Under "Other Voices" in the Feb. 16 issue of India-West, Amita Roy Shah has presented a very thoughtful article. A good answer would be a very good thing that can happen to the young children and grandchildren who are seeking such answers. But unfortunately, it becomes near impossible to coin some reasonable answer.
One consideration coming to mind is whether Hinduism is a real religion. Many thoughtful people call Hinduism “a way of life.” The word Hinduism is rarely found in the scriptures. The word Hindu probably applies to the people occupying the country. That way people of all the different "religions" would be Hindus.
Having heard a question from a person who identified himself as a Christian asking me years ago about "how to become a Hindu,” my quick answer was then: "Follow the teachings and ideas in all the scriptures and writings prevalent in India and if you have any faith therein you are a Hindu.” Sounds very simplistic but is there any other reasonable answer?
The original question has baffled the very knowledgeable pandits.
I would suggest another approach here. Be a seeker and keep reading the enormous amount of literature and keep asking questions to whoever would like to respond and throw some light.
Over the last thousands of years such questions arose and a plethora of writings have evolved. It is very good to know that the ideas of even staunch atheists and agnostics have been respected and allowed to spread their ideas and thoughts in India.
I would also suggest that for a seeker the first question should be "who is and where is God.” Our most beloved "Gita" can provide some answers if one digests the contents.
In reality, the original question can lead to an enormous amount of discussions and exchange of ideas.
Some people make it simple by saying "have faith and answers will follow," but most learned scholars will opine that lifelong seekers will get some light.
Religion being a way of life attracts me. However, I plead to everyone in the world to join the discourse so after all that the inhabitants of the universe will be happy. Finally, after decades of reading and discussions I am still seeking answers.