Basics of Hinduism

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Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth: the very essence of the universe and the only Reality. According to the Vedas, Truth is One, but the wise express it in a variety of ways.


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Hindus believe in Brahman as the one true God who is formless, limitless, all-inclusive, and eternal. Brahman is not an abstract concept; it is a real entity that encompasses everything seen and unseen in the universe. The Vedas are Hindu scriptures that contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages. Hindus believe that the Vedas are without beginning and without end; when everything else in the universe is destroyed at the end of a cycle of time , the Vedas remain.

Understanding the concept of dharma helps you understand the Hindu faith.


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Unfortunately, no single English word adequately covers its meaning. Dharma can be described as right conduct, righteousness, moral law, and duty. A Hindu believes that the individual soul atman is neither created nor destroyed; it has been, it is, and it will be. Actions of the soul while residing in a body require that it reap the consequences of those actions in the next life — the same soul in a different body.

The process of movement of the atman from one body to another is known as transmigration. The kind of body the soul inhabits next is determined by karma actions accumulated in previous lives. Indeed, Hindus have explored the mysteries of science, mathematics and astronomy to revel in the glory of Creation. Epochal advances in metallurgy, medicine, grammar, music and dance, among other disciplines, came from early practitioners of Hinduism and its scripture is replete with practical and esoteric observations.

Some perennial contributions of Hinduism:. Yet the 20th and 21st century are marking a resurgence as Hindus in the diaspora, especially in the United States, strengthen their adopted lands with contributions in technology, medicine, engineering, fashion and the arts among many other disciplines.

Hinduism 101: An Introduction To The Hindu Religion

He [Priestly] ought to have told us, that in India he conversed with the Brahmins, and read the Shasta [sic shastra], five thousand years old, written in the language of the sacred Sanscrit, with the elegance and sentiments of Plato. Where is to be found theology more orthodox, or philosophy more profound, than in the introduction to the Shasta [sic Shatra]? God governs all the creation by a general providence, resulting from his eternal designs. Search not the essence and the nature of the Eternal, who is one; your research will be vain and presumptuous.

It is enough, that, day by day and night by night, you adore his power, his wisdom, and his goodness, in his works. The Eternal willed, in the fulness of time, to communicate of his essence and of his splendor, to beings capable of perceiving it. They as yet existed not. The Eternal willed, and they were. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.

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In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climbs, and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I read it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night. It deserves to be read with reverence even by Yankees. They are encyclopedia of every aspect of life, culture, religion, science, ethics, law, cosmology and meteorology.

Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all. The system of blood circulation was discovered by them centuries before Harvey was heard of. Search form Search. Hinduism also advances the concept of the equality of all mankind, as expressed in the ancient hymn: Ajyesthaso akanishthaso ete sambhrataro vahaduhu saubhagaya No one is superior, none inferior.

The popularly recited Hindu invocation demonstrates this concern for universal kinship and well-being: Om sarve bhavantu sukhinah. As such, Hindus believe that the Divine: Manifests in different forms Can be worshipped by various means Speaks to each individual in different ways to enable them to not only believe in God, but know God This embrace of pluralism has contributed to the incredible spiritual and religious freedom one witnesses within Hinduism -- in its many deity traditions, paths or yogas, schools of thoughts, saint traditions, ways of worship, etc.

This true, unadulterated pluralism is captured in the ancient Sanskrit hymn: Ekam sat vipraha bahudha vadanti Truth is one, the wise call it by many names. Six Major Schools of Thought in Hinduism Over the ages, various schools of theology developed in Hinduism through a dynamic tradition of philosophical inquiry and debate. Key Hindu Scriptures Hinduism is rich in scripture and includes an extensive collection of ancient religious writings.

Hinduism as an Inspiration for Innovation and Discovery: Hindu Contributions from Antiquity Contrary to popular perceptions that Hinduism is a mystical religion exclusively concerned with transcendental concepts of spiritual practice, Hinduism has been a wellspring for vast contributions to global civilization spanning more than five millennia. Mathematics The concept of zero A.

Hinduism for Deepening and Dialogue

The modern numerical and decimal system B. The value of pi? Area of a triangle A. Quadratic Equation A. Astronomy Concept of planets in the solar system circling the sun A. Earth as round, rotating on axis and gravity as a force of attraction by the earth A. Concept of Time as days in a year. Metallurgy Steel, iron, gold discovered in archaeological excavations dating to B.

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Medicine Ayurveda, a system of allopathic and holistic medicine and now a subject of rediscovery, originated B. Detailed text called the Charaka Samhita includes anatomy, physiology and various treatments using various plants, fruits and herbs. Surgery The Sushruta Samhita B.

The Original Intent Behind Hinduism

Literature Sanskrit developed as the most ancient systematic language in the world. The Ramayan before B. E and the , verses Mahabharata B. Arts Highly sophisticated Indian classical music finds its origins in the Sama Veda, one of the four original Vedas.

The four classical dance forms of India find their origins and inspirations in Hindu religious tradition.

Yoga and Meditation These are, perhaps, the most widely-recognized spiritual contributions of Hinduism to humanity. Hatha Yoga, the widely practiced system of cleansing exercises, is only one of the Yoga disciplines that encourage spiritual, physical and intellectual advancement. Meditation, a process that calms and focuses the psyche, is integral to yogic practice and recognized with yoga for its salutary effects on personal well-being.

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