratic, broad-minded and free’ she exclaimed.

‘The fact is Hinduism is a religion of the individual, for the individual and by the individual with its roots in the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita. It is all about an individual approaching a personal God in an individual way according to his temperament and inner evolution – it is as simple as that.’

‘How does anybody convert to Hinduism?’

‘Nobody can convert you to Hinduism, because it is not a religion, but it is a Culture, a way of leaving life, a set of beliefs and practices. Everything is acceptable in Hinduism because there is no single Authority or Organization either to accept you or to reject you or to oppose you on behalf of Hinduism.’

He told her – if you look for meaning in life, don’t look for it in religions; don’t go from one cult to another or from one Guru to the next.

For a real seeker, He told her, the Bible itself gives guidelines when it says ‘ Kingdom of God is within you.’ I reminded her of Christ’s teaching about the love that we have for each other. That is where you can find the meaning of life.

Loving each and every creation of the God is absolute and real. ‘Isavasyam idam sarvam’ Isam (the God) is present (inhabits) here everywhere – nothing exists separate from the God, because God is present everywhere. Respect every living being and non-living things as God. That’s what Hinduism teaches you.

Hinduism is referred to as Sanathana Dharma, the eternal faith. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the code of life. The most important aspect of Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on ideas. It is open to all. Hindus believe in one God (not a personal one) expressed in different forms. For them, God is timeless and formless entity.

Ancestors of today’s Hindus believe in eternal truths and cosmic laws and these truths are opened to anyone who seeks them. But there is a section of Hindus who are either superstitious or turned fanatic to make this an organized religion like others. The British coin the word ‘Hindu’ and considered it as a religion.

He said: ‘Religions have become an MLM (multi-level- marketing) industry that has been trying to expand the market share by conversion. The biggest business in today’s world is Spirituality. Hinduism is no exception’

He said “I am a Hindu primarily because it professes Non-violence – ‘Ahimsa Paramo Dharma’ means – Non violence is the highest duty. I am a Hindu because it doesn’t condition my mind with any faith system.

A man/woman who changes his/her birth religion to another religion is a fake and does not value his/her morals, culture and values in life.

Hinduism was the first religion originated.
ॐ नमः शिवा

 

Source : From an awesome post in facebook

Matters of the HEART

February 19, 2013

What does love mean in this new age? Sudhish Kamath and Shonali Muthalaly make a case for the contemporary Valentine

People come, people go. Love stays. Forever. And ever.

 

HE SAYS:

Forever and ever?

Back in the day, before the invention of mobile phones, we used to talk, hang up and spend the rest of our time living a life. We shared it with people we loved because they were around you more than anyone else.

Like the mobile phone that replaced telephones, we are not attached or wired to anything anymore.

If you are young and born in the late Eighties or Nineties, you know the longest relationship most people have had is with their mobile phone.

Back when we had landlines, we rarely changed phones. Today, we change mobiles every year or two.

In many ways, these phones have become a metaphor for our love lives.

When it comes to love, the concept of forever has forever changed. Handwritten long love letters have been replaced by single character emoticons.

Like phones, the lifespan of relationships, is coming down every few years. There’s so much activity in our lives and our batteries are draining quicker than before.

When it stops working and can’t be fixed, you get rid of it and get a new one because you need it. You need it because you are used to it.

Close proximity with computers and mobile phones has only made us adapt and learn from machines. The inbox has become an extension of our mind space. We store information as files and delete what we don’t need.

We live online. Friends are on Facebook, people follow on Twitter and closest buddies on Whatsapp. And Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is as simple as Unfriend, Unfollow, Block, Ignore and Blacklist.

The nineties said friends are the new family. Today, networks are the new friends. We spend more time on networks than with friends.

The need to belong and find acceptance within the network is superseding the need for relationships. With most urban youth having their first relationship at 16 or 18 and not ready to commit until they are 30 or 40, they don’t want to wait till they are married to get physical. Careers have become more important because it’s become more difficult to find a well-paying job than a relationship.

