A Different Perspective of Hinduism
With over 900 million people who practice Hinduism it’s hard to believe that I knew very little about the religion until recently. Hinduism is considered to some, the oldest religion in the world, dating back hundreds of centuries. It is primarily practiced in India and Nepal but has followers all around the world. Hinduism’s peaceful teachings have even attracted some very popular celebrities such as Julia Roberts an American actress, George Harrison of the Beatles, and the actor Russell Brand (Sarkar, 2014). Since my personal newfound discovery of Hinduism I’ve dived into the exploration of what it takes, and actually means to be a Hindu. In order to do this, I not only had to educate myself by finding as much information as I could in books and on the world wide web, but I also recently attended a religious service to get firsthand knowledge and I would like to share that with you.
In order to really understand something, you need to study how it came to be. Some historians believe that Hinduism goes as 5000 years (Das, n.d.). With the religion dating back so many years, one can imagine the drastic transformations the religion has made throughout the centuries, but unlike most religions, Hinduism is more of a way of life than a religion at all. That’s what I believe has allowed the religion to thrive and survive all these years. With no exact starting point, and the fact that it encompasses several different traditions makes for an extremely unique and intriguing religion (Flood, 2009).
This leads us to the question of, “What is Hinduism.” A simple answer would be, “It’s a way of life,” but this leaves much to the imagination. With the religion not being, “set in stone,” being a Hindu might vary greatly from place to place and person to person. With that being said, there are some general widespread beliefs.
That truth is eternal- Hindus are constantly pursing truth and recognize that, “truth,” is the only reality.
They believe in the Vedas- The Vedas are Hinduisms sacred text. These scriptures give an explanation as to what it means to be Hindu, and its meanings differ greatly depending on how each individual person interprets it.
That Brahman is the supreme God- Brahman is the ultimate reality. This god is formless and limitless, all-encompassing of everything in the universe.
Hindus should try to achieve Dhrarma- Dharama is doing the right thing, a sort of moral law that everyone should abide by. Hindus should practice this diligently in their every action. This is one of the most important concepts in the religion.
The soul is immortal- The soul can neither be created nor destroyed. What you do in this life will follow you into the next. The body will eventually die, but the soul will inhabit the next body and the way that you live this life, will have a direct reflect on how your next life will be.
The ultimate goal of your soul is to reach moksha- Moksha is the soul’s final destination. This happens after several rebirths.
Hinduism teaches that all life if sacred- All life should be treated with appreciation and the utmost care. After all you never know what your soul will inhabit in the next the life (Srinivasan, n.d.)
With so many different beliefs, that are at times somewhat vague, it is east to see why the religious practices vary from one person to the next. From reading the above common “requirements,” one could gather that in order to be a good Hindu, he or she would have to just live a moral life. Hinduism is all about peaceful living and doing as much for others as humanly possible while here on earth. If this is done, then eventually, you will reach Moksha and be forever united with God. There are a few practices that help you do this. Meditation is a great way to achieve a sense of peace and become closer to God. Yoga is a popular and well known form of meditation that is practiced in