Sunday, January 01, 2006

The teaching of Hinduism

Link via Kavitha: Hindu American Foundation counsel Suhag A Shukla I am not for rewriting Hinduism vs. Harvard Professor Michael Witzel I am not a Hindu hater.

The two interviews pose some very nice questions on what Hinduism means and how can it be taught. I always felt, someone has to be born in India to understand the Sanatana Dharma. In that way, an ambuity gets ingrained in your thinking, which is not possible in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. This ambuity makes the "Hindus" more tolerant than others and the "religion" of these "believers" among the greatest religions of the world.

An example of the fundamental question: "how many Gods?": The unique Brahman? The Trinity? The six of the classic theistic schools? The ten avatars of Vishnu? The twenty-four of Vishnu as in the Srimad-Bhagavata? The three crore as it is said in proverbs? The innumerable ones that are the presiding dieties of each village or individual families?

As some reader pointed in the discussions after Ms. Shukla's interview, Hinduism is the only one which gives a choice to be a disbeliever!

2 comments:

sj said...

I always felt, someone has to be born in India to understand the Sanatana Dharma. In that way, an ambuity gets ingrained in your thinking, which is not possible in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. This ambuity makes the "Hindus" more tolerant than others and the "religion" of these "believers" among the greatest religions of the world.

Very well said. Could that one of the reasons why you can only be born-hindu or do you think this whole idea is misplaced? I have never found the right justification for that phrase.

Hinduism is the only one which gives a choice to be a disbeliever!
That got me thinking!! That is a very apt derivative of what the Hinduism imbibes in you.

amar said...


I always felt, someone has to be born in India to understand the Sanatana Dharma.
..
Could that one of the reasons why you can only be born-hindu or do you think this whole idea is misplaced?

I don't know if I agree to that. Prof. Deutsch (who wrote a wonderful book on Advaita) was born outside India. Jesus Christ was born outside India, was one of the personifications of tolerance and love (as Hindu as it can get). Gandhi was not born a Christian. He was more Christian than any other Christian!

However, tolerance is something to do with having a nondual outlook. This can happen only when you have gone thro' massive internal turmoil and questioning. Once you have found your answers, you are at peace, and see that there is Advaita everywhere. That is possible to anyone at anywhere and anytime.

Also, there never was, nor there ever be, a need to convert/evangelize people to Hinduism. There is a set of rules that sages of yore have followed and found peace. If you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings, if you are being Advaitic, you have your own formulation of Dharma (swadharma), which is the best for you than anyone else's Dharma. -- a loose interpretation of what is in Bhagavad Gita.


Hinduism is the only one which gives a choice to be a disbeliever!

Yes. There are no atheists according to hinduism. In fact, there was a sect in India called Charvakas , whose goal in life was to "eat, drink and be merry, for there is no tomorrow". They were accepted as they were!