Bollywood and Beyond: Hinduism Changing the World Page: 1
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Future of Hinduism
Bollywood and Beyond: Hinduism Changing
The ideals of Hinduism, such as pluralism, dharma, ritam,
and nonviolence hold important lessons for the future of
Hinduism in particular and for humanity in general.
By Pankaj Jain
June 28, 2010
In his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "We have
learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art
of living together as brothers." I think the future of humanity is nicely summarized in these
words. In addition to living together with humans, we also need to learn how to live
harmoniously with our environment. The threat of climate change challenges us to learn and
practice new ways of relating to our natural resources. Can Hinduism present us some ideas to
deal with these issues challenging the present and the future of our world?
The challenges of interconnectivity are both increasingly globalized and increasingly local. Just
as an example, now within the U.S., there are more than 700 Hindu temples and their associated
communities, according to the Pluralism Project of the Harvard University. Although the United
States is often referred to as a melting pot absorbing different ethnicities and races, the history of
Hindus living in India presents a much longer tradition of accepting even larger number of
diverse people, such as the Greeks, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, and Huns in ancient
times, and the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhists in the last century.
It is this Hindu past of religious acceptance and harmony that goes even beyond the human
species. Hindus not only have accepted humans of diverse races but have also accepted divinity
in non-Human forms. A Hindu can worship a stone and/or a specific mountain, the water and/or
a specific river and/or the ocean, a plant, an animal (not just a cow but a snake or a rat or any
other species), a bird, the earth, the sky, the sun, the fire, and so on. It is widely mentioned that
Hindus have 330 million gods, but perhaps it is better to say that Hindus have infinite number of
gods and goddesses, because everybody and everything is potentially divine according to its
philosophy. Its practitioners are simply trying to live up to the Hindu ideal of visualizing divinity
in every part of the universe, every particle of the ecology. And following this infinite number of
divinities, there arose thousands of different castes, tribes, and other socio-religious communities
who not only tolerated each other but even accepted each other's spiritual path. Thus, there is no
false god or true god for Hindus.
Here’s what’s next.
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Jain, Pankaj. Bollywood and Beyond: Hinduism Changing the World, article, June 28, 2010; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38887/m1/1/: accessed March 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.