Why Hinduism, which has more to offer than most
is only third in number of followers?
Om! 'Why Hinduism does not spread' is an issue of interest (to me too). Were I to stay in the village of my birth, I would have to die with the impression that the whole world is Hindu.
Hinduism (H) does not spread because Hindus don't spread it. Why not? Briefly, because Hindus didn't want to. I was born in it, I was supposed to just do it (not talk). Gita recommends propagating transcendental knowledge among devotees. Is transcendental knowledge so easy to have and tell, and are there devotees around? Legendarily, Hindus prefer not to be missionary. Too proud to let others come in, fear of pollution, inferiority complex, fear of offending? Why to put seed if field is not ready? Why to give alms if beggar doesn't ask? Many Hindu practices are done individually rather than group worships. Is ganging up religious? Spreading one means shrinking or conquering another. There is lack of publications and education to remove these thinkings. Spread of religion can lead to offence and hatred. To counteract is another thing. Hindus avoid showing that theirs is the best pill. Different people wear different clothes. Basic goal of all was the same. Am I supposed to tell them that their clothes are no good and that they should get like mine? This is not weakness but pure sense, especially when no one has shown the presence of God in his religion and His absence in any other. Hindus feel that religion of a man is between him and (his) God and that all humans have own religion in which they are born, hence no need of prejudice or intolerance. Hindus themselves were not into changing religions. Hindus don’t advocate that there is no salvation out of their religion. They consider different religions as different ways to the same destination. Even within H itself there are different ways for different minds to reach the destination. There is no condemning to hell or scaring for not following H or for reading scriptures of other religions. There is no threat to those who leave or criticize H. Thus there is more free emigration from but restricted immigration into H. By no means do I mean that we should create fear to spread H. That is not (our) dharm. Our belief is that whenever and wherever there is decline in dharm or excess on (our) dharm, there come avtaris and the situation is fixed. Look the beauty of the belief that if there happens to be only one God, it/he/she cannot be the one that takes care of the people of this or that religion but of all. Does the child after birth declare who is its mother and then only mother takes care of him? If we are the particles of the same Supreme Being, then this religion or that religion are only identification marks given/taken by humans. Hindu kings perhaps had no need to spread H because everyone around and in the kingdom was Hindu. However, religious environment has changed, and without active effort, there may be only emigration from H which will not be caught up merely by reproduction. No following no religion and hence extinction. Reaction to action is karmgati. Thus Hindus have begun to feel the need to spread H, partly thanks to the missionaries and activists of other religions!
H does not spread because we have insulted our priests and we still do. I feel that there is unfair criticism of Pandits who perform Hindu ceremonies. Instead of defending (clarifying) H from bashing by non-Hindus, the fence has eaten (eating) the field. Picking on, publically disobeying or insulting Pandits does not do any good for the health and spread of H. Non-Hindus, if see it, are only rendered less interested. Do you think that #1 and #2 religions had spread without priests (and their primed missionaries)? These ministers and missionaries also attack Hindu priests because they know that priests are the carriers of a religion and if these pillars are weakened, H house will fall by itself for them to make the next move. Many Hindus are neither aware of it nor actively worry about it. Grihisthi Hindus are passive and informal in the name of religion and the Pandits who make us formal and active, receive not praise and good offerings but criticism and scorn. Some of us can't like Pandit's discipline and requirements (talking respectfully allows flexibility) and to avoid it or get even, we begin insulting the thin, unarmed creature. They don't realize that the benefit of religious activity goes to the host, Pandit is just to help, and that he came because you invited him. During Vivah sanskar, if the wedding couple pays attention and remembers the 7 conditions that Pandit explains to them in Lagan-Ved, the couple will not fault in grihisth stage of life. So if Pandit works as a professional, just like a school teacher, doesn't he deserve wages? Pandit has family to support (too). We can’t go to Haridwar if we are Narsi. I have gone to keertans where the so called 'ragis' insulted Pandits as 'maya de pukhe' but after the keertan the eyes of the same ragis were intent near the harmonium where people offer them money. With limited exposure, Hindus think that only Pandit takes money. Is wedding in a non-Hindu religion free? Is visit to a church free where even the donation bowl is put in your hand? Were Jerusalem's Lavists and Persia's Majis less corrupt, or fond of Laxmi? We are too sensitive to other religions and their people but the least to our religion, its people and priests. Pandit is the banner of Hindu pump and show which matters for sprading it. We see it in all religions. Pandits need, but are not given, respect and encouragement. I have not seen Pandits prohibiting any one from talking about (spreading) H. I have enjoyed and learned from theological discussions in groups of various castes and Pandit(s) at marriage, yagya etc. To the extent he knows, Pandit loves to tell about H provided he finds shradha and ears. In place of conducting research to gather evidence to support our scriptural statements, we dare call them andhvishvas. Only in 20th century did genetic research showed inbreeding depression in children from marriages between closely related individuals. Pandits had been disapproving marriages between the same gotar much before even the birth of science of genetics. Do we praise them for this gyan and advice? Why do we have to only criticize? Missionaries of other religions are going gali-gali like snake charmers while we are criticizing our Pandits. H doesn't get anywhere by blaming Brahmins of the past, if they have done any wrong(s), some of which could be imaginary, concocted and excuses from worshipping or for promoting own mat. Yes, if Pandas in tirthsthan or priests in some ceremony are thought to be in error, educated and more exposed Hindus can respectfully help them make aware how their errors affect H negatively. Wisdom doesn’t dictate burning the whole old but wonderful quilt because it has one or a few lice in it. Brahmin bashing or getting carried away by anti-Brahmin propaganda only takes away (some) Brahmins. Panditya (priesthood) is otherwise not a lucrative profession. Due to all this, very few children are adopting this profession. We don't find students in our families or villages whom we can sponsor to study Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures (I tried, somewhat). Some of us consider ourselves smart or modern in criticizing own religion, people and Pandits because no one will oppose or hurt us. On the other hand, we plus people of other religions are scared of criticizing other religions for fear of violent reaction. We have left preaching to Pandits and their criticism to ourselves not realizing that preaching can be done not just by mouth but also by writing and that some of the major scriptures of our religion have been written by non-Brahmins. Who were Rishis Vyas and Vishwamittar? So the excuse that Brahmins don't let others preach is pure agyan and cya. In India's many rural areas, people of all castes sing bhajan together, and when invited, none asks their caste. On Hindu New Year, some sing door to door. During navratre, people of just any caste take prabhat pheri. In fact, the first batch of Panditya course which includes several non-Brahmins and dalits Hindu bhais is ready to graduate from Sanskrit Sanstha (HT, May 8, 02).
Spreading religion in general and H in particular is not easy. Some scorn, some insult you while still others ask questions you have no vision of. Prophets suffered for doing so. Who can (want to) go door to door, say, in Pakistan or elsewhere with Geeta in hand? More pertinently, were spreading dharm by maryada easy, Lord Ram did not have to leave for banishment. What for Lord Krishan had to bear Shivbhaktan Gandhari's shaap? A grihisthi fears harsh reaction from the offenders or blockers of H. Reaction can be hatred, loss of job, physical abuse or even murder. Who would take care of spreader’s family if someone killed him? Do we have a mechanism to employ bhikshu willing to sacrifice their lives for dharm prasar? H being a way of life, has the message that the world would be a better place if it makes daily life as its religion yet this message does not reach people who might be jigyasu or shradhaloo. To spread religion through the backdoor under the pretext of 'help' or by force to boost the statistics is another thing but is that religious? It is not easy and effective to convince those about H who hold belief that theirs is the only path and that the rest of the religions are not to be read or listened to and that H is pagan and demonic? Do we have devoted, motivated full- or even part-time pracharak? Do we have resources?
Spreading H may not be everybody's business or courage either in the sense that apart from self or induced desire to be a preacher, rigorous training and discipline are required which are hard especially when the profession has been disrespected and bashed even by ignorant Hindus themselves. Is it right to act as quack to spread religion? It is not a simple question of taking shower with shampoo, dress up nice and go door-to-door with with (which one?) in hand. It is easier to preach simple, single chapter(s). H is a book, a big and complicated one. By Occum razor's principle, people go for the easier thing. Look how rigorous training Guru Chinmayananda had before his Guru blessed (permitted) him for prachar? Supposing someone is eating his lunch which is meat and you are eating your food, would you tell him about H if he shows interest when those are the only moments you two have? Dharm prasar needs sound spiritual and other works which we can't/don't do or we shy away. We don't feel deficient or guilty of not performing our dharm. How many of us quickly accomplish the dream of worldly prosperity, and then go for spiritual growth and dharm prachar? Pandits, gurus, swamis all do what they can but these exalted individuals are not interested in membership drives, and they want commitment and purity also. On the other hand, most of the intellectuals and writers are less willing or can’t devote time and effort. Are there (plenty) volunteers to go to these 'chargers' and get charged to do what they can't/don't do?
We don’t do our homework. We don't read scriptures of other religions and then observe people of these religions as to how close they stay to their scriptures. If we study their scriptures, we pick up only the good things and use them as appropriate. But some other people read or observe our religion to write nasty comments. Some of them worked with our Pandits only to later write, even books, to criticize our religion and joke at our priests. Internal and external criticism of H have resulted into inferiority complex among Hindus. We don't realize that all religions have (common) problems, H is not unique in it. In case of bad publicity in the internet or otherwise, Hindus or their sects are not competitively vigilant and active to clear the air (even though Vishnu Bhagwan ka kia ghat gia jo Bhrigu ne maari laat). Have you seen postings like 'Hinduism not fit for humans' on deja.com? Indians are (perceived) poor whether in or out of India. Who listens to the poor? Rather poor is expected to listen as people are largely help seekers not gyan seekers and poor can’t buy ‘spread’ although it is not always that people of other religions don't change their view if we clarify to them. On ‘Jeopardy’ 'luck' was taken as the correct meaning of 'karma'. I wrote to Mr. Alex Trebeck that that was not the right answer and that millions of viewers might be thinking that Indians (Hindus) count on their luck and may be that is why they are poor. Karm was then understood to be act, work, performance, deed as per letter received by me from Jeopardy. Everything negative in India is understood to be due to H because India for many is Hindu whether it is fight between people of two castes or dowry dispute even though fights between people of the same caste for the same cause are there, and people of other religions and of some other countries also give dowry and have categorization of societies causing even worse problem(s). Do we rebut or clarify all this? The 'Spread' road does not form without clearing bushes, thorns and stones.
