ગિરિશભાઇ દેસાઇ હવે આપણી સાથે નથી
એન્જીનીયર, હેંડીમેન અને વિચારક ગુજરાતી સાહિત્ય સરિતાનાં આજીવન સભ્ય આજે આપણી સાથે નથી તે જણાવતા સંતાપની લાગણીઓ થાય છે.તેમની સાથે અનેક વખત મળવાનું થયું પણ એક પણ સમય એવોનહોંતો જ્યારે એમની મર્માળુ રમુજો ઉપર હું હસ્યો ના હોય.મૃદુલાબેન સાથે તેમનું લગન જીવન એ મારી અને રેણુ માટેની આદર્શ જોડીનું જીવન હતુ તેમની ઘણી વાતો મને કાયમ યાદ રહેશે. જેમાં નવું શીખવાની ધગશ અને સામાન્ય વાતોમાં થી રમુજ નીપજાવવાની કળા તો ખુબ જ જાણવા અને માણવા જેવી છે વેસ્ટમાંથી બેસ્ટ સર્જન કરવાની કળા પણ અદભૂત હતી. મૃત્યુનાં ચિંતન ઉપર એમની જ કવિતા હતીને કે
જુઓ,મૃત્યુ આવ્યું, લઇ ગયું દુઃખ સર્વ તનના
અને આ આત્માને લઇ ગયું શ્રી હરિના શરણમાં.
જીવન નદી જયારે,ભળે પુનિત બ્રહ્મ જળમાં.
તો સ્વજન શાને સારે અશ્રુ આવી પૂણ્ય પળમાં.!
એમની વાત અત્યારે સમજાય છે. એમનું જીવન જેમ કવન હતું તેમ તેમનો સંદેશ પણ અમર છે. તેમણે સાંજની સેર દરમ્યાન જે ચિંતવ્યુ તે પુસ્તક સ્વરુપે મુકાયુ છે
તેમનો બ્લોગ છે મન સરોવર
તેમના અદેહીપણાનું અંગત નુકસાન તો છે જ પણ એમનો આત્મા શ્રી હરીનાં શરણ માં પહોંચ્યો છે તે વાતે થોડીક શાંતિ અનુભવશું
પ્રભુ તેમના આત્માને શાંતી આપે
બ્રિટનમાં સમાજ સેવા વિભાગમાં કામ કરતી વખતે જાણવામાં આવ્યું હતું કે શાળામાં ભણતા આપણા વિદ્યાર્થીઓને તેમના શિક્ષક અને સહાધ્યાયીઓ હિંદુ ધર્મ વિશે અને ખાસ કરીને ગણેશ (“એલિફન્ટ હેડેડ ગૉડ”!), હનુમાન (“મંકી ગૉડ”) તથા અનેક ભગવાનો વિશે સવાલ પૂછતા. બાળકોની સમજને અનુરૂપ કોઈ પુસ્તક નહોતું તેથી તેઓ આવા સવાલના જવાબ આપી શકતા નહોતા. અન્ય ધર્મના બાળકો તેમને કહેતા કે તેમના ધર્મમાં એક જ ઈશ્વર છે અને આપણા પુરાણોમાંના દેવતાઓની પૂજાને Pagan Worship કહેતા તેથી આપણાં બાળકોમાં એક જાતની હિનતા-ગ્રંથી જન્મી હતી.
આને પહોંચી વળવા જિપ્સીએ એક પુસ્તિકા તૈયાર કરી. આપને તેમાં રસ હોય તો નીચે આપેલ અૅટેચમેન્ટને ખોલશો. બાળકો સમજી શકે તેવી ભાષામાં લખવાનો પ્રયત્ન કર્યો છે. આને ઈ-પુસ્તક તરીકે તૈયાર કરી તે વિનામૂલ્યે વહેંચી શકાય તેવો વિચાર છે.
આપને એવું લાગતું હોય કે તેનું ગુજરાતી ભાષાંતર કરવું જોઈએ, તો તેવો પ્રયત્ન જરૂર કરીશું.
A PRIMER OF HINDUISM
Hi, I am Sachin. I am a Hindu.
Hi, I am Sachin. I am American. My Mom is from England. My Dad is from India.
