Some conclusions regarding Hinduism and my own beliefs

I’ve been reading a book about Hinduism, specifically the difference between Judeo-Christian thought and “dharmic” thought, and I am reminded of a few things.

First, from what I have read, the sattvic or “selfless” state is still idealized above even the rajasic or tamasic states, considering that, if you aren’t selfless/sattvic, you are encouraged to live by codified rules set for you and seek the guidance of a spiritual master who is sattvic. Coupled with the Krishna stories, which emphasis the utilitarian ideal of the common good, the implication is that thinking on your own terms and not having to listen to a guru or God is discouraged unless you are “selfless”, not thinking on your own interests. To me, this is hypocritical for a religion that supposedly believes in mankind’s own divinity and spiritual potential. Even if each individual has one’s own unique path, that is not influenced by you in traditional dharmic ideas, it’s influenced by your “karma” or actions taken in a past life. But at least you get to choose what deity you want to worship, or even none at all, and often in Hinduism.

Second, I am reminded of the other ideas I do not believe in; reincarnation, the idea that we are burdened by the actions of some past live you might not even have ever heard, the idea that justice is distributed by the universe, and the idea of the falsehood of the self (which to me also spits on the idea of karma as a self-made destiny since how do you make your own choices if there is no individual self?). I also seem to question their concept of Atman, which should refer to inner self but actually refers not to any individual spiritual self or immortal soul, but posits that the “real” self is actually God rather than any individual self. There is another idea I learned was present in Hinduism. I have my doubts regarding another idea I learned was central to Hindu belief. Apparently, they believe that the cosmos is possessed of an integral unity, no separate essences, entities, or objects. I feel it may be more likely that there isn’t a unity of all things. Even if there is something that connects all things, that doesn’t still say there is unity between all things, just a common origin.

Third, in my continuous attempts to integrate Hindu (and even Buddhist) ideas and lore, I feel like I’m trying to move forward too fast instead of sitting down to enjoy my current spiritual perspective (the perspective of a spiritual core self that you yourself fight to preserve until the day, and of the inner world shaped by you and how the outer world affects and inspires you). I could incorporate anything I want that inspires me, so why not be comfortable with images, aesthetics, and entities that come from a system that I don’t necessarily subscribe to, or need to subscribe to, and they wouldn’t necessarily have to represent those systems anyway.

One last thing about the book I read: I feel that while it does offer an enlightening perspective towards Hindu or dharmic ideas, that same perspective actually leads me to only more disconnect to these ideas. The author also seems far too unfair with his perspective on the West, a little pompous on his perspective on the East too. Not all of Western ideas are based on Judeo-Christian ideas, in fact the West is capable of potent antidotes for Judeo-Christian ideas and hypocrisy, and not just atheism either. The author seems to think any unity created by the West is purely synthetic. Yes, we aren’t always united in the right way or for the right reasons, but even if it was, all unity, in both West and East, is not to last. All unity falls apart eventually, sometimes slowly sometimes fast. But why put so much emphasis on cohesion and harmony anyway? Does anyone ever stop to think that maybe putting cohesion as the highest ideal is actually a foolish idea?

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22 responses to “Some conclusions regarding Hinduism and my own beliefs

  1. This is what I’ve always gotten about Sanatana Dharma, and I may be wrong but it’s what I have taken Atman to mean – Atman is our eternal soul, it’s Brahman (the universal self) but because of maya (illusion) we can’t see that we are actually Brahman. So the goal is to get back to that god-like state. We spend too much time focused on the external – should be working internally.

    “Even if there is something that connects all things, that doesn’t still say there is unity between all things, just a common origin.”

    I understand what you’re saying, but from THEIR standpoint, if we all have Brahman in us, then we are all one. Because of maya we can’t see this unity. Which is interesting – what if the unity that some do see is maya (an illusion)? I have this opposite/flip side thinking pattern going on this morning for some reason.

    As for integrating Sanatana Dharma and/or Buddhist ideas, it depends on what you want to include. I’ve included meditation and japa because they’ve done wonders for me. Any rituals that I do for Siva are ones that I’ve written myself. In Sanatana Dharma, you first offer to Ganesha before Siva. I’ve never done that but always gone straight to Siva. I’ve never been one for the “middle man” philosophy. Even when I worked with Oshun, I skipped Eleggua and worked solely with Oshun.

    The lore of Siva, I’ve read some of them. The relationship I have with Him was built up through meditation and japa. I went the “experience” Siva for yourself route. There’s nothing wrong with reading the lore and getting a feel for how He’s viewed through Sanatana Dharma but the relationship I have with Him is extremely deep and personal and that wasn’t something that happened through His lore. I stopped following everyone’s interpretation of who He was and experienced Him for myself.

