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Jeff DeSouza

8/31/01

Response to Chapter 1 of Hinduism

 

 

The aforementioned chapter of Hinduism was a brief overview of the religion. It was written from the point of view of someone who might be completely ignorant of Hinduism taking a stroll through the city of Varanasi, looking for an idea of what the general principles of it might be. It turns out that such a person would find such commonalities hard to pin down.

It mentions that Hindus separate themselves into castes. I found it funny that the book mention that because the caste system is so ingrained into Indian culture that even non-Hindus are segregated within the caste system. Incidentally, I am of the Kshatriya caste (in that both my parents are both Kshatriyas) though my family is Roman Catholic. Of course such caste distinctions have no real meaning here in America (except to let me go around saying that Iím of the warrior or ruling class).

I also appreciated the metaphor that the author of the book used at the end of the chapter comparing the Hindu religion to a pack-rat. The passage about Hindu business men consulting their astrologers about auspicious days reminded me of my friendís mother who gets her lottery numbers from fortune cookies and consults her horoscope almost religiously. Perhaps she was one of those businessmen in a previous life.

Iíve always liked the idea of reincarnation. The possibility of an almost infinite number of chances to attain the Hindu equivalent of Heaven seems very attractive to me (as opposed to the typical Christian concept that a person takes a straight-shot ride to either Heaven or Hell after death).