Misinterpretation of language can be misleading. In this blog, I am picking up 2 hindi words and trying to decipher their true meaning. And it maybe on a little sensitive topic as well due to its involvement of God and Faith. This would also need a little of my background.
My Love for Hindi language
I was an average student in school. And when it came to subjects of language, i.e. English and Hindi, I simply denied the need of such subjects. Hindi being harder due to tough spellings. Only STEM subjects made sense to me. But during my college, I started fancying songs and their lyrics and very lately poetries as well. I realised that expression needs a language and to express properly one needs a command over language. Although I can converse and write in English, I still don’t feel a command over the language. But, my command over Hindi, has amazingly developed in a strange manner. Read further to see a glimpse of same.
Astik : One who believes in God.
Nastik : One who doesn’t believe in God.
This is pretty much a standard definition taught in schools today. Also, the above mentioned links will also give similar glimpses. Some of them translate the word to a different language and try to explain the meaning. But this also leads to certain loss of information or addition of noise to the meaning.
Now I am trying to convey my observation here. If you look at both the words, both seem to have been derived from a common word Astha, which means Faith. Now, Astik from Astha, can simply be one who has Faith. And, as a standard negation in Hindi, Nastik would be one who doesn’t have Faith.
How did God got into the picture?
From the words, the above mentioned meanings seem more appropriate. How did God got associated with the words then? One plausible reason can be that our faith is usually associated with God, and it lies so prominently in our culture that God and Faith sound synonymous. Nastik, according to standard definition, might not have Faith in God, but he can still have Faith in something else. With my definition, being a Nastik is not possible. One needs to have Faith is something to Live.
Back then, I used to tell everyone that I am a Nastik based on my denial for existence of God in the human form. With the new definition, I become Astik for my acceptance of a Supreme Source.