Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Future of Hinduism

Question: Hinduism can be said to be a religion that has been changing cont. for the good. The best example of the change is the acceptance of the constitution ( unlike the muslims who have different laws ). So we must realize that whatever we do or say or think may contribute towards the future change of HINDUISM. So ... post your views on what you think might be the changes in HINDUISM in the future .

My Reply:
Hinduism will/is undergoing a change in her body, but will retain its characteristic spirit.

So what we are seeing is just a change in the external form, the outer body of Hinduism. Old institutions are being replaced by new ones. Old forms are being replaced by new forms. Whether one likes it or not, this is sure to happen.

In the place of old maths, new age gurus are teaching things; in place of old talapatra grandhas, printed books and internet is the new means to spread the scriptures. In place of old rituals to please gods, serving others will become the new form of worship.

But the spirit will always be the same, and it is spirituality. As Sri Aurobindo says “Spirituality is indeed the master-key of the Indian mind; the sense of the infinite is native to it”. This is never going to change.

Some points by Ratan:
There are many new positive trends in Hinduism -

a) A delinking from India. There are now lakhs of non-Indian Hindus. Many are at the forefront of global Hindu society. They are bringing in new perspectives and new energy.

b) A global integration of Hindus. For once, a worldwide (Fiji, Mauritius, UK, South Africa, Trinidad, Guyana, US, India, Bali) sense has emerged of a single Hindu family. Hindus in India are bugged about the California textbook issue. American Hindus are bugged about the temple bombings in Bali.

c) Withering of the caste system. At differing rates, but consistently throughout the world, the caste system is dying. There is broad consensus that it should. I think it will be gone within the next 1-2 generations. Refer to VHP demand from last week.

d) Openness to proselytize. Non-Hindus becoming Hindus is now commonly accepted. Things like Ghar Wapasi and Shuddhi hold total currency in most of Hindu society. The old rubbish about "only born Hindus can be Hindus" is in an advanced stage of dying. You only hear it from pretend-Hindus anymore.

e) Consumerization of components of Hinduism. Yoga, ayurved and meditation are now mainstream in Western society. In a way, this acts as a validation of Hinduism.

f) Weakening of the Socialist Theocracy in India. Indira Gandhi had made Socialism a state religion in India. In that capacity, Hinduism and other faiths in India were discriminated against. With the demise of the USSR and the opening of China, the theocracy in India has weakened too. There is a new era of religious freedom there. Sikhism and Indian Islam are benefitting from it as well.

g) The new Akshardham temple in Delhi is a new development :-). It's awesome.

There are some negatives too - growing extremism being one.


As an aside, I have subscribed to Hinduism Today, and it is an *amazing* magazine to keep in touch with the global Hindu family -

Question: @surya, Yes agree with your points...but I don't think that goodness survives on its own. If you do not protect the good then the bad will win.
No one is there to protect or preach Hinduism today in as mass a scale as other religions. Such a proactive approach is not even respected or appreciated.

I guess the independant thinkers will cling to Hinduism but not the masses.

My Reply:
Do you believe in Truth

do you believe that only Truth is eternal (why?... coz it IS truth)

do you believe that Hinduism is Truth

do you believe in the Vedas which declare that Sanatana Dharma is eternal

do you believe in the powers of goodness

do you believe in Sri Krishna's word when he says "when ever the adharma is on raise and whenever Dharma subsides, I will take birth to restore Dharma

If the answer to above is Yes, then you can be 200% that Hinduism is never going to be extent.

I think my above statements are too cryptic. let me elaborate them a little.

I don’t meant to say that Hindus can just sit quite and all things will be taken care of by themselves. We need to work, but the attitude of the Hindus should change.

Hindus should get rid of silly anxieties like whether Hinduism is going to survive or not etc. That which is truth is self-sustainable and does not need any external help. If Hinduism is true, it will surely do.

Hindus should stop thinking of themselves as weak beings whose survival is doubtful and at the mercy of fate. Only weak people believe in fate. Strong ppl believe in their own strength.

As Sri Krishna says in Gita, whenever Adharma prevails and Dharma is on decline, the divinity will manifest itself to restore the Dharma. That’s it…no ifs and buts.

If Rama wanted, he could have gone and conquered the lanka all alone. But it was the good fortune of the Vanaras that they had an opportunity to help. In the same manner, if God wants, things can be as likes in a moment. But it is our fortune that we got an opportunity to serve. Hinduism does not need us; we need Hinduism.

This mere change in attitude can work wonders. Just imagine yourself being in a army of 10000 against 100 and being in an army of 100 against 10000. In which case will one be filled with confidence and enthusiasm?

It is this kind of attitudinal change I am referring to. Not as doubtful candidate, uncertain about the result, but as a lion, full of confidence and with the attitude that “the result is already decided, only the details of how and when are to be worked out by me.”

Instead of passivity, activity; for the standard of weakness, the standard of strength; in place of a steadily-yielding defense, the ringing cheer of a invading host. Merely to change the attitude of the mind, in this way, is already to accomplish a revolution.” ~ Sister Nivedita


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