Building Divine Residency More Relevant Than Knowing God He or She

By Promod Puri

If God or the Supreme Being is He, She or It; residing in heaven, up there in the sky or just omnipresent in the known or unknown universe. Do we need to indulge in this debate? Not really. Rather we create our own god based on noble thoughts, ethics, and good karma.

Besides His numinous and varied perceptions God also offers a meaningful perspective which can be created by the assembly of good thoughts. And the divine residency begins in that on-going construction.

Basically, it is an eloquent temperament we are trying to build which gives rationality and practicality to the institution of God.

The ecumenical concept of God of being the supreme governor who creates, sustains, and destroys the universe, and everything else including what influences our lives, does not reveal the reasons behind all the puzzles and mysteries of His or Her observable deeds.

In other words, our perception of God as being a creator with His mystical powers which sustains the universe, can not comprehend many universal and natural phenomenon.
One reason is that man is just one of the millions of creatures who is microscopic in His infinite and colossal universe. Still, our imaginations and metaphysical attempts know no boundaries to fathom His magnanimity. For a moment let us compare a human being to a small ant who is trying to study God up there in the celestial world.

But we don’t. Because this has been ingrained in our cognitive senses that man is the favored work of God as being the most intelligent among all His living creations. And that we are the only ones capable of studying His multi-dimensional but conceptual-based existence.
Perhaps, that little ant may be thinking the same. It may be believing humans walking tall up on the ground are the unintelligent creatures. Or we are the gods for the ant. Who knows!

Philosophers, saints, scientists, and even common man have all tried to study God and came up with varied perceptions and explanations. Imagination is very basic part of human psychology.
However, these discernments seldom explain what role God plays or His reasons of our happiness, sorrows, and everything else we come across in our day to day lives. We see, face or endure tragedies around us every day in this world of turmoil. And then ask God ‘why’.

While respecting some or most of the known realizations and imageries about Him, we take another view of God which we assemble by intelligent and ethical thoughts to helps us in explaining His involvements in the events we experience in our lives.

In this endeavor by mobilizing rational and moral thinking we are creating those karmas which can rationally explain the cause or causes of events personally experienced by us or happening around us where God may be involved or maybe not.

We are the major players to generate events and thus know the reasons for their results. Nevertheless, we can leave unexplained experiences as part of His mysterious ‘lila’ or play.
Instilling nobility or divinity in our thoughts is a continuous exercise of creating virtuous karmas. And that is where the grammar of God is involved both as a verb and as a noun merging into one entity.

It is a disciplined and conscientious undertaking to attain the practicality of God in our midst.
We are told, to be honest, humble, and sincere, be considerate and helpful to others, be merciful, forget and forgive, love fellow beings and care for the environments, including animals, plants, and nature. And everything else which is pious, pure, and morally firm to bring us closer to God realization.

While retaining the truism of these universal teachings we can contextualize them through our intellective senses to guide our day-to-day personal lives. This is where the blueprint of our construction begins to apprehend His pragmatics.

(Excerpts from Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions)
progressivehindudialogue.com
promodpuri.com
promodpuri.blogspot.ca

Evolution Of South Asian Canadian Designation

By Promod Puri

Insensitivity and ignorance have been part of Canada’s racist history.

Immigrants, especially from the “visible minority” communities, not only faced racial discrimination in most aspects of their lives in Canada, but they could also discern reflections of bigotry and segregation in their epithetic labelling.

In early part of the twentieth century immigrants from the Indian subcontinent were all classified as “Hindoos”. Komagatamaru passengers dominated by Sikhs (340), Muslims (24) and Hindus (12) were all docketed as “Hindoos” by the authorities and the media of the time. They were all British subjects, but the use of the mis-spelt word as “Hindoos” reveals both ignorance and ethnocentric arrogance.

The “Hindoo” entitlement was carried on for long time not only by the government and the media but by the Canadian public as well. And for a brief duration in early ’70s during the extreme racist period, especially in Europe, that here in Canada Asian subcontinent migrants were stamped as “Pakis” by the born-racists Canadians of the redneck likes.

The tagging of immigrants as “Hindoos” and “Pakis” from the subcontinent was not merely for identification purpose, but in any event of hatred the monikers often carried abusive connotations.

However, with more numbers filling the population demography of Canada over the years, and with improved knowledge and understanding within the changing Canadian society that “Hindoos-Pakis” got some better grading in their designation.

The title “East Indian” was assigned and which became prevalent in the overall multicultural Canadian population. This identification also distinguished migrants from India from Native Indians. The “East Indian” entitlement lasted till most recent times, but occasionally it is still being used.

As the nomenclature process continued the next appellation was Indo-Canadian. This development happened despite the fact that migrants were also coming to Canada from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.

But the metamorphosis was significant as the community got the hyphen in between “Indo” and Canadian. As a matter of fact Canadians from most other multicultural communities were hyphenated too. The hyphen marked and recognized the distinctive cultural diversity of the Canadian society.

However, there were ultra nationalist Canadians including some from the ethnic communities, who were against the hyphenated designation of Canadians. They were the ones who opposed Canada’s multicultural entity. Rather they sought a melting pot of all cultures to fancy a composite Canadian culture.

Till now as an emerging ethnic community, all the identification labels, including the Indo-Canadian one, were assigned either by government authorities, media or the public in general

But the scenario got changed. In the ’70s The Link newspaper along with several other groups representing immigrants from the sub-continent took up the entitlement on themselves, and started using South Asian Canadian expression.

Soon this designation got an easy acceptance especially from all levels of government as they were also looking for the right term for all those immigrants with roots in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and other smaller states of the subcontinent.

The South-Asian-Canadian entitlement precisely and unequivocally represents all those new Canadians sharing related cultural, linguistic and religious values of the region. They include as well immigrants not coming directly from South Asian countries but from all over the world with roots in the Indian subcontinent.

South-Asian-Canadian is a broader and an all-inclusive designation. Under this banner lies the cultural and linguistic diversities of South Asia, besides representing a joint ethnic force which adds its own chapter to fight for racist-free Canada.

Seeking Divine Spirit

ॐ भूर्भुवस्व: | तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम् | भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि | धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्
Aum bhur bhuvah swah, tat savitur varenvam.
Bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prochodayay.
The four-part mantra is addressed to God (Aum) and the translation goes like this:

Oh God, you are the giver of life, you can free us from all the pains, you are present all over, you give happiness, you are the creator of this universe and beyond. We humbly submit to You and concentrate on your pious, sin-quelling and pervading ENERGY.

This ENERGY produced and released by You illuminates our mental faculties. We seek from you that this Energy resides in all our thinking processes so our thoughts are always inspired to undertake only those actions which can lead us to be on the path of righteousness.

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com

Composition Of God In Hinduism

By Promod Puri

Besides His numinous and varied perceptions God also offers a meaningful perspective which can be created by the assembly of good thoughts. And the divine residency begins in that on-going construction.

Basically it is an eloquent temperament we are trying to build which gives rationality and practicality to the institution of God.

The ecumenical concept of God of being the supreme governor who creates, sustains and destroys the universe, and everything else including what influences our lives, does not reveal the reasons behind all the puzzles and mysteries of His or Her observable deeds.

In other words our perception of God as being a creator with His mystical powers which sustains the universe, can not comprehend many universal and natural phenomenons.

One reason is that man is just one of the millions of creatures who in actuality is microscopic in His infinite and colossal universe. Still our imaginations and metaphysical attempts know no boundaries to fathom His magnanimity.

For a moment let us compare a human being to a small ant who is trying to study God up there in the celestial world.

But we don’t. Because this has been ingrained in our cognitive senses that man is the favored work of God as being the most intelligent among all His living creations. And that we are the only ones capable of studying His multi-dimensional but conceptual-based existence.

Perhaps, that little ant may be thinking the same. It may be believing humans walking tall up on the ground are the unintelligent creatures. Or we are the gods for the ant. Who knows!

Philosophers, saints, scientists and even common man have all tried to study God and came up with varied perceptions and explanations. Imagination is very basic part of human psychology.

However, these discernments seldom explain what role God plays or His reasons of our happinesses, sorrows and everything else we come across in our day to day lives. We see, face or endure tragedies around us everyday in this world of turmoil. And then ask God ‘why’.

While respecting some or most of the known realizations and imageries about Him, we take another view of God which we assemble by intelligent and ethical thoughts to helps us in explaining His involvements in the events we experience in our lives.

In this endeavor by mobilizing rational and moral thinking we are creating those karmas which can rationally explain the cause or causes of events personally experienced by us or happening around us where God may be involved or may be not.

We are the major players to generate events and thus know the reasons of their results. Nevertheless we can leave unexplained experiences as part of His mysterious ‘lila’ or play.

Instilling nobility or divinity in our thoughts is a continuous exercise of creating virtuous karmas. And that is where the grammar of God is involved both as a verb and as a noun merging into one entity.

It is a disciplined and conscientious undertaking to attain the practicality of God in our midst.

We are told to be honest, humble and sincere, be considerate and helpful to others, be merciful, forget and forgive, love fellow beings and care for the environments, including animals, plants and the nature. And everything else which is pious, pure and morally firm to bring us closer to God realization.

While retaining the truism of these universal teachings we can contextualize them through our intellective senses to guide our day-to-day personal lives. This is where the blueprint of our construction begins to apprehend His pragmatics.

We start our project by following the Gyatri Mantra, which besides being symbolic in spiritual invoking, stimulates the very basis of our thought processes towards righteous karmas or deeds which we are seeking.

ॐ भूर्भुवस्व: | तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यम् | भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि | धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्

Aum bhur bhuvah swah, tat savitur varenvam.

Bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prochodayay.

Attributed to goddess Gyatri, the hymn from the Rig Veda, is one of the most recited and highly revered mantras in the Hindu theology.

In its unique composition Gayatri mantra has three approaches to spiritual realization. First, it establishes the nature of God and praises His attributions. Second, it is a mantra for meditation and contemplation. Third, it expresses sentiments of divine prayer seeking an illuminated path of righteousness thru His energetic light.

The mantra is addressed to God (Om). And the translation goes like this:

Oh God, You are the giver of life, You can free us from all the pains, You are present all over, You give happiness, You are the creator of this universe and beyond. We humbly submit to You, and concentrate on your pious, sin-quelling and pervading Energy. This Energy produced and released by You illuminates our mental faculties. We seek from You that this Energy resides in all our thinking processes. Consequently our thoughts are always inspired to undertake only those actions which can lead us to be on the path of righteousness.

The key word in the mantra is Energy. And by recognizing the presence of the divine energy that our mental faculties are enlightened. We pray for the residency of this very Energy to keep guiding us in creating, adopting and following noble thoughts.

As we understand thinking is a mental activity of brain. And thought is a product of thinking. Creation of one’s own thought, import of thought, its acceptance or its rejection are all considered as thought. In other words the act involved in all these considerations is a thought in itself.

Thought has multiple executions like establishing a reason, imagination, understanding, judgement, remembering, opinion, belief or just being conscious of time and place, etc.

According to the biology of thought, the latter’s processing and transmission happens in the nerve cells of brain. These cells are called neurons. With a population of close to 100 billion, neurons while communicating with each other receive and deliver information. Neurons function along with trillions of connectors called synapses transmitting signals among neurons.

Neurons are “electrically excitable”, meaning they live by some energy.

How thinking is created or triggered in the first place, what goes on in the brain neurons to process a thinking, what stimulates that thinking, are the questions for which the answers are being sought by academic disciplines.

One explanation is that thinking is a subconscious brain activity for which the neurons and synapses are just the tools to handle that activity for transmitting a thought or thoughts. Other theories are that the creation of thought is an un-explained biological process, or it is the conversion of energy particles into an object called thought.

In whatever means a thought is created the role of the divine energy is to bestow the enlightenment in establishing common sense and logic in a thought. It is in this enlightenment that the nature of thought is underlined. Its acceptance or rejection can be exercised.

As thought begets more thoughts or ideas, the process arouses our intelligent and psychological senses of understanding, experiencing, interpretation and behavior. A cognitive arrangement is thus developed.

It is in this arrangement that we undertake our karmas.

A karma is an intelligent and conscious act leading toward path of more karmas which influence and determine the nature of destiny. Good karma leads to good future, bad karma leads to bad. “As you sow, so you reap”, is true in the working of karma.

Newton’s law of motion: that every action leads to a reaction, is an application of the law of Karma.

Karma is not a deep philosophy. Rather it is a working assignment for the thinker of a thought or doer of a deed, and accepting the outcome of that executed assignment.

karma is a doer’s consciousness which initiates and directs an action, as well as registers its aftermath. It is an infallible fact that consciousness after inducing an action always acquires its reaction.

Virtuous karmas directed by enlightened consciousness produce the results we are seeking to realize that particular perspective of God which offers His involvement and guidance in every moment of our day-to-day lives.

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com

Culture Supersedes Religion in Establishing National Identity

By Promod Puri

Culture is a distinctive feature of one group of people comprising of several aspects. One of them is religion, and the others are language, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. Obviously, one aspect of a culture does not represent the totality of it.

The expression “Hindu culture” is as vague as saying Hindu cuisine (except by airlines referring to “Hindu meal”). And it is as much blurred as trying to contrive a language, music, arts, customs, etc with suffix of Hindu. This applies to all other religions as well who try to create a culture exclusively linked to their faiths.

Culture in most cases is secular in nature.

 

When we talk about a cultural community, we mean an all inclusive explicit way of life. It represents all the group of people sharing common identities despite belonging to different religious denominations. But all speaking same language and sharing same social and cultural traits.

Often people of one cultural community have several religions. These sub differentiations are covered by conventions and customs. Together these are represented by the sanctified rituals on which Hindu tradition, Sikh, Muslim or Christian traditions establish their respective identities.

The unity of India lies in its cultural plurality. This factor was the basis of states’ reorganization at the time of India’s independence in 1947. Each state was constituted representing the cultural homogeneity of that region. And wherever there were more than one homogeneity states split respectively. Thus the cultural aspirations of people have been adequately addressed.

“India is a colorful country” mainly because of the exuberant nature of its diverse cultures. The cultural sameness in each Indian state along with the religious diversity is the accepted model for both political and administrative purposes.

Whereas each Indian state mostly represent one single cultural distinctiveness, it is the state of Jammu and Kashmir which within itself does carry more than one identity. The state has three regions, namely Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. And each one of them is culturally, religiously, geographically and even climatically different. Azad Kashmir under Pakistan domain has its own identity which is again quiet varied from rest of Jammu and Kashmir state.

The Kashmir problem has never been examined and tackled from its diversity aspect. The politics of the state has always been dominated, controlled and represented by the Muslim leadership of the Valley from the Kashmir region. The multi-facet and heterogeneous character of the state is the undetermined reality which otherwise can play a dominant role in resolving the Kashmir problem. Aligning the issue only on religious basis because about 64 percent of the state’s population is Muslim is a futile exercise to determine its fate. By not allowing the diversity factor in the Kashmir debate is suppression of its other identities as well.

In a democratic setup regions or nations which play only the religious factor in politics and governance, always have cultural identity crisis.

That has been the fate of Pakistan. It does not recognize and accept that the country’s cultural affinity lies with India which it can’t shake off. Both the political and military leaderships of the country in their hatred toward India try to establish a religious-based Arabic identity. Naturally, this is not working.

Pakistan must realize that cultural-based identities cut across religious-based identities. And the former can play more decisive and healthier roles in determining a cohesive and stable future for the country.

Perhaps Pakistan can learn from Canada as how the latter is establishing its national identity.

In a multicultural Canadian society there are a multitude of cultures, traditions and religions, with lot more sub banners within each group. It is a myriad with a diversified web which gives Canada an image of acceptance and tolerance.

This certainly is a unique experience in human social history to be represented by one culture which collectively is a multi-culture.

Canadian culture is not only ever evolutionary but vibrant and lively too. The reason being its multi-facet aspect which gives it the color and character of being involving and exciting.

Hinduism and Vegetarian Diet

13087415_578401962331475_1798212304744146140_nBy Arran Stephens

The overwhelming majority of the world’s Hindus live in India, which has the largest vegetarian population on earth, numbering many millions. Within the Indian subcontinent, the spectrum of religious thought ranges from strict monotheism to a sweeping panoply of gods, goddesses and animist dieties. Vegetarianism is practiced and scripturally supported by the majority of Hindu sects. There are also large Muslim and Christian populations in India, as well as Jews, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Ba’hai’s and Buddhists. Many Sufis—who represent an eclectic and mystical form of Islam, practice vegetarianism. Amongst the Sikhs, the Namdharis and others on the meditative path follow a lacto-vegetarian diet.

Here are some vegetarian-supportive quotes from India’s oldest scriptures:

You must not use your God-given body for killing God’s
creatures, whether human, animal or whatever.
Yajur Veda 12.32

By not killing any living being, one becomes fit for salvation.
Manusmriti 6.60

The purchaser of flesh performs himsa (violence) by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does himsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing. He who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells, or cooks flesh and eats it—all of these are to be considered meat-eaters.

Vegetarianism was observed by the ancient Greek traveler Megasthenes and also by Fa-Hsien, a Chinese Buddhist monk who traveled to India in the fifth century in order to obtain authentic copies of the scriptures.

These scriptures

unambiguously support the meatless way of life. In the Mahabharata, for instance, the great warrior Bheeshma explains to Yudhishtra, eldest of the Pandav princes, that the meat of animals is like the flesh of one’s own son. Similarly, the Manusmriti declares that one should “refrain from eating all kinds of meat,” for such eating involves killing, thus leading to Karmic bondage. Elsewhere in Vedic literature, the last of the great Vedic kings, Maharaja Parikshit, is quoted as saying that “the animal-killer cannot relish the message of the Absolute Truth.”21

Ahimsa (non-violence) is the highest Dharma. Ahimsa is the best Tapas. Ahimsa is the greatest gift. Ahimsa is the highest self-control. Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice. Ahimsa is the highest power. Ahimsa is the highest friend. Ahimsa is the highest truth. Ahimsa is the highest teaching.

He who sees that the Lord of all is ever the same in all that is—immortal in the field of mortality—he sees the truth. And when a man sees that the God in himself is the same God in all that is, he hurts not himself by hurting others. Then he goes, indeed, to the highest path.
Bhagavad-Gita 13.27-28

High-souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength, and memory should abstain from acts of injury.
Mahabharata 18.115.8

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

I hold that, the more helpless the creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
Mahatma Gandhi

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com

Message of Universality in Hindu Mantra

By Promod Puri

OM PURNAM MANTRA
“Om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udachyate
purnasya purnam adaya
purnam evavashishyate”.

An ideological and free translation of the mantra begins with the word Om which is personified here as God. The word ‘purnam’ and its related derivates in the mantra mean complete, and signifies His completeness. As He is complete, everything emanating from Him is complete. From the Complete Wholeness only the completeness manifests. And even when a single complete is subtracted from the whole Complete what is left is still a Complete. The products produced thru Him may look small or big, but in core and quality all are complete units.

The mantra assures complete balance in all of His universal creations from the elements of nature to mankind. For humanity the mantra conveys a message that every human being is equal in his or her completeness as manifested by Him.

Atma, a single soul, is a complete manifestation of the Supreme-atma. The latter is the cause and the former is the effect. It is a cause and effect association. The effect cannot be less than the cause. The cause changes to effect, but continues to remain cause also. In essence the mantra reinforces that in every living being there dwells the Supreme atma as well. Equality and divinity are the themes of the mantra concerning mankind.

The mantra also stands out in making us realize how inter-related we are in this universe.

Rajneesh (Osho), a great thinker, philosopher and an explicit interpreter of Hinduism in modern times explains this universal tie-up. His explanation of the mantra:

“[Om Purnam] is one of the most significant statements ever made anywhere on the earth at any time. It contains the whole secret of the mystic approach towards life. This small sutra contains the essence of the Upanishadic vision. Neither before nor afterwards has the vision been transcended; it still remains the Everest of human consciousness. And there seems to be no possibility of going beyond it.

“The Upanishadic vision is that the universe is a totality, indivisible; it is an organic whole. The parts are not separate, we are all existing in a togetherness: the trees, the mountains, the people, the birds, the stars, howsoever far away they may appear – don’t be deceived by the appearance – they are all interlinked, all bridged. Even the smallest blade of grass is connected to the farthest star, and it is as significant as the greatest sun.

Nothing is insignificant; nothing is smaller than anything else. The part represents the whole just as the seed contains the whole”.

Excerpts from the book Hinduism beyond,rituals,customs and traditions by Promod Puri

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com

 

Quantum Theory And Om

Ever wonder why we chant “om” before our yoga practice or prayer? Check out this interesting take on how Quantum Theory can help us understand the significance of Om.

by Promod Puri

This is perhaps the first time in the studies of Hinduism that an attempt has been made to establish a relationship between the sound of Om and the Quantum Theory in modern physics.

Quantum, derived from the word quantity, means the smallest identifiable unit in the universe of any physical property like energy or matter. Quantum theory deals with the infrastructure in the sub-atomic field. It reveals the nature and behavior of matter and energy in that range. This exposure is referred to as a quantum theory which is the theoretical basis of modern physics.

With the introduction of Super-string Theory of Quantum Reality, the quantum theory has discovered that at the sub-atomic levels matter exists in small strings. In simple words, everything at its ultimate microscopic grade is made up of extremely small vibrating strands or strings like in a musical instrument of the violin.

These strings have repeated oscillatory pattern of vibration. Each pattern presents the string its mass and force, and that confers it the appearance of a particle. Together all these particles have the same physical feature of producing resonant patterns of vibration. The undulation of strings creating up and down loops is the manifestation of resonance in the sub-atomic environs.

And when we exit from the microscopic environment the same phenomenon of transmission of resonance is being played within everything in this universe. The sonority of particles composing the vibrating strings with their mass and energy is also responsible for producing the atoms.

The latter is made up of energy and not physical matter. As a result, the entire universe is made of energy. But the energy appears as a matter or object like the particles of the vibrating string in the sub-atomic field. This is the fundamental feature upon which the universe has been constructed and unified.

The string theory is considered as the theory of everything. And this corresponds well with the metaphysical concept of Om being the primordial sound originating from the strings advanced in the quantum theory of modern physics.

As Om resonates in the stings of atoms then according to the science of quantum physics atoms themselves are made up of whirling mass of radiating energy without manifested structure. Likewise, Om is not merely a sound but a mass of energy itself in invisible formation.

Om is energy constituting the universe.

The universe begins with Om. There is a sound of Om in every matter. It resonates there till eternity. Its resilience lies both in the matter and the sound itself.

The creation of Om is, in fact, is the creation of the universe. And its cosmic vibrations keep the constituents of the universe connected.

In Hindu theology, Om is referred to as God in the form of sound. And the open design of its symbol represents the incomprehensible all powerful Absolute.

In its phenomenal role as constituting and preceding matter, and as vortices of energy that Om is considered as a sacred sound of genesis in the Hindu spiritual philosophy.

The unique symbol of Om occupies the foremost spot in the Hindu iconography. It is a spiritual icon. It is not merely a “tool” for meditations or for contemplating on mantras, but the syllable invokes cosmic presence in them.

“Hari Om” itself is a two-word mantra, along with “Hari Om Tat Sat” or simply “Om Tat Sat.” The word ‘tat’ means ‘that’ or ‘all that is.’ And ‘sat’ refers to ‘truth.’ The latter is not evanescent or ephemeral rather everlasting. The mantra “Om Tat Sat” means: ‘that’ energy is the truth.

Om inaugurates spiritual prayers, rituals and yoga practices, and sanctifies these events. The expression ‘Hari Om’ is a popular form of greetings or salutation among Hindus.

The word ‘Hari’ is a representation of God and Om implies energy.

(excerpts from the book: Hinduism beyond rituals, custom, and traditions)

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF IDOL WORSHIPPING IN HINDUISM

Image formation is a very natural trait in human psychology. In our conscious state all our feelings, ideas and impulses manifest images. The genesis of an image is a cognitive imagination influenced by perception of an object.

In The Philosophy and Significance of Idol Worship, a Divine Life Society publication, Sri Swami Sivananda says:

“Idol is a support for the neophyte. It is a prop of his spiritual childhood. A form or image is necessary for worship in the beginning. It is an external symbol of God for worship. It is a reminder of God. The material image calls up the mental idea. Steadiness of mind is obtained by image worship. The worshipper will have to associate the ideas of infinity, omnipotence, omniscience, purity, perfection, freedom, holiness, truth, omnipresence. It is not possible for all to fix the mind on the Absolute or the Infinite. A concrete form is necessary for the vast majority for practicing concentration. To behold God everywhere and to practice the presence of God is not possible for the ordinary man. Idol worship is the easiest form of worship for the modern man.

“A symbol is absolutely indispensable for fixing the mind. The mind wants a prop to lean upon. It cannot have a conception of the Absolute in the initial stages. Without the help of some external aid, in the initial stages, the mind cannot be centralised. In the beginning, concentration or meditation is not possible without a symbol.

Pratima (idol) is a substitute or symbol. The image in a temple, though it is made of stone, wood or metal, is precious for a devotee as it bears the mark of his Lord, as it stands for something which he holds holy and eternal. A flag is only a small piece of painted cloth, but it stands for a soldier for something that he holds very dear. He is prepared to give up his life in defending his flag. Similarly the image is very dear to a devotee. It speaks to him in its own language of devotion. Just as the flag arouses martial valour in the soldier, so also the image arouses devotion in the devotee. The Lord is superimposed on the image and the image generates divine thoughts in the worshipper”.

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com

Bad Rituals Breed Fanaticism

One major drawback instituted in ambiguous rituals is the fear factor. And in absurdity, some rituals promise to work like cure-all miracles. Illogical rituals block the real spirit of religion. Such customs generate fanaticism. Rituals help in cult formation. The entry of fake gurus in the Hindu faith is thru the contamination created by inane rituals.

Irrational rituals pollute the religion and dilute the enlightenment contained in the Hindu philosophies and thoughts.

Hinduism is not a religion of fear. Nor it is meant for fanaticism and exploitation by self-appointed gurus or saints with claims of magical powers.

Bad rituals and bad traditions do make a deadly combination. Dubbed as “supreme sacrifice”, the institution of Sati, live burning of widow immediately after the death of husband, that of course is now abandoned, became a part of Hindu heritage. The word ‘sati’ means true and loyal in Sanskrit.
And equally condemning is the practice of sacrificial animal killings by asserting that gods will be pleased. For example in Nepal, a predominantly Hindu nation, mass and cruel beheading of buffaloes are a popular custom under the excuse of religious tradition.

Rationalization of irrational rituals as part of old traditions and customs is an unrealistic assertiveness of defense.

Rituals in the name of sanctified Hindu dictums are the cause of excessive abuse of people who technically are still Hindus but belong to no class. They are the ‘Outcastes’ or the ‘Untouchables’.

The religiosity of caste is an endemic feature of Hinduism. And this is where the brutality of some rituals and customs is being endured by a section of humanity simply because of their assigned status in the society. They are at the bottom of the Hindu social structure. Customs and rituals don’t allow them to come up from that lowest stratum.

Mahatma Gandhi called them “Harijans”, children of God. But because of rooted tradition in the name of religion, rituals of discrimination and untouchability against the ‘untouchable’ citizens are still quite widely practiced.

Nevertheless, this section of the society, which is mostly poor, along with the rest of the impoverished population among Hindus, still follows sacred Hindu rituals with allegiance and devotion. In fact, these rituals tender the only knowledge they have to practice their faith.

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com

Hinduism and Lord Ganesh

The art community’s fascination for Lord Ganesh is due to His unique appearance as a clearly recognizable elephant tusk-hooded portrayal. In Hindu thought, an elephant is revered for its intelligence. Consequently, Lord Ganesh in His elephant-look image is perceived as the god of knowledge, intellect, and wisdom.

Besides these scholarly exhibits, Lord Ganesh gathers a few more symbolic interpretations thru His overall appearance and possessions. These attributes include the pursuit of knowledge, sweetness, and humbleness.

Lord Ganesh is also widely worshipped as the god of Beginnings. “Sri-Ganesh” is the common expression for any new event, purchase or start-up enterprise. His name is chanted at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies. In most Hindu marriage invitation cards, the first invocation and invite are addressed to Lord Ganesh as symbolic adoration.

Read more about Hinduism

progressivehindudialogue.com