Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Inclusive nature of Hinduism

Inclusiveness is the exclusive characteristic of Hinduism and to try to destroy it amounts to rob Hinduism of its essence. Hinduism has the capacity to absorb all varied ideologies and philosophies and give out of that fusion a well-developed system of ideology.

To understand the inclusiveness of Hinduism there are other points to be noted. The word religion has come from Latin word "religare", meaning to bind together (society). As per Indian term Dharma, it means, to hold by a duty. Proprietary religions have a prophet and a particular form of God to be worshiped. They have scripture of some form such as Kuran (Islam), Bible (Christianity), Torah (Judaism) or Manusmruti (Brahmanism) and more. The writings in these scriptures are taken as truth and anything else is considered as false. All proprietary religions have a specific standardized mode in their structure. They have a specific type of priesthood system to manage the flock that show faith in that religion. To spread these religions often use of terror is made by its propagators. Fanaticism is often found in these proprietary religions. In many cases, a mass killing of those who refused to accept that religion is recorded in History. To note a few such mass killings we know Adi Sankar of Brahmanism was instrumental for killing of many thousand Hindus, Jains and Buddhists; Jesuit cleric Xavier had killed millions of Hindus and Chinese because they refused to convert to Christianity. Interesting part is that these religions talk of Love, mercy and compassion in their teachings at the same time. A particular code of conduct is compulsory in these religions and if not then those who do not practice that code are punished by their priests by passing dictate against them condemning them as, infidels. Hate campaigns are often practiced by the preachers of these religions to malign other religions. Comparing between gods of other religions and trying to show how their particular god is better than those of others is standard practice in most of these religions. The priest of these religions talk in a fashion that they are selling their gods! One may compare these religions with a business campaign of a product. As one company tries to prove that, its product is better than that of other competitors, similarly, campaigns are undertaken amongst these proprietary religions. Professionalism is obvious in all the activities of priesthood of these religions trying to promote respective religion. Giving false promises to attract people from other faiths is common practice in these religions. Infusing fear complex in the needy people to make them accept that religion is also common amongst most religions. Conversion to their religions is often practiced by the priests of these religions. Catholic Christian nuns from Kerala are known for this practice while propagating for Catholic Christianity. These are some common characteristics of proprietary religions. As against these, we see Hinduism does not have any of them. That shows that Hinduism is not a religion of proprietary type but very different. However, here we should note that most Brahmanic preachers claim to be professing Hinduism; there by creating confusion in the mids of observers. Shankaracharys people claim to be chiefs of Brahmanic Hinduism but they are not recognized by other Hindus.

There is no standardized mode of structure in Hindus like we see in proprietary religions. Hinduism has no prophet and so it is not a proprietary religion. No particular form of God is worshiped by Hindus. There is a plethora of Gods and Goddesses worshiped by Hindus. Since they do not have any standardized code of practice we see a variety of styles of worship being practiced by communities amongst Hindus and all are treated as equally good. There is no one scripture that guides Hindus but it is the traditional knowledge of people that guides them. We see some Hindus accept some scripture as standard for them while some others have other scripture as their guide. In spite of all these and many more differences, they are all equally Hindu. As of Gods, there are Hindus who do not accept that there is god and even so, they are equal Hindus as those who accept any form of God. Hinduism was never spread by terror or by giving false promises or by any other method to increase the number of its believers. Hindus never used hate campaigns to malign other religions but on the contrary tried to absorb them and in this process, many ancient religions have been absorbed into Hindu fold and merged perfectly giving a uniform congenial society. However, in spite of these many differences, we see some common points in Hinduism that holds it together. Hinduism accepts that there is rebirth and one is born after some time of death and life continues. Most Hindus practice cremation of dead person. All-important functions of life such as birth, name giving, marriage and death have a variety of styles practiced by variety of Hindu communities and they are all considered as equally correct. There are some common festivals such as, Diwali and Holi, enjoyed by most Hindus. Hinduism has many offshoots due to its nature to absorb varied ideologies and these branches comprise of a family of religions such as Brahmanism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism to that are added many sects such as Shaivism, Vaishnava, Shakta, tantra and many more. All Hindus are divided on these branches but at the same time keep one common link that is of concept of rebirth and balance of virtues and sins, called in Indian terms, "Karmavipak". This principle of Karmavipak means one has to get his deeds (karma) back to him/her in ensuing births equal and opposite. That means good deeds give good luck in next birth and bad deeds give bad luck. Conclusively it means we are solely responsible of our good and bad lucks. Due to this ideology Hindus do not blame god for their bad luck but try to appeal to Holy spirits to help him/her in surviving through those bad luck effects; promising to them that he/she shall not do any bad deed henceforth.

