This is Week 1 of our six-week World Religion Series. We begin with Hinduism. Though not Indian, Larisa Stow is a long-time student of Hinduism and a Hindu Musician as well, often performing with her band, “Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe.” She will be playing some Kirtan Music on Sunday and engaging in a dialogue with Rev. Kathy about the subject of Hinduism, and especially some of the Hindu Gods.
Hinduism has always held a deep fascination for me from the time I was a teenager.
I discovered Paramahansa Yogananda’s amazing Autobiography of a Yogi and was ready to race off to find my spiritual teacher! Some of the Hindu teachings that are included in his book have stayed with me through the years. In addition, I took a Hatha Yoga class during my college days. Each week for over a year, the teacher would read to us from the Bhagavad Gita, often called the Hindu Bible. The teachings began to sink in after months of hearing them read aloud.
I most likely would have delved deeper into the religion than I did, had it not been for the language, which was hard to pronounce and even harder to remember. Nevertheless, I always end up in deep conversations with the Hindu people I have met. I remember one man on an airplane who spent the entire flight teaching me about the subject because of my avid interest.
When I served in a Unity ministry in Northern California, I had a wonderful Hindu man who was part of my congregation. He would come to me to interpret his dreams, and often he would dream about cobras, which are associated with different Hindu Gods, especially Lord Shiva. He, like many Hindus I have met, had the most peaceful soul. “Ahimsa,” or non-violence, is a large part of their culture and teachings.
Gandhi said, “Hinduism with its message of ahimsa is to me the most glorious religion in the world.” Swami Radhanath said, “The essence of Hinduism is the same essence of all true religions: Bhakti or pure love for God and genuine compassion for all beings.”Like all religions, some of the practices fall very short of the teachings. For example, in Hinduism, the caste system which separates people into higher or lower categories and treats some as untouchables, is a distortion of the Truth and the pure teaching. Mahatma Gandhi also said, “Hinduism dies if untouchability lives, and untouchability has to die if Hinduism is to live.” Hinduism may not make changes as quickly as some would like, but it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Of the world’s major religions today, it is considered the oldest, in existence since 10,000 BCE or earlier. It is deep and profound, but there are always nuggets of wisdom wherever you delve in the vast complexity of Hinduism.
Please join us to hear more about this amazing subject at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday.
Also join me at 12:45 p.m. on this Sunday (February 17) after service for a one-hour follow-up class on the subject of Hinduism.
Love & blessings,