Culturally, majority of Hindus are (more) shy in showing H. The children shy away even more. Exposure of H in the 'competitive market' is thus minimum. We don't let people know about Hindus' clean history and the richness of H. When we can't/don't show, wear, sing, tell our religion, make no new temples, how can non-Hindus know? How can young Hindus, especially those growing not among other Hindus sustain their religion not to talk of spreading? Hindus miss opportunities of visibility. One time, a church had invited speakers from different religions. To our dismay, the Hindu speaker did not show up. Even when we lecture/speak, we forget to give reference to our scriptures. We fail to make impressive presence. When a visitor from Faridabad came to lecture on Ayurved, there were only 4 people in the audience. We don't celebrate the religion with a visible pump and show ( not needed spiritually). Open religious celebrations give exposure. This matters even more in what’s called competition. We have maximum number of religious days for celebrations but there is less engagement. Even in India, several religious festivals remain regional and don’t spread to other states or regions in spite of TV. We subconsciously leave religion to Pandits, women, children and elderly. Many of us pose modern by adhering less to religious identity, largely for the sake of convenience. How many of us have first or last name 'Hindu' like 'Islam' and 'Christian' in #1 and 2 religions? We are so shy that several of us even avoid naming our children by typical Hindu names. With a typical Hindu name, you know that people can know that you are a Hindu. Once that is there, you would hesitate less in doing, supporting, defending and even spreading H. Additionally, as your Hindu name enables people of other faiths to judge that you are not having the same religion as they do, the interested ones might get more interested and talk to you. Adaptability and peaceful living of Hindus in all corners of the world itself can make H attractive provided people can know (without asking) that we are Hindus.
We are better in knowing/buying than in telling/selling. Many of us have known that Bible, Koran are the religious books of Christians and Muslims, respectively. To how many non-Hindus have each of us made known that Ved, Upnishad, Geeta are Hindus' scriptures? H does not have as much visibility as Christianity, Islam and Judaism in the West. Our visibility is so low that after WTC attack, while President Bush invited Muslims, Christians and Jewish religious leaders for meeting and prayer, Hindus were ignored. Did (any) Hindus created any cloud? How many of us emailed to him as suggested and email address given by India Tribune? Life history of Kiran Mai, wife of Pirthi (Hindu), tells that Hindus even in Akbar's army used to say ‘Lakshami-Narayan, Sita-Ram, Radhe-Shyam’ to greet each other. Today, we seem to be replacing Namaste and other Hindu/Indian ways of greeting. So, how can H remain even known, not to talk of spread? Non-Hindus are interested in our etiquettes. Some greet me with Namaste and I have made them understand its meaning and basis.
To spread, organization is crucial, and money and membership are needed. H is known as an unorganized faith. There is perhaps no unitedly planned effort to spread H. Organizations that are there, try their best to serve and preserve H but they probably can use all the help and support. There is lack volunteerism. On the top of that, there is more criticism of the leadership and less praise and cooperation. Is it not Indians' weakness to keep the forefinger out on anything that their organizations do? Also, we don't join the organizations, sometimes purely to save membership fee money. Some disagree and don't renew membership. There is no peer pressure to join. Laxmi runs the world and without moral and financial support, organizations dry out. Many of us don't know where to send money for dharm prachar. It is not mandatory either. Major temples in India are controlled by the government and she doesn't spend the income on prachar(?). We don't empower ourselves, our evangelically-oriented Hindus or Hindu organizations to be missionary. We form small-small domains, even in small towns of the west, on the basis of geographical area of India, language or even sect or caste. Kaal (time god) being limited, that small group is enough to socialize in an attempt to cure loneliness, homesickness or religious need. No strong linkage is formed among different Hindu groups nor there is active attempt to assimilate Hindus from other countries into Indian Hindus. Thus people of other religions gang up while we gang down. Our kids (ABCD?) make time for Indian movies brought by India associations but not for religious gathering and if such associations try, the minority members object. There are not very many formal pooja places for Hindus, especially in karmbhumis away from janambhumis. We put shows only on major occasions, like Diwali, Holi, in the West. Even to organize these, we argue and annoy one another (not unique only to our associations). We are rich and well-known for spirituality. We don't organize to show, talk or tell it. We thus don't cash on it. We lack common H command on various groups nor all the groups understand H overall. I remember how some disciples of Dadaji would come, show his video for about an hour, eat and leave without devoting even 5 minutes to think and talk about what we saw in the video. On asking couple of them what H is, they could not tell. Their hectic life made them draw strength from one chapter and not from the whole book. We do H under different names/groups instead of under the name H. Lack of organization of these groups as part of H gives H less visibility. Adversities teach lesson. Aurengzeb taught it to our ancestors but we forgot (statute of limitation?). Jews were not organized until holocaust. We don't realize that nurturing dharm is dharm (too). There is only passive effort to bring the basic philosophy of all sects of H to the foreground (Indian Tribune, Chicago, Oct. 27, 2001).
Whereas religions are more and more into dog and pony shows, Hindus have not kept up with this competition. We get or are given donkey load of official and domestic work. Thus we run out of breath and/or do not make time for religious activities. In the absence of our joint families around, there is no reminder and in the absence of organization, there is no pressure. In the nucleus family living overseas, the children are happy/busy with TV, schoolwork and electronics. Our wives are not trained to be religious leaders. Do we celebrate Hindu new year? Do we follow or even know Hindu calendar? Do we have organizations to forward Hindu cause, defend criticism, handle bashing or rebut propaganda, including that on the internet and of its associations, or to interconnect people and strengthen/expand the framework of different associations or groups? When in majority, we are not under pressure to spread. When in minority we are too inhibited to perform. So where can be the fruit without karm? If inside India we want to look like foreigners by appearance and overseas we cannot dress up as Hindus, we would remain Hindus spiritually but not influentially.
Criticism of own faith may lead to adaptation and H allows/tolerates it but eventually these critics dissociate taking Hindus with them. In the present day context, for example, ask Radhaswamis (or Nirankaris for that matter) if they are Hindus. A common answer would be that there is no caste or religion in Radhaswamism. Find out the religion of the families these people come from. Most of them are Hindus. So, here you have Hindus going to no religion. As history has shown, for one reason or another, this sect could develop into yet another so called religion. I don't know if such sects/groups preach H or own mat within or out of H. There are yet other kind of Hindus who when in company of people of other religions, boast to state that they like all religions. Their vulnerability becomes known. Next thing you know, they have been made of different religion because most people have or are given one or another religion. Nehru said that H is so contradictory that it does not look like a religion. He was a Hindu. What's the religion of his family today? Perhaps Hindus are the most frequent victims of this subconscious emigration.
Significantly, the missionaries of other religions are busy in converting Hindus into their own. Thus emigration cancels out or exceeds any immigration. We don't cause immigration but let the emigration happen. Missionaries keep making dents in H. They have targets to achieve. They are not allowed or are afraid of recruiting in some other countries, so to earn livelihood or realize mission, they aim more at Hindus and their poverty. Prophets of other religions preached to spread religions and their followers have been following the tradition. Kings like Aurengzeb converted Hindus to his religion. Hindus never did it. Rather king Ashok did the opposite (if Budhism is not a chapter of H book). Hindus hate aggressiveness in pushing their religion, culture or values on others. May be we do not want to shun this saintly way unless must. We also are not opportunist to run to places where there is vacuum and opportunity of converting and making a name. How many Hindus are going to China to do that after she became somewhat open to religions? Hindus also go where help is needed or orphanages occur such as earthquake, flood, disease but not under the banner of H like missionaries. We think that if the motive is there (to convert) then according to H, this help is irreligious.
Lack of (imparted or self) dharmic shiksha and hence of H knowledge hence of confidence is another area that comes to mind while considering the causes behind the non-spread of H. When a Hindu can’t tell (much) about H as if it is an embarrassing thing and acts as if s/he doesn't care, the listener concludes that this Hindu doesn't know much. If the non-Hindu listener happens to have a missionary tendency, which is usually the case, the Hindu would end up in listener's formal religious place. Stories, miracles, myths, legends are there in all religions. Many of us know only our religion and start disbelieving not having the gyan that such things are not typical of H alone. Followers of other religions believe firmly, blindly or because of fear of backlash whereas we don't and there is no fear of disobeying in H. We don't take stand about these stories, myths, miracles and legends. Rather we appear shaky and on the sideline. This posture is not good for the spread. Once the missionaries detect that you are a strong Hindu and can converse well about religions or at least your own, they leave you alone so far as conversion is concerned. Knowledge is the best dagger. Do we possess it? Are our children acquiring it? How many conferences, seminars, talks, presentations are there on H or under H umbrella? Compare with other religions. Masses of us remain ignorant. A gazetted Hindu officer from India sent me a 'Merry Christmas' card but no 'Diwali card'. I asked him, " How many Muslims say Happy Diwali to other Muslims, and how many Christians greet Shivratri to other Christians?" He got the message.
Another reason why H does not spread is that we don't advertise H. How many radio stations play H music, Geeta sermons, reading/lecturing with reference to H scriptures. What about loudspeakers and temple bells? Do we have any Hindu TV station? How much we know of Hindu newspapers and magazines? Are they in the libraries? Do we buy and read them? Do we submit articles to them? We are not excited about putting dog and pony shows, particularly in the name of religion. We consider this kind of yard sale unauspicious. If it has to be, it has to be learned/acquired behavior. We don't devote time to defend media bashing of H which makes people less interested if goes unrebutted. It is unfortunate that if you don't bash others, get ready for being bashed even in the arena of dharm. A religion that does not make it to the media, lags behind in the 'spread race'. Various organizations offer Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless in Chicago, NY, LA as well as other places under the name of their religions but we do as Indians. So whereas other religions get exposure, H does not. There is nothing wrong doing together as Indians but we here are looking into the factors 'why H does not spread'. People develop love or hatred depending on whether media terms active Hindus as Hindus, devotees, leaders or extremists. Radio hosts like Dr. Laura Schlesinger, would tell, whenever she has the opportunity, about sinagogue, Sabath, Hanuka and that she is a Jewish and some of the people when get good impression about her could go for Judaism. On the other hand, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dadaji, Mata Nirmala (Hathyogin), followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, HRHK devotees as well as we ourselves shy away from referring to H. The information about H to the west then is brought only by western media, Pat Robertson, Southern Baptists, Tony Brown and other missionaries, and some of you know what that is.
When we invite people, Hindus as well as non-Hindus, for a dinner at home, do we do pooja? Do we share our prayer with others? Do we invite/take our friends and acquaintances to temple, if there is one nearby? We are not enthusiastic about welcoming or welcoming back people from other religions to Hindu cultural heritage. A Hindu who converted to Islam said, " I converted because in Islam you submit to God, not to idols". Innocent and ignorant are not taught that in H also you submit to God. What is Bhaktimarg of H? Many of us don't know and don't tell others the power and basis of deities (which is another topic). Whether a child born in H ceases to be (counted) a Hindu is yet another thing (to wonder about). Since we pay our gratitude to the deities and number 1, 2 and even Jews and all except Pagans are prohibited of thinking of idols, so they feel guilty in showing interest in H and in converting to it. This by no means to say that Hindus should not exercise their freedom of deity worship.
Last but not the least, we don't keep our scriptures in our homes. How can a person of another religion know that we are Hindus and help him in his conversion to H? We don't realize that a copy of Geeta on the living room table would also be a part of dharm pooja in the sense that you feel comfortable in letting people know who you are dharmwise. How about holy cows? How many Indian Hindus who own motels in the west and keep Bibles in guest rooms, put Hindu scriptures as well? Understandably there is fear of shyness, offence and/or more importantly fear of losing business. Our scriptures are in Sanskrit and Sanskrit is not compulsory beyond middle grade in most schools. Some suspect translations while others can't read the Hindi interpretations either. Thanks to those putting translated versions of Hindu scriptures in other languages!
The author, Dr. Hari Chand Sharma, felt to dedicate the article to Drs. Ramanand Prasad, Angirus, JaiMaharaj, and all Hindus. He avoided what is already posted, still apologizes for any duplication.E-mail your thoughts to Denise for publication at this site at: Denise
Denise Notley’s Remarks:
In response to the question of why is Hinduism number three in
popularity, while it has so much to offer? I'm no expert, but I would
like to give some guesses, here.
First, I have heard the fastest growing religion is Islam. Simply
stated, the population is growing. The Muslims are breeding the
fastest. Everyone else all over the world, has decided to limit family
Second,if the Chinese Communists hadn't wiped out religion in their
revolutions, Hinduism would likely be down to fourth, fifth or even
sixth place perhaps, with Buddhism and Confucism and Taoism gaining.
Third, both Christianity and Islam were quite ruthless in
proselytization in the past, for centuries, and even so today in some
cases. Notably Africa.These people are a millenum ahead in migration,
taking their religions with them. Hindus have a thousand years on being
the equivalent of spiritual counch potatoes to make up for! Hinduism
isn't usually an evangelical religion, and wasn't carried across the
globe by conquerers.
Fourth, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam are thought of as international
religions, while Hinduism is viewed as an Indian religion, even though
there are pockets of it through out the world, of non-Indians as well as
ethnic Indinas..I'm thinking of Indonesia and Singapore, I guess.. Once
it gets past the public relations hype of it being only for Indians and
the innuendo that one must give up one's native culture, nd become
Indian in all ways, to be Hindu, that one must become only Indian in
outlook and contenance, you'll get more Hindus around the world...
My personal view is, Hare Krishnas singing at American aiports did more
damage that good over all to the image of Hinduism, even with hearts in
the right places. Talk about bad press.
Fifth: In the case of Islam, a apostate is supposed to be killed for
leaving. Don't count on that many people converting from Islam with that
kind of a sword literally, over their heads. Better luck with the other
Sixth: the concept of an absolute need for a guru, rather than using
one's own judgement will also slow things up. A good book just came out
this month, a biography of Buddha. The author, a woman (I can't remember
her name) was interviewed on NPR this week. She pointed out that the
thing about Buddhism is a person is supposed to use their own judgement
in perceiving and accepting and applying what the Buddha had to say,
rather than blindly follow a master...that would go over well with
Christian Protestants, who convert. Catholics would be more familiar
with a leader having final say in revealed teachings, ie, The pope and
Seventh: The polytheistic inclination of Hinduism is going to throw some
people off, I'm saying put them off, offend them. Until they understand
and believe that all God is God, and Hinduism and a poly-morphic
monotheistic religion. (If I wrote that correctly.) The analogy about
God being a jewel with many facets helps...
Eighth: There's always that business about Christainity and the total
wipe-out of misbehavior and sinful behavior by being baptized as
Christian and then occaisionally absolved of sin. With the other end
being the law of karma. Some people could look at it as the equivalent
of the new super highway to heaven, via Jesus.
No matter what, the idea is to love God, and to behave with others the
way you'd like to be treated. It's like that in all religions.
Christianity skips over the penance issue with the "go directly to
heaven, you've been saved by being a Christian" attitude. Think of it as
the Concorde flight to heaven. Christians do. Not that it's put that
way, but that's the idea, with the exception of the Catholic view of
purgatory: ie, so what if you went to confession? If it was that bad, yo
will pay for it!! Before going to heaven, uless it was so bad you're
going through the trap door into the black flame-licked dark locality
described by James Joyce in "Portait Of The Artist As A Young Man"...I'm
not a theologian, but that's what I think was told to me.
Ninth: there's that little problem of the commandment in the Old
Testament about not worshipping idols to be dealt with as well.Peop;e
don't understand--and aren't going to care, that the idols are sort of
like televisons or telephones. The deities see us through them as well.
Tenth: Buddhism in some ways bills itself as the new and improved
Hinduism. I mean, the Buddha said he was there to teach people how to
get off the wheel of re-incarnation.That's a difficult statement to over
Now, after saying all that, I'm going to also say that Hinduism , my
understanding of it, is about tolerance, and tolerance of other people
ways, and spiritual paths/dharmas. I say that despite the very nasty
things I read this week regarding what some...only, some... Vaisnavas
apparently do or have done when they chat "On Namah Shivia". It was
right up there with a Black Mass in offensive and disgusting behavior..
The tolerance of all faiths drew me to Hinduism, and why I've been
attending the temple here for the last six years, and why my daughters
age 8 and 4, think of themselves as Hindus. I grew up Catholic, but my
daughters have never set foot in a Catholic church, or any other church.
Only the temple here...We've been going here off and on for six years,
and still people come up to us thinking we've tourists, because we are
Caucasian, but that's okay, too..Sometimes it's kind of lonely.Which may
be part of the draw of Shiavism for me--he's an outsider, too. Always on
the perimeter, rather than down in the center of things...despite the
fact or in addition, to the fact, that I have two Matsyavatra murtis
sitting on my home altar here, 12 feet away from the computer...Most
people there are used to us, and try to include us, too.
And at the same time I developed a keen interest in jyotish.A few of us
have slipped in that way, too.
I think the more you receive and seek out input from people who have
converted to hinuism, the more you've discover what appeals to people
not born into it. If that's what you meant by asking your question in
the first place.
I have no idea if any of this is of any use to you. I hope so. I could
be totally wrong of course, in my views, and what it is I thought you
Absolutely Very Best Wishes,
Denise NotleyE-mail your thoughts to Denise at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, you are absolutely right in saying that despite so much to offer, Hinduism remains on third place. The reason for this is simple. Although the Hindus have the best product, they are poor salesman. Hindus are not committed and aggresive enough to promote their values. In other words, you may be a saleman selling Rolls Royce, but if you do not shout enough then no one is going to buy your car although it may be the best one. On the other hand, a salesman selling Skoda will sell more motors if he shouts enough. So Hindus need to get more active and push their values to bring Hinduism back to No. 1 position which it truly deserves and is worthy of. AUM from : aum_school_of_hindu_studies 2. Dear jaipurschool, Being popular does not necessarily equate with being genuine or effective. It is universally popular to suffer, for instance, yet those choosing to consciously embrace the Sanatana Dharma, or straight path to God, come to realize suffering is not all that important. It is very, very, popular to lie, cheat, steal, hate, take advantage of one another, right? Being completely honest, virtuous to a fault, loving our fellow man, without qualification, this is not nearly as popular, yet which would you rather be in sync with. I have discovered in the routine application of Hindu Spiritual Guidelines; "meditation, physical exercise, eating a flesh free diet, and working moment to moment to maintain a detached loving perspective within myself", a certain magic. Prior restrictive patterns of thought, or emotional dischord, tend to fade or disappear altogether. This feels good, and makes my life a thousand times more worthwhile, or worthy, if you will. The Ancient Ones who climbed the mountains, or lived in the caves, meditating deeply, creating and sustaining a will stronger then even the tightest bonds of our shared humanity, were never what one might consider popular. Going without food for days on end, living a life, by choice, of total poverty, having nothing, owning nothing, wandering from one door stoop to the next, seeking food, perhaps shelter for the night. Because of these great Saints, and Sat Gurus, all of us now have the opportunity to know God directly within ourselves. To love with wild abandon. To care about each other tenderly, in spite of it all. The real reason, jaipurschool, why Hinduism may not be number one in the general religion popularity sweepstakes is because it takes sustained hard work, to really get free. And sometimes this is not so easy. None of this, "I may not be perfect but I am forgiven, or saved, stuff". Nothing is waiting out there to fix me, or you, like some religions would have us believe. Being responsible for my conduct, for what I think, for what I say, every day, all the time. This is not always so popular, yet it is the only sure way home. Do you disagree? For tons more information about the magic of Hindu thought and practice, go to the HInduism Today web site, and from there click into The Kauai Hindu Temple website area. A most Holy and Enlightened Sage, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, does lot of good work at this site. Much of it you may find of particular interest. Good Luck. Love, David 3. : The popularity of a religion has nothing to do with its quality. Some of the most popular things, places, people in the world have been extraordinarily evil in nature. For example, Christianity and Islam, being the most "popular" religions, have exterminated entire races of human beings through their "popular" ideology, including the Mayans, Incas, Aztecs of Central and South America, and the Jews, Pagans, and Buddhists of Asia and Europe. But to answer your question why it is not popular, there are two main reasons. 1. To be popular, people have to know about Hinduism. Hinduism, despite being the world's most ancient religious tradition, is still very much misunderstood and misinterpreted by shallow, narrow-minded individuals all over the world. There are very few people in the world who can completely understand the vast, profound, and exquisite philosophies, concepts, and practices of Hinduism, and fewer yet who can teach Hinduism effectively to the ignorant population of the world. The first Hindu scriptures to be translated into a European language were translated only in the late 18th Century. Even so, ever since the Hindu philosophies have been flowing into Europe and America, the most respected and brilliant personalities in the West have extolled their greatness. These personalities include Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Albert Schopenhauser, etc. But the masses at large have remained ignorant of Hinduism. That is quickly changing because of the advancement of mediums of communications, such as the internet, satellites, etc. 2. The two major religions of the world, Christianity and Islam, forbid the study of any other religions. The followers of these faiths are prohibited from learning about these religions because the religious authorities of these religions are afraid that when people start studying the Eastern religions, they will realize who idiotic, dogmatic, and illogical their own religions are. But since one of the main tenets of these religions is conversion, they regularly appoint the most devout of the followers to study the Eastern religions extensively, and then degrade and ridicule them in public. And then these people call for "world peace" and "brotherhood of man." from: tantia_topi COMMENTS BY Markandeya Gurudas
