A lot of people have asked me about what is “Hinduism”? All I can say is there is no such thing as a “Hindu Religion”.. just a bunch of philosophies that combine together in an amorphous whole that have been termed as “Hinduism”!
Here is a verity:
Whatever is true of Hinduism… the EXACT opposite is EQUALLY true!!
Nevertheless, here are some of the basic that I feel underline most of the philosophies:
1. Every Creation has Equal Rights: Although most texts in most religions say this, I have found that this is something most clearly enunciated in most Hindu texts. The “tolerance” towards other religions that many say Hinduism furthers is probably a reflection of this.
2. My way is my way and Yours Your and both get us to the same place: This is again a clearly expressed principle in Bhagwad Gita and is believed by most people who follow any sect of the various denominations. It is not unusual for a person who follows Arya Samaj to go to Gurudwara or for a Krishna follower to go to a temple full of other dieties for praying with the same fervour.
3. One is in Many and Many have that One: This probably explains the dichotomy of monotheism with multi-theistic traditions. Alongwith the practices of worship, every follower somehow does recite scriptures that say this to some effect.
4. Women have a High Place: Its probably the only tradition where women are worshipped not as a compromise but directly!! Irrespective of what the societal practices may have been as they evolved but priesthood was not the exclusive of men always.. it is very common to have women Gurus with large following!!
These are some of the basic and foundational principles that come to my mind.. as I think of more I will add them here. If you can think of any, please do add them.
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