Hinduism invites you to be free.


I am a Hindu. I have the advantage of being the part of a religion that very intimately knows and recognizes the ultimate truth but does not deny the game of illusion that plays itself as the world. It has a holistic view of life and its surroundings and considers human beings to be an essential part of a living universe. It recognizes diversity as it finds both an unchanging and immortal substratum and an infinitely diverse play of forms in both visible and invisible spectrum.

Hinduism judges other religions in terms of their appreciation of the ultimate truth. If the religion points to it then it really does not matter for the Hindus about the path it takes. Religions emerge from cultures living in diverse conditions in a world varied in history and geography. A wheel has a cog and several spokes connecting to it. This enables the wheel to roll. The same is the structure of the religious kaleidoscope. The truth lies at the center and the spokes are the paths. Life is the wheel that rolls.

One must follow the religion of one’s ancestors as it has culminated out of cumulative life’s experiences and learning of that particular culture. Respect of other religions enables one to judge one’s own better. It also provides scope for learning and intensifies ones feelings by contemplating on lives of sincere seekers of various faiths. It provides a great thrill in the knowledge that though paths are different but the goal is the same.

The greatest advantage of Hinduism is that it is nature centric and is an intense study of universal laws. It finds the same reflected in each individual when it probes within. Therefore it advocates a path called Dharma in obedience to such laws and thus ensures harmony at both individual and collective levels.

It transcends that when it peeps into the invisible and provides a view into a spiritual world. Delve into the work of spiritists of the West and you find confirmation about that world. We are spirits in a physical form and work best when the body functions so well that it is not felt. This is the prime reason why the body mind complex must be kept fit and in its peak. Then we truly become the spirit we are and recognize our role in this world; a caretaker of a beautiful creation. Our ancestors were compassionate towards all living forms. Study ancient texts on agriculture and you will observe how it advocates for the needs of all; from microorganisms and ants to birds, cattle and other life forms. A perfectly functioning body and mind has very few physical needs and can also tap the air and sunlight for sustenance.

People of other faiths study Hinduism to fill in gaps of their understanding of the whole. The truth is Hinduism (a term coined by foreigners) is the living remnant of a widespread religious thought that permeated continents. It was called Sanatan Dharma. It came naturally to people who lived amidst nature and were an intrinsic part of it. It was nature communicating with us and revealing its secrets. The spirits are the communication agents. They have worlds just like ours. The physical world is an intermediary that spirits have to pass through to graduate to higher worlds.

We come repeatedly into this world of joy and suffering as humans and lower life forms before we mature for longer terms in the spirit world and then at the end of the journey we merge into and become the all knowing forever present intensely blissful substratum; an end product that is only possible while in the physical form. Hinduism teaches us about this underlying truth and balances all the worlds to make the physical journey as comfortable as possible. It also prevents slips into lower domains when we forget the goal and lose ourselves in the traps of the world.

I love Hinduism for the holistic view it provides, the path that leads from ignorance to bliss, its concern for both the phenomenal world and the reality underneath, for both the individual and the society, its ability to counter the terrors of a physical existence, and its ability to tear through the veil that provides an opportunity to instantly achieve the ultimate goal.

It provides the easiest path when it advocates the following logic;

The reality is unconcerned, the physical body is inert. Something lies in between the two that causes the phenomenal illusory world to surface. It is identified as the ego that falls a prey to the illusion through a force called Maya. The ego is also an illusion somehow gripping the reality and is a cause for misery when it suffers from lust, anger, greed, attachment, and self aggrandizement.

How do we get rid of the ego? Simply by inquiring into its nature! Imagine a marriage party. There are the guests from the bride and the groom’s side. They belong to one group and do not necessarily know members of the other. They are invited to partake in the feast. The ego is the thief who sneaks in and succeeds because both the brides and grooms side feel that he belongs to the other group. But then they become suspicious and start inquiring. Who is he and where does he come from? When the thief senses an inquiry is on he becomes uneasy and disappears!

