Short answers to four questions on quora

What are the draw-backs of Hinduism apart from idol-worship?

Why do you write “apart from idol worship”? Too much Christian brainwashing that idols are just stone? Hindus consider the whole universe alive, as ultimately Brahman. Nothing wrong in taking the help of a ‘form’, a murthi, to feel closer to the Divine by worshipping it.

Coming to the original question: there are no drawbacks in Hindu Dharma, since it is a genuine, outer and inner enquiry into what is true about us and the universe and helpful for a fulfilling life.  The truth is non-negotiable, but rules for society are flexible. In the last chapter of Manu Smriti for example, it is mentioned that the rules can be changed by a group of either three or even one knowledgeable Brahmins according to the times. (Manu Smriti XII. 112/113)

However, since in the last 2000 years dogmatic religions appeared on the scene which make unsubstantiated claims about ‘truth’, and are highly aggressive in trying to get the whole world believe what they claim as truth, Hinduism proved to be too generous and good natured. It did not suspect that people could cheat others in the name of truth. Its tenet “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names” is applicable only to ‘well meaning’ claims about truth, not incredible dogmas which are pushed by hook or crook meant to dull the intellect and gain worldly power.

Unfortunately, British education weaned Indians away from knowing what their tradition is, by not letting them know their Sanskrit scriptures. So drawbacks are with Indians: first, many Indians wrongly believe that Hinduism is ‘inferior” due to the British brainwashing and second, even if they realize that it is not so, they find it hard to explain the advantages of Hinduism, as they know too little, and slip away into western lifestyle (which obviously is a failed model) or many even to western religions which tend to produce hypocrites.

By Maria Wirth

Is it ok for a Hindu to eat beef?

I assume you are a Hindu. In that case, do you really have to ask this question here on quora? Can’t you ask your conscience? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a cow (or goat, or chicken)?

We westerners were indoctrinated by Christian tenets (and Muslims by Islamic tenets) that nature including animals is there to serve man who is considered ‘the crown of creation”. The result is a brutal yet unnecessary bloodbath all over the world of billions animals slaughtered daily (alone in US some 90,000 cows daily), often skinned while still alive. It is considered “normal”.

Do we have the moral right to do this? Hindu Dharma requires using one’s intelligence. It is not a fixed belief system, like Christianity and Islam.
Your ancestors discovered that a cow particularly is like a mother, gentle and giving, everything the cow gives is useful, including its urine and dung. Who would kill her? Who would kill any animal unless necessary for whatever reasons?

Humanity would be more human and ecology would also benefit greatly if this massive brutal slaughter were at least reduced if not fully stopped.

please see also https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/amnesia-of-animal-eaters/

By Maria Wirth

Why do Hindus respect Muslims and Muslims don’t?

It is not so much the question of Hindus respecting Muslims and Muslims not respecting Hindus. On the human level, there are Hindus who respect some Muslims and others not, and Muslims respect some Hindus and others not, depending on their character.

The question is rather: why do Hindus say “we respect Islam (and Christianity)” and Muslims (and Christians) do not say “we respect Hinduism.

The reason why Muslims don’t say it is clear. Islam claims to be the only true religions. “Idol worship” (and Hinduism is wrongly considered as idol worship) is especially offensive to their God. So naturally Muslim cannot respect Hinduism. In fact, they even have to fight Hindus:

“Oh believers fight them until there is no more mischief and the Deen of Allah (way of life prescribed by Allah) is established completely” (Quran 8.39)

The “One Truth” of Hinduism (= the Divine Essence is present everywhere) on the other hand expressed itself always in many different streams and they lived side by side peacefully. So not knowing much about dogmatic religions, many Hindus respect them, because these also worship the Divine. However, they don’t know that these religions require blind belief and condemnation of “others”, especially Hindus, into eternal hell.

So naturally, it is rather foolish to respect that which wants to wipe out what you hold dear. (Christians also have the “duty” to convert the whole world to Christianity, because they also consider their religions as “only true”).
It’s easy to see why there is so much chaos in the world…

By Maria Wirth

How does it feel for a westerner to convert to Hinduism? I recently converted (though my guru would laugh at this word) to Hinduism. Life feels much simpler now. Would love to know about others’ experiences.

