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3 Common Myths about Hinduism

There are billions of Hindu followers across the globe yet it is the most misunderstood not only among the Hindu community but also in the west. The deep and highly enlightening philosophies of Hinduism blow most people’s minds away whereas, many people are disgusted by the rituals and beliefs that are followed by the practitioners. The rituals are often disapproved of and are considered bogus activities, especially among the Youth. Many myths have been associated with the concepts of Hinduism that need to be rechecked:

All About Hinduism (Monier Moneir - Williams)

1. Hinduism is a religion

While many believe that Hinduism is a religion, history proves that it is nothing but a myth. Not once in the Vedic literature, the word “Hindu” has been used. The word originated as a designation for the people living on the other side of the Sindhu (Indus) River. Hinduism is also known as Sanatan Dharma. Over the years, religion has been either a source of faith in the Supreme controller for many, thus bringing peace and harmony in their lives or it has been a source of quarrel for many, thus causing disunity and war stress among some countries. The word “religion” however, is defined as faith or a set of beliefs. Faith can be changed under any circumstances; a person following Islam today may tomorrow switch to the principles of Christianity or Buddhism or Sikhism. Dharma, on the other hand, refers to the intrinsic or characteristic nature of an object or a person which cannot be changed or taken away whatsoever. For example, the nature of Sugar is sweetness. It is its dharma. But if a sugar cube is not sweet in taste, it will not be accepted as sugar. Sanatan Dharma teaches us the philosophy through the Vedic scriptures that there is one thing that is common in all living entities, which is to love and serve. A mother dog loves her puppies by protecting and milking them, children like to serve their parents to show their respect and affection towards them, an army man serves his country on the battlefield, etc.; the dog may be of any species or a person may be an American or an Indian but the propensity to serve the loved ones is always there. Therefore, a service attitude is the universal dharma of all which is meant to be a common concept for all concerned.

Sanatan Dharma - Vaidik Gateway to the Next Century

Hinduism at its core follows the principles of Sanatan Dharma which state that all living entities are but parts and parcels of one Supreme God. We are not the physical body. We are spirit souls and our dharma is to love and serve God. We can only remain happy when we establish a relationship with the Supreme Lord by engaging in His devotional service. It instructs us on how to elevate our consciousness to achieve the love of Godhead, come out of the cycle of repeated births and deaths, and go back to Him in His eternal abode. Hinduism is not a religion but a way of leading a successful and blissful life. It is Sanatan, which means “eternal” or that which has no starting and no end. It is the thread that unites all living entities in the world.

2. Hinduism supports a discriminative caste system

Another myth that unfortunately even Hindus believe in about Hinduism is that it is fanaticism and promotes the caste system which brings social issues in society. The Vedic scriptures indeed classify humans into four social orders of life namely Brahmana (intellectual class), Kshatriya (administrative class), Vaishya (mercantile class), and Shudra (laborer class). This is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita 4.13:

 catur-varnyam maya srstam


tasya kartaram api mam

viddhy akartaram avyayam

“According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.” 

Here, Lord Sri Krishna says that He has created human society with four natural social classes, or Varnas. However, these classes or divisions are recognized not according to the family in which people are born, but according to their Guna and Karma (qualifications and activities) so there is no question of discrimination. We see some people are inclined to become businessmen, while some people like to work under an executive. Some people are high-spirited and like administrational work, while some people search for the Absolute Truth. These occupational divisions are present not just in India, but throughout the world.

24" Brass Lord Krishna Playing Flute

Ancient India was always a prosperous country, having a rich culture and tradition. There was no sign of unemployment. Everyone was engaged in their Sva-dharma (occupational duty). The Brahmanas would be truly learned in all the Vedas and taught to other classes. The Kshatriyas ruled the kingdom and took care of all the necessities of Brahmanas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. The Vaishya community was engaged in agriculture and cow protection and the Shudras helped all the other communities in executing their prescribed duties. In this way, all the classes of men lived peacefully and helped each other progress in their lives. No one looked down upon anyone because each Varna was dependent on the other Varnas.

The British invaders had a poor fund of knowledge about the Vedas. They brainwashed the Indians into believing that this caste system is discriminatory and against the ethics of humanity. Unfortunately, they were convinced, and since then, this system has been degraded into a wrong notion that it brings discrimination among people, which is only abstract.

3. The Vedic Scriptures are illogical and unscientific

Influenced by the western culture and attracted by the external features of this world, people in this age, doubt and condemn the Vedic philosophy as being irrelevant. The historical epics such as Ramayan and Mahabharat are considered “mythology”. Modern civilization derides Vedic Scriptures and does not find any logical piece of information in them. The common understanding of advancement in today’s context is to advance in material science and technology, economic development, comfortable lifestyle, military equipment, and facilities to live a luxurious life. India looks up to countries such as America, Russia, Japan, UAE, etc, in terms of progress and growth. We think that the standard of happiness and satisfaction is material opulence. But the truth is that people in developed countries have only managed to bring more problems into their lives. They are suffering from mental health issues, suicidal tendencies, relationship issues, and much more. The Vedic scriptures, therefore, enlighten us and advise us that the real problems of life are birth, old age, disease, and death. We can never achieve real happiness by fixing temporary problems. The key is “simple living and high thinking”.

The word “Veda” means complete knowledge (both material and spiritual). The Vedas (Upanishads and Puranas) were compiled not by a common man, but by Srila Vyasadev, who is the Literary Incarnation of Lord Krishna Himself. They include moral codes for human behavior, guides for elevating one’s consciousness to the highest perfection of life, secrets of this material world, clear information about what and who God is, and knowledge about the ultimate goal of life.

Bhagavata Purana (Set of 2 Volumes)

Bhagavat Purana, also known as Srimad Bhagavatam, mentions in detail, how the universe was created and who created it. It also makes predictions about the people of Kaliyuga which seem to be true:

tataś cānu-dinaṁ dharmaḥ

satyaṁ śaucaṁ kṣamā dayā

kālena balinā rājan

naṅkṣyaty āyur balaṁ smṛtiḥ

“Then, O King, religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the Age of Kali.”

The Garuda Purana in Two Volumes

Garuda Purana describes the journey of the departed soul; how it travels to its destined destination. Ayurveda deals with the “Science of life” and enables us to create a balance between our body and mind; to bring the mind into the mode of goodness. Bhagavad Gita is considered the essence of all Vedic literature. It was spoken by Lord Krishna to His friend Arjuna who was perplexed on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. We are also struggling hard on the battlefield of life. Lord Krishna instructed Arjuna on the science to control his mind; the mind is the cause of liberation and the mind is the cause of bondage as well. We need the guidance of the Lord’s transcendental teachings that will open the way for us to transcend material bondage and experience unending bliss. Vedic knowledge, therefore, teaches us the science of self-realization. 

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