Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Religion : Fashionable?

As we all know this world has many main religions. Islam, Christianity, Jewish Religion, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. There are other religions as well of course but these are more in the news I can say.
Of these, the two religions which are discussed for all wrong reasons are Islam and Hinduism.
Islam: It's anyone's knowledge why it is in the news for all wrong reasons. Some of the so-called jihadi's associate with it and the whole world considers Islam as dangerous. How wrong they are! Islam for one talks more about peace than any other religion. Also, polygamy which is legal in Muslims is interpreted all wrong.. In the actual scripts it is mandatory for Muslim men to have more than one wife. One "normal" wife, one "poor" wife and one "disabled" wife. How noble the thought was and what a mockery we have made of it in today's times!
Anyway this was not the intent of my post.
If there is another religion which is in the news for all wrong reasons, it is Hinduism. Why? For one, for it's so-called ridiculous customs, the orthodox principles. Have we seen any other religion being made fun of other than Hinduism? How we ridicule the poojaris who have a small pony in the back of the head while the rest of their head is shaven off? How we ridicule the way they tie their dhoti? How we ridicule the way Indian Hindu women dress...What with all their bindi, bangles and jewelry.
So what started all this? WE...We Hindus make fun of ourselves. So what more can you expect from an outsider?
This article here has what triggered the creation of this post. Religion is supposed to be "hip" huh? Is religion defined by the clothes you wear? Specially Hinduism preaches that it is not a religion, it is a way of life. Alas! None of us have understood the real value of it!
Why is that we always crave for recognition from the west? Aren't we happy with ourselves? Why should the west acknowledge Hinduism?
It seems wearing some religious symbols are "in style and in fashion"! Is that what they are meant to be? Are religious marks fashion symbols?
Just because Hinduism is liberal and gives you the freedom to practice however you want to, does not mean you can ridicule it.
I do not have anything against any religion. It is just a means to realize God... So you pray or do namaaz it's all one and the same. Ultimately you are asking HIM to release you from this worldly ordeals and be one with him.
It's one thing to be a believer or a non-believer. It's all together another thing to ridicule someone's faith!
People... Religion is not fashion! Neither is it supposed to be hip! It is supposed to be the way of life.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by shark..
u will hear some flute.. its juts a question of when :). Hope u have the patience:)

And religions, now, if we are comfortable and know what we are, then why do we react to the ignorants? May be we are assuring ourselves of something? That does not mean we have to be quiet though, if we need to assure ourselves then we better go ahead and do just that :)

Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

or... u could just be thinking aloud :) ...

GuNs said...

For me, religion has been something I've been born with. Its as synonymous as being born a human. I'm a Hindu and am proud of it. I dont go to temples very often but I do say a short prayer first thing I get up in the morning and the last thing before retiring at night. My prayer is as short as a single line.

I've had friends from every religion and I've never had people debating religion with me and telling me that their religion is better than mine. Maybe its because I only have educated friends. I guess thats what our country needs. More education.

As for people making fun of religions, I'd like to kick some of their ass. I saw a film called American Desi and the protagonists in that film made so much fun of Indians and thereby implicating Hindus, that they made me cringe. I mean nobody in India goes "Will youuuu plizz go theyyyre?" Its pathetic. I wanted to really box the ears of the lead actor in that film. Theres never been a worse crossover made.

"Bollywood Calling" was another similar film but it was really nicely made. Even though they poked fun at the way Indian cinema worked, it was all in good humour. It didnt get disrespectful like American Desi did.

Wearing an "OM" on your t-shirt is ok as long as you dont surround it with photos of half-naked women.


pavan kumar said...

I guess that Islam allows polygamy "provided" that the first wife is incapable of doing all the wifely duties (including bearing kids, in the name of religion).. but thats a separate matter

kudos! you hit the nail: hinduism isnt a religion, it is a way of life.. and the prob with the article and some general perception is that some have not been able to adjust or morph the principles well with the present world, and hence they either bring a bad name or look hip by degrading the religion. Hinduism is like open-source s/w.. you are free to adapt it to suit your needs, but you dont have to degrade it to get noticed!

end of discourse.. :)

pavan kumar said...

and oh, btw, could I borrow part of the $2,258.16?? I promise to keep refreshing the tab! :P

mysorean said...


I don't hold Religion in such high esteem as you do. (Calling it Way of Life and all that)

Every human being desires to belong to a social group. And these social groups were called "Religions" by some people who lived on this earth earlier than we did. Slowly the social groups got so serious about themselves that they began writing various stuff about how to live and act inside their groups so that they are distinct from the others. Rituals(my favourite item to bash always!) is one such outcome. And I will not get into that argument again!

Spirituality is a way of Life. Humanity is a Religion. Humanity is a Way of Life. What use is the "Religion" as we speak that can be made use of to inspire people to kill people? Such "Religion"s don't qualify to be "Religion"s as the way you define it.

