H C Singh

Hinduism-Its Origin and Philosophy

 The word Hindu is derived from river Sindhu. All those living around this river were called Hindus, originally by the Persians. Accordingly the country where Hindus lived came to be known as Hindustan. The place where Hindus live, where Hindu culture and Hindu language like Sanskrit and its offshoots like Hindi are spoken and written.

Hinduism is the oldest religion of the entire world. When the ancient caves of Mohenjodaro were unearthed in 1920’s, the first evidence of existence of Hinduism was also unearthed. It showed, Hinduism existed about 2000 to 3000 BC ie, 4000 to 5000 years ago. These also clearly showed the mode of worship of Hindu deities by the Hindus of ancient times.

It is significant to note that unlike the other major religions of the world, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Hindu Dharma was not founded by one guru or prophet. Hinduism evolved and developed gradually over many thousand years. Similarly Hinduism has not one but many sacred books like Rigveda, Dharam Shastras, Ramayan and Mahabharat expounded and written at different during periods of history.

Ancient Hindus, as outlined in Rigveda, worshiped nature and great objects of nature like earth, sun and waters particularly the sacred rivers like Ganga and Yamuna and their joining together (Sangam) at Haridwar ie, abode of God. Millions of Hindus even in these days go to Haridwar to pray and take dip, reciting rhymes or simply Ram Ram.

Followers and philosophers of Upanishads (around 700 BC) named the Supreme spirit that created earth, sun, water and mountains as Brahma. Brahma was omnipresent but formless. Followers of ancient Hinduism could not worship a formless entity so they invented various gods in humans and animals which they started worshiping. There are three male deities of Hindus viz Brahma, the creator of the universe, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva who is both the destroyer and regenerator. These three deities are also called Trimurthi.

The female goddesses of Hindus are Saraswati, the goddess of learning and the arts and crafts, Laxmi, goddess of good fortune and wealth and Shakti also known as Parvati and is called mother goddess. It is Shakti who in her destructive mood is known as Durga or Kali (mostly worshiped in Bengal). The other deities that Hindus worship, and there are Temples or Mandirs in their names, are Ganesh and Hanuman. In South India, Kritkaya and Subramania are worshiped more than the north Indian deities.

All Hindus, just as followers of other religions like Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism believe that it is only the body that dies, the soul from the body is reincarnated in another being and it never dies.

Ramayan and Mahabharat are the most prominent epics, that are read, recited and worshiped in modern times by all Hindus. Ramayan, as the name suggests, deals with the life of Lord Ram, Mahabharat with the life of Lord Krishna. In Gita (Geet Govinda) philosophy of Hinduism is apparent in dialogues between Krishna and Arjun. Here is one of the most significant passage from this epic, which will ever inspire all humanity even today:

 “The raft of Knowledge ferries the worst sinner to safety.” Bhagwat Gita

 “Knowledge is wealth” Vedas

Devotion and Ahimsa are the two main tenets of Hindu philosophy. Devotion in Hinduism means worship of chosen deity, chanting its name like Ram Ram or Jai Jai Ram. Doing good deeds, after visiting and praying in the chosen temple, like giving food to the hungry and helping poor and needy. Devotion’s ultimate aim is merger of soul in deity.

The other important tenet of Hinduism is Ahimsa. Ahimsa means non-injury to others, human as well as animals, because all living creatures have soul. It is now known as non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi made it driving force for struggle for independence of India from British rulers in early 20th century. Non-violence made, British to quit India in 1947. This philosophy has become relevant in the world to end imperialism or to get equality for coloured with the whites. This philosophy of non-violence and its success facilitated for the first time a coloured American (Obama) becoming President of white dominated USA.

It is pertinent to state that during 20th Century, because of the British policy of Divide and Rule and encouragement to Muslim League to fight for a Muslim dominated country of their own when they quit India, a sect of Hindus like Rss transformed itself, to an extent, abandoning Ahimsa ie, non-violence. These Hindus emulated Bhagat Singh and Raj Guru and later Netaji Subhash Bose, who being a Hindu differed with the Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non violence and took arms as leader of INA to compel Britishers to quit India. But vast majority of Hindus, particularly because of Vajpayee, founder of BJP, still believe in Ahimsa.

Basic purpose of brief analysis of Hinduism and Hindu philosophy from ancient times to present day is to emphasize that Hinduism does not advocate violence against followers of any other religion. Hinduism and Hindus have been peaceful for thousands of years. For last 1000 years or so they have suffered silently but have not, as a religious philosophy, indulged in violence even in retaliation. They have largely followed the Hindu philosophy of devotion and ahimsa for their own and others well being for peace and harmony.

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Hinduism, India, Indian History, Muslims, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hindutva – Its true meaning and implications

After defeat of BJP in the 2009 elections, there is much talk about HIndutva, whether it should be diluted to keep the RSS with BJP as its cadre party and source or to abandon it altogether to make BJP a truly secular so that it also attracts Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and other small minorities of India to make BJP truly All India Party and an All India challenge to Indian National Congress.

