It’s a bold statement, but its deep…so I’ll explain.
Growing up in the Caribbean was never easy. I belonged to a culture & religion that I could barely explain to anyone & that’s because no one was able to explain it to me! That’s where my mental anguish started with my “religion”. At a very young age. I remember being teased for “worshiping many Gods”. Do you believe in Christmas? Do you believe in Jesus? You’re going to hell because you’re not supposed to pray to “idols”. Your Gods are not real. Your religion is satanic. Yes. Children are cruel with their words. These were the things I heard from age 5 all the way up to 15. I myself constantly struggled with it. In those days we didn’t have Google to look up anything, so I used my Encyclopedia. That didn’t help much either because no one was familiar with the culture & religion and because it was different & didn’t make sense to anyone, I was bullied to hell & back. It’s funny I say children are cruel with words. They get it from somewhere I presume. Just last month, a Jehovah’s Witness asked me what religion I belonged to & when I said “I am Hindu” she let me know that being part of a religion “worshiping many Gods” was going to ensure endless suffering & a bitter demise. She was quite dramatic about it & was angry that I was smiling & not saying anything to her. How could I possibly explain.
So why do I say Hinduism is not a religion. It’s something I understood of my religion a long time ago & still rings true to me today. My “religion” is about doing good. If you’re familiar with the law of karma, that is the essence of this religion. Do good in this birth to have a good life now & to reap rewards in another birth. (or for some people – do enough good that you don’t have to come back ever again…more on that in another post) I’ve always known this to the depths of my soul. That even with everything I was asked to do with regards to rituals, prayers & having superstitious beliefs, the real essence of Hinduism was “do good”. Of course, you can’t say that blatantly to elders. That would be rude. I am happy to be in my 30’s & that I am allowed to have my own stance on what Hinduism is & what it means to me, without anyone having to condemn me for that.
Hinduism is a religion of many prophets, many Holy books. We believe in One Supreme God but that He has appeared throughout history in many different “Avatars” (forms). You can believe in one God or many & be Hindu. You can chose to not believe in any & still be Hindu. I don’t follow rituals or go to temple but I am still Hindu. Being Hindu allows me to think independently & objectively without conditioning. Hinduism is a set of beliefs & practices about how to live this life we are given. I am free to believe in another other religion & actually many Hindus believe in all other religions. We respect other religions & don’t condemn anyone for their beliefs. I believe in Jesus. That He was sent here to save our souls & that he is the son of God. You see, Hinduism is philosophical, peaceful & just wants us to do, speak & be good. It does not condition minds with any fixed faith system. It is not governed by superstitions & rituals. That is a condition that people applied to religion in order to have some control over their society. Hinduism is an individual’s religion & based on “Dharma”, the code of life which is being truthful to oneself. It’s your personal approach to your relationship with a Supreme Being & it is your way of life. You don’t need to convert to it or be initiated. One of our holy scriptures (Vedas) read “God is with me, within me.” Hinduism is natural yet logical. It is satisfying, spiritual, personal & a scientific way of life.
Hinduism is not something you can seek. It is within you.
Thanks for reading! x