Hinduism, despite being a nearly billion strong religion undergoing a global renaissance, is not the largest religion in the world, despite being worldwide. It is full of devotionalism, faith, mystic application, and is pregnant with endless scriptures, (shruti, smriti, itihaasas, puranas, agamas, upagamas, tantras, etc...) that will lead the ripe aspirant towards the experience of his own inner divinity. Why then is it not the the one with the 'most numbers?' There are many reasons, here are a few: 1. Hinduism does not proselytize. Those who practice the Sanatana Dharma or eternal religion do so by being born into it or by coming to it because they are ripe, seeking something deeper than dogma and blind faith. Hinduism does not target poor ethnic groups for conversion under the guise of offering help, as has been so prevelant in Christian missionaries in recent years. 2. Hinduism is a very tolerant religion. Within its fold there are many paths which lead one to the experience of one's own inner divinity. These paths, however, have many similarities, for instance, there is no seperation between social, religious, and mundane activities. Every part of the day, no matter how mundane, is a divine act. This is not easy for just anyone. Most people are very happy with their seperation of devotion and mundane life. Most are not ready for such an all-encompassing faith that would require many lifestyle changes outwardly, and mental changes inwardly. In the world, there is much more coal than there is diamonds, but one diamond is worth a hundred thousand tons of coal. 3. Hinduism is a de-centralized religon that does not have an all-controlling central location, such as the Vatican of the Catholic faith. Hinduism laces the planet in all of its nooks and crannies, in places that are modern and well populated, as well as places that are pristine and not very populated. It is doubtful that an truly accurate reading of all the worlds Hindus, eith by birth or practice, could be completely accounted for. --Hinduism is a diamond in the rough. Just as a single truth can bring down a thousand lies, Hinduism is a diamond in the dark. It may not have quite the content as proselytizing religions such as Christianity, but thank God, it has divine quality. Guru Om Markandeya Gurudas
COMMENTS BY Dr. M. P. Varshney from India
1. Nothing happens, as it does happen, in accordance with divine dispensation. 2. There is the well known saying: MAJORITY CONSISTS OF FOOLS. 3. Religion without philosophy is sentimentalism, sometimes bordering on fanatacism; and philosophy without religion is mental speculation. Hinduism has been philosophy of religion, and religion is supported by findings of philosophy. Faiths like Christianity and Islam whose dictates contain "Do's and dont's' were propagated so as to be easily understood and followed by common man (keeping in mind the places where these faiths originated), whereas the lofty concepts of Hinduism appear to be more difficult to grasp, though surprisingly simple when understood.
COMMENTS BY Chandri-Sahadeo
I was brought up in the Caribbean and saw that those who parted information was themself limited.That includes grandparents , parents , pundits and Indian schools.
We lost many who could not answer questions about our faith and began questing ourselves.I went a step further by attending classes at a college level and began reading the text myself looking at explainations by Gandhi.
How do young people understand something so simple, yet very complex. Why are Indians so envious and those who can offer something of value always have a price on it.
Lets look at where we start ...who is targeted ...and can it be done with a level of honesty which is not compromised in any area . A plan that has no one pointing fingers at anyone for any reason.
Truth being a silent sound
That can not be heard by any one else except oneself
it can not be passed on from one human being to another
In language or speech
And is conveyed only in silence
And it is not heard but felt.
Many have changed their religion and looked for some thing they feel is better explained or understood.It may become difficult for them to change again and appear confused.
my email address at home is: email@example.com
COMMENTS BY HARRY BHALLA:
Hinduism is perhaps the more family oriented religion than any other. If you are born to a Hindu family you learn the rituals practiced by that family. Almost every family has their own (different) ritual. Meaning who they pray to, how they pray, when they pray, when and how they "fast" etc. There is no pre defined MUST thing to do. Hindus do not tie themselves to a temple, at least not in India. Outside India you do see attachment to a temple (Sunday gatherings etc.)
All other religions have some MUST things to do. Islam with its practice of praying a number of times a day + the call to the Mosque recited over loud speakers.
Sunday prayer for the Christians. Most Christian families "work" around a church. They become part of a Church Group. So do the Jews.
This difference in the way Hinduism is practiced I think causes the propagation to be natural rather than forced. Hindus do not have missionaries. contact Harry at: firstname.lastname@example.org
D.M. Bongiorni wrote:
My thoughts about why Hinduism may not be the #1 religion in the world today:
1. Perhaps it is God's will
2. Perhaps it prevents excessive ego inflation in Hindu believers.
3. Perhaps some folks are karmically meant to be other religions in this life. For example, If you are reincarnating to deal with issues you have with others who are all Muslim, then you will probably incarnate into their Muslim family.
4. Perhaps many Westerners believe that Hinduism is multitheistic, and have not been told that Hinduism believes in one unified God
5. All Christians believe that Christianity is the only true religion. Perhaps this is true with other religions as well. This would discourage the study and knowledge of other religions.
6. Perhaps it is the work of Maya. Accoridng to advaita philosophy, God is one without a second, and we are all a part of the oneness of God. Therefore, any division into first, second or third must be a function of dualism and Maya. "Om purnamida, purnamidam, purnat, purnamadaschyate, purnasya, purnimadaya, purnamivavaschichyate."
Rukmini/D.M. Bongiorni is a Sivananda-trained yoga teacher and a Catholic who loves and honors Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.
Martin Gansten wrote:
As for Hinduism not being the world's largest religion, I hardly think it takes a full-length essay to explain that. Hinduism, like Judaism, is largely an ethnic, rather than missionary, religion. (I know there are exceptions, but they are few and far between.) Indeed, far from being sought for, converts have a hard time getting in and being accepted, as I can tell from personal experience. The #1 and #2 religions of the world --Christianity and Islam -- didn't get where they are today by virtue of their excellent doctrine, but rather by brute force (crusades/jihad/etc) and enforced mass conversions. There are a few sad examples of this in the history of Hinduism, too, but always within the Indian subcontinent. The ambition of Hindu (mostly Shaiva/Vaishnava) zealots didn't extend to world-wide evangelization; or else non-Indians just weren't thought fit for conversion -- possibly both.
Different historical processes have gone into the spread of Hinduism (itself a somewhat nebulous entity) to the various corners of South Asia, with different ethnic groups gradually being 'brought into the fold' through mytho-historical revisions, etc. The point is that orthodoxy has seen a need for such justification (assigning a certain mythic ancestry or gotra to this or that group, and so forth), and that these processes have been rather slow.
For better or for worse (probably both), Hinduism has never embraced the idea of one universal religion/dharma for everyone. Rather, dharma is always particularized -- according to class, age, sex, etc -- and these boundaries must never be transgressed. The Gita places great stress on this. This does not mean that there have not been conversions to Hinduism in ancient/classical times; they just haven't been unproblematic -- nor very frequent. A religion that aspires to universal acceptance must view mankind as essentially one, and this perspective is a rare one in Hinduism, which tends rather towards infinite subdivision. This leads to the interesting situation which can be observed in India, where Christians and Muslims, etc, are regarded more or less as separate castes with subcastes of their own, and so forth. Perhaps this may be seen as Hinduism's way of 'universalization': not by rooting out everything else, but by projecting its own patterns onto other creeds and 'swallowing' them.
(Martin Gansten is a professor of Sanskrit Studies in Sweden)
Kasi Visvanathan wrote:
Om Amrtesvaryai Namah!! i haven't written that piece on "Why Hinduism is number 3"....i HAVE sat there in front of a blank screen for a while...but i just couldn't come up with anything that i felt worth writing so far...and one of my main troubles is that the question puts everything in to a "competition" mode...and although Hinduism Today also has this approach, i have a little trouble with it....
i am not so concerned with the relative numbers of devotees, of each religion, although i AM concerned about the nasty practices followed by both Christians and Islamics in conversion....i still feel a little strange putting them all in a race..."and in the number 3 position is...Hinduism"...
as i see it each faith is right for the particular people practicing it...and so it is really irrelevant as to who is top dog in the numbers game. what IS relevant is which faith appeals to my heart....it is really a personal thing...a personal approach to the Divine...Just as Hinduism has many aspects of the Divine to suit each devotee, and in fact would even be willing to INCLUDE Christianity and Islam within the fold, if they would allow it!...so here it is strange to look at them all in a competitive light....Each is good to its own followers...
So to me it isn't a race, or a competition, and that is probably exactly the reason why Hinduism IS number 3, because many Hindus and their friends feel that it isn't a competition...whereas the Christians and Islamics see that they have a holy war on their hands, and are fully prepared to carry it out, the Hindus mainly see that there is One Truth and Many Paths to it...so this is perceived by Christians and Islamics as wishy-washy....and they are not so encouraged to go there...too many strange looking Gods....and there's always the problem with the "graven image" commandments....
they like things in a nice straight clearcut black and white..."let's leave out all thecolours....that way we know if you're for us or agin' us...and if you're agin' us, we'll just get out the stakes, and ropes, and piles of wood....and a little fire will take care of the problem."
Thus we have a non-competitive faith being placed in a competition with the competitive faiths...and to me this cannot hope to help the situation...The solution to me is not so much as to adopt the competitive, go-for-it attitudes of the Christians and Islamics, as it is to steadfastly maintain one's own faith despite the apparent threats and allures of the other faiths and their pracititioners. Of course when you are tied to that stake, and the fire is licking around your feet...and then your legs...and then....that's another level of the competition...
we must be models of our own beliefs, not those of the competitive faiths...the apparent rank of numbers to me in reality is nothing but more ego calculations anyways...and immaterial to the purposes of the Divine in whichever Form that we may hold Beloved. Krsna doesn't care how many Christians there are relative to Hindus...He would just want each of us to actually LIVE our faiths...Just as Christ would...The Great Ones if they got together would have a wonderful tea party...no arguments there!!
but when their followers get together!!That's when the troubles begin...As Swami Vivekanandaji once said: "God founds a religion, and the devil immediately steps in and organises it"....and the more organised......you get the picture...
