Indian Culture – A Magnet for Seekers
A spiritual process can take shape in any culture only after material needs are taken care of. It is natural for people to initially believe that if their food, housing, clothing and the little luxuries they are dreaming of are taken care of, everything will be okay. When all those things are taken care of and you realize that you are still not fulfilled as a human being, that is when you naturally turn inward. If that has to happen, you need a social and cultural situation which is peaceful and well established for a long period of time. That is an advantage that the Indian culture had in the past. All other cultures were in strife, warfare, and search of conquest most of the time. Because of this, there were no established societies. This culture had a long phase of established social and cultural situations where naturally, people looked beyond material comfort towards their inner wellbeing. Because of this, such a powerful spiritual process evolved here. There are a million different ways through which you can attain to your ultimate nature.
Every aspect of life from something as simple as breathing, eating, sitting, and standing was evolved as a spiritual process in this culture. The ultimate nature of a human being, the nature that is beyond the physical has been explored so extensively.
A lot of it is unfortunately being lost. We are unable to really preserve that. But still it is a live culture. A certain strand which is thousands of years old has been kept alive. Whether it is vibrating and resonating in common people’s lives or not is a questionable thing, but as a thread it has survived and still continues to exist.
Someone who put it in very simple terms was Mark Twain. He was really intrigued by Indian mysticism and wanted to see it first hand, so he came to India. He had a good guide who took him to the right places. He spent a little over three months and when he was leaving he said that anything that can ever be done either by man or God has been done in this land. That is the kind of impression it made on him and that is how it is. If you are willing to open your eyes and look into it, the variety of what has been done in terms of human consciousness has never happened anywhere else on the planet.
This is the only culture which does not have a religion as such. Religions have cropped up now only because of external influences. Otherwise, as a culture, there is no religion in this land. We have something called Sanatana Dharma. That means a universal religion. A universal religion does not mean one religion for everyone. We are talking about all of us having our own religion.
Hindu is a geographical identity. Anyone who is born in the land of Indus or the civilization that came from the banks of Indus is a Hindu. You can worship a man and be a Hindu, you can worship a woman and be a Hindu, you can worship a snake or a cow or a monkey or a rock and be a Hindu. You can worship your wife, your husband or your child and be a Hindu. Or you can do no worship at all in your life and still be a Hindu. It does not ascribe to any particular religious belief as such.
This is not a religion, this is just a possibility. Everybody can do whatever means most to them. No other culture has given this freedom to the people in their land.
Every other culture insisted that people must believe in whatever was dominant in that culture. If you did not believe that, you naturally were the enemy or an outcast who needed to be dealt with, either crucified or burnt on the stake or chased away. There was no persecution in this land simply because no one has any particular belief system. In your own house, the husband will be worshiping one god, the wife another god, the children another god – there is no problem. Every individual can seek his own way. But the most important thing is, everyone should strive for his ultimate liberation.
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