The world's oldest surviving way of life!
Hinduism as it is commonly called is not intended as a belief system, but a science of living. Having stood the test of time over many thousands of years and outliving all civilisations, it continues to grow, flourish and evolve.
The word Hinduism correctly stated is Sanatana Dharma meaning the 'Eternal Way' or the scientific method by which humanity may survive and thrive into eternity. In contrast our experts are saying that humanity is on the verge of extinction because we choose to act on beliefs instead of knowledge.
That Hinduism is referred to as a religion and Hindu's as followers of Hinduism
are a convenience of language and a cultural misunderstanding. Here are some reasons why Hinduism not only works in the modern age,
and why it will continue in the centuries to come..
1. Hinduism never uses force to convert
The first empires of the modern age, Greece, Rome, Egypt and others believed in gods that gave them the right to conquer neighbouring kingdoms and kill populations for economic and political supremacy, and personal pleasure. Little has changed as that's how our world works. Religious conversion still plays a key role in the expansion of the Christian and Islamic empires along with beliefs as to particular political systems being the best way to govern.
This was never with the case of Hinduism although there have been those who abandoned Dharma for power and worldly pleasures. There are many tales of cosmic battles as we find in the Mahabharata, however they are stories with a philosophy and message behind them, not something meant for propagating Hinduism. Over many thousands of years, Hinduism quietly chugged along and it was widely adopted across all of Asia because it is logical, scientific and it addresses all human concerns.
2. The original democracy
Hinduism recognises human psychology and the desire for everyone to be happy. As such, Hinduism provides the means for every individual to be secure, healthy and happy. Therefore Hinduism is democratic without the need of an authoritarian leadership. Instead Hindu civilisation had the counsel of the wise men and women, the scientists and scholars (Brahmans) who maintained the history and advised how to avoid mistakes of the past.
Hindu society was communal without private land ownership until being introduced by the British, women controlled the family wealth and the citizens enjoyed a high standard of education with a 95% literacy rate and excellent health care focused more on preventive medicine.
Within the science of Hinduism it's recognised that our perception of the world is somewhat illusory, because we are sensory beings the entirety of our worldly experience only occurs within our own minds and the physicality of our existence reflects energy and motion. These ideas are for meditation and deep reflection yet they also contain the keys to happiness.
The knowledge within Hinduism gave rise to our modern sciences, language, numbers, astronomy, metallurgy, medicine, agriculture and so much more including the science of yoga.
The science of yoga teachers how to discern the truth from the false, the real from the unreal. It is the path of liberation and freedom from the multitudes of suffering that people experience in their daily lives.
This scientific approach to living aims for optimum human well-being with the ultimate goal being full self-realisation of one's human potential also referred to as Moksha or liberation. This approach to life creates a stable society and gives individuals the opportunity to pursue pleasure if they choose or to work towards Moksha and the ultimate freedom.
Zero, Pie , Planetary Positions, Speed, Shape Of earth , Structure of Solar System, Rules of Physics, mathematics, Existence of Atomic and Sub atomic particles etc were discovered long ago in ancient India.
"The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, no doubt by accident, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still" ~ Carl Sagan (astronomer and author)
"There's a catch 22 situation.
Religions have certain rights and protections.
By disowning the term religion, Santana Dharma
has found itself on the defensive fighting all kinds of situations.
Sanatana Dharma is a religion which is based on science." ~
4. A celebration of life
Within Hinduism there is the recognition that we live in a miraculous and wonderful universe of which we only understand a very small part. There is an understanding that all life coexists and although humankind can exist as the top predator and the highest form of animal, this does not satisfy the human need for the expression of happiness, joy and bliss.
Therefore all life is celebrated from the potentiality that began creation and especially to the feminine, divine and mundane because it is from within the feminine that new life emerges. Therefore every mother all the way back to the mother of mothers is celebrated.
Psychologically offering gratitude and praise, celebrating the existence of other life beyond oneself is one of the keys to unlocking happiness within oneself. Even if one has no disposition towards any Hindu concepts, expressing praise and gratitude are antidotes to suffering.
5. Hinduism is open to multiple interpretations and multiple paths
While Hinduism broadly recognises one God as the potentiality that gave rise to creation and a guiding principal in life as kindness, there are many valid ways of interpretation and application. Hinduism also has many God's and people are free to create their own because there is no God within creation other than the potentiality of creation which were thousands of years have stood the test of mathematical logic and reason. The primary principle of creation is referred to as Shiva-Shakti but all the other gods may be seen as points of perception fulfilling roles within human consciousness.
