Don’t ask questions, it’s our religion!
Why is it so difficult to question the religion one has inherited? One answer to that question is, today people who want to question are far outnumbered by those who do not. Plus, very few parents react positively or have a convincing answer to questions being raised about why one should do something just because it is said to be a part of the religion. I have grown in a family that follows contemporary Hindu religion. I use the word contemporary because what we call Hinduism today is in my knowledge a highly watered down and badly disfigured version of the original way of life.
The word Hindu comes from the name ‘Sindhu’, the great giver in the Northern part of India where the Indus valley civilisation flourished. The people there evolved a way of life that was in harmony with nature and in many ways much advanced than what existed in other parts of the world at that time. Eventually, the people here came to be known as Hindus. The word has most probably been coined by the Arabs and is quite obviously a variation of the word Sindhu. The word Hinduism itself was coined at least one thousand years hence. As a result, there is no mention of the word in any of the sacred texts.
The way of life of the Hindus encouraged intellectual explorations. It was essentially a civilisation that liked to think about answers to the toughest questions of life and succeeded to a great extent (the Vedas and Upanishads are examples of this). Surely Hinduism was a product of this never ending desire to ask questions and get answers to it through constant application of the mind. No wonder the travelers were fascinated and took back a lot of it with them. Things that made India what it is today happened to be created during this time. Art flourished and so did the economy.
Flash forward to today.
Most of us don’t know anything about our glorious ancestors. We do mostly what elders ask of us in the name of religion. They themselves inherited this from their parents and never asked a question. Wouldn’t it be insulting to your elders if you inquire? The fact is that these so called religious rituals were developed during the era when Hinduism degraded as the caste system took a rapid diversion from its original path giving rise to all sorts of beliefs. It turned Hinduism into a the rigid unquestionable religion of today.
So far have we moved away from the original Hindu thought that we find it alien to talk about those days. There’s a befitting quote by Aurobindo Ghose about what a person from the days of the Upanishads have to say if he were to see the state of today’s India. I’ll post it later since I have to source it from The Discovery of India – the book I am reading at home.
However, here’s a very nice post by Ray Lightning on his blog aptly titled: Orphans of Saraswati.
The mother Saraswati has been forsaken by the Indians and she has left them. Thus, Indians have become the Orphans of Saraswati. Does anybody have any craving for their mother (knowledge) anymore ? In the blind rote of religion, they have forsaken the very essence of Hindu thought.