The Case for Hinduism
The world’s oldest surviving way of life!
By David Hopgood – NZYogi
Hinduism as it is called, is not a belief system but a science of living. Having stood the test of time over many thousands of years and outlived 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 is a convenience of language and cultural understanding. Here are some reasons why Hinduism not only works in the modern age, 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)
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.
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 and only Hinduism welcomes unbelievers and atheists.
A Rationale for Hinduism as a Societal Structure.
Essentially as we have no actual knowledge of the who we are in terms of our where and why in the universe, we must fall back to questioning the essentials of our existence as has happened within Hinduism.
Firstly we are confined to planet Earth, to our physical bodies and to a lesser extent to a local area of habitation. While we have increased in numbers to populate the globe and establish social and trade networks, the latter are not essential for our wellbeing as local regions provide the nesseties for life.
The basic necessities are food and shelter with protection from hostile organisms perhaps lower on the food chain or less evolved in terms of having any similar ability to create on a human scale. But lets not forget all life has a similar innate intelligence as we do albeit a differently shaped capacity to survive, communicate and affect local environments.
Fungi is an excellent example of an organism evolving a highly complex and mutually beneficial communication system in conjunction with other organisms, and clearly humans are not the only evolved species and certainly not the most evolved species yet we may have the potential to become so if we could “get our shit together”.
Though we are highly creative, Humans so often invest more energy in seeking to control and acquire as per our perception and desires dictate. Yet our needs like all life form are basic, we need food, shelter and mates to breed with plus the social structures for education though learning to be responsible and creative is somewhat instinctive.
Hinduism offers the essentials of life in co-operation with a good educational structure and one aspect comes from yoga – the ability to know the workings of our inner consciousness and reverence to evolve this inner knowledge as a science corresponding to the physical sciences.
Evolution and Earth History.
While we may disagree as to the nature and origins of the universe, it is clear there was an evolutionally process that led to the formation of our solar system and life on earth. We may have evolved on earth as Darwin suggested or we may have evolved elsewhere and been planted here, whatever, we have been evolved and created highly sophisticated societies over a long time, perhaps 50,000 years or more.
These societies were destroyed during the Younger Dryas, a period when perhaps Earth was bombarded from space, the ice melted and sea levels rose. Within a few generations most survivors reverted to that of hunter gatherers and a great deal of technology was lost. Yet there seems little doubt that following the destruction, survivors of considerable standing taught groups of survivors the basics not only of survival but how to construct stable and creative societies with the technical ability to explore the visible universe and the importance of exploring our internal universe.
It’s my understanding that for a time the human world was relatively harmonious and governed by a sense of Dharma centred on a Greater India, but this was shattered by a dissatisfied faction who had succumbed to their more base desires and assuming the reality of the eyes and ears was the only truth. The leadership became aware of an inner spiritual need and in order to maintain control, they invented religions.
That was reflected in the biblical garden of Eden story in which greed became a dominant manifestation and continues to plague the modern world.
It’s said the some 15000 years ago various teachers appeared – they were perhaps the last of a lost civilisation who taught the basics of agriculture and society building though more importantly it was Shiva who’s focus was more on teaching the technology of being human and how to create a social structure where every individual could participate in the creation with equal opportunity.
The concept of Sanatana Dharma was born and a civilisation still existent today emphasises spiritual appreciation as a prerequisite and background to social structure thus creating a ‘flat’ or communal society with the only hierarchy being in the fields of spiritual, scientific and creative expertise. The phrase ‘as above so below’ reflects the fractal shape of nature and an increasingly common perception that reality can be viewed as holographic.
Hinduism emphasises that since we are born naked and can’t take anything physical into any afterlife that may exist, there is no point in collecting and accumulating stuff, rather we should better appreciate life, internal and external with our desires directed towards supporting life and the lives of our fellow humans.
In terms of the collective, life is democratic and otherwise communal with the wellfare of all a priority. In this regard knowing plantary history is important as a survival tool. By knowing sufficient numbers may survive any disaster and disasters are certain though we know not when as our memories are too short and with focus on satisfying selfish desires, the lessons from the past although drawn onto the landscape have been overlooked and whitewashed from history.
How to define Hinduism?
Given that India has been divided, occupied and plundered by hostile forces over the past 1200 years, it endures despite gross misrepresentation – false opinions that most accept as unquestionable truths. Life was never ‘universally perfect’ but most importantly the quest for inner knowledge and experience was supported, and that contributed to a great advancement in human understanding and the physical sciences.
(Sanatana) Dharma (Hinduism) is a social model to ensure the survival of
all our children and their children’s children into an unforeseeable future
while supporting everyone’s happiness and quest for personal liberation,
and the aquisition of universal knowledge while
enabling the participation of every individual
in the act of conscious creation.