In the Divine Mother's Love,
and in Her Service,
this little child
bows to You,
an Embodiment of
the Sacred Om.
Your Own Self,
Om Amrtesvaryai Namah!
Gary Gomes wrote:
Actually when you think about it, it is pretty impressive that Hinduism is #3. After all, the religion does not seek converts or coerce people into acceptance as Christianity and Islam do. You are either born into it or decide to enter it. There have been no recent forced conversion holy wars, you know?
Since I consider Buddhism an offshoot of Hinduism, I wonder if it would assume a higher rank if the two were added together?
Well you won't convince many protestants that they are the same as catholics, but they do share a common root; and the Buddha came from a Hindu family. There were some conquests of certain southeast asian islands by Hindus, but they never engaged in the type of mass forced conversions that the catholics did in Latin America or that the Moslems did in India, Pakistan, Africa, etc.
Also Buddhism originated in India, was basically imposed upon the population by an emperor named Asoka, and within about a hundred years, Hinduism re-asserted itself.
The Buddhists, it is wise to remember, were not always pacifists, nor were the Hindus. (Gary Gomes, Swami Kampananda, is a Kriya yoga priest, and a Board Member of the American Council of Vedic Astrology)
Gauranga Das wrote:
These teachings should be received through the Paramapara, and conveyed in the original form, as Srila Prabhupada did. There are many translations of the Gita, but you should judge by the results. So many people became devotees of Krishna after reading Srila Prabhupada's book, but no one became a devotee after reading all the other translations. Therefore why propagate an imperfect translation? It would be better if Mr. Prasad also sponsored the printing and distribution of Srila Prabhupada's Gita, and not his own. His own views will not do any good to the society, but the teachings of a pure devotee will uplift it, and thus it will be possible that Vaishnavism became the first religion worldwide. This will definitely happen within a few hundred or thousand years, even if we will not live to seeit.
By the way my answer to Dr. Prasad's question is that unless people think themselves being Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Jewish etc. they are on the bodily and mental platform. But when they begin thinking as it is recommended in the Gita: we are spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, Krishna, and we are His eternal servants, and everyone begins acting in this capacity, then there will be no other religion in the world but Bhagavata-dharma, or service to Sri Krishna.
Sripad Sankaracharya writes the follwing in his Gita-Mahatmya (glorification of the Gita):
Ekam sastram devaki-putra-gitam
Eko devo Devaki-putra eva
Eko Mantras tasya namani yani
karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva
"Let the world have one scripture: The Bhagavad-gita. Let there one God be worshipped: Sri Krishna. Let there be one Mantra chanted: His holy names; and let there be only one activity: the devotional service of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna."
Gauranga Das is a Vedic Astrologer, and a Hare Krishna priest in Hungary.
Dr. Prasad Replies: Dear Gauranga Prabhu, havnt you heard of the great saint who said: "you will know the tree by the fruit" then why you criticize everybody (this includes even the great ones like Shankaracharya, Buddha, RadhaKrishnan...)who has written on gita. should we just let iskcon have a patent on Gita? the exclusive right to God and Gita cannot belong to one cult, sect, country or religion.
have you ever read Ramakrishna or any other saint? you dont know what you are missing my friend.
Kala Seshadri wrote:
Hinduism offers multiplity of choices to achieve the same goal. Under Hinduism anyone can choose a path best suited to his/her constitution (mental makeup). Even though this is ideal, at first instinct this choice is confusing to most people whose mental makeup is so disorganized that they are looking for a simple solution that can straighten out their lives. Thus they gravitate towards choiceless solutions that appear immensly less confusing and relieving. Thus offering 'more' will not necessarily bring in numbers. But how do numbers really matter? Every soul goes through life's journey in whatever fashion for valid reasons. For a true Hindu all paths are valid. Om Tat Sat.
Kala Seshadri teaches Bharathanatyam Dance classes for children.
Dr. Jack Hawley wrote:
Thank you Ram: Both Louise and I are intrigued by your question and plan to give it much thought. Here are a few flash responses that immediately popped out of us:
--because Hinduism requires devotion, not just intellectual...
--because Hinduism does not actively seek conversions...
--Hinduism is more "work" than the others; it's 24/7 vs. an hour on Sunday or Saturday...
--Hinduism "costs" more, indeed it costs one everything...
--Hinduism is very deep, very high, and its tenants are difficult to grasp...
--the basic "religion" of Hinduism (ceremonies, rituals, etc., i.e., the outer things for the masses)are simply foreign to Westerners. Most Westerners have never heard of it, never studied it, have never known a practicing Hindu, have never seen it on TV, have never even imagined it might have any value in their lives.
Thank you for the question--we will no doubt think of more reasons.
And, again, thank you for your oft-quoted words relative to the Gita Walkthrough that should really help spread the word about these wonderful teachings. I hope you appreciate and enjoy this humble effort by a well-meaninged Westerner. I will be in touch.
Note: Dr. Jack Hawley is a student, teacher, Management consultant, and lecturer who for the past fourteen years has spent half of each year in India learning, teaching, and living the principles of his book:"The Bhagavad Gita" --- A walkthrough for Westerners. He has also published a book on management "Dharmic Management"
Doret Kollerer (Didi ji) wrote:
I have been questioning why Hinduism, which has more to offer than most religions, is only third in number of followers. One answer, as far as the USA is concerned, is that advertising is the key--it motivates people to buy--and it has to give people a reason to want the product for their own self-interest. A perfect example of effective advertising is this very website, which opens with the engaging words, "American/International Gita Society brings the Secret of Peace, Happiness, and Equanimity as Revealed by Lord Krishna in a over 5,000 years old Vedic Scripture of Hinduism, The Gita, in "beautifully simple and easy to understand" Languages. --- Free!!"
All the elements of success are there.
The product is appealing: a "Sacred Song."
The product has credibility: "over 5,000 years old" and "revealed by Lord Krishna."
The product offers what everyone wants: "Peace, Happiness, and Equanimity."
The product is usable by the average person: "beautifully simple and easy to understand"
The product is ""FREE"!
Thinking about this question brings me to the Gita ad in the current North Coast Xpress. The only element in the above list that appears in that ad is the word "Free." As a result of pondering this question, I am enlightened. In the next edition of North Coast Xpress, I hope that ad will include the magic words that open this website.
Thank you for asking the question!
Where is the door to God?
In the sound of a barking dog, In the ring of a hammer, In a drop of rain, In the face of Everyone I see. --Hafiz
"God founds a religion, and the devil immediately steps in and organises it"
Dear Denise Notley, You say you and your daughters have been going to the temple off and on for six years, and still people come up to you thinking you're tourists because you are Caucasian. ("Sometimes it's kind of lonely.") I know what you mean. I'm Caucasian and I have never been inside a Hindu temple, have never seen Hindu rituals or Hindu worship, yet I feel Hindu and I read the Gita as an exalted religious text and live it as best I can. How did I get there? Through sacred Hindu music in Hindi and Sanskrit by Turkantam, a very spiritual musical artist, whose cassettes and CDs of Hindu music plunge me instantly into consciousness of the Divine; through Ramananda Prasad's Bhagavad Gita and commentary, which do the same; and through "I am Harmony," a book about India's Haidakhan Babaji by Radhe Shyam, a Karma Yogi whom I am privileged to know. I think personal human contact is the key. There is nothing more personally moving to me than Turkantam's human voice and musical expression. Radhe Shyam personally communicated with me and sent me his "I am Harmony." Ramananda Prasad personally communicated with me and sent me his Gita. And I hasten to say, in answer to Gauranga Das's criticism, that I have found other Gita translations useful guides to detachment and working without regard for success or failure, but it was Ramananda's Gita and sublime commentary that opened the spiritual reservoir of Lord Krishna's presence. I didn't come from nowhere. I started from the Catholic mystics and gradually worked into Eastern thought. Still, I would not be Hindu today were it not for the human intervention of those three people. I conclude, therefore, that Hinduism will continue to spread in that way. Close members of my family are curious about my spiritual highs and my reverence for the Gita. They may well investigate for themselves. That's how it can go from us to others. Doret KollererDoret Kollerer
Editor/Publisher, North Coast Xpress, visit: www.north-coast-xpress.com/~doretk/index.html Contact: email@example.com
NOTE: Didi ji is deeply involved in helping the prisoners who are on death row, and she is very concerned about "cruelty to prisioners" we suggest our readers to read her newsletter, above, that goes to prisoners. She is also helping the society by editing our publications.
Frank X. McGuire, Ponzonian@aol.com wrote:
Hinduism has far fewer adherents in "modern," corrupt days primarily because of the abstruse nature of its many messages to a world population filled with secularism and lack of interest in the deity/deities. I should like to learn more and would appreciate a copy of the gita and accompanying material.
Umesh Sharma from Jaipur, India; firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Are Hindus the third most attractive ?
Who says so? By numbers we may be so - but we have been shrinking inch by inch over the past 5000 years. So one can imagine how attractive we were once - that with such a rate of attrition also we are atleast no. 3.
Despite fierce efforts by other religions to influence and pull away ever larger numbers from Hinduism. It speaks volumes of the spiritual strength and resilience of Hindus.
But still one has to wonder - when other religions are growing why are Hindus shrinking - in %age terms.
Have we always been - so casteist , so traditonal and ritualistic, dogmatic, dominated by a class called Brahmins, have always been our religious and political leaders mired in blood and money?
I can only say no - we could not have been so. There must have been a missionary zeal and pride of faith , by which Hinduism was practised from Indonesia to Afghanistan and beyond.
There must've been an all embracing spirit which united people of diverse cultures and languages - as evident in India and elsewhere - by which Hindusim was the most attractive then - the Golden Age of Hinduism.
Perhaps like Judaism we too became dogmatic, refusing to accept new ideas , creating rigid divisions of caste and a Brahmin-Kshatriya hegemony - which suppressed the other castes.
Forgetting the principles of all pervasiveness of God or Brahma -the essence of Gita- we differentiated between man and man.
This basic trait - I feel has resulted in people being cut off from Hinduism. Whether through fear or favour of the invaders of other religions - the Hindus refused to accept back the converts to other religions. By multiplier effect -we are still losing.
Then like the Japanese of the 18th or the 19th cetury - we too shunned contact with the world - badly losing out on new avenues.
Our traditional hereditary sytem of priesthood has ensured neglect of the institution . Instead of a healthy religious organisation - as in other religions - we are doomed to isolated temples which are personal fiefdoms of their owners.
When religion becomes private property of a few - its followers will likewise be few. Some non-Brahmin Hindu missionaries have affirmed that these Ashram chaps always try to dominate and dictate how the religion should be propagated. They even question -- how can a non Brahmin preach Hindu religion.
I would like nothing better than ensuring that the reigns of religious management pass on to professionals ---regardless of caste, creed, colour, or national origin --- from these Sadhus and Ashrams who just run for money and power.
Thankfully , despite its shortcomings - Hinduism - as now it is called - thanks to invaders - its spiritual disciplines are par excellence.
Lets improve our weaknesses - our strengths will see us through.
Editor's note: Umesh Sharma is a reformist Brahmin (both by birth and qualities) in Jaipur, India. We wish him success and would cooperate with him.Jori Singh from Netherlands wrote:
From: "Century International"
Save Address - Block Sender To: Save Address Subject: Hinduism third in number Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 23:00:03 +0200 Dear Madame/Sir, I have following comments about this. 1. It does not matter at which number Hinduism stand. The position does not determine the quality of the teaching of a religion. A company may be the biggest in the world but it does not mean that it has the best products in the world. 2. If a person feels happy with a teaching then it is not important how many people follow that teaching. If the teaching is honestly meant to make the followers happy, the number of followers will gain with the time. 3. Hindus have never used force or another mean to increase the number of Hindus. When someone is not entirely happy with his own religion only then he uses force or another mean to convert others. 4. Hinduism is the only religion which accepts coexistance with other religions. It comes due to many God and demi-Gods all of which are representing the Absolute or Brahma. 5. Please do not worry about the third place. As the reasoning power of the people in the world increases, more people will follow at their own free will the teachings of Hindu scriptures. It is a question of time. I hope I have given you enough reasons why Hinduism is temporarily at the third place. You may send me a free copy of Gita by Dr. Prashad at the following address. For your information I have written a book in German "Communication with your Soul" which is based on Yoga's and Gita. It is a practical book and not philosophical. I am writing now on Gita, how Gita can be used in the modern world to solve not only Arjuna's problem but anyone's. I would like to make Gita above a religion so that, even the non Hindus, can follow its teachings and become happy. Regards, Jori Singh Deken van Oppensingel 75 5911 AB Venlo The Netherlands From: "Milan Gorgevik" Add email@example.com to My Messenger Buddies. To: firstname.lastname@example.org Save Address Subject: Answer Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 20:34:33 +0200 Reply Reply All Forward Delete Previous Next Close Answer: Because the people are uninformed (here in Macedonia), and they are very unfriendly to everything that is new. One of the main reasons is the x - comunist sistem that still exists in the hearths of the people. I think the answer will help you understand the situation in my coutry. I am waiting for your answer. My adress is: Name: Milan Gorgevik, Street: Karl Hron 92a, City: Skopje, Country: Republic of Macedonia, Postal code: 1000 From: Balaji Save Address - Block Sender To: email@example.com Save Address Subject: Answer to question Date: 18 Apr 2001 00:27:55 SGT Hi.. I am a 21 year old guy who is not an expert in Hinduism but I think I can say somethings which might interest you as an answer to the question "Why Hinduism, which has more to offer than most religions, is only third in number of followers?" Well Hinduism is a gigantic ocean. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc are like lakes. The ocean appears frightening, with its vast size, giant waves and stories about dangerous denizens lurking in it. But to a fisherman, it offers much more than any of the lakes. People are put off by the thought that it is full of rituals (some of which alas! have been labelled satanic by some ignorant people) and hence get "frightened" by this ocean. But to someone who knows the Truth, to him this ocean offers immense wealth. But of course to look beyond the rituals is not that simple. I feel (in my humblest opinion!!) Hinduism is about establishing oneness with God. (Whatever you call it). The Bhagavad Geetha itself says, rituals are secondary. What comes first is the person's heart. In Chapter 18 Verse 65, the Blessed Lord says, man mana-bhava mad bhakto mad yaji mam namaskuru mam evaisyasi satyam te pratijane priyo 'si me Just think of me, be my devotee, worship me, or even simply offer obeisance to me, then you will surely reach me, I promise this for you are dear to Me I feel that a less ritual based concept would work better. Another reason is, apathy among Hindus themselves (I am guilty of this too and I think a lot of us are too!) How often do we skip the trip to the temple because we are too busy? It probably means a 10 minute ride by car or a short walk. But how often we grudge even that? When other religious people read their Bible's and Qur'ans so religiously, so many of us, although we have millions of religious books to choose from haven't even gone out to read one?! (I can say this with confidence about 90% of youth today) My christian friends all can quote Bible verses out of the top of their heads and yet we Hindus consider it "Shameful" and "out of fashion" to say even the basic universal truths written in our great texts. (I was guilty of this too.. for a while I didn't even admit I was Hindu but "A free thinker" but I now am proud of being Hindu) With this level of apathy among our own people, how can Hinduism become popular? Another reason for the lack of popularity of Hinduism when compared to Christianity or Islam is that these religions are essentially spread by fear. If you don't believe you are cast into Hell, eternal damnation and all that. People are "spooked" into converting to these religions because no one wants to have an eternity of pain. Hinduism has freedom of worship and doesn't believe in conversions. This however is a double edged sword. Freedom can lead to apathy and lack of interest. Also it doesn't believe in scaring people. God is all powerful and to be respected and loved but not feared! If the gopi's feared Krsna would they play with him? But this also means that people might think one can take liberties with it. I am a brahmin and although I am supposed to offer prayers thrice a day often I skip them. If this was enforced in me like attending church or offering namaz the way Christians and Muslims do it, I wouldnt be so careless. This again leads to apathy and again, loss of popularity. Also Hinduism has had a history of discrimination. While this was never officially sanctioned by religion, (Bhagavan promises moksha for all man, regardless of caste) it did degenerate to a religion of plain rituals and meaningless sacrifices till the Bhakti movement took over. Historically the religion got tainted. Hence a lot of people changed faith to Islam, Buddhism and later Christianity. These are my views I don't claim to be an authority on any of the above. Any offence caused is deeply regretted. Balaji Narasimhan Blk 762 Yishun St 72 #03-408 Singapore 760762 Tel: (65)8521165 Alt address: Blk 28 #07-09O Prince George's Park National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge, Singapore 119260 "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved." -- Charles Darwin, "The Origin of Species" Ben Collins wrote: If you research "Hinduism" you will find that it is often referred to as emanating from the "Sanatana Dharma" (loosely translated as "the Eternal Path"). Sanatana Dharma means that the pursuit of oneness or God is a central and universal urge built into all members of humanity. Ultimately this urge expresses itself both individually and culturally. And so, spirituality has both a cosmic dimention as God guides devotees to Him or Her. The mundane aspect of Santana Dharma arises because we live as communities and cultures and it is natural that these paths to realization become organized and thus evolve into the codified rules of conduct that charectrize religions. The body of spiritual knowledge that springs from the Vedas has no specific origin and is not considered to be written by or the creation of humans. Rather the Vedas are referred to as "shruti"; having been heard rather than composed. From teh perspective of Hinduism these are considered to be the highest scriptures. The body of works to which the Bhagavad Gita belongs is called "shruti" or remembered. The are somewhat lesser creations because they are the product of various individuals such as Vyasa as opposed to the Vedas which are considered to be a part of the very fabric of creation. It is equally true to say that both the Sanatana Dharma and the Vedas describe proper methods of living so that life naturally leads one to enlightenment and the full realization of God. There is no distinction between the two. But does it mean that each an every religion is a full and complete expression of the Vedas and Santana Dharma. In my opinion the answer is no. Religions come and go, but the underlying principles; the "path" remains unchanged in its essence and fundamentals. Each religion will naturally fracture and split and evolve from one form into another. And they will persist so long as those who practice the religion receive some practical benefit. Ultimately a religion that doesn't deliver enlightenment will fade and eventually disappear. So if we can understand and accept the definition of "Sanatana Dharma" as being an integral part of life it has very significant implications in answering the question "why is Hinduism only the 3rd most popular religion?" If you look at the history of the world and of the cultures that have come and gone over the years, it becomes obvious that religion must adapt and change to meet the needs and requirements of the time and culture in which it is found. Thus, the religion of the Plains Indians is not going to be appropriate South India two thousand years ago, nor would it be widely appropriate to our current technological society. The essence of God realization; the eternal path of Sanatana Dharma is expressed by Krishna in verse 11 of Chapter 4 of the Gita where he says "As men approach Me, so do I favor them; in all ways, O Partha, men follow my path." It is the second line that is essential to our discussion here. Krishna says that "in all ways...men follow my path". Lord Krishna draws no distinction and sets no limits. He doesn't make reference to Hinduism or any other religion. He simply states that, like it or not, we are all inevitably on a path to enlightenment or God relatization. (Of course the behavior of some people may seem to contradict this, but let's take a long view of the process). Verses 7 and 8 in the Gita again give a clue to the eternal nature of Sanatana Dharma when Krishna says; "Whenever dharma is in decay and adharma florishes, O Bharata, then I create myself. To protect the righteous and destroy the wicked, to establish dharma firmly, I take birth age after age." So we must ask ourselves, if the "I" that Krishna refers to is the Universal "I" of a Universal God; or merely a manifestation of a Hindu deity called Vishnu? If we accept that the Vedas and the Santana Dharma are universal expressions of Truth, then one must wonder if the question of "popularity" of one religion over an other is really relevant at all. If God is "one-ness" then we all, regardless of religion must end up eventually in the same place. If there is a Hindu oneness that is different from a Buddhist "one-ness" or a Christian "one-ness", then it is a simple contradiction of terms; and not Oneness at all! There are no flavors....So from where does the sense of conversion arise and is it ever really meaningful? Is our goal to convert everyone to "Hinduism" or is it to awaken everyone to the pursuit of the "Truth" in whatever form they find meaningful? What if we give a Gita to someone who then decides that Zen Buddism offers a more clearly expressed vision of the