To explore Hinduism is like an attempt to count myriad of stars on fingers; various Scriptures and the metaphorical words that have drastically changed meanings over time invite several enthusiastic scholars to taste its dynamism. We can’t compile them all over a piece of paper.
Therefore, we are willing to snatch the core principles of Hinduism that guide us to live an ethical life in pursuit of our ultimate goal– happiness.
Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, and “a way of life“. However, the term ” religion”, a western notion, is inadequate to deliver every aspect of Hindu beliefs and practices. Sanatana Dharma, its ancient name, meant to ensure continuity of humanity on this planet with spiritual sustenance. The importance of Dharma or duty can be well understood by the very essence of the Hindu belief– Purusartha (the ultimate goal of a human).
Purusartha consists of four elements: (a) Dharma (B) Artha (wealth). (C) Kama (pleasure). (D) Moksha (liberation)
Whenever any conflict occurs, Dharma is considered important over Kama and Artha in order to attain liberation (Moksha). So, one may ask, what is Dharma? What is the relevance of it in contemporary society? How many Scriptures do I need to study in a bid to gain a complete understanding of Hinduism? Why do we need the teachings of the Vedas and/or, the holy Bhagavad Gita?
Well, thousands of articles are flooded with the answers to the above doubts. If we had an instrument to check the temperature of religious faiths and beliefs, it would have exploded with a bare touch. Despite these divine teachings, people merely walk with a glass of empathy. I don’t see any calmness on their faces; they look disabled with Suffering. So, let us explore what exactly lies beneath the ineffectiveness of the divine lessons.
1. Untouched with the actual teachings
The story of social evils– untouchability, discrimination based on gender and caste– still persists, even in this neoteric society. The development of a society depends upon the indices(human dignity, condition of women, treatment of animals) that have long been shadowed by such practices. The why can be traced in the concept– First come, first served. Allow me to explain it.
The first idea, practiced without being scrutinized, is more likely to get cemented in our mind. If followed further with the same intention we lose interest to question it, thereby accepting it as a hardened truth. Therefore, it is essential to grab a full-proof idea so that it doesn’t harm the dignity of others.
Our culture owes its origin to the Vedas. But, nowhere has it mentioned the term “caste”. Though two terms closely considered are- Jati and Varna. It is interesting to note that the way we use these terms today is not the same as described in the Vedas. Nayayasutra explains “Samaanaprasavaatmika Jaatih” or those having similar birth sources form a Jati. For instance- various animals like Lions, goats form different jati. And, entire humanity forms one jati.
Also, there are incidents that highlight Varna as a matter of choice… Consider the example of Ravana, who was born from a Rishi, but became a Rakshasa. And, Matanga was a son of Chandal but became a Brahmin.
Suffice to say that we keep a distance from actual sources and let our minds believe in half-baked truth.
2. Ignorance is bliss?
Let’s talk about love. Undoubtedly it is the most beautiful thread that can bind together everyone with its magical spell. But, sadly…it is not found in the air anymore. All we inhale is air polluted with personal desires. The result…we suffer from the disease of conflicts, betrayal, and expectation-paralysis. Pick up any example of suffering, from oral-war to nuclear-blow, ignorance plays the deciding role. Our desires invite ignorance of others’ demands and needs.
The Bhagavad Gita says, “While contemplating the objects of the senses, one develops an attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire, and from desire arises anger.
Again, Krishna says, “He who has no attachments can really love others, for his love is pure and divine.”
It is clear that when it was raining love, we took out our umbrellas; and now, when we should find it within ourselves, we are rubbing our noses against the polluted air.
We need to change the way we treat ourselves. To do this, we need a teacher. And, a teacher should not be the unexplored ideas that can harm the dignity of others. Whether it is a Hindu scripture or the Bible, the teaching should follow the path of morality. To quote Krishna,
“He who does not make others suffer… that one is very dear to Me“.