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Why I am a Hindu

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Seshadri Subramaniam

Well-known member
I received this mail, titled exactly as above and with the following content: (just thought that this would be a good one to share)

"Four years ago, I was flying from JFK NY Airport to SFO to attend a meeting at Monterey,CA. An American girl was sitting to my right. It was indeed a very long flight - it would take nearly seven hours.

I was surprised to see the young girl reading a Bible - unusual of young Americans. After some time, she smiled and we started talking.I told her that I was from India.

Then suddenly the girl asked me: 'What's your faith?' 'What?' I didn't understand her question.

'I mean, what's your religion? Are you a Christian? Or a Muslim?'

'No!' I replied, 'I am neither Christian nor Muslim'.

Apparently she appeared shocked to listen to that. 'Then who are you?' 'I am a Hindu', I said.

She looked at me as if she was seeing a caged animal. She could not understand what I was talking about.

A common man in Europe or US knows about Christianity and Islam, as they are the leading religions of the world today. But a Hindu, what?

I explained to her - I am born to a Hindu father and Hindu mother. Therefore, I am a Hindu by birth.

'Who is your prophet?' she asked.

'We don't have a prophet,' I replied.

'What's your Holy Book?'

'We don't have a single Holy Book, but we have hundreds and thousands of philosophical and sacred scriptures,' I replied.

'Oh, come on at least tell me who is your God?'

'What do you mean by that?'

'Like we have Jesus and Muslims have Allah - don't you have a God?'

I thought for a moment. Muslims and Christians believe in one God (a male God) who created the world and takes an interest in the humans who inhabit it. Her mind was conditioned to that kind of belief. According to her (or anybody who doesn't know about Hinduism), a religion needs to have one Prophet, one Holy book and one God. The mind is so conditioned and rigidly narrowed down to such a notion that anything else was unacceptable. I understood her perception and concept about faith. You can't compare Hinduism with any of the present leading religions where you have to believe in one concept of God.

I tried to explain to her: 'You can believe in one God and he can be a Hindu. You may believe in multiple deities and still you can be a Hindu. What's more - you may not believe in God at all, and you can still be a Hindu. An atheist can also be a Hindu.'

This sounded very crazy to her. She couldn't imagine a religion so unorganized, still surviving for thousands of years, even after onslaught from foreign forces.

'I don't understand but it seems very interesting. Are you religious?'

What could I tell this American girl?

I said: 'I do not go to a temple regularly. I do not make any regular rituals. I have learned some of the rituals in my younger days. I still enjoy doing it sometimes.'

'Enjoy? Are you not afraid of God?'

'God is a friend. No - I am not afraid of God. Nobody has made any compulsions on me to perform these rituals regularly.'

She thought for a while and then asked: 'Have you ever thought of converting to any other religion?'

'Why should I? Even if I challenge some of the rituals and faith in Hinduism, nobody can convert me from Hinduism. Because, being a Hindu allows me to think independently and objectively, without conditioning. I remain as a Hindu never by force, but choice.' I told her that Hinduism is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. It is not a religion like Christianity or Islam because it is not founded by any one person or does not have an organized controlling body like the Church or the Order, I added. There is no institution or authority.

'So, you don't believe in God?' she wanted everything in black and white.

'I didn't say that. I do not discard the divine reality. Our scripture, or Sruthis or Smrithis - Vedas and Upanishads or the Gita - say God might be there or he might not be there. But we pray to that supreme abstract authority (Para Brahma) that is the creator of this universe.'

'Why can't you believe in one personal God?'

'We have a concept - abstract - not a personal God. The concept or notion of a personal God, hiding behind the clouds of secrecy, telling us irrational stories through few men whom he sends as messengers, demanding us to worship him or punish us, does not make sense. I don't think that God is as silly as an autocratic emperor who wants others to respect him or fear him.' I told her that such notions are just fancies of less educated human imagination and fallacies, adding that generally ethnic religious practitioners in Hinduism believe in personal gods. The entry level Hinduism has over-whelming superstitions too. The philosophical side of Hinduism negates all superstitions.

