At one point of time or another, we’ve all reflected upon our religious identity. Most of us have felt unreasonable pride towards it, and some of us might have wanted to never be associated with a religion. Regardless, the prime question is how many of us have made an attempt in comprehending our religion and its ideals to an extent at least; if not completely.

For a moment, reflect back on how well we have understood Hindutva. We know of the existence of the Gita and innumerable Gods, and respected the same. However, here is one question that every proud ‘Hindu’ must reflect upon, and answer based on true understanding of Hindutva alone.

Have you, at any time, questioned the authenticity, background or sought a scientific explanation for a tradition, a practice, or a virtue preached as a part of the Hindu religion?

If yes, it is only true that Hindutva is still a mystery to us.

Consider the ground fact that when there is a religion, it is believed to come with a set of rules documented perfectly in the form of a doctrine. This can be observed in Islam and Christianity, the two largest religions of the world. Both the religions believe in One God, one doctrine, one way of life and one way of prayer. It is only appropriate that those religions have a well-documented explanation to every practice and tradition associated with the religion.

However, the same does not hold true for Hindutva. While there are a number of scriptures that have been preserved for centuries now, none of the scriptures can be designated as a ‘doctrine’. Can it?

To very generally summarize all our scriptures, it can be said that they all preach the idea- ‘do your Karma’. This means that a Hindu has complete liberty to find and follow his own path towards salvation, unlike the other religions that follow an age old doctrine. But this feature of religions like Islam and Christianity have taken over Hindutva as well, most probably owing to the age old colonization that India underwent from both the religious communities.

This day, isn’t it true that Hindus have forgotten that their religion provides freedom of practice? Hinduism, in fact, does not demand for an explanation behind every tradition that a ‘Hindu’ might want to follow. Hindutva provides freedom for everyone to find his God in idols, in plants, in animals, and more so, even in motorbikes if you like! A Hindu does not need the explanation that he lights a lamp in front of the Tulsi because scientifically it gives a lot of oxygen. He does not need to explain snake worship as environment protection. The only explanation that any Hindu tradition requires is ‘I find God this way.’

Hinduism seeks neither logic nor expels an individual for ‘not doing things right.’ Isn’t it true that Hindu traditions have evolved tremendously over time, and yet remained traditions? That is the very essence of Hindutva – to let people live life their way. So the next time you see a woman circling a holy tree, do not assume the tree gives out a lot of oxygen – just know she finds God that way. We do not come with an attached doctrine; let’s stop attaching one to ourselves!

Ashwini Jain

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