A couple of years ago when I was working in Abu Dhabi, a colleague of mine (from Pakistan) asked a question while relaxing just after completing automating a module of a 33,000 cubic meter water pumping station. Since then, that conversation has been playing in my mind whenever I think about any societal institution like Marriage, Religion, Caste or anything of such sort and exactly at about 13 and a half hours ago as of now, right at the transition from yesterday to today at 00:00hrs a new perspective struck my mind while watching one of my favourite movies, ‘The Theory of Eveything’.
I shall use the original conversation to abridge the transitioning into the perspective.
Colleague: Gautham, whom does Hindus worship as god?
Myself: Not one in particular, the scripts say that we have more than 3 crore of them (
Mukkotidevathalu (MU/Moodu - 3, Koti - Crore & Devathalu - Goddesses (Female)) + Devullu (Gods (Male))). The name that most would have heard of is ‘Lord Ram’.
Colleague: But Ram was a great king and a human being who demonstrated how to live life of principles. How can he be god? That is why I always think maybe Hinduism is not a religion but a
Myself: (Being the one claiming no belonging with any societal institution that separates or draws line between humans, I actually liked that thought/perspective. The perspective that Hinduism is not a religion but a culture captured my liking a bit because Culture is nothing but the general practices of deeds by a group of people or the Characteristic features of everyday existance or a group of said/followed ways of doing things and largely by the thought that if the thiests understand that Hinduism is not a religion then the threats to the practitioners should also significantly mitigate with this analysis in mind)
Myself: Thank You for sharing such an insight on Hinduism.
In Hinduism, there is a concept called
'Ishtadevathaaradhana' which means: Worshiping whatever/whoever one is fond of as God.
It simple means that, every individual is entitled to worship anything or anyone he/she likes as his/her god/diety and there are enough examples that affirm that the way of worship too actually has no bounds (an illeterate hunter Kannappa being successful at meeting his god and feeding him with meat is one such example).
Getting back to the concept of
'Ishtadevathaaradhana', is it possible for an individual to not follow this? even the athiests who claim to believe nothing are actually belieiving in the thought of non-existence of god as the thiests believe, aren’t they?
As Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev mentions in many of his talks (one that I like a lot), people / humans originally are seekers of truth which I understand as the ones that do not have belief or disbelief but try to analyse and figure out what something/anything is. Only when one fails to understand something they either start believing or disbelieving it. Humans with such an attitude of seeking truth are whom I see as learners/researchers/scientists and I wish to be one.
Therefore, inline with the above perspective, I see that the world actually has one religion lesser and one and only culture.