'Good that you agree God might exist. You told me that you pray. What is your prayer then?'

'Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,'

'Funny,' she laughed, 'What does it mean?'

'May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.'

'Hmm ..very interesting. I want to learn more about this religion. It is so democratic, broad-minded and free' she exclaimed.

'The fact is Hinduism is a religion of the individual, for the individual and by the individual - with its roots in the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita. It is all about an individual approaching a personal God in an individual way according to his temperament and inner evolution - it is as simple as that.'

'How does anybody convert to Hinduism?'

'Nobody can convert you to Hinduism, because it is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. Everything is acceptable in Hinduism because there is no single authority or organization either to accept it or to reject it or to oppose it on behalf of Hinduism.'

I told her - if you look for meaning in life, don't look for it in religions; don't go from one cult to another or from one guru to the next.

For a real seeker, I told her, the Bible itself gives guidelines when it says ' Kingdom of God is within you.' I reminded her of Christ's teaching about the love that we have for each other. That is where you can find the meaning of life.

Loving each and every creation of the God is absolute and real. 'Isavasyam idam sarvam' Isam (the God) is present (inhabits) here everywhere - nothing exists separate from the God, because God is present everywhere. Respect every living being and non-living things as God. That's what Hinduism teaches you.

Hinduism is referred to as Sanathana Dharma, the eternal faith. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the code of life. The most important aspect of Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on ideas.- It is open to all. Hindus believe in one God (not a personal one) expressed in different forms. For them, God is a timeless and formless entity..
Ancestors of today's Hindus believe in eternal truths and cosmic laws and these truths are open to anyone who seeks them. But there is a section of Hindus who are either superstitious or turned fanatic to make this an organized religion like others. The British coined the word 'Hindu' and considered it as a religion.

I said: 'Religions have become an MLM (multi-level- marketing) industry that has been trying to expand its market share by conversion. The biggest business in today's world is Spirituality. Hinduism is no exception'
I am a Hindu primarily because it professes Non-violence - 'Ahimsa Paramo Dharma' - Non violence is the highest duty. I am a Hindu because it doesn't condition my mind with any faith system.

A man/ woman who changes his/her birth religion to another religion is a fake and does not value his/her morals, culture and values in life.

Hinduism was the first "religion". Be proud of your religion and be proud of who you are."
 
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sridharvasudevan

Active member
Dear Seshadri,

Why are you on this forum? Any books to your credit already? Meet a publisher if you haven't yet.

But the story on the airplane did not cover the American's reactions somewhere from the middle. You were in fact writing to this thread.

Good thoughts, way of writing and beliefs.

But, what does this Hindu want to do in life?
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
this is a common story sent over emails...it was started by a someone (who was accompanying someone) and did not consider the self as belonging to any religion, caste, region or creed - someone who considered the self as sanatana (eternal) just as the sanatana (faith), but was young and not very well informed in certain things and therefore made a few mistakes in the writing....i have underlined relevant sections that may miss the attention of the eye...

Because, being a Hindu allows me to think independently and objectively, without conditioning. I remain as a Hindu never by force, but choice.' I told her that Hinduism is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. It is not a religion like Christianity or Islam because it is not founded by any one person or does not have an organized controlling body like the Church.

Hinduism is referred to as Sanathana Dharma, the eternal faith. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the code of life. The most important aspect of Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on ideas.- It is open to all. Hindus believe in one God (not a personal one) expressed in different forms. For them, God is a timeless and formless entity..
Ancestors of today's Hindus believe in eternal truths and cosmic laws and these truths are open to anyone who seeks them....The British coined (it shd have been "recognized" not coined) the word 'Hindu' and considered it as a religion.

I said: 'Religions have become an MLM (multi-level- marketing) industry that has been trying to expand its market share by conversion. .... I am a Hindu because it doesn't condition my mind with any faith system.

