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the only truth I know is my own experience

Why Hinduism is not becoming popular in the West? May 14, 2008

 image by axinia

The British colonizers discredited Hinduism as being merely backward superstitions, and even today, whereas Buddhism is very much in fashion with American and European intellectuals, Hinduism is largely ignored.

Given that all the essential premises of Buddhism are already contained in Hinduism, including how and why it is helpful to be able to control the senses, it is a shame that so few Westerners are interested in what it has to say…

That was the quatation from Gregoire de Klabermatten, “The third Advent”

I wonder what my Indian friends, as well as my Western readers could add to that? What do you think is really the reason for such a low interest in Hinduism? May be, it is because in the West people still say “Indian mythology” speaking about the religion?…

LOVE, axinia

 

83 Responses to “Why Hinduism is not becoming popular in the West?”

  1. […] Have. Want. Need. | FabSugar – Fashion & Style. wrote an interesting post today on Why Hinduism is not becoming popular in the West?Here’s a quick excerpt  image by axinia The British colonizers discredited Hinduism as being merely backward superstitions, and even today, whereas Buddhism is very much in fashion with American and European intellectuals, Hinduism is largely ignored. Given that all the essential premises of Buddhism are already contained in Hinduism, including how and why it is helpful to be able to control the senses, it is a shame that so few Westerners are interested in what it has to say… Gregoire de Klabermatten, “The third […]

  2. Nita Says:

    Axinia, I understand why. Its because for years Hinduism has been portrayed so by the western media, demonized so to say. So you cannot blame the average westerner for thinking of the greatest religion in the world as a cult. I had written about a book which tried to counter the Hinduphobia of the west here. But it will take time for this Hinduphobia to go. Remember the people who have written history are Christians mostly and according to traditional Christianity those who follow other religions are “pagans.” Also Hinduism’s worship of animals and nature is the most beautiful and elevating things because this earth does not belong to us, it belongs to them too! They were here first! Hinduism understands this better than any religion and therefore is the greatest religion on this earth. And by the way, I am an agnostic tending towards atheism. If there is a “religion” that I believe in, it’s Buddhism because it fits in well with my theories about God.

  3. Chris Says:

    I think that ignorance and negative images are one of the reasons that Hinduism is not more popular in the West. If you mention Hinduism to many people the first thing they talk about it the caste system and dalits. They also usually think that Hinduism is polytheistic.

    Also, many Indian Hindus refer to the murtis as idols. This gives westerners the wrong Idea. I think it is much better to refer to them as icons when talking to Westerners.

    There is also the idea in the Western Media that it is OK to misrepresent Hinduism. The House of Fraser ran an advert which described ISKCON members as brainwashed idiots they even refused to apologise when Hindus pointed out how insulting it was, though they were eventually forced to through legal action. You cannot imagine them running a similar advert about Christian monks or Moslems. Indeed the UK media even when making factual reports about crimes committed by Moselems always go out of their way to say that the actions are those of a small minority.

    I don’t think it is all bad news. Many of the ideas from Hinduism are taking a foothold. In some surveys over 20% of people in the UK, and a similar number in the USA say they believe in reincarnation. Many people see the absolute “we are right you are evil” of Christianity and Islam as incompatible with a loving God. Perhaps the seeds are being sown for people to come to Hinduism in the future.

  4. I never had much interest in any religion, Axinia. But a few events in my life made me explore the philosophy behind religions and I chose to believe in Buddhist philosophy as it was all I wanted it to be and much,much more than that. I am not a Buddhist scholar but I think anything and everything in this universe can be exlplained by Buddhist philosophy. I guess that is why it spread to other parts of the world, including parts of the Russian Federation, like the Republic of Kalmikiya 🙂 I hope the true meaning of Buddhism does not get lost when it is transplanted into the materialistic West 😐

    About Hinduism, well, I was born as a Hindu and my parents are very mildly religious people. My grandparents were more religious (except one grandfather who could be described as an atheist). But Hinduism in India has been hijacked by some right wing parties that are bent upon demonising the religious minorities in India. I detest the caste system in Hinduism as well. I don’t want to go anywhere near the right wingers in any religion, including Buddhism. I have not visited the only Buddhist place of worship in my city, the Mahabodhi temple because I guess it is run by Buddhists from Sri Lanka, who are a little too right wing for my liking.

    I agree with Nita that the Abrahamic religions simply cannot understand the pagan beliefs. That is terrible. But to be fair to Christianity, I don’t think Jesus Christ wanted his teachings to become a “religion” just like Buddha never wanted his teachings to become a “religion”. It was their followers who were responsible for converting the teachings of their masters into “religions”.

  5. axinia Says:

    @Nita, thanks a lot for your profoudn explanation! I too concider Hinduism as a great religion, but it is indeed soemthing very differnt for the western set of min.
    As you said: “Remember the people who have written history are Christians mostly and according to traditional Christianity those who follow other religions are “pagans” – unfortunately it is true. And it is also good if peole liek you and me can show some other perspective, not the Anglo-Saxon one! BWT, you last post on animals fits very well the topic, I will just link it here: http://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/the-west-killed-their-large-mammals-in-prehistoric-times/

    @Chris: beautiful explanation! I guess it is more a matter of ingnorance and (!) arrogance than of negative images.
    Interestingly, just the opposite of what Jesus Christ was teaching, Christian are the most agressive people on the Earth (even if they try to portray the Muslism like that, it is still the Chrisitan who agress – and nowadays they do it very tricky, intellectually, mostly through the brain wash).

    Another thing is just the understanding which is not there. The whole western philosophy and culture is a line-like, very plain and straightforward. The Indian one has another beautiy – it is like an ornament, or a puzzle, where many parts come together. See my post:

    https://1000petals.wordpress.com/2007/08/29/alamkara-%e2%80%93-lets-be-each-others-decoration/

    I guess the western barin just can not see the beauty of it, can nto understand it. Because it is so much different! One has to have an open mind of a scientist to be able to understand that basically ALL THE RELIGIONS ARE THE SAME.

    @Raj,
    I guess the reason for the popularity of Buddhism is very simple: it is the only religion where one does not need to worship anyone. In such away it is very comfortable for a modern man who does not like to surrender his ego. That is probalbly the secret of its popularity in the West.

    What I feel about the whole discussion about religions is that basically human beings should be able to see the ONENESS of all the religious systems as well as to be able to see and follow the MESSAGE of the original teachers and not of their folowers. That is my dream.

  6. Peter Says:

    The big numbers of Gods and Goddesses can be sometimes confusing. 🙂

    • Ragala Says:

      Dont get confused with the number. Understand the philosophy behind it. Each image emphasizes different characters or value.

    • sobhan Says:

      hi peter. well this reply seems to be pretty late. like u r a son to ur father, a student in a school, perhaps a lecturer and a father now, a doctor maybe, a singer, or whatever role u may take—-multiple roles i mean, it shows that u as a human can take so many forms, why cant GOD do the same. u go to the hospital they call u Dr. when u come back home ur son calls u daddy, ur dad calls u son & others call u buddy , mate, etc. aru the same person or different? u r same with different appearances. u r peter.

  7. RoseSantory Says:

    A very intresting discussion.

    I agree that Hindusim need a differen understanding / set of mind.
    India is seen as exotic country, one does not take it that seriously.

    Another point is marketing: Boddhusm has been strongly promoted in the West, Dalai Lama does a good job with his lecturing around and seeking for more funds. Hindusim is not promoting itself, right? Marketing is the magic word in the West, that is it.

  8. Raman Says:

    Hinduism, by nature, does not force itself on even its believers – there are no steadfast rules and regulations (no. of prayers, importance of visiting holy places, sins & atonement) and disciplinary measures to ensforce them. For example, Hinduism says it is OK to not visit a place of worship as long as you serve human kind and occasionally remember god at heart. Or that it is OK to not perform some of the duties that you inherit as a Hindu (daily pooja, chanting of vedas, doing one’s karma and so on).

    Hinduism, incidentally is also known to be the only religion that has a solution for everything; You don’t pray – that’s OK. You hurt someone – that can be rectified too! You are loaded with sins? DOn’t worry, lord supreme is kind and will still offer a rebirth to you to correct yourself.

    There are several texts on punishment (Garuda Purana & Arthashashtra being some of those) but they are outweighed by the more benevolent ones.

    Hinduism, due to its scriptures that often say that Humans are not actually the ones that exercise actions but are mere tools in the hands of a greater power takes out all accountability from us.

