WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A HINDU
Pt. Aditya Persaud
Hinduism views mankind as divine. And, any person who is pained at the suffering of another being can be considered a Hindu. The spiritual goal of a Hindu is to become one with Brahma (Creator), thus ceasing to exist in its illusory form of “individual self.” This freedom is referred to as “moksha.” Hinduism is surely a way of life, with considerable freedom to those who choose to practice.
As mentioned, any person can become a Hindu if their operating level matches the state of perfect peace and nonviolence within. It signifies that when the elements are in balance, the emotions and the operations in the world are also in balance. When we say Hindu, it means, we expect the person to be in balance, equanimity, peace and love. However, it also teaches that we should be humans, first and foremost.
So, what does it mean to be a Hindu? If you believe in God (Aastik) this is accepted and if you don’t believe in God (Nastik), you’re accepted as well. For those who worship through the medium of Moortis, you will be considered Moorti Pujak and for those who do not, your focus can be on Nirguna Brahman (God without form). We are logical in the belief system, hence, you are free to criticize based on your level on comprehension and understanding.
As a Hindu, you can start your journey by reading Bhagvad Gita; it’s the synopsis of all Upanishads and the Vedas. You can also engage in reading of the Puranas – the stories and mythology of Hinduism. Hinduism can also be practiced through devotional worship (Bhakti Yoga) as well as through action, or what we call Karma (Karma Yoga). And then, there is Yoga which is a science to ensure the body and mind remains healthy and well balanced.
It is always advisable to have a Guru or spiritual teacher in this Dharma. The Guru’s role is to take one out from darkness and move him or her to a state of light or knowledge. However, this too is a choice. One can also devout himself/herself in studies, meditation and practice of Sanatan Dharma.
In Hinduism, God is represented as both masculine and feminine; hence you have a choice and can focus directly on your specific wishes and/or desires. This way of life also teaches that every human being is equal. “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” – the world is a family. It is the only system on our planet that advocates this principle. You do not have to be born a Hindu. This is a myth.
In our modern time, as a Hindu, one can start his/her day by offering a simple prayer at the time of rising from bed, then move to take a bath (self-cleansing), after which you can offer ablution (Dhaar) or perform simple prayers at one’s altar. This is a positive way to start the day. However, if this is missed, then while on the go, one can recite his prayer even at the office or while driving. A modern day Hindu can access majority of our scriptures (Gita, Ramayana, etc) and learning tool from your mobile phone through apps. Also, one can make the time to attend the temples in their village and engage in thanksgiving through an annual Puja or Katha. This is where they have a chance to give back to the community, as well as the lesser fortunate in their community or circle.
Once this process of becoming a true Hindu has commenced, there will be upward mobility and the individual will acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to elevate him/herself to attain final beatitude (Moksha) or liberation while alive. The celebrants will simply feel the differences and changes in their lives.