A man/ woman who changes his/her birth religion to another religion is a fake and does not value his/her morals, culture and values in life.

this was not what was conveyed by the author of that article.... the author merely found no reason why there shd be conversion and instead beleived in welcoming all to the hindu fold...no matter what...

Hinduism was the first "religion". Be proud of your religion and be proud of who you are."

the author did not say or intend to say hindusim was a religion, instead termed hindusim as a set of beliefs and practices...one can be born into any religion and still be a hindu ethnically or by belief also...
 
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sridharvasudevan

Active member
Dear HH,

Thank you.. It is only now I read the first line of Seshadri's posting...that it is an email he received and not a story about himself....

Dear Seshadri,

Did i shower some praises on the wrong person....anyways it was only a praise and not abuses.
 
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sapr333

Guest
Eternal truth => What does not belong to me... does not stay with me:drama, but this one was really quick...:becky:

A quick Corollary:-


Nothing belongs to me in this world . So, nothing stays with me.

As, everything belongs to God, God will stay with me.
 
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sapr333

Guest
Seshadri,impressive title, sure I will hang on this thread for sometime. Wish you had put in your own views, than the flight conversation, cos it seems to be so 'Novice'.If there is a possiblity to edit it, please take an abstract of that,fine tune and add your own thought, and re-set it as the header message of this thread.

And here are few points I would like to share here

11>>>A man/ woman who changes his/her birth religion to another religion is a fake and does not value his/her morals, culture and values in life.>>

Your above statement, contradicts the flight discussion. It says,'Hinduism is not a religion, where as you claim here, as religion. Even if Hinduism is a religion, then its "Ones personal conviction to choose a path to reach God (or) ones loving relationship with God, and its between his heart and mind, not outside what we see in his.

For eg, Though one can use goondas to stop a boy dating in public,Can any one stop him from loving the girl in his heart?. I would relate Dating to religious identity, and Religious faith to lover-at-heart.. Can any law/cop/goonda change her except for someone who sits with her,convince her,that, her love is not true (Reconversion). So changing faith cannot be brushed aside as Fake...If conversion is truly bothering, you in your heart, then you need to set a platform,and set a premise(logial/philosophical/moral),which is understandable to the other, or, to the person who is planning to convert, instead of brushing it aside as fake. I think,hindu scholars should work out some philosophies, to bridge the west&east, that just saying "Way of life & Culture'.After all, this way of life terminology is pretty new, which was coined by the Great modern day hindu philosopher Dr.RadhaKrishnan.

Also,I remember one of your post, where you met some converts in coimbatore, where you sheerly brushed aside the converts as fake/lack of sense/blind folded.Im sure, after you left, they also would have told the same on you. The key issue here is you used your own yard stick, than with an universal approach.Above all, you never attempted to convert them back,by citing the greatness of hindu philosophy. Thats indeed a weakness in you.. Pls do a small introspection...


If you call conversion as Change of Culture/Values, then according to the flight discussion, a Moslem/Jew in India can also be called as Hindu.Cos,Indians overall have a unique culture,irrespective of their religious identity.According to this,the South African/Trinidad Tobago/Fiji Hindu NRI's cannot be called as Hindus,cos, they got appropriated to their respective nationlistic culture?

Somehow I cannot agree to identifying god-religion with any particular culture.God is for all the universe,right!! Hinduism should also attempt to spread its goodness globlly to white,Brown,Yellow &Black. Btw, any culture which has not changed has died. Greek/Babylonians/Sumerians/Harrpan/Israel/Roman cultures are already dead. If you feel,an Indian is moving from his culture,take it positively, cos thats the only way, a culture could survive long.. If we got to analyse the dead civilizations, any culture/civilization, which has not repsected Value for human life/equality/health care/Social living/Human rights etc are bound to die. History has recorded them well.

