1. WHAT DOES HINDUISM STAND FOR?
Hinduism is, basically, the modern name for the Vedic way of life, especially the spiritual path usually associated with India. Previously, those who followed the Vedic system were also called Aryans. It is often considered that the Vedic Aryans were a race of people. However, Aryan actually means a standard of living, an ideal. It was the Sanskrit speaking people of thousands of years ago that gave the word arya to signify a gentleman, an ideal person, someone on the path of purity. It was a term meant for those who were on the cutting edge of social evolution. Another way of interpreting the word aryan is that ar also means white or clear. Ya refers to God. Ya also refers to Yadu, or Krishna. Thus, aryan means those who have, or are developing, a clear path or a clear consciousness toward God.
In this way, we can understand that Aryanism, Vedic culture, or modern Hinduism, is a way of life. It is not a race of people or merely a sectarian creed or religion. It belongs to no particular country or race. It is a path that upholds a code of conduct which values peace and happiness and justice for all. Thus, it is a path open for all who want to be trained to be happy with simple living and high thinking, while engaged in proper conduct, a moral life, and selfless service to humanity and God. Therefore, anyone who wants to live in such a manner may be called an Aryan, a member or follower of the Vedic culture, no matter from which race or country a person may come.
So what does it mean to follow this Vedic Aryan path? It generally means to learn the ways of a spiritually progressed person. This includes understanding one's spiritual identity, knowing that he or she is not the temporary body but is spirit soul, that there is karma or reactions for one's activities, and rebirth in another life after death in which one reaps the reward or punishment for his or her own good or evil thoughts, words, and deeds. By having a solid understanding of such spiritual knowledge, there is automatically a respect for all others regardless of race, sex, position, or species. This brings a moral and peaceful social behavior in everybody toward everyone. By having respect for everyone's spiritual identity, this also brings an innate happiness in us all. We can understand that we are only visiting this planet for a short time, and that we are all in this together. In other words, my contribution to your well-being, especially spiritual well-being, will be an automatic contribution to my own existence. In this way, society at large is in a state of constant improvement. Thus, together we all work toward attaining a clean mind and a pure heart. That is the goal of the Vedic Aryan way of life, and all those who seriously follow it.
Not everyone, however, wants to reach this stage of life or follow this path. That is why the Vedic system installs rules for moral behavior and regulatory sacraments and practices beginning from the prenatal stage all the way through death. Of course, many of these moralistic rules are also quite common in other forms of religion and behavior. However, anybody who is unwilling to follow such rules for a balanced moral standard is dubbed a non-Aryan, which simply indicates one who is not so civilized. Such a person is not on the spiritual path of life, regardless of what other standards or principles of etiquette he may follow. So a person who lacks spiritual tendencies and acts on the bodily platform of existence, willing to do whatever he likes, or who thinks he is a white body, or a black body, or from this country or that, and who holds loyalty only to that conception and shows it by criticizing everyone who is not like him, is a non-Aryan. He is one who works against the standards of Hinduism, even he if calls himself a Hindu, or anything else for that matter. In this way, we can see the need to return to the Vedic standards of life through authentic spiritual education.
Therefore, the Sanskrit word Aryan means a way of life that aims at the elevation of everyone in society to a higher level of consciousness, as we find in the broadest foundation within Hinduism. It means to assist ourselves through a disciplined and godly life to understand the purpose of our existence as well as to become a spiritually realized person. It means to recognize the divinity in each of us. It means to perceive the divine energy that permeates the creation, knowing that we and all others are but manifestations of the Divine, the same Supreme Creator, Father of all. It also means that we help every other individual soul understand this, because by helping others we help ourselves. That itself is a natural state of being when we can perceive God as the Supersoul, Paramatma, within everyone. All of this is encouraged by, and increases, a natural faith in an all-pervading Supreme Being. Such faith and focus on the Supreme can elevate us to return to our real spiritual home after death, that one infinite and eternal existence, which is one of the most important goals of the Vedic lifestyle. Once we are relieved of the body, or the bodily concept of life, then there is no longer any question as to what and who we really are. Offering this opportunity to society for reaching that level of understanding is one of the most important purposes of the Vedic path. This is the essence of what Hinduism stands for. Now let's consider the following points as to the advantages of the Vedic path.
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- Guest 10 years ago
Although, all religions preach toleration in their holy books, we, as Hindus, perhaps, tend to be more tolerable, compassionate and loving for other beings. Undoubtedly, this is the very essense of our great Hindu religion. And, probably, if one has to be in the realm of all pervasive, he / she has to have the above noble qualities as a step first forward. And surely, in retrogration, one's ego is a stumbling block for a soulful living.
Tilak Raj Sharma