It feels great to have escaped the narrow-mindedness of incredible dogmas.

I understand that your guru would laugh at “convert”, because it is rather becoming free from conversion – having been forced as a child to turn to some artifical, blind belief.
It feels like coming back to the natural state of a human being, free to enquire into what is true about us and the universe.

Here i described my experience. “essentially” means, i didn’t take any official step to “become” a Hindu, i simply feel at home in the Hindu tradition and am grateful to it.

https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/how-i-essentially-became-a-hindu/

by Maria Wirth

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36 comments

  1. Ms. Wirth is a worthy thinker.
    Thanks
    Raviji

  2. good explanations.

  3. IDOL WORSHIP

    I am a Hindu if IIndenture extraction, ancestors were shipped 1845-1917.
    A amongst other forms of expression, puja is a central system. Several deities made of various material are used for worship. At the end then vedi-altar is a clutter of flowers,MERUTS, grasses, grains, gobar, etc; all simply and everyday things of the earth are offered along with mantras, bhakti and surrender.

    Interesting all the offerings, now find themselves on the same altar, juggling spoor space with the deity, what a magnificent awl to celebrate the simple gigs of the universe, what a poetic way t,or elevate everything so simple and underline that everything has an elevated worth.

    The vedi- altar becomes a sort of surrogate universe and allows me the limited human an elevated view to behold the diversity and the oneness of the universe, thanks to this wonderful system. It seems to give me, the ordinary human person, an opportunity which the elevate saints receive in their deep spirituality.

    I feel empowered and humbled at the same time.

    I thank our ancestors for puja-this great system for ordinary folks. Is that spiritual democracy?
    Raviji

  4. V Chelvapilla · · Reply

    Excellent replies by Maria Wirth . There are four questions and four answers. First two are usual stupid questions about idolatry and beef, next two are definitely more bright .

    While we do not know the religion of questioners, it is more or less certain they are of India’s origin, If so then it reveals , at least in first two instances, their utter misfortune of being born in a land or coming from that land, of Rsis who gave us enormous wealth in the form of rich sacred and mundane literature from atoms to avatars, connecting both of them , yet our educated illiterates remain oblivious to even basics of exalted heritage .

    Once India was world’s teacher in arts, sciences ,philosophy and religion. With little bit effort the role played by India in this regard could easily be discerned and with some more effort can be replicated as well which will be of immense service in today’s world being torn apart by those who do not worship idols or respect cows.

    As such instead of using their brain cells to learn from inexhaustible literature left for us by our sages, they let the grey matter atrophy thinking , mouthing inanities that befits only brainwashed in missionary schools but not inheritors of Rsis like Vyasa or Valmiki . Further, Kapila, Gautama, Kanada, Jaimini, and Patanjali also left us works on philosophy , practices expounding on what was already in Veda. One can easily start study, approach any of these works that in turn will take student to newer and newer heights. This is how India can once again attain status of Jagadguru, as advocated by Narendra Modi. That journey to ascend to new heights has already begun.

    Best wishes,
    G V Chelvapilla
    ======================================================================================

  5. Radhika Nagrath · · Reply

    So nicely explained maria. I am glad you are bent upon breaking the myths and false notions which people have about Hinduism, through your meticulous writings.

    1. meticulous writing? you have a fan Maria.

  6. I think that the followers of Abrahamic religions are also following idolatry without realising it. The wearing of Cross, the touching of Kaba are clear examples. We can consider them as earlier stages of idolatry as these religions are much younger in comparison to Sanatana Dharma. On a long enough time line, idolatry is the logical conclusion as a stepping stone towards ultimate truth for these two religions.

  7. There is a huge difference in the mindset about Hinduism between the Indian haves and have nots Then there is a more recent phenomenon .The western “nouveau hindus”(like yourself if i may add) who have GURUS. Its a circus. Each one has its own interpretation. A fuzzy logic. “To each his own ” It is all Hindu. One thing though, we should not blame others for our own ignorance or poor upbringing .If we think the that the pasture is greener on the other side and cast off our Hindu cloaks for another or simply for economic benefits.Then accept the fact .Thats what really happened. The good Prajapatti created Devas as well as Demons.
    My point is its in OUR HANDS(or heart).Lets not blame anyone.
    True knowledge comes from within.
    Your GURU lives within you:)
    OM OM OM

  8. KRISHNAMURTHY VENKATARAMAN · · Reply

    If idol worship as practised by the Hindus is wrong , then what is the cross that adorns the churches and every christian homes. What is the Kaaba around which the pious muslim goes around umpteen number of times? Is the big rock on which the Christians, Muslims, and Jews throw stones in a ritual called ‘stoning the devil’, the devil itself ? The Idols are only symbols of God for the believer to imagine and meditate upon and after some time when he is mature enough to concentrate, he will realise that God is within every one, as Hinduism preaches.

