Guiding Light: Hinduism celebrates in a life-inclusive way

This positive, celebratory and optimistic attitude to life and religion is what has helped this religion survive natural calamities, foreign invasions, foreign rule and subjugation for a thousand years

Swami Brahmavidananda SaraswatiUpdated: Friday, September 02, 2022, 02:30 AM IST
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A few days ago we celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi. In fact, in cities like Mumbai and Maharashtra, the celebrations go on for 10 days. If you look at Hindu religion or Sanatana Dharma you will find that a lot of the religious practices are very celebratory. These are all celebrations of life. That seems a strange position for a religion to take. When most religions are austere and life denying, the Hindu religion seems to be a celebration of life. Even though most Hindus are not well versed in their religious scriptures, like the traditions of the Gita, somewhere they know one thing - that the answers to all their existential problems are there in it. Hindus believe that they will figure it out in this lifetime, or the next or maybe the one after that. So, Hindus do not allow day to day problems or existential problems to really bog one down. They continue celebrating religion in a life inclusive way, not in a life denying way.

I think that this positive, celebratory and optimistic attitude to life and religion is what has helped this religion survive natural calamities, foreign invasions, foreign rule and subjugation for a thousand years, only to break free and assert itself again. Other cultures and traditions based on other religions have disappeared from the face of the earth. But in spite of 1000 years of assault the religion survives, prospers and largely Hindus have a positive attitude. That’s why during natural calamities, you won’t find Indians looting stores or people but helping one another because we recognize that we are all on the same journey of life. It is good karma to reach out to one and another and bad karma to turn away when someone is in need. The knowledge of karma will take us to understanding the highest truths present in the Upanishads and the Gita. Hinduism has to be celebrated, preserved, studied and followed in one’s own way so that humanity at large can be helped and individuals can be led to the ultimate goal of moksha.

The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at aarshavidyaf@gmail.com

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