path. Have we failed? I don't think so. So perhaps Hinduism is 3rd most popular becasuse there are fewer people really qualified to adopt this path? Perhaps they are warming up in some other religious path. So where does this leave us? Again, I refer to the Gita and verse 47 of Chapter 2 where Krishna says "You have control over action alone, never over its fruits. Live not for the fruits of action, nor attach yourself to inaction." In conclusion it is my opinion that the message of the Gita is that the only goal we can set for ourselves is for our personal actions to be as elevated and pure as possible. The results are entirely up to God. If we are focused on converting people to a particular point of view, or religious path, then we miss the point of this verse because we will feel like we have failed if the conversion is not successful. I suggest that we offer our sincere efforts and let the results be whatever they are. It is enough to publish the Gita, to alert others to its existence, but we should leave it up to them what they make of it. If we accept the Santana Dharma, then we will reach those God wishes us to reach and who knows, perhaps we will have planted a seed that will sprout at some unknown future time. If you really think about verse 47, then our success is measured in the purity of our effort. And that alone. Note: Ben Collins is the moderator of the on-line jyotish list, and the coordinator of www.puja.net a monthly puja club, based out of Malibu California. Randy le Jeune wrote: Why is Hindooism third in number of adherents? Personally I find this question absurd. First of all, thinking in this vein pits one religion vs. the others, tacitly placing one as superior and others as inferior, which I feel is the wrong approach. Next, much of what is found in Hindoosim as far as the ideas of liberation and so on, can usually be found in other religions as well, albeit not at the popular level. Sufis are the equivalent Islamic-based answer to the upanishadic idea of the individual soul and the world-soul being identical. Many of the scriptures of the Desert Fathers in Christianity also have very similar ideas, although I often think that the need to tally up the experience of moksha with exisiting doctrine can lead to problems, as well as the problems of expressing in words a transcendental state of awareness. Again, one person said that they regarded Hindoosim and Buddhism as sister religions. I think this is not totally accurate. True, the Upanishads give a cosmogony very close to that of the Buddhists. But there are also the dualistic Hindoos . . . not only was there Sankara, but Madhva, and he was quite dualistic in his outlook, making the adulation of a particular deity closer to the Christian ideal than that of the Buddhist. 'Hindooism' can mean such a vast array of beliefs, many of which are not compatible with one another, than saying you are a Hindoo may mean very little. An Agori, Saivite, Hare Krishna and a practitioner of the Tantric arts can all be referred to as Hindoos, but their outlook is all quite different, despite some similarities. So to make comparisons, you would first need to define what Hindoo actually means and who qualifies to be called one and who does not. Lastly, it seems to me that according to the Geeta, that anyone who practices his or her own native religion is worshipping Krishna under a different name. Krishna repeats several times in the Geeta that he will give faith to one who worships him in whatever form, provided that the heart of the worshipper is pure and that the worship is undertaken honestly, no? This must mean that Christianity, Shinto and Islam are cultural variants of Sanatana Dharma, the perrenial philosophy, the eternal religion. This requires a broader perspective than the Hindoo=Indian notion, but is Islam really more different from Madhva's philosophy than Buddhism is from Sankara's? Just a few of my thoughts. Comment from Harry Bhalla: It is said that people took to Islam quickly and in great numbers when Prophet Mohamed spoke, because the people of the time, were "fed up" or tired of being taken advantage of by the Clergy. (Guess only Henry the VIII stood up to clergy). Comparison of different religions or faiths comes, I think, only from those who are looking for superiority. Faith is needed for spiritual practice not for superiority. We all worship the CREATOR. Editor's Note: please send your thoughts to Randy's very deep philosophic views. Comments from Philippe De Coster, President, Gita Society of Belgium: (A branch of American/International Gita Society) Phil has a Doctor of Divinity Degree and a great devotee of Krishna and His teachings He has translated our Gita in Dutch and will be translating in French you may read his dutch translation: www.gita-society.com/dutch.htm Phil may be contacted: firstname.lastname@example.org Question: Why Hinduism, which has more to offer than most religions, is only third in number of followers? Your comments/thoughts are requested. Answer: First of all, I have chosen the Bhagavad Gita for the remainder of my life, as the very bases of my personal philosophy or religion, freely chosen, not imposed, because although 5000 years old, the 700 verses contained in the little book, is the most scientific sacred Writing in the all the world, responding to today's spiritual needs on planet Earth. I did say some years ago, "Bring me to another planet, with only one book, the Bhagavad Gîtâ, and it will suffice me to fill that part of the universe with the purest philosophy as a way of life. The Gîtâ is crystal clear for everybody to read and ponder on, deep spiritual leading into the very depths of ourselves, and to climb higher on the ladder to the final attainment of the crown of life where there is no re-birth. The Gîtâ is in my opinion the only sacred World Scripture as so far read that is devoid of contradictions as most world's Holy Scriptures have annoying differences. However, differences and unreasonable dogmas as heaven and hell are no obstacles to draw near to God through working hard to attain the renewal of the mind through meditation and pure living as a way of worshipping the only true God, thus climbing the ladder through births and deaths, until the highest point is reached. Although the Gîtâ can function quite independently from other Hindu Sacred Scriptures, it is part of it all, a part of a great whole. The little book quite often refers to the remainder of Hindu Scriptures; therefore, whether the Eastern of the Western yogi (meditator) should gradually study the other Hindu Scriptures, the more if he or she is called to teach the Divine. As a Christian, whatever my denomination either Catholic, Protestant or the bridges in between, graduated from Theological Institutions, I also have been interested in the study of comparable religions. And, as for many open and honest Christian scholars, Hinduism and Buddhism have interested them greatly, and what they wrote has always greatly attracted my attention, as Ralph T.H. Griffith (1895), Maurice Bloomfield (1897); the Cistercian American monk of Saint Bernard, Thomas Merton interested in Eastern religions and meditation; also especially for Buddhism Dr. W.-Y. Wentz, and E. Burnouf (1840-1898), and others. They all lived at a time when Christianity was really dominating the West. Ever since the late '60's, Hinduism and Buddhism always very much attracted my attention, because of meditation. The Gîtâ techniques appeal best to me, as I have always been a very mystical inclined person. In Buddhism there is no personification of the Supreme Being, it is more abstract, while in Hinduism you can, and there is a way to do this: "But, you are not able to see Me with your physical eye; therefore, I give you the divine eye to see My majestic power and glory." (11.08) This is attainable through effort and goodwill, which can be started at once through "conversion", and through a yielding to the Lord Krishna as found in the Gîtâ. Talking about the world religions, I am condemning absolutely no one, however, things should be said as a way of emptying my mind. The faiths that have Abraham as Arch father for some (Jews and Christians), and Prophet for the Islam have most controversial teachings. I only know the Jewish religion from the standpoint of biblical knowledge and cabbalistic occultism; Christianity mainly from the Bible and Roman Catholic tradition, and Islam as I helped quite a lot of Turkish believers with their problems in the latter years, such as writing letters for them. In my opinion, the Bible is but a chosen collection of books often of divine inspiration and a few others where God's name is never mentioned, so decided through theologians down the ages, called from cover to cover the "Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit". Next to the Bible books, Christian humanity has made other discoveries such as the Dead Sea scrolls (past century), with important books prior Jesus Christ (Old Testament times), and writings of his apostles as the Thomas Gospel for instance, and other Jesus' nearest disciples. They are called "apocryphal" and will never find their places in the Book called Bible. They simply cannot, as it would perhaps counteract an important part of the traditional Christian Faith. The greatest mistake Christianity has ever done, is to have interpret the Bible literally, through mistranslations, misunderstanding of the idioms, misconception of Eastern customs and mannerism of speech have obscured, for instance the simple and clear words which fell from the lips of Jesus the Nazarene, called the Christ. For many centuries Christian scholars throughout the world have tried to understand and explain what Jesus preached 2000 years ago to his simple and illiterate disciples. Ant yet, even today, the quest continues. From there the disinterest of Christian believers in the West today, as it no longer matches with today's scientific reality. As I said above, for a number of years I did help illiterate Turkish Moslem believers with their domestical problems, and, know quite well Islam, having great reference for their Salat (prayer-times). I obviously often prayed with them, and did feel that they are really adoring the Supreme Lord, and it gave me inner satisfaction to bow down, thinking into the words of Jesus, "I must decrease, and You must increase". However, the Koran too holds a number of mistakes. Mohammed could not read or write, so he had his scribes as a means of making mistakes too, even if the message was received from Allah Himself. Mohammed was forty years when he met a tradeswoman, widow, whom he married. Being in charge of her business he met a lot of traders from all parts of the world in Mecca, sharing each other beliefs. He did learn a lot about foreign religions as from the Hebrews, the Christians, paganism, so on and forth, at a time when his nation was totally corrupt. A new religion would solve the problems. He withdrew himself in a cavern as many, many yogis have done, and we should do if possible for a short or longer time. There he received the revelation, just like in Christianity to Zechariah and Mary, the Archangel Gabriel. He obviously took things over from the Bible, Old and New Testament, what he may have heard, and often wrongly dictated, as the story of Abraham who had to offer his only begotten son to God as a test of faith. Mohammed got the wrong name for Abraham's son. The Koran also says that Jesus was not crucified, but that Judas took his place on the cross. Historically, totally untrue! Like the Christians they believe in the literal sense of the resurrection of the dead at the end of times, etc. I am not discussing whether Mohammed was a prophet or not, as he did redeem his people, giving them spiritual meaning to their way of living, as an open door to inner development. The unity of the Bhagavad Gîtâ is "Beyond Religion", and, therefore "Hinduism" because the Gîtâ itself confirms Hindu Scriptures. The Gîtâ is certainly not concerned with religion as we know it to be, but with the individual man, his inner life, his spirituality, his salvation until birth and death is no more. Nowadays, the Christian religions have so much been reformed, that "spirituality" is no longer to be found in the churches. And, yet, there is among people today a great hunger for spirituality, and do look over the fence. Abbeys, monasteries, are inviting Buddhist monk to hold retreats on their own premises, others are by themselves organising meditation sessions. Groups all over he world are organising and teach the way back to the recognition of the only true "Self", how to enter it through meditation, and finally experience communion with the "Higher self", and beyond. The outer world is the world of the reasoning mind, while the inner world is the one of experience. The outer world does not believe in God, but in the inner world the existence of the Supreme Being always looms large. The Gîtâ is God's Heart and man's breath, God's Assurance and man's