The World of Religions/ Living Hinduism
Grasping for the Divine Pathway
The last day of the International Literature and Arts Festival, Valley of Words, saw a session on spirituality and religious ways of achieving it.
Swami Samarpanananda, of the Ramakrishna Mission, was invited to speak upon the topic and propagate the ideas his book ‘The Hindu Way’, talks about. The learned monk, who teaches ancient and modern scriptures at Ramarkrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, has had his books well appreciated both in India and abroad, and it is through his writings he wants to advance the idea or growth through struggle. In his speech, he said personal struggle is only an accelerating point for an individual’s growth.
- Sridhar, moderating the event, and also the Deputy Director of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration (LBSNAA), Mussorie, India, and also a friend of Samarpanananda asked questions that brought out just the right answers. It is only by turning away from external acquisition can we achieve oneness with God.
The idea of oneness was debated about at length, and the uniqueness of religions exemplified upon. The esteemed speaker mentioned that although, except for the concept of eternal hell, Hinduism’s tenets were common to those of all major religions, along with Judaism, it was the only religion that did not specify God’s name, nor focused on a rigid monolithic nature of there being a singular entity.
“Ramcharitmanas being only one of the several renditions of Ramayana, it should not be the sole reference point for Hindus and theologians, or anyone interested in the teachings of the religion through Ram.”, said the Swami, as he went on to separate the role of organized religion from that of spirtuality.
The concept that religion was for the masses, he said, holds some truth. He could not say the same for spirituality. “It is only there for the select few. Everyone neither has the transcendental capacity not the correct pathway forward to achieve spirituality.” Through his book, he said he wants to help more people tread on that path, and to look beyond the aspect of laws and teachings of our scriptures and move beyond the conversations that revolve around a superficial understanding of what religion’s role is supposed to be in our lives.
The session enhanced public perception of Hinduism and what it means today, as well did much to lay out a less exhaustive means of pleasing the God(s) that oversee the mundane, and provide the means through which we can inch closer to what might be, the divine.
Yusra Khan, St. Stephens