The original science and key to our survival as a species
Hinduism addresses human needs and I would recommend that you read part one before continuing. Remember that Hinduism or the more appropriate term of ‘Sanatana Dharma’ strictly speaking is not a religion but a way of life.
I would remind you that what is called Hinduism arose from two elements of human need beyond base survival. The first need was knowledge, to know ourselves and our relationship with our universe. The second need is how to live harmoniously and endure as a species.
One of the peculiarities of being human is our thirst for knowledge, we go to great lengths to know, to understand and to make sense of ourselves and our environment. This need is so great that we often give in to ignorance and create beliefs which are philosophies to justify our actions that are not necessarily based on any truth or reality.
The second point is about living harmoniously, about developing the skills and tools for survival, health and well-being. In our modern world circa 2017, the general thrust of civilisation is for short-term survival and immediate self gratification which overshadows and is destroying all life on this planet.
Before Hinduism there was yoga. Yoga is simply unity or connectedness although today most of us think of it as being a system for self-realisation. Throughout our evolution, yogis have been and remain the natural scientists, men and women with a burning desire to fully comprehend what it is to be human. As such they developed systems of physical and mental exercise that have led all sincere aspirant’s to success and a deeper perception of the human condition.
Traditionally these self accomplished men and women between periods of introspection have travelled and turned their attention to the world around them to improve the conditions of life for their fellow human beings, their families and communities. Hinduism evolved from this work and sharing of wisdom. While the yogis understand the nature of our existence at the level of quantum physics and many other aspects of nature beyond what modern science has achieved, they also understood that human beings, that is you and me and all life on earth are confined on this planet. They understood and seek to preserve the abundance of nature because all life is a symbiosis and interdependent. It has been the teachings of the yogis that have helped to develop agricultural practices harmonious with nature, who helped to develop the medical system referred to as ayurveda and shared simple yogic practices such as the appreciation of life and how to balance internal forces within the human body and mind to produce health, mental clarity and equilibrium.
Hinduism evolved recognising that we reside on a small planet on the spiral arm of a very remote galaxy within an inconceivably huge place we call our universe. While a great many yogis have understood the nature of the universe, some of their knowledge has given rise to modern technology, but one of the greatest appreciations is in the uniqueness of being human. This uniqueness of being human is not something that can be explained and understood at an intellectual, emotional or physical level, it can only be experienced. In our modern world access to this experience is becoming increasingly difficult because populations are being oppressed and more than half the world’s population are slaves to their debts, another aspect of modern life based on belief.
Let’s summarise; Sanatana Dharma that is often labelled as Hinduism is a way of life whereby people can live in harmony with nature, without destroying nature and at the same time support the journey of those who seek self-realisation and the ultimate freedom from suffering in this life. Another fruit of Sanatana Dharma is Buddhism which is designed to appeal to the thinking and more rational mind but in essence it is another form of yoga.
While accomplished yogis may understand the nature of existence and experience a total freedom from suffering, the majority of the world’s population exists within a state of self-created suffering that has been perpetuated over the countless generations of our existence. We call this karma or the action of cause and effect. There is nothing particularly mystical or spiritual about karma, it’s simply a fact of life that every action produces another reaction. For instance if we continue to pollute our environment to the extent that it destroys our bee population, we will all starve to death. Similarly if we continue to dump all our trash in the ocean, it will continue to poison our food supply and by polluting our atmosphere, we will suffocate. While many people take themselves for granted and believe the universe revolves around them, these people in fact become antilife, they are a reflection of the Satan in Christian myth destroying the environment with toxic wastes, polluting the atmosphere and chopping the forests and other actions which will soon result in human extinction.
In contrast, Hinduism is the flower of life. It teaches that the Earth is sacred and with a proper understanding that has been validated by modern science, we can build a civilisation that will endure for tens of thousands of years into the future. When we look at our brief history, a great many civilisations have sprung up and failed within a few hundred years. China and Egypt which have been held up as models of civilisation building have only endured a slightly longer degree of success and at great cost.
However Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism has endured for at least 10,000 years and for the past 1400 years the region has been under foreign occupation yet Sanatana Dharma continues to survive despite all the forces actively trying to destroy it. When the Moslems invaded across North India and down through Indonesia, Buddhism was insufficiently robust to survive the onslaught. But Hinduism continues to survive Moslems, colonialism, capitalism and other forces that seek to wipe Hinduism from the earth.
Before the arrival of Islam and Western colonialism, Sanatana Dharma was a primary influence across Asia giving rise to the great monuments like Angkor Wat and the civilisations of the Americas. Even the origins of Judaism and Christianity along with languages and modern science all have their roots in ancient India. If there had been no India, no Hinduism, no Sanatana Dharma, we would not have had the sophisticated scientific knowledge from which we create all our technology and we may not know there is an alternative to suffering.
The original science of yoga which has helped to shape the nature of human enquiry and continues to do so gave rise to Sanatana Dharma, a way of living in harmony with nature and each other. If one is to think of Hinduism as a religion, the core practices are respect and appreciation of life outside of oneself, compassion and generosity. It is only by expressing gratitude that we can release joy from within. It is only by forgiveness that we can begin to free ourselves from our less fortunate karma. It is only by relaxation and the internal reflection known as meditation that we can know ourselves as being part of life.
It is only by knowing ourselves as part of life that we can learn to coexist and create a stable future for ourselves and our families. It is only by acting in accord with nature that we will leave the Earth a habitable place for future generations.
If you are not already a Hindu within your own heart and mind, Hinduism is not really a religion, it’s a way of life and a way of being in life. Therefore you cannot convert to become a Hindu, there is nothing to believe in and in effect you become the scientist in your own experiment of living. This is not so difficult, simply expressing your appreciation to someone else without any attachment releases feel-good chemicals in your body.
Get to know the divine within and become divinely expressive.
Giving praise and expressing gratitude facilitates a peace of mind and joy that comes from within yourself and these actions help to create a harmonious life free of suffering. These actions don’t negate life’s little challenges, but they make them easier to pass through and generate less negative karma.
Many tourists and travellers to Asia and other impoverished regions are often astounded that people who don’t have a proper home, who often go hungry appear to be very happy and content with their life that outwardly seems so dreadful. There is no place in Asia that has not been touched by Sanatana Dharma and over these thousands of years, even though the people have little, they are happy to be alive and to know something of the magic of being human.
In the affluent Western world, the natural joy and spontaneity is often extinguished in children by the age of four or five and like their parents, a great many will die in misery or drug induced comas. The Western world prides itself on its achievements but forgets how much it owes not only to the culture and science of Sanatana Dharma, but the material wealth of the Western world was built from looting and the karma from this is suffering on a global scale.
If human life is to continue on this planet, Sanatana Dharma must regain its status. Guided by natural science we can make the world a peaceful place, continue to improve our technology and even visit other stars in our universe. Think about it, can you transcend an existence based on belief for an existence based on natural science where you are a participant and a vital part of the whole?
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