Why did I become a Hindu?
Why did I become a Hindu? Well, I can´t answer you this question with only one answer. I was born in a Catholic family and studied many religions and believes and even made part of some different belief systems before I became a Hindu. While I was getting familiar with all those different creeds, I realized empiricism ( that which you can know by verifying by yourself if it's true or not and not count only on faith) was very important at least for me, to have a more profound trust in religion or a spiritual system. Before I got into Hinduism, I had some experiences with Judaism when younger, but later on, when I was mature spirituality, I became interested in a dharmic religion: Buddhism. To be more specific, in Theravada Buddhism which is predominant in Southeast Asia like Thailand, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The most important teachings I have learned was about meditation and how the mind works. I went to Thailand and spent some weeks in a monastery, and after that, my meditation significantly improved.
After some years I started reading about Hinduism, but since I was a teenager, I enjoyed reading about Eastern culture, including Indian. This theme always attracted me. I realized Buddhism was a part of Sanatana Dharma and Hinduism would provide me the "whole picture." After watching some videos of a guru called Rohit Arya, I understood the importance of making part of a "parampara" or spiritual lineage. I always felt a connection to Sri Ramakrishna, so I decided to be part of his "parampara." I started frequenting the temple in my city, and after some time I´ve got the "mantra Diksha." Now I will tell about the main reasons why I became, and still, I´m a Hindu: The faith in Hinduism but more specifically in Yoga,( all kinds of Yoga like Bakhti, Jnana, etc.) is something which is based on practicality or empiricism. And not in the “blind faith” of the “Abrahamic” religions. After the first months of “sadhana," I felt already a big difference, the presence of shakti acting in my life. This is not common. I believe it was possible mainly because of my past practice of Buddhist meditation during some years and also the meditation method that Ramana Maharshi taught and also Nisidargatta Maharaj. Those two gurus are my favorite gurus of the 20th Century. Another reason for this choice is my belief that Hinduism is the spiritual path which is closest to a primordial traditional that was lost a long time ago. Hinduism is also a nondogmatic religion, the opposite of what “Abrahmanic” religions are.
All this reason I presented for me, are strong reasons to adopt Sanatana dharma as my path of life and in my opinion, Hindus who consider themselves secular should “wake up” and discover the real “treasures” that exists in Sanatana Dharma.
In this video, David Frawley who coined the expression "Intelectual Kshatrya" brilliantly explains the meaning of it:
Ramanuja Acharya, Edmund Husserl and a critic of the modern philosophy
Ramanuja Acharya (1017-1137) was the most significant teacher on the concept of "Visista Advaita" or "qualified monism." In this school of Vedanta, he teaches that everything is Brahma although there are distinct existences between everything existing and God. Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) was a German philosopher, mathematician, and the creator of a philosophical school called Phenomenology which until now, is not fully understood by the mainstream currents of psychology and neuroscience in our present time. Ramanuja was one of the most important acharyas in the last a thousand years and obviously, an extremely spiritual person, born in Tamil Nadu. Edmund Husserl despite being a materialistic ( even though he was born in a Jewish family and converted to Protestantism as an adult) had a very similar approach to Ramanuja's point of view about our cognition about the reality. In the book "The theology of Ramanuja," the author C.J Bartley states Ramanuja disagree with a grammarian of Sanskrit called Barthrihari who lived in the 5th Century C.E concerning the nature of the written language. Ramanuja believed there is a separation between language and our cognition while Barthrihari believed language and consciousness were inseparable. The Tamilian scholar also taught that the real meaning of the language was in words and Barthrihari stated that sentences (a group of words) were the representations of reality in the language. Edmund Husserl agreed with Ramanuja both about the distinction between the language and our cognition and about the function of the words in the language. (Although the last one, in an indirect way) For this German philosopher, in the human psyche, each word represented the essence of that thing which the word was representing although there is a separation between them. For Husserl, the relation between the object thought, and the act of "thinking" was called "intentionality," and for him, the essence of logic was in the "world of essences" which was beyond the human psyche and language. This idea is very similar to the opinion of Ramanuja concerning language and cognition of the reality. How is it possible that two persons that lived in an 800 years span gap in entirely different cultures and a completely different social environment had same ideas in such peculiar points concerning reality?
