The God-centricity of Hinduism

Hinduism is like the galaxy, which offers a variety of beautiful designs across its canvas but is made from the same elements. Almost all the customs, opinions, and learning in Hinduism revolve around the Divine, better known in contemporary Hinduism as Sita-Rama or Parvati-Shiva. This God-centricity of Hinduism should not be a surprise, for reaching God is the ultimate aim of Hindu life.

Because individuals starting their search for God differ in countless ways, Hinduism offers numerous paths to reach God. Who tells Hindus how God can be reached? God does. His active role as our ultimate spiritual instructor makes learning very fruitful. While the Divine appears on Earth at times to directly guide us, He keeps sending His grace regularly through self-realised human beings. These saints and gurus gift us with knowledge that they receive from the Divine, who lives in their hearts to inspire them.

God’s creativeness and the inclusiveness of His followers cause the knowledge base of Hinduism to routinely update itself as more and more saints are born. This evolution is reflected in the multiple scriptures that Hinduism has produced from the Vedic times to the present day, more influenced by the bhakti saints. At the same time, the beauty is that theoretical knowledge remains optional for seekers in Hinduism, for God realisation does not depend on it.

One of the most absorbing aspects of Hinduism is created when the search for God meets everyday life and Hinduism manifests through its arts, festivals, and participation in religious events. Participation may vary from full-time community service to something as simple as attendance in a temple prayer or offering of food to the deity at home. Because Hinduism never necessitates participation, its level and the flavour of devotion are decided by followers.

Behaving responsibly in the community becomes a part of a larger aspiration—to live in harmony with nature, which also includes learning about the differences between the righteous and the immoral and developing the courage to support the righteous. Why does Hinduism generally talk about ethics in relation to nature?

Because goodness and evil are deeply linked to the modes of nature, and God is beyond goodness. At the same time, progress on any path to God depends not only on the aspiration but also on the purity of the path chosen. While God is not considered harsh for people who ignore him or forget to worship him, his karmic law is supposedly harsh for people who ignore righteousness.

As spiritual seekers focus more on nature and continue their search for the Divine, they learn to distinguish the eternal from the perishable. They realise that while the Divine is eternal, everything He has designed in this world is changeable and destined to perish. This piece of awareness opposes selfish action but increases dedication on their chosen path to the Eternal. To conclude, let us, for a minute, focus on the real word for Hinduism—Sanatana Dharma. We will see that this comprehensive term explains why Hinduism involves a search for our eternal parents, learning, expression of happiness, harmony with nature, and support for righteousness.

Mukul Shri Goel is an American spiritual writer and blogger currently living in India. You can follow him on Twitter at @mukulshrigoel