[Advaita-l] How to become a Hindu?

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 24 07:49:26 CDT 2010

Dear Nagarajanji,

For all rituals to be effective we have to have the shraddha and the resolve. When we do Ganga-snaana the paapas (sins) will be washed away only when we resolve to commit no more sins of the like for which we repent and then only  the mother Ganga will take care of our sins. Otherwise as Lord Buddha said the fish in Ganga is more pious than any human being taking bath in Ganga as the fish is bathing  in Ganga all the time.

Coming to pradakshina does Swamiji say why we do pradakshina for different times for diffrerent deities?


Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Mon, 8/23/10, Ramesh Nagarajan <rameshnj18us at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Ramesh Nagarajan <rameshnj18us at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] How to become a Hindu?
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Monday, August 23, 2010, 8:29 AM

Dear Sadananda,


>>>> If he is remote from a temple, what he minimum (ritual) he can do,
sincerely and with full commitment?

With the ultimate goal in mind, the person can sincerely read and understand
the import of the scriptures such as Bhagavat Gita, Bhagavadham, Upanishads
and apply the learned principles in life, to go deep within oneself.  Here
going deep within oneself can be called as practicing rituals.  All our
Hindu rituals are pointing us to focus on inward, but unfortunately, they
are misunderstood to be simply performed by mind and body.

Rituals are so many; it is tough for any one to practice all of them.  But
whatever actions one is supposed to perform in one’s life (Swadharma) can be
considered as rituals as long as the person understands the purpose of the
rituals are to reach the ultimate goal.  In that sense the person can choose
additional rituals as described in Shastras or his own religion
(Christianity, Muslim) or simply follow Swadharma without additional
rituals.  Please note that earlier quoted Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati
Mahaswamigal of Sringeri Peetam words apply here.  People get confused that
performing rituals are the main goal, as they don’t understand they are the
vehicles to reach the ultimate destination.

Recently, I have attended a talk by “Swami Dayananda Saraswathi” on “Minimum
knowledge required for objective living”.  I think part of his message would
aptly provide answer to this question.

“He had given an example about performing “Abishekam” on idols.  During
“Abhisheka” we pour water on the idol, clean it up with cloth, wear clothes,
decorate, and offer flowers and prasadhams to God.  In fact, that is what we
are doing in our day-today life.  In the morning, we take bath (abhishekam),
clean, wear clothes, decorate, flowers (in olden days, men used to have a
flower betweeen ear lobe and head), eat food (prasadham).  What we are doing
here is we are doing all these rituals to God within ourselves.  The
abishekham ritual is to show that, the God exists within you, please do
these actions to yourself daily with awareness – with full attention and
sincerity as you would do to God.  Swami also pointed out the same
significance of Tilak in the forehead.   When a hindu sees another person
who has Tilak, he immediately has a bhava (attitude) to say “Namaste” to
another person, recognizing the God is within himself as well.”  Similarly
he had noted about doing “Pradhashtnam” three times by himself with the
mantra – “Yani ganicha papani” which would be similar to doing “Pradhastnam”
in a temple.

Thus the point here is any Hindu ritual is ultimately pointing towards the
goal of life to find by experience that only God exists and HE is present
everywhere.  So, the person can be anywhere including in a remote place
where there is no temple or a proper place to perform rituals.  The only
requisite to be a Hindu is to perform one’s actions (Swadharma) with
complete awareness and bhava that God exists within himself and others as
well.   Again, the person can strictly follow other religions rituals and
can be call himself Hindu, as the goal of a Hindu is to attain liberation.
Hindu is not a religion it is all inclusive, all ways of life to lead to the
ultimate goal.

Quoting Adhi Shankara Slokha 27 from Soundarya Lahari –

“Let the mutterings that I do,
With the sacrifice in my soul.
Become chanting of your name,
Let all my movements become thine Mudhras,
Let my travel become perambulations around thee,
Let the act of eating and drinking become fire sacrifice to thee,
Let my act of sleeping becomes salutations to you ,
And let all actions of pleasure of mine,
Become parts of thine worship.”

If the above is practiced to the core, sincerely and with full commitment,
separate ritual(s) is not required.
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