[During January, State of Formation entered into a collaboration with The Interfaith Observer to address the subject of meaning making. Eight contributors from various faith and ethical traditions were asked to describe what makes meaning within their practices and/or tradition.]
What makes meaning for me within my tradition is that I come from a tradition that focuses on human engineering. Sanatana Dharma, the Universal Reality, or Hinduism as modern civilization calls it, teaches one that ones own experience, logical reasoning, and introspection are the key path to leading a spiritual and religious life. I would go as far to call it a spiritual ‘religion’ rather than a religion in the modern context. The Monks, Sages, Seers, Yogis, Rishis of this ancient tradition speak and continue to teach that every human being regardless of caste, creed, religion, race, ethnicity, and color are potentially divine. To prove this, Hinduism does not focus on one spiritual scripture nor does it focus on one central figure. Rather it has created six systems of philosophies. It has discovered that achieving the ultimate God-Consciousness or Bliss within oneself is equal to achieving liberation. To explain this, it has practically and scientifically created a system called Yoga, the holistic understanding of the divinity within the human body. Hinduism continues to show human beings that we cannot blindly follow scriptures and that it is our duty or dharma to dissect, study, and practically apply scriptures. For this reason, Hinduism went from the first four Vedas to the Upanishads, then to the Puranas, then to the Sutras and then to the Bhagavad Gita. Hinduism continues, through the teachings of present Swamis and Yogis, to create more sacred texts of wisdom that make it easy for the human being to understand not just its human potential but its divine potential.
In my life, Hinduism makes meaning to me by giving me the ultimate freedom to live a life of my own without any restrictions. Hinduism’s stance on many social issues comes as an advisory rather than a commandment, allowing one’s unique soul to make its own decisions. Furthermore, it does not forbid me to study and understand the Truth that lies within other religions and other Prophetic teachings. For this reason, Hinduism does not see the reason to convert between religions, it puts no emphasis on material labels or titles---for this body is material and this name of mine is material. Hinduism’s logical approach to the development of concepts such as reincarnation, karma, and Atman or Soul/Spirit allows me as an individual to be more spiritual rather than religious or ritualistic, allows me to focus on conquering the Self before I go out and conquer the world, and ultimately allows me carve my own holistic spiritual path. Hence, Hinduism to me makes meaning because it allows me to live and let live.