Yes, quickly,tend to hush western culture as bad,citing Nude-Beaches & Divorce, equally the west is also looking down upon us in similar areas like Forced Marriages(violation of fundamental rights)/Dowry Harassment/wife burning/Female infanticide/gender discrimination/Crime against women etc.

Regarding Morals, you need to clarify, this.. Is 'Objective moral' relative/Universal?



>>Hinduism was the first "religion". Be proud of your religion and be proud of who you are.">>

Huge blunder again!! Just because its old, you are asking all to be proud..

Ancient religion/Culture/Script in the world is Sumerian. Ancient temples edifice's are with Egyptians.If one wish to follow something, just because its old, then we may be following one of those, and may not be using the laptops, rather, a room sized 8086 processing machines. I am sure, there are lot and lots of good thought one can learn from Hinduism, which got missed in the flight conversation mail.. Seshadri, it would be nice, if you could compose something of your own as a header of this thread. It seems to be an interesting topic to debate. Thanks.
 
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s007bala

Guest
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i am not a hindu per se but a 'sanathani dharmi' ........sanathana dharma includes all religions in the bhu-loka and other lokas of the jagath.sarvam brahmaa mayam......but out of compassion for arabs=islamic people who follow islam aka muslims and out of compassion for christians who follow jesus christ....bharathians have made peace with these two warring and violent communities...and allowed ourselves who are sanathana dharma proponents to be branded as'hindus' and a religion called as 'hinduism'.

so,why did snathna dharma proponents allow themselves to be branded as hindu?

if they did not,christians,muslims will kill them physically,emotinally,economically....make them suffer untold miseries in world forum...as might is right....is the assumption.

but sanathana dharma which emerged from india is the root of all religions in the world,imho.

sb
 
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Seshadri Subramaniam

Well-known member
sapr333, i can assure you that the entire message was taken from my mail.. (of course, barring the first sentence)...

i would come back to reply to your post here...
 
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Seshadri Subramaniam

Well-known member
A quick Corollary:-


Nothing belongs to me in this world . So, nothing stays with me.

As, everything belongs to God, God will stay with me.
Wrong logic, inference and conclusion!!!

Corollary should be 'What belongs to me, stays with me...'

Now what is that which stays with me for ever?

To do this, we need to identify the real "me"!
 
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s007bala

Guest
ss

To do this, we need to identify the real "me"

real 'me'=self,which beginningless or endless as aadiyum illai anathamum illai=atma gyaanam.belonging is a perception,imho.as to 'what' really belongs to one.

enjoying this thread thoroughly s s thnx so much.kandanukku vel vel subramaniakku vel vel.

sb
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
Wrong logic, inference and conclusion!!!

Corollary should be 'What belongs to me, stays with me...'

Now what is that which stays with me for ever?

To do this, we need to identify the real "me"!

And how would you think does one identify the real "me"? The scriptures talk of aham-karam (the I-sense). Since aham or I is ego, how does one identify or differentiate between I (aham) and ego (aham)?

If the assumption is wrong, then it is a judgement or inferred judgement. It is not logic or that which has established a satyam, truth. A judgement is not the truth. It does not change the truth.

If the inference is wrong, then the judgement of the mind mentioned as "Wrong logic, inference and conclusion!!!" is also wrong (?) Looking forward to the explanation.
 
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s007bala

Guest
re

And how would you think does one identify the real "me"? The scriptures talk of aham-karam (the I-sense). Since aham or I is ego, how does one identify or differentiate between I (aham) and ego (aham)?

If the assumption is wrong, then it is a judgement or inferred judgement. It is not logic or that which has established a satyam, truth. A judgement is not the truth. It does not change the truth.