    Another very important reason for the stunted growth (or degrowth) of Hinduism is that most Hindus have become ashamed of the religion due to the things they hear about it and their half-baked knowledge about the same. For example, the Caste System (which has cleverly been popularised across the world by the Britishers without the fundamental concept) is a system that was created with the best of the intentions. The physically weaks (Brahmins & other Non Meat Eaters) could not contribute to the society through Physical work and therefore preferred intellectual way of living. Similarly, Meat Eaters (I won’t say their intellectual powers are diminished though Hinduism clearly talks about Rajasic & Tamasic natures) contributed immensely through Physical work that included security, hunting & farming. And since Physical work involved sweating and other forms of dirt, there was a distance maintained by both the communities.

    But since we the Hindus have failed to even believe in such a great religion, people belonging to the other religions have gone ahead and propagated their beliefs in a better manner which is not wrong – after all, we all would like to share what we believe is good!

    While there is so much that is made out of worship in Hinduism, one needs to observe it carefully – Hindu gods are not just charecters – they resemble qualities and have existed to ensure that we have good (and bad) examples to follow. The great mythologies like the Mahabharatha, Ramayana & Bhagavada offer innumerable solutions that relevant even in today’s life which can be proved by the fact that so many modern universities have now started accepting these texts as works of immense value – even under MBA Degrees!

    The South Indian Film Super Star Rajnikanth once said “No god or religion, is inherently powerful – all it’s power is derived from the amount of faith you place in them” is 100% true. But like all things that are true, Hinduism will rise to the surface since there is nothing that can keep it submerged for ever – it has stood the ravages of time wonderfully and still stands a dignified religion.

    I want to say many more things but I am getting choked for words and therefore, would like to end my ramblings here.

    • sagor Says:

      hinduism is a creeed only with lack of logics. it has lots of good moral texts but only that is not enough to be a true religion. caSTE SYSTEM and many god and their families just show it that it is only a great epic like greek mythology. tgeir gods have human desires and family planning. their gods live in hills or somekind of strange places that is climbed by people. eg shiva lives in kailash(mt everest) with his wife durga.

      • swapnil Says:

        you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about..raman just explained caste system…these gods signified character of human beings..read vedas to get you’re facts corrected and stop offending hindus…shiva did not climb mountains for kicks…those places were that meditation, these were the most harshest climate..shiva married parvati…if you’re talikng of logic..hindism is about eternal soul, your shallow brain won’t find logic in that.

        • axinia Says:

          good point 🙂 I would say Hinduism is even more about the Spirit, not soul…but anyway not about logic, that’s true.

        • ekka Says:

          @sagor,

          With all respect, what raman said about caste system didn’t make sense to me at all. Bhramans got higher status, higher class and easy job in the society because they were created as physically weak beings? this is exactly the reason why Buddha ditch Hinduism and founded his religion and also it is the exactly reason why Hinduism do not appeal to the west and other part of the world.

          To my understanding, human are not born to be but chose to be; if Bhramans are physically weak, that’s not because god or gods created them that way but because they lived their life based on what Hinduism society given to them. Have they changed their roles, I believe dalits and untouchables can do whatever Bhramans can; and the same goes to Bhramans replacing dalits.

          Now that is what makes sense to me.

    • Navaneeth Says:

      Raman….i cant agree with your explanation about cast system….

      Cast system is explain in Bhagawath Geetha and Rig Veda……

      In Bhagawath Geetha Lord Krishna in a sloka say i am the one who created chathurvarna(4 varnas) based on karma(work)……..
      (Bhramin, Kshathriya , Vaishya and Shudras)….

      Rig Veda explains it….

      Every born hindu is Shudra(Untrained)….If a shudra trains tantrics he becomes a bhramin…if a shudra trains as a soldier he becomes kshathriya….if shudra indulge in blacksmithy,carpentry,farming they are vaishyas….shudras are untrained workers……

      Its studied in Managment in Bhagawath Geetha….

      The cast system told vedas is sabotaged by the early bhramins with the help of kshathriyas….bhramins preached tantics only to there next generation…they could easily prevent other cast studing tantrics….

      Shudras are current dalits(word dalit is proposed by kanshiram of BSP(Political party))

      • kunal pathak Says:

        good one dude..

        i am a brahmin by caste…but i don’t believe in it..
        because i am brahmin by caste not by my karma(work).

        it’s all due to those scoundrels pandits(priest) and kshathriys(warriors) class ..that we have this caste system from 2nd vedic period.

  9. axinia Says:

    Raman, I like the point about HIdu Deities you made here: I believe one should see them as archetypes, this explains a lot!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archetype

    • arpit Says:

      well!!!!
      We Hindus know that when “KALYUG” (black era) ends,
      the minds of everyone will be purified and they will follow the true religion!!! 🙂 ❤

  10. dnkashyap Says:

    sanatan dharm(now called hinduism) is not understood by 90% hindus, those who preach hinduism are shop keepers selling their goods in the name of hinduism/ let me explain what i have said.

    hinduism is not a religion to be compared with any of the modren day practiced religions i.e it does not preach any form of worship. the multiple gods/goddess are there that u can choose to worship, and there are 33000000 of them in shape agg to that shapeless god as nirgun bhahma and ethiests(who donot believe in any fod) they all can be a fallower of sanatan dhram(hinduism) as long as they practise 3 simple tannets, and they are

    1)respect/worship all liveing beings as u will do to the god u worship.
    2)do ur duty/work assignrd to u with all ur might and wisdom, but with out the greed/lust of a good reward.
    3)prepareurself to secrifice ur life for ur mother.

    as it does not preach any form of worship even a church goer, a man preying in mosque or any other plave of worship of his choise is a fallower of sanatan dgarm as long as he fallows these 3 simpe tenets.
    the moment u diviate from them i.e take advantage of common man for ur personal greed/lust, or kill inncent people in the name of religion then u are not a gindu, whether u worship in temple churdh, mousque, or any other place of worship. it is difficult to do. but this the only ans to modren day problem.

    chrischanity islam believe in paradise, and coax their fallowers to connit atrocities on man kind lureing the innocent people that killing the innocecent people will tale them to paradise. my q to all those is if u realy believe that a particular act of a man will take him to paradise why prompt a simple man to do the act, why not do it urself, unless u believe that u can not die, or u want to go to hell not paradise.

    sanatan dharm says that paradise, and hell are on this earth only it is we who have to act to make this earth a paradise to live.

  11. vishesh Says:

    one of the major reasons might be that a lot o us hindus have doubts the way things are run…make no mistake about it,i proud to be what i am,but then the amount corruption i see around me(and also things i have heard) irritates me…

    it is sad to think that god has become business..all our idols are supposed to have greater spiritual meaning,but people have started ignoring that and are more bothered about only lamenting their problems to the idol and putting some cash…the mantras are supposed to help our mind,body,heart and soul ,it is something anyway who does chanting will know,but the emphasis on that too has slagged…

    also people are so bothered about “traditions” that they follow things without questioning them…for example diwali is celebrated during the time period when insects spread,so the crackers and smoke were intended to keep the insects away(this just one of the reasons)…and i agree with raman…there are people who try to force the religion on to others..also hinduism is based on things which have been scientifically proven…this includes seeing the sun as the source of all energy on earth…

    another reason is that hinduism requires a lot of interpretation…the beauty of the religion can be appreciated only when you are empathize with the text and through your own experience….this unfortunately has been ignored by everyone…also the politicians have used the religion for their own purposes…

    hinduism when seen as a religion,is complicated,but when seen as an book of thoughts to understand ourselves and illusion will lead…

  12. Kalyan Says:

    Hello all,

    From 1784 to about 1835, for a period of 50 years, there was tremondous interest amongst the British Scholars in Sanskrit literature. They started the Royal Asiatic Society in Calcutta and studied it for its own sake, to understand what the Vedas and Vedanta and various Sanskrit texts were saying. But slowly, the formal study of Hinduism came under the imperialistic and colonialist imperative.

    In 1835, Lord Thomas Babbington Macaulay made a persuasive case for why instead of the British trying to learn Indian langauges in order to communicate with the natives of India, it would be a lot easier to simply teach them English. In fact, by creating a “class of persons, Indian in color and blood, but English in taste and demeanor, the British could much more easily rule India.

    This thinking led to the abolition of Sanskrit as a medium of learning in India, and its replacement with Engligh. As a consequence generations of Hindus have no access to the Sanskrit material, and can more easily read Shakespeare and Milton, than Kalidasa or Shankara. Therefore all of us Hindus (surviving today) are products of a system of thinking that is essentially British or Western. So even those Hindus who have written on ths blog, are fairly ignorant of their own traditions. At best we can claim only some partial knowledge. And Hinduism (Or Sanatana Dharma) is quite vast in scope and content. We have to re-discover it for ourselves. I hope the Hindus who have written on this blog will concur with my assessment.

