Nithin Sridhar has created a master piece. He has many meaningful thoughts on Hinduism that he packs into this book, Musings of Hinduism. His basic premise is that of the philosophical concept of Vedanta or non-duality, which essentially means to know and to merge with what is real. For instance, since, Brahman being the highest reality, from which we came, we will eventually again merge with Brahman
Whether you know a lot about this matter or are a beginner student of dharma as I am, there is something here for you.
Initially, he examines the two paths of life, as in the external search for material, earthly happiness which is only a product of the sensory world; as opposed to the never ending bliss of eternity. Eventually, after chasing all of the temptations offered by the physical world, some people are able to evolve from materialistic desires to renunciation. This is not inaction but the return to dharma from such attachments. This return is not possible without self-realization, which Mr. Sridhar examines and explains in easy to understand terms.
Mr Sridhar also discusses in great detail the concept of two realities, the existence of humans in relation to the world or our physical universe, vs humans and God. Many theories circulate regarding the affirmation, and or denial of God and humans. The former adherents accept only the physical universe as real, while the latter condemn those who question the reality of God. It is only in the scriptures of Hindu religion, does one find not only an acceptance of existence of the God and Humans but also an exposition equating both. Sridhar firmly establishes his position of Vedanta and why this world is a continuous movement where names and forms arise and die. Hence this world is not the eternal truth. and die.
In his discussion of karma which at its oversimplified best is simply a course of action, we learn how actions cause purification of the mind but do not in itself bring about the attainment of reality. He calls upon such references as The Bhagvad Gita, and Yoga Vashista, among others to help with readers understanding.
He talks about Bhakti, which is a devotional concept found in all religions and compares Bhakti to human love while explaining why it is more than that. If you need a thorough understanding of Bhakti, you will find it here. Sridhar has done a splendid job of examining and explaining how it relates to non-dualism.
Other ponderings within the scope of this work include Maya and Lila, rituals, Sadhana, and Vedas and their relationship to the world and God according to Hindu philosophy. Man, World and the God appear and function as distinct from one another, but in Paramarthika plane (The Absolute plane) there is only One reality, call it God or Brahman or Atman. In other words, God is the sum total of all existence.
He poses the question, Are Vedas a valid means of knowledge? Then by deduction he answers: “In the world, when one has question related to Physical forces that work in Universe, he refers to Physics books. Similarly, to learn about chemicals and organisms, one refers to Chemistry and Biology and not History or sociology books. This is because we refer to only that book which explains about that particular phenomenon. A history book does not speak Physics nor vice versa. Similarly, it is Vedas alone that is the source of Knowledge about things that are beyond the grasp of our senses. Because, there is no other means by which we can know about Dharma, Karma and Moksha- the Vedas are considered the ultimate Pramana.”
If Sridhar does any musings as such, it is when he explains his thoughts on why the symbolism of Shiva Linga worship, who is God, and why we meditate.
As a new follower of Sanatana Dharma, I found this to be an enlightening, inspirational and well worth the time it took to read. One very nice aspect of the book is that he included Sanskrit meanings in parenthesis, along with the text. There was no fumbling to go through a glossary each time a new word was introduced, which of course may not be a problem to those whose knowledge is more advanced than mine.
I easily give this book 5 stars and recommend to anyone who wants a more thorough understanding of Dharma and Vedanta.
About The Author
Nithin is based in Mysuru, India where he writes on a range of issues from social and political to religion, spirituality and ecology. Even though he majored in civil engineering, he has always loved writing and while in college, wrote articles for web sites and news papers. Upon graduation, he found employment in the field of construction but it did not really fulfill him. Writing, he says, was his “inner calling”. In 2015, he was offered a journalism position which he immediately accepted.
He is a devout Hindu and his special calling is to Advaita Vedanta and Dharma. “These two topics,” he says, ” are close to my heart”. “They are the pinnacle of not just Hinduism, but of all philosophies and views across the world. But, to attain the Advaitic goal of Moksha, one must start with Dharma or righteous duties that uphold all life. Hence, I have been deeply interested in these two topics for many years”.
When I asked him an admittedly self serving question, what would he say to a “new Hindu,” his answer was very straight forward “well”, he says ” I think, like every other Hindu, the goal should be to make the tenets of Sanatana Dharma a living reality, not just a belief. To do this, one must start with making Samanya Dharma i.e. tenets like Truth, self-control, purity, etc. as part of daily lifestyle and then slowly work towards one’s svadharma- self-actualization”.
He is also the author of Sri Dakshinamurthy: Guru, Ishwara, and Atman, which was published last December, and may be found on Amazon.
I have not had the privilege of meeting Mr. Sridhar personally, however hopefully someday, I will have the good fortune to do so.
Review by Theinvisiblehindu Jon R. Banks
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Musings of Hinduism By Nithin Sridhar