Pure belief, or mere ritual?
I was asked whether modern Hindus belive in their religion mainly due to tradition, astrology, birth charts, superstitions, ritualistic rites, past birth karma, fear of negative outcomes, etc., rather than pure belief in spirituality or devotion to Gods.
Coming to the question, I cannot be presumptuous enough to speak for modern Hindus, but I can speak for myself. Hinduism is extremely vast and equally deep. If some one chooses to believe in it by grasping at tangents such as rituals and superstition, well, I will say it’s their loss, because they miss out on the essence of an exemplary way of life – which is what Hinduism, at its widest, is. For anyone can be a Hindu – an atheist, a monotheist, a polytheist, an agnostic, a humanist.
Hindus believe in dharma (ethics, duty), artha (prosperity), kama (passion), and moksha (salvation). Even as Hindus, like all humans do, chase artha and kama (and there is nothing wrong in this), the thought of dharma and moksha is never far from their mind. You may couch kama and artha in negative terms – saying because a modern Himdu wants prosperity, he engages in his dharma of philanthropy as a quid pro quo. (Hence, your question.) But isn’t that what most humans do? Do something positive for someone else for some supposedly selfish reason?
Having said that, I do not believe modern Hindus believe only in these aspects of Hinduism. For if they did, superstition, karma, vaastu, fears, etc., are insufficient by themselves in determining one’s way of life. We need to go much deeper. Indeed, go to our soul and how we view religion.
Vaastu, superstition, etc, are mere addendums in religion. They may appear to be negative – but Hinduism, and the modern Hindu’s idea of his religion, is not. Someone said Hindusim is a negative religion. But it is not. It states the truth which is harsh when viewed in this kalyug.
I firmly believe that Hindus do think of more than mere rituals and vaastu and astrology when practicing their religion. In the end, they do what they do for the well-being of their soul.