    Simultaneously, the British began to denigrate Hinduism, and prepare the Indians to be converted en masse into Christianity. The proselytizing impulse was evident in that all English medium schools that were opened in India after the historic moment in 1830’s were opened by Christian missionaries of various denominations all over India. The British brought the full force of the Church to bear upon the important task of “Civilizing the Brutes of India”.

    Today, having lost Sanskrit (virtually), and being left only with the vestiges of an ancient tradition, which we respect intuitiely, but cannot defend intellectually, Hindu India is somewhat bankrupt of the intellectual means to mount a defense against the “Forces” that are even today bent on destroying Hinduism. As India emerges from poverty, and revitalizes itself economically, the task of recovering its ancient Spirituality, its traditions, and its authentic texts, will have to be undertaken as an important tasks of civilizational recovery. After all, India is recovering from 1000 years of slavery, brutality, and suppression today.

    Hinduism has come to the West through Yoga, Meditation, through chanting, through Mantras, through music, but again, many Americans get to ‘taste’ the exquisite flavors of Hinduism, but like the Hindus themselves, they too lack the intellectual framework to hold all of it together. So it is at once mysterious, brilliant, distasteful, ridden with problems and contradictions.

    We can only hope that the ‘economic’ corrective that is leading slowly to India’s emergence as a developed nation, will in due course also lead to an ‘intellectual’ recovery, where Hindus can learn to explain Hinduism on their own terms. Until then, Hindus will remain somewhat in the fringes, somewhat unconvinced of the value proposition of their own religion, quick to convert out into Buddhism, Atheism or some other ism, and unsure of themselves. We can also hop that enough Hindus will remain as Hindus, to be active agents in this transformation.

  13. Shanth Says:

    Hi,
    I was a not serious about Hinduism eventhough I was born a Hindu. In the last 6 years I have spent time understanding it. It is actually Sanatana Dharma not Hinduism. It’s goal is simple: to understand the simple yet powerful truths that defy time and space. Let me explain.

    The root of Hindu belief stems from Creation (Brahma), Sustenance (Vishu) and Destruction (Shiva). The trimurti or the Triumvirate. Everything in this Universe has to undergo this cycle. Nothing escapes.

    Everything in this world is to be respected. To be born a Human being is a boon and hence life on Earth is considered to heaven. Killing animals is not considered a noble deed. That is why it promotes vegitarianism and to a large extent the Indian pacifism stems from this belief.

    Now people would consider to contradict with Castesism. It is perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented concepts in our history. Let me extend the idea of tolerance and explain it before I discuss castesism.

    Even whent it comes to religious ideas or dogmas Sanatana Dharma is defined by the following idealogy.

    Anyone who holds a view about God and rituals would fit into the following categories:

    Theist – Believer in God : Ishwara Vadhin
    Atheist- Non Believer in God : Anishwara Vadhin

    Because of the binary nature of the western philosophies they misunderstood most things Indian. They could only see as black or white,true or false because of Socratian philosophy. We have two other forms

    Believer in Vedas : Aasthik
    Non believer in Vedas : Naasthik

    So you could be any of the following

    Believer in God and Believer in Vedas
    Ishwara Vadhin and Aasthik

    Believer in God but Non believer of Vedas
    Ishwara Vadhin and Naasthik

    Non believer in God but believer of Vedas
    Anishwara Vadhi and Aasthik

    Non believer in God and Non beliver of Vedas
    Anishwara Vadhin and Naasthik

    If anyone wonders why Indians are tolerant and were/are able to absorb every external influence(violent and non violent) with equanimity it is because of this inherant ability to tolerate differnt views on God and rituals. Would you guys believe Cavarkas were the first atheists(Anishwara Vadhin and Naasthik). They lived in 300 BC.

    But unfortunately semitic and western religions have a problem with apostacy or blasphemy because in order to be called a muslim/christian you have to both accept Quran/Bible and Allah/Christ. At an intellectual plane this is very rigid. However this observation is not meant to attack their beliefs but to put forward the origin of tolerant nature of Indians.

    Now let me come to the point on caste. Caste was never ordained in Sanatana Dharma because it runs contrary to the very principle of Vasudheva Kutumbakam(The world is one family). However the distinction of every human society will be based on the very roots of caste. Let me give you a perspective but never miss my point I am neither endorsing nor condoning castesism by birth or its associated disrimination.

    And we all know it is based on the work we do. But there is a bigger truth behind it. Hinduism doesn’t endorse caste by birth even though many would cite Manu Smriti. Manu talks of Varna(meaning colour, not colour of skin but representation of each category like good health is pink and danger as red etc). So a Brahman(white), a Kshatriyan(Red), Vysyan(Yellow) and a Sudran(Black). But how can a religion that talks of truth perpetuate anything so badly discriminatory. Think about this: take any modern, advanced, developed country like UK for instance.

    A. There are people who apply their brains and pursue reasearch, advancement of new technology, teaching etc. They are responsible for the forward movement of any human society. In effect they continually learn and apply. Foundation of this education is mostly while we are brahmacharis. Brahmachariam is essential to focus on education and that is why mostly we finish our education before we get into matrimonial relationships. This is how traditional gurukul used to work : Brahmans. Everyone who wishes to apply their brains should strive for excellence and should remain clean at heart and mind. White is the color that represents this state of mind. Purity…

    B. People who bear arms to enforce law and order or defend the country’s borders : Kshatriyas
    They are represented by color Red. State of flux with extreme emotions.

    C. People who run the economy for providing jobs for masses and ensuring the circulation of money. They have a passion for trade, commerce and industry : Vyasyas. Slightly off color Red and it is Yellow.

    D. There are people who do not fit into any of the above owing to the fact that they do not pursue education, do not have the courage to bear arms and do not possess the drive to earn money. There are about 15% of UK’s population that lives on benefits and other doles from the government. They neither possess the relevant skils nor are willing to acquire them : Sudras. This is primarily those who allow their mind to get corrupted or do not possess the discipline required to represent any of the above categories. I am sure all of you would accpet that fact that to achieve academically, militarily, or economically(financially) one needs enormous discipline. IMpurity is Black.

    A human society will be composed of these four groups of people and this is a truth. This will defy time and space. Any competing thoughts about this fact are welcome. No one is born into this they end up becoming one of the above. No one can escape this phenomenon.

    Like I said earlier this is how a human society will work even 3000 years from now. However this has nothing to do with one’s birth.

    Just as everything got corrupted in its use and understanding even varnas(castes) were miunderstood and applied. It is sad that many Hindus do not know this because after repeated invasions and pludering the many institutions that existed in ancient India were destroyed. Hence people lost touch with their ethos and culture. That is all.

    Every ritual and practise I have come across so far in my research has a purpose and meaning.

    Take the concept of Dhristi(Understood as removing evil eye). People use a handful of salt and ask you stand facing East. They then move their arm in both clokwise and anti-clockwise in circular motion. And then point to your mounth and you then spit on it. The salt is then burnt. I thought this was utter nonsense and stupid thing to do unitl I realised its true scientific meaning. Salt is a natural anti-oxidant. Oxidants gathered on your epidermis is extremely toxic. So people asked you to align yourself not in the earth’s magnetic pole but across it facing East. By circular motion the salt in the palm absorbs all the oxidants and this make the oxidants reach the tip of our tounges. The remnant oxidants are then obsorbed and then burnt. Now I do not have a problem doing this to my daughter everday.

    The concept of Aarthi also has a profound scientific meaning. When people come into your house you invite them with aarthi. What does the aarthi plate contain? It has kumkum(predominantly turmeric), beetle leaf(contains Mint), turmeric and camphor(remember the vicks vapourub it has 90% camphor in it). It is also very good for immunity. So they burn the camphor and use these ingredients to essentially sterilize the person so that he/she is immunised and thereby do not bring disease into the homes. Isn’t it a lovely concept based purely on scientific basis?

    Also camphor is used in temples while poojas. And what do we do when we are shown the deepa-aradhnai? We take our palms and touch the flame. That is not what we should do. We should use the palms and take in the fumes of camphor and inhale them. This improves immunity. In olden days camphor was mostly imported and hence common man went to temples to benefit from these poojas.

    The more I understand the reasons behind our rituals the more clearer and harmonious I become with my way of life and culture. It is essential not to discard or dismiss anything as religious or superstitious. It is definitely worth understanding the meaning of it.

  14. Shanth Says:

    Hi,

    Of Course I should have also added this.

