If you read http://francoisgautier.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/why-i-am-a-hindu/, you will see that Sri Francois Gautier
- spent some time observing and understanding Hindus and Hinduism and
- he made a list of what being a Hindu meant to him and
- he recognised that he was therefore a Hindu.
So when he says that he is a Hindu, it means that he possesses a significant number of important characteristics of being a Hindu.
Similarly, I have learned that I am a Human, an Indian, a Hindu, a woman, a mother, a blogger-writer, a teacher etc etc. Because I possess the same significant characteristics as others belonging to that category. If I a say I am an Indian – no one will leap up and say “no! you are swedish” – they will accept I am an Indian. They may not say that I am a “Typical Indian Woman” but they will not deny that I am an “Indian Woman”.
But really though they sound like identities they may also be called social categories or groups.
What about my personal identity?
I am the only Human, Hindu, Indian, Woman etc who is “me”.
While governments would expect me to prove my identity with documents, most people I meet would accept me as “me” on my word.
If I met you, you would be pretty sure of who you are and who I am and that we are not the same person, we are not the same individual human, even if you were my identical twin.
I can have multiple identities.
Being a mom, does not take away from being a woman, being a woman does not take away from being a human, being human does not take away from being a life form and so on.
Just as I have an individual (personal) identity named satyA and a group identity called Indian and I am both at the same time without any loss or addition of characteristics, I can have a divine identity too.
When the Indian National Anthem is sung, I stand up and sing with other Indians and for a few minutes, there is only Indianness, no satyAness! I am able to lose this identity in a greater identity for a bit. When I am hungry and feeding myself, it is only satyAness at the fore. While all of us are gracious when there is plenty, in troubled situations it could be “each man for himself”.
Do I also have a divine identity?
One way to approach this to know what characteristics divine beings possess and see if I possess any of those.
Some people think that a divine being ought to be able to perform miracles, to fly, to know everything, to make it rain and so on.
The only way I can fly is in an aeroplane and any human or dog can do this.
I know a bit about a few things – so do all other human beings.
I am a part of this wonderful universe, so are every atom and every photon.
So here is the thing.
What is divinity defined as? What am I defined as?
If dEvI is defined as cit-svaroopi and I am defined as cit then I am the dEvI.
If puruSa is deined as the dEhin and I am defined as the dEhin, then I am the puruSa.
If viSNu is defined as the sAkSI and I am defined as the sAkSI, then I am viSNu.
If you disagree with such definitions of divinity and humanity as “conscious-ity”, then we have no common ground for discussion.
What do you identify with?
Your conscious-ity, your humanity, your feminity/masculinity, your nationality, your individuality, your activity…?