THE very essence of Hinduism is engraved in its greeting “Namaste”.

It means “divine values inherent in me respect the divine values inherent in you”. Hinduism was never a religion. Life was sacred. Every individual performing his duties and responsibilities was on a great inner journey of self realisation. It was a “value based” as opposed to “class based” or “caste based” system as is misconstrued by many.

White clothes reflected light and being devoid of dyes were nature friendly. Simple living and high thinking were norms. Life was minimalistic yet fulfilling. Temples were adorned with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and gold symbolic of iridescent beauty of divinity.

“Child” was “a “child of every family” and “mother” carried forward her maternal instincts to every child. Women were respected for motherhood and creative abilities.

This was the philosophy behind arranged marriages. Her lasting inner beauty was respected over fading external beauty.

The dedicated cleaner [shudra] who swept the streets, preventing disease was as important as the healing physician who cured disease. The priest [Brahmin] spreading knowledge that kept the intellect and thoughts pure and morals high was as valued as the courageous, brave and valour filled warrior [Kshatriya] who protected his land and women and children on both sides, his own and that of the enemies.

The honest tradesman [Vaisya] selling healthy fruits and vegetables was as important as the honest, conscientious labourer [shudra] who built the house he lived in. It was co-existence and co dependence, based on honesty, integrity, respect and simplicity. Caste system and hierarchy were a later introduction with invasions which smeared and smudged the once clean fabric of the society.

If God created man in his own image than how can we based on our acquired professions create images of inequality.

Class system as stated by the Prominent British Sociologist Richard Howard needs to be buried. Unfortunately the coffins stay empty despite repeated attempts at burying it. It only finds new ways of expressing itself.

The fragrances that emanate from Bhagwad Gita, the sacred texts of Hindus can only be understood by diving deep into the abyss of each word.

Dr Manjula Arora

Hinduism Way of Life