If the inference is wrong, then the judgement of the mind mentioned as "Wrong logic, inference and conclusion!!!" is also wrong (?) Looking forward to the explanation.

aham-karanam.if aham is the karanam,which aham,is the real aham.the aham as perceived by you.the aham perceived by others with their aham.or is it the aham which is aham its 'aham brahmasmi' = 'self'?

when all three ahams manifested reflects in unison,a state of satch chid ananda swaroopam prevails worldover.

sb
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
when all three ahams manifested reflects in unison,a state of satch chid ananda swaroopam prevails worldover.

rubbish.

aham of the self is "cognition" that has rejected various perceptions abt itself (self-enquiry). this aham has nothing to do with how others perceive it.

what are the 3 ahams that are so-called manifest (manifest from where)?
 
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s007bala

Guest
re


when the aham that i perceive,is reading'rubbish'=there is one perception.

when the aham in you has perceived my aham from my writing=one perception.

when the aham in me which is in sat chith ananda swaroopam and the aham in you which is in state of sath chith anandam are in brahman together as one = one perception.

when all the above perceptions are in unison as perception universally,its samadhi.

sb

rubbish.aham of the self is "cognition" that has rejected various perceptions abt itself (self-enquiry). this aham has nothing to do with how others perceive it.

what are the 3 ahams that are so-called manifest (manifest from where)?
 
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sapr333

Guest
Nothing belongs to me in this world . So, nothing stays with me.!

Its reminds me of a song in my dad's LP record collection.. A sad song..donno the movie name or actor there..

"Veeduvari Uravu, Veedivarai manaivi, Kaduvari pillai, kadaisvari yaroo'..

ie, relatives,wife,son will all to the max. can come up to the funeral pyre..Donno, who comes along till eternity..

Here my corollary fits.. "Nothing belongs to me in this world, except God"
 
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Seshadri Subramaniam

Well-known member
And how would you think does one identify the real "me"? The scriptures talk of aham-karam (the I-sense). Since aham or I is ego, how does one identify or differentiate between I (aham) and ego (aham)?

Ego is an inflated sense of pride in one's superiority to others... or it is a consciousness of our identity (physical identity)... also termed as the conscious mind...


The senses are the means (mind-body overlap) through which the mind is influenced... By discarding the senses, the ego automatically vanishes...

If the assumption is wrong, then it is a judgement or inferred judgement. It is not logic or that which has established a satyam, truth. A judgement is not the truth. It does not change the truth.

An 'if' in the statement implies that it is conditional! An assumption is different from speculation or a wild guess... considering available information, and based on individual/majority observation, certain premises are laid...

Nobody knows what the truth is... so let us keep truth out of it...


If the inference is wrong, then the judgement of the mind mentioned as "Wrong logic, inference and conclusion!!!" is also wrong (?) Looking forward to the explanation.

Again the 'if' factor...

Would advise you to lookup the meaning of the word 'corollary'...
...
 
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sapr333

Guest
>>>Here my corollary fits.. "Nothing belongs to me in this world, except God"


>>>A corollary is a natural derivative, a consequence... hence if you were to derive it from my statement then it is not a corollary...

My earlier remarks were in that sense...

In totality, I think it will fit..

'Everything belongs to God', and this statement yields to "Nothing belongs to Me"

Advice me on this.Thanks
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
brown

Originally Posted by happyhindu
And how would you think does one identify the real "me"? The scriptures talk of aham-karam (the I-sense). Since aham or I is ego, how does one identify or differentiate between I (aham) and ego (aham)?

Ego is an inflated sense of pride in one's superiority to others... or it is a consciousness of our identity (physical identity)... also termed as the conscious mind...


The senses are the means (mind-body overlap) through which the mind is influenced... By discarding the senses, the ego automatically vanishes...

these are western definitions of ego (pride and physical identity). Western world recognise 5 senses and one special 6th sense, but vedic texts mention 7 senses.. therefore sense-based perception and understanding of ego (as understood) by western philosophers is rather less complex than the eastern ones.

Sense are means by which mind is influenced alright, but to comprehend brahman the hindus learnt to drop the senses and the mind. Its an art and a technique of yoga but influenced other schools. In an other post you had mentioned brahman can never be comprehended by the senses, yes, brahman is said to be comprehensable after the mind is dropped.

