Thursday, February 7, 2008

Is Hinduism really bad?

The modern media would surely like you to believe that. Hindu or Hinduism has almost acquired a negative connotation in the media circle these days. But is it really as bad as is made out to be?

Let’s look around with our eyes / minds open & then decide for ourselves. An overwhelming majority of Indians are Hindus. This religion in itself is very diverse & is a collection of various groups with different beliefs & traditions. For example, not all Hindus bury the dead as opposed to all Christians or Muslims. Some Hindus worship fire, others don’t. The wedding customs also vary according to region in India. Yet all of the Hindus live together peacefully. They are largely tolerant towards each other & other religions.

The Hindu religious leaders are known to do a lot of social work. Look at Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi. His social work is well known. Amongst many, they include, education, health care etc. The super specialty hospitals run by the Sri Satya Sai Central Trust provide world class health care to all for free. The facilities should be seen to be believed.

Another example could be Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He has been involved in working for the social good for long. He has formed a foundation called ‘The Art of Living’. He has also founded many other institutions in the fields of rural development, agriculture etc. His foundation recently provided free help & stress relieving courses to the anguished farmers in Vidarbha.

We all know that Baba Ramdev is the modern yoga guru & is greatly responsible in raising awareness of yoga among the public. Thanks to his workshops, thousands have now begun to practice yoga & have started benefiting from it.

Even the Hindu places of worship have been greatly involved in the betterment of the people. For example, among many others, Tirupati Balaji Devasthanam, Dharmasthala & the trustee Veerendra Heggade.

None of the Hindu spiritual leaders or organizations has been involved in forced conversions to Hinduism. The only objective behind all their work was for the social betterment, regardless of one’s religion. The ancient Hindu teachings, traditions & the spiritual leaders have all been for the betterment of humanity. The only principles being love, peace & harmony. Yet some believe in religious supremacy & forcing one’s religion on the other.

Sure, there are some not-so-good aspects of the Hindu religion. For example, the sati tradition, the dowry tradition, gender bias etc. But, all of these have been exploitations by some to gain supremacy. These traditions may have been misinterpretations. However, one cannot deny that these traditions did (and do continue on a small scale) exist. But, this is not the only religion that had such traditions. Christianity is known for its hostility towards women. Women have little freedom or free voice in Islam.

When you look at the amount of good work done by the Hindu religious leaders, trusts & the general Hindu way of living, all of the criticism seems like nitpicking. Hinduism only preaches peace & harmony. Let us all understand that.

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