Short Note on Hinduism:
Hinduism is a misnomer rather a colloquial term given by outsiders mainly Turkish and Arabs. Bharat i.e. India as it originally stood was separated from rest of the land by river Indu (later called Indus by English speaking people) in the West and Brahamaputra in the East. India was called by the name of river Indu. However, the Turkish & Arabic languages have no vowels & therefore they chose to speak Indu as Hindu. Thus, the term Hindu was coined. As a matter of fact the so called Hindus call all creatures on Earth as ‘Jeev’ and human beings as ‘Manav Jati’(human cast). The law governing human cast is called Sanatam Dharam which means Eternal Law/Duty/Etiquettes. (Dharma means all the three together.)
Core Principles of Sanatam Dharama
According to Sanatam Dharam, the world exists between Pralay to Pralay. There are 4 yugyas called Satyug, Treta, Dwapar and Kalyug. Thereafter, the world destroys itself which is Pralay (a kind of cosmic catastrophe which destroys everything ) and the cycle starts again.
In a way it is similar to the views of Stephen Hawking’s views on “Beginning of time.”Click to read his lecture on the subject.
When there was/is nothing, there existed a sound pronounced as Om. Om written in Devanagari (Hindi/Sanskrit) script is also a reverend Hindu symbol. Which is:
Since Om preceded everything, it is considered auspicious to write Om first on every thing from top of a letter to first page of accounts book, top of invitation card etc.
I wonder if it is the same as micro-wave noise said to filled in cosmic space.
According to Sanatam Dharam there are a trinity of 3 Gods : Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.These three remain at the top of pyramid while more Gods were recognized.
Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Manager and Mahesh is the Destroyer. These 3 gods are manifested in every element that includes human beings, animals, vegetation, Earth and even smallest particle of dust.
In other words creators and creation are unified. Creator is part of creation as trinity exists in every part of creation itself.
Brahma means creativity or origin of idea. Vishnu means speed or carrying on an idea and Mahesh is the inertia or the break on speed. Without optimum balance of the three, life remains in a chaos.
Yoga or the Union
Contrary to popular belief, ‘Yog’ is not just a form of exercise but the art of uniting or maintaining balance between the 3 elements of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh in every creation. Yoga is a way of balanced living in which yogic exercise constitute a small part only. Yoga encompasses entire activity of a person covering his entire life.
To balance these elements, three approaches flowed from here. There are not three water tight streams but often overlapping stream of rituals and practices. First was Vedic practice or following of vedic rules considered sacred. Second was Gurudom or to become a disciple of a Guru and learn balancing above three elements. Third option was to good old DIY or Do It Yourself. There never was a central authority like other religions which insisted on any one particular way of living. Of course if King decided to follow Vedic Jurisprudence (may be in a modified way) that was binding for public conduct. But there has never been any particular way of practicing religion. It is not now, it was not then. Worshiping of deity and creation of temples is part of third DIY approach.
But let’s fast forward from Satyug to Dwapar and see if this trinity rule is followed.
Mahabharata & Bhagwat Geeta
Bhagwat Geeta is that part of Mahabharata in which Lord Krishna (believed to be the complete incarnation of Bhrahma, Vishnu & Mahesh) was asked by Arjun as to why he has to enter into war with his near and dear ones?
In Chapter 18 there are few sanskrit slokas, one of which is as under:
त्रिविधा भवति श्र्द्धा देहिनां सा स्वभावजा
सात्विकी राजसी चैव तामसी चेती तां शृणु||
This roughly means that there are three types of human behaviours i.e. Satvik, Rajasi and Tamsi.
In subsequent slokas, the each type is explained. their food choices and many things based on these three types are explained. At one place it is explained that one can not and one should not try to shed his body type.
श्रद्धया परया तप्तं तपस्त तिऱ विधिं नरै:
अफलाकाड:क्षिभियुर्क्ते: सात्विकं परिछते||
Forgive typing errors in above slokas. The above slokas explains that an action done without expectation of result is the satvik action. In other words creation without any expectation.
Typing Sanskrit through transliteration from English is difficult. Hence not extracting it. Subsequent slokas explains that an action taken with expectation is Rajasik. But an action taken not thoughtfully or stubbornly causing pain to others is Tamsik.
Suffice it to say that these slokas point out the predominance of one elements out of three elements in each human type. The whole point of telling is to notice it obviously to balance it.
Aatman is not the same as soul in the western world. Aatman is “the Aatman” and is present in every thing. The Bhagwat Geeta used the world “aatman” not your or mine aatman. Therefore it is not soul.
Now lets fast forward to Kalyug or present time.
The Atomic age
What are the components of Atom? This is what Google search revealed:
“Atoms are the basic units of matter and the defining structure of elements. Atoms are made up of three particles: protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons and neutrons are heavier than electrons and reside in the center of the atom, which is called the nucleus.“
Another trinity or same trinity?
Wendy Donigar’s The Hindu:
Wendy Doniger, is a respected, elderly indologist in USA. A few years back, I stumbled upon his work titled ‘Hindus’ which inspired this article. The book was laughable at best. She simply could not take off her western glasses. West is so obsessed with the idea that religion starts a civilization that it just can’t understand it any other way. I read only half the book because it was boring and was more of a comparison to catholicism rather than a study of Hinduism.
But for the record, the fact that book had to be pounded, in India, due to law suits, is unfortunate. It was an insensitive writing but that is what west is and always was. The most unfortunate part of all western studies is a presumption that like all religions, so called Hinduism has to be based on some ‘myth’, the more foolish the better. The fact that now nobody actually knows what is core principle, it does not help either.
Treating rituals and practices as core or even periphery of Sanatan Dharma is a huge mistakes. Different rituals practiced at different places contradict for rituals are product of human thought.
Another point to be made that term Sanatan Dharma is often confused with NGO called Sanatan Dharama Sabha. Opposite to this NGO is Arya Samaj Sabha which in last century came into existence as reformist organization. It is a different matter that to regain popularity, former sprung back as even more liberal. But that is politics.