This is to show how Hinduism is much different from proprietary religions. Since ancient times Hinduism has been functioning as a master solvent of many faiths. This capacity of Hinduism is rear and not found in any other religion. Number of contradictory philosophical renderings to understand the universe, are accepted in a very democratic manner without any offensive reactions. A Hindu could be believer in one god; a Hindu believing in many gods and a Hindu not accepting presence of god are all Hindus. Hindus believing in different gods are still Hindus of equal rights. We cannot see this complex system functioning in a very congenial manner anywhere else. Many gods in Hinduism are generally attributed to the nature of this universal religion to absorb varied sects and ideologies of varied communities.

Even so, we see some discrepancy in Hindu practices and unless that is thoroughly presented and sorted out, this discussion cannot be completed justly. This inconsistency is due to some types of Hindus who claim that they are standard Hindus! This we see in Brahman Hindus who claim to be true representatives of Hinduism! In other words, their practice is called a separate religion specific to Brahman people who claim to be authentic priests of Hinduism even though Hinduism does not have any such authentic priesthood. That religion is an offshoot from Hindu practices of ancient origin and it is called Sanatan Dharma or Brahmanism. The behavioral pattern of Brahmanism is much like that of other proprietary religions such as Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism and such many. To understand about this phenomenon of offshoots in Hinduism we will consider its reason. As I have mentioned earlier in this article that Hinduism is a master solvent of religions and that it has absorbed many minor faiths in its stride; Brahmanism or Sanatan Dharma is one such that was absorbed in ancient times. Whereas other branches of Hinduism distinctly like to be mentioned as that such as, a Jain calls him Jain, a Buddhist prefers to call him a Buddhist, and a Sikh prefers to be mentioned as a Sikh; a Brahman practicing Brahmanism insists to be mentioned as a Hindu. This creates much confusion in the minds of observers. Even though, technically it is not wrong this practice confuse all Hindus who are neither Brahman, nor Jain, nor Buddhist nor Sikh but only Hindu. Various living practices of only Hindus are much different from those of Brahman. To show a few differences I shall give examples, Brahman is vegan while most Hindus are none vegan, Brahman prefer and insist to worship gods such as Ram, Krishna, Shiva while Hindus mostly worship female deities and in addition to that the above given gods also. Hindus do not have any objection in showing respect for other gods of other religions such as Allah, Mary, Christ etc., Hindus give sacrificial animal to their chosen deity while Brahman being vegan prefer only vegan offerings (mostly coconut, they break coconut instead of killing an animal before their god) to their god. In most Hindus worship and other matters related with prayers are lead by their own clerics and Brahman priests are not called for that. Only about three percent Hindus call Brahman priests to perform their rituals, rest do it by themselves. Brahman is not recognized by most Hindus as their priests. Many practices of Hindus are much different from those of Brahman and on that account; there are many differences between Brahman and other Hindus. Brahmans being from a proprietary religion have militant organizations such as RSS, Bajarng dal, Vishwa Hindu parishad (VHP) and many more to convert Hindus to their ideology. They try to spread their veganism by introducing various conditions using laws such as prevention of cruelty to animals and such other so that sacrifices to their gods they (other Hindus) will not be able to do; Jains join them in that endeavor. While they try to stop Hindus from such sacrifices they do not mind Muslims from performing similar sacrifices according to their religion. On those occasions this law of prevention to cruelty of animal is conveniently forgotten by both Brahmans and Jains!
All this further complicates the matter when Brahman calls him a Hindu instead of a Brahman. Brahmanism being a proprietary religion all its behavioral habits are very different from those of real Hindus creating confusion. Other offshoot religions (Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism) are also proprietary but they are mentioned as separate when it come to mention them this type of confusion is not created in their cases. To add to this confusion some Brahman began to convert Hindus to Brahmanism by establishing hawkish organizations such as RSS. Even though Hindu Mahasabha is a Brahman organization, they call it Hindu Mahasabha! They should with full honesty call it Brahman Mahasabha. This is an example to show how Brahmans create deliberately confusion to observers. This conversion of Hindus to Brahmanism is similar to conversion of Hindus to other proprietary religions. These converted Hindus still call them Hindu even though now they are Brahman! For example, our present PM of the government of India is Mr. Narendra Modi, who is converted to Brahmanism still calls himself as Hindu! Adding to more confusion. Many wrong doings of Brahman are attributed to Hinduism creating much misunderstanding. Fanaticism is often found in Brahmanic religion. Which is absolutely absent in Hinduism. Hateful speeches and encouraging violence are often found practiced by these Brahmans and their militant organizations such as RSS; but often put the blame on Hindus. Brahman hate true Hindus just like other proprietary religions and that often times creates confusion as less trained observers cannot understand that behavior of some people who still call themselves Hindu! Clever observers can note these differences so they are not fooled by Brahmanic propaganda. This discrepancy if properly understood many misunderstandings about Hinduism can be resolved without much hassle.

To conclude I may suggest that all observers should understand this inclusive nature of Hinduism and separate it from Brahmanism which lacks this inclusiveness much like other proprietary religions. Our law should make it mandatory for Brahmans to mention them as Brahmans and not Hindus just they way other sects of Hinduism like Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs are mention separately, to avoid this confusion.

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