How can that inquiry begin? Simply by repeating the mantra: Who am I? Alternately one can also repeat I AM..I AM.. Or one can contemplate and repeat any one of the four Brahma Vakyas or Mahavakyas of the Upanishads;

1. Prajnanam Brahma (प्रज्ञानम् ब्रह्म) (Everything is Brahman)
2. Aham Brahma Asmi (अहम् ब्रह्म अस्मि) (I am Brahman)
3. Tat Tvam Asi (तत् त्वम् असि) (Thou art Brahman)
4. Ayam Atma Brahma (अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म) (This Self is Brahman)

When the ego disappears one is freed from the cycle of births and deaths and becomes the reality. Easy is it not? So what keeps us away? Once again it is our own desires as we have identified ourselves with the body mind complex thanks to the ego. We only need to drop that identification and we are free. Easy and yet so difficult! As Swami Vivekananda says; Thine are the hands that drag thee on, drop them Sannyasi bold, say Om Tat Sat Om. Contemplate on this excellent song composed by the Swami.


(Composed at the Thousand Island Park, New York, in July, 1895.)
Wake up the note! the song that had its birth
Far off, where worldly taint could never reach,
In mountain caves and glades of forest deep,
Whose calm no sigh for lust or wealth or fame
Could ever dare to break; where rolled the stream
Of knowledge, truth, and bliss that follows both.
Sing high that note, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                            "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Strike off thy fetters! Bonds that bind thee down,
Of shining gold, or darker, baser ore;
Love, hate — good, bad — and all the dual throng,
Know, slave is slave, caressed or whipped, not free;
For fetters, though of gold, are not less strong to bind;
Then off with them, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                            "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Let darkness go; the will-o'-the-wisp that leads
With blinking light to pile more gloom on gloom.
This thirst for life, for ever quench; it drags
From birth to death, and death to birth, the soul.
He conquers all who conquers self. Know this
And never yield, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                            "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
"Who sows must reap," they say, "and cause must bring
The sure effect; good, good; bad, bad; and none
Escape the law. But whoso wears a form
Must wear the chain." Too true; but far beyond
Both name and form is Âtman, ever free.
Know thou art That, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                             "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
They know not truth who dream such vacant dreams
As father, mother, children, wife, and friend.
The sexless Self! whose father He? whose child?
Whose friend, whose foe is He who is but One?
The Self is all in all, none else exists;
And thou art That, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                              "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
There is but One — The Free — The Knower — Self!
Without a name, without a form or stain.
In Him is Mâyâ dreaming all this dream.
The witness, He appears as nature, soul.
Know thou art That, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                             "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Where seekest thou? That freedom, friend, this world
Nor that can give. In books and temples vain
Thy search. Thine only is the hand that holds
The rope that drags thee on. Then cease lament,
Let go thy hold, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                            "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Say, "Peace to all: From me no danger be
To aught that lives. In those that dwell on high,
In those that lowly creep, I am the Self in all!
All life both here and there, do I renounce,
All heavens and earths and hells, all hopes and fears."
Thus cut thy bonds, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                            "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Heed then no more how body lives or goes,
Its task is done. Let Karma float it down;
Let one put garlands on, another kick
This frame; say naught. No praise or blame can be
Where praiser praised, and blamer blamed are one.
Thus be thou calm, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                           "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Truth never comes where lust and fame and greed
Of gain reside. No man who thinks of woman
As his wife can ever perfect be;
Nor he who owns the least of things, nor he
Whom anger chains, can ever pass thro' Maya's gates.
So, give these up, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                           "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Have thou no home. What home can hold thee, friend?
The sky thy roof, the grass thy bed; and food
What chance may bring, well cooked or ill, judge not.
No food or drink can taint that noble Self
Which knows Itself. Like rolling river free
Thou ever be, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                           "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Few only know the truth. The rest will hate
And laugh at thee, great one; but pay no heed.
Go thou, the free, from place to place, and help
Them out of darkness, Maya's veil. Without
The fear of pain or search for pleasure, go
Beyond them both, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                            "Om Tat Sat, Om!"
Thus, day by day, till Karma's powers spent
Release the soul for ever. No more is birth,
Nor I, nor thou, nor God, nor man. The "I"
Has All become, the All is "I" and Bliss.
Know thou art That, Sannyâsin bold! Say —
                                           "Om Tat Sat, Om!"