is a Universal Religion
It is a synthesis of approaches. Even the name "Hinduism"came late.
The original name is Sanaat’ana Dharma, Eternal Truth. We can pick
up and understand "that Truth" in any way we like. In this great
religion we leave real freedom of choice in worship, in approaching
that One Supreme Entity, that we call God.
In Hindu thought,
there is room for everything, not only the nice, refined philosophies.
Even the simple, ordinary crude forms of worship are accepted, because
that's where some people begin. They believe in that, like a baby playing
with a wooden horse, taking it to the water, putting grass into its mouth
and saying, "Come on, horsey, come and eat." You don’'t laugh at the child,
because that’s the way a child begins.
Hinduism never rejects
or denies anything or anybody. It is a big ocean.It could be called Sindhuism
."Sindhu" in some of the Indian languages means "ocean." It never says,
"Only Ganga andGodavari may enter; Missouri and Mississippi must stay
out." No ,they all flow in. Even the city gutter water goes in. It’s as
if the big ocean mamma says, "Come, my child, I know you went around and
got dirty. Come in, and I will clean you up." Even atheism is accepted.
The Hindus know that the moment you say, "I don'’t believe in God,"you
seem to accept a God. If there is not God, why do you want not to believe?
You say, that there is a God, but you don’t believe in it. A true Hindu
will have no problem in accepting all other faiths. He will never say,"Oh,
I am only a Hindu. I am not a Catholic. I’'m not a Buddhist. I’'m not
a Muslim." They are all based on devotion, the Bhakti Yoga. The ocean
never denies any water; it’s all embracing. That is why sometimes I like
to call myself "Undo," because I would like to undo "all limitations".
All of our problems
today are based on the attitude that, "My way, my approach is the right
one. And if you don’'t follow this, you’ll be condemned."There is no one
way, because each mind is different. Each person conceives of God according
to his capacity, taste and temperament. You have your way. You have the
freedom and the right to follow it; but your following "your way" should
not cause problems to others. Just as you have your freedom, others must
also have the freedom to find peace and joy,- in their own way.
It's very, painful
to see people hurting each other, even killing oneanother, in the name
of God and religion. Even in the name of Hinduism, you find religious
quarrels. People who see God as S’iva didn’t want to see God as Vishnu.
S’aivites and Vaishnavites quarrel. It is our lack of understanding [of
our own religion]; we don’'t see the underlying spirituality behind all
the diversities in the creation.
Religion has a very
important role to play in the world. Unfortunately, it forgets that role,
and the different religions fight with one another. We have enough money,
enough land, enough food to feed, clothe and house everyone. Poverty and
hunger are not due to lack of resources. The reason is that we are not
caring and sharing. We have to open and change the hearts of the people.
That can be done onlythrough religious understanding;- to help them see
that we are all children of that One Absolute God, one global, divine
family. There is only one God who is our Lord, who is the life in us.
Like rain in the river going back to the ocean, every drop of water that
wants to go back to its source is a religious seeker.
God above is like
completely distilled water. When it falls down on one side of the river,
it is called Heavenly Father. On the other side, they call it Allah. If
it falls in the Himalayas, they call it Siva. We may call this One God:
Brahma, Father, Mother, Adonai, Cosmic Consciousness, Divine Essence,
etc. But we mean the same thing. God is pleased with any name we give
Him. He doesn’t care what we call Him, but rather how we feel about Him.
In the Ve’d’aant’ic
part of the Hindu scriptures, it says that God has no name or form. So
we find it hard to communicate. Due to our limitations, we can never comprehend
something without a form. For example, if I say"sweetness", how would
you understand sweetness? Immediately, you have to think of sugar or money
or candy. Without a form, you cannotunderstand sweetness. That is the
reason why we try to understand God throughforms and names. Otherwise
God is formless. The Saiva Saint Manikkavasagar said, "You don't have
a name; You don't have a form, but we approachYou with thousands of names
and thousands of forms. You accept all our approaches."
The beauty and greatness
of Hinduism is that it allows real freedom of choice in worship. There
is room for the Ve’d’aant’in who approaches God within as his own Self
without any form. If you wish to approach God through a form, there is
S’iva, or Vishnu, or Kumaara; or as a Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati
and others. If you don'’t believe in a human form of God, you can worship
a tree, a snake ora stone. You can see God in any form you want, because
God made everything in his own image; everything is His expression. [-as
declared by the MahaaVaakyaasin the Ve’d’aas.]
It is my heartfelt
player that we all make this resolution: "From this day onward, my life
will be all-embracing and harmonious. Let me learn to accept all the various
approaches of people, because everyone is looking for the same happiness
and joy in life. Let me not condemn anybody because he or she looks, thinks
or, acts a little different. Let me reailize the spiritual unity behind
all the diversities in the creation and remember always that we are members
of one divine family. This, in my own small, humble way, may contribute
to the peace, joy, and harmony of the world."