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Thursday, September 30, 2010

People will find their way

What did I tell you? It's a controversial subject!

Here are some of my further thoughts after reading some of the comments:

One of the great beauties of Hinduism is that there is no rush.

What if Hinduism really is the best or only path to God? Maybe it is. (It certainly is the best path for me personally). I do not have to go around desperately convincing people of that. I don't have to rush to make sure that people know about this because the clock is ticking down and human life is short and it could be too late for billions of people.

If we want the freedom to choose our religion and our path, then we have to grant that freedom to others.

You only know what is best for you. You cannot go into your brother's head and know what it is like to live his life. Our choices about our religion are for us alone and I am so grateful for that. I would not want to live in a place where it is illegal to not be Christian or Muslim or what have you.

I know that Hinduism, as a whole, with its complete package, is my path.

Even as wonderful as it is, with its rich philosophy, beautiful mythology, and ancient traditions, it may not be the best path for every human being.

I cannot know what the best path is for anyone except myself.

But again, there is no rush. Because if Hinduism is the right or only path, eventually everyone will find it. There is all the time in eternity for that to happen. People are born again and again, so don't stress about it.

Tandava commented on the last post that people might choose unhealthy things for themselves if left to their own devices. I say, let them. Let them learn what is best for them by trial and error. How else could we do it? Could we tell people that Hinduism is healthy and so they have to be Hindus "It's what's best for you, dear"? Should we legislate religion and tell people what they have to be because they would pick poorly?

Hec no. If we tried that, as a minority in Britain and America, it would go the opposite way. The others would legislate that we had to be Christian, as the majority in those countries believe that to be healthiest.

People who follow religions because they've been told to are not very enthusiastic. To carry on Tandava's food analogy, I went through years of not eating vegetables and eating sugar whenever I could get my hands on it because sweets were so heavily restricted in my childhood. I resented that I wasn't allowed to have them and I over did it when I was out on my own and could make my own choices.

Then my body started feeling lethargic and not quite right. I began to actually crave fresh vegetables. It was an unexpected feeling. Now I eat healthy most of the time and I love it. It feels good, it makes my body feel good.

But I did it because it felt right, not because someone told me that I had to. I never would have done it if someone was telling me I had to.

Have trust in people.

Many go years living a hedonistic life, but find it dissatisfying and look for and find meaning in religion. But many of them had to go through that pleasure-seeking time. Otherwise, how would they know? If all you do is deprive yourself and you never try out things that seem fun, you run the risk of being more bitter and resentful than joyous.

And the point of religion is joy.

People will find their way to what works for them eventually. They will try many, many things. If Hinduism is what works for everyone, then they will find their way to Hinduism. If Christianity is what works for everyone, we will one day all be Christians and be glad of it (I know, hard to imagine!)

So, don't stress.

You trust yourself to find your way and other people are no different from you, they are just as capable of finding their way.


  1. Great and ever-relevant topic/post. Can Hinduism, which at least in a practical day-to-day setting allows for simultaneous existence of multiple valid pathways to God, co-exist with Islam/Christianity which not only state that their path is right, but that other paths (path shown by Mahaveer, Buddha and Krishna) are wrong? I do not think so...there will be a point when exclusive monotheistic faiths will either kill/convert Hindus or else ask for a separate country as Pakistan and Bangladesh did. I for one feel that there ought to be only atheism/agnosticism because religion cannot be proven in an empirical/scientific way or else there should be polytheism (no one path can be proven, so maybe all paths are right) in a country. Unprovable exclusivist monotheism ought to be banned in any country because belief affects action and hence individual belief can affect society at large.

  2. I just was watching the coverage on Indian news channels following the Ayodhya verdict...all the news anchors were falling over themselves questioning that India/Hinduism being secular/tolerant, etc. should we have both a mosque and a temple in Ayodhya. I wonder if these same anchors will have the gumption to ask Muslims to concede some land in Mecca for the building of a pre-Islamic civilizational structure there or the Catholic Church to concede some land in the Vatican for some pagan structure. It appears to me that secularism/tolerance in India is a one-way street to be expected only of Hindus. I just got depressed following the coverage and switched off...Anyways...just wanted to get that off my chest.

  3. I must say I have cough up on your blogs I was ref to your site by someone on my site and I must say you have very good points. On this post I agree with you we all have to find our way no matter what it is and sometimes density steps in to help guide us to where we need to be. Some of us learn through trial and error as well you are right on that one. Yes we did have enerty to figure things out and in the next life as well

  4. KalBhairav, I actually have a post a little ways back about my belief that Christianity and Islam, though forceful in their conversion techniques, will never wipe out Hinduism.

    My reasoning is that Hinduism will exist as long as people are getting a benefit from it. As long as people love and choose Hinduism, it will be there. Thousands of years have not managed to wipe it out.

    And if not a single person on the planet gets anything good out of a religion, then it will fade and that will be fine.

    That will not happen to Hinduism. Hinduism is too good for it.

    I know how hard it is to see both Islam and Christianity trying to force everyone to agree with them. But we can hang tight and survive. I imagine some enormous show down between the two of them someday and we'll be sitting back quietly and waiting for the dust to settle.

  5. Great to have you here, Nickelo! Feel free to chime in any time with your opinions :)

  6. The dance of Shiva is sometimes hard to follow (in all meanings).

    Yes, absolutely everyone will eventually find God and attain moksha. This is not just a random wandering, like a drunkard's walk, staggering in all directions eventually coming to a lamppost. It is an unfolding, a slow realisation. It may start out without deliberate direction, but eventually people will eventually come to a path which they are meant to follow.

    Of course people should not be forced or legislated to follow a path, but we should make it clear to people that there is a path. If we give the impression that it does not matter, everything will lead to God, then some people will become confused, and maybe have many bad experiences or bad births.

    I think we need to be clear, we have a path to God. It may be right for other people or it might not. You are not forced to follow it, but if you want to become more aware of yourself as a spiritual being and of God then you will need to make an effort to follow some path.

    A guru of the Nandinatha Sampradaya once said that religion should be offered like sweets on a plate. People should be free to take them or leave them. But if someone comes and licks the sugar off a sweet and drops it on the ground we should at least tell them that they have not tasted the full thing

  7. @Tandava
    I agree with you, who are we to certify that muslims and christians can find the truth using their faith, that’s sheer arrogance on our part. We don’t know that do we? They don’t reciprocate the courtesy and that additionally they condemn and characterize hindu faith as demonic and false. We must say we can find truth thru our sanskrit scriptures and gurus and stop there. Refrain we must absolutely from mentioning other faiths.

    Please be happy the pseudo-secular govt/court gave something to Ram. Archeological investigation confirmed a preexistent mandir there and that scientific conclusion has saved at least some real estate for poor beleaguered Rama.

  8. Hello Aamba,
    Prajakta here..This comment is for your post 'Raavan-movie review' on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.
    I really don't agree with you on this. 'I thought that perhaps this re-imagining of Sita is too dangerous to a culture built on telling women to be like Sita and follow your husband no matter what, be quiet and loyal. Strong female characters are threatening.' Now people in India treat women as equals..I am a Maharashtrian girl. I am a software engineer by profession. I am going to have an love marriage with a boy who is not of my cast. & I have loads of cousins who got married in other casts. So things are changing or I would like to say that things are already changed. But as applicable to any other place there are exceptions. And a movie getting good reviews or bad is a really complex thing in india. No one can predict it. So please remove your concept of Indian women who are just housewives & the ones who don't have any opinion. Its a mutual relationship.Also I want to tell you that Sita is not a symbol of just a quiet & loyal wife. She is symbol of Ram's strength. She is symbol of purity. She is strong. She was a independent women who decided to support her husband. If you see Urmila who was Laxman's wife did not follow him to the forest. A wife standing beside her husband is not weak. I thing she is most courageous person & her belief gives strength to her husband.

  9. Hello Prajakata. You say woman are given equal status in Indian socity.You could not be more wrong.You call Sita a strong woman but the same Sita was ditched by Ram. And What about Draupdi ,who continued living with her 5 husbands even after cheerharan. Indian woman never had any choise.And a married Indian woman liking someone outside marriage is unthinkable.

  10. Hello Ella,
    You are talking about Sita & Draupadi..How many years back it was? Have you visited India? On what bases you are talking this? I gave my own example..Didn't u read that?& for your information there will surely be exceptions...for everything in this world...Ram ditched Sita...Ohhh yes he did..n as a woman I don't agree to that...But that doesn't make Sita's contribution as a woman any less...She did her part right..Of course a woman or for that matter a man, liking someone outside marriage is unthinkable in any society..But theses things are happening everywhere in this world now..If that's what you call a good religious value or equal rights or forward thinking then I am sorry I disagree...

  11. Hello Prajakta.I m an Indian woman and I live in India.And you know very well that situation has not really changed all that much. As for you marrying for love, well there are many love marriages happening and honour killings are happening too.
    As far love after marriage was concerned I was talking about movie Ravan in which Ash feels attracted to Abhishek in the end.
    I also think that Sita was the strength of Ram . But Ram as a man leaves much to be desired and what bugs me is that ppl dont often talk about that side of Ram. Neither do they talk about Draupadi, who was never given a choice.
    Sorry about the spelling mistake writing your name.

