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Hinduism - Religions of the World Uop

Essay by   •  January 2, 2011  •  Essay  •  919 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,479 Views

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Hinduism paper

Hinduism, today called Sanatana Dharma, unlike many other religions, lacks a uniting belief system. Instead, it is composed of many different beliefs and traditions that have evolved over time. It is believed that Hinduisms greatest strength, and a main reason for its continued growth, is its ability to unite the diverse practices and beliefs of its people. Hinduism practitioners are free to believe in the things they chose to believe in.

The people of the Indian Subcontinent are racially, religiously, ethnically, and culturally diverse. The acceptance of this umbrella faith called Hinduism created a unifying influence and philosophy that established peace and cooperation. The adoption of vegetarianism, especially cow protection, assured that the people would be well fed without reliance on limited resources for meat production.

There are some widely accepted ideas or beliefs that are followed by most practitioners which are derived from the Vedas. Vedas are spiritual texts that have been passed down from generation to generation. These main beliefs include reincarnation, rituals, the caste system, and the ultimate goal of achieving Moksha, which is liberation from the limitations of space, time, and matter through realization of the immortal Absolute. (Living Religions)

Liberation from earthly existence, achieving Moksha, is believed to be done through reincarnation, whereby one’s soul is reborn again and again, either in human or animal form, until it is completely pure and can then be free from the wheel of reincarnation. Reincarnation in human form is believed to be a precious and rare opportunity for one to advance ones soul towards complete purity, which is in essence achieving Moksha. It is believed that this advancement is achieved through the concept of Karma. Karma is action and the consequences of the action. Everything one does will either take them closer or farther from that goal. Practitioners strive to perform pure deeds to purify their soul and get closer to achieving Moksha. On the other hand, if practitioners perform impure deeds, their soul must return again and again until it can be purified. Only when one’s souls is completely pure can it achieve Moksha and become one with Brahman

Some of the cultural and societal influences that have made Hinduism vital to the region in which it originated were brought forth experientially by various spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines, such as yoga, that practitioners use to achieve self-awareness. In turn, self-awareness is one of the steps to reaching Moksha. Yoga provides four different paths to salvation: raja yoga, the path of mental concentration; jnana yoga, the path of rational inquire, karma yoga, the path of right action and bhakti yoga, the path of devotion. Practitioners may chose one or more of these spiritual disciplines to assist in them in their journey to Moksha.

As in most ancient religions, many of the Hindu holidays are based on the cycle of nature. They mark the change of seasons, celebrate the harvest, and encourage fertility of the land. Others are dedicated to a particular deity, such as Shiva or Ganesh. Still other popular holidays commemorate events in the lives of Rama or Krishna. In addition to the major Hindu festivals that are celebrated throughout India, many regional festivals are also held in honor of various deities.

Hindus

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