Hinduism is one of many faiths practiced on the University of Indianapolis campus and one of the largest polytheistic religions practiced in the world. According to graduate health science major Tanvi Jhaveri, Hinduism is dominant among the many religions practiced in India.
“In India, we have a radius of faiths—we have Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islamism and Christianity,” Jhaveri said. “Hinduism follows many different gods and goddesses, and the magical stories associated with each god or goddess. Hindu ideology revolves around worshipping various forms of gods and goddesses all over India, and among Hindus in the world; but in general all gods are one.”
Hinduism, according to Jhaveri, follows the holy text known as the Bhagavad Gita, which was written by Lord Krishna, and highlights important life lessons that Arjun, Lord Krishna’s disciple, was given during the time of the Mahabharata War. Jhaveri said that the Bhagavad Gita is important because it teaches lessons that Hindus use to live according to their faith.
“In the Bhagavad Gita, whenever you are told to work hard, always work hard, but don’t think of the results. You will always get rewarded from hard work,” Jhaveri said. “Another lesson is [that] God always gives you what you deserve, and the problems he gives you is only such problems that you can handle. He [God] never gives you more than you can handle.”
Jhaveri said that although she has not personally experienced prejudice, one misconception she has faced regarding Hinduism is that many people are unaware that Islam and Hinduism are two different religions. Jhaveri also said that she has come across those who believe Hinduism is only associated with Lord Krishna.
Graduate health science major Anita Lalwani said that she has experienced miscommunication regarding her Hindu faith. She said there have been times when people from other cultures, who are unaware or uneducated, misinterpret the faith and it practices.
“Our chantings and mantras do have a scientific background to it,” Lalwani said. “Every ritual has a reason behind it. [Only] when I grew up and started reading through it [the Bhagavad Gita] did I understand how important each and every thing is.”
Jhaveri said that the holy text, the Bhagavad Gita, promotes peace and harmony among those who read and practice it.
“I am not biased to any religion or faith of any kind. This is purely my take on it [my faith],” Jhaveri said. “I have visited a mosque. I have visited a temple. [I have] visited a church and have visited every temple of faith or religious structure in India. I believe god is one; there is only one god.”
Lalwani said that she has had only positive experiences with students and faculty on campus regarding her faith. She also said that when choosing a graduate school, she wanted an opportunity to explore a different in culture, as well as to experience an independent life apart from her country.
“I would say that [UIndy] is very accepting and accommodating my faith,” Lawlani said. “The kind of respect they [members of the UIndy community] show for every culture— it is very welcoming and warm.”