If you’ve read my post on Amritsar, in which I criticise Sikhism for its tendency towards idolatry, then you might be wondering how I feel about Hinduism, the most idolatrous religion of all.
Actually, I have a bit of a soft spot for Hinduism. Obviously, it’s just as wrong as every other religion. But you’ve got to love the way it goes all out, celebrating life and sensuality and excess as sacred.
Also, it wasn’t idolatry per se that I had such a problem with regarding Sikhism. Idolatry is a basic human instinct. It’s craven and misguided, and should be resisted, but it’s just a particular way of doing religion. What I really hate about the religious practices of Christianity, Islam and Sikhism, among others, is the hypocrisy: they were all founded on the basis that idolatry was wrong, but then descended into it themselves. Hinduism doesn’t commit the same hypocrisy, as it never denies that there’s anything wrong with idolatry in the first place. On the contrary, it rejoices in it.
I reached Haridwar on Tuesday afternoon, after passing the elephant gauntlet, and found my couchsurfing contact, Rohit. He owns and runs an English language school to the south of the city, which he also teaches at, along with his friend Sachin. Their hosting arrangements were basically the school premises, which although not exactly residential, provided basic facilities and a roof over my head. Rohit and Sachin were also both incredibly helpful when it came to finding solutions to the various bike problems I was suffering, so I can’t complain at all.