It is time Hindus live in Hindutva and become Hindus worth being called so. Nowadays we see, many name-sake Hindus trying to ride the Hindutva wave. They come forward as ‘proud’ Hindus, but many of them lack any knowledge on the basics of our Dharma. This is basically because they are not practising Hindus. Somehow many Hindus are in an illusion that, just by being ‘proud’ can make them good Hindus. This is not correct at all. Whether we like it or not, the unity of Semitic cults come from the daily practice of their religion. They come together for prayers, they assemble to listen to discourses, they read their holy texts and discuss. Except for committed volunteers of organizations like Sangh, common Hindus of Kerala have lost all such practices. Hollow secularism has become our religion and replaced our religious practices.
All such rituals and practices give immense strength. In fact no other religion offers such rich practices like those available in Hinduism. We have innumerable different forms of self development practices catering to any type of individual. But just praising and expressing hollow ‘pride’ doesn’t help even a bit. There is no alternative to practice. I have seen many Hindu gentlemen accompanying their ladies to temples. But they just keep themselves away from involving in the worship etc, as if this is something for the weak minded, or blind believers. Let alone doing any japa or participate in any bhajan etc. This sort of aversion is the end result of too many of self styled intellectuals trying to enlighten the Hindu society.
I won’t mind blaming even some of the new generation TV Swamis too for creating such a situation. When such religious teachers who know only the meaning of the slokas but have no personal experience of their own, try to teach others, they create vaccum spaces in the minds of people. Neither the acharyas nor the listeners notice it then. But later people see themselves disconnected with even some of the basic ideas and practices. We need a balanced approach. Some physical and mental practice, some study and contemplation, Satsangs, little bit of meditation and Seva. All these practices will act complimentary to each other and give us energy to move forward as an individual and as a society.
As Hindus we need to adopt some sort of a long term plan to discipline ourselves and stick to that till we get the guidance of a realized soul to move to the next level. I am talking about simple practices like daily namajapam (chanting of namas), lighting of the lamps, daily reading of atleast one sheet of one of the holy texts etc. I have taken Mantra Deeksha from my guru 25 years back when I was just out of college. From that time onwards wherever I go, I have this feeling of my commitment to do japam for a minimum prescribed times before going to bed. That connnects me to god and my guru on a day-to-day basis. Such deeksha or commitment will help one to stick to a practice on a long term basis. Another practice that can be considered is the chanting of Vishnu or Laitha Sahasranamam on Pournami (Full Moon) days. I observe Ramayana Masam and make it a point to read the full holy text in that month. Every time I do this, I come across new ideas which have’nt caught my attention before. Thus I get to know the profound way in which the deep spiritual truths are explained in simple ways and connnecting with simpler experiences in life.
Irrespective of whether I go for the pilgrimage or not, during Sabarimala season, I observe vratham by completely avoiding non-vegetarian foods. Also I visit the temple everyday for 41 days. To avoid disruption which could come due to other engagements, I visit the temple early in the morning during Nirmalya Darshanam. On the pithru tharppanam day, I perform that. In my experience I can say that, if we make a commitment and start following such things, the energy and motivation to take it forward also will come from the same itself. This gives us the moral strength to advise our children to follow this. Else they are not going to listen to us.
I feel atleast in some cases, the religious conversion is the sprouting of the seeds other religions have sowed long before in the minds of those people when they were kids. Those seeds will remain in us unknown, untill when we face a real challenge in life. Those who don’t have access to any social support system, will turn towards others in search of support. Only way to avoid this situation is to develop self confidence in kids and some basic understanding and self respect about our religion and culture. We need to gain those attributes in the first place.