UNIQUENESS OF HINDU (INDIAN) CULTURE

Thoughts are waves/ each wave form part of the memories of waking state and dreams at night. Sustained memory becomes a habit. Sustained habits become Character either good or bad. Sustained good character of large number of people and their beliefs, attitudes and functioning over a long period of time becomes the culture of that society. Sanatana Dharma is the original name of Hinduism and this is based on Vedas.

Vedas are cosmic knowledge, heard by the rishis in their contemplation, as revelations. The culture of India is the culture of Sanatana Dharma that is based on Vedas. GRATITUDE: Vedas proclaim Matru Devo Bhava – Mother is God. Pitru Devo Bhava – father is God, Acharya Devo Bhava – Teacher is God and Atidhi Devo Bhava – Guest is God. All these four statements reflect GRATITUDE to contributors to our life, sustenance and learning. Reverence gratitude and admiration is the hall mark of Vedic culture. INCLUSIVITY AND ONENESS: All four Vedic Mahavakyas point to the ultimate knowledge of oneness.

Prajnanam Brahma – Awareness is God. Tatvamasi – That and me are one. Ayamatma Braham – This Atma is God, Aham Brahmasmi – I am God. It proclaims Vasudhaika Kutumbam – the world is one family. Hindu culture reflects this attitude and considers that every speck of creation is permeated by Divinity. This attitude brings in inclusivity which is another attitude of this culture. SELF REALIZATION THROUGH SELF CONFIDENCE: Hindu culture reflects this confidence that we are not an accidental isolated entity and we are part of the oneness in creation. It believes that we are one cell in the body of cosmos. Selfless action for the greater good of society is upheld as a virtue.

This brings Self satisfaction which leads to self confidence, leads to self sacrifice, and leads ultimately to self realization. KNOWLEDGE IS THE TRANSFORMER: Adwaita Darsanam Jnanam – Seeing oneness in creation is knowledge, Brahma Vid Brahmaiva Bhavathi – Knower of nature of Divinity becomes God. It puts lot of importance on knowledge. The word Veda comes from Vid, meaning knowledge. Indian culture puts lot of importance to learning. FORGIVENESS AND SACRIFICE: Vedas proclaim Thyaganaike Amrutatva Maanasu – Only through sacrifice one attains immortality. Ultimate sacrifice is the sacrifice of ego. Forgiving and forgetting is a value in this culture. HUMILITY AND MODESTY: While exuberance is a virtue in the west, humility is considered as a virtue in India. Their child raising practices reflect this. Vedas proclaim that end of education is character and sign of education is humility. DIRECT EXPERIENCE: Hinduism is not a book based, a messiah based, a prophet based religion.

It is based on direct experience. Vedas that are the basis for Hinduism itself are based on direct experience of Rishis. However it accepts this direct experience is potentially possible to all, through some effort and purifications. Hence Hindu culture does not claim exclusivity for the Truth. It believes that each religion is a different river that merges in the same Ocean of Divinity. This inclusivity is in built in this culture. RESPECT AND REVERENCE FOR ALL OF CREATION AND LIFE: Vedas proclaim Isvara sarva bootanam – God resides in all creatures. Isvara sarva bhotantaratma – God resides as indweller as Atma in each creature. Hence Hindu culture reflects this with non violence (AHIMSA) and respect for all.

Majority are vegetarians for the same reason. Non-violence and peace is the undercurrent of Hindu culture. They worship all animals, all rivers, hills, and all the 5 elements of nature. This reflects their attitude of Omnipresence of Divinity. In spite of onslaught of invasions from the Greeks, Muslims, British, French and Portuguese, India kept it’s culture intact. , India has taken good from all these cultures. This speaks to the inclusiveness of this culture. While Babylonian, Egyptian, Roman, Ottoman, Inca cultures lived, flourished and died, the Indian culture still lives. It is the only living ancient culture in the world now. The main reason is its adaptability to take good from all and its inclusivity.

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