There seems to be some defect in Hinduism, because it is clearly not as respected as Christianity and Islam worldwide. Hindus struggle to get a fair representation for Hinduism in the media or in the textbooks, whether it is abroad or at home. This is hard to understand, because Hinduism has the best philosophical basis of all and is in tune with modern scientific framework. It acknowledges that the essence in all is consciousness (spirit) and shows practical ways to realize this one spirit. It is therefore even in tune with the ever growing tribe in the west, who say “I am spiritual, not religious”.
When India was ruled by the Christians and the Muslims, it was understandable that those in power promoted their religion as the best and denigrated the ‘primitive native religion’. But today, when there is an open market of ideas, why is it that Hinduism is still getting a rough and unfair deal, when it actually deserves the highest respect, and how can this be changed?
One fine morning I realized what Hinduism is lacking and how this could be rectified. Hinduism could finally be on the same footing as Christianity and Islam.
It is simple.
The ancient rishis had left out one important sentence after passing on their insights. This one sentence obviously makes all the difference, whether a religion is respected, powerful and keeps gaining followers or whether it is demeaned, ridiculed and loses followers.
This sentence is: If you don’t believe what we tell you, the supreme Divinity will throw you for all eternity into hellfire.
Let’s imagine Maharishi Vyasa, after compiling the Vedas, had added: “Whoever does not believe in the Vedas as the only truth, will by the will of Brahman, burn for all eternity in hell.” Or after writing the Mahabharata, if he had added “Whosoever does not believe that Sri Krishna is the only true mediator between man and Brahman, will burn eternally in hell.”
If Valmiki, after writing down the teachings of Guru Vashishta to Prince Rama, had added that Vashishta alone is the true guru and whosoever does not believe in Him, will end up in hell. Or even today, if Mata Amritanandamayi, for example, who has several miracles to her credit and an unparalleled outflow of love, would claim that she is the only indigenous daughter of God and those who do not believe it, will burn forever in hell.
If this had happened, Hinduism would not have remained the underdog. It would have been on the same level as the other ‘respected’ religions. In fact, not all is lost. Since, the Bible and the Quran were written down after Jesus and Mohamed had died, respectively and several earlier versions were discarded, maybe Hindus could still amend their sacred texts?
In case, it is not clear, of course I am not serious. But it struck me one fine morning that the respect for dogmatic religions is based on irrationality and how easily it could be corrected, if only Hindus would chose to be as irrational and back up their irrationality with blasphemy laws. Hindus could, then, take part in the one-upmanship of “only we are right.”
Actually, it is not so much about irrationality as it is about cunningness. After all, those who made those claims of eternal hell for the outsiders, in all likelihood did not believe it themselves. It could not have possibly come from any Divine inspiration, but instead it must have been driven by worldly power.
The rishis in contrast, were truthful, not cunning or irrational, and Indians – all Indians – can be proud of them. But pride is not enough. Present day Indians need to take care that this irrationality does not eat into their society, because it will lead to its downfall. It is not difficult to find examples for such societies. Dharma finds expression through people who stand up for it and if necessary fight for it. Adharmic forces need to be called out and challenged.
It seems a Mahabharata war is always on, in all ages, on this world stage. Yet, ultimately, at a higher level beyond the dichotomy of good and evil, all are absorbed in the one eternal Brahman, from whom all has originated.
There won’t be a huge cauldron of fire where billions of human beings will burn for all eternity. This claim by both Christianity and Islam does not deserve our respect. Since, that is the core claim by which they hold their flock together, what does that say about those religions?