Hinduism (a way of live?)
Dear Prof Hebbar,
This is an excellent piece. Thank you so much for bringing this important message to our attention. I have also added item#12 as rightly suggested by Vijay Kumar.
I hear this a lot from so many people that, well, Huinduism is a way of life (and not a religion).
I wish your message gets a wide publicity. I’ll be mailing out to all my email lists.
Would you kindly also permit me to include this in the Hindu Dharma Summit Souvenir.
If you or Vijay Kumar want to elaborate on each of the concepts for the paper, I can
include an expanded article in the souvenir.
Ved P. Chaudhary, Ph.D.
Hindu Collective Initiative (HCI) – North America
PO Box 291 Englishtown, NJ 07726
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: B. N. Hebbar <bnhebbar@gwu. edu>
Date: Jul 18, 2007 9:00 PM
Subject: [eshi] Hinduism [a way of life?]
To: “B. N. Hebbar” <bnhebbar@gwu. edu>
The Pitfalls of calling Hinduism a “way of life” only
It became hip and fashionable among some Hindus a few decades ago to say that Hinduism is a way of life and not a religion. And this has been parroted by many without thinking, ever since. Unfortunately, religions that do not wish the Hindus well have used this to its detriment by saying “So, Hinduism is a way of life. This means you Hindus don’t have a religion. Your religion then can be our religion. Why don’t you adopt ours. You may keep your way of life.”
It is thus important to insist that Hinduism is a religion, philosophy and way of life, all rolled into one. These three are not mutually exclusive categories. A tradition can be all three at once as it is in the case of Taoism [Dao-de jiao as the Chinese call it] in China and Shintoism [Kami-no-michi as the Japanese call it] in Japan. Usually, nationally based religions tend to be all three at once than missionary religions.
Why are some Hindus hesitant to call Hinduism as a religion when it has all the elements that characterize a religion? Let’s check each of these.
1. Scriptures: Hinduism has them.
2. Doctrines: Hinduism has them.
3. Sacred Space: sanctified places of worship and pilgrimage. Hinduism has them.
4. Sacred Time: feasts and fasts. Hinduism has them.
5. Sacred Persons: priests and monastics. Hinduism has them.
6. Rituals: Hinduism has them.
7. Sacraments: sanctification of the important stages of life. Hinduism has them.
8. Mysticism: Hinduism has it.
9. Code of Ethics: Hinduism has it.
10. Contemplative practices: Hinduism has them.
11. Humanism: Hinduism has it.
12. Notions of Salvation. Hinduism has them.
The cultural part makes Hinduism more than a religion. It is here that it is also a way of life. One need not exclude the other. Hindus should [as the Taoists and Shintoists have] celebrate their faith as all three [religion, philosophy and way of life] rolled into one.