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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

‘Idol worship’, beef, mutual respect and conversion: Answers to some routine questions asked about Hindu Dharma

What are the draw-backs of Hindu Dharma apart from idol-worship?

Why do you write “apart from idol worship”? Too much Christian brainwashing that idols are just stone? Hindus consider the whole universe alive, as ultimately Brahman. Nothing wrong in taking the help of a ‘form’, a murthi, to feel closer to the Divine by worshipping it.

Coming to the original question: there are no drawbacks in Hindu Dharma, since it is a genuine, outer and inner enquiry into what is true about us and the universe and helpful for a fulfilling life.  The truth is non-negotiable, but rules for society are flexible. In the last chapter of Manu Smriti for example, it is mentioned that the rules can be changed by a group of either three or even one knowledgeable Brahmins according to the times. (Manu Smriti XII. 112/113)

However, since in the last 2000 years dogmatic religions appeared on the scene which make unsubstantiated claims about ‘truth’, and are highly aggressive in trying to get the whole world believe what they claim as truth, Hindu Dharma roved to be too generous and good natured. It did not suspect that people could cheat others in the name of truth. Its tenet “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names” is applicable only to ‘well meaning’ claims about truth, not incredible dogmas which are pushed by hook or crook meant to dull the intellect and gain worldly power.

Unfortunately, British education weaned Indians away from knowing what their tradition is, by not letting them know their Sanskrit scriptures. So drawbacks are with Indians: first, many Indians wrongly believe that Hindu Dharma is ‘inferior” due to the British brainwashing and second, even if they realize that it is not so, they find it hard to explain the advantages of Hindu Dharma, as they know too little, and slip away into western lifestyle (which obviously is a failed model) or many even to western religions which tend to produce hypocrites.

Is it ok for a Hindu to eat beef?

I assume you are a Hindu. In that case, do you really have to ask this question here on quora? Can’t you ask your conscience? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cow (or goat, or chicken)?

We westerners were indoctrinated by Christian tenets (and Muslims by Islamic tenets) that nature including animals is there to serve man who is considered ‘the crown of creation”. The result is a brutal yet unnecessary bloodbath all over the world of billions animals slaughtered daily (alone in US some 90,000 cows daily), often skinned while still alive. It is considered “normal”.

Do we have the moral right to do this? Hindu Dharma requires using one’s intelligence. It is not a fixed belief system, like Christianity and Islam.
Your ancestors discovered that a cow particularly is like a mother, gentle and giving, everything the cow gives is useful, including its urine and dung. Who would kill her? Who would kill any animal unless necessary for whatever reasons?

Humanity would be more human and ecology would also benefit greatly if this massive brutal slaughter were at least reduced if not fully stopped.

Why do Hindus respect Muslims and Muslims don’t?

It is not so much the question of Hindus respecting Muslims and Muslims not respecting Hindus. On the human level, there are Hindus who respect some Muslims and others not, and Muslims respect some Hindus and others not, depending on their character.

The question is rather: why do Hindus say “we respect Islam (and Christianity)” and Muslims (and Christians) do not say “we respect Hindu Dharma.”

The reason why Muslims don’t say it is clear. Islam claims to be the only true religions. “Idol worship” (and Hindu Dharma is wrongly considered as idol worship) is especially offensive to their God. So naturally Muslim cannot respect Hindu Dharma. In fact, they even have to fight Hindus:

“Oh believers fight them until there is no more mischief and the Deen of Allah (way of life prescribed by Allah) is established completely” (Quran 8.39)

The “One Truth” of Hindu Dharma (= the Divine Essence is present everywhere) on the other hand expressed itself always in many different streams and they lived side by side peacefully. So not knowing much about dogmatic religions, many Hindus respect them, because these also worship the Divine. However, they don’t know that these religions require blind belief and condemnation of “others”, especially Hindus, into eternal hell.

So naturally, it is rather foolish to respect that which wants to wipe out what you hold dear. (Christians also have the “duty” to convert the whole world to Christianity, because they also consider their religions as “only true”).
It’s easy to see why there is so much chaos in the world…

How does it feel for a westerner to convert to Hindu Dharma? I recently converted (though my guru would laugh at this word) to Hindu Dharma. Life feels much simpler now. Would love to know about others’ experiences.

It feels great to have escaped the narrow-mindedness of incredible dogmas.

I understand that your guru would laugh at “convert”, because it is rather becoming free from conversion – having been forced as a child to turn to some artificial, blind belief.
It feels like coming back to the natural state of a human being, free to enquire into what is true about us and the universe.

Here I described my experience. “essentially” means, i didn’t take any official step to “become” a Hindu, i simply feel at home in the Hindu tradition and am grateful to it.

(This article was first published on the author’s blog on September 25, 2015 and has been reproduced here in full with a modified headline and minor edits to conform to HinduPost style-guide.)

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Maria Wirth
Maria Wirthhttps://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com
Maria Wirth is a German and came to India on a stop over (that’s at least what she thought) on her way to Australia after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. She visited the Ardha Kumbha Mela in Haridwar in April 1980 where she met Sri Anandamayi Ma and Devaraha Baba, two renowned saints. With their blessing she continued to live in India and never went to Australia… She dived into India’s spiritual tradition, sharing her insights with German readers through articles and books. For long, she was convinced that every Indian knows and treasures their great heritage. However, when in recent years, she noticed that there seemed to be a concerted effort to prevent even Indians (and the world) from knowing how valuable this ancient Indian heritage is, she started to point out the unique value of Indian tradition also in English language.


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