[Advaita-l] How to become a Hindu?

Ramesh Nagarajan rameshnj18us at gmail.com
Tue Aug 24 20:11:02 CDT 2010

Dear Satish and Krishnadas,

>>>Just mistranslated(or misunderstood) suggestions only belong to a trash
can. So for your own good get rid of this garbage. If you take this
seriously we >>>would be axing off our own legs. Whenever you take a
statement from great people like HH do keep in mind that particular
suggestion was given for that >>>person and it is not a generic statement.

>>>The reason for that particular suggestion could be many.. like for
example.. HH might have discerned that the person was not sincerely
interested and only >>>curious. Or maybe he came with actually a
malicious**(like a few indologists who take up Hinduism studies because they
have an axe to grind) intent.

I totally understand what you are saying.  It is quite possible that we can
easily misconstrue the quotes of HH / Rishis / Sages without understanding
the context behind the sayings.  Even in Gita, one may find contradictory
statements and they have to be understood with a specific context.

But in this case, it was a generic statement from HH.  Please visit this
website http://www.svbf.org/home_page.php, which is the overseas affiliate
of Dhakshinamnya Shir Sharada Peetham, Sringeri, India.  I usually go and
visit this site almost every day to read the "Thought of the day".  Some of
the messages under this section repeat multiple times. I have seen this
message appeared several times in the recent past. I don't have the exact
quote but it was along those lines “The person has every right to practice
is his own religion”.  I will send the quote if I see that message appears
again.  If it is not a generic message given by HH, it wouldn't appear under
the thought of the day, as the appropriate context has to be given.  In my
humble opinion, the individual rights has to be protected and I believe HH
message goes along those lines.

Going with individual rights, the person who is practicing a religion or a
particular faith should be protected as well.  If some religious
institutions are trying to convert people to other religions by bribing or
adopting cheap tactics without true consent of those people is not
acceptable.  Unfortunately, this has happened to Hinduism compared to any
other major religions in the world.  I believe in most cases, people who
have converted from Hinduism haven't understand the significance of being a
Hindu. Fortunately being a Hindu, we have an opportunity to read and
practice based on a wealth of many different invaluable Vedanta texts, which
explains the ultimate goal of life in many different ways. Obviously, many
other religions doesn't even come close to it.  The focus has to be reviving
the Hindu way of life, rather than protecting it.   The revival can happen
only when the people who are practicing the way of Hindu understand the
significance of being a Hindu and expresses them in appropriate way.   When
the significance is known, people would automatically volunteer to be part
of this way of life.

Great Sri Adhi Shankara was instrumental in reviving (not protecting)
Hinduism and HHs in Shankara matts have really helped to elucidate Hindu's
Sanadhana Dharma.  Most importantly, Sri Adhi Shankara's bhasyams on various
upanishads and his other works have elucidated the importance of ultimate
goal of the life, which are invaluable to us.  On the other hand, to my
limited knowledge, I didn't find any instance where Sri Adhi Shankara had
either spoken ill of other religions or mentioned the other religions
wouldn't take it to the ultimate goal.  There may be several Jnanis who have
reached the ultimate state who belonged to many other religions such as
Sufism, Buddhism, etc.  One may claim that other isms which takes us to the
ultimate goal is part and parcel of Hinduism.  This naming doesn't matter
except the goal.  What is the point in protecting just the name rather than
expressing the value of its principles?  In other words, it goes without
saying, any ism that takes us to the goal, is "Sanatana Dharma".  Sanatana
Dharma recognizes the ultimate reality and this reality cannot be limited by
any name or concept.

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