In recent times, I see this question pop up everywhere … Are you a “practising” Hindu ? My answer is “NO”. The idea of “practising” one’s religion is a gift of Christianity and Islam because both these religions and other similar religions have a set of “practises” that are codified. You “have to” go to church on Sundays to be a practising Christian, or you “have to” confess your sins to be a practising Catholic or you “have to” do prayers five times facing Mecca if you are a practising Muslim, or you “have to” do the Haj pilgrimage with your own money if you are a practising Muslim etc etc.
As a Hindu, I can go to a temple or I need not, I can read the shlokas of my choice or I need not, I can put money in the Hundi or I need not, I can wear a Bindi or I need not, I can wear any clothes I want or go without clothes, I can make anyone or anything as my ishta devta and pray or I can be an atheist, I can light a lamp in the evening or switch on the electric lights, God is NOT important to me, my enlightenment is which leads to merging with the universal energy, I can fall at your feet as an elder or I need not, ……. there are no “have to” things/diktats/rituals/practises that make me a Hindu. So the question of “practising” Hindu is an oxymoron – if you forced to practise something, that’s not Hinduism. If you forced to believe in something, that’s not Hinduism. If you not allowed to question or debate anything, that’s not Hinduism.
Being a Hindu means being free, free to live the way you want, pray to whoever or whatever you want or not pray at all, dress the way you want, question everything, debate every scripture or epic … no restrictions. The only ask that Hinduism has is to treat everything as divine, treat human beings, animals and every rock as divine. You can choose not to and you don’t stop being a Hindu because each soul has its own Karma to fulfil and Karma is a balance sheet, you reap as you sow !!
Its precisely this freedom to be who you are and seek God/Universal Truth/Understand Mother Nature etc the way you wish to that bothers Islam and Christianity. Both the Abrahamic religions try and dictate a way of life and Hinduism lets you choose your way of life … this is the crux of the conflict. Mull over it and choose with awareness, and if you are a Hindu please don’t “practise” Hinduism, just be a Hindu.
The following thread on Twitter caught my attention and inspired this blog because Hindus have adopted many terms and “practises” from other religions and they try to pass it off as Hinduism. There are many ramifications of this happening, the smallest of it is the annihilation of my “way of life”. Its important to understand that and nip this flower (no longer a bud) atleast now. Again, you can choose to be a Hindu or not be… but remember that “choice” is/maybe/could be short-lived in the current world scenario.
The twitter thread –
Thread by @mysql_sync: #thread TEN THINGS A HINDU SHOULD AVOID WHILE USING ENGLISH LANGUAGE 1. Please STOP USING the word “GOD FEARING” – Hindus never ever fear Go…
6. Please DON’T wish your children “black birthday” by LETTING THEM TO BLOW OFF the CANDLES that kept at the top of the birth day cake.
10. Please DON’T USE loose translation like MEDITATION for “dhyana” and ‘BREATHING EXERCISE’ for “Pranayama”.