Free Press Journal

Two Tiers Of Hinduism


There are two Hinduisms; one which takes its stand on the kitchen and seeks its Paradise by cleaning the body; another which seeks God, not through the cooking pot and the social convention, but in the soul. The latter is also Hinduism and it is a good deal older and more enduring than the other; it is the Hinduism of Bhishma and Srikrishna, of Shankara and Chaitanya, the Hinduism which exceeds Hindusthan, was from of old and will be forever, because it grows eternally through the aeons. Its watchword is not kriya, but karma; not shastra, but jnanam; not achar, but bhakti. Yet it accepts kriya, shastra and achar, not as ends to be followed for their own sake, but as means to perfect karma, jn

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anam and bhakti. Kriya in the dictionary means every practice which helps the gaining of higher knowledge such as the mastering of the breath, the repetition of the mantra, the habitual use of the Name, the daily meditation on the idea. By shastra it means the knowledge which regulates karma, which fixes the kartavyam and the akartavyam, that which should be done and that which should not, and it recognises two sources of that knowledge,—the eternal wisdom, as distinct from the temporary injunctions, in our ancient books and the book that is written by God in the human heart, the eternal and apaurusheya Veda. By achar it understands all moral discipline by which the heart is purified and made a fit vessel for divine love. There are certain kriyas, certain rules of shastra, certain details of achar, which are for all time and of perpetual application; there are others which are temporary, changing with the variation of desh,kal and patra, time, place and the needs of humanity. Among the temporary laws the cooking pot and the lustration had their place, but they are not for all, nor forever. It was in a time of calamity, of contraction under external pressure that Hinduism fled from the inner temple and hid itself in the kitchen. The higher and truer Hinduism is also of two kinds, sectarian and unsectarian, disruptive and synthetic, that which binds itself up in the aspect and that which seeks the All.