Hinduism – Part II
Hinduism is not contained in any single Indian or Hindu scripture or in any single Indian philosophy known as Darshan. It lies in the essence of all of the Hindu scriptures and all of the Hindu philosophies. The extract of all the Hindu scriptures and Hindu philosophies make up today’s Hinduism. “Ahinsā”, also spelled as “Animsa” (non-violence) and “Sadāchār” (good moral character or behavior) are the two basic pillars of the Hinduism. “Ākārvād” (belief in non-abstract form), “Avatārvād” (belief in incarnation), “Karmavād” (belief in deed), etc. are among other major characteristics of Hinduism. Vegetarianism and humanism (non-barbarianism) are the byproduct of Ahimsa. Hinduism and Vedas were the very first proponents of “animal rights” and “environment friendliness” or “nature friendliness.” The ideas of “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” – “the whole universe is one family” and the “universal brotherhood” are first given by Hinduism. The idea of purity or physical and spiritual cleanliness of place, environment, things, body and bodily organs, mind and thoughts, and of soul was first given by Hinduism. Hindus believe that God, Ishwars, and Devatās (Devas or demigods) are not abstract entities. They have definite form that can be seen, feel, or observed. “Murti Pujā” (Idolatry or idol worship) is the byproduct of “Ākārvād” or “Sākārvād”. Murti Puja is thousands year old in Hinduism. Initially it started with respect towards nature and the idea of seeing God in every object, every river, sea, mountain, tree, animal, or natural resources or forces that has pious relation with God or Godly figures. Later on it developed into worshiping of “Shivling” (Shivaling or Shivalingam) and “Shāligrām”, that has no face or extremities, then it developed into worshiping of full fledge Human figure creating more likeability and intimacy with the devotee. One can see murtis of all devatas (devas), ishwars, and incarnations (avatars) all throughout India and other countries of the eastern part of the world where ancient Hinduism was practiced. Indra, Varun, Mitra, Agni, Surya, etc. all have divine as well as mundane or worldly forms. Some Hindus believe in “Nirākārvād” – a belief of not having any specific form, but they still worship Shivaling or Shaligram. For them, “Nirākār” means “not having the worldly form” but “having divine form” and “Niranjan” means “devoid of any impurities of Maya”. The impression of polytheism in pure monotheism is created by “Avatārvād”. “Avatārvād” is nothing but revelation in many forms of the same single divine Supreme entity. “Pāp” (Sin) and “Punya” (Virtues); “Swarg” (Heaven) and “Narka”, also called “Narak” (Hell); are the byproducts of “Karmavād”.
One who really wants to know about Hinduism has to study its original scriptures which are in Sanskrit. Although their authentic translations are available in English and other languages, these translations are mostly meaningful but not true to its meaning or exact word to word, in which some of the words or names are changed or translated according to personal preference and understanding of the translator. For example, “Purush” is a proper name but is translated to “man” or “supreme personality”. “Hari” is translated to “Krishna” or “Vishnu”. “Akshar” is a proper name but is translated as “infallible or imperishable.” In these translations one may find quite different unrelated words used to replace the original words totally changing its meaning creating big misunderstandings, for example, “Parā” and “Aparā” Prakrutis are translated as “Superior” and “Inferior” Nature. In Hinduism, there is nothing like superior and inferior Prakrutis. Parā Prakruti is “Chaitanya” or liveliness (para means beyond or not observable by human senses) and Aparā Prakruti is “Jad” or lifeless (apara means observable by human senses). Secondly, Prakruti is Prakruti it cannot be translated as “Nature” in all translations. It is context specific. Similarly, Brahmānd is Brahmānd. The equivalent to brahmand is universe. It cannot be translated as “the egg of Brahmā”. Hiranyamay purush is Hiranyamay purush. It cannot be translated as “Golden man in the Golden egg or Sun.” At some places English equivalent words, that are senseless or meaningless, are used for replacement whose definitions are ever changing along with changing the real meaning of the original text, for example, Jiv or Ātmā sometimes translated as “Consciousness” but as our understanding of mind improves the meaning and the definition of consciousness improves. Consciousness is part or state of mind which is part of body, whereas, soul (jiv) is quite distinct from body (sharir). Let’s forget about the true pronunciations when the true meanings of the original words themselves are missing. Although they are extremely important, they are extremely difficult to perfectly achieve globally. Still, spellings can be standardized. Now practically, even if one wants to try translating the scriptures again “truly to its real or contextual meaning” and “as it is”, one has to study Sanskrit first, and after that if one still wants to translate them, one has to have time left in one’s life to complete thousands and thousands of pages of scriptures, which is next to impossible single handedly. One needs an organized and unified approach on a larger scale with lots of qualified or certified manpower and large monetary resources. It is now time to create a national and universal standard reference dictionary and glossary with correct unified and standardized spellings, pronunciations, and meanings as well as translations of all the Hindu scriptures. Hindu scriptures are valuable global treasure (just as natural resources) and international historical and archeological assets not just only limited to Indians or Hindus but also for the whole world. Indians and especially Hindus need to know that the time has come to take the lead otherwise others will take that challenge and also the credit for preserving the Truth. Indians and Hindus can take pride only for their geographical and ancestral relations and nothing else, if they do not do any combined and sincere efforts to preserve their true ancient culture and religious as well as philosophical scriptures. If others would find interests in them and does this job, then Indians and Hindus would lose that chance forever. Let’s not forget, what happened to “Ayurved”? Indians, did not do any research and development at home; instead they just took the pride of having it as their ancient system of medicine and gratified their ego. The result, they lost that potential future medical science to the western modern medicine. Sincerity and unified approach is a must, not only for survival but also for the universal progress and for giving back something to the mankind and nature to which we owe. In this modern era of super-jets and World Wide Web, each and every natural resource and anything that is created by and related to human beings are the combined intellectual as well as physical assets for all of the mankind to share. Just as we are part of “Go Green”, we, all together, are equally responsible to preserve and cure our ancient scriptural treasures and our cultural heritages.