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Mr Ajith Kumar in his article 'Highlights of Hi-Faith' has laid out the important facets of Hinduism, and is a must-read for Hindus interested in knowing about their religion, and for non-Hindus to get a proper perspective about our faith. It would be wonderful if people of other faiths could share about their respective faiths. In the modern digital era, this could set the base for an Inter-Faith dialogue, to improve understanding and tolerance. Mr Kumar laid out the following five pillars of Hinduism:

  • Ishwar is one and Gods are its manifestations

  • There are many ways to realize Ishwar

  • There is no hell or heaven

  • Rebirths are inevitable based on karma

  • Mankind has evolved and not created

I believe the following additional pillars may be included:

  • Hinduism, unlike many other contemporary faiths, does not owe its origin to one person. Its other name, Sanatana Dharma, means Eternal Religion. It has been around from time immemorial, with eternal truths put forth by numerous, anonymous, realized souls over the millennium in its holy books, the Vedas and the Upanishads.

  • Hinduism, not only lays down the What and the Why of the religion, but also goes about the How. It deals with the step-by-step method of Self-Realization, the Yoga, or the union of the Soul with the Oversoul. Patanjali's Ashtanga (8 steps) Yoga, holds the initiate's hands and guides him/her, right from the basic do's and don'ts, to the right postures, breath-control, onwards to concentration and meditation, culminating in Samadhi or Cosmic Consciousness. The Upanishads and the Gita put forth the multiple options available to the aspirant to choose from, based on his aptitude - the Yoga of Work, Knowledge, Devotion or Meditation.

  • Hinduism is non-evangelical in nature. As Swami Vivekananda said in his Parliament of Religions speech, Hinduism not only tolerates other religions, but also accepts them as equally true. When all paths lead to the same God, where is the need to bring a person of another faith in your fold?

  • Hinduism's survival, in the face of onslaughts from other cultures, is due to its infinite capacity to adapt to the times, keeping its core values intact.

In Mr Kumar's article are strewn some priceless gems, which I wish to bring out, lest they may be lost to the casual eye. I encourage the readers to pay special attention to them, for there is much food for thought there!

  • Unorganized faiths are threatened by the onslaught of 'faith marketeers', even when the fact remains that being organized is the very strength of those unorganized faiths.

  • I have always felt that in the ideal world, there would be as many faiths as the number of human beings, and Hi-Faith provides the blueprint to achieve it.

  • The most stable structure is a dome and that is what Hi-Faith is ' a dome with infinite pillars.

On Mr Kumar's interpretation of rebirth as a system of rewards and punishments, I beg to differ. Karma and rebirth are associated with consequences of actions, and not punishments. An example will make this clear. When a child touches a piece of hot coal, its hands get burnt. When it encounters a hot coal again, it knows from its past experience to leave it alone. Rebirth works in the same fashion, though the individual may not always be able to discern the connection between the action and consequence. Taking the example further, if the father gives a thrashing to the child for its action, it constitutes a punishment. In Hinduism, there is no concept of a punishment meted out by the Father sitting on a throne in Heaven. For, who will punish whom, when everything and everyone is Ishwar? 

Finally, many thanks to Mr Kumar for the article.

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03-Apr-2005
More by :  J. Ajithkumar
 
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