Words matter: Dharma, not Religion. Shri, or bhai, Shrimati or behen, not Sir, Madam. Mithai, not Cake. Pluralism, not Secularism.
Words are powerful; let's be mindful of this power.
Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power according to dictionary definition. Religion is derived from the Latin religiō, and this concept doesn’t quite apply to what Sanatanis believe. Sanatani culture and practices vary according to regions, geography, languages and it is possible that every small town or village, clans, castes and jatis have their own devis and devatas. Religion is an external (western) lens which is often used to look at Hindu practices but there is no such thing as Hindu religion.
Hindu religion if we must use the word ‘religion’ consists of a variety of practices, beliefs, rituals, books, etc., and we have a myriad of devis and devatas as well as rishis and sadhus who guide us. Let’s not fall for the religion trap. We don’t have one god, one messenger, one prophet or one book. We have 100000000000 + gods, rishis, books. Sanatan beliefs are thus a dharma, a code of living, rather than a rigid religion. Our goal is seeking, not living in fear of one angry god.
Enough of the Sir, Madam stuff. This practice is worse than it probably was when goras were our masters. They left behind garbage and we took it upon ourselves to amplify garbage and live in it. We should at least attempt to use Shri and Shrimati when referring to men and women and retire the Sir/Madam colonial hang-ups. It is embarrassing to keep this hierarchical legacy going. Sir-madam is a British, casteist leftover and its high time we reject this garbage. We don’t live in the 17th century anymore and its time to decolonize our brains. We are all guilty of the Sir/Madam use and need to be mindful about using our own variety of terminology.
Mithai has gotten a bad reputation thanks to looney wokes and anti-dairy fascists. Mithai is our tradition and again, we have a variety that probably competes with the numbers of devis and devatas we worship! Mithai is something we should be eating on birthdays and weddings. Cakes are a foreign implant and somehow Indians are obsessed with cake cutting. This might be a a stretch but cakes are a Christian hangover that we need to start ignoring. Enough of the high fat cakes. Embrace the mithais; they are made with ghee, which is good for everyone – even those with extra pounds can benefit by intake of ghee from desi cows.
Pluralism is a concept which is built into Sanatan living. According to the dictionary, Pluralism is a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist. This has been described in the Rig Veda, and in the battle of the Ten Kings. The ancients formed the Kuru polity based on pluralism. The foreign term Secularism is not fit for any modern-day nations which emerged in the Indian subcontinent, especially India. While other nations around India have emerged as Islamic republics, India alone is made to drink the poison of fake concept of secularism where the tyranny of the minority prevails. Embrace pluralism and call out those who falsely wave the secular flag to undermine governance.
Words are powerful; let’s be mindful of this power. May we all be blessed by Ma Saraswati.
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