There is no requirement to believe in any God and belief itself is not thought very highly of because one can believe in any nonsense likely to be untrue, therefore one is performing self harm. Religions/beliefs prescribe a rigid formula that worked when the people didn't think much and accepting rigid ideas was a comfort. Today people are better educated so rigid ideas and unsubstantiated beliefs don't fit in the new millennium.
6. Hinduism is open source
The people who came up with the ideas that developed into what we call Hinduism never stopped asking where, why, what or how? They wanted to know where we were in the universe, where this universe was in relationship to perhaps other universes, they wanted to know our true nature and why we were here. They used logic and reason, they developed mathematics and calculus giving rise to acknowledge of our solar system and place in the universe.
Hindu wisdom is contained in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Ramayan and Mahabharat which are the most popular books of Hinduism. They contain their own philosophies which changed as the centuries went by because we learned. Animal slaughter existed in ancient Vedic times but we have learned that vegetarianism is a healthier life option. Hinduism is not static, but the most dynamic way of living in the world because it's responsive to life and new knowledge. Like the open source software movement, Hinduism too is open source.
7. Hinduism supports feminism
Gods and goddesses feature with equal measure in Hinduism and there is no god without a goddess. If Ganesh Puja is the life of Mumbai, Kali Puja is the highlight of Kolkata. The river Ganga symbolizes the goddess and Vaishno Devi is a top pilgrimage centre in North India. Shakti is woman empowerment. Shakti is the power of the feminine divine which can be tapped by both men and women.
Says the Shaktisangama Tantra...
Woman is the creator of the universe,
The universe is her form,
Woman is the foundation of the world,
She is the true form of the body.
Very few traditions in the world talk of the feminine in such a fashion. In Hinduism, at the divine and cosmic level, there is nothing to distinguish the masculine and the feminine.
8. Hinduism doesn't define a Hindu
There is no definition of a Hindu other than as a geographic region and one cannot become a Hindu. Nor is there any procedure to stop being a Hindu. Anyone and everyone can embrace Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). It's as simple as that. The most powerful concepts in the world are free to walk into.
9. Hinduism has over one billion adherents
Despite Hindus not forcefully converting or propagating Hinduism all over the world and other religions trying hard to convert Hindus, Hinduism is still flourishing and growing. There are one billion Hindus in India alone. Nepal has 81% Hindus. There are sizable Hindu populations in Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Hindus are doing extremely well in Americas to. They are a very small population there, but they're one of the most successful communities in North America.
11. Hinduism is more spiritual than corporeal
There was a time when religions believed they had all the answers to questions like how the universe was created. Why the world was the way it was. Why Nature went forward in a certain manner. But now people are much more sceptical, to say the least. Religion survives in the twenty first century purely due to its spiritual side. Yoga itself is a huge discipline little understood by most. Hatha Yoga has been around for thousands of years. It was developed in the twentieth century and today has millions of adherents all over the world. But the deeper Raja Yoga (union with the Supreme itself) could prove to be much more powerful in the years to come. Peace of mind is what is sought in the modern world today. The concept of
"Shanti" has been around in Hinduism since the ancient world. Hinduism is a very deep philosophy: It has many levels. You can keep peeling layers one by one much like an onion. The philosophy is vast and you can spend a lifetime just scratching at the surface of each and every concept.
"After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world,
I find none so perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophic, and none so
spiritual as the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. The more you know
it, the more you will love it; the more you try to understand it, the more
deeply you will value it. Make no mistake; without Hinduism, India has no
future. Hinduism is the soil into which India's roots are struck, and torn of
that she will inevitably wither, as a tree torn out from its place. Many are the
religions and many are the races flourishing in India, but none of them
stretches back into the far dawn of her past, nor are they necessary for her
endurance as a nation. Everyone might pass away as they came and India would
still remain. But let Hinduism vanish and what is she? A geographical expression
of the past, a dim memory of a perished glory, her literature, her art, her
monuments, all have Hindudom written across them. And if Hindus do not maintain
Hinduism, who shall save it? If India's own children do not cling to her faith,
who shall guard it? India alone can save India, and India and Hinduism are one."
~ Annie Besant (1847-1933), English theosophist
12. The Spirituality of the new age...
All this means that while some religions are finding themselves becoming more and more irrelevant in the Internet Age, it will definitely not be the case with Hinduism. This dynamic and evolving way of living will always remain contemporary and offer something for the modern individual to live his or her life.
We will change it and it, in turn, will change us. This feedback loop has been going on for thousands of years and that's the way it will be in the new millennium.
Now that the age of beliefs, empires and colonialism is diminishing because these have been found wanting, Hinduism is finding greater and greater appeal in our modern era. People don't want to be told, they want to discover for themselves. Hinduism fits the bill perfectly. Unlike religions, Hinduism will become more and more relevant as we go forward as only Hinduism welcomes unbelievers and atheists.
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