  9. Gorthi Sankara Bhanu · · Reply

    I appreciate your sincere and rational thinking. Swami Vivekananda is my ideal. I feel proud that I am Hindu.

  10. Very simple and pin-pointing answers! You deserve appreciation, as always, Maria ji!

  11. Such clear thoughts keeps inspiring me whenever I read you.

  12. I regularly read your posts. And agree with you at every step. I was just curious and wanted to ask that are you doing anything to create awareness regarding Hindu religion among your western brothers and sisters as well ? And please continue writing these intriguing articles 🙂

    1. untill 2000 i wrote only in German (not feeling confident whether my English is good enough), for magazines, also 2 books on India pulished in Germany (out of print) and numerous chapters for readers including one for psychology students on the yoga of Bhagavad Gita.
      now i write mainly on my blog.
      nice to know you appreciate the posts

      1. Your posts really make me see my own religion in new light. And I feel a special connection with you since I am now studying in Germany(Berlin). You in my country and I in yours 🙂

      2. glad to hear this. you live in Germany. hope all is well nowadays…

      3. I’m not religious, leaning towards, if anything, Buddhism, but I find religions interesting from the point of view of studying human nature. I follow your blog for your clearly thought, insightful articles.

  13. Some religion says that idolatry exist in Hinduism.Do read the blog of Ali sina ,where you will read that in islam Idolatory is at great extent.

  14. Namaste Maria, I had shared your answer on Quora along with your credit (website name)
    It got good number of views, ppl do want to know the truth, thanks a lot for this article…

    Satish Mishra

    btw, we have communicated earlier via phone, if you remember, how are you nowadays??

    1. yes, i remember our talk on phone, you asking me to put something on youtube…..
      did you see my post about a talk i gave to engineering students? it was (finally) a new and good experioence. (there was no recording. i guess just in case i ‘offend’ some religion).
      https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/talk-to-students-in-memory-of-swami-vivekananda/

  15. yes i read that, it was enlightening and very sincere…..liked it a lot, shared that on quora too..
    will communicate over phone…thanks again

  16. ProudPagan · · Reply

    “What are the draw-backs of Hinduism apart from idol-worship?”

    Some significant disadvantages are:

    — absence of a vengeful god to be feared and that cannot be questioned
    — no hell fire for unbelievers
    — women are not treated as half as valuable as men
    — no stoning or beheading for apostates and homosexuals

  17. Reblogged this on ayepee99.

  18. […] The article first appeared as- https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/short-answers-to-four-questions-on-quora/ […]

  19. Ash Forth · · Reply

    I found a great explanation for the presence of idols in worship and something amiss about those who negate offering a form to the divine to help the devotee in a book called Sikh Philosophy and Religion, by Nirmal Kumar. Find the explanation below:

    Explaining deities in intellectual terms, Vishnu is the personification of Truth (Satyam), Shiva the personification of Good (Shivam), and Brahma the personification of Beauty (Sundaram). The Hindus have been attributing these three virtues to God. Beauty has been recognized as a virtue of God by their collective unconscious, since the beginning.

    A remarkable thing about truth, beauty and good is that if you miss one of them, you cannot comprehend God as he appeared to the Indian consciousness and intelligence. To the human mind, truth, beauty and good collectively give strength. This strength of the mind, gets lost if anyone of the three is missing.

    Truth, Beauty and Good are a dangerous trinity. They help in human mind’s development only if all three are uniformly present, balancing each other. You remove Beauty from this trinity, and Truth and Good start running towards abstraction. Beauty is what prevents Truth and Good from running to abstraction. Beauty is the principle of concretization that compels man to express himself in sound, colors, lines or words, i.e. some thing material. Beauty, as the virtue of God, is the dynamics of spirituality that impels God to shed some of His mystery and secrecy, and reveal to mortals a bit of the Wonder that He is. Beauty draws the Divine to earth and to material manifestation.

