Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Case for Diwali: A reflection

Friday when I was packing my suitcase to visit my family for the weekend, my fellow floormates came in, wondering where I was going. Home I said. They asked why. I said Diwali. They gave me a weird look. Diwali? Whats that? I stared at them. How did they not know what Diwali is. And then I remembered. Hinduism is not an Abrahamic Faith so the Western World is quite naive of its key tenets. So here is Hinduism in a nut shell:

1. Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world.

2. No where is it written in Hinduism that we should be converting people and we do not actively do so. So if you meet white people who are Hindu, its because they chose it willingly. You will never really see some brown man running around saying "have you heard the truth from our god". No it is quite the passive religion when it comes to converts.

3. The term for one who follows the tenets of Hinduism is called a Hindu. Not Hindi. Holy crap, Hindi is a language for crying out loud. Hindu and Hindi are not the same thing. If you say Hindi while describing my religion, you are quite ignorant and may sound stupid. I am sorry. Just saying.

4. We are not a polytheistic religion. Think about our demigods as Catholics' saints. There is one power in our religion. His name is Braman. Similar to the might of Allah or Christ or Jehova. But we manifest his energy in idols so that one day you will be able to see that God is everywhere.

5. God to us everything. It is empathy. It is nature. It is love. It is music. Everything on earth is holy. Even those we consider evil. They make poor decisions, but they are not bad people. That is why there is no such thing as Hell in Hinduism. There is a perpetual cycle of life and death(reincarnation)until one attains moksha. Moksha is bliss and eternal rest. The path to enlightenment is not linear like Abrahamic faiths. You can attain moksha through bhakti or devotion, tantra (yes this is a sexual way to attain moksha. You harness physical desire until you tire it out) or through meditation. These are just some of the ways.

6. There are so many different levels in Hinduism. It begins with idol worship. The final battle of Hinduism is to look at your religion and denounce its very existence and say that God was always within us and feel it.

7. There are many holidays in Hinduism. One includes Diwali. This holiday is the celebration of lights and we light candles, a symbol for knowledge.

8. We have several texts in Hinduism and it is a religion full of knowledge. Did you know that the Pythagorean is found in the Brama Sutra written by Bramacharaya. In Hinduism since everything is holy, math described in religion is not a weird sight. There are several holy books. Thousands. Some of the main ones include the Vedas. These are instructions for life. The Upanishads, famous philosophical discussions between teacher and student, and the Gita, a beautiful narrative about the complexities that are actually simplicities in life.

There is so much more in Hinduism and I hope this has interested you to look into Hinduism and want to know more. Hinduism is one of those religions that have stood the tests of time because of its lack of demand on conversion in my opinion. People have been attracted to it by its strong principles that are so fluid and resonate beautifully. If you are still interested, here is a really cool video to understand what Hinduism is. Nothing is wrong with being ignorant about Hinduism. Its cool that you ask and are interested in it.
This is on reincarnation

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