promise. The inspiration of Hinduism is the concern of the Gita, while the aspiration of Hinduism is the blessing dawn of the Gîtâ. Christianity says that she has something special to offer to the whole world, "salvation through Jesus Christ". The East accepts the offer with deepest gratitude and offers her greatest pride, the Bhagavad Gîtâ in return. To pronounce that the Gîtâ is the sole monopoly of Hinduism is unthinkable. The Gîtâ is the common property of humanity. Through the Gîtâ, for the one it will be the path of meditation, and for the other the one of devotion. Let us all do the work that is demanded of us in the Gîtâ and Hinduism alike by fulfilling our earnest duty. If we do our mindful duty and offer the fruits thereof to Lord Krishna, in no time the Self will be won. Why Hinduism only counts a third of the world's population? Simply through the hardness and self-centeredness of the three streams of religion, the Hebrews, the Christians and Islam. All three say, that there is no salvation outside their walls, and that they are "unique", and others are pagans. But, as those religions collapse today, the one more than the other, also Islam, people are today more inclined to Hinduism because of their hunger for spirituality. Today too, "communication" does help to spread the Truth. Phil may be contacted: email@example.com ----- Original Message From Randy Lejeune----- From: Randy To: Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2001 3:28 PM Subject: Pot vs. Skillet Ø "Simply through the hardness and Ø > self-centeredness of the three streams of Ø > religion, the Hebrews, the Christians and Islam." Ø > To me this statement sounds as though you wish Ø > the others would change their religions to suit Ø > your preferences rather than merely encouraging Ø > them to become more tolerant. Are they hard and Ø > self-centered because they disagree with you? > Dear Randy: I do not mean at all, that the Abrahamic Religions (Hebrews, Christians and Moslems) should alter their doctrines, or just quit to embrace another religion as Hinduism. I mean, that in this time and age, we should all be open for each other, understand each other, and see the Truth as a continuity throughout the religions, say from the Lord Krishna even earlier up to this very day. (See the Truth in every religion.) Essentially, in all the World religions we find the same Truth about God (even the Christian Trinity is found differently in Hinduism). In Hinduism we find the Father/Mother aspect of God, and at the same time in the Christian Religion we find Mary the Mother of Jesus, proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches, as the Mother of God! (A few years ago at the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church, the Father/Mother aspect of God was discussed.) Do we not see in the Virgin Mary the Mother aspect of God? "Prasada" in Hinduism, the giving of natural gifts in the form of food and flowers to a deity, and at the end of the rites or group meditation, the food is redistributed as a gift from the deity to the devotee. Do you not see here the Holy Eucharist or Lord's Supper in the Christian Churches. Jesus Christ has preached "tolerance"! Why do not apply it towards other religions, what they used to call some 50 years ago when I was twelve, "heathenism". At that time they just stopped other religious streams, as an abomination condemned to hell. Today, they can no longer do that, because of communication and because everyone have learned to think and judge using common sense for themselves and not rely on others for their thinking. Tolerance is a matter of giving each and everyone to be themselves, also in religious matters. There is in the Vatican a very highly esteemed cardinal, "Ratzinger". Even today in the year 2001 he still say that outside the Roman Catholic Church there is no salvation. Hinduism does not teach that, nor Buddhism. Everyone through life and death works at his own salvation. A fortnight ago, I received a magazine from Belgian Buddhist Association, having their retreat in a Cistercian abbey (St. Bernard Rules), where in the years 60 I used to go and was welcomed for my own personal retreats. Some do change, of course and are open like Thomas Merton. An Abbey, like an Ashram is not the Church but a branch. Why can the Church not do the same with Hinduism, accept them with open arms. Jesus proclaimed true love, "love one another", why can his followers not do the same! Last year, at the beginning of Lenten, His Holiness the Pope asked forgiveness for the mistakes of the Church down the ages, but since I have not seen any difference. "Love one another", is the first and most important step to spiritual unfoldment, as it just contains everything. In "love one another", is found the love for God, is found none-attachment to the fruits of our work, and above all in "love one another" is found Unity. Everyday, when I start my meditation session I chant a hymn, and in the last verses it says, "Thou art One Life, One truth, One Face." God has one face. Take it as a prayer: Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme! I bow to Thee, I bow My life Thy golden plough; My journey's Goal Thy soulful Dream. Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme! I bow to Thee, I bow Supreme, I am Thy glowing Grace. My world Thy feet of Light. My breath Thy Vision's kite. Thou art one truth, one Life, one Face Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme! I bow to Thee, I bow ====================================================================================================== From: "Mary Chavez" Save Address - Block Sender Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com (Why) Save Address Subject: Questions from the site Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 6:20:26 -0400 Reply Reply All Forward Delete Previous Next Close Do you think that are so few followers, because there are so few advanced souls on earth? I don't think that the concept that Hinduism has more to offer per say, it has more to offer the more advanced Soul. I think those that don't understand the insight of it, have not yet on a Soul's level prepared for it. I myself feel my attraction to Hinduism is because I feel as a like minded soul to those who are followers of it. I take joy in it's poetic truths. It takes a duelist mind to comprehend the many facets of it. Just as you can be said of those that are from India. So many cultures, languages, and practices, in one country so large. It is my belief that Hinduism does have much to offer, but it take the right personality, and balance for someone to approach it. The manner in which someone comes to it. Within Hinduism is a Simplistic Complexity that is misunderstood, and confusing. But to me, it is the perfect blend of what to me is a good place to find peace within myself, and find a greater respect for God. It's more than a respect for God, a great Love for God. And threw that,I can do the same for myself, and those surrounding me. Mary ====================================================================================================== Announced on HPI July 9, 2001 Hindu-bashing Chicago Radio and TV talk show airs by Frank Parlato Jr. Chicago: A campaign launched by Chicago radio and TV talk-show host Tony Brown purports to "inform" the American public about Hinduism. One of Brown’s shows aired on WLS 890 AM between 10 a.m. and 12 noon, on Saturday, June 30, and a similar television show aired 6 a.m. on Sunday, dedicating its time allotment to a bash of Hinduism. It was timed, perhaps coincidentally, when three major congregations of Indians - the JAINA, the TANA, and the "Vedanta in the Third Millennium" conventions were held in the Windy city. Brown promises more shows on the topic. Among other things, Brown said: **Nazism emanated from Hinduism; Hilter borrowed the "Swastika" symbol from the Hindu religion. **Untouchability, "widely practiced" in India, permits "5 per cent of the three high castes to rule the rest of the one billion population." **After the death of Mother Teresa, all Christian nuns in India were systematically persecuted. ** Female children and women of lower castes are forced into prostitution. Brown chastised the US government for allowing (Indians) to immigrate into the US. And blamed the US government for not being able to provide proper educational facilities for the Americans in the country, forcing the country to import thousands of computer experts from India. "Americans do not understand Hinduism," said Brown, "...In India there are one billion of people, of whom 500 million live in poverty. There is no such thing in the country as welfare system. That means, it is their belief that (lower caste people) should be persecuted and no one should help them. ...(the) caste system is ... based on color discrimination...." Further dilating, Brown added, "A woman in India is never free. First of all she is under the control of her parents; when she gets married, she is under the control of her husband; and when her husband dies, she is under the control of her children. She doesn't get free. And the concept of Hinduism is purity. Are you pure? If you are around (a person of an) impure caste, you have to go home and cleanse yourself. I am impure because you are around me. Women are impure. That is the theory. Black untouchables are impure. Foreigners are impure. The idea is to create system of segregation, apartheid, so that the pure people can be kept away from impure people." Brown added, "There are 300 million gods in Hinduism. You do not have to believe in God to be a Hindu. Christians have a Bible, Jews have a Bible, Muslims have a Koran, and there is no Hindu bible. There is no central creed what a Hindu believes. There is no hierarchy like the Pope, the cardinals and so forth." As Brown’s TV program aired, the editorial board members of India Tribune convened, and disturbed by what was being said, decided to change its lead story for that week. "India Tribune likes to share its disgust and anguish with its readers." managing editor J.V. Lakshmana Rao wrote in a front page story in their July 3, 2001 edition. The Tribune, a weekly, is one of the largest circulation Indian newspapers published in America. The Tribune did not directly rebut Brown’s assertions but published them in extenso- showing its readers the patent absurdity of his claims. The Tribune wrote, "The tone of the broadcast continues in this outrageous and insulting fashion and India Tribune, which lays emphasis on the Hindu belief of equality of all religions, appeals to its readers, community members and leaders to consider the issue seriously and launch a peaceful mass protest to stop this unhealthy practice of Hindu-bashing, as Tony Brown promises a few more shows on the subject on a weekly basis. The Tribune, called on Hindus to show the same aggressive spirit that Muslims, Christian or Jews would demonstrate if their religion was attacked. "Tony Brown can do it with Indians and Hinduism only. One can imagine what outrageous reaction Tony Brown would generate if he does it to any other religion." =======================by Vijay, posted 7/21/05===================================== The major reasons are: 1) Induism never proletyzed, never sought to evangelize or bring anyone into their fold ( yes, there are now in the West, and in India, many so called "gurus" who do it for personal fun and profit, but they are mostly aberrations.) Induism knows that you can reach THAT through any path, and never entered in competition with other religions. Often in small chai places on the roadside amnogst so many calendars on the wall of countless Hindu God I saw a Christ, a Virgin with Child, or even a mosque. The general attitude (with some exceptions) is, that is also OK, that is also one of HIs manifestations... 2) As Chistianity as Roman Chatolics, Anglicans, etc etc, Induism is divided in countless paths, but so many more, which can be rather confusing to whoever is not born into it but approaches it from outside. 3) There are two aspects to Induism. The popular folklore, with so many images and attributes, (which, by the way, change from state to state of India - the God Murugan, for example, the one with the Vel and who rides the peacock, is called Kartikeya in other parts or India, and in others still Subramanya, etc) seems too much of a circus to the rations western ( or chinese) mind. The deeper aspect of Induism, the Vedas, the Upanishad, the Yoga, is not a religion, in the sense that it does not ask anyone to believe - quite the contrary - but to EXPERIENCE the Divine yourself, Most people are too lazy or too afraid to do that. Personally, I like Shiva, Khrisna, and ALL the aspects of the Divine Mother (God is female for me) but I see them as representations, allegories of certain hidden energies I can experience in myself. Om! Love and Light Vijay (Vijay is a world traveler, born in Italy, who has been a resident of Auroville since 1968. He is a gem merchant and a writer.)