Once the most intense relationship breaks down, every relationship after that pales in comparison, leading to disillusionment, emptiness and a temporary void.

Like the end of a really good sad movie. Eject. Insert new disc.

Or shutdown. Log in.

I see dead people.

Yet… all it takes is a moment to bring a heart pounding back to life.

Heart. The most resilient thing ever. With a lifespan of over a 50 mobile phones. With an inbox so deep and limitless. With strength that can withstand the greatest of falls. It’s built to love. No matter how hard you try not to use it, you just cannot control it. Want a happily ever after? Surrender to it. It has an endless supply of love. Release it. And it will set you free.

People come, people go. Love stays. Forever. And ever.

SHE SAYS:

Why wait for forever?

Modern love is tough.

Perhaps that’s why Mr Right has been replaced with Mr ‘Right Now’.

Cynical? Not really. Perhaps we’re finally realising the significance of Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Live the moment. Luxuriate in the ‘Now’.

The world has changed. Love used to mean romance: poetry, roses, candle lit dinners. Boys begged common friends for your phone number. Wrote you ten page letters, with cute cartoons drawn in the margins. Composed songs for you, and strummed them on beat-up old guitars.

In the Nineties we fell in love and channelled the likes of Savage Garden: “I’ll be your hope, I’ll be your love be everything that you need/ I love you more with every breath, truly madly deeply do…” Contemporary chartbusters are very different. Think Eminem and Rihanna singing ‘Love the way you lie’: “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn/ But that’s alright, because I like the way it hurts/ Just gonna stand there and hear me cry/ But that’s alright, because I love the way you lie.”

Welcome to the free fall of modern love. Breathless. Relentless. Unapologetic.

So you’re in love. And out. You break a heart. Have your heart broken. Dump. Get dumped. Have a fling. Cheat. Experiment. Maintain ‘friends with benefits.’

It’s fast, it’s ruthless, it’s no holds barred. Speed dating, powered by technology. Relationships on steroids.

Girl meets boy. Girl googles boy. (And vice versa.) A little Facebook stalking, Whatsapp through the night, dates set via SMS. There goes the mystery. But not the drama. By date two, you’re half way through a relationship. Texting, sexting, booty calls. Love and lust, inextricably intertwined. Till it’s over. Till you’re at a party. Again. Exchanging BBM pins. Again. Here we go. Again.

Love at first sight? Please. You have got to be kidding. This isn’t a Jane Austen book. Or ‘Harry Met Sally’. Or a Celine Dion song. They seem so naïve today. Romance instagrammed: Charming – but far from real.

Love today is far more complex. An information overload, incessant connectivity, inescapable uncertainty.

But it’s still love. And it’s still real. And perhaps, it’s more resilient. Because, ironically, in this age of high-tempo relationships, we’re more understanding than ever before. After all, we’ve all ‘been there’. We know what it’s like to hurt. To cheat. To fall in love. Truly, madly, deeply.

So you’ve become more sceptical? It’s called growing up. Another bad relationship? It’ll make you appreciate the good ones. Had your heart broken again? Take pride in your courage to keep believing.

Meanwhile, enjoy the good times. Even if they’re temporary. Maybe Mr Right Now will turn out to be The One. Maybe he won’t.

But in the end you’ll realise that love hasn’t changed. Our generation is as infatuated with finding “the one” as our parents generation was. Only, our odds are better. After all, we’re more willing to take chances. More open to living life on our own terms. And modern love has made us so much braver.

Source : http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/matters-of-the-heart/article4411108.ece

A Certain South Indian Childhood

February 6, 2013

Remarkably written article about the life of typical Tamilian rather than a South Indian, still Pretty close!

“Of unremarked yet not unremarkable experience.”

via A Certain South Indian Childhood.

%d bloggers like this: