Sunday, March 10, 2013

~ Nuances of an Hindu ~

Am a Hindu by birth & have gone through various phases of dealing with my religious beliefs. As kid had blind belief in many aspects of Hindu rituals. During my Engineering days, was an Agnostic; I did read a lot of philosophical & hindu texts. When I began working I turned an Atheist & questioned many aspects of beliefs, traditions & rituals. Remained an Atheist for about 8 years. Over the last couple of years though I felt by being an Atheist was being rigid. I felt that ONE could go a step further and remain open to any belief system that exists out there and remain totally untouched by them.

Over the course of last 3 years have been watching many Sci-Fi movies X Men Series, Avatar, Iron Man series, Inception, Prometheus, Moon, District 9, Cloud Atlas and fantasy movies - Batman Series. After watching them, I felt there were so many intricate parallel plots & conversations in Hindu mythological texts that could be far superior to the Hollywood storyline. There are numerous  books that are available on these Gods & the texts attributed for them.

Feel the concept of Gods & rituals in Hinduism were devised and crafted in a very cultural way for liberating one self. We do have the highest number of Gods & Goddesses compared to any religion. The title & usage of God in Hinduism could be very different w.r.t other religions. I feel that term could have been associated to a person who is specialised in a particular craft.  It is more of a science than mere ritualistic purpose which has lost its plot over the ages. The simple metaphor would to relate in this current day & age would be of a Doctor. As science & technology have progressed where have got to know our bodies better. We have Doctors who are specialised in particular organ or specific anatomy of body.

In a similar manner, there could have been people who were so good in their craftsmanship who attained the title - God. Probably these Gods & Rishis devised certain processes {like patterns} which were meant to be performed in a certain manner, that would benefit the one performing it. They even codified them so that the generations ahead could use it to improvise it according to their times.

There are rituals pertaining to a specific God or Goddess. Most of these rituals have been transitioned across generations through gurukul system of learning. Today, many of these rituals have lost their meaning as they are merely objectified than subjective. As a Developer I would adopt a Pattern or Framework or Tool or a Library in an application for ease, proven ability, benefits of performance, scalability & maintenance, et al. However, when asked to follow a ritual  most of us wouldn't do it as we do not understand the  ritual process. Also it is more objectified than subjective.

Technology again has been a boon. Today where information can be googled at your finger tips, I have been reading about various aspects of Hinduism, narration related to different Gods & Godess. Amazed by the extent of events or stories which have transpired by X number of years ago. In each of these stories, the actors are none other than Gods. The nature of these subjects are highly inflammatory.

Brahma fell in love with his own female creation and could not take his eyes off her extraordinary beauty. According to Shiva Purana, from the incestuous union of Brahma and Shatarupa was born Svayambhuva Manu, the progenitor of Man, and from him in turn all creatures as depicted in Manu- ˆ

In the mythological scriptures there are many such scenarios. Another interesting one is Niyoga or the current accepted practice of Surrogacy. Dr Sonia Dutt Sharma has a research paper on the subject.

Pandu had to ask his wives to beget children for him with the help of other men through the ancient custom of niyoga, in which a man other than the husband impregnated women.

If only we read them, we could avoid re-inventing the wheel to find solutions for the issues which we are facing. We could understand the dark side of many subjects and how it has been addressed. We could improvise upon the previous solutions to adapt & stay relevant. 

For many years, I have questioned the rituals & their necessity at home. Not very often do I get convincing answers to them. When a person doesn't get an meaningful answer that is satisfactory, they either ignore or just follow {in most cases} for the sake of respecting the elders. In this manner, like successive generations, we have been more attached to the karmic rituals than their spiritual values that bring to the doer. The rituals were crafted by the Architects or Gods when performed in the right manner will benefit the doer. Feel all this has been lost & very few remain who know the real value. 

Personally there is nothing wrong in watching SciFi movies of Hollywood, reading books of Issac Asimov or Arthur C Clarke or Iain Banks. They give us  diverse perspectives. At the same time current generation probably are ignorant of what lies in our backyard. There are many such super human stories - Brahma | Mohini {Only Female avatar of Vishnu. Wonder why we do not have her pictures in temple or homes ;) } | Vishnu | Indra | Murugan | Hanuman | Yama | Rama | VayuMahishasura Mardini | Bhaargava | Varuna | Ravana | Indra | Rudra | Shiva - which I had no clue of either.

I shall leave the topic of Spirituality for another time. Do check out the post on Holy Cow.

1. What I love about being a Hindu is that I have had the personal freedom & no pressure from family or friends to follow a certain rule or rituals or even pay regular visits to temple. 
2. Credit also goes to one of close friend for giving gyan on Hindu Mythology

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