Today's definition of "Religion" is blurred and in fact totally convoluted. If someone can use "Religion" to kill someone then I really don't see a problem when someone uses it to be "hip". Really!

"Religion" today is nothing but an interpretation. Yours says "Way of Life". Someone says "Hip", and someone says "Kill"!

Anonymous said...

totally off topic (will get back to that later), but you really need to see this and publicize it - hopefully a few lives will be saved!


- s.b.

p.s.: this would probably have been a more apt comment to pavan's "close encounter" post.

bellur said...

very well written, shark. we ought to respect all religions.

btw, i have blogrolled you!

best wishes

Hardu said...

Who ridicules the bangales and clothes and jewellery? Because I have seen people here looking in complete awe and say that it is so nice. They encourage and ask me to wear it more often. So I guess the mockery is from Hindus itself.

Anonymous said...

It's very hard 2 know that narrow minded people have limited and made religions as a limited concept.

I adhere to Hinduism coz i'm free to worship any god in any form...whatever i feel like....
And the rituals in any religion are very scientific....just try to search about it...:)

Kavi said...

Shark !

Good thoughts. Religion is sacred and has to be held in high esteem. To degenerate it to hep symbols is indeed in bad taste.

At the same time,this is a free country and hinduism gives the space. Thats part of the magic of the religion !

Jo said...

hey shark..my first time here,found posts here quite interesting,will keep coming for more :-)
Coming to this topic,the dhoti/bindi/bangles..etc..are just symbols of the religion-hindusim. They do not represent the beliefs/principles/teachings of hinduism.I guess just wearing them/not wearing them/critising them do not necessarily mean that we are respecting/dis-recpecting the religion itself.Religion/ God is something much higher than that.The devotion towards any religion is achieved by how much one follows its teachings !

shark said...

@sojourner: You are welcome here :) Oh! I have all the patience. I can wait, if some good music is on the way :)

If everybody were responsible enough to think what is good and what is bad or what is right and what is wrong, that would be an IDEAL world.

Ignorants are people who don;t know about something... to tell them something about it is everybody's responsibility. Whether they take the input or not is completely left to them. It's their wish ultimately.

Anyway me writing about it obviously will not reach them, I was as you said thinking out loud :)

@guns: Yes movie medium is the first one which can bring about some change! Look how people are influenced by LRMB? We need to have more movies appreciating our Hinduism in a +ve way so that it reaches the masses.

@pavan: Nopes. It's not that you can have many wives if you first wife is not proper. It's more like you (man) are giving a new life to a disabled woman or a poor woman because it's a tough world out there for such helpless women.

you are free to adapt it to suit your needs, but you dont have to degrade it to get noticed!

You said it!

And money... it only says my blog is "worth" so much. It does not mean I have that much :P

I am a poor software engineer ;-)

@We have had discussions about rituals in your blog :) This post is not about that.
NO religion has inspired anybody to KILL! It's their WRONG interpretation!! As I said religion by itself is good.. it's when the "human" factor comes into it that it becomes terrible!

@s.b: I will see it ..:)

@bellur: Thank you! :)

@hardu: Exactly it's we only who make fun of ourselves! Abbah! You should see all the "false" accents and going out of the way to blend with them.

@sunil: That's the best part of hinduism. It gives you the liberty :) and we as usual mis-use it!

@kavi: Yes religious symbols are best left alone!

@jo: Welcome :) Agreed completely with what you say. But all said and done there are some rules and regulations for everything right? Even for getting in a train and out you have to follow some order same way with religion.

Anonymous said...

I personally feel that Hinduism suffers because knowledge of scriptures and others has not passed down to us from generations. Also, we have many sects that keep germinating so knowledge just goes away. As a reault we cannot appreciate our rich religion.

shark said...

@vin: Very true! Can't agree with you more on that !

Ashish said...

Both Hinduism and Christianity are in the same stage. They have reached the stage where people see beliefs as something that is personal to them and not something that has an organized structure. Both these religions had phases where there were militant phases, for example, Christianity had the dark phase. They are mostly long past the stage. One symptom of this is that people are free to criticize their religion without the fear of backlash.
It is now difficult to get this feeling rolled back, there will be plenty of people who will feel that they are being modern by criticizing their religion, but I don't think anything can be done now.

December Stud said...

For the right or wrong, Hinduism and Islam are NOT the religions which are in news. it's really christianity, Islam and Judaism which take that place, courtesy Jerusalem.

Now, as for the link which you have, I really don't see a reason why being 'hip' is bad. Sure, if you want to flaunt your religion, go ahead, especially with Hindusim being "Way of life" and all that...what say ?

As for me, I go to temples, I do "saMdhyA vaMdane" regularly, no I don't look like a priest, I am most comfortable in a T-shirt and shorts....enjoy reading everything from philosophy to porn (sheesh ! did I jump the gun ?)