 The word Hindutva was coined and used first of all by V.D. Savarkar. “Hinduism is a religion that all Hindus follow with all the rituals and worshiping all the Hindu Gods, Lord Rama, Krishna, Hanuman and other regional gods whose statues are all over India and worshiped by devout Hindus. It also means respect and if possible knowledge of Ramayana, Mahabarat, Vedas, Shastra and other many millennium old Hindu or Vedic Literature. Hindutva also means that India Civilization embraces all those who live in India, to whatever religion they belong but they have to love Indian Civilization in contrast to Muslim Civilization as propagated in Mecca and Christian Civilization as explained and propagated by Pope of Rome.”

 RSS Chief K S Sudarshan in 2201 while addressing a large gathering in Hardwar said ” The time has come when both Muslims and Christians who are living in India should Indianize their religions. They should sever their links with Mecca and Pope and instead become swadeshi.” (The Tribune Chandigarh March 9, 2001) An extremist Hindu Brig B N Sharma (Retd) in his book, ” A Nation on Fire,” defines Hindutva as: Hindutva collective essence of ” Hinduism and is the end product of three elements, cultural nationalism, intense patriotism, and a pride in the collective memory of India’s past glory.” But Brig Sharma, as the title of book reveals, is not moderate but fundamentalist. He has ridiculed so called seculars who are more concerned with vote bank than with nation’s interest.

 If BJP follows fully and faithfully what K.S Sudarshan says then BJP can never become all embracing Indian Political Party where followers of any religion will be welcome, just as Hindus, without any discrimination. It is pertinent to quote Dr Chaudhary as under.

 “The seeds of pathological antipathy and diabolical hatred against Muslims and Christians in India sown by Savarkar have now fully fructified, thanks to the constant watering and manuring of seeds at the hands of the Sangh Parivar. It resulted into the shameless act of demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in 1992 followed by communal holocaust all over the country in which hundreds of innocent citizens lost their lives. Then came the systematic persecution of Christians resulting into the horrendous act of burning alive of an Australian Christian doctor engaged into healing lepers, along with his adolescent sons in Orissa.” (South Asia Today)

 If BJP follows Hindutva, in its full form with all the implicayions, it may attract towards BJP more and more Hindus with the active help of more than a dozen RSS volunteering organizations in virtually all fields like student and teacher organization, workers of industrial and academic fields, women and in tribal sphere etc,etc… But still it will remain only a Hindu Communal organization. To be a Secular All India Party BJP will have to dilute HIndutva and make it appear truly an Indian Civilization and part of all comprehensive Indian Cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic groups of whole of India.

 It was mainly Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s farsight and determination that transformed Bhartya Jan Sangh a Hindu Party like RSS into BJP an All India National Party like Indian National Congress and captured power in 1998 and ruled the country for full term of 5 years without virtual alliance with any party except Akali Dal as in Punjab. If BJP tries to be a truly secular party lot of uncommitted voters from religions and regions will support it.

 Since Advani’s praise for Jinnaha, when he visited Pakistan, without bothering to go deep into Jinnaha’s thinking in 1940’s and actions in 1946 to instigate West Bengal Government of Muslim League to abandon the rights and rules of and go ahead with ‘Direct Action’ which led to Kolkata Killings—it was certain that Advani should either quit BJP Presidentship and as leader of opposition, Lok Sabha, or would be ousted. Accordingly during early December 09, on the advice of RSS Chief, virtually little known in national politics, Nitin Gadkari 52 years old was chosen to replace Advani as BJP president. In Advani’s place Sushma Swaraj, who once contested elections against Sonia Gandhi in South India though lost but proved to be both daring and well-versed in parliamentary affairs, was nominated as leader of opposition while another prominent BJP young leader Jaitley was to continue BJP leader in Rajya Sabha.

 All these developments had to be stated in brief because both Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely are moderates and not enthusiastic about Hindutava. They are more interested, like Vajpayee, to make BJP an All India Party to include all Indians of all castes and religions. It is heartening to note that in his first interview on 20th December 2009, Godkari, new BJP Chief has said ” I would like to involve more Dalits, Tribals and Muslims in the BJP” He father said: “I would like to concentrate on youth workers and farmers. I will concentrate my polities of development at the national level.” If Godkari sticks to what he has said in this interview, it would mean dilution of Hindutava for BJP.

No doubt Muslim terrorists, jehadis of many hues and Taliban by their incursions and killings through suicide bombing like 9/11 in USA and 26/11 in Bombay have encouraged RSS followers, Israelis and some Christian Countries to give befitting reply. But for peace of the world and peace in their own country tact, patience and action are required as and when necessary. So far as India is concerned because of Indian farmers, skilled and unskilled labourers and since last two decades Indian technocrats and managers being in limelight particularly in USA, it is imperative that Indians shun fundamentalism of Hindutava. India must remain secular and India’s image should be that of biggest democracy in the world.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian History, Muslims, Pakistan, Pakistan's Origin, Creation and Turmoil, Political Commentary, Politics, Punjabi, Religion, Sikhism, Terrorism, World History | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment