Posted by: Andrew G | March 10, 2010

Hinduism – Ancient And Complicated!

“The great thing about being Hindu is that it forces you to have parties and celebrate!” – Jai

The above quote is from a friend, and has now become somewhat filtered and paraphrased, but I think the original intent is somewhat preserved.

The Hindus have a holy day of Diwali. One story linked to Diwali is that a prince, much-loved by his people, was returning home after many dark years. The people wanted to be sure the prince would take the shortest route home, and so put up many lights and decorations and made as much noise as they could in celebration. The prince came home and the darkness  was conquered symbolically and meaningfully too, through having a sweet, ripping party.

Hinduism is often enough regarded as the world’s oldest religion and potentially the most complex religion. The complexity comes from the literal thousands of distinct religious groups in Ancient India (1).There are four main texts, the Vedas, and there is some evidence to suggest parts of the texts may have originated from as far back 2500 BCE (2). I’ve always been fascinated with the vibrancy and colour usually associated with Hindu art, and so I want to include a few examples in today’s entry.

.

Generally speaking, all Hindus share the belief in one supreme and creator god. The universe is organized in a cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. Karma, a concept similar to reciprocity but carried through an individual’s death and rebirth,  is generally considered a fundamental mechanism of the universe and living things (comparable to the concept of cause and effect). To the devout Hindu all life is considered sacred and ahimsa or non-injury in thought, meditation and action is practiced.

.

In a very brief summary, here is a list of Hindu virtues:

Satyam — the pleasant truth. Speak the truth, but if it will cause harm, you can still say nothing at all.

Ahimsa – non-violence. This does not have to mean adopting vegetarianism for example, but it does require an effort to reduce cruelty or suffering.

Asteyam – to not steal, or generally stop from being greedy or selfish.

Daya – compassion and sympathy towards all living creatures.

Kshanti – patience, tolerance and forgiveness kind of wrapped together, all in one.

Arjavam – openness so that there is no deception, in actions or words.

Madhuryam – having a pleasant disposition. (Seriously? Just ‘being nice’ gets a cool word like madhuryam?)

Dama – self-control in terms of passions.

Alkalata – withholding judgement when not having a full understanding of a person, the circumstances or a complete set of facts.

Due in part to the origins of Hinduism, there is a belief in Hinduism that all sincere religious paths can lead to salvation or transcendence, and so tolerance and understanding is important. You might say the paths  can be different, but the steps in the journey are the same, regardless of the boots you wear.

For more information, this source and this source would both act as good starters.

There have been many comparisons made between Krishna of the Vedas and Jesus of Christianity. For a balanced beginning that includes conservative and progressive Christian viewpoints as well as ideas from Hindu sources, check out this site.

.

“At the top of the mountain there is nothing but God. At the foot of it there is all the manifold variety and conflict.”  – Words of Our Master. WM2, p. 364

.

“If you remain at the top, you will see no difference. You can preach dharma only when you come down. If you remain at the top and see, everything will appear as one. That One always remains pure. Nothing can pollute it.” – Words of Our Master. WM, p. 36

.

Om Parvat, Hindu symbol in the snow-pattern?

Advertisements

Responses

  1. A nice intro to Hinduism.
    It is always best to understand from within.

    • Hey Sabio,

      Thanks for dropping by and for the read. I find I can’t go too far into detail with blog entries, eh. Otherwise it gets bogged down and heavy. But I hope I’ve provided some sources for those that wish to take up the journey. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: