and Native Traditions
Hinduism reflects the religion of nature and the
earth. It is present externally in the clouds and the stars, the
hills and the rivers. We can see Hinduism in all native traditions
and in all ancient religions, particularly where the Sun, the symbol
of the Atman or higher Self, is worshipped. Hindu Dharma is the very
religion of life and of the individual expressing himself or herself
in many different forms.
Encountering Hinduism is particularly difficult
because it means facing our pagan roots. Were the pagans really that
bad? Were they merely bloodthirsty savages as we generally portray
them to be? Did only Christianity bring civilization and compassion
to the world? Were the pagans, even if great, doomed to hell or at
least to inadequacy because of not accepting Jesus, though most of
them never heard of him?
I cannot believe that our
ancient ancestors were so inferior or that we are so much more
advanced. I dont think that merely embracing a religious belief
really changes people or makes them better. Our pagan ancestors were
human beings with a profound sense of the sacred. Could they not
also feel the full range of emotions up to communion with God? Our
words God and Divine, after all, are pagan in origin. Certainly the
pagans knew of a higher power and had methods to connect with it.
They had deep spiritual traditions abounding with holy places,
myths, philosophy, magic and insight.