The German philosopher also was a voracious critic of the modern philosophy and modern science that started arising after the 17th Century and reached a "materialistic peak" at the beginning of the 20th Century. The modern philosophy which was born in the last 300 years also gave birth to the modern science. To the German philosopher, science today is stuck in a very abstract and materialist point of view, and because of that, it can´t develop any further if the Western thought continues in this pattern. As everybody knows, modern philosophy greatly limits the spiritual development of the society nowadays especially because of the separation which it imposes between the mind, an internal reality and an external. However, even in the modern science, some theories raised which contradicted this separation which started with the French philosopher Descartes in the 17thCentury. The Nobel prize winner Wolfgang Pauli, a great quantum physics scientist, in an exchange of letters with the psychologist Carl Jung, suggested mind and matter were the "same sides of the same coin." Another great quantum physics scientist, David Bohm, (whom Einstein stated he understood quantum physics thanks to Dr. Bohm) created a theory called "Implicate order." This theory states that fundamental forces control the universe, forces which permeate the whole space, the last one is not empty according to do Dr. Bohm, but is filled with an invisible "sea of cosmic energy" that is constantly acting upon the visible world. Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist, created a very similar theory which he called "morphogenetic field." All these scientific hypotheses corroborate with the theory created by Husserl and why not, also support the point of view of Ramanuja Acharya about reality.
If we consider those scientific hypotheses, the theory of Husserl and the "Visista Advaita" or "Qualified monism" then we can answer that question which closed the first paragraph of this essay. Some invisible "forces" control everything that happens in our perceivable dimension, and by understanding this, we see that it is not strange that two persons living in an 800 years time gap, in completely different circumstances, come to the same conclusion about such a complex theme. However, the mainstream science that was born in modern philosophy has a very arrogance approach towards these ideas. Despite this skeptical challenge, the tendency is through future, in decades, scientists are going to accept better these new current of thoughts. The reason for this is because the Cartesian thought that dominates science is almost hitting a "dead end," mainly because of the new challenges quantum physics brought. And when this happens, society for sure will be more open to Sanatana Dharma.
The role of Hanuman and Narasimha nowadays: A call for us, Hindus to wake up!
We see images of Hanuman everywhere in India nowadays. This deity was one the greatest warrior of all times, and he is the main hero in Mahabharata, despite the massive importance of avatar Rama of course.The Hindus living in India know the reason behind it: the unfair way which Hindus in the country has been treated in the last decades since independence. Finally, people are reacting to it. Hanuman is considered to be the avatar of Shiva and among the Vaishnavas, the avatar of Vishnu which embodies better this “Kshatrya trait ” is Narasimha, the “lion-man” who came to the earth to restore the dharma and fight evil.Indian Hindus also should remember this last one try to grasp the deepest meaning of his coming to this planet. We are living a time in history which the main qualities of a “Kshatriya” as courage, witness and strength are essential for us, Hindus to protect Sanatana dharma against “asuric” forces. The religious Hindus (not “secular Hindus”) in India know what I am saying here.
However, the quality “strength.” in this case we are living nowadays is the mental strength, an intellectual fierceness which the fathers of Indian independence like Sri Aurobindo and Bal Gangadhar Tilak had to struggle not only for the independence of the country. They knew that India´s independence was only the beginning, especially Sri Aurobindo because he predicted India´s future as the “Jagadguru” of the world. Unfortunately, many Hindu Indians are not aware of that, and they must “wake up” as soon as possible, not only for the good of India but for well being of the world. That´s because Sanatana Dharma which goes beyond the Hindu religion, it is the way which connects us to the cosmos and brings a balance to our existence. And this balance is what is going to save us from destruction as I mentioned in one of my previous essays on this website.
I feel that Hanuman is helping me with my mission as he is also assisting many people who are struggling to defend Sanatana dharma in this critical time we are living. One of his roles is to overlook the evolution of humankind.And he also gives strength and intelligence to people who sincerely defend Sanatana Dharma as he defended so heroically serving so wholeheartedly his dear Rama. About the avatar of Vishnu Narasimha, I believe is interesting to remind that lion is also considered a sacred animal in other mythologies besides the Hindu. The fierceness which he ripped open the belly of that powerful demon is the spirit in which we should engage in our struggle to defend Sanatana Dharma in all ways possible, and each one of these ways fits for each person. I especially invite people who want to protect this sacred path in an intellectual perspective to join this cause which I am bringing on.
The role of India and Hinduism in the 21st Century
The great Swami Vivekananda in the 19th Century was the first world-famous personality to emphasize the need for Indians raise their self-esteem, unite among themselves and raise the nation. Later on, Sri Aurobindo mentioned about the important role that India would have in the future. Among specialists in geopolitics like Nicholas Spykman, (1893-1943) mentioned the importance of India because of her especial geographical position and the great potential the country has because of it. Some financial institutions are predicting India will be the third world economy by 2050, behind only to U.S.A and China.
However, the real strength of the country is not economical or geopolitical although those are important aspects for the projection of Bharat in the world. The real source of power to India its spirituality, or to be more specific, Sanatana Dharma. At the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th Century, when the movement for independence was starting to gain momentum, the people responsible for that like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal understood the importance of the role of Hinduism in this political initiative. The reason for this is because they knew Sanatana Dharma was the vital force that keeps this nation alive, even when is subjugated by some foreign power like the British Empire at that time. However, when we talk specifically about the 21st Century, the main point is this one: The fusion between men and machine or the blend between the human consciousness and artificial intelligence that some are predicting will happen around 2045. This future happening is going to bring a huge shift in the way we perceive the meaning of what being human is. We are living in a nihilistic and materialistic society where true spirituality is scarce, and this is uprooting the global human consciousness from its true source, the spiritual source. To prove this statement,even materialistic historians when talking about the pre-history and the rise of a unique cognitive consciousness (which animals don’t have) in the mind of the “Homo sapiens”,agree on the religious rituals which they started to perform during the burials was one of the most meaningful signs of the rise of this new human conscious.
Sanatana Dharma is the only real and true spirituality which bought an order on how human must live to have a harmonious life for many thousands of years.It goes beyond: This holy path teaches us how to attain liberation or “moksha” step by step in a way which is not dogmatic.We can realize annalizing all that we mentioned here, the crucial role of Hinduism not only for India but the future of humankind because if we lose our sense of humanity, the only fate for us is going to be destruction.
In this video on Youtube I explain this subject :
The necessity of Purva Paksha in our times
Rajiv Malhotra in his book called “Being different” presents to us the dharmic concept of “Purva Paksha” which is a method of counter-argument used in the past by the ancient Indian philosophers, including the great Adi Sankara Acharya in his famous debates. “Purva Paksha” consists basically of adapting one´s view of his opponent´s perspective, trying to have the same view of the last studying very methodically his way of thinking.By knowing well how the adversary thinks it is possible to point the failures at his thought and then correct it.
Before the Islamic invasions, this counter-argumentative method was very used among others philosophical methods from different schools of thought. The Indian philosophy was very much alive. However, unfortunately, the destruction of the main universities in this field like the Nalanda University ceased this brilliant intellectual period in Indian History. During the British colonial era and especially, after the independence in 1947, most of the Hindu intellectual Indians took a very submissive approach towards Western thought, even when many times the academia influenced by this dominant paradigm constantly attacked the Sanatana Dharma and the followers.(And still does) The modern science and some new social approaches, all surging in the West in the last four hundred years which are almost “worshipped” by many Indians, have some deep problems structural problems. These issues we will approach in future essays in this site. Many Chinese intellectuals connected to the government of that country have a deep knowledge of the Western way of thinking, and for sure their intentions are pretty similar to what we call “Purva Paksha” relating to the West, their “Sun Tzu” have very similar strategies…
I believe Hindus urgently should go back to the tradition of “Purva Paksha” and learn about the most vital points in Western philosophy and Western ideas on social organizations. Shortly,I am planning to deliver a course on Western philosophy focusing more on modern philosophy because most of those academics and journalists who attack Sanatana Dharma get their main ideas from the modern Western philosophy.It´s time for us to wake up!
In this video, Rajiv Malhotra explains the concept of Purva Paksha :