Being Hindu

January 8, 2015

I am a Hindu. I was born to Hindu parents and became one by default. Is my religion a part of my identity? Perhaps. Do I care much about it? Perhaps not. Do I believe in god? Certainly. Human life is too much of a miracle to not believe in god. For all the scientific progress man has made over the years, I don’t think we have been able to create anything remotely close to the human body in terms of complexity, intelligence and longevity.

Ironically then, the problem with religion is us humans. We are the ones who have made professions out of religion. We are the pundits who hold on to temple trusts and mint money in the name of god. We are the ones who give god a bad name by fighting holy wars or trying to ‘spread’ our religion’s name and fame.

We once went to a prominent shrine in the Himalayas to celebrate my first salary and donated it to the shrine. In lieu, we got to be part of a special aarti sitting right in front of the main shrine where ordinary mortals get to spend a few seconds after a wait of many hours, that too amidst so much jostling that novices would exit and say ‘yaar kuch samajh hi nahi aaya. Where was the idol?’ Yes we were sitting there for whatever time it was, maybe 15-20 minutes. How is it that some ten-thousand odd rupees gave us the opportunity to get closer to god and increase our probability of getting whatever favour we need from her? Why should the VVIPs who visit in helicopters and get whisked for even more exclusive ‘darshans’ get to wash off their sins in more convenient fashion than ordinary people from Rajouri Garden or, may the lord have mercy, East Delhi?


This is just one example but this is the story everywhere. From Shirdi to Tirumala, money buys you time with the gods. Money gets you to seek favours from them through special aartis that come in a menu like at a restaurant.

You request a priest to conduct a religious ceremony at your home and these days the instructions get very specific. ‘Place a flower on this idol with hundred and one rupees.’ ‘Place a piece of mithai with five hundred and one rupees.’ It must count as a miracle that our religious scriptures came with specific instructions regarding monetary amounts, that too inflation-adjusted to keep increasing with time.

Looking at temples, sometimes I wonder just where is the devotion? In the ordinary people getting hassled in long, undisciplined queues to get to the lord for a few seconds glance? Or in the disinterested priests who are generally bothered only at the sight of ‘dakshina’? Does god really want us to drop a few crisp notes in the donation box to ensure that we spend our lives being healthy, wealthy and wise?

Who are the people clamouring to convert or re-convert others back to whatever religion? Why is it that important when millions upon millions in our country are malnourished or dying for lack of proper healthcare? Why don’t we spend more time and energy in providing basic necessities to our brethren before trying to ensure that nobody ‘steals’ them away into another fold, like cattle.

If this is religion, then I am happy not being religious. I’d like my god to be in my mind, in my conscience. I’d like to be ethical and moral in my dealings. I’d like to be true to myself, my family and my society. I’d like to think that god is out there, somewhere, smiling at the people who just don’t get it, the ones who think that a dip in the polluted Ganga will make them purer, even if in their hearts the only thing that will give them happiness is for their neighbour to get run over by a train because he parked his car in front of their house. I’d like to think that even god sees the priests running the businesses that they are, and doesn’t give VIP pass holders a shortcut to heaven, or whatever he calls it.

Give the idols a break. Be pure within. If god is omnipresent, surely he will notice and credit some points to your account.

That’s my Hinduism.

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13 Responses to “ Being Hindu ”

  1. Arooshi on January 8, 2015 at 6:54 am

    Nice post! You’ve given words to my thoughts about Hinduism.

  2. NarendraVikramSing on January 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Worth reading its our Godmen Priests who have made religion as profession we want to buy our God depending on our money in bank but then this is what we have seen taught to us fm the day we r born in a way its another form of bribe but then this is how have grown & will remain like this
    This is our faith & we show it accordingly
    Faith is Faith

  3. Ramamurthy on January 8, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I am also a Hindu and a bramhin.I dont know what is to be a bramhin.
    All that I know is I am one and we celebrate all sorts of festivals.
    No temple visits. Last time I went to Thirupathi was about 35 Years back.I am 85 now.I have not cheated any one so far in my life.Paying Income Tax to the last paisa without hiding any income.Am I Bramhin?

  4. NarendraVikramSing on January 8, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Furtherto y I will add that when we give a 10 K offering or diamonds its not that we have bought God you have merely bought the priests not God For God we are all alike.when born we come out with no clothes when we die rich or poor as christians or muslims we get only a 6×3 feet space as Hindus we are all consigned to flames the intesty of flames is same for all in the eyes of God we are born same its our parents who give us our religion faith ourbeliefs in God.Its we as human beings who follow faith God the way our parents teach us.When we offer 1 rupee or lakhs diamonds we have onnly bought the priests Maulvis or pastor cardinals father Pope.
    Faith is Faith cannot be bought its our inner self that we satisfy & buy certainly not God.

  5. Tarsem on January 8, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    ‘Hinduism’ is not a religion, its a way of life. RELIGION demands some action as per set protocol, while Hinduism doesn’t at all - so it doesn’t categorize as religion. What people of this civilization follow is ‘sanatan dharm’, and this is very free, very philosophical, very meditative and very open to discussion. Idol worship is just one way of meditation (that’s the core reason there is only one person praying to idol at one time) and over time people have confused this with praying to GOD. No where ‘sanatam dharm’ requests to go to temples. In fact the most revered saints chose solitude in the Himalayas to attain supreme knowledge and near divinity.

    We all aspire to become famous, rich and important. Kings have their own way of doing this and priests (which are also human) have their own. Real priests are not seen in temples!! You go to them, not they come to you!!

  6. Girija on January 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm


    First of all, I would like to acknowledge that your writeup does come across as a sincere attempt to voice your opinion on Hinduism today.

    However, it is important for us all born and living in what we hesitatingly label as ‘Hindu’ household to understand the true scope of this ‘Hindu’ macrocosm.

    If I were to proclaim here that REAL HINDUISM HAS BEEN LONG COMPROMISED and hijacked systematically by invaders for a millennium and that mythology has been garlanded to prove it otherwise, Would you consider taking some time out to look into the factual facet of the Hindu religion?

    As one of your readers suggests Hinduism, fundamentally is not a religion. It is a proven science to govern oneself on Earth, so that one can get closer everyday to knowing the reality behind the charade. The earth is a coded mystery and to decode it, the front runners from the Vedic ages, our Sages and Rishis (who were humans too) have handed down proven timeless wisdom, so that we may also benefit from knowing the truth.

    Most of the priests in the temples are bewildered bunch whose knowledge on Vedic subjects is not any higher than that of a commoner. The bureaucracy of a temple in this below par Vedic age runs just like any other management firm.

    Why would you or I form a mindset based on ill practices, dogmas and false labels that thickly taint the Hinduism today?

    Do you know that India once ruled the entire planet and Vedic Dharma was widespread in present day Iran, Egypt, Bosnia, Vietnam, Peru and all the way upto Alaska. If you are wondering how our ‘Hindu’ forefathers even managed to get there, the answer is they took the aerial route.

    The knowledge on how the energy system worked and how it can be channelized was so advanced that “Bharatvarshis” had invented mercury-fuelled “Vimanas” much like the flying saucers called UFOs.

    Imagine the society that came up with the science of Yoga, Mathematics, Astrology, Physics, Intraplanatery travel, telepathy. The glories of Hinduism which is deep rooted in Vedic culture is lengthy and may even sound unrealistic to a western centric world that we live in .

    India or Bharata Varsha as it should be aptly called is the Guru of all civilisations. Being born in a Hindu household or indeed in this part of the world is such a wonderful thing, so much so that if one puts enough effort one can become enlightened within a single lifetime.

    What I am saying here is no baloney, I suggest some Google search-box-filling and I am sure you will come across a lot of food for your thought.

    Well I would like to end here by saying …’ the omnipresent has indeed added a whole lot a credit to your account.. all you got to do now is encash it.’

    • Meera on February 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      Now that was a thoughtful input… Thanks! :)

  7. Nivesh Vashishtha on January 9, 2015 at 8:05 am

    These offerings have always been there, but in form of dakshina, where a Guru used to taught us about God, religion and other worldly knowledge. That might be needed to provoke our conscience. But trailing with time, we became more and more interested in instant results. We tried to find short cuts yo meet God. And here comes the role of these thugs. In Vedas there is no mention of idol worship. In Vedas, they say panch mahabhuyi yagna, where we should feed cattles and birds and poors first. They talk about devayagna and pitrayagna where we should serve our elders and teachers. But we left them, wanted miracles in seconds. And facing the results.

  8. Manj on January 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I am a Hindu.please go through Hindu mythology .and kannadasans Arthamulla Hindu math am.Then one will realize

  9. bjp ghazipur on January 17, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    It’s great post.Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Poonam Sharma on January 18, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Just came back from a trip to Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari etc - my frame of mind is exactly this after visiting temples. I could hardly feel devotion. Frustrating. I shouldn’t have read this, but I was going to write almost exactly this.

  11. AK on January 20, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Good post, its true that few people(godmen) have abused the fundamentals of how society in Bharatvarsh had been helping each other over the ages. However IMHO all the dakshina and all the donation we put in bhent patra is supposed to be the wages of some one who has put in effort to learn,hopefully in all cases, and help you doing your pooja or just being a caretaker of that place. It could be just maintaining the temple,just doing daily worship rituals etc. I would think that one would expect to get some thing in lieu of their service. Its true that as part of sanatan dharm going to temple is not required still for a religion to live it has to follow some rituals, though they could be part of your day to day living as suggested by sanatan dharm. To add to this even if you are following sanatan dharm and continue to want to do so you also need to protect your dharm, which in turn is your dharm(as per Bhagwad Geeta).Moreover being in brahmacharya or grihasth or vaanprasth ashrams, per sanatan dharm, you would not be able to go to Himalayas for trying to be with God,and in todays world I dont expect even people in sanyaas ashram either going to Himalayas, hence the concept of temples and then next level pilgrims and shrines. These temples etc also provides you a place within city limits where as a community you can meet and get to learn things. Again to maintain these you need money and hence dakshina etc. I am feeling sorry about the state we are in today because of some greedy and selfish people who served as priests in the past hence painting this bad picture of all the priests,temples, shrines etc. We must appreciate these places etc what ever bad people were/are associated with them but they had and will continue to, help sanatan dharm to sustain if not flourish. Vande Matram !

  12. Hi Tower on January 21, 2015 at 1:05 am

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