As a Computer Scientist and being brought up as a Hindu I believe I can put the two unrelated subjects together to explain the beauty of Hinduism. This article is not intended to preach however it is more of an analogy.
I am a programmer and whilst being in this field of work in this day and age, I deal with many open source softwares such as Magento, Android™, WordPress, Linux and OpenOffice to say the few. The meaning of open source softwares is that it allows ‘users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software’. Open source software is proving to be the largest source of technical innovation providing opportunity to the least established of developers make something great or be part of something big.
If we take Google’s Android operating system as an example, it is open source. Many manufacturers of mobile handsets are using the Android operating system as the system to drive their hardware simply because it has been developed to be easily customisable and has no licensing issues to adhere with which makes the handset cheaper as the manufacturers didn’t have to put as much time into developing the operating system for the handset. HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG are some of the companies which use Android and each of these companies have customised Android UI to make it look like what they think is the right way it should look like. HTC with HTC Sense, Samsung with Touchwiz, Motorola with Motoblur, LG with their own look however each of these still lie on the fundamental Android System.
In a similar way, we can take Hinduism (Sanathan Dharma) to be equivalent of the Android operating system and we can take the other faiths with have been derived from Sanathan Dharma such as Buddhism, Jainism, etc. Hinduism comes with its free will – the ability to make the faith how you like it and you will be seen as a Hindu if you are ethical. Hinduism isn’t a book-bound faith where we are required to follow a set of instructions from the book to be a follower of Sanathan Dharma. You can also be an athiest and a Hindu! (but that’s another blog post)
As we know, not every phone is actually an Android phone. We also have the likes of Blackberry which runs on RIM’s own Blackberry operating system which no other manufacturer are allowed to use and similarly the Apple iPhone which runs on Apple’s iOS and no other manufacturer can use their operating system to run their device. Without naming any other faiths – they don’t really come as open source as Hinduism – they tend to be rather closed book religions where the holy books are more instruction oriented and they have to be followed otherwise you are not seen to be part of that faith.
With Apple iOS (unless jailbroken), you are stuck with the UI (user interface) that has been provided to you and you are governed by Apple as to what you can and can’t do with the phone. This is rather similar to many faiths out there. With Android you can do whatever you want with your phone and however you want, as long as your phone still works. Same with Sanathan Dharma, as long as you are ethical with what you do, you can do whatever you wish! I update my phone every couple of weeks and it feels like I have got myself a brand new phone every time!
I use the mobile phone analogy as I believe it is what most people are able to relate to however I can use Linux or any other open source software as an analogy to make the same point.
I hope this article wasn’t too confusing for you and that it helps clear a few misconceptions about Hinduism. Should you have any constructive comments or questions then please pop it in the box below.