Hinduism World Report Essay

Submitted By Kiaw31
Words: 2136
Pages: 9

Of the many different religions in India, the largest and oldest is Hinduism. It has become so interesting and appealing that it is the third largest religion in the entire world. Unfortunately, a lack of research has led to misrepresentations of the religion. For example, a fashion show in Australia featured a bathing suit depicting the image of Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune and wealth, upsetting the Hindu nation and sparking severe controversy. I believe that the more educated people are of the facts and history of Hinduism, the better they will understand how important it is to its people and will be able to represent the religion accurately. Hindus are very religious, believing in spiritual diversity. They worship multiple gods, both men and women, and believe that daily prayer and worship to the gods will bring good fortune and health to themselves and their families. They also believe in the afterlife and reincarnation; that if they do good deeds and live life according to the sacred texts their souls will re-inhabit the Earth through a different form of life. They also believe that if a person does bad or disobeys the sacred texts their souls will suffer in hell. According to research, “the sacred scriptures of the Rig Vedas, promise that all who have been good will receive admission to Yama’s paradise and the everlasting enjoyment of all the heavenly pleasures, include the restoration of a sick body, the maintaining of family relationships, and the highly desired apotheosis (Hindu Death Rituals and Beliefs).” There are a number of rites and ceremonies performed during the beginning of life to establish the spiritual connection to the deities; “these include rites for auspicious conception, the birth of a son, safe delivery, birth, naming the child, first solid food, first haircut, initiation into learning the Vedas, and the first hearing of the sacred Gayatri mantra (Courtright, 2005).” Since Hindus believe in reincarnation and karma, they have traditions and rituals that are performed when a person is dying or has died. In most religious traditions involving death, the mortician prepares the body using embalming fluid and makeup to preserve the body for the funeral so friends and family can pay their last respects. In Hinduism, the body is treated much differently. The death ceremonies and rituals are usually carried out in the home of the dying or deceased, where family members gather to pray and participate in bidding the person good-bye. First, the dying body is prepared by rubbing sacred ash on the forehead and drops of Holy water into the mouth. Once the person dies, the body is carried into the front entrance of the home and placed on either a cot or on the floor with their head facing south. Because Hinduism opposes burying bodies in the ground, when a person dies they are prepared for the cremation rituals. The cremation site is considered a sacred place, so women are not allowed to follow the chief mourner to the site. Throughout the year, the family of the deceased celebrates his or her life with a series of gatherings from a few days after the person dies to a year after their death. They pray and worship, eat a meal that consists of the deceased’s favorite foods, and repeat the funeral ceremony again. Hindus also carry strong beliefs and opinions on marriage and divorce. Men are expected to marry and women are expected to leave home and move to her husband’s house, minimizing the amount of time they spend with their parents. Hindus typically marry within their social class, but there are some who have chosen to try and marry outside of their caste. The wedding date is chosen by the parents of the bride and groom who use astrology to determine the best time of year for their wedding. The wedding ceremony includes many traditions, such as feasting, fire ceremony, taking seven steps together, receiving blessings, and playing games. One tradition that is important in