As Old as the Hills

Hinduism is as old as the Hills.

Radhakrishnan, a former president of India on one occasion, made the following statement: “Hinduism is more a culture than a creed”

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan believes that Hinduism is an umbrella where everybody including atheists and agnostics could take shelter.

Mahatma Gandhi believed that Hinduism allows everyone to worship God according to his own faith or dharma and this allows it to live at peace with all other religions…

Why is Hinduism called ‘A way of Life?’

Because it prescribes three different Paths determined by the personality of the Spiritual seeker.

The Path of Knowledge (Gyaan), Devotion (Bhakti) and Action (Karam).

All the Paths must eventually join into one main Highway, the destination of which is, a higher state of being, which some prefer to refer to, as merging with the Infinite.

Hinduism teaches that man’s true worth is gauged, more by what he is, rather than by how much he possesses.

However contrary to popular belief Hinduism does not condemn enjoyment as evil. Pleasure is to be fulfilled as richly and aesthetically as possible.

There is no founder to Hinduism.

It did not start with Rama or Krishna.

Even though they are considered Incarnations of the Lord.

The Hindu Dharma emerged from what the Great Sages perceived intuitively.

Hinduism is also called the Sanatan Dharma, which implies that Hinduism has no beginning or end.

A Hindu may worship one god, many or believe that the whole of Creation is worthy of veneration, as it mirrors the Presence of the Almighty.

Hindus do not advocate fear of God neither are they bound to believe what the Scriptures propagate.

As a matter of fact most of the Scriptures are based on Spiritual questions posed by students and answered by the Masters.

The most worshipped one, is The Bhagvad Geeta, where Arjuna does not follow Krishna’s advice until the latter is convinced.

The point to note is that at no juncture did Krishna lose his temper or threaten him with hell if he were not to heed the Divine advice.

Sanskrit, the Language in which the Great Hindu Scriptures are written, is the oldest and richest mode of expression known to mankind.

It has 65 words for earth and 70 words for water.

As such it possesses the right word to express the true import of, be it the subject of literature, poetry or/and philosophy.

India gave to the world its first University. Takshashila!

From it benefited not only Indian students but those that came from far off lands like Greece, Syria, China…to study Vedas, Medicine, Surgery Astronomy…

India gave birth to the concept of the zero.

Shushruta practiced Plastic Surgery on Indian soil over 2000 years ago.

And with amazing results!

Besides the above I have read that Indian astronomers were able to calculate the amount of time taken for the earth to orbit the sun 1500 years ago.

You, my reader will no doubt say but this is our past, what about the present, the future?

Swami Vivekananda says:

“It is out of the past that the future is molded, it is the past that becomes the future. Therefore the more the Hindus study their glorious past, the more glorious will be their future…”

Symbolism In Mahabharata and its Spiritual Insight

Kishore Asthana

 The ‘Mahabharata’ has a deep underlying symbolism.

Imagine Draupadi as the human body.

The Pandavas, the five senses, are wedded to it.

Their first cousins, a hundred in number, the Kauravas, are present in the form of the tendencies of the mind.

 Yudhishthir thinks that he is a good gambler and so would win over the Kauravas.

The senses also think that they can win over the tendencies of the mind.

The Pandavas keep gambling till they lose everything, including themselves and their beloved wife, Draupadi. Likewise, we lose everything when we gamble with our tendencies, and, like the Pandavas, end up in spiritual exile.

The body is demeaned, like Draupadi was, and only divine intervention can save it. However, our body does not abandon us, even when we lead it into exile.

 However, there are some good tendencies also. There are many good people in the Kaurava camp. But, Krishna advises Arjuna to kill all of them, implying that all tendencies, both good and evil should be exterminated. They are already dead, he says. You are only an instrument in making this evident.

 If a person has to gain enlightenment he must overcome all the tendencies of the mind, good or bad. These do not have an existence, apart from what we have given them — they are already dead. However, we keep them alive by our own acts, and, by our own acts, we can kill them all. Only then will we be free.

 Kurukshetra is the world in which we live this life, witnessing a war between our senses and our mind’s tendencies.

 Dhritarashtra symbolises the mind, which gives birth, in a sense, to our tendencies. He was blind — as the mind is to its tendencies. His wife, Gandhari, was not blind but chose to blindfold herself. Even when we have a choice to see, we choose not to see.

 None of the Pandavas were born of their mother’s husband, Pandu. Their mother, Kunti, had been given a chant, which invoked various gods who fathered the Pandavas. The Sun was the father of Karna. Dharma, the god of duty was the father of Yudhishthir and Indra the king of gods was the father of Arjuna. The god of wind, symbolising strength, was the father of Bhishma and the Ashwini Kumars were the fathers of Nakul and Sahdev.

 Our senses are basically part of our divinity, the instruments born to keep us in this form. The original name of their mother was Pritha, signifying Prithvi, the Earth, and she took the name Kunti when Kuntibhoja adopted her. So, the Pandavas were born through the conjoining of the Earth and the divine — the body and the spirit.

   Karna was born of the Sun-god and the Earth mother. He is a symbol of our ego. Like him, our ego is also armoured. Only the guru’s intervention could get the armour removed. Similarly, the guru helps the seeker in killing his ego.

 Krishna’s form, too, is symbolic. Deep blue is the colour of eternity. It is the colour of the sky, and of the deep ocean. Yellow is the colour of the earth. A deep blue god-image enclosed in yellow clothes symbolises the spirit clothed in the body. Krishna, then, is a symbol of the body and spirit, a symbol of you and me in our enlightened form. When we become aware of our true self, we realise that there is no difference between us and Krishna — or Vishnu, of whom he is an incarnation, as, indeed are we.

I say:

We, as Hindus owe a great debt to the Great Sages who left us an inexhaustible reservoir of knowledge and Wisdom.

We could repay that debt partly by helping in re-instating our Religion and Country to the pinnacle of Glory it once enjoyed. I would feel amply rewarded if this humble effort of mine helps us in out taking one step in that direction.