Ten Things a Hindu Can Do While Using English Language: – written by Francois Gautier (check his Facebook page. He knows more Hinduism than many of us)
1. Please stop using the term “God fearing” – Hindus never ever fear God. For us, God is everywhere and we are also integral part of God. God is not a separate entity to fear.
2. Please do not use the meaningless term “RIP” when someone dies. Use “Om Shanti”, “Sadgati” or “I wish this atma attains moksha/sadgati /uttama lokas”. Hinduism neither has the concept of “soul” nor its “resting”. The terms “Atma” and “Jeeva” are, in a way, antonyms for the word “soul”.(to be understood in detail)
3. Please don’t use the word “Mythology” for our historic epics (Itihas) Ramayana and Mahabharata. Rama and Krishna are historical heroes, not just mythical characters.
3. Please don’t be apologetic about idol worship and say “Oh, that’s just symbolic”. All religions have idolatry in kinds or forms – cross, words, letters (calligraphy) or direction. Also let’s stop using the words the words ‘idols’, ‘statues’ or ‘images’ when we refer to the sculptures of our Gods. Use the terms ‘Moorthi’ or ‘Vigraha’. If words like Karma, Yoga, Guru and Mantra can be in the mainstream, why not Moorthi or Vigraha?
4. Please don’t refer to Ganesh and Hanuman as “Elephant god” and “Monkey god” respectively. You can simply write Shree Ganesh and Shree Hanuman.
5. Please don’t refer to our temples as prayer halls. Temples are “devalaya” (abode of god) and not “prathanalaya” (Prayer halls).
6. Please don’t wish your children “black birthday” by allowing them to blow off the candles that are kept on top of the birthday cake. Don’t throw spit on the divine fire (Agni Deva). Instead, ask them to pray: “Oh divine fire, lead me from darkness to light” (Thamasoma Jyotirgamaya) by lighting a lamp. These are all strong images that go deep into the psyche.
7. Please avoid using the words “spirituality” and “materialistic”. For a Hindu, everything is divine. The words spirituality and materialism came to India through evangelists and Europeans who had a concept of Church vs State. Or Science vs Religion. On the contrary, in India, Sages were scientists and the foundation stone of Sanatan Dharma was Science.
9. Please don’t use the word “Sin” instead of “Paapa”. We only have Dharma (duty, righteousness, responsibility and privilege) and Adharma (when dharma is not followed). Dharma has nothing to do with social or religious morality. ‘Papa’ derives from Adharma.
10. Please don’t use loose translation like meditation for “dhyana” and ‘breathing exercise’ for “Pranayama”. It conveys wrong meanings. Use the original words.