Book titled ‘The Timeless Faith – Dialogues on Hinduism’ by Deepam Chatterjee attempts to clear many misconceptions and doubts about Hinduism. Many people gather knowledge about Hinduism often from the wrong source. Even many Hindus are happy with superficial knowledge. The net result is that there is lot of confusion. Deepam Chatterjee attempts to guide people who are interested in learning about Hinduism in the right direction.
Excerpts from the from the introduction to ‘The Timeless Faith: Dialogues on Hinduism
The hallmark of Hinduism has been its great capacity to mould itself to the lifestyles of people without losing its identity, and helping seekers focus on attaining the transcendent absolute.
One may ask, who then, is a true Hindu?
A real Hindu is one who searches for the Ultimate Truth and relentlessly pursues answers to questions such as, ‘Who is God? Who am I? What is my purpose? How to know God? What is the Ultimate Truth?’
A true Hindu firmly believes in allowing every human being to search for God in his or her own way -to freely experiment with various practices and rituals to suit one’s personal needs and temperament.
And, what is Hinduism? The inquiry into the nature of God and self, and the practices thereof could be termed as Hinduism. The ultimate aim of a Hindu is God-Realisation through the spiritual practices he/she adopts by choice or birth. As often reiterated, it is a way of life which respects and accepts all paths to self-realisation.
Hinduism is the collective wisdom of many great seers and sages as opposed to the teachings of a single teacher. It is more a group of faiths, somewhat connected by a set of scriptures and pantheon. Hinduism has no universally accepted scriptural doctrine or uniformity of worship and is impossible to define in a set of parameters, having no common practices, rites or rituals. Unlike many other faiths, Hinduism refuses to sanction the monopoly of one God, one spiritual practice, or one scripture as the One and Only way to liberation.
Hinduism is based upon the qualities of acceptance, absorption, continuous change and expansion. It is thus, a dynamic, living, ever-growing set of ideas, rituals and spiritual practices. It incorporates constant acceptance and freedom of thought for all other Religions of the World.
Only one, who truly follows such a liberal path, with an unceasing search for the ultimate truth, without violence in action, thought and spirit, is a true Hindu. Only one, who unceasingly desires to know the real nature of God and to be one with God, could be termed a true Hindu.
One cannot be ‘converted’ to Hinduism. For every other religion, there are ‘rites of baptism’. Hindus consider that everyone is naturally on a journey to reach a higher awareness through the cycle of birth and death; and that the soul continuously reincarnates to experience Karmas -the effects of actions performed in earlier incarnations. This is something automatic.
In a way, everyone who is trying to explore their divinity is practicing Hinduism. This is not as much a religious definition, as the understanding of one’s purpose and existence.
Hinduism is a way of living and does not conflict with any religion. Hinduism is simply the commitment to search for the truth. One does not have to give up his/ her religious identity to follow Hindu practices.
The greatness of Hinduism lies in its infinite capacity of acceptance and allowance. As long as an individual is mindful of ‘raising consciousness’ -of self, community, and humanity as a whole, one is following tenets of Hindu Religion.
This has been termed as ‘Shreya’ - the essence of the Hindu way of life, in a single word.
The Timeless Faith Dialogues On Hinduism (Paperback)
By Deepam Chatterjee
Price – Rupees 150/-
You can find more about the book here.