  12. Okay, Tandava, I concede that indeed we should not suggest that doing whatever you want will get you to God. But I still believe that people know within themselves if something is getting them closer to God or further away.

    Thanks, Prajakta, for putting your comment here, sometimes it takes me a while to find old comments. The comments on that review I think really put me in my place! That was a theory and a guess, but most people who have seen the movie tell me that I'm wrong and it's just that they think it's badly written. So I guess it comes down to me having a poor taste in movies :)

    And Prajakta and Ela, I think you are both right. Progress has been made and more is needed. Also, India is an enormous place with many different people and beliefs and behaviors. Women's lives are better today in almost all parts of the world, but there is still a long way to go.

    I am so proud to be a woman and I hope that we can continue to grow and help each other become even greater.

  13. I'm going to be nice here, but in the future could we have a little less Ram bashing. Ram did not just "ditch Sita". It was a sacrifice he HAD to make. I personally feel Uttara Kanda probably was a later interpolation as the content stick out like a sore thumb.

  14. Yes, there are many versions of Ramayan and many believe that Uttara-Kanda is a later addition to continue the story.
    Kings and Queens in those times had great powers and greater responsibilities. Both Ram and Sita knew of their Dharma. So Ram chose RajaDharma(duty of a king to keep subjects happy) instead of PatiDharma(duty of a husband towards his wife). In several Hindu texts, we have this situation called Dharmasankat (where one's Dharms in different roles are in conflict with each other). Everywhere it was considered better if the individual sacrifices his/her comforts/rights for the greater good.

  15. @ Tandava

    It seams the words that escaped me flew across the channel and landed on your lips. That was exactly what I wanted to say but could not quite put together :)

    @ SM

    Exactly! Even if the Uttara-Kanda is not a later interpolation we must look at it fpr what it is, a study of owns own Dharma/Duty and Sacrifice. It's not like Ram tossed her in a ditch to never think of her again. He used a gold statue in her image to do rituals and thought of her often. Then if you look at it from a spiritual point of view, Ram could never cast her aside as she is his Shakti they are aspects of the one. So perhaps as humans in bodies distance separated them, in reality time and space have no bearing over their divine souls.

  16. Agree with Kodanda and SM,
    Today the British Royals have a separated constitution and all other Brits one of their own. The British Prince and Princess must only marry one from Rayal Descent. Prince MUST marry a virgin, princess Diana was a virgin at the time of marrying Prince Chales. The royals have to follw the rules laid down for them. Besides Rama did not marry another woman, did he? His own dad, Dasaratha had 4 wives, what prevented Rama to get another one? Because he loved sita so much, there wasnt room for another in his life.Rama was known for the majestic man of ONE word, One arrow and One wife.SURYA

  17. Ela, you have to study the epics little more objectively. Draupadi was the lucky one to get 5 most eligible men of that yuga. Dharma Raja, Bhima, Arjuna and Nakul, Sahadev. Each one of them are known for their valiant and virtuous qualities. Besides the arrangement was very civilized, an exclusive period with one and only one husband in any given period. Force and embarrassment was out of the question. Mind you Royals/kings millennia ago were permitted polygamy. As a woman would you not consider this a classic example of EQUAL RIGHTS? Polyandry to Draupadi, I mean.

    Fast forward to 2010. The President(Prathiba), Speaker of parliamant(Meira), Leader of Opposition (Susham Swaraj), leader of ruling political party (Sonia), Chief minister of the largest state (Uttar Pradesh) are all WOMEN.Even the Prime Minister MMsingh is a nonhindu.Its a land of contrasts most certainly.tHE Overpopulation is dragging it down, really.SURYA

  18. Draupadi is my personal hero. I like how strong and in control she is, I love that she saved her husbands during the dice game.

  19. @ Surya .Are you trying to deny that India is not a male dominated country .You have given so many examples of successful women but what about the common women on street. Uski zindagi kitani badli .Bahut kam. Usko freedom ehsaan ke taur par milti hai birth right ke taur par nahi. Par tum nahi samzhoge kyoki ek aadmi yeh baat samzh hi nahi sakta.Bye

  20. Surya in history text book we are teaching that when Draupadi was brought to the court for cheerharan she puts the question to Drithrastra if Yudhisthir had a right to bet her for the game when he had already lost his freedom.He can not answer clearly and there were many opinions to it in the court so all of them were set free. Now I dont deny that Draupadi was the strength of Pandavas but were they strength of her. In the same passage we are teaching that this arrangement waslooked down by brahmins and this practice was not encouraged.I would love to have five husbands provided i choose them and not my mother in law.


  21. I'm sure there are aspects of being a woman that men cannot understand and there are also aspects of being a man that we cannot understand. There will always be some amount of communication gap between the genders.