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What Hindus have to face daily

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A practicing Hindu’s life is full of struggles on a daily basis. For me, till I had not understood Hindu rituals everything was fine, till I was ignorant everyone was happy. However, after several years of study, questioning, and reasoning when one day I understood a few things behind rituals and started practicing Pooja the world changed for me. I had to fight with these three evils listed below on a daily basis. I realized what a practicing Hindu faces every day.

Judgment: This comes from all sorts of people including people with “Hindu names” and your family who have neither read any of the original scriptures nor their English translations. They never ask you questions, instead, they make assumptions about your reasoning and judge that you are a blind follower. Then they tell you — they don’t believe in God. All this is stupid and ask- “Where is God, etc.” Instead of putting one to shame, it would be so much better had they asked — Why you are doing what you are doing? What is your understanding of God?. Instead, they judge you as weird, orthodox, non-scientific, etc. and the most interesting part of all this is that some of these people have never studied either science or math.

Ridicule: If you start to reason, they shout you down and ridicule you. They don’t let you talk. If you start telling them about your scientific observations behind a ritual they ridicule you by saying things such as — “Okay, so you are saying 2000 years ago people knew science?”. For them, your life experiences, learnings, realizations, and knowledge deserve no assessment and are of no value. They simply dismiss and rubbish you without hearing or evaluating you.

Fear: I have hesitation in saying Sanskrit shlokas even in familiar, formal social settings. It is a social norm in India to label such people as a backward, non-modern, and technologically challenged, and I fear being labeled so. People are shamed for practicing their own culture. I do not want to embarrass myself as I have been shamed in the past by people close to me. When they are around; even ringing a puja bell brings an uncomfortable feeling, that it is going to annoy them, that they are going to disapprove and I have to go against their wishes.

It is hard to overcome and stand your ground when people around you pose these challenges and look down on you. But, where there is a will there is a way. I have found a workaround — I do not blame the people around me. They are brainwashed into hating religion rather than understanding it by modern society. I have started to accept them as ignorant people who, neither have the knowledge nor have a desire to learn. I keep doing my routine and hope that one day they will understand. I wish that someday I can do pooja feeling without any scrutiny and will have the freedom of expressing myself in any social setting.

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