Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
The moral and ethical ordinances in other religions are applicable to
their followers. In Hinduism too there is a code of conduct meant for
varnas and all jatis. But in addition to this, there are separate
jatis with different vocations. There is no intermingling of these
and their corresponding dharmas. This fact is central to Hinduism and to
its eternal character.
This religion has flourished for countless eons. What is the reason for
extraordinarily long history. If Hinduism has survived so long it must
due to some quality unique to it, something that gives it support and
keeps it going. No other religion is known to have lasted so long. When
think of our religion I am reminded of our temples. They are not kept as
clean as churches or mosques. The latter are frequently whitewashed.
There are so many plants sprouting from the gopurams and our temples
support all of them. The places of worship of other religions have to be
repaired every two or three years. Our sanctuaries are different because
they are built of granite. Their foundations, laid thousands of years
still remain sturdy. That is why our temples have lasted so long without
the need for frequent repair. We do so much to damage them and are
even guilty of acts of sacrilege against them, but they withstand all
abuses. All are agreed that India has the most ancient temples. People
come from abroad to take photographs of them. These temples still stand
as great monuments to our civilization in spite of our neglect of them
our indifference. It is not easy to pull them down. Perhaps it is more
difficult to demolish these edifices than it must have been to build
Our religion to repeat is like these temples. It is being supported by
something that we do not seem to know, something that is not present in
other faiths. It is because of this "something" that in spite of all the
differences, it is still alive.
This something is varnasrama dharma. In other religions there is a
common dharma for all and we think that that is the reason for their
greatness. These religions seem to touch the heights of glory at one
but at other times they are laid low. Christianity supplanted Buddhism
some countries. Islam replaced Christianity or Christianity replaced
We know these developments as historical facts. The civilizations and
religions that evolved in ancient Greece and China no longer exist
Hinduism is the witness to all such changes in other religions and it is
subject to attacks from inside and outside. Yet it lives-it refuses to
There was a palm-tree round which a creeper entwined itself. The
creeper grew fast and within months it entwined the entire tree. "This
palm has not grown a bit all these months", the creeper said laughing.
The palm-tree retorted: "I have seen ten thousand creepers in my life.
Each creeper before you said the same thing as you have now said. I
know what to say to you." Our religion is like tree in relations to all
Although there are separate duties and religious rites for the different
castes in our religion, the fruit of the rites are same for all.