Amarnath Reu, New Delhi, retired, studied basic science, Rajasthani Kashmiri Brahmin.
Three persons moulded my views. First, my grandfather who wrote a smriti (perhaps the latest in the illustrious line, 'Vishweshwarassmriti', 1945, 8000 verses). He was brave enough to mention that there is no harm in education of Shudras or in widow remarriage, and that there are 92 elements instead of 5. Second, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, whose two great books my grandfather translated, 'The Orion' and 'The Arctic Homes in Vedas'. Third, Sankara and his Advaita.
This kind of background; my experiences in life and deliberations have resulted in the following views: I am a staunch Hindu, consider that my heritage is incomparable, and it must survive and prosper for the benefit of my people and the whole humanity. I root for Hindu unity and hate fissiparous tendencies in the Hindu society. I consider Christianity and Islam wrong because of their exclusivity and belief in the 'day of judgement'. I think their views are outdated.
I believe in existence of Energy (as in physics, light, electricity, etc.) and equate that with 'Brahman'. My 'Brahman' constitutes all things in the universe, assumes all forms, has attributes (physical and not divine) about which we have a lot more to know much even with all our scientific progress. Rama and Krishna are my cultural/mythological heroes. I value them because their stories have given unity and direction to my people, but they are not there to grant me any boons or to save my soul. I think they might have existed in history.
I believe that the energy that constitute my body might have been created by expansion of space (Zero Point Energy) 14 billion years ago in a big bang. Though I am not sure about it and I comfortabe in waiting for further developments in science. When we die, our identity ceases and the energy in our body get recycled. They were part of millions of living and non-living things before I was born; and after my death, they will again become part of millions of living and non-living things.
I believe in this special kind of rebirth. I do not believe in 'Karma' (what will 'Karma' attach to when I am distributed in a million things). So, what about my actions? Can I do whatever I want? No. I am part of a society. I have my obligations to it. So, I would fulfill my 'Dharma' (duty, right action), without which neither my society will not survive nor me. This I consider to be the most important part of Hinduism. 'Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah', we preserve Dharma and Dharma preserves us. Since I do not believe in 'Karma', I also do not believe in rewards and punishment, or heaven and hell.
I believe that Aryans (perhaps the race to which my forefathers belonged, there must have been a lot of admixture, before and after) were immigrants to India from Sub-arctic regions (from where they were pushed out because of the advancing ice-age) via Central Asia. Their immigration was quite peaceful. The other tribes that lived in India followed a very accommodating and smart (I will give the reasons in the next para) belief which I may call as proto-Hinduism. Proto-Hindus were very much like the present-day Hindus, they were not averse to worshipping many Gods and Goddesses but the elite believed these to be forms of one Supreme Power. Vishnu (perhaps more in South India) and Shiva (perhaps more in North India) might have been their main Gods, while the mother-goddess worship was distributed all over.
When the Vedic and the proto-Hindus interacted, Proto-Hindus accepted Sanskrit language and the wisdom of Vedas. The Aryans accepted the unifying philosophy of proto-Hinduism and their Gods. But then, Indra was attacked in various ways. He was made an enuch and his worship was abolished with an allegation of rape. Krishna foiled all of Indra's attempts to freighten Yadavas by lifting 'Goverdhan' and He required just the tip of his little finger to do this. The Aryan Gods were relegated to a secondary position making them just a brood of thirty from Aditi. In the end, Aryan Gods were nearly forgotton, invoked only on special occasions; while the proto-Hindu Gods, Shiva, Vishnu, and Mother Goddess reigned supreme.
What happened in Daksha's yagna was climactic (notice that is was an Aryan yagna where the indigenous Shiva was slighted). The Aryan army of Gods was profundly routed. One thing which I distinctly remember from my childhood reading is that God Pukha had all his teeth broken. Things like this happen in mythology for a particular reason. Shiva's victory was commemorated in places as distant as Haridwar (Uttaranchal - Daksha Temple) and Tiruppariyalur (Tamil Nadu - near Thanjavur), and we have 52 Shakti Peethas all over the sub-continent where pieces of Sati's body are supposed to have fallen. I dare say that what we are following now is more of a proto-Hindu religion than the Aryan one.
The time-line: Aryans were pushed out of their sub-arctic fatherland, 'Ariyanam Vaejo' by the advancing ice-age. I would give a date of 25,000-20,000 B.C. for that. Perhaps their first stop was in the 'Andronovo' region. The European Aryans separated there. The second stop was in 'trans-oxiana' of which they have better memories. The first record in RigVeda, of Sacrifice beginning and ending in Aditi is from 6,000 B.C. Proto-Hindu record also defies dating and can be taken to be just as old. Mehrgarh (Balochistan) dates from 7,000 B.C. and the civilization there is similar to Harappan (deciphering of Harappa seals may make the situation clear). Forget Max-Mueller that Vedas were written around 1,500 B.C., that is plain trash. Any thing less than this is being unnecessarily modest.
Aupmanyav 05:55, 17 March 2006 (UTC)