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UNITED STATES, June 2, 2010: Trying to explain the core beliefs of “Hinduism” to an interested observer can be challenging to say the least. It’s often stated that the word “Hinduism” itself is a total misnomer, as it basically refers to the sum total of spiritual and religious thought and practice that has taken place on the Indian subcontinent over the past 5,000 years. And let’s just say it’s been a busy 5,000 years.
The sheer volume of spiritual literature and doctrine, the number of distinct Gods worshiped (over 30 million, according to some sources), the breadth of distinct philosophies and practices that have emerged, and the total transformation over time of many of the core Indic teachings and beliefs can be disconcerting to those raised in monotheistic cultures, as we are used to each faith bringing with it a defined set of beliefs that — with the exception of some denominational rifts over the centuries — stay pretty much consistent over time. However, the key point of differentiation between
Hinduism and these other faiths is not polytheism vs. monotheism. The key differentiation is that “Hinduism” is Open Source and most other faiths are Closed Source. “Open source is an approach to the design, development, and distribution of software, offering practical accessibility to software source code.”
As the Gods change and the evolution of Indic thought leads us to increasingly modern and post-modern views of the nature of reality, the old Vedic codes still remain front and center. One of Hinduism’s defining factors is that the historic view of god, the nature worship and shamanism, never went away, so that god as currently worshiped exists simultaneously as symbol and archetype as well as literal embodiment.
That Shiva, for instance, could simultaneously be the light of ultimate consciousness and an ash-smeared apparent madman who frequents cremation grounds is a delight to us spiritual anarchists, while mind numbing to most western Theologists. Western and Middle Eastern monotheistic faiths have simply not allowed such liberal interpretation of their God. They continue to exist as closed source systems.
“Generally, closed source means only the binaries of a computer program are distributed and the license provides no access to the program’s source code. The source code of such programs might be regarded as a trade secret of the company.” One of the defining facts of Christian history is that access to God has been viewed — as in most closed source systems — as a trade secret.
The ability to reinterpret the bible, or the teachings of Christ, or the Old Testament or to challenge the basic fundamental authority of the church has been nonexistent for most of the church’s history. Those who dared to do so were quite often killed.
In Indic thought, there is no trade secret. The foundation of yoga is that the key to god, or the macrocosm, or the absolute … lies within the individual and can be accessed through a certain set of practices. It’s a beautifully simple but ultimately profound concept that has been allowed to flourish unchecked for millennia. The process of discovering and re-imagining the divine is in your hands. The God Project.
Satguru SIVAYA-SUBRAMUNIYA-SWAMI and Trichi SWAMIGAL of Banglore interested me immeasurably.