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Hinduism means Freedom

Today as I was going through a book written by Sukumar Azhikode, I came across these mantras of Upanishads which amazed me. The Mantras and the meaning is given below.

सत्यं वद । धर्मं चर |
सत्यान्न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
धर्मान्न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
कुशलान्न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
भूत्यै न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
स्वाध्यायप्रवचनाभ्यां न प्रमदितव्यम्। देवपितृ कार्याभ्यां न प्रमदितव्यम्।
मातृ देवो भव । पितृ देवो भव । आचार्य देवो भव। अतिथि देवो भव ।
यान्यनवद्यानि कर्माणि तानि सेवितव्यानि । नो इतराणि ।
यान्यस्माकं सुचरितानि तानि तवयोपास्यानि ! नो इतराणि !!

-तैतरीयोपनिषद

Speak the truth. Practise Dharma.
Do not swerve from the truth.
Do not swerve from dharma.
Do not neglect personal welfare.
Do not neglect prosperity.
Do not neglect the study of the Vedas.
Do not neglect your duties to the gods and the Manes
Treat your mother and father as God.
Treat your teacher and guest as God.
Whatever deeds are faultless, these are to be performed-not others.
Whatever good works have been performed by us, those should be performed by you-not others

 

Many of the Upanishad Shanthi Mantras transcend beyond religious barriers.

 

ॐ सहनाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै । तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

OM! May that Brahman protect us both;
May that Brahman nourish us both;
May we work in harmony with great vigor;
May our study be illuminating and fruitful;
May we not hate each other.

 

The last line struck some chords with me. “Whatever Good works have been performed by us, those should only be performed by you, not others”. Here the reader is cautioned against following anything blind. The Rishi of Upanishad exhorts the reader not to follow any badness, even if it is there in what the reader considers sacred. That is gem of a thought. You can see similar open minded thoughts in other Hindu scriptures also.

In Bhagavad Gita too, Sri Krishna, after explaining the Highest Knowledge of Atma Vidya, says to Arjuna ” “Do whatever is proper according to your opinion.”. The exact shloka is reproduced below.

इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेछसि तथा कुरु || (18:63)

I have explained to you the most secret knowledge, Rationally analyse these thoughts and do what you wish to do.

Similarly Sri Krishna does not, unlike other Gods of Abrahamic religion, curse or threaten “Non Believers” to hell , but rather he says.

ये अपि अन्यदेवताभक्ताः यजन्ते श्रद्धया अन्वितः 
ते अपि माम् एव कौन्तेय यजन्ति अविधिपूर्वकम् (9:2

Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding.

When compared to the Abrahamic God who sees enemies in his non-believers, Sri Krishna says 

समोऽहं सर्वभूतेषु न मे द्वेष्योऽस्ति न प्रियः । (9:29)

I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone.

Sri Krishna also says, you can worship anyone or anything. I grant you what you have prayed for.

यो यो यां यां तनुं भक्तः श्रद्धायार्चितुमिच्छति ।
तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विदधाम्यहम् ॥ २१ ॥

Whatsoever form any devotee desires to worship with faith – that (same) faith of his I make (firm and) unflinching.  (B.G 7.21)

The Vedas are foundations of Sanathana Dharam (Hinduism). We can also see such open mindedness in Vedas too as in the following mantras.

 एकं सत् विप्राः बहुधा वदन्ति ॥

Truth is one, learned men express it differently.

आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः ||

Let noble thoughts come to us from every sides.

Infact Rigveda concludes with a message of Unity, Read the following Manthra.

सं-समिद युवसे वर्षन्नग्ने विश्वान्यर्य आ | 
इळस पदेसमिध्यसे स नो वसून्या भर || 
सं गछध्वं सं वदध्वं सं वो मनांसि जानताम | 
देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे संजानाना उपासते || 
समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सह चित्तमेषाम | 
समानं मन्त्रमभि मण्त्रये वः समानेन वोहविषा जुहोमि || 
समानी व आकूतिः समाना हर्दयानि वः | 
समानमस्तु वोमनो यथा वः सुसहासति ||

Come together , speak together: let your minds be all of one accord,
As ancient Gods unanimous sit down to their appointed share.
The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind, so be their thought united.
A common purpose do I lay before you, and worship with your general oblation.
One and the same be your resolve, and be your minds of one accord.
United be the thoughts of all that all may happily agree.

You can see such liberal thoughts in almost all the Hindu scriptures – be it Mahabharata or Ramayana- Purana or even the later Bhakti era works by Tulsi Das.

It is really wonderful that this message of tolerance did not remain struck in these scriptures. Most of the Hindus may not be learned about these mantras and scriptures, but they are quite aware of these verses

 

आकाशात् पतितं तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम् । सर्वदेवनमस्कारः केशवं प्रतिगच्छति ॥ 

Rain from the skies reach the ocean ultimately, worship to any God reach One.

 

 स्वस्तिप्रजाभ्यः परिपालयन्तां न्यायेन मार्गेण महीं महीशाः ।

गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभमस्तु नित्यं लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु. ||

May the well-being of all people be protected by the powerful and mighty leaders be with law and justice. May good success be with all cows (divinity) and scholars. May all (samastah) the worlds (lokha) become (bhavantu) happy (sukhino).

 

While we read, study and Practice Hinduism, we must keep in mind at least the above gentle messages by our Rishis. Be open to Good thoughts, It can come from anywhere. Reject badness, even if it comes from what we consider sacred.

 

 

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