Many have been asking me why I have been writing about Hinduism, especially about its spread throughout the world;its scientific approach;its greatness in Religious Tolerance;its closeness to Hindu way of Life;the astounding temples and the unbelievable architecture and its Advanced concepts.
The reason is,over a period of time, I shall be writing why this way of life is great, that is the enviable ,selfless service to Humanity and its Universal Human values, apart from easy, practical Spiritual Truth.
Hinduism knows how to prioritize Human issues.
There is no point in teaching Spirituality to Empty stomachs.
- Ahimsa (non-violence) – based on the concepts of atman and reincarnation.
- Mind and sense control – considered essential for any form of morality.
- Tolerance – necessary in order to deal with inconveniences in the performance of one’s dharma.
- Hospitality – demonstrating magnanimity, and the value of service (seva).
- Compassion – based on notions of atman, and the ability to feel for others as we feel for ourselves.
- Protection – an essential duty is to give shelter to others, especially those less fortunate.
- Respect – for all living beings and for the sanctity of all life.
- Wisdom – knowledge is contrasted with ignorance, the Hindu equivalent of the “good -evil” paradigm.
- Austerity – essential to gain wisdom in addition to mere theoretical knowledge.
- Celibacy – important for spiritual life. Only one of the four ashrams is permitted sexual gratification.
- Honesty – essential to build legitimate trust within relationships and to avoid self-deception.
- Cleanliness – includes external hygiene and inner purity; essential for brahmanas.
Of these the actions one can perform for the others starts with Food and Water.
The basic need of Humans, Food and water has to be met.
The Sikshavalli of the Taittriya Upanishad, the portion that deals with the Injunction of the Teacher to the students, begins with,
Anana Nindhyaath That Vrutham,
Never insult Food,Let that Be your Vow,
For of it Beings Thrive.
The Upanishad also adds later, while describing who should be treated as God as
Matru Devo Bhava, Mother is God,
Pitry Devo Bhava, Fathr is God,
Acharya Devo Bhava, Preceptor is God and
Athithi Devo Bhava, Guest is God.
Earlier Hindus, the common Man and the Kings took this advice to heart seriously .
They fed the guests.
Not only Human Beings.
They provide water receptacles for animals, especially for Cattle.
Every village had a special Water tank for animal to drink water from.
Even to-day households, especially in the South, provide a mouthful of food in their Plates before they start eating and leave it for the dogs to eat .
Kings built Huge Free Kitchens for the People to be fed, not only for the Travelers but for the poor as well.
Temples cooked vast quantities of food , offer them as Naivedya to God and distribute among the people.
Not only this.
These places, Called Choultries , free boarding and lodging facilities for travelers were built by the Kings.
Most of them are located near the temples.
One can stay there free of cost and take food.
Next to the Kings, businessmen and traders contributed to this effort by donations and many built Choultries of their own.
Talk of Social Commitment today!
Most of these people remained anonymous!
Community based Choultries were also built by them.
Notably the Nattukottai Chettiars, a Trading Community of Tamil Nadu have built innumerable Choultries throughout India.
North Indian Communities, Marwaris, Gujarati have also built Choultries.
This practice is not unique to Hinduism.
Jains and Buddhists have also built them.
Such is the value based system of India of the past.
Today what is proscribed in the Smriti is being done,
Selling Food and Medicine!
These two along with Education is be offered free of Cost.
Accepting Money for these services was considered a Sin.
Some Choultries of India.