    Another unique characteristic of Beauty is that it cannot be imagined as pure abstraction. Beauty can be imagined only in some form or figure, not in void. The abstract painters have not been able to paint beauty, even if they have been able to give some idea of truth. That is why some religions have talked of God only as good, merciful and true. They do not talk of Him as beautiful for fear of making Him finite. They do not seem to be aware that God’s beauty is as infinite as the rest of Him. His beauty cannot be contained in any expression. God’s description only as beauty is also as incomplete as His expression as truth and good. Even if we try to imagine God as beyond beauty and beyond shape, His Beauty compels our mind to visualize Him with some form, beauty and shape. This is something that even Shankaracharya, the philosopher of the abstract, and Nagarjun, the philosopher of void, could not help.

    While the concept of Beauty brings the abstract down to concrete, the concept of Truth pulls the the concrete to the abstract. The Vedic seers checked this tendency of Truth because they did not worship Truth alone, but all the three, Truth, Beauty and Good, together.

    1. Beautiful explanation. and Indians were most successful to bring beauty into manfestation, still are more than othes, not only in arts, even the way Indians conduct themselves. a German friend calls India “the land of beautiful people”.

      1. Ash Forth · ·

        It is indeed. I have enjoyed reading your blog for some time now. Thank you for your frank blog that describes the truth that you discover in yourself. So many people have forgotten to live by the truth within themselves. I hope that some day we can meet in person when you are either in England or when I am in India. I do look forward to that day.

      2. we will meet more likely in India…. have been to England last in 1971 i think…. i visit Germany once a year briefly. my email is on About.

  20. Satish Chauhan · · Reply

    I loved your explanation. Certainly it has all three attributes Satyam Shivam Sundaram .

  21. Nitin Dhavalikar · · Reply

    It is a matter of pride that Hindu dharma is being understood and explained by someone not born in India. The fact is today’s Hindu generation is more educated than the past but is completely disconnected from the true history and culture. We don’t understand what we stand for and cannot stand up for Hindu Dharma when a debate about superiority happens. There is a need to educate a generation about what Hindu dharma stands for and how its philosophy and practices are both much more scientific.
    Your have answered questions about Hindu dharma effectively. Highly appreciated.
    Nitin

  22. Venugopala Rao · · Reply

    Following Dharma leads one to attainment of Supreme Knowledge, a contentment beyond which no desire can ever survive. It is this which keeps Hindus away from comparing with or belittling other religions. A full pot never wobbles, while empty vessels make noise. As for idol worship, it is neither a draw back nor a dogma.

    1. Dogm religions appeared only ‘recently’ compared with the ancient Hindu Dharma. for some 1000 years Hindus could hardly dare to expose shortcoming of those religions, as these were the religions of the rulers.
      however, now, when it becomes so obvious that dogmatic religions divide and are harmful for society, a spade hould be called a spade

  23. […] Source: Short answers to four questions on quora […]

  24. great reply.

    Hindu is not a reigion, it is a way of life which gives personal freedom to each individual to choose the way. There are many ways in this religion to suit each individual.
    We can get God through
    1. karma yoga-Work without attachment. In this path there is no need to practice worship and believe in God too. Mahatma buddha will be great example of this path. Mahatma buddha is non believer of God.
    2. Bhakti yoga- Through intense love and prayers, God could be known to us. In this path person can choose their own God according to their own belief. That person can choose either murti as One God or formless God. One can choose muhammad sahib or Allah or krishna or jesus christ or any other lovable forms of God, because of that many hindus believe muslims and christians are also true. Each worship may have their own tradition of worship.
    3. Gyan yoga- Through Pure knowledge. It is the direct path to know the God. It is the vedic way to get knowledge through study of upanishada, veda and direct realisation of world. It is more scientific way than any other yoga as other yoga may have some superstitious things involved. There is no need to believe something without self enquiry.
    4. Raja yoga- Through control and exercise over mind, Mind could be purified and pure mind alone the abode of God.

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