My friends are Brady, Aidan, Sahan and Toshiko. We went to the same pre-school.
Brady is a Christian.
Aidan is Jewish.
Sahan is Muslim.
Toshiko is Buddhist.
I am Hindu.
We all believe in God.
Brady calls him Jehovah.
Aidan calls him Yahweh.
Sahan calls him Allah.
Toshiko calls him Buddha.
In most Indian languages, He is called Bhagwan.
My Gran says that the meaning of all names is the same.
It means God. People prefer to call him by the name they are taught to.
Well, my Mom explained it like this. Take the word water for instance.
Water. Agua. Wasser. Eau. Aab. Paani.
Call it by any name. It remains the same the world over.
When we are thirsty, we drink it.
It quenches our thirst.
An ancient book in India says that there is one Truth.
Different people call it by different names, just as my friends do.
Hindus believe that Truth is God.
Where Does God Live?
Hindus believe that God lives everywhere and in everything.
He lives in birds, animals, trees, women, men and children.
He exists in mountains and in streams.
He pervades all stars and planets.
The whole universe is His home.
God created the universe.
He is present in everything He created.
Is God A Person Like You and Me?
Hindus believe that God is not a person like you and me.
He does not have a body.
He is formless. Therefore, we cannot see Him.
Yet He is present everywhere.
He is the life in every living thing.
He is the energy in every atom of non-living thing.
He is everywhere.
If God cannot be seen, how do we know that He is present?
He is present in the air we breathe.
He is present everywhere through His qualities.
These qualities are compassion, mercy and kindness.
God is present in every human being through these qualities.
God lives in every living being through these qualities.
Our sacred books say that these are also the qualities of our souls.
God lives in our souls.
I asked my Grandma: if God lives in my soul, does it make me God?
She smiled and said, “No, my dear. It does not make us God. God lives in our souls through His qualities. When you are kind every living thing, bring happiness and cheer to all around you, you make them feel God’s presence. That is how God is present everywhere.”
As He is the Supreme Soul, we call Him Paramatman.
Paramatman means, ‘Ultimate Soul’.
We also feel God’s presence in the universe as energy.
This energy is felt but not seen.
This energy exists in the laws of nature.
Gravitation, magnetism, warmth are the forms of energy.
That energy is present in the matter as protons and neutrons.
We cannot see electricity or the warmth of the sun.
We cannot see the force of gravitation.
Yet they all exist.
Similarly, we cannot see God, but we feel His presence.
We believe that the spirit of God makes our organs see, hear, feel and taste things.
That spirit makes our body systems work.
God is the life-energy everywhere.
Do Hindus have a Messiah?
Hinduism does not have a Messiah.
Our religion is not founded by an individual.
Who then Gave Hindus their Religion?
As said earlier, no one founded Hinduism.
Some ten thousand years ago, some wise men and women wondered about the mysteries of nature.
They meditated about it on the banks of River Indus.
Some meditated on the peaks of Himalayas.
They all had answers as a revelation from God.
The message they received was in the form of a feeling, not in words.
This message was about the existence of a Divine Spirit.
It was about the laws of nature in which they could feel that Spirit.
The message also told them that by leading a life of truthfulness, kindness, mercy and compassion they could be near God.
The sages accepted that message as a Way of Life.
If people followed this Way of Life, there would be peace and happiness in the world.
They called this Way of Life “Sanatan Dharma”.
Sanatan Dharma means ‘Eternal Duty’.
Thus, Hinduism is not a religion. It is a way of life.
People from other countries gave a name to our belief.
At that time, our civilization flourished on the banks of river Sindhu.
It was there the sages spread their knowledge about our Way of Life.
Iranians called us ‘People of Sindhu’ – or Sindus.
However, they pronounced Sindhu as Hindu and called us Hindus.
The Europeans called our faith ‘Hinduism’.
It is not the right word.
The real name for our faith is Sanatana Dharma.
‘Dharma’ means Duty.
Sanatan Dharma is one’s duty to oneself and to all living things.
It is also our duty to the five elements of nature.
These five elements are Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Space.
The way of life the sages learnt and explained to people was simple.
It is non-violence, because all humans, birds, animals and trees have life.
The five elements make up the universe and also sustain life.
We must respect them by not interfering with their natural cycle.
