Remember, we are Hindus; our goal is Atma Darsana and the way is Yoga!
From the Rig Veda:
इन्दुः समुद्रमुदियर्ति वायुभिरेन्द्रस्य (H)induḥ samudramudiyarti vāyubhirendrasya –Rig Veda 9.84.
(H)indu, with the support of the breath and Indra grap hold of the cosmic ocean [Atma Darsana] within.
यज्ञं वष्टु धियावसुः yajñaṃ vaṣṭu dhiyāvasuḥ Rig Veda 1.3.10.
Yajnam/Yoga will certainly give us inner light [In other words, Yuj Atman Brahman ca].
पुरूतमं पुरूणामीशानं वार्याणाम | इन्द्रं सोमे सचा सुते || purūtamaṃ purūṇāmīśānaṃ vāryāṇām | indraṃ some sacā sute || Rig Veda 1.5.2.
Continually repeating the name of Isa/Siva [Indra], we bring forth the bliss of Indra.
स घा नो योग आ भुवत sa ghā no yoga ā bhuvat Rig Veda 1.5.3.
May he [Isa/Siva/Indra] not leave us but join in our need.
इन्द्र इद धर्योः Indra id dharyoḥ Rig Veda 1.7.2.
Indra is Dharma.
Three simple words: Hindu~Yoga~Atman. To succeed in life, in general, we have to know what we are doing; what is our goal and how do we get there. This life wisdom should be applied to our self; relationships; education; careers; hobbies; religions; etc. Regarding religion, we are Hindus. Our goal is Atma Darsana and the methodology are the various Yogas. In the above, from the Rig Veda, we see these three categories.
There are many synonymous words for what is known today as Hinduism or the Hindu religion: (in basic order of appearance) Indu/Rta/Dharma/Vedic Dharma/Yoga Dharma/Sanatan Dharma/Brahmanism/Hinduism/Hindu religion. These terms can be equally used without creating unnecessary divisions. If we cannot even agree on what/who we are, we will remain prey to arrogant invaders. Hinduism is the most recognized term.
Hindu is not a foreign term! The use of “H” or not is simply a different pronunciation similar to Siva/Shiva; Sakti/Shakti and Santi/Shanti. Indu/Indus is the original homeland; thus the people and their lifestyle. The meaning of Indu is profound: “Chandra (Moon); Sarid (River); Bindu (the red dot at the third-eye) and Soma” (nectar or bliss of the Soul/Atmana). In this definition, we can also see the subsequent three Sampradayas or sects of Hinduism; Saiva (Chandra); Saktite (Sarid) and Vaishnava (Bindu or the Sun dot). Soma represents the Atmana within all. There is even a constellation Indus! (H)indu is much more than a geographical term.
Again, Hindu/Hinduism/Hindu religion are the most recognized terms. Those who refuse to use these terms should think more deeply about the ramifications. First, we are denying the original homeland which (like so much of Hinduism) no longer belongs to the Hindus! Second, we are dividing ourselves which is the M.O. of invaders. Third, the term Hinduism is the term used in comparative religious texts. Do we wish to be removed from these texts? Fourth, on a hospital form, for example, what does one put under religion? Sanatan Dharma? Vedanta? Hari Krishna? And, finally, every Mandir/Ashram that receives non-profit status has filed as the Hindu religion and therefore, it is dishonest to then refuse to recognize the term “Hindu religion.” Many “Hindus” (remember “Indian” is not a religion) also have a problem with the word “religion” saying instead that Hinduism (or whatever) is a lifestyle and not a religion. Of course, among fellow Hindus, the proper term is Hindu Dharma (and anyone can become a Hindu). However, to not recognize the word “religion” is also counter-productive. Do we wish to be removed from all texts on comparative religions? Again, on legal applications forms, etc. do we list ourselves as a lifestyle? In fact, all religions are lifestyles to their devotees; i.e., religious/spiritual lifestyles. Do we wish to insult other religions by saying that their religion is not a lifestyle? Remember Hindu Dharma/Hinduism is A way; it is not THE way (fundamentalism) nor a universal NO way (or all ways). The Hindu/Yoga religion is not for everybody any more than Jesus/Christianity is for everybody.
True, the English word “religion” is defined as “adoration of God or gods;” “systems of worship.” While all religions adhere to the second definition, the first definition needs clarity. Note, the capital “G” and small “g.” God is defined as a “One, Male [as opposed to Goddess] Creator Being.” This God is truly the Monotheistic God and specifically Christian. Thoughtful Hindus DO NOT believe in this God and therefore should not be using this term. The use of small “g” is a way to recognize the numerous Spirit Beings that are found in all religions. However, this small “g” is an obvious insult and therefore Hindus should not use this term. What adds to the confusion is when some Hindus say they are not a religion and yet routinely use the terms “God” and “Lord.” The male term “God” is also an insult to the many Hindu Devis. There are also very sectarian Hindus who claim they pray to God and the other Hindu Devas/Devis are gods (or demi-gods). The Hari Krishnas are a prime example of this negative sectarianism. Regarding the Divine Beings, Hindus have their own terminology and should use it and not capitulate to the Monotheists. As the older religion, why should Hindus always surrender to the terminology of the younger religions? Christians have also been overheard to admit that, though they realize that Hindus are not referring to “the true God,” “at least we have them using our terms!” Will Christians every say Siva, or Vishnu or Kali “Bless You?” Many Hindus have actually been led away from Hinduism with this use of “God” and “Lord.”
