During my high school days, I chose Sanskrit as one of the langauge subjects, mainly because it was a scoring subject when compared to Kannada or Hindi. For next 7 years I read (didn’t study) sanskrit, but wasn’t able to speak or understand anything more than what was on text books. I am not a god person, that doesn’t mean that I am an aethist. It is just that I was bit upset with god, with the tragidies that happened in school and college days and wasn angry with god.
From past couple of days I have been trying to read and understand BhagavadGita and I find it completely pleasent and surprising at same time. What I find completely astonishing is that people from other communities (Muslim, Christians, etc) are able to link themselves to their holy books, when compared to Hindus. When I was growing up, I had many muslim friends, and Tanveer Ali (Currently not in touch) was my best friend, he was a huge support during my school days. His family was an orthodox muslim family and they read Kuran and performed their daily prayers. But my other hindu freinds were not much intrested in BhagavadGita or any mythological texts, many knew certain prayers or hymes, but were limitedly introduced to ancient hindu texts. And this trend has continued till today, and in my work place I don’t see much people who have practiced or intrested or read them. If you question a Muslim or a christian or buddhist, etc , whether they have practiced or read them, they would have certainly done and believed in them.
One of my friend was married to a muslim (A love marraige and I am happy for her). I wasn’t in touch with her for a long time and was fortunate enough to meet her on this christmas eve. After some chit, chat I told her that, she had become religious. One thing that I noticed while conversing with her that she had become very religious and this was something new to expect from her.She started with her efforts to learn Arabic, Allah is great, how knowledgeful is Khuraan, etc etc. I asked her a simple question, have read BhagavadGita or vedas any time, her answer was plain and simple, “No”. I have thought about gifting her a BhagavadGita and would ask her to read it atleast once.
In this above scenario it was clear that we hindus never take our religious books and read, forget about practicing, we don’t even read them. I have seen many many people reading a Chetan Bhagat, Harry Potter, Dan Brown, John Grisham, etc, but I have never seen any one reading a BhagavadGita, Vedas, Kuvempu, Rabindranath Tagore, etc.
We know what’s the current scenario, but do we know why is it so. Here are some reasons for it:
Ignorance: First and foremost, during our childhood days we wouldn’t be exposed to these, but when we start maturing during our teen and tweens, its uncool to study Vedas or BhagavadGita (During our college days, one of the lecturer was conducting a Vedic class during lunch hours and was attended only by a handful of people in the student strength of over thousand). Or you might term this as Peer Pressure. This Ignorance would definately pass on to next generation, in my friends scenario this is what has happened.
Politicising Hindu Scripts : This is the most common problem that I see in today’s world, Veda’s or BhagavadGita is not restricted to a particular caste in Hindu religion. When word Veda or BhagavadGita is used than majority of the people think that is for the Brahmins, but its not so. Lord Krishna or Shiva or Vishnu doesn’t have any caste they are universal. What people forget is that they have to atleast read them once, rather than studying or practicing. What’s wrong in knowing things.
Its Old and Stale : I would like to clarify one thing, these Ideas or concepts are not old or stale its true and will be true till our human race survives. One of the quotes that BhagavdGita tells is that “Perform your duties and never worry about the results”, and this same concept are found in the song “Don’t Worry be Happy”, sung by Booby McFerrin. Everyone knows about Theorems, whether we understood or not we were supposed know it and do well in exams. Take into account Pythogaras Theorem, this was expalined in the Sulabha Sutra, written in 500 BC. I.e, almost 460 years before this Pythogaras introduced. Old! remember we still use it in our life and will keep on using it in future too (In School, College, CAT, GMAT, etc, etc).
Only Western : Our generation only accept things that comes from westerners, a few years back there were no takers of Yoga in India, but once it went around the globe and came back, than the demand for it has increased many folds. In Schools and Offices, Christmas is celebrated with lots of spirit, but the same doesn’t come up during a Diwali or a Ugadi (Especailly in Outsourcing Industry). People hesitate to eat Samosa and Kachori, but are always ready for a Cake, Pizza, burger, etc, why is this guilt feeling so terribly associated with us.
Narrow Thinking : People are not supported or encouraged to read them or study them as a concept or pleasure reading. Its always been forced down the throat as a spiritual text, yes, certain guidelines were set, but it wasn’t stringent as it is being made up. When I started it, it was done during lunch hours and it was done in a class room, we were not wearing a dhoti, or ladies were not in a Saree, it was a casual reading and understanding. I am certain about this, as our profesor was a higly regarded Priest and a multiple PHD holder in vedic science.
Misunderstanding : Hinduism and Mythology texts are the most misunderstood of all the religious texts available in the whole world. In Sanskrit word “Maamsam” meant “Pulp of fruits”. in the year 2001 or 2002, one of the local news papers published an article, which put this meaning as “Meat” and it went on and tried to completly nulify the original meaning, this was an half baked story. But anyone who read this would be greatly influenced by it. And one more thing, TV / Movies is a major factor in influencing people’s mind these days, most the TV programs are made for TRP’s please don’t believe them, because its been written for the purpose of dramatisation and nothing else.
Preachy : Many people tell that its preachy, God praising, etc etc. Guys, please do read them as a fantasy fiction, as we do read a Brown, Sheldon, JK Rowling. But they hesitate to read hindu mythology, agreed it was written in the BC’s, but its fun and read as though you are reading something about Narnia, Gotham, etc.
I am definately sure that most of the Teens and Tweens wouldn’t read any of the mythological books, becasue they think its bulky or unsexy. Guys, wake up, Temple in Khajuraho and Kamasutra were the ideas of Hindus, and you have definately read description of Shakuntala, Urvashi and Radha, in these books, you would be just blown away by the boldness projected in them.
One last thing, if we haven’t read any of the hindu mythological or ancient scripts than its better to give it a try and read it as a fantasy fiction and I sure there would be atleast few instances which would be fun.