    As I mentioned earlier everything is symbolic in Hinduism. Swastika represents all the eight directions. Likewise 108 respresents another profound aspect. 108 is an important number and is no of times people chant Gayathri mantra or provide offerings to God. It represents the mean distance between the heavenly bodies. The mean distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun while the mean distance between the Earth and the Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.The message is: just as heavenly bodies are in harmony with each other human beings should also endeavor to be in harmony with each other. One of the most civilized things that emerged out of this harmony is vegetarianism.

    Can you name any culture or religion in the world that worships work(by-product of which is money) and education? Would any Hindu trample or step on a book or money? We wouldn’t. Believer or non believer in Hinduism Indians wouldn’t do this. Why? Because we value these things like God because without which you are nothing in this world and can do nothing worthy in this world: in one word Karma. Your work. And your work is determined by what you learn and apply. This aspect will defy time and space. This is true 4000 years ago and will be true 4000 years hence.

    Matha Pitha Guru Devo. First is Mother who gives us life, next is Father who provides for us, Guru who enlightens us and makes us worthy and then comes God. Isn’t that a wonderful truth in human society. Would you ever worship and respect a parent is doesn’t do his/her duty?

    I hope this should help many understand some important aspects of Sanatana Dharma. I have to admit I am just a stundent of Santana Dharma and I have tried to instill the discipline mentally and physically through yoga. I love partying but I do not drink because it is not necessary but that doesn’t make a heretic. It is complete misunderstanding or ignorance that results in stereotyping any group of country. Knowledge will help us remove this bad habit.

    Shanth…

  15. axinia Says:

    @dnkashyap:
    you say “sanatan dharm(now called hinduism) is not understood by 90% hindus” and I can image it very well! – but i think it is the case with every religion! How many Chrisitan really follow Christ, how many Muslims have read Koran? It is amazing how little pople do know about theire religions and how easy they are ready to follow something because “they are orn in taht religion”.
    I really enjoyed your explanation of the main priciples of Hinduis, however the last one was not clear to me “3)prepareurself to secrifice ur life for ur mother.” – what does it mean exactly and it is really being lived? (because I heard of cases when sons burn their mothers if they can not support theri living)..
    ——————————–

    @vishesh:
    thanks a lot for your honest explanation and sharing the concier for the state of your religion today. But India is not alone with this probelm! – same is happening everywhere, Chrisitnity is experienceing a big crises presently as well.
    ——————————–

    @Kalyan:
    many thanks for this profound explanation and very intresting historical facts! In particular I enjoey this part: “Hinduism has come to the West through Yoga, Meditation, through chanting, through Mantras, through music, but again, many Americans get to ‘taste’ the exquisite flavors of Hinduism, but like the Hindus themselves, they too lack the intellectual framework to hold all of it together. So it is at once mysterious, brilliant, distasteful, ridden with problems and contradictions. ” very poetically and true!
    ———————————

    @Shanth:

    both your comments are a great treat! – very intresting. As for the scientific explanation – I also agree that actually all rituals (in all religions) are very much reasonable and sensible! Somehow the true knowledge got lost and people became ritualistic, blindly folowing the tradtions. As I can observe there is a positive tendency in India now to come back to the roots and realise the source of knowledge…that is important!
    ———————-

    However, my dear guests, I elieve we should keep in mind all thing – EVERY religion has a lot to offer, none is superiour or inferiour and only knowing ALL OF THEM we can understand EACH OF THEM better…

    Would you agree??

  16. vishesh Says:

    then the origin of the crisis must be the lack of understanding of our past gen and seeing things in their way.I think religion hasn’t evolved with us(not the substance in religion though ,i think i remains constant).

  17. axinia Says:

    Honestly, vishesh, I believe that all religions are grown too old, and do not serve the purpose any more… We have to take the best out of every religion and become global people, not hinding behind the race-religion-or social level concepts…Do I make a point here?

  18. venkat Says:

    Buddhism has a brand ambassador by the name of Dalai lama and buddhism in the United States also has some aggressive missionaries.

    Hinduism is actually popular in the west. it just goes by different names and different strands — ISKCON, transcendal medititation, ayurveda, Siddha yoga, etc.

    Given the right approach about 10-20% American would officially convert to Hinduism since many are already receptive to Hindu concepts of karma, reincarnation, religious inclusiveness, pluralism etc.

    In other words, they may not call it Hinduism, but many folks already practise it in USA.

  19. axinia Says:

    thanks, venkat, you made the point!

    However I would not think that Americans who believe in reincarnation or karma are nessesariliy inclined to HInduism. Hinduism is much, much more than that… What I see here is that for the western mind it is difficult to get the core message of it.

  20. vishesh Says:

    yes what you say is true..i think achieving the one-village without any animosity will be the greatest thing..but it will not be possible,because each persons heart has rebellion in it…

  21. axinia Says:

    I believe it will happen one day, but will take time 🙂

  22. vishesh Says:

    bubble time ….

  23. dnkashyap Says:

    respected mom
    pranam. inadvertantly have posed 2 questions not 1, and will ans both as far as possible.
    1) sanatan dharm preaches vasdave kutumbh(whole mankind is 1 family, and any danger on mother earth from aliens as well as from inside the fallower of sanatan dharm wll fight it with his life.
    2) modren day common man does not understand the crischainty/isla/ any other religion he practises. to ubderstand this we have to go far back when the mankind came to earth(how i donot know and will nt argue on any theory). it is ckear that life came to all the 5 continents, andhuman being were there liveing in small tribes. in usa only there were nearly 500 different tribes before the invasion from eorupe. each tribe gad differnt set of practices varying from veg to non veg in non veg from cannbals to restrictive meat eaters. he customs of each tribe were also differnt, varying from to monogamy tomultiple gamy allowed for men in some tribes, as well as some tribes allowed multigamy for women as well. to each sociaty their system was best and wanted to preseve them. each tibe had some intelluctuals who were made responsble to sheferd the tribe the best way they could. fear is the only deterant for a man to act against the law, and in their wisdom each intelluctual created an idol(god) even the cannibals had anidol(god) the only reason for that was to instill the fear of god if they went out side the set rules of tribe.
    like modren times once u get away with a crime that is against modren law of the cuntry, u donot respect the law and slowly become a mafia king useing the common man for ur personal greed, and lust. in the same way then slowly desay started in thesociety, and mostly they were ruled by tyrrants.
    it was then people like buddha/jesus/ prophet mahammad came to earth to up lift the poor, and dawn trodden from the yokes of tyrrants, and theydi it succesfuly to some extend, but human being is greedy, lustful by nature and with the passage of time fallowers of crischainity and and slam 1st became adived house in themselves, not only that they forgot what jesus/prophet muahamad preached. roman catholic pretestants, and so many other churdhes draw water from same well(jrsus,and bible) but will fight each other saying the water drawn by them u sweet while drawn by others is poison. same with isla shiya sunni mome bora and so on.
    some times back pope said their way of worship in the on way to salvation(paradise). the same is preached by fallowers of islam.
    my submission to all the world religious leaders is way of worship can never never be the road to paradise, but helping the poor and dawn trodden where no one dies from hunger where no one uses his brute power(for his personal again), usesit to help him this earth will be a heaven to live on

  24. axinia Says:

    thank you, dnkashyap! a very sincere and intresting thought…

  25. dnkashyap Says:

    respected mom
    pranam. will not say thanks, but would like to say a saying of kabir. he says– speak only good words from the core of ur heart, with a open heart. because only then it will not only be soothing to the person to whom u are saying but it will be soothing to u as well.
    mom. i am a non identity and a old man, but in case u feel that what i have said has some substance try to find a way to spread this, as the world is already at the nrink of disaster due to global warming and food shortage.
    it is time all the world leaders put their head togather as how to combat this, and not fight on my religion is better then urs, and that is what i meant with saveing the mother with ur life.
    regards

  26. dnkashyap Says:

    respected mom
    pranam. from no rection i assune my last post did not sit well with u. let me explain further. with the present crises caused by global warming and consequent to that food crises. the 3rd tennet is most relevent i.e saveing the mother earth from sure death, and it is not too late to save her. i will not bore all with the data of food production, reasons for global warming but will suggest only the ways(as i think) to arrest it, as it is still not too late. the action is required by all nations, more so by doveloped counties through united nations.
    if uno can wage a was in korea, middle east in the name of humanity then there can not be a better cause the to combat global warming, and food shortage. it will need 4 prong attack on the problem.
    1) to arrest population explosion total ban on child birth for 1year nine month. any nation not accepting this should warrant economic sations.
    2) it will bing dawn the population to some extend to arrest further the insentive for 1 child / family. the insentive should be monerory i.e a whoopimg cut to income tax payee, and a fianancial aid to people liveing below poverty line.
    3) total ban on animal sloughter for food(selective killing of animal for food because of geographical reasons thia will arrest the green house gases far more then coal and fossil fuel burning.
    4) total ban on production of weapons of mass distruction. the money saved thus be used on finding new ways of energy to avoid fossil fuel use for production of energy. that will bring dawn the price of fossil fuel, and the stanglle hold of opec countries.
    these are my thinking may be absurdly wrong, then some one must come up with better ideas for saveing mother earth.
    kind regards

  27. axinia Says:

    dnkashyap,
    i will for shure answer your comment, just a bit later today. Thank you for your patience!

