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Sacrifice and Renunciation, the First Step to Religion

Gurudeva explains how someone can know that they are a Hindu. Sacrifice is the first step to becoming religious. Hindus are finding new things dont work. It is heartening to see that we are reverting to tradition , building temples, training priests.

Unedited Transcript:

Hinduism is coming up in the world. And how does someone know that they are a Hindu? Well, there are over a billion Hindus, but there are millions more. How does he know that he's not Christian? How does he know he's not Jewish? How does he know he's not a Muslim? Because if you believe in the existence of an all-pervading force that binds this universe together, an all-pervasive satchitananda, you're obviously not Christian, Jewish or Muslim. If you believe that you send energy out and it comes back to you through other people, through situations, and the law of karma, which never fails, you're obviously not a Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. And if you believe in reincarnation, obviously you're not Jewish, Muslim, or Christian. Obviously you crossed over to Sanatana Dharma.

Many people say Sanatana Dharma is the real name of the religion. It's true. It's not Hinduism. Look at it this way. Hinduism, I look at it as an English word. But the French have another pronunciation of it, so do the Russians, so do the Italians. Hindu Dharma, in India. Each section in India, each culture and each language says it differently. But they all, all the countries, pronounce Sanatana Dharma. So the words are interchangeable, depending on which language that we speak. In the Tamil language, it's Samya, it's not Hindu. Means the same thing.

Sacrifice is the first step to becoming religious. I had the opportunity to talk to the trainee mathavasi sadhus of the Swami Narayana fellowship. There were 125 there, in Rajasthan. They live a very strict life as sadhus. They look at Sannyas in a very strict way, and have a strict code of ethics. They don't think of girls, they renounced that, they sacrifice that in their thoughts. We talked about ... men's talk. And I said, "Even in your dreams, what do you dream about? You may live a strict life here in the monastery, but what do you dream about? Do you dream about girls?" Half the group put their head down. I said, "Ah ... you have to impress your subconscious mind to the point where you are a sadhu even during sleep. In your wildest dreams, you are a Sadhu. Work on that one." They appreciated the talk.

Sannyasin life is a very strict life. That's why there are basically no women sannyasins, women brahmacharini yes. But it's like, you know, women want to join the army, they want to join the navy, the marines and become airplane pilots and enter the men's world and become like men. That's also happening in modern Hinduism. It's not working out well, because of the competitive attitude, which also has to be sacrificed and renounced. There is a distinct difference between sannyasins and brahmacharinis. Each in its place works out really well.

So, as Hinduism moves into the future in the world, it is taking the shape more and more of an ancient time because everyone is trying out new things and finding out they don't work. Then, they revert to traditional attitudes and beliefs and customs, and find out that they do work. Where does culture come from? It comes from the temple. We learn to approach one another in mannerisms, and talk, and attitude and belief as we approach the deities. And when the temple goes, the culture goes.

Look at the Hawaiian people. They became Christian. Their losses were great. They lost their temples, they lost their culture, they lost their language and they lost their race. They lost everything. They lost the family unit.

I remember saying 20 years ago to the Hindu community that came from India when President Kennedy released immigration barriers, "This is the first group that ever came to America without their spiritual leaders with them. This is the first group that did not bring their ministers; this is the first group that did not bring their priests." The Germans came and brought their Lutheran ministers. The Catholics came and brought their priests and monsignors. The Jewish came and brought their rabbis. Islam came and brought Imams. But the Hindus were the first group that came to gouge our country, to take, and go home. The message went out loud and clear, and then the children came one after the other, there were hospital bills to pay, larger houses to buy, education to think about, Mom and Dad both work, the homes became hotels, without the feeling of mother and as Swami Chinmayananda said, "A bastard generation arose." Then finally, there were a few that listened and said, "We need to build a social hall, so we can get together and communicate. But, we can't raise money for a social hall, so we will raise money for a small temple. Everybody will give money for a temple. Social hall will be big, we'll wear shoes, we'll have a dry bar, and the temple will be small as a money-raising thing." And one temple-social hall got built with money that came from the temple, and finally, the temple took over the social hall, took over the community, and priests began to come from India. The priests were treated like hospital orderlies. You know, like "Empty the bedpan for me, please." Mistreated. And of course, the bad karma goes to the management.

Now, we have wonderful temples, priests that are well trained, wonderful swamis are going through the country, and what is heartening to see, is that the bastard generation, which was raised up by the hair on their heads, with no Mom and Dad, beaten mentally and physically to attain, attain, attain and make money, are becoming a little religious. When I visit the temples, there are 25, 28, 22 year olds there. Why? To heal the wounds of the nuclear family that blew up, to heal the wounds of the hate that they have for their parents, physically, emotionally, and verbally beating them half to death, and some did commit suicide. What is also heartening to see, the wounds are becoming healed. They are finding forgiveness, and renouncing the past, and finding forgiveness and love in their heart, and raising their children, hopefully in a more loving and kindly way.