Scriptures

Proud to be British and Proud to be Hindu

Hindu Scriptures are divided into two divisions:

  • The Shruti (that which is heard)
  • The Smriti (that which is remembered)

Shruti

Shruti ('what is heard') is a canon of Hindu scriptures, the earliest of which may have existed in written form as early as 5000 BCE. Shruti is said to have no author; rather, it is believed to be a divine recording of the "cosmic sounds of truth", heard by rishis.

There are several ways to define Shruti. It is most commonly defined to be comprised of the four Vedas: the Rig-Veda, Atharva-Veda, Sama-Veda, and Yajur-Veda. Some add certain sub-divisions within the Vedas, such as the Aranyakas, Brahmanas, and Upanishads, to the set of works distinctly labeled as Shruti. In addition, the Mahabharata (an Itihasa, or History, also part of the "friendly scripture" class) is considered by some to be Shruti and is sometimes called the fifth Veda. Sometimes the Bhagavad Gita, a chapter within the Mahabharata, is separately considered as worthy of the Shruti status.

Smriti

Important Hindu scriptures that are not considered Shruti are called Smriti.

The Smritis are divided into:

  1. Itihasa (historical books like the Ramayana and Mahabharata)
  2. Purana (non-chronological historical and genealogical accounts)
  3. Dharma Shashtra (Religious doctrines)
  4. Sutra (Philosphical euphemisms)
  5. Tantra (Ritual)

1. Itihasa

Itihasa (Sanskrit: thus verily happened) refers collectively to the more epic Hindu scriptures, detailing the actions of divine in carnations on earth while interspersing them with often large sections of philosophical and ethical discourse. They are often classified as 'Hindu' or 'Indian' 'mythology,' though the label does not capture the centrality of religious and spiritual affiliations of the texts that ring true today for most Hindus. A parallel would be to term the Old Testament 'Christian mythology'.

The most important of these are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, of which the Bhagavad Gita is part. They also include the puranas, the most famous of which is the "Srimad Bhagavatam," a text especially important to Vaishnavs though also seen as holy by most Hindus.

Growing in popularity is also the vernacular Hindi version of the original Ramayana, called Ramcharitmanas, written in the 1500s by Goswami Tulsidas, which contains the popular prayer Hanuman Chalisa.

2. Puranas

There are eighteen Puränas and six each are rendered according to the three modes of nature, which are goodness (sattva), passion (rajas) and ignorance (tamas):

(A) Sattva (B) Rajas (C) Tamas
Vishnu Brahma Väyu
Bhagavata Brahmända

Linga

Näradëya Brahma Vaivarta Skanda
Garuda Märkandèya Agni
Padma Bhavishya Matsya
Varäha Vämana Küma

4. Sutra

Sutra in Sanskrit is derived from the verb siv, meaning to sew. It literally means a rope or thread, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual. In Hinduism the 'sutras' form a school of Vedic study, related to and somewhat later than the Upanishads. They served and continue to act as grand treatises on various schools of Hindu Philosophy. They elaborate in succinct verse, sometimes esoteric, Hindu views of metaphysics, cosmogony, the human condition, moksha (liberation), and how to maintain a blissful, dharmic life, in a cosmic spin of karma, reincarnation and desire.

One of the most famous of the Sutras is the Vedanta-sutra also known as Brahma-sutra.

HFB meets New Labour Leader

 

The HFB wrote to Sir Keir Starmer, the new leader of the Labour Party, on 8th April in which we shared some serious concerns the Indian/Hindu community had with the Labour Party.  The Labour leader wrote back on 27th April and whilst this is welcome, the issues raised by the HFB had not been addressed properly.  On 30th April 2020 a teleconference took place between the representatives of the HFB led by Ms Trupti Patel and Sir Keir Starmer and his team.  The HFB considers this as the first step in what we hope will be a continued positive dialogue for the Labour Party to learn, and to understand, the issues arising from within the community.

Those in attendance at this teleconference were:

Hindu Forum Britain (HFB): Mrs Trupti Patel (President), Mrs  Harsha Shukla MBE (VP North) and Dr Ramesh Pattni OBE (VP South).

Labour Party:    Sir Keir Starmer MP, RT Hon Angela Raynor MP, Rt Hon Janet Daby MP, Baroness D Lawrence and Navendu Mishra MP.

The discussion was cordial and Sir Keir Starmer confirmed that he was aware of the concerns, that as the new leader he wanted to reset relations with the Indian community.  He went on to say, he wanted proper engagement and that the Labour Party needed to hear and to be held accountable.  He further added that if the changes are not seen then he wanted the HFB to tell him so without any reservation. He accepted that an apology was due to the community.  His team echoed his thinking to move forward and build good relations with the Hindu community. 

The President of the HFB, Ms Trupti Patel thanked Sir Keir Starmer for taking the step in this important dialogue.  She pointed out that the reservations and concerns raised in her letter to him are serious and require the Labour Party to address those urgently.  She reminded him of the exclusion of Hindus in CV 19 steering group and most importantly Hate filled incident unfolding on the 15th of August 2019 on India’s Independence Day when some  4000 strong group of anti-Indian protestors threw missiles at the gathering of 200 people  celebrating Independence day and created a very tense situation.  She also pointed that it was alarming that some Labour politicians took an active part and voiced their views on Kashmir that were a detriment to community cohesion in the UK.

Sir Keir Starmer suggested that after the call it was essential to make sure that we don't let things fall by and to set up systems for communications that allow for continuous and direct communication with the senior leadership of the Labour Party.  

Dr Pattni pointed out that unless there are channels and systems of dialogue between the Labour leadership and the Hindu community, there will remain such tensions due to biased thinking in the Party.  Mrs Shukla pointed out that there  should be trust and respect which should reflect in transparent communication and be inclusive of all faiths in any policy forming process. There needs to be a practical  action plan as a way forward in dialogue which was echoed by Trupti Patel as doing the walk beyond just the talk.

The meeting concluded on the note that the HFB will be writing to Sir Keir Starmer with their observations on his letter as well as the teleconference call.  In so doing to give a series of actions points that the party can work on immediately. 

The Hindu Forum Britain have now written to Sir Keir Starmer with their observations as detailed in the letter below. 

Mrs Trupti Patel 

President 

HFB 

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Corona Virus Health Advice

Corona Advice pg 1

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Corona Advice pg 3

Corona Advice pg 4

Corona Advice pg 5

 

Corona Advice pg 6

Hindu Reflection by Mrs Trupti Patel - 16th May 2020

Hindu Reflection by Mrs Trupti Patel (16 -05-2020)

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK TO HEAR HINDU REFLECTIONS ON THE CURRENT PANDEMIC SITUATION ON BBC SOUNDS.

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