  28. Swaps Says:

    Hi Axinia,

    I wonder how you keep up with this torrent of responses (some dauntingly lengthy)
    Let me add to your ‘woes’ 🙂

    It’s true. Hinduism is not popular abroad (proof : ALL the above responses are from Indians).

    I believe I know why. It is LACK of COMPASSION.

    Today each one is born into a religion. If one looks towards a foreign religion it is , I believe, after a deep emotional trauma. Buddhism was born out of quest for the genesis of human suffering, so is better poised to heal…its a kind of psychotherapy. And a very effective one at that. So naturally Westerners surrender, as they reevaluate their materialistic values – the source of all pain.

    On the other hand, after 5000 years, Hinduism, which is basically similar to Buddhism (minus compassion – it was more of a science, a search for The Reality) is indistinguishable from any Western religion. The true knowledge in Hinduism was kept as an exclusive privilege of some Hindus, over several generations they too lost its true meaning. Now it panders to narrow materialistic prayers of its followers.

    Also, Hindu culture is insular. Foreign travel was a taboo. It is so even today. For e.g, a seer who went on a foreign tour was boycotted by other seers. Objections were raised when he staked his right to offer prayers to the deity – it became a front-page controversy.

    This was one example of how bigoted Hinduism has become. It is abused by the very people who must propagate it. You know something, the seers politely discourage conversions INTO Hinduism so that it doesn’t tie their hands when they protest against conversions OUT of Hinduism. I guess I will stop here. I could go on writing about what ails Hinduism.

    I wish to conclude with the hope that people may take a broad-minded and scientific approach to Hinduism and discover exactly why it is great. It is even today a avante-garde religion or I must say, philosophy.

    Thanx Axinia for the opportunity.

    • S.C. Says:

      Haven’t had a chance to read through all the comments here yet, but this comes close to my own experience. I am western, and have struggled with acceptance into Hinduism for years. I am “this close” to giving up and turning to Buddhism, which is much more accepting of western converts.

      Hinduism stayed in India or within the Diaspora. Buddhism traveled the globe – China, Tibet, Japan, into Afghanistan, southeast Asia, and so on. So it’s used to converts who look a little different, I think. Hinduism isn’t used to that.

      The caste system makes it impossible for westerners to convert, too: where do westerners fit in? Are we all untouchable? Then no wonder we are not allowed into temples! Not a great way to encourage us to embrace Hinduism, if you ask me.

  29. Atlantic Says:

    dnkashyap,

    Your thoughts and dreams for saving the earth are very commendable indeed. Certainly measures of great proportion are urgently needed and without them we are on on a course for complete and utter distruction. Personally I belive that this result is at some point inevitable, however we should atleast do our very best to correct the wrongs that we have created. I do fear though that the world does not have the will or the ability to turn back the clock. Already as we speak development is exploding in places like China. Also, other counties with great populations such as India have now developed new cars to be purchased by the avarage consumer. The world at large is begining to follow the example of the west. Things are about to get much worse. Any improvments that are made will no doubt be counteracted by the growing economies.

    I love your Idea of of putting restrictions on meat production. I reasently heard that the consuption of aniamals actually acounts for one fifth of the worlds green house gasses. The grain used to feed them could instead feed many more of the worlds hungry. Yes, continuing to eat large amounts of meat is unthinkable. The problem is that by bringing change to societies many big, wealthy, and powerful copanies would be put out of business. The world is controled by people with money and power and they are in no way motivated to give it up easily. Neither does the spoiled consumer have the will to force them. They value products and convinences above all.

    Most of the ideas are good, and some new laws might help. But laws aren’t the answer. Dnkaskyap, you said “Fear is the only deturent for a man to act against the law” but fear isn’t the answer either. The only real deterant keeping men from acting against the law is love. That’s the only one that works and it’s the only one that can save this planet.

    Newfoundlander

  30. Atlantic Says:

    Axinia,

    Sweety, we can’t save ourselves… We need to be saved from ourselves! And only God can do it.

    Newfoundlander

  31. axinia Says:

    @Atlantic,

    I love this passage of yours:
    The world is controled by people with money and power and they are in no way motivated to give it up easily. Neither does the spoiled consumer have the will to force them. They value products and convinences above all.
    It is a sad truth… But according to the Indian anciant knowledge, today is really the worst time we live in (KALI YUGA) – however, it will collapse soon :))
    I believe that many things will change, so we have to be patient and do our (good) job. In fact, the whole situation is crying for a total transformation of a human awareness, but this is not possible without the deep changes in EVERYONE. As soon as this deep change will take place, a person realises that all religions are one, that there is nor “better” or “higher” one, all prothets and deities have spoken of each other and knew each other.. It is all so connected and I ask myself WHY is it not that obvious for everyone? Is it again the ald good brainwash that does not let us see???
    ————————————————-

    @dnkashyap

    Thank you again, sir! It is great to see someone not only critisizing and saying how bad everything is, but also giving suggestions!

    I was only rather surprised about your following thought:

    1) to arrest population explosion total ban on child birth for 1year nine month. any nation not accepting this should warrant economic sations.

    I can imagine that in India the population growth is still a problem. But not in the West! – here the picture is indeed very sad. 25%of German women CANNOT have children, never. 😦 NO need for any ban…More people die that get born!! It is a bid drama for many families here… You can not imagine…
    ——————————————–

    @Swaps

    thanks! I am a bit surprised about your note on the lack of compassion in Hinduism. If to be that strict, than I would say there is no compassion in any religion, whatever they preach…

    Your critics of Hinduism is rather understandable to me. You know, because of my Sahaja Yoga long term practice, I have a deep understanding for Indian philosophy and true meaning of rituals and all that… Not only understanding but I also know HOW and WHY it all works and what is actually so great about it (the best compliments I ever had were the comments on my shaktipower blog that I am an Indian girl 🙂

    Last year when I went to India and visited some temples, I was really shocked at the people`s attitude to that holy places – rather “consuming” and ritualistic. HOWEVER – this is exactly the same I can see in every church or musk. I guess the reason is that most of the world population is non-spiritual, and they can percept the religion only to a certain point.

    ———————————————
    @Atalntic
    answering to your last word:
    Things are much more complicated, and at the same time easier…Sure it is GOd who saves us, but only if we let him -I mean if we really want to.

  32. dnkashyap Says:

    respected mom
    pranam. being a common man, perhaps was too luccid in my explaination.
    1) as u rghtly pointed out that population explosion is not much of a problem in west. if uno takes a dicision on total moritorium on child birth it will ge applicable to doveloping nations like india. china has already put ban on more then 1 child to arrest the population. during this 1year 9 months all nations can chart out the families to restrict their production of children to 1, and in 5 years time the population will come dawn to a resonable proportion. i donot claim to be an expert on the subject it is just a food for thought. there will be too many experts on the subject who can suggest a better way to arrest population explosion.
    what i meant was he existance of mother earth is in dander, and any/ all the measures needed to save it must be taken on war footings.
    regards

  33. Atlantic Says:

    Dear Axinia,

    You beleive that all religions are the same. I think perhaps you are atleast partly right. Each of the worlds faiths does hold some very important truths. Great men and sometimes woman were inspired by God to give a paticular message for a specific time and place. Many share the same God given values and love for mankind and it is rediculous to think that a single religious leader could have reached the entire world of past generations. It was therefore absolutely nessary for God to have many Prophets. Yes, One was not better than the other.

    Axinia, as you learn and as I learn neither of us can claim to know everything. Nor did these great religious leaders have all the understanding of truth. They knew that “Life is about learning.” And in all of your life you will never reach that point of complete understanding. The reason there are so many world faiths is because at some point people stopped searching. Many pick one truth in which to base an intire religion and refuse to exept any new light. These are cirtianly not the attitudes of there spirtual founders.