It is only when you understand yourself from an internal perspective that you will understand Hinduism, for it is a celebration of life and a way of living in harmony with nature. Few people realise that thousands of years ago before Persia, Greece and Rome became empires, Hinduism was the primary influence in the world. It is from India that we get the roots of today’s science, technology and language for it is the mother of nations and civilisation as we know it.
There are masses of people today who believe they are educated, who know the world and the differences between right and wrong. Yet they remain unhappy because they believe what they’ve been taught within an unjust system where philosophies have been invented to justify the appalling behaviour of colonialism and modern economics where power triumphs yet victories are ultimately empty for the winners and devastating for the losers.
The uneducated and morally justified continue to suffer and often despise India and Hinduism as they are so attached to their ignorance and artificially inflated sense of self superiority. This ignorance and bad attitude toward life is destroying our planet and sending human civilisation toward extinction. Those in the developed world look at suicide and say how bad it is, but so few seem to care that we are through our attitudes towards life, committing mass suicide and dragging Hinduism along as well.
The simple difference between Hinduism and Abrahamic religions is that Hinduism requires no beliefs, Hinduism teaches that the human body and mind are the most marvellous and sophisticated gadgets on this planet. Because our sense perception is only experienced within our own minds, the universe as we perceive it actually exists within our own consciousness. Simply put, what we see around us is simply a reflection of our internal state of being.
In contrast, the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all require that people believe in something unknown and imperceptible that cannot be scientifically validated. A part of this belief package that must be subscribed to is that the world is external to our consciousness which causes the population to see themselves as something separate from the world, separate from nature and wanting to control life. But in doing so, while physical technologies and comforts have been achieved, there is no internal balance and this is what is driving civilisation to its own destruction.
Some learned opinions
1. Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
“Hindus and Hinduism will one day rule the world, because this is a combination of knowledge and wisdom”.
2. Herbert Wells (1846 – 1946):
“Until the effectiveness of Hinduism is restored, how many generations will suffer atrocities and life will be cut off, then one day the entire world will be attracted to it, on that day there will be a heart change and on that day the world will be inhabited.
3. Albert Einstein (1879-1955):
“I understand that through his intelligence and awareness he did that which the Jews could not do. In Hinduism it is the power that can lead to peace.”
4. Huston Smith (1919):
“The faith which is upon us and this is better than us in the world, then it is Hinduism. If we open our hearts and minds for it, then it will be good for us”.
5. Michael Nostradamus (1503 – 1566):
“Hinduism will become the ruler religion in Europe, but the famous city of Europe will become the Hindu capital”.
6. Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970):
“I read Hinduism and realized that it is for the religion of all the world and all mankind.” Hinduism will spread throughout Europe and in Europe, big thinkers of Hinduism will emerge. One day it will come that Hindus will be the real stimulus of the world. “.
7. Gosta Lobon (1841 – 1931):
“Hindus speak of peace and reconciliation. I invite Christians to appreciate the faith of reform.”
8. Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950):
“The entire world will accept Hindu religion one day and if it can not even accept the real name it will accept it by name only.” West will accept Hinduism one day and Hindu will be the religion of those who have studied in the world “.
9. Johann Geith (1749 – 1832):
“We all have to accept Hinduism now or later and this is the real religion. If I say no to Hindu, I will not feel bad, I accept this right thing.”
27 Reasons to know Hinduism on facebook.
The Abrahamic religions are all about domination and these ideas are misinterpretations of Vedic scriptures taken out of context and reshaped for political expediency and other environmental factors. In contrast, Hinduism is about harmonising with nature and working to understand the internal nature of being human which amongst other things provides a permanent solution to suffering referred to as liberation or enlightenment.
In our race to self-destruction we have reached a stage our evolution where if we want to maintain our current standard of living, we need several more planets to provide the natural resources. We also have to consider that the wealthiest 20% of the worlds population consume 80% of all produce and 1/3 of the world population remains hungry. Hinduism teaches how to live comfortably without destroying the world whereas capitalism and the free market economy which is the spawn of the Abrahamic beliefs is actually destroying us.
Hinduism is based on a science which is directly perceivable by all citizens and it requires very little in the way of administration. This allows citizens to become explorers within their own personal universe and when this occurs, a new age of peace and prosperity for all will eventuate, so why do we continue marching towards extinction?
Unfortunately, without understanding mantra saasthram, tantra saasthram, yantra saasthram and then their application with aagama saasthram , one cannot explain the figurines of any ancient Hindu temple and any historicity associated with them. All the four are difficult to understand without a guide teacher aka guru meaning education needs to be reshaped on the gurukul model.
Remember that Hinduism or the more appropriate term of ‘Sanatana Dharma’ strictly speaking is not a religion but a way of life. Yet when we look at it as a religion, then it is monotheistic despite outward appearances and commentaries of the ignorant.
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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Images from public domain.
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