The root meanings of the terms Dharma/Dhri (“to hold”); Religion/Religio (“to link”) and even Yoga/Yuj (“to yoke”) carry the same connotation of connecting to a greater source. However, we should always discern between generalities and specifics. In other words, religion is a general term; while Dharma and Yoga are very specific terms to the Hindu religion. God is not (and should not be) a general term. Brahman, for example, is specifically a Hindu term. Stretching and concentration (even meditation) are general terms; while Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga are specifically Hindu.
The goal of Hindus (indeed of all religions) is to realize something about the (general terms) Soul or Spirit. Hindus call this Soul the Atmana or “not mind” which is similar to the meaning of Soul/Spirit(ual); e.g., incorporeal or “not body.” Literally, then, no “body” can be spiritual (and not religious). Religio (and related words) is about linking or connecting to the something spiritual. Hindus realize the nature of our Atmana which is pure existence/energy/light/love or Satchidananda. In other words, Hinduism is about realizing that we are all the Soul of Love, Light and Energy with a body, mind and emotions. From the Vedas, Chandogya Upanishad, Tat Tvam Asi (That/Atmana Thou Art). To realize the Atmana, Hindus follow the Yoga lifestyle. The Sanskrit/Tamil/Hindu word “Yoga/Yogam” means “Yuj Atman Brahman ca” (“to yoke to one’s Soul and Soul Source”). The various Hindu/Yogas are the means by which Hindus achieve this Soul/Self-Realization or Atma Darsana. The word “yoga” is not only honestly all about the Hindu religion but also the fact that it is not about the body! True, Hatha Yoga (Hindu devotional postures) deals with the physical body but its purpose is to realize the Atmana within a Hindu context and taught by Hindus (to anyone who wants to learn). In fact, of all the Hindu/Yogas, Hatha Yoga is the only one that the Sages said to not display! From the Hatha Yoga Pradapika: Hatha vidya bhaveda yavate guhya; niveda tu prakasavaranam. (“The knowledge of Hatha is powerful when kept secret and loses power when displayed.”) With this “obvious” lack of discernment, no one should be surprised at the overwhelming number of “crazy” yogas (hot; power; goat; beer yoga, ad nauseum) and the numerous scandals. Therefore, today’s “yoga” is simply another example of the ongoing theft and distortion of the Hindu/Yoga Dharma. Anyone can become one these “certified yoga teachers.” The fact that it takes as little as 200 hours to become a “profession yogi” should serve to demonstrate how absurd is this spurious yoga. Hindus should know better, but unfortunately they are either willfully ignorant of their own religion and/or too weak to protest. Of course, sadly, there are more than enough “Hindus” who are willing to “sell out” and capitulate to this asat yoga.
To succeed in life, in general, after recognizing what one is doing, they should strive to be ethical, devoted, concentrated and (with continual practice) the goal will manifest. Hindus call this natural process: Karma Yoga (ethics and self-less service); Bhakti Yoga (devotion); Raja Yoga (meditation/contemplation) to Jnana Yoga (the fruit of Enlightenment). There are other Yogas within these classic four such as Hatha; Mantra; Japa; Nada; Nata and Kundalini Yoga. In Tamil, these four Yogas are known as Chariya, Kriya, Yogam and Jnanam, respectively. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (one of the six orthodox systems of Hindu philosophy), we see these four Yogas detailed in his Astanga Yoga portion. In the Vedas, these four Yogas are called “Kandas” (“root”): Karma Kanda, Upasana Kanda and Jnana Kanda. Upasana is significant in that it contains what are actually three inseparable Yogas: Bhakti/Hatha/Raja.
An overview of Hinduism will uncover this Yoga methodology expounded in various ways. Along with specific writings about the four Yogas such as those of Swami Vivekananda, we see this Yoga pattern in the epic Ramayana and various stories in the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures. The very construction of the Vedas begins with the language of Hindu Dharma Sanskrit (Samskirtam; i.e. “perfectly constructed” or Karma Yoga). The first two words “Rig Veda” mean a passion to know worship or Bhakti Yoga). The first word of the Rig Veda is Agnimile (“praise the fire”) or the inner light of Raja Yoga. The victory of enlightenment or Jnana Yoga is found in the fifth word of the Rig Veda: ṛtvījam (victory to Bhumi Mata/Mother Earth). Rta is a synonym for Hindu Dharma. We could also look to the many Hindu Devas/Devis as an example of the four Yogas. Ganesha is the common ground or Karma Yoga. The Matas/Devis and youthful Devatas exemplify devotion or Bhakti Yoga. Our Ishta Devata may inspire us to deeply contemplate or Raja Yoga and the Lingam points to the ultimate realizations or Jnana Yoga.
For a renaissance of Hindu Dharma to take place, we must all be proud to be Hindus; live the Hindu/Yoga lifestyle and realize our Atmana. We need Shraddha or full faith in the Dharma, and we need Virya (to be compassionate warriors for the Dharma). With this cohesiveness, we can enjoy the many aspects of the Hindu/Yoga Dharma. As a concerned, united Hindu family, we can stand together (without violence) against all those who continue to steal from and distort the Hindu/Yoga Dharma.
*We are a Hindu Family: Saiva; Vaishnava; Sakti the three.
So, let us live in harmony. Follow the Dharma; plant your Yoga tree.
Karma; Bhakti; Raja; Jnani. This Hindu Dharma. Aum Shanti.
Ganapati; Muruga; Siva/Sakti.
Ganapati; Krishna; Vishnu/Devi.
Ganapati; Hanuman Sita/Ram.
Duruga; Lakshmi; Saraswati.
Kali; Duruga; Parvati.
We are a Hindu Family; Saiva; Vaishnava; Sakti the three!
(*sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star J)