    I think though that I should also point out that Gods people are in all countries and denominations. It is also very likely that the majoirity are not even Christians. Those whos hearts are open have not rejected the truth and the time will come when they will understand.

    E.G.W. (Last Day Events) Multitudes Will Answer the Call

    Souls that were scattered all through the religious bodies answered the call, and the precious were hurried out of the doomed churches, as Lot and his wife was hurried out of Sodom before her destruction.

    There will be an army of steadfast beleivers who will stand as firm as a rock through the last test.

    There are many souls to come out of the ranks of the world, out of the churches- even the Catholic Chruch- whose zeal will far exceed that of those who have stood in rank and file to proclaim the truth heretofor.

    Multitudes will receive the faith and join the armies off the Lord.

    Many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great shepherd.

    In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to the apostate world the transforming power of obedience to his law. Even now they are appearing in every nation, among every tongue and people; and in the hour of deepest apostasy, when Satan’s supreme effort is made to cause “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,” to receive under penalty of death, the sign of allegiance to a false rest day, these faithful ones, “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke,” will “shine as a light in the world.”

    I am sorry for perhaps leaving everyone a little bit confused. I just thought maybe you should know, sort of, where I’m coming from when I make some of my comments.

    Newfoundlander

  34. axinia Says:

    Newfoundlander,

    as far as i unerstood, you are an Adventist. I dont know much about it.
    You say “In heathen Africa, in the Catholic lands of Europe and of South America, in China, in India, in the islands of the sea, and in the dark corners of the earth, God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to the apostate world the transforming power of obedience to his law.”

    and who are these people? only the Adventists?? 🙂

  35. Atlantic Says:

    Axinia,

    The text you quoted are not my words. They were taken from prophecy.

    As I pointed out, Gods people are in all religions. They could be Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christian…. The name does not matter. On this I guess we both agree. The point is that they rise united to stand on the side of God in the last days. Adventism? It means I beleive in the second coming of Christ as taught in scripture. Nice to know? I think it is. But it doesn’t save me. Traditions are meaningless. Only my own personal and spiritual relationship with God really matters.

    Perhaps I have raised more questions then I’ve answered. It’s a little more complex then just a quick short answer. Maybe sometime I can go into more detail.

    Newfoundlander

  36. dnkashyap Says:

    respected Mr atlantic
    pranam. kindly read my original post. wher i said sanatan dharm says worship any god u want, in any shape u want, u be an ethiest, it is ur choice, and god has nothing to do with it.
    the 3 simple thing if practised by 1 and all this world will be a paradise to live. bible says jesus will come again to save mankind, hindus say god will come in kalayug to save mankind, but i say we donot the need of help of god to save this earth, but love and coppassion is needed, respect to other man is the order of the day.
    For the time being the utmost important thing is to save mother earth from disaster.
    i donot know how the matter can be taken up in uno, and what ever the experts say be implimented by all nations to save the mankind.
    regards

  37. axinia Says:

    @Atlantic,

    i will give ask you 3 questions regaring your last comment, but a bit later when i have more time 🙂

    @dnkashyap,
    you concirn with the Earth is very touchy, I whish everyone would see it this way. Good news is that in the West this concirn is growing a lot and peple do manage to make corporations act accordingly…Some Intrenet initiatives are mostly very powerful. There is always something every one of us can do!
    🙂

  38. Armoredfish Says:

    Went through the trail — all religions are not the same. And “Hinduism” is not a religion as tom-tommed by the West. “Hindus” came from the word Sindhu – people who lived on the banks of river Sindhu – and now called Indus. And most of it in Pakistan. It follows a dualistic thought whereas the three religions – Jewish, Islam and Christianity all arose from the middle-east as monotheistic religions. There can be no comparison. And if wish to understand who you are – study Hindu scriptures. Buddhism is an offshoot of the same. A sub-set to be precise. The Japs and the Chinese have their own similar beliefs. ANd many parts of the world it is the spirits and the nature defined by their own set of experience. And many “learned” people are trying to unbalance the current balance and have their own little wars. But people cannot be changed by force and the the sword alone. Change cometh and the West and the “Gas Station” of the West shalt understand soon -“Thou shalt not transgress”. There are costs for that and they get added. And the bank balance and the balance sheets are indelible.

  39. Atlantic Says:

    dykashyap,

    Thanks for pointing me back to your earlier comments. It was nice to read them again as I am not very familiar with Hinduism. Actually I liked your comment quite a bit and I agreed with some of the points. On the other hand you should know that I am a Christian so naturally I am going to see some things a little differently. Mainly because I beleive in only one God who is much more personal, so to speak.

    I have no doubt that if followed, your three simple points would make the world a much better place. Christians too have very similar rules in the “ten commandments”. Unfortunately your right, they don’t always follow them. When asked which of the commandments was the most important, Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and also your neibour as your self. He said that on these two things hang all the commandments of God. So, no matter what religion you are or what you know to be true, even if your an Atheist the the most impotant thing is to love and respect each other. Ultimately when you love and respect those things and people that God does your actually showing your love for him as well.

    I don’t think we can save the earth indefinitely. Even Scientists have been saying similar things for a long time. Eventually the world will meet its fate. I’m not sure I even want to see things go on like this forever. After all, the same God that created the world can recreate it again minus the pain and suffering. And yes, I know that other religions beleive differently, but if they are following God in a way that they beleive to be right then this is all God expects of us. My advice for anyone is to live up to what you know and to always seek his will for your life.

    Newfoundlander

  40. Atlantic Says:

    Axinia,

    Only Three! Im getting kind of busy now and I’m never home but I’ll do my best to answer. (smile)

  41. Atlantic Says:

    Armoredfish,

    I guess your right. I was surprised not to find Hinduism under religion in my American dictionary. Only the three you referred to were listed. However it does say that religion is a belief in God or “gods”. While this might cover Hinduism it certainly wouldn’t apply to some atheistic beliefs. Honestly though, I don’t think I agree with the definition. After all, in Canada we refer to hockey as a religion. My own understanding would be that religion is anything you believe in or is the most important thing in your life. Perhaps it is a misuse of the word, but I think it is widely understood that way by most people.

    What is the purpose of life? Most of our faiths and belifs try to answer this question as well as provide some moral standards to live by. There’s definitely some good comparisons in my mind but also a lot of important differences as well. I think of the different beleifs as an extension of persons culture. Our differences are things to be imbraced and valued not cause for controversy. People don’t nessarily have to agree all the time. Infact it actually helps to stimulate the thought process. A source perhaps of more positive discusion as we try to navagate through the negitive and complicated world in which we live.

    I agree with you that religions are not all the same. But there is some good and truth in all and unless an individual acknowledges this they will never be willing to come to the table and discuss our differences. Why can’t people just accept that just maybe, there might be some things we can learn from each other. We need to stop saying that we are all the same or we are all equal because seriously I want to know what is God doing “differently” in your life, how he has blessed you, and where he is leading you. If people begin to believe that everyone is the same than what is the point of even thinking for oneself anymore, because after all every choice is equal.

    Newfoundlander

  42. Namasthe Axinia, Your post is very thought provoking as well as mind boggling.

    1——One of the main reasons why Hinduism is not popular in the west is due to its some what complex nature. There are hundreds of Hindu scriptures and ordinary people will be lost in the vast amount of data in those books. There are 4 Vedas, 108 Upanishads, 18 Major Puranas, 6 Darshanas, two epics to start with.

    2—–The Hindu concepts of GOD, SALVATION etc are not properly explained to the masses in the west in SIMPLE SENTENCES.

    3—–Hindu theologians do NOT appear on radio and TV talk shows and take questions from masses. So there is a lot of false information regarding Hinduism all over the media.

    4—–Even many Hindus do NOT have much knowledge about their mother culture. Stop a Christian or a Moslem on the road and ask him or her what is salvation or God, you will have a earful. Stop a Hindu on the road and ask the same questions and he/she will smile and run away. What I wrote may sound funny but unluckily very true.

    In 1988, I published my book AM I A HINDU? [www.amiahindu.com] for children like my sons, and never ever thought adults will also enjoy reading the book and it will be used in many schools and colleges all over India and the west.

    Today I firmly believe Hindus have to market Hinduism.

    I mean Hindus have to educate every one about Hinduism. Hindus should have HINDU ONE LINERS like Christians and Moslems do. Hindus have to answer every question about God, Salvation, Karma etc in one or two sentences not in several paragraphs.

    EXAMPLES.

    1—-Hindus worship ONE AND ONLY GOD WHICH EXPRESSES IN TRILLIONS OF FORMS.
    2—-Hindu salvation is known as SELF-REALIZATION meaning realizing one is the immortal soul within and not the perishable body.
    3—-Hinduism does NOT proclaim monopoly on TRUTH or GOD or SALVATION.
    4—-As per Hindu scriptures any one who search after truth, irrespective one is Hindu or not will ultimately attain salvation.

    The quote “An empty vessel makes the most noise” may be true but Hindus cannot follow that quote any more.

    All of us [Hindus ] have to talk and write about the various aspects of Hindu culture when ever we can.

    If we cannot, at least point people to the directions, where people can secure knowledge about Hinduism.

    Time has come for Hindus to wake up and educate the world all about our culture.

    “All it will take for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.”

  43. axinia Says:

    Am I A HINDU?
    thanks a lot for this brilliant input!

    I would not say that HInduists should “market” themselves, but to let the world know more about themselves would be very helpful 🙂

    I appreciat a lot how you put the clear lines (yes, the Western minds has a linea way of thinking and needs celar lines, anline the INdian, based on alamkara priciple) – as would calaim to knwo Hinsduis quite a bit and I would say, these lines are very true!!

    Despite the commons misunderstanding, Hindus indeed worship ONE AND ONLY GOD WHICH EXPRESSES IN TRILLIONS OF FORMS – this point is absolutely not clear to the people outside of Hinduism…also all other points are very much true.

    Brilliant input, I hope it makes a lot more clear to my western readers :)Thank you!

  44. dnkashyap Says:

    respected frnds. why not start a sinature compain address to secratry general U.N.O requesting him to tackle global warminh, and cosequebt to that shortage of food on war footing

  45. axinia Says:

    dnkashyap,

    I guess it will have no impact at all – either on the UNO leaders nor on the Earth 😦
    Sorry to say so, but I really dont believe in such actions…

  46. Babujee k.n Says:

    Why Hinduism is not becoming popular in the West? (not only in the west all over the world also) Becuase We having a Good Product but no one like to market our product. Take other religion they will go for conversion. But Hindus dont encourage their own religion….. Because of vote… I said we having a Good Product but no one is there for marketing…………….

    bye

    babujee k.n

  47. Anant Vasudevan Says:

    What is the need to make Hinduism popular ? If it is the absolute truth, it will survive by itself, without any human mediation. It is our faith that Vedic Dharma is absolute and does not require any kind of publicity, popularity etc for its survival. The inherent strength of Hinduism lies in its Spirituality. That is what has kept Hinduism alive for thousands of years despite several Religious Aggressions.

  48. Anant Vasudevan Says:

    Let the Christian Missionaries convert ! How many can they convert ? Let Terrorists and Islamic Fundamentalists proclaim Jihad! How many can they kill ? EVen if there is not a single Hindu in this world(which is the day these Islamic and Christian radicals are looking forward to), yet Vedic Dharma will be preserved and make its way someday, because it is absolute! I feel the biggest miracle is the Vedic Mantras are still chanted as they were thousands of years ago, despite several external aggressions such as those of Islam and British Christians, and the number of VedaPathShalas are only increasing despite the growth of technology and scientific attitude!

    • S.C. Says:

      Anant,

      Not sure if you still check back here to read this post, but with respect, you may be angry at the wrong people.

      I agree, Islam and Christianity do seek global dominance. But if you expect Hinduism to compete in the marketplace of ideas, you can’t say “Come, learn about us, visit our temples, embrace our truths – oh wait, not YOU, you’re western… Sorry, go back and be Christian/Jewish/Muslim…” Don’t try putting your faith out there to be respected and popular, and then push away the very people that are attracted to your message. “You can like us, you MUST respect us, but you can NEVER BE one of us!” Not fair, sorry.

      So be mad at the Muslims and Christians for their zestful conversion activities. I am, too. But also be mad at the priests who deny western converts access to temples, and who tell western Hindus to their face that they are NOT Hindus, can’t be, never will be. Be mad at your fellow Hindus who proclaim that westerners must never be allowed to convert.

      By the way, I fully agree with the comment previous to this one: who cares if Hinduism is popular. Its truth will survive, regardless. This is how Judaism has survived all these thousands of years.

  49. bearst Says:

    It would probably indeed be a good thing if more religious folks chose to embrace Hinduism rather than the Semitic, monotheist religions. In modern times it seems that polytheistic religions, such as Hinduism, foster a great deal more religious tolerance in its practitioners than the sometimes pushy proselytizing of Christianity and Islam. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never heard of a “Hindu Crusade” or a “Hindu Jihad”

    I guess the ultimate test would be to see how pockets of other religious groups or even minority Hindu sects (if there are such things) are treated in India.

  50. abey Says:

    Hinduism with its Pagan beliefs, is nothing new. These beliefs existed all over the world from the beginning. The best cases are that of the Greeks/Romans. Over the times , these believers found that it is got nothing to do with GOD, it is all about Humans, in different corruptions, it is for this reason that the World in General gave up these beliefs, because of its vulgarity & cruelty, eventually had no measure.
    Heaven, actually is something like this. ” John the Baptist ” who went about, almost his whole life , telling people to move away from sin, & about whom said Jesus Christ” There is not a man, born of a woman, on this earth as great as John, but even he, is least, in the kingdom of Heaven”
    It is believed that these are the last days/times, when corruption will greatly increase, whence will come the Judgment as is said ” Them who follow the Gospels will be judged by the Gospels, Them who follow the Law, will be Judged by the Law, Them who follow the Conscience will be Judged by their Conscience.

  51. Anant Vasudevan Says:

    Christianity too with its plethora of prophecies which use threats and intimidation to force people into submission for fear of that Father above(as against Bhakti or devotion), is not a new invention. In fact, if paganism is all about humans, Christianity is all about the Church and power vested in the Pope. That way all Religions are partly spiritual and partly imperialist. But Christianity and Islam are definitely more imperialist than Hinduism. They are quite intolerant of other faiths and Religions. Hinduism is primarily Spiritual and acknowledges and incorporates that the absolute can be known in various ways. I totally disagree that world has given up Hinduism due to its cruelty! This is a rather disastrous supposition considering the amount of cruelty inflicted by Christian and Islamic fundamentalists on other faiths. Instead I hold the view that it is mostly due to ignorance of Vedic Spirituality and false propagandism by media that keeps people of the world away from this ancient Spiritual way.

  52. Mr. Faltoo Says:

    AA
    Some one said, love your God, and love your neighbor. Both of them have to be done simultaneously.

    THE FIRST, QUITE EASY BY ITSELF;
    God is no more almighty. Today gods are vulnerable, and need all protections and helps from their respective followers. Therefore many are ever ready to extend all helps and might and argumentative skills. Many are so ever-ready to throw filthy unkind words, and even to rape and kill innocents for the noble cause.

    THE SECOND, IMPOSSIBLE.
    Only few people can do that, Not all though! Otherwise, this world would have been a paradise.

    BB
    The somebody also said, if you are KNOWLEDEGABLE, powerful, and mighty and have FANTASTIC PHILOSOPHIES and all the positive attributes you could imagine, but have no love (sympathy, sense of considerations and justice, I presume, irrespective of other persons cast, creed, color, religion etc.) for your fellow being then you are simply a windbag.

    THIS ONE PERHAPS…………….!
    This thought perhaps all ordinary mortals can fiddle and play in their minds, in quieter times, about this life. It need not mean going gaga about love for others, but try to limit ones all activities and expressions that creates as minimum nuisance and hurt as possible for others.