    Personally, I don’t feel you have to be a part of a certain “system” in order to have a relationship with a deity. When Bast came into my life, I was a non-practicing Christian. When Siva came, I thought I was going to be practicing Sanatana Dharma. Because I was open to Their guidance, I ended up becoming an eclectic spiritualist.

    Wow…this is long…lol.

    • Yes, that is a lot. 🙂

      I think meditation can be used as a method of clearing out some personal clutter and as a direct form of spiritual introspection, so that is one thing. And what you said about not needing to be part of a certain system is reassuring for me, a confirmation of some instincts of mine too. Really Satanism is the only system I actively need, and I even I don’t restrict myself to, say, LaVeyan doctrine. I was only concerned because I wanted to have a greater mystical grounding while maintaining a link to Asian culture, since I have a fondness for Asian (especially Chinese and Japanese) culture.

      I think your take on the concept of Brahman is actually very interesting, and I find the implications much the same. Perhaps from my perspective, there may be another way of looking at maya. Ignorance might just be that. Ignorance of your own soul and core self, which many people tend to be anyway.

      And yeah, experience would be really good for me.

      • Have you tried Japa (recitation)? Where you use a mala (Rudraksha beads) for the recitation of Siva’s Om Namah Shivaya mantra.

      • You move fast..lol. I used to have this video on my old blog (no longer exists) about how to properly hold a mala but I don’t have the video anymore. It had something to do with not using the pointer finger because it represents the ego. It really doesn’t matter though because I never believed the whole get rid of your ego philosophy. Usually I hold it the way it feels comfortable for me.

        It’s also good when you’re pressed for time, you can carry it with you. I use it a lot when I’m waiting for my sister in the bank…lol. That’s like with meditation, I can do it anywhere.

      • That finger thing is so ridiculous lol. And since I ignore these petty traditions anyway.

        Before I even begin to find time for mala recitations, I need to feel conformatable about how the ritual can be in the LHP sphere. If I feel like I am melding with a personality that is not my own, then I have failed.

      • Absolutely, some things work well for others that may not work well for you. It’s always about what you’re comfortable with. And the deities as well. They’ll give you hints that something is working. I used an incense one day during a ritual for Oshun and She didn’t like it..lol. Had my whole house smelling bad.

      • There’s a bead with a tassel attached to it – that’s known as the guru bead. You don’t use that bead during the recitation so you’d start with the bead that’s attached to the guru bead. On my mala there are two beads attached to the guru bead. It doesn’t matter which one of those you use.

        Work your way around the mala. When you get to the last bead you’re done unless you want to keep going. The mantra is recited once for each bead so that’s 108 recitations. If you want to keep going then you can start again from the beginning.

      • Also, I forgot, if you want to continue with japa you’re not supposed to cross the guru bead. You just flip it around. I usually flip it with my thumb, it’s easier for me. Crossing the guru bead is like crossing your teacher. Siva, Himself, is my guru/teacher when I work with Him. Same for Bast, when I work with Her She’s my teacher.

      • The mantra is Om Namah Shivaya. That’s all you have to say, those three words, for each bead.

      • If you want to cross the bead, knock yourself out. I used to when I first started using the mala and my leg didn’t fall off or anything like that…lmao. It’s what people who practice Sanatana Dharma and Buddhism do as a sign of respect for their guru.

        As for my use of the term, I never use the term guru. I refer to all of the deities that I currently work with and those I’ve worked with in the past as teachers. That’s always been the type of relationship I’ve had with them.

      • Then I might just end at the “guru” bead, since I am neither a practitioner of either Sanatana Dharma or Buddhism nor do I have any respect for religious authority figures such as gurus or their role. I don’t even consider deities as gurus or lords.

      • Well guru means teacher. It can also mean master as in someone who has mastered something. They’re basically spiritual teachers. I’m not one for “following” anyone when I can learn something on my own but it’s a cultural thing for a lot of people. It’s also different from Christian minister’s who basically yell at you til you see their point of view and prefer it if you don’t think for yourself or question anything.

        I’m not one for authority figures for I feel that a lot of the time their “role” goes to their head and they start abusing their powers – that is the power humans have given them because their too ignorant to think for themselves.

        As for the mala and the guru bead, that’s just the name that it’s been given by those who practice the above mentioned paths. You can always call it something else and come up with your own purpose for it if you’d like. They’re basically rosaries so you can use them anyway that you feel fit for your path. You don’t even have to call it a mala if you don’t like and can make your own. I’ve thought about making one for Bast but haven’t decided.

        One of the things I’ve learned is that there is no one size fits all. Everyone’s journey is different. If you find something that works for you but there are some things you’d like to change, go for it. It’s your journey and no one else’s.

      • You’re definitely right about everyone’s journey being different, and of course, this also includes goals. I like to think my measures are true to LHP in the spirit of disobeying traditional religious norms and rules.

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