We must not therefore pollute air, water, the earth or space.
If we pollute water and air, they cannot sustain life.
Human beings, birds and animals die as a result.
If the earth becomes polluted we cannot grow food.
Hindus believe that God is present in everything in the universe.
We must treat everything in the universe with respect.
Many sages and thinkers showed this way of life to Hindus over thousands of years.
That is the reason why Hindus do not have one single pontiff or head of religion.
Do Hindus have a Single Book like the Bible or?
Hindus do not have a single book of scriptures.
They have many books of wisdom.
In the beginning, there were four ancient books called the Vedas.
The Vedas were the hymns inspired by the Revelation.
They had deep meaning. Only the learned understood them.
The learned people made them easier to understand.
This they wrote the explanations in about a hundred books.
Some books are called the Upanishads.
A summary of the Upanishads was written in a book called the Gita.
The learned people in Europe called it the Eternal Song.
It tells us how to follow the Way of Life, that is Hinduis.
Most Hindus follow the Gita.
The Gita, above all says that there is one God.
We can reach Him through doing our duty selflessly.
We can also reach Him through learning.
The third way of reaching Him is through complete devotion.
Above all, it says that God is the Spirit that is everywhere.
What is the God Spirit?
The Upanishads say that it is enables our eyes to see what we see.
It enables us to hear what our ears hear.
It enables us to smell, taste, feel everything.
The God Spirit does not have a body.
Yet, He pervades the universe as a powerful Energy.
That Energy is present everywhere, all the time.
What is Ramayana?
We also read and follow the epic called Ramayana.
The Ramayana is the story of a prince called Rama.
We believe that God reincarnated as a human.
Rama is an example such reincarnation.
Rama was a model person.
He set the example as a model son, brother, husband and model king.
He lived by a moral code.
Similarly Krishna was also born as a human being.
Krishna had a profound knowledge.
He knew about the secrets of birth, death, soul – everything.
He passed on his knowledge to us in the Gita.
The Gita is accepted everywhere as a model book for life.
If God does not have a body, how does He rule the World?
God is nature.
He rules the universe through some universal laws.
The most important law set by God is the law of Truth.
That truth is the existence of God Spirit.
Some call it God Particle.
The second is a group of laws. They are known as the laws of nature.
These are the laws of gravitation, ecological laws, the law of action and reaction etc.
If we do not follow these laws, we get hurt.
Not following law of gravitation will cause a person to fall.
If we do not follow the laws of nature, we suffer from global warming.
We do not get rains.
We experience extreme weather.
Equally important for Hindus is the law of Karma.
It is up to us to follow or disobey these laws.
If we follow these laws, we can live in harmony and peace.
These laws are self-regulatory.
No one is present to force obedience to these laws.
Does a Hindu God Get Angry and Punish people?
God is not a human being. He cannot therefore get angry.
Because God is not human, He does not punish anyone.
God is Divine. He is above all human vices.
God is the Supreme Being.
He rules the universe through the natural laws He created.
His qualities are compassion, mercy, peace and bliss.
If we live by His qualities and follow the laws of nature, we can live in harmony, peace and happiness.
If God Does not punish, why do people suffer?
People suffer due to their own doings.
We have a choice to act or not to act.
We have a choice to do good things or bad things.
Good deeds always result in happiness.
We do bad things and they come back to us in bad consequences.
The law of karma says that there is a result attached to all our actions.
How this happens is explained in the Law of Karma.
The Gita explains that in simple words.
So, What is the Law of Karma?
It is a simple law.
It says that we reap what we sow.
It is a scientific law: every action results in reaction.
It is equal and opposite.
He plant a rose bush and we get beautiful roses.
But we have to work and look after the plant.
We plant nettles and we get thorns, not roses.
Good deeds beget good results.
The Law of Karma asks us to do our best and selflessly.
It is up to us to so. The law of karma urges us to act.
Sometimes, our efforts do not get results immediately.
For some, we have to wait for long.
We have to study for many years to get high school diploma.
The Law of Karma says that we have a right over what we want to do.
We have no control over the rewards for the work we do.
Satisfaction of doing good makes us happy.
That itself is our reward.
***Do Hindus have many Gods?
Hindus believe that there is one God.