<<It simply implies that 'Brahman' can never be comprehended by the senses..>>

If the assumption is wrong, then it is a judgement or inferred judgement. It is not logic or that which has established a satyam, truth. A judgement is not the truth. It does not change the truth.

An 'if' in the statement implies that it is conditional! An assumption is different from speculation or a wild guess... considering available information, and based on individual/majority observation, certain premises are laid...

exactly. therefore anything conditional is not real, not necessarily true, it cud be delusional. hence it too is an assumption. An assumption can be based on speculation, and therefore when one pronounces "wrong logic" it essentially stems from conditioned thinking of the assumptive kind.

Nobody knows what the truth is... so let us keep truth out of it...


everything that was worked on by hindu logicians were an attempt to know the truth. they established several truths, like planets exist, like living beings derive energy from the sun, etc..all of which may seem simple now, but were milestones of human endeavour for knowledge...nyaya school is not seperated from vaisheshika.

If the inference is wrong, then the judgement of the mind mentioned as "Wrong logic, inference and conclusion!!!" is also wrong (?) Looking forward to the explanation.

Again the 'if' factor...

Would advise you to lookup the meaning of the word 'corollary'...


thanks. i have looked up and hence found the assumption amusing.
 
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s007bala

Guest
re



As, everything belongs to God, God will stay with me.

god is not someone outside of you.self is god.aham brahmasmi.i am not the body but a spirit atma.its a different issue people have a 'para-matma'.:violin:

sb
 
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sapr333

Guest
god is not someone outside of you.self is god.aham brahmasmi.i am not the body but a spirit atma.its a different issue people have a 'para-matma'.:violin:

sb

Bala, if God is myself but not someone dwelling from outside, then, it defeats the purpose of One Supreme God? In nutshell, the world will have 4 Bn gods..

Secondly,if god is myself, then, on whoom we are accountable to and who will decide/judge our Karma?

Or, if you are refering to the concept of 'Atma(Soul) within us,which strives to find one'ness with Brahma after karmic purifications, then , we need to differentiate Soul/God...

Please correct me if Im wrong ...
 
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sapr333

Guest

HappyHindu, thanks for the link. Got bit hooked on to it today ..

Btw, Any idea which was the oldest NyayaSutra & its author?

According to the link you shared The oldest available treatise on logic is Nyayasutra (200-450 AD). Just thought of doing a bit in scaling the time-lines/context with Greek Philosophy. Thanks in advance.
 
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s007bala

Guest
re


Bala, if God is myself but not someone dwelling from outside, then, it defeats the purpose of One Supreme God? In nutshell, the world will have 4 Bn gods..


this is sanathana dharma.if your mind projects 4bn then its 4 bn.on the contrary if the mind projects,a singular human,that too is true.on the contrary if the mind projects its formless,that too is true.whatever you see or dont see or if you use any of the sensory perception or do not use any of our sensory perception,that too is god.

Secondly,if god is myself, then, on whoom we are accountable to and who will decide/judge our Karma?

the self in you and the self in all,is the selfless self of all.

the karma that you inflict or accrue,so do others=as long as you believe in duality.when you attain advaitham=you become that..therefore karma is a begginning less endless cycle of birth and death of body,but the atma remains self-effulgent.to realise and have an anubhavam ,you get it thru anugraham=anu=particle=graham=that which graces or grasps depending on the context.

Or, if you are refering to the concept of 'Atma(Soul) within us,which strives to find one'ness with Brahma after karmic purifications, then , we need to differentiate Soul/God...

Please correct me if Im wrong ...

initially we have to differentiate.that is why schools of dwa-darshans are so important for humanity.only if you go thru all schools of 12,you pass out or graduate in spirituality.without doing so,you are living on the karma of your past birth,and while living in a body in the present,you determine the future karma for a body to be formed.

sb

p.s.only if wrong or right exists in your mind,i should correct it.your are an atma encased in shell called body.
 
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