Hinduism is secular, giving scope for one to follow any of the numerous Gods, before him, in any manner he likes. The Vedic scripts dins into us that all religions should be honoured.
Religion, which is eternal, is the property of all people. Any attempt to remove its influence from the masses will be only an exercise in futility.
Whether one likes it or not, it is soaked in most of us and cannot be removed from us. For instance, one comes across a pavement dweller or a daily wage earner getting out of bed and worshipping even a brick or a stone to which he applies vermilion powder. For such persons it serves as a symbol of God and as the supreme power.
What is relevant to Hinduism, is the basic faith entertained by all, that God will definitely come to the succour of those who believe him. The intellectuals however visit the temples or scriptural texts and derive the benefit. We can go to the extent of saying that the world cannot thrive without religious activity in some way or the other.
The common factor in all religions is the belief that there exists in it Transcendental Truth, acceptable by all and applicable to all. This idea will continue to be entertained for all time to come. The purpose of religion is the creation of Divine Consciousness.
There is only one God, though He has many forms and there are different paths to reach Him. The comparison is, a woman can be a mother, daughter, wife, sister or a friend to various people depending on her relationship with them. But she remains the same individual. So the basic concept is oneness in diversity.
Why do Hindus worship God in different forms?
Actually, Hindus believe in only one formless and all-pervading, all-existing, and all-blissful God. That formless God, however, can best be realized by concentrating on various forms of ideal personalities as recorded in the scriptures.
In other words, the Hindu religion is flexible and provides many ways to develop one's spiritual ideas in order to suit individual needs. "Unity in the diverse plan of nature" is recognized in the Hindu faith. Just as people tailor clothes to fit their needs, Hindus have different gods and goddesses for their religious needs.
All these gods and goddesses resemble humans, animals or natural forces such as wind, water, fire, sun, and moon; each has different powers to bless the world. These godheads, when worshipped, fulfill people's desires in an easier way, but with the same qualities of blessings as from one God or Supreme Reality.
That the Supreme can be worshipped in any form is a concept unique to Hinduism. Such worship is truly a tribute to His greatness.The following verse in Sanskrit verse acknowledges the diversity of human society, practices and behavior.
“Varied are the tastes and many are the paths to a goal.
Some are righteous, some are not.
Yet, all aim to reach the goal,
just like all the rivers lead to the ocean.
Similarly, man traverses to Thee.”
It clearly shows that the ancient Indians had seen the virtue of secularism and forbearance. Secularism enhances freedom of not only religion but also complements reasoning and progress. It dispels the inflexibility and intransigence (die-hardism or stubbornness) of certain constricting religious beliefs and it is the greatest emancipator.