As one born into a Hindu family, and thereby made into a Hindu, I was taught that: Hinduism is a way of life – in all its varied forms – involving faith (with prayer for most of us) and hope; I could, unlike the adherents of other faiths, travel on any other religious road as well; our priests do not tell us what to do, while they perform the rituals they recommend – while themselves living a simple life; we do not proselytise, since there are innumerable roads to tread as we reach for our Creator. While we do not have a ‘Good Book’ (like the Bible) which is binding, we have both insightful commentators of renown in history, and great literature (such as the Mahabharatha) to guide us. We are thereby strange in being individualistic in our spiritual transit towards ultimate Reality, while remaining communitarian in our daily lives. I have now no need for rituals, preferring the metaphysical path (refer the Upanishads).
I have also moved away from accepting the belief held almost universally that we are what we are because of when we are born. I prefer to believe that we are born when we are because of what we are at a spiritual level. Such a fine distinction makes more sense to me, especially in terms of the significance and value of life experiences, and the subtle intimations from my soul (offering glimpses of my recent past), which somehow make themselves felt.
I am aware that, in this complex Cosmos (about which we know so little), anything can happen; and that many incomprehensible matters may actually reflect reality, I keep thinking on the concept of maya: what is perceived is neither real nor unreal, while the object of that perception may be real (refer also Plato, whose intention may have been slightly different from those who conceived of maya).
While we Earthlings camp on this beautiful rock, which is rotating, revolving and rocketing around our sun, which is itself moving through space, I wonder if there is not some meaning (but not necessarily any purpose) underlying all this. There has to be!