At the end of the day, it's really what you want to be and obviously it differs from person to person....plus that "way of life" thingy has everything covered :)

shark said...

@asish: Yes. I don't think anything can be "done" right now. I mean we are now in an age where people don't actually listen to others... everybody is a liberal.. everybody is free to what they want. It's a free world right ;-)?

@december stud: First of all welcome here :)
I never said "Hip" is bad... But "Hip" with religious symbols are BAD... very bad!
I am NOT talking about clothes. I am talking about the images on the clothes! Definitely I do not expect everyone to come out in Dhoti and Kurtha... jeans and t-shirt are fine...:) But at the same time those with religious symbols are not fine!
Everything has a defined boundary. Just becasue we have the liberty to lead life how we want does not mean we can ANYTHING!
If we go with "everything-is-fine" then we will go back to stone age very soon and people will roam around the streets without clothes... Is that fine? We have defined a decorum for oursselves right? That wearing clothes is cultured. Same way wearing appropriate clothes are appreciated.

doomofhades said...

You mock at me...
understand what I do, then you would know why I am at peace and you are so disturbed... Oh! Ignorant mocker.

Religion is a vehicle and you a traveller. Whether I go by sea, land or water eventually I will reach the destination. Paths can be different what they strive for is the destination though the means are different.

The person who comments carelessly about the faith of a different person, is just out of his mind prolly for that second. All that he tries to do is to prove his superiority, and assure himself he is better than others, when such a sense incurs in a mind, he no longer is fair to his own faith. No faith denounces/ridicules the other.

I guess I should stop my rant here... :):)

and yes... about the post
Youth symbolises freedom, adventure and romanticism, and all these things could be expressed though religion,
You imbecile entrepreneurs money in everything... rise beyond it, you will have a life

-baba kingkongananda
(I am serious abt what I said, thot I got a lil serious)

December Stud said...

Sure, I agree...there needs to be "boundaries", so to say.

So, I assume you oppose the "OM bhUrbHuvsavaha...." during the orgy scene in "Eyes Wide Shut". Coz, I do too.

And, I also assume you were not a big fan of Danish caricatures about Prophet. Me neither.

So, I guess we are on the same side, after all :)

shark said...

@doomofhades: oooooo strong words da...:) Had to read it twice to understand ;-)
K Why did we have religion in the first place? That was just a way a group of people lived. Humans tend to be in groups. This group defined their own set of rules and regulations. If everybody is free to practise what they want then there is no groupism.
So Hinduism in all it's freedom has it's own set of rules. Our Gods and Religious symbols are sacred.
If somebody wants to practise "ramnatisism" they are free to do so... but NOT IN THE NAME OF a religion. Let them be as they are but in their own group!

@december stud: Each mantra has a lot of power if recited in a proper methodical way. Gayatri Matra is no exception.
Will we sing a elegy when a person is still alive? No right? Though it has no powers or kill a person...;-)
It's the same way :)

Glad we are on the same side :D

Ed Vis said...

Thought provoking blog. I am impressed.

Why should the west acknowledge Hinduism? It seems wearing some religious symbols are "in style and in fashion"! Is that what they are meant to be? Are religious marks fashion symbols?

Excellent question. Why should the west or HINDUS THEMSELVES acknowledge Hinduism?

If every one is ready to give up religions altogether, we can also give up our religion and our culture. But nobody will do that.

If Moslems, Christians, Jews, Sikhs are NOT ready to give up on their religions, why should we give up on Hinduism?

Hinduism cannot be defined as religion, since it cannot be compared with religions such as Islam and Christianity with a FOUNDER, BIBLE and HEIRACHY.

So we have to treat Hinduism as culture, the culture of people of India. It has no founder and it has no heairachy. It only has hundreds of scripture. It has to be considered as culture with many religions in it. Just like “guns” said it is something we are born with.

What attracts anyone to Hinduism?

The concepts of UTMOST FREEDOM OF THOUGHTS and ACTIONS. That what attracts many to Hinduism.

Hinduism never forbids any one to question its fundamentals. One side, in Hinduism, you may come across people worshiping pests like rats, and still on other side you will come across concepts parallel to Quantum Physics and Neil's Bohr Theory of nuclear structure and reactions. On one side ADVAIDA [There is ONLY one ] philosophy is discussed and promoted, still on other side DWAITA [ two--duality] philosophy is discussed and promoted. Hinduism never ever banished any one, since he or she wrote a wrong scripture or did not observe a particular ritual.

There was never a SALMAN RUSHDIE [author of Satanic Verses] in Hinduism and never will be there one.

Even atheists can call themselves as Hindus. That is very true. In fact the CHARVAKA philosophy or NASTIKA philosophy, [existed during the Vedic period] founded by CHARVAKA rejected the existence of God and considered religion as an aberration.

Voltaire in Essay on Tolerance wrote: I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it. Hinduism is the symbolic representation of what Voltaire wrote.