God is addressed by many names.
We call Him Ishvara, Bhagawan, Paramatman or Parameshwar.
Meaning of these words is the same.
God has many qualities. These qualities are felt, not seen.
The qualities of compassion, kindness and truth are attributed to God.
If a human being, who has led a life of purity, compassion and mercy, and protects the innocents, the weak and helpless from cruelty, that person is known as the reincarnation of God.
The examples are Rama, Krishna, Buddha, etc.
Due to these qualities and their good deeds, they are considered to be God born in human form. We believe that they are the reincarnations of Vishnu born in different eras.
If there is One God, What is the Hindu Trinity?
Hindus believe in Trinity.
That Trinity is called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
However, they all are a single entity.
My grandpa explains it like this.
Take for instance a woman.
Her parents call her daughter.
Her brother calls her sister.
Her husband calls her his wife.
She performs different roles as a daughter, sister and wife.
Yet she remains the same person.
Similarly, God performs different roles, but remains a single entity.
He created the universe; so we call him Brahma.
He sustains and protects it. Therefore we call him Vishnu.
He also helps old things in the universe to wither so that they are able to regenerate.
When God performs this function, we call him Shiva.
People in the West wrongly call Shiva as the Destroyer.
God does not destroy anything. He created the laws of nature to do their work of regeneration.
We believe that there is one God. We respect His different functions.
Some of us worship God as Brahma.
Many worship Him as Vishnu.
Vishnu appeared in many ‘avatara’s like Rama, Krishna, Buddha, etc.
A large number of Hindus also worship Shiva.
Many worship Shakti, meaning God’s Energy.
Shakti is known by many names: Durga, Bhavani, Kali, etc.
God is the universal spirit that creates and protects and regenerates.
People always ask: we see things destroyed by tsunami, wild fires, floods, war and epidemics. Aren’t these the way God punishes people?
If we try to find the reason behind each of these, we will know that these are man-made things.
When we do not respect the nature and break its laws, we have tsunami, droughts and famines.
Powerful people go to war to prove that they are superior to others.
Some resort to violence to enslave or rule over other human beings.
Some resort to violence to show that their way of life is better than that of the others.
It is the humans who do these violent things.
The results of all these things are horrible.
People who do such things suffer in the end.
That is the Law of Karma.
God does not have anything to do with that.
Hindus therefore believe that the path of non-violence, truth, kindness and compassion is an ideal way of life.
It is this way of life that brings happiness all around.
If there is One God in Hinduism,
What about Elephant-Headed God, etc?
Hindus have many books of mythology. There also are epics.
These books describe characters, which have miraculous powers.
They also are also the models of virtue.
Elephant-headed god is one such character. Known as Ganesha, he is known for his wisdom, learning and ability to remove obstacles.
There is also a monkey-faced god called Hanuman.
He is known for his superior strength, wisdom and virtues.
He taught that sound mind lives in sound bodies.
He also set an example that devotion to one’s duty is the best way to be happy.
There are many such characters in Hindu mythology and epics.
Their qualities are considered divine. People worship them for their qualities.
That is why people believe that Hindus have many gods.
What does it mean to you being a Hindu?
I like being a Hindu.
My faith or Way of Life respects all religions and faiths in the world.
That is because we believe that everyone has a right to follow his or her chosen faith.
One has a right to reject the existence of God or change his faith.
No one should be punished or hated for following one’s belief.
We therefore do not believe in converting anyone to our faith.
We also believe that the world is one family.
That is the reason why the Hindus welcomed Jewish people when other countries harassed and banished them from their homes.
Similarly, when people of Zoroastrian faith were persecuted in Iran, Hindus welcomed them.
Christians came to India in the first century of the current era. They were also welcomed and were helped to build a church.
Muslims also came to India. Today, they have the second largest population in the world in India.
People of all these faiths built their temples, churches, synagogues, fire temples and mosques all over India.
They all practice their faiths.
Hindus accepted them.
Living in harmony with fellow human beings has become an important part of the Hindu culture.
Hindus believe that the world is one family.
If people of the world live as a family, every one can be happy. Living in harmony will help people live in peace and progress.
For this reason, I like to be a Hindu.
The real word for my faith is not Hinduism.