The Philosophy of 'Hinduism' is basically 'FREEDOM'; freedom from bias, freedom to be creative, freedom to pray one's own images, idols, names which are results of creativity of free and unfettered minds. Hinduism gives this freedom of mental creativity. That is the reason why there can be as many gods in Hinduism as the number of Hindus. This is what the Great Sage Vivekananada had once said to a mocking and teasing question from a Christian Missionary. Forcing people to believe in a single god is not freedom, leave them free they will come up with a million gods.
As for caste system. There are only four classes differentiated by 'nature' in Hinduism. And, as for Shastras, this nature (or Varna or Prakriti or Guna), is not through parentage; it depends upon influence of cosmic energy (result of nearest cosmic bodies) on the child depending upon place and time of birth. This is Hindu 'Dharmacharam'.
As for the myriad castes among Hindus, the mistake is not with 'Dharmacharam'; the castes are a creation of 'Lokacharam'. Hinduism as such has nothing to do with this 'Lokacharam'.
As for the the so called evil practices, the remedy comes only through genuine education. These evil practices are not in Hindu Dharmacharam. They have come through 'Lokacharam'. This 'Lokacharam' to be reformed, genuine education is the only weapon. Where in India, genuine education is being given at any level (primary, secondary, higher secondary and higher level) is a question. Educate the masses with 'real knowledge'. The so called evil practices will go. No other great effort is required. Genuine education is possible through only genuine teachers. I am sorry to say, the percentage of genuine teachers in India is only miniscule. Reform education, everything else will fall in its exact place.
Don't blame Hinduism for all evils. The philolosophy which our ancient sages and seers have expounded is universal. It is not limited to only Hindus. There cannnot be a Hindu Philosophy, a Christian Philosophy, a Muslim Philosophy. There can be only one Philosophy and that must be a universal philosophy. That is what our, great masters after freeing themselves from personal bias, have given us, a truly universal philosophy.
Gentle lady, I don't have time to enter into a lengthy dialogue on matters like this. You winnow the chaff away from the grain. There is so much of chaff of 'lokacharam' attached to the grain of Hindu 'dharmacharam'. These 'lokacharam' and 'dharmacharam' are two quite different things. If there is a truly universal philosophy that philosophy was given to the world by our great sages and seers, long, long back............
K.N.Prudhvi Raju Professor, Department of Geography Faculty of Science Banaras Hindu University Varanasi-221005 __._,_.___
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