Saw this excellent piece from facebook post some 5 years ago…
Eu. – So, Erode, we were discussing about your name before you came.
Me. – What about it?
Eu. – Is Erode your first name? Is it your given name?
Me. – (laughing) Erode is not my given name. Prabhakaran is. Erode is the name of the city that my ancestors apparently came from. It is like Faro, or Lisbon or Bologna.
Eu. – Then how come it is your first name?
Me. – See, when I was filling my passport details during my graduation, I had to fill something into the First name and last name column. I had no idea what these meant then. This is how my name appears in my school registers and this is how I filled it in my passport.
Eu. – Ok. We were wondering, because, who would name their child Erode?!
Me. – Why?
Eu. – You know that Erode was one of the bad kings in Bible right?! We won’t name our kids Erode!!
Me. – I know the king Nero. But not Erode.
Anyway, I don’t know how many people read the Bible here in Italy. But in India, in general, we hardly sit and read these books. We respect those who follow religion, just like we love and respect all. But the stories that are prevalent in India about anything – not just religions – are those that talk about their positives! Like the Loving nature of Jesus. His teachings, etc.
I can assure you, almost no one in our who society would have known about the biblical connection to Erode when they included it in my name!!!! (laughter)!
Eu. – So what percentage of Indians are Hindus? You are a Hindu right?
Me. – All those existing in our country are Hindus.
Eu. – But I have heard that lot of muslims and Christians are there too!?
Me. – You are confusing religion with Geography. Hindu is not a religion. It was a name given by Aristotle / Plato while referring to the geographic peninsula that was East of the Indus river. Megasthanis and Selucus who accompanied Alexander also mention it for the first time in their description of this land, which is called as Bharath.
So, everything here is Hindu.
Eu. – But I am talking about the Hinduism. The religion.
Me. – There is nothing called as the Hinduism or the Hindu religion. We never had religion in Bharath. Religion was introduced in our land through incursions and invasions by the Arabian slave dynasties in the 12th century. After that people like Marco Polo and Vasco da Gama and later the Brits brought the religion of Christianity to our land.
(There was a discussion on Jesus coming to India – which I will mention in another write up).
What you “mean” as Hindus are those who follow “Dharma” – which is righteousness.
Eu. – Let me put it this way. What is your holy book?
Me. – Ha Ha Ha!!!! What is Not Holy? Especially in our land of Bharath?!
We see divinity in All existence. We believe that everything is an expression of the same One Divinity. We see Divinity in a mouse, a mountain, a snake, a bull or a human! Perhaps you can call that as Hinduism! Seeing Divinity in All!
So, we don’t have any book that is holier than the other.
Eu. – What about the Taanthra, Kamasutra?
Me. – Ha Ha Ha!! Nice that you have been introduced to these! These are a part of a large body under the Sanskrit Literature. Sanskrit literature is vast and is broadly divided under the categories. Sruti, Smriti, samhita, Itihasa, purana, kaavya, shastras. These Taantra and Kamasutra are a miniscule part of Shastras.
Each of these categories is rich in anecdotes, prescription if you may, of Life and Living.
Shastras, for example, are the compilation of the research findings of our ancestors. Yoga shastra is one of them, for example. Artha Shatra (Economics and accounting), Ayurveda (medicine), Vaana Shastra (Astronomy, Panchaanga Shastra (Astrology), etc. are all part of it.
They are not by one single person. Nor are they from one single time domain. They are collective literature of verifiable experimental findings on existence, transactions of existence and their well-being.
Eu. – So you don’t have a particular revelation? The holy book like the Bible?
Me. – No. We don’t have any book of commandments. There is nothing that says, you follow this or you are doomed.
Eu. – Wow!!! “You” are just a book of revelations now! This a absolutely mind-boggling! You people don’t have a religion!! This is just Huge! So, is morality important in your … in you?!
Me. – Do you realize that you don’t have to have a religion to exist?!
Vyasa, who compiled a lot of the Shrutis and Smrutis of the Sanskrit literature several thousands of years ago, was asked to condense the essence of all of the Upanishads and the Vedas into a couplet.
He said – the essence of all Puranas, Itihasas, Srutis, etc. is
“Love All, Serve All.
Help Ever, Hurt Never.”
That is all.
Perhaps this is our only commandment – or prescription.
As long as you follow these, you can improvise in life.
Eu. – But what about when you need guidance? Like situations in life?!
Me. – What guidance do you need in life other than “Love all, Serve all”? These define both the Goals and the Methods.
If your child falls into a pond, which holy book will you first consult before jumping to rescue it?!
Eu. I must say Erode, I am sorry Erode is easier to pronounce for me, I have never heard such broad but crisp revelations before!
Me. – Come to India! Our taxi drivers can give you these!
Eu. – So, where is God in your scheme of things?!
Me. – You tell me? Where is God? There is Divinity in Everything, Everywhere, Every instance. Everything is Just ONE. When Everything is ONE, then God must also be You! and You must also be God.
See, You see the variety in creation. And see that it is changing and infinite.
We see the underlying principle that is connecting ALL this variety. Which is ONE!
You see the Pots and Ceramics. We see the Clay!
You see the stars, We see the sky!
You see the ornaments, We see the Gold!
You see the religions, We see Divinity!
Eu. – This is just mind boggling! Is there a way to convert to Hinduism?!
Me. – You don’t have to leave your religion to be a Hindu!
Eu. – ?! You mean yu can follow Hinduism along with other religions!
Me. – Ha Ha Ha …. See, I told you, it is not a religion! It is a way of life. It is Dharma. It is Clarity of Vision. It is Pure Existence!
The moment you appreciate “Love All, Serve All”, you have realized the so called “Hindu” in you! You can give it any name you want to – if you still have not realized that there is nothing in these names like Hinduism, Christianity, etc.
Eu. – Are you a Guru?
Me. – Well, today, I Am. To those of you who have seeked.
Eu. – Erode, we should do all our lunches together! This is awesome! We are loving it!