Hinduism

Hinduism


Table of Contents

Introduction Page 1
Hindu Beliefs
A. Hindu Gods Page 1
B. Life Before and After Death Page 2
C. The Caste System Page 2
Rituals of Life in Hinduism Page 3 & 4
Worship
A. Daily Obligations Page 4
B. Daily Rituals Page 4
C. Puja Page 5
D. Yoga Page 5
Hindu Holy Books
A. Veda Page 5
B. Laws of Manu Page 5
C. The Epics Page 6
Pilgrimage Page 6
Shivarati Page 6 & 7

Introduction

Hinduism - stands for the faith and the way of life most of the people who live
in India.

Hinduism is such an ancient religion that it had many types of beliefs
and religious practices. Around 1750 BC Aryan invaders from central Asia
settled in North - West India and introduced their own religious ideas.

Slowly the Hindu came to accept the idea of the existence of an eternal
supreme being. They called this being, Brahman. Hindus also worship different
gods which individually represent one particular aspect of Brahman. The most
popular one of the lesser gods are Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver),
and Shiva (the destroyer)

Hinduism has no founder. It is a religion that has slowly developed over a
period of time.

Hindu Beliefs

Hindu Gods

The Hindus have four gods Brahman, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. There
main god is Brahman. He is the origin and the sustainer of all life, and the
goal of all things. He is eternal and omnipotent and only he is real. They
believe that Brahman is so great that he cannot be explained in human words
because all humans are imperfect and Brahman is perfect.

Shiva
Shiva is usually depicted with six arms each one representing a
different function to preform. He is known as the destroyer and restorer of
life, symbol of the reproductive force of nature, philosopher and sage. He has
a third eye which signifies wisdom or higher consciousness. He has a blue
throat which is a result of him swallowing a full cup of mans sins. Worship of
Shiva includes fertility rites and veneration of the symbols of male and female
sex organs. Most Hindus imagine Shiva as being in deep meditation high in the
Himalayas. Shiva is the ultimate god who holds in divine tension the
preservation and destruction of the cosmos, both its birth and death. At times
he is portrayed as the great ascetic. He is often depicted as the reconciler of
dualities such as good and evil, eroticism and asceticism, his creative energy
is depicted in the Lingam and Yoni. Shiva is frequently shown in loving union
with his consort Parvati (another form of the great goddess)

Shiva devotees are called Shaivites, and devotion usually takes the form
of Yogic practice. Shiva is often pictured, in one of the best known religious
images from India, as the lord of the cosmic dance. Shiva "LORD OF THE DANCE".
He is surrounded by flames (energy of the universe) and snakes (representing
creative power). His upper right hand is holding a drum (to beat the rhythm of
the time) while the upper left hand holds a flames (element of destruction).
His second right hand is raised for blessing, while his second left hand points
to the raised left foot (symbolizes release). The right foot treads on a dwarf
that represents ignorance and spiritual blindness.

Life Before and After Death

A Hindu believes and hopes that eventually his soul will join with
Brahman. They welcome death as a step towards gaining this everlasting union
with him. They believe that their souls were never born and therefore never
dies, but it moves on from one body to another. This movement form one body to
another in the cycle of birth death and re-birth is called reincarnation. This
belief that a person will be born again following the death is linked with the
law of karma. They also believe that the type of existence a person will
experience in the next life depends on the good and bad karma built up in the
previous life.
The white cows are considered holy because they believe that they are a
symbol of "atman", which means the soul in all living things.

The Caste System

A caste is a group of people with a particular place in society. Hindu
people are born into their caste, wether high or low, they must accept their
place without question. This means that a person can only be born a Hindu. To
maintain purity Hindus can only marry within their caste, they can only eat with
members of their caste, and the men follow occupation of their caste which are
passed from father to son.

The difficulty that arise by the observing the caste system is that
there are a large group of people who are classified as being outside of the
caste system, some examples of this are untouchables and outcastes. These
people are among the