Hinduism - Just a religion? Or The Science of Life?
During my visits to numerous Hindu temples across India, there used to be a question that kept on juggling in my mind: What's wrong with Hinduism?? Every time I visited a new temple, I came across a new god, a new set of rules and an entirely new horizon of beliefs. The more I traveled , the more versions of Hinduism met me. Thinking further, I realized that there is no 'single' book that encapsulates everything about Hinduism, and there is no 'single' God who tells us everything about right or wrong. Even worse... no two Hindus perceive it the same way when it comes to religion.
Talking about the Gods, the Hindus looked even weirder. One of my counterparts in Philippines once asked..."Hindus worship Krishna who used to steal women's clothes and Rama who abandoned his pregnant wife; how can a Hindu ever respect a woman?" I had to stay silent... but that comment was so hurting, it forced me to read about our religion. From a flying monkey through an elephant man to a heavy smoker, Hindu gods looked all weird and sounded illogical.
What kind of a religion is this?
But before we ask this big question, we first need to see whether Hinduism is actually a religion or not? Hindus have millions of Gods... we even have the freedom to make more gods if we wish. A person starting his day with prayers is a Hindu, so is the person who starts with Chai-sutta. From pure vegan to a pure non-vegetarian, from North Indians to South Indians and from Brahmins to Shudras, Hindus come in all colors, shapes and sizes with nothing, literally nothing, in common. Hindus are free to choose their gods (if they wish), make their own prayers and choose their own principals.
Then where is that one common string that ties millions of Hindus together?
None of the Hindu gods - Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Rama, Krishna, Ganesha etc - have asked devotees to worship them and chant their names. None of them ever physically comes to save anyone in troubles. None of them teaches everything about what is right or wrong, and none of them is perfect without flaws.
So what makes them Gods?
If I compare Hinduism with any other religion, these kind of questions keep on proliferating. But if I see it as a Science, I get a lot of answers. Being an (ex) Science student (Duhhh...!!!), that's my natural inclination. And when I say Science, it doesn't mean those hyper scientific facts about temple tombs, Vedas, Yugas and all. By Science, I mean the Science of living... simply and happily.
Just like chanting "Einstein Einstein" 108 time a day can't get me a good understanding of Physics, blindly chanting "Rama Rama Krishna Krishna" can't help me understand the logic behind Hinduism.
In my opinion, Lord Rama is a wise king and a warrior, while Lord Krishna is a "Karmayogi" strategist. Their lives and sayings are examples to learn from... and not to follow as it is. Similarly, I perceive Lord Shiva not as some yogi sitting on Kailash and smoking chillum, but as a physical embodiment of an absolute rational soul... a soul free from all worldly pleasures... a soul that is innocent and calm despite being capable of destroying the entire universe. Lord Vishnu embodies a 'common man', a man who manages the family and does the best for it despite being bound by the laws of nature and the world. The texts about Lord Vishnu are the lessons to that 'common man'... about how to 'efficiently manage' the life while following the Dharma. Lord Hanuman represents might and loyalty, while Lord Ganesha represents intellect and wisdom.
Reading the stories (known as Kathas) of these Hindu gods from this perspective, I realized that each one of us has a part of all these Gods within us. When I work honestly, I worship Lord Krishna. When I stay calm during toughest battles of life, I worship Lord Shiva. When I generate new ideas for betterment of mankind, I worship Lord Brahma. When I stay loyal to my family, friends and loved ones, I worship Lord Hanuman and when I strive to learn continuously, I worship Lord Ganesha. Together, all these gods make a perfect combination, intuitively helping one make sense of the world. None of these gods is complete on his own. Maybe that's why people say "All gods are one"... and maybe that's the reason Hinduism stands still since the inception of mankind despite numerous desperate attempts from various invaders to destroy it.
Hinduism, as I perceive it, is a "science of life", without ONE true God, ONE common set of beliefs and ONE common prayer. It has a place for all point of views... and allows people to choose their own principles. Hinduism is the intuition inside every innocent heart... it is the thoughts inside every honest mind. No matter how many temples are destroyed, no matter how many Hindus get killed, and no matter how many Gods are insulted... Hinduism will stand till the humanity survives.
Disclaimer: The content of this article represent writer's personal views on the topic, and are not intended to hurt any religious sentiments. This should not be treated as a reference material for Hinduism. If, by mistake, the contents hurt any religious or political sentiments, the writer sincerely apologizes.