Hinduism: a confusing present-day practice for the new generation

Tales of religion: Panelists speak at a discussion titled ‘What Constitutes Hinduism?’, in Mumbai.

Tales of religion: Panelists speak at a discussion titled ‘What Constitutes Hinduism?’, in Mumbai.

Many misconceptions regarding Hindu rituals were discussed by experts at an event in the city on Saturday.

“The biggest example is of saat phere (moving around a sacred fire in the wedding ceremony seven times by husband and wife) in the Hindi cinema and TV serials. There is no such concept in any of the texts,” said Prof. Ganesh Thite, former head of department of Sanskrit and Prakrit Languages, University of Pune.

Prof. Thite was speaking at a panel discussion titled ‘What Constitutes Hinduism?’ organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) based on Ashok Mishra’s newly published book, Hinduism: Ritual, Reason and Beyond .

The panel also consisted of Prof. Vibha Tripathi, professor emeritus, department of Ancient History and Archaeology, Banaras Hindu University, Prof. Madhavi Narsalay, department of Sanskrit, Mumbai University and Dr. Amruta Natu, assistant curator, manuscripts library, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune.

Defining a Hindu, Prof. Tripathi said regardless of going to a temple or performing rituals or believing in concepts like rebirth or aatma (soul), one continues to be a Hindu by virtue of being born in a family of Hindus. “For the younger generation, they don’t have to do anything to be Hindu, they just are Hindus,” she said.

Mr. Mishra said he found that the younger generation rejects Hinduism because they find it difficult to believe many of the concepts.

“The beauty of Hinduism is that it is not restricting or strictly defining. You are Hindu, no matter what elements compose your beliefs of the religion,” he said.

The panelists also spoke of the essential factors of Hinduism, vedic rituals of sacrifice, the role of Mahabharata & Ramayana and the controversial subject of the Aryan race. They also shed light on the importance German and French languages play in studying and understanding Sanskrit.

Ms. Narsalay said the structure of Hinduism was not monolithic but diverse and heterogeneous in nature. “In this age of globalisation, everything is standardised and homogeneous. Individual identities are being wiped out and society is becoming faceless. The need to stand out to retain one’s individuality is ever rising,” she said.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2022 8:58:29 pm |