HINDU DHARMA -WAY OF LIFE
By Hasmukh Velji Shah – World Council of Hindus
The British Hindus constitute the third largest (1.2 million) community of the total population of Great Britain, and there are areas where the percentage is significantly large. The presence of this busy, enterprising, prosperous and law abiding community is an unqualified bonus to this Country. Although twenty years ago they looked like a burden to the host people, today the Hindus are a boon to the same. In motivation behaviour and performance, they stand out from the rest.
The Hindu People represent the longest living culture in the world and its dedication to Peace and Prosperity of Mankind occupies a valued place in the national and universal community. Its commitment to the all-round development and the comprehensive wellbeing of Humanity has been cordially acknowledged and acclaimed by eminent philosophers, scholars and savants of the World. Arnold Toynbee, the great philosopher observed that, “Hinduism is unique among the historic higher religions in holding that neither Hinduism nor any other religion is a unique representation of the truth or a unique way of salvation. Each of the higher religions is a true vision and a right way and all of them are indispensable to mankind. From today’s point of view, it is becoming clear that a chapter of the world’s history which had a Western beginning will have to have a Hindu ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the Human Race”. The culture represents a mosaic of sublime thoughts and values and the focus of its inspiration has all along been the whole world.
The Hindu sages have declared, Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah, Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu, Ma Kashchit Dukha Bhag Bhavet
Let all be happy, let all be healthy, let all be free from afflictions and achieve all round welfare and never experience sorrow. Such values imbibe the greatness and glory of the Hindu thought.
Hinduism gives the message of fundamental unity and underlying oneness. The Hindus firmly believe in the ancient adage: “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti” – Truth is one, wise men and sages call IT by various names. There are a number of sects in Hinduism and there never has been a religious conflict amongst them. This most secular (Plural) outlook forms the very core of Hindu thinking. With this religious upbringing and extreme tolerance, even agnostics and atheists have been accepted in the Hindu fold. Hindus, thus, can never be fundamentalists.
The Vedanta belief of one divinity, pervading the entire Universe and all living beings is nothing but a spiritual call for equality, fraternity, liberty and justice.The sublime ethics radiated through the Hindu Culture that there is a fundamental unity of man and matter, can be the guiding star of the political and the social life. Hindu thought would provide the spiritual underpinning to all the state institutions and make them vibrant, honest and result oriented.
The dazzling advance of science and technology is not an unmixed blessing. The technological development unaccompanied by commensurate cultural elevation is likely to lead mankind to its total annihilation. The exploitation of nature with no consideration for either ecological factors or the fate of future generations is already proving to be a boomerang. The cancer of consumerism is eating away our green planet. The Hindu thought could become a silent but potent force, under these conditions, for the successful implementation of many of the benevolent objectives such as the preservation and up gradation of our environment and the maintenance of ecological balance.
Hindus believe that the nature or earth should never be considered to be fertile element which has to be conquered and dominated. They believe that earth is mother and we are like her children. The human beings cannot separate themselves from natural surroundings. Those who corner the resources of the earth have been called plunderers. Similarly, those who accumulate wealth by unfair means are spoken of as ravages. The Hindu thought thus gives us the correlation which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal – in fact truly human and transfigured eternal life.
The under-current of Hindu values goes to make for a just emancipated and truly democratic order. They believe in a society free of exploitation, so much so that the Hindus have advocated the expropriation of the expropriators.
The Hindus have a strong commitment to the stable family life which eventually goes to make a stable social order. Hindus talk more of duties rather than rights, and never see any conflict in different elements of the society.
The gift of the Hindu thought to the world is light spiritual, slow and silent, calm and potent, yet producing a tremendous result like the gentle dew that covers the whole earth in the morning. That which was perceived as pagan through the worship of mountains, rivers, trees, animate, inanimate and earth is now acknowledged as scientific, logical and environment friendly way of life – by scholars, scientists and philosophers of the World. In short this is the essence of Hindu Thought or Way of Life, in other words, HINDUTVA.
OTHER GEMS OF HINDU THOUGHT Dharmam sharnam gachchami! – I surrender myself to righteousness. Atmavat sarva bhooteshu – Consider all like our own. Ahimsa Parmo Dharma – Non-violence is the highest form of religion. Bahujan sukhaya, bahujan hitaya – Let welfare reach the common man. Om asato ma sad gamaya, tamaso ma jyotir gamaya, mrityorma amritam gamaya – Lead us from untruth to truth, lead us from darkness to light, lead us from death to immortality. Om sahana vavatu sahanau bhunaktu, saha viryam karava vahai tejas vina vadhi tamstu ma vidwisha vahai – O God! Let us all unite and protect ourselves, let us render service to others and let our studies be beneficial and effective, let there be no hatred amongst us.