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Hinduism religion is a complex set of principles that encompass the following nine basic beliefs: The divinity of the Vedas (ancient scripture) and the Agamas (primordial hymns), which are God's word; the belief in one Supreme Being which is transcendant; the belief that the universe experiences constant cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution; the belief that karma creates a person's destiny through personal thoughts, words and actions; the belief that the soul reincarnates until liberation from the cycle has been achieved; the principle that divine beings exist in worlds beyond Earth; the belief that a satguru (spiritual master) is essential to fulfill all aspects of being; and that all religions are paths to God and deserve respect (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/26/story_2656_1.html).
Furthermore, all Hindu followers must fulfill five basic obligations, including daily worship (upasana), Holy days (utsava), virtuous living (dharma), pilgrimage (tirthayatra), and rites of passage (samskara) to be considered true to their faith (http://www.beliefnet.com/story/26/story_2656_1.html).According to the website www.encyclopedia.com,"Hinduism is a synthesis of the religion brought into India by the Aryans and indigenous religion...universally accepted is the goal of moksha or mukti, liberation from suffering and from the compulsion to rebirth, which is attainable through elimination of passions and through knowledge of reality and finally union with God" (1). Hindu believers must establish a rigorous schedule of praise and worship in order to fulfill the responsibilities that are instituted by their beliefs.
Hindu believers must constantly be in harmony with the self, or sut. The scriptures of Hindu also teach that a human is an atman clothed in a physical body. The term atman can be translated into a number of words, including the soul, the self, or the spirit (http://www.culturopedia.com/Religions/Hinduism.html).In essence, "In a human body atman is the source of the mind, intellect and ego sense. Hindu scriptures declare that atman is immortal and divine. In Hindu view, therefore, an individual is potentially divine and eternally perfect" (2). The primary argument of this paper is to demonstrate that the Hindu belief in the self as divine is the chief principle by which all Hindu believers lead their daily lives. However, in contrast, many other religions do not base their beliefs on the indication that humans are divine beings. Rather, they base their principles on the primary belief in a divine or perfect God, or immortal being that is not of this Earth. The diverse contrast between religious beliefs across the world demonstrates the importance of the unique makeup of the human population in terms of religious beliefs and truths.
The website www.culturopedia.comprofesses that "Hindus declare that there is only one Supreme Being and He is the God of all religions...there are many ways of conceiving the Supreme Reality (Brahman) and numerous ways of approaching it. God is the source of goodness and truth. Man's goal in life is to seek union with him. This union can be sought in many ways, all requiring sincerity of purpose, self-sacrifice and discipline. The highest religious experience is the one in which an individual transcends the intellect and realizes God immediately...individual responsibility and one's ethics are a foundation for individual happiness and social stability,,there is no intrinsic evil in nature nor is there any evil force in the world which opposes God. Man commits evil only due to his own ignorance" (2). In reference to this quotation, Hindu belief in the self must serve in accordance with the tradition and principles of maintaining a strong union with God by eliminating as much evil as possible from one's life.
According to religious tradition, Brekke indicates that "Religion is the complete, harmonious, unselfish cultivation of all human faculties - physical, intellectual, and aesthetic. It means striving for bodily and mental perfection...each human being is a seed which has the potential for realization of humanness...one should strive for this realization" (209-210). The teachings of Bankimchandra, as explained by Brekke, demonstrate the importance of the individual in the teachings of Hinduism. The God Krsna, as described by Bankimchandra, "sets the standard in action, knowledge and enjoyment. Krsna offers the ideal of human perfection no only to Hindus but to the whole world" (212). Brekke also demonstrates that Bankimchandra sought to reform the beliefs of dharma through individualism and to transcend the concept beyond the boundaries of India. In other words, "dharma ceases to be social duties and becomes the individual's psychophysical potential and the duties entailed in this potential" (211). Eventually, these ideals contributed to the norms that have become part of social philosophy.
According to Bankimchandra as written by Brekke, "God's function in his religion was to serve as an ideal for human beings...the God with qualities which is described in the Puranas as well as in the Bible is the best example of the God of a religion of worship and such a God must be the ideal...with such a God as the highest ideal man will constantly stretch himself in the emulation of God's perfect qualities" (212). In other words, God is the example to which all Hindus should look to in order to seek perfection and idealism in their own lives. Furthermore, this demonstrates that a God that is beyond this Earth is the only being that is truly perfect. Although humans seek perfection in their lives, it is often unattainable due to the social circumstances in today's society. Therefore, Hindu believers that strive to seek a perfect self should consider the challenges that they must overcome in their daily lives.
In Hindu tradition, a strong belief exists that is the essence of all that is holy and true is the Self. This belief, called Jnana Yoga of Brahma Vidya, or Science of the Self...a student who treads the path of Truth must, therefore, first equip himself with Sadhana Chatushtaya - the 'four means of salvation.'
They are discrimination, dispassion, the sixfold qualities of perfection, and intense longing for liberation. The alone will he be able to march forward fearlessly on the path. Not an iota of spiritual progress is possible unless one is endowed with these four qualifications" (3). In other words, in order to reach the true inner workings of the self, one must be prepared to manage the characteristics of attaining true salvation. The principles of Hinduism are monistic in nature. In other words, they strongly contrast the beliefs of the dualistic world that all humans live in, such as good and evil, self and other, and I and world. In general, reality is viewed as being comprised of one basic principle or belief (Unit 3a - 67).
In contrast to Bankimchandra, Vivekananda indicates that the comparison of religions can contribute to the formulation of the scientific method: "From generalizations one can approach the common essence of religions and finally, one can arrive at religion beyond these religions...comparative religion became a method to look for the essence of religions, but it was also a device used to lump all other systems together as a series of different creeds. These creeds - Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Vedic religion, etc. - existed on different levels of development and emphasized different aspects of human existence" (213).
Other religions of the world each demonstrate a diverse set of principles and beliefs that require different degrees of worship and personal attention. In countries such as the United States, where a wide variety of religions are prevalent in modern society, it is assumed that most citizens have a belief in a higher power, one that is beyond this Earth. However, the principles surrounding these faiths are quite diverse and unique. Therefore, it is apparent that although a belief in one supreme being is relatively universal, the principles behind that belief are based on centuries of tradition supported by diverse populations.
It should be noted that the Hindu belief in the self…[continue]
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