Hinduism is undoubtedly one of the known major religions in the world today. The fact that India has an immense population second only to China, makes Hinduism a major world religion since there are about 900 million Hindu practitioners (Encyclopedia Encarta 2007). Hinduism is one of the oldest known religions in existence along with Christianity, Judaism, Islam. , Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. The Hindu believes that the main point of religion first and foremost would be the existence of an Omnipotent, Transient, and Omniscient Being, which they refer to as divine beings or gods.
The Hindu believes that there are three supreme deities which reign over the vast array of Hindu Deities. The three supreme deities are Brahma, known as the “world soul”, Vishnu, “the preserver” and Shiva “the destroyer”. The Hindu practitioners strongly believe in the principle that “God is endowed both with a human guise or form (the concept of Sakara) and also strangely enough without any material form (the concept of Nirakara). The contrasting ideologies lends credence the existing contradictions in the Hindu Religions.
This is best illustrated in the understanding of the role being played by Shiva the deity they associate with the destruction of things. Shiva is seen as the “bringer of end” to things in this world, as well as the deity responsible for setting the cycle of rebirth. The Hindu religion recognizes the continuing cycle of death and rebirth which the world undergoes and believes in the need to maintain a balance in all of creation. It is with this concept that most of them base the main tenets or principles of this religion.
Vishnu, the deity which is associated with the preservation of things in existence is famously associated with the coming and going of avatars. He is said to have 10 avatars, out of the said 10 avatars there have already been 9 manifestations of Vishnu (HinduNet Inc, 2003). Brahma, on the other hand is deemed as the most important deity since he is associated with the release of the soul from the seemingly endless cycle of reincarnation. He is for all intents and purposes the deity responsible for bringing bliss through the union of the soul with his spirit.
This is the phenomenon which Hinduists refer to as Nirvana or Samsara, that is the release of the soul from the sorrows and pain in this world. III. The Basis of the Hindu Religion The basic tenets of Hinduism revolves around the concept of Nirvana, karma and Reincarnation. Nirvana is the belief that when a soul has undergone a lot of cycles by being repeatedly born into this world, time would come when it would attain perfection and attain a status of bliss when it merges at long last with the soul of Brahma.
The merging of one’s soul with that of Brahma’s is the ultimate goal or reward which one expects from doing good in living his life in different guises. The said transcendental union is achieved by adhering not only to special rituals but also by persevering to achieve the common ideals of Hindu ethics. The said ideals which one must successfully adhere to would be the attainment of purity, of self-control, of detachment, of truth, of non-violence, of charity and of the deepest regard and compassion towards all beings.
The belief that Brahma is present in each and every being makes it of utmost importance to respect the living embodiment of all that there is, be it good or bad. The said cycle of being reborn again and again into the human world in different guises is what they term as reincarnation, while the term karma pertains to the belief that one’s acts gives rise to a consequence which would manifest itself either during the current lifetime of the actor or during his other lifetimes when he moves on to live another life in accordance with the continuous cycle of being reborn as another person or as another lesser being.
In the Hindu religion, the concept of good against evil is non-existent (Hinduism A Perspective). This assertion is maintained by the teachings in the Atharva Veda. They maintain the belief that since God himself is almighty then it is technically impossible any entity to oppose his rule. The only thing which gives rise to conflict would be man’s resolution to attain union with his maker by doing good and receiving good karma in the process.
It necessarily follows that in the system created by God, man gets to experience both good and bad things based on their actions to do either a positive or negative act for his fellowmen and other lower beings (Trivikraman, R. 2007). IV. Cultural And Social Influences Contrary to common beliefs, and despite the fact that there are hundreds of recognized deities in the Hindu religion, Hindu practitioners still believe that there is only one God, and that he has more than one guise to represent his existence (Trivikraman, R. 2007).
According to Hindu Beliefs, The acts which a man does in his life is the main point which dictates his own fate or karma. The effects of the acts committed is reaped regardless of whether the said consequence is experienced in the present life or on the next life (Pratap, B. 2007). It is this principle which surmises the cause and effect of everything in existence and is sufficient enough information for the believers to correlate their existence as well as the prevailing inequalities in the society they revolve around on.
The Law of karma imposed on its believers the necessity of doing good and trying to do what is proper, which is in itself an admirable thing. According to the tenets of the said belief no being could ever escape the impending consequences of one’s actions. Positive or negative deeds tend to spawn similar aftermaths. Doing good or the benefit of another being allows man to have a good karma which allows him to eventually attain the sublime bliss of merging with Brahma, which represents the end of the cycle of death and rebirth.
As a result of such beliefs, it is noticeable that Hindu followers regard most beings in existence with the highest regard. They respect and go along with the flow of thing the way they see it. The saying “you reap what you sow” is a statement which best describes the seemingly endless “karmic cycle” (Trivikraman, R. 2007). The strong Hindu belief that man is born into this world to do good deeds as much as possible, and of course to avoid doing evil.
Doing good necessarily implies that its after effect extend even beyond the a being’s lifetime, the same principle holds as to when man does evil things, as expected the result would be ill consequences which may either occur during the present lifetime or during the next life cycle of the person in question. Man’s ultimate goal is of course to be released from the hardships of man’s existence. This could be done when man has already recognized and identified the existence of Brahma. The union of the soul with that of Brahma creates the effect similar to the concept of Heaven.
This phenomena also referred to as Nirvana or samsara defines the boundaries of man’s supposed ultimate achievement. The Hindu also believes that an individual gets what is due to him because of his destiny or fate. Hence they also believe that things which are destined to happen will take effect regardless of whether something or nothing was done to precipitate it. Another thing which sets the Hindu mindset apart from other religious sects would be the fact that they are not threatened of any divine retribution even if some beings are not believers or does not accept or acknowledge the existence of the divine.
Therefore it may be said that of all religions the tenets which this religion preaches is the most relaxed since it does not harbor or preach any consequences for the non belief or non-worship of a deity. The abovementioned beliefs are visible in the manner of their everyday existence. The vastly populated country of India, made it a necessity for a lot of people to adjust and share their neighborhood with a lot of lesser beings which we call animals. India is home to a large number of venomous snake species, as well as to the largest carnivore (the tiger).
The Indian community has accepted their lot and has tried all means within th eir power to cohabitate with such hazardous creatures. Their respect for these lesser beings are mostly based on their belief that whatever they do might be reciprocated in the future, as well as fostering the belief that any of those beings they mingle with may be a living embodiment of their departed loved ones who are undergoing the karmic cycle. The said deep respect has made India a unique country in that despite being overpopulated they still manage to avoid further destruction of their surroundings. V. Conclusion
Hinduism as a whole revolutionized man’s belief and respect for nature and his fellow beings. It is without any doubt a religion which preaches kind treatment of every being on this planet. This religion left an undelible mark on the way things should be seen, because respect for all things great and small is always going to be reciprocated in whatever form it may be conceived by those beings who became recipients of the same. The said beliefs being fostered by this religion has developed the present day Hindu followers to be extremely respectful in nature to all beings great and small as well as inculcating a healthy regard for nature.
A great many hinduists have a deep respect for maintaining balance in any form and would never willingly contribute to distorting the existing equilibrium of their surroundings. As a result Indians try their hardest to mingle in with their surroundings and perpetually strives not to change anything in their surrounding if it can be helped. The preservation of this noble religion in its country of origin should be made a priority since it promotes liberal thinking and the concept of neutrality.
It is through studying and following the tenets of this religion that man might begin to realize the importance of the existence of even the most miserable dregs existing in this planet. To be aware of the importance of even the most insignificant beings makes it possible for man to accept his lot and strive to improve the lot of his fellow man. VI.
HinduNet Inc (2003). ‘The Avatars of Lord Vishnu’. Retrieved October 6, 2007 http://hindunet. org/avatars/index. htm Pratap, B (2007). ‘Basic Concepts of Hinduism’.Retrieved October 5,2007 http://wisdomofreligion. blogspot. com/2007/04/understanding-hinduism-workshops-by. html Trivikraman, R. (2007). ‘Understanding Hinduism’. Retrieved October 5, 2007 http://wisdomofreligion. blogspot. com/2007/04/understanding-hinduism-workshops-by. html Encyclopedia Encarta (2007). ‘Hinduism’. Microsoft 2007 Retrieved October 5, 2007. http://encarta. msn. com/encyclopedia_761555715/Hinduism. html Hinduism A Perspective. Retrieved October 6, 2007 http://www. shaivam. org/hipspeci. htm