(Note: By using the word Hindus, I don’t mean or relate to people from religion as Hinduism is not a religion but a lifestyle based on the sacred teachings of Vedanta and everyone understands knowingly or unknowingly that there is a Supreme consciousness within everything.)
First, we need to understand the difference between Shruti and Smriti.
Shruti a Sanskrit word which means ‘that which is heard’ and refers to the body of most authoritative ancient religious texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism. It includes the four Vedas including its four types of embedded texts—the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the early Upanishads.
As Vedas philosophy was not easy to grasp and can be easily misunderstood due to ignorance, our ancients came up with Smritis which means ‘that which is remembered’. Which is a corpus of varied texts. This corpus includes, but is not limited to six vedangas ( the auxiliary sciences in Vedanta), the epics ( The Mahabharata and Ramayana), the Artha Sastras, Puranas etc. Smriti was considered fluid and freely rewritten by anyone in ancient and medieval Hindu Tradition. Vedanta also consists of other teachings of Hymns and Rituals to get connected to the only reality within us.
So in simple words Rituals, Hymns, Smriti as they are easily remembered and can be rewritten in different times were in actual ways to understand the core philosophy of the Vedanta and get connected to the true self.
But what has happened with the time that we got so caught up in the rituals and Smriti that we are stuck in these loops and have stopped looking beyond. We are so near but still, so far. The new generation of so-called Hindus is not even close to understanding what Hinduism actually means. If we ask any Hindu today what do we understand? The majority of us will have one or other ritual to tell, may be going to the temple in the morning or praying at home to an idol and telling stories about Ramayana and Mahabharata. We are even debating over if these epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were actually true. We are missing the whole point here it’s not about if they were true or not but what do we understand by them. Leave about reading Vedas and Upanishad every one of us has heard of a book called ‘Gita’. It can be found in many of our homes but how many of us have actually read it?
I feel we are so disconnected than ever before.
It is more important to remove shoes in front of the temple but we throw garbage anywhere to make mother nature dirty. We prayed to Rivers to respect the water element but now it’s ok to throw anything into the river in the name of rituals. We donate in the Temple but we ignore the hungry kid standing outside. It’s ok to spend millions on ritualistic marriage when we are the country with the most hungry kids on earth. I m sure our ancestors never meant this by doing rituals in search of true self, we are doing exactly the opposite of what they meant.
And then there is most sought after philosophy we talk about ‘The Law Of Karma’. He is poor, Hungary or sick because he must have done something wrong, this is what we say instead of doing something about it. The problem is because we only understand half ‘Law of Karma’, ‘What we do comes back to us in so many ways’ is what we understand and what we fail to understand is that it also says ‘what we fail to do will also come back to us’.
We have to start looking beyond these rituals and Smriti and try to understand what is heard of. Try to get connected to the back to Supreme consciousness as a happy tribe caring and respectful for everyone and everything.
Hinduism ( the teachings of Vedanta ) is the science and the art of living one’s life at its highest and the best. It is the system of the perfect life, the rule of wisdom and the law of liberty. Even a child can be taught Vedanta, provided the teacher knows very well what Vedanta means, and how it can be applied in different stages of life. It is the ignorance and wrong understanding that keep people lost in different dimensions.
Vedanta does not say that one should detest the world or isolate oneself in some world other than this. It does not proclaim that anyone should forsake his duties or put on castor-oil face or behave in an intolerable manner. Vedanta says that one should not be selfish or attached to any fleeting object, that one should live in the consciousness of the loving brotherhood and unity and of the Selfhood or Atmahood of the universe, that the Truth of existence is One and indivisible, that division or separation, hatred, enmity, quarrel and selfishness are against the Eternal Truth, that the pain of birth and death is caused by desire generated by ignorance of this great Truth, that the highest state of experience or perfection is Immortal Life or the realisation of Brahman(supreme conciousness ) that everyone is born for this one supreme purpose, that all other duties are only aids or auxiliaries to this great Duty of Self-realisation, that one should perform one’s prescribed duties in life with the spirit of non-attachment and of dedication to the Supreme Being, that every aspect of one’s life should get consummated in this Supreme Consciousness. It is not a question of abandoning something or holding on to something, but of a change in the Drishti or the vision of life. It is a change in the way of the function of the conceptual and the perceptual consciousness that is required by the Vedanta. The body will be there; its activities will be there; but these will be transformed into the lustrous gold of the liberated life (Jivanmukti) by the touch of the philosopher’s stone of the knowledge of the Self. This life of Self-knowledge is life at its highest and the best. This is the most blessed state, the state of Freedom or Moksha. This is what everyone should aspire after. The way to this state of realisation is Vedanta-Sadhana.
Waiting for my fellow beings to choose the path of Practising HINDUS. And spread love everywhere. Namaste 🙏