Hindus-The Free Birds of Religious World
The Hindus enjoy unlimited Freedom
Being a bird is joyful. And being a free bird is extra joyful plus wonderful. For most, religion is a nest. They get everything, but they are caged. Freedom for them is limited and flying opportunity is denied or restricted. But not for the Hindus. In the religious world, they enjoy unlimited freedom. Needless to say, the Hindus are free birds in every aspect as far as religious freedom is concerned.
No other religious followers enjoy the freedom and fanfare as the Hindus enjoy in the world. 'Religious tolerance' is not a welcome word in the fanatics' world of religion, where 'suppression' is the favorite word. The followers of other religious sects are living under a sort of pressure due to the overall control or high-handedness by the religious heads. The Priests or Imams dictate the lifestyle of Muslims. The way of life of Christians too is to some extent observed and controlled by the priests or church authorities. A control with more or less degree of involvement by the religious leaders is what awaits the followers of almost all other faiths except Hinduism.
When the Muslims are compulsorily bound to visit Mosques on every Fridays, the Christians have to report at their Churches every Sundays for their Mass. Missing this assembly is generally considered as a 'wrong practice'. The sad point is that for some of the followers, it has turned to be a kind of 'exhibition' or show off to impress the fellow men that they are truly religious. It is clearly evident among the Muslim society. I raise this point on my own observation. Our locality has a strong presence of Hindus and Muslims. What makes me amused is that some people, mainly the shop owners and workers, go to Mosque for Friday prayers at noon to distant places. They are skipping the nearby mosques. When I asked about this to a Muslim friend, he gave me an interesting reply. "dear, it is all a trick just to show up and convince the religious people that we too are religious. When we walk a long distance, skipping the near ones, we get noticed and people realize our faith, which in turn reflects in our business well as they approach us for deals". What a finding!
The Christians are to attend Churches every Sunday morning or evening for masses. They follow the custom willingly or unwillingly. But for them, there is no 'showmanship'. The almost same level of assemblies is to be attended by people of other faiths too like the Jews, Parsis, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc.
But when we talk about a religious weekly assembly or get together, the Hindu is a different species. He is under no compulsion or obligation to attend a temple at a particular time. It is his choice. If he is interested, he can go daily, weekly or monthly or at his own choice. No one is there to take count of these issues and force him to visit temples. There is no such strict assembly the religion demands for from Hindus. Fortunately for the very reason, he doesn't carry a remorse on missing a meeting at the temples. Hinduism forces none to observe such and such practices. Every individual has his own freedom and right for what to do and what not to do. The religion plays no vital role in his private or public affairs.
A Hindu is not under threat if he doesn't follow the religion worship-fully. No one blames him. Neither one questions him nor outcasts him. He can lead his life the way he likes. He can observe the religious practice or ignore them. It is his choice and freedom. Religion never comes as a blocking factor in his daily life.
He has no strict dress code. He can wear whatever he likes. He can eat whatever he wishes though the religion chiefly favors vegetarian food. He can drink, smoke and go wherever he wishes. The religion says a strict no to these practice. But during some festivals and pilgrimage he abstains from these things. The women folks too enjoy unlimited freedom.
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Some religion even prevents a family (like husband and wife) entering into worship place together. They are allotted separate space. The women cannot stand with her spouse, leave alone the group. The same partition is there at a wedding hall and food court of certain communities. What a strange experience! No such partiality exists in Hindu temples or functions.
Unlike the other religions, Hindus need not attend religious class also. In fact, no kind of religious class is ordered by the religion. It is your choice. If you are interested, you can send your children for the study. No compulsion at all.
Truly speaking, the religious tolerance is at its best in Hinduism. The rulers in India welcomed all religions to this soil and gave the opportunity to grow and flourish well. It will be amazing to note that India with the world's largest Hindu population holds the record for the second largest Muslim population as well. Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Jews, all have a good presence in India. No ban on any religious practices is imposed in India. All have their own freedom and rights here. It is a secular country giving equal opportunities to all. The real fact is that opportunities are more for the minorities here with the implementation of reservation in educational and job fields. There are some special benefits schemes too introduced exclusively for the advantage of minorities.
Hindu religious leaders always stood to foster communal harmony. They were the supporters of universal brotherhood. "Vasudeva Kudumbam" (The whole world is a family creation of one Supreme Power) is the great concept of Hinduism. Then how can they take a negative approach towards other religions?
Still when we study history, we can see that the most suffered religion in the world is Hinduism. It has withstood the onslaught of marauders, invaders, conquerors. Other religious leaders spared no effort to convert Hindus to their religion through force, violence or with money power. The Hindus never supported conversion and whoever converted to this religion came on their own choice and interest.
One may ask if the Hindus spoil this unlimited freedom. The answer is a big no. They live peacefully and happily without disturbing the other religious people. Hindus are used to live in communal harmony for centuries as they live in a society where people from other faiths also reside thanks to their ancestors' kind hospitality. Most Hindus are god fearing and follow a decent life with good principles.
The secret of Hinduism's successful revival is its high heritage and wisdom of its intellectual leaders. It is the oldest religion in the world. Hinduism is often referred to as "The Mother of All Religions". No serious research is required why its followers get such unlimited freedom and often termed as 'free birds'. Just observe them and convince yourself.
Have you heard about the Hindu religion?
© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth