Saturday, January 12, 2008

The religion that Hinduism is

I am no prophet, I am no expert in religion, I am a normal Hindu who believes in what she has understood in all these years. Whatever I am going to write in this article are my personal feelings and might not be pleasing to everyone's sentiments because that is not what I intend to do through this. I only intend to vent my long suppressed feelings about what I have been seeing happening around me in the name of religion. Apologies if these thoughts hurt anyone.

Being born and brought up in a 'liberated' Hindu family, ('liberated' because I was never forced to practice my religion but left on my own to understand it and accept it and practice it the way I want to) with each passing day I am appreciating Hinduism more. My present surroundings, living with Christians in a Christianity dominated country makes me rather unwillingly compare my religion with theirs every day. Religion is something I wish to talk about the least, as I feel they are very personal feelings and are meant to be enlightening to oneself the way they believe in it, while here it is more of convincing others to feel enlightened the way they have felt it. How can you make somebody go through the experience you have gone through? I don't doubt the intentions behind such a deed, they believe that anybody who is not a Christian has probably not gone through such an experience, not "born again" as they say, and so think that if persuasion can change my life, make me feel God and help me get born again then what's wrong in that.

But what I don't understand is that why do they need to persuade somebody to feel this. Can persuasion ever generate feelings, enlightenment cannot happen by somebody coaxing you everyday, it has to come from within- on its own. In a class a teacher teaches the same things to everybody, but everybody grasps the material differently through their unique ways. Then what's the need of persuasion, instead why not ask our Gods to be that powerful that they can communicate without the need of anybody to persuade. Hinduism does not need persuasion to be followed. Nobody asked me to be a Hindu, I picked it up because I appreciated its open-mindedness. It is subtle and yet so profound to me. I don't bother myself if people around me are enlightened about Hinduism or not, it's not my job to persuade them about my God and ask them to go through what I have felt, my God says that it is His job and He takes care of that. I want to believe in what I believe without having to wonder why others don't believe the way I do.

I was recently reading an article in which the Christian missionaries in Orissa were attacked, my immediate reaction was of disgust, then on further probing I found that they were attacked because they were alleged to persuade Hindus to convert themselves into Christians. This made me think for a while. Myself experiencing the extent to which this persuasion goes, telling those poor villagers that all your miseries would be taken care of by God if you become a Christian is not something I would disbelieve. So the anger seems justified to me, though under no circumstance do I justify the way it was vented. Then how does one vent these thoughts, by writing a blog which only a couple of people read, or by giving a speech which only tens of people hear. I am still to find an answer to this.

I have come to accept that people need religion, or rather I would say that they need a faith to hold on. In times of distress and failures in life, this faith helps one from breaking apart, and so it is to some extent essential to make everybody aware of the existence of this faith. But one needs to decide to what extent do we want to persuade somebody in accepting that faith, when should we let that person decide on his own about what to do next. There can not be any Government censorship on this, only moral censorship can work. Tolerance to accept whatever the person chose for himself is needed.

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