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Essay donated by Chintamani Rath


So, why am I a Hindu?

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Sometime in late September 1999, a senior Roman Catholic priest made remarks to the following effect in my presence in an informal setting (but in his "territory"):

"I think it is high time that we all stop thinking of God in a primitive and pagan manner as a terrible and frightening Being ever ready to mete out fearsome punishment to sinners and begin to think of God in a more acceptable manner as One who is merciful, kind, benevolent, loving, compassionate and ever ready to forgive sinners when they repent sincerely".

Since the season was that of Durga Puja and Kali Puja (the great annual Hindu festivals celebrating the Glory of the Mother Goddess in Her Form as Durga and thereafter in Her Form as Kali), his references and implications were obvious. He was referring, in an uncomplimentary manner, to those particular manifestations of the Almighty towards which we direct our minds during these festivals. He either did not realize or chose to remain silent on the point that apart from these two manifestations of the Supreme Being, there are others, too, of the aspect and demeanor well-depicted by his own description of a desirable and acceptable Supreme Being, such as Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Bhavani, Vaishnavi and more.

Why should there be so many "manifestations" of the same and one and only Supreme Being? This is a separate subject and will be addressed later in this section.

On another occasion soon after the priest's remark, a Muslim colleague commented:

"With the passage of time society progresses and becomes increasingly more refined. So a later religion is more scientific and incorporates the accumulated wisdom of greater human experience. Since Islam is later than both Hinduism and Christianity, it is more advanced than the latter two and hence more acceptable".

At that time (1999) the reverend's and my colleague's comments prompted me to write a small article explaining why in spite of their arguments I am and continue to remain, and very happily so, a proud and thankful Hindu. An annual publication in Calcutta did me the honor of publishing it, and this section is based in part upon that article.

Topics covered in this section:

bullet Religions in India. The essential nature of Hinduism
bullet Yama: basic human values in Hinduism
bullet Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism. The presence of evil in religions

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Copyright Chintamani Rath. Taken from: Contact Dr Rath for permission to use.
Initial posting: 2009-SEP-30
Latest update: 2009-SEP-30
Author: Chintamani Rath. Email:

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