    Please think about it

  53. Rohit Says:

    the main problem with hindusim in the west i think is about belief of multiple gods. people literally take their concept of god and multiply it. e.g. a christian or muslim believes in God or Allah thinks that MULTIPLE GODS? that would mean if one god disagrees then chaos will on earth so thts impossible hinduism is not commemdable.
    as far as i know about hinduism and i have done some research on it that concept of god is some what like this
    He is mahavishnu (not to be comfused with vishnu) he is sometimes reffered as krishna or whatever . some think he is formless some picture him like vishu sleeping in eternal seas. from every pore of the skin of his body universes are formed become (in matter of the formless they are formed from him just like tht , but i think i will stick to the one with form from now on) there the eternal seas are fromed and the mahavishu or brahman first manifests himself in each of these universes in 2 forms of the preserver(Vishnu) and the destroyer(Shiva, though according to myth he comes later on) since if creator is created first who will preserve it and how will the cycle continue it will become abstract and more complicated.
    then from the naval of vishnu brahman comes into form of brahma (So basically all are svambhu i.e. self created and three aspect of one god) so now we have all the ingridients for creation so brhma creates 8(or 9?) manasputras(mind born sons) they with his help create the whole universe and set it in motion then the demigods are created(as far as i know they are nowmal soul who were liberated but agreed to help God hehe funny i know) then the creation last one hundred brahma years (which is i think a FEW TRILLION YEARS) then brahma dies with him all the demigods die then Lord Shiva daces tandav the dance of destruction and the universe basically oblibriates and goes back into eternal brahman or so they say.
    Also i will like to add that this material energy is considered as the impure or inferior (to be more precise) form of energy of the lord. and the creation which is created (by brahman not brahma) is only 25% material and 75% spiritual(confusing isnt it but please try and understand) . as far as souls are concerned they are they are eternal campanions or the lord like him they have no birth no death (since it is said that they are part and parcel of him) they go ti his abode(heaven if u may) .
    There may be many things unclear about it and many may be contradictory but i think that is the essence of it if u keep a open and cool mind ull find ORDER IN CHAOS.
    I wonder the Big Bang was brought about by brahma /hmm need to ask him HEHEHE

  54. S.C. Says:

    Hinduism is growing in popularity, but Hindus themselves are somewhat closed-minded about accepting non-Indian Hindus. Do not lament the fact that Westerners are not embracing Hinduism, rather lament the fact that many Hindus actively discourage westerners from converting.

    Before everyone’s feelings get bruised, I said “many” Hindus, not “all”. Some are welcoming and that is as it should be. But many are not, refuse western Hindus entry into temples and seem to push western Hindus into ISKON and SRF.

    When Hindus start welcoming western converts, then westerners will embrace Hinduism in greater numbers.

    • axinia Says:

      an interesting point, S.C.! thanks .

      • Veronica Says:

        Hinduism is not popular in the West, because we are idiot’s, I just started reading up on Hinduism myself, I kinda ran across it by accident, you see, I was looking for the meaning of the number 3, (to me) so I searched it on the web and the aum symbol came up, & so here I am enthrawled in THE religion. I must admit, Hinduism is something I have had with me all of my life, Just didn’t understand why I thought the way I thought, or why I felt sometimes the way I felt, & how easily I have always connected to the world as a whole, but ever since I found Hinduism (or it found me) I feel completely at HOME! (If that makes any sense) & I love it. ❤

  55. simplyrohit21 Says:

    Namaste Axinia

    Well I am yet to read so many responses to the post above so may be my ideas might already have been posted by someone above, still I am going to type what I understand.

    I think primarily there are two reasons. First is whenever there is a rise of new power in the eyes of Western world, it tries to study that power totally. It makes effort to understand and grasp every single aspect of that power, religion and philosophy being one of those. We all know that there has been an tremendous growth of China in the recent years so much so that the real threat for US, as it perceives it to be, is no longer Russia or any other country but China. Thus, the US and other western media tries to understand and in the process creates as much material on it as possible which also reaches the common public. This, I understand to be the primary reason.

    Secondly, I think the Buddhist philosophy of following the middle way connects more easily with people than any other Sanatan school of understanding [I do not purposely refer to Sanatan Dharma as faith or religion simply because religion is the closest possible substitute of the word Dharma which actually means ‘that which upholds and supports’ and I am sure many of the users on this site would be aware of it. Faith on the other hand, if I go to explain it would start a debate on its own which I would rather not encourage at this point of time, nonetheless in my understanding it can not be used for Dharma.]

    Coming back to the second reason, there are multiple sects within Sanatan Dharma and to most [including Hindus!] they sound totally bizarre and contradicting to each other [apparently]. Remember the we pray in Sanatan Dharma in the most natural form. Prarthana [from the Sanskrit word Prachchati=to ask]. No offence meant of anyone! 🙂

    Love & Light,
    Rohit

  56. Nishant Agrawal Says:

    …The Supreme Court of India in a recent court case ruled that “Hinduism is a way of life and not (necessarily) a religion.” This shows the spread of the Hinduism in the day to day life. It is so in built and absolute that they see God even in trees and animals and worship them. The greeting ‘namaste’ means ‘I bow to Thee in you’. Their credo ‘Vasudev kutumbakam’ literally means “The whole creation is but one family”. Even though on the surface it seems too strict and ritualisitic an ordinary hindu suits himself on the do’s and dont’s, if any. There is hiearchy of priests that no one cares a rap about. Budhism and Sikhism can well be called its offshoots, not to speak of its yoga which all modern gurus today survive and thrive on.
    The practice starts with the soul, beyond the nitty gritty of the homogenised spirituality today.
    Someone said, “To get to the essence of hinduism is like extracting water from the mud.”
    It is so complex yet ordinary, in an extraordinary sense.
    love.

    • Anant Vasudevan Says:

      Well, I would like to correct the following words above,
      “There is a hierarchy of priests that no one cares a rap about”.
      This is not true. This is not even totally true in the cities and metros. In the villages and rural India, which is the actual India, the Priests are still respected by orthodox and devout Hindus.

  57. vinayakah Says:

    In case we deny hinduism as only a religion and understand that it is much more than some religious movement, the answer on you question can be much easier to find. Unlike other religions we have like christianity, judaism…, the hinduism describes deeply the universe, energies it consists of, their interconnections, its origin….and the base of everything and beyond, together with ways of development of conscious existence (human beings), together with microcosm and macrocosm synergies, essence of time and space…..

    There is one movement in the area of physics science, that try to create the “theory of everything”. I think it is already done, this “theory” only doesnt use the format of formulas and definitions of physics, which can be understood only by studied chosen ones, but uses the pictures, symbols, stories, techniques that can be understood by multitudes (incomparably more than in case of theoretical physics)….the base of hinduism.

    So the answer is that this “theory of everything” that is presented as a hinduism is so wast, so huge and so wastly complex that with the limited mind of west it simply cant be comprehended, and the broken fractions of total picture offered by that “hinduism”, spoted by the limited, conditioned mind dont make sense……

    And much more – it interconnects all that with the real, proved and repeatedly provable ways how to imbibe all that within ones inner being.

  58. Navaneeth Says:

    Sanathana Dharama (So called Hinduism) accepts every religion and says all path lead to same god because all path are man made(how can one claim my path is only true)…….

    Hindus believe in a single god nirguna nipuna paraha Bhramam (formless, emotionless universal energy ) who is every where in universe…the basic building unit of each matter or oraganism is bhramam….universr is not created by god but it is created from god……represented by OHM…..praying to 100000 of hindus gods + jesus christ + greek gods + any other god leads to same god(Paraha Bhramam)…..

    Ya…hindus pray to 10000 of gods…because if some one feel its diificult to concentrate on a formless god…let them think of a deity because bhramama can exist in any form and in every thing……

    Thanks…as a born hindu i like all indian religions Buddhism, sikhissm, jainism and sanathan dharmam…….

  59. RAGHU Says:

    greetings…..
    I believe that sanatana dharma is not being given the importance it should begot, due to the following reasons:-
    high level of misconceptions: In today’s world, caste system has received a false-publicity:
    ORIGIN OF MISCONCEPTION: during the rule of British, in India, to withstand the uproar against foreign rule , the administration made a well known DIVIDE AND RULE policy, ofcourse, this was put into force with help of few greedy people belonging to bramhin community. this successfully created a rift among different communities, and now, we(Indians) are merely devouring its fruits.
    ACTUAL MEANING OF CASTE SYSTEM actually, caste system was created for easing administrative efficiency. caste system is division among the society based on what work they do(for example, kurubas are the people looking after sheep). now, in an angarajya(A subdivision of large kingdom, and basic unit of ancient Indian government), people belonging to same caste used to select elders among them, who in turn represent their people in the ”rajasabha” (king’s court). these elders used to put forth the problems to the king. the king used to discuss these problems with wisest among the ministers(for example, Dasharatha consulted Vasista mahamuni) and find solutions to the problems. for further information, refer Mahabharatha, sabhaparva.
    IDOL WORSHIP: this is, yet another common misconception. to the objector, i would ask, ” when you see your loved one’s photo, would you imagine that you are seeing a celluloid paper on which something colorful has been printed/
    or would you relate your emotions with the actual loved ones?”
    anyone in their senses would choose the second one. similar arguments hold good in case of idol worship. one must really understand this ‘symbol’ and the ‘symbolized concept.

  60. Beatriz Says:

    Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  61. Ronda Says:

    Gifts, kisses, hugs, forgives and forgets, and giving space
    for each other, encouraging time with each others friends,
    and spending quality time with each other will definitely help the love to grow strong.
    Remember, it was you that was wondering if it was too late to save a relationship and initiated the new talks between the two of you.
    Making up after cheating is rarely an easy thing to do.


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