The moral and ethical ordinances in other religions
are applicable to all their followers. In Hinduism too there is a
code of conduct meant for all varnas and all jatis. But in
addition to this, there are separate dharmas for jatis with
different vocations. There is no intermingling of these vocations
and their corresponding dharmas. This fact is central to Hinduism
and to its eternal character.
This religion has flourished for countless eons.
What is the reason for its extraordinarily long history. If
Hinduism has survived so long it must be due to some quality
unique to it, something that gives it support and keeps it going.
No other religion is known to have lasted so long. When I think
of our religion I am reminded of our temples. They are not kept
as clean as churches or mosques. The latter are frequently
whitewashed. There are so many plants sprouting from the gopurams
and our temples support all of them. The places of worship of
other religions have to be repaired every two or three years. Our
sanctuaries are different because they are built of granite.
Their foundations, laid thousands of years ago, still remain
sturdy. That is why our temples have lasted so long without the
need for frequent repair. We do so much to damage them and are
even guilty of acts of sacrilege against them, but they withstand
all the abuses. All are agreed that India has the most ancient
temples. People come from abroad to take photographs of them.
These temples still stand as great monuments to our civilization
in spite of our neglect of them and our indifference. It is not
easy to pull them down. Perhaps it is more difficult to demolish
these edifices than it must have been to build them.
Our religion to repeat is like these temples. It is
being supported by something that we do not seem to know,
something that is not present in other faiths. It is because of
this "something" that in spite of all the differences,
it is still alive.
This something is varnasrama dharma. In other
religions there is a common dharma for all and we think that that
is the reason for their greatness. These religions seem to touch
the heights of glory at one time but at other times they are laid
low. Christianity supplanted Buddhism in some countries. Islam
replaced Christianity or Christianity replaced Islam. We know
these developments as historical facts. The civilizations and
religions that evolved in ancient Greece and China no longer
exist today. Hinduism is the witness to all such changes in other
religions and it is subject to attacks from inside and outside.
Yet it lives-it refuses to die.
There was a palm-tree round which a creeper entwined
itself. The creeper grew fast and within months it entwined the
entire tree. "This palm has not grown a bit all these
months", the creeper said laughing. The palm-tree
retorted: "I have seen ten thousand creepers in my life. Each
creeper before you said the same thing as you have now said. I
don't know what to say to you." Our religion is like tree
in relations to all other faiths.
Although there are separate duties and religious
rites for the different castes in our religion, the fruit of the
rites are same for all.
"Hindu Dharma" is a book
which contains English translation of certain invaluable and
engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at
various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here