The word matam in hinduism and the word dharmam have been gleefully translated into english as religion. This is not very accurate.
matam refers to acceptance. dharmam referes to ethics, righteousness.
Hindu matam and Hindu dharmam are based on vEdAs, gnyAna and vidyA and all have to do with knowledge. There are many matAs within Hindusim and many dharmas’AstrAs also, but all of them are fundamentally based on vEdAs, word root vid – to know.
It is my understanding that as the body of human knowledge changed and as the social conditions change – so did the “accepted thought” and “ethics” change.
Today we take the all the knowledge we are sure about, along with the boundaries of such knowledge, the present research and the speculations, and the extent to which we are sure about the knowledge we have and put it into an ever-expanding bag called “science”!
Most of us are quite confident about science and the scientific method and we accept the limitations that science has and the boundary conditions. For most of us the proof of science is in the technology, which has given ordinary people today as many perks as the kings and dEvAs of yesteryears. We have dooradars’an, dooravANi, AkAs’avANi, computers, cell phones with internet and google. That is a LOT of power!
Any matam, dharma or religion that ignores science and technology will simply lose a lot of it’s ‘believers’. So you have religious preachers using flights, phones and television networks. You have people searching for the scientific basis of their personal religions on the one hand, and on the other hand ‘simply denying’ evolution and man landing on the moon!
Every spiritual leader worth their salt has also solved an important problem their society was facing at the time they started their religion. I wonder if they even recognised themselves as founders of new religions. They more often saw themselves as reformers of the existing matam and their followers (more often with an eye on power than not) projected them as founders of a new religion.
If today someone were to step up and with all the knowledge we have at our disposal, “scientific” as well as “remembered”and look at the society and make up a new set of rules – a new dharma s’Astra according to which people can prosper together, then they would be a spiritual leader now, a founder of a religion tomorrow and soembody’s God in time.
Many people are vying for this position, especially in India, where religions, matAs and dharmAs are born from times immemorial, almost every century if not more frequently.
My guesses :
- This religion will allow cut and stitched clothes for men, women and children.
- This religion will accept equality of all people of all ethnic origins.
- This religion will allow “what is good” in all sacred texts.
- This religion will incorporate all of today’s science and technology and leave room for growth.
- This religion will meet all the psychological and hygiene needs of an individual as derived from customs and rituals as well as all social needs.
- This religion will advocate a social order that is pro-environment, anti-poverty/hunger, anti-consumerism, pro-learning, pro-society, pro-humanity, pro-cleanliness, pro-animals and plants.
- This religion will give even more power and voice and strength to the disenfranchised.
Hindus will welcome the kartA of such a dharmas’Astra as a new manu, and their work as the new manusmRti. The work of this manu will be revised at the end of every three generations!
I wonder who they will be!