Hinduism is the oldest religion of the world and there is a reason why it has passed the test of time over and over again. The beauty of this religion, and the fact that it is alive after thousands of years of its inception, is that it is flexible enough to accommodate the needs and abilities of those who follow it. Although, it has changed over the centuries, the essentials of Hinduism remain intact.
In today’s world, when modern technologies like internet and communication has erased the boundaries between countries and cultures, being a practicing Hindu may sound a daunting task. But little do people know, that the flexibility of Hinduism is its main feature and it is ready to be embraced in the 21st Century as well. Let’s explore some easy ways which will help you practice the Hindu life more efficiently:
1. Reverence: Reverence is one of the cornerstones of Hinduism. It is respect for the ancient scriptures, the divinity and everything that exists in this world. This is a concept that is ingrained in the people of India and also a concept which is hard to understand for others (especially westerners).
How you can add it to your life: Since, Hinduism is all about your lifestyle, many things become easy. As a modern Hindu, show respect to others. Yes, it is that simple. Be it the woman who sweeps the streets or the man who sells guavas on the road, show them that they are respected, not because they have something worth respecting for but because you have a humble Hindu belief residing in your heart.
2. Non Violence: It is an irony that I am writing about the most basic Hindu belief when I know that every day hundreds of Hindus are committing some kind of violence. A heart that is not compassionate cannot truly be happy. Perhaps this is the reason why, nonviolence is placed at such an important place in this religion. There is a story about a man who, while walking, watches his steps closely, taking care not to kill even an ant. This story signifies the compassion of a pure heart.
How to incorporate the value of compassion in your heart: Since all of life is to be loved and revered, try to create harmony between yourself and others. Be kind to people, animals as well as plants. Become a vegetarian to strengthen your belief in this religion. Being a vegetarian has many good effects on your body like a longer and a healthier life as compared to a non vegetarian.
3. Yoga: The word Yoga comes from the word ‘Yuj’ from Sanskrit. The word denotes the actionof joining together. In yoga the body and the soul are joined together as one. So, it is not just a physical practice but a spiritual one as well.
How to add Yoga to your life: By practicing! Instead of running on atreadmill, try a few asanas in the open air and feel the difference. Yoga not only burns fat but cleanses the body of toxins. Each asana is dedicated to an external as well as internal organ and this way, many problems are solved just by committing to this ancient practice.
4. Karma: The law of Karma is perhaps one of the most fundamental parts of Hinduism. In the present times, this law of cause and effect is accepted the world over. ‘Karma’ means deed. These deeds are usually moral in nature. Good deeds lead to good effects while bad ones. similarly, lead to bad results. In other words, it is close to ‘what you sow is what you reap’. In Hinduism, the good or bad fortune from these deeds is transferred to another lives and so, no one can escape the effect of what he has done. The only way to bring a good fortune is to be morally right and do good.
How to incorporate Karma in your life: In this modern world where science is determined to test every belief, the theory of reincarnation has no one to provide a solid proof. This, however, does not mean that one should not do good. As a modern Hindu, do good for happiness’ sake. A smile from a child, a ‘thank you’ from an old woman and the happiness on your mother’s face, when you help her in the kitchen, are rewards in themselves and should be called the ‘good Karma.’
5. Dharma: Dharma stands on the same place in Hinduism as Karma does. Dharma refers to the righteous living. It is doing the right thing and standing for rightness all the time. Dharma is also the fulfilling of one’s duty and responsibilities faithfully.
Dharma in the modern life: At no point in the history of India was Dharma required as much as it is now. To perform one’s duty faithfully, to stand by the right thing, to speak against injustice, to act responsibly in every situation and always do the right thing is what Dharma asks. These qualities, which were prescribes thousands of years ago are important even today and worth striving for.
There is a famous quote that, ‘Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life’, and a modern day Hindu can adopt this way easily into his life. Being perhaps the most flexible and accommodating religion in the world, Hinduism asks its practitioners nothing more than to live a life which resonates with the highest human qualities. These qualities are the backbone of Hinduism and with faith and common sense, being a modern practicing Hindu is an easy task.