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A Handbook of Hindu Religion: Conclusion


Hinduism is a universal religion because it affirms the existence of God as not only God beyond the world but as the inner Love in all Jīvas. Every one can seek Him and see Him face to face. The great ṛṣis, Ālvārs and Nāyanmārs sought God and saw Him face to face. The existence of God is proved by the experience of God. Sāṣtra is not opposed to science as its method of knowing God is scientific and it can be verified by personal experience. God is satya and amala, true and pure. Therefore, only the pure in heart who follow the sāttvik way can reach Him. Since the end is pure, the means also must be pure. Hinduism, therefore, insists on purity of conduct in thought, word and deed as the essential requisites for religious life. It is more a personal religion aiming at inner purity of life than on institutional loyalty and uniformity of faith.

No two persons are alike in temperament or station in life. Hinduism provides for every kind of adhikārin or aspirant and he is allowed to choose the path that is suited to his spiritual growth. A man may worship God in whatever form; He reveals Himself to him in that form. But he should seek Him with a pure heart. Though Hinduism thus aims at unity in variety, it still follows an ancient tradition bequeathed from father to son and from guru to śiṣya and insists on satsanga. The āśrama is a spiritual community of the sādhus and as satsanga it provides an inspiring social ideal.

The atmosphere of the temple in the centre of civic life is a perpetual reminder to the Hindu that God is in the centre of all his activities and is the real actor. The family, the vidyāṣāla, the temple and the state offer facilities for mutual understanding and service. The family is the unit of social life spiritualised on the model of the Rāmāyaṇa. The temple affords every scope for the practice of the all-pervading presence of the Lord as Vāsudeva. Since rituals are only righteousness in details, they should be performed correctly in the interests of moral and spiritual discipline. Every righteous work is a worship of God; it is a dedication to Him in the spirit ‘Not I, but Thou oh Lord' or Brahmārpaṇa. There is really no barrier or compartment between one person and another as all are persons or spiritual entities in whose hearts God dwells as antaryāmin. A community of good souls or sātviks promotes the religious ideal of communion between God and man. Hinduism is known for its tolerance. Differences of opinion and even worship are tolerated. There is no compromise in the matter of conviction and purity of moral life. In addition to universality and tolerance, Hinduism is the only religion that recognises the immanence of Brahman in all Jīvas as their antaryāmin and the redemptive purpose of the avatāras, the similarity of all Jīvas and the need for kaiṅkaryaand the salvability of all souls or Jīvas. It promotes the spirit of propaganda and insists on religious education. But it is definitely opposed to the methods, of coercion and proselytisation.

The spread of Hinduism by adapting it to modern needs without in any way giving up its essentials is its most urgent need today. This is achieved by the creation of proper teachers by affording them all facilities for the promotion of Hindu ideals. They should embody in their life all the ideals that they preach to others; religious education has no meaning if theory and practice do not coincide and if precept is not backed up by the purity of the personal conduct of the educators. The mutts in India may maintain their own tradition but they can pool their resources to fight irreligion and anti-Hindu influences from within and without. Tirumalai as the home of God and His eternal values offers the best social climate of physical and spiritual purity and may be the headquarters of this missionary effort.