Question by baykid415: Project about Hinduism? I need to find out about social and political characteristics of the religion?
Also, what is the view on compassion? What are their main beliefs on how you should act?
Answer by Siva
Hinduism, the world’s oldest religion, has no beginning–it precedes recorded history. It has no human founder. It is a mystical religion, leading the devotee to personally experience the Truth within, finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are one. Hinduism has four main denominations–Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism.
Sanatana Dharma, meaning “Eternal or Universal Righteousness” is the original name of what is now called Hinduism. Sanatana Dharma comprises of spiritual laws which govern the human existence.
The following nine facts, though not exhaustive, offer a simple summary of Hindu spirituality or about Hinduism.
1 Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
2 Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.
3 Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
4 Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
5 Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.
6 Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas (divine beings) and God.
7 Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation and surrender in God.
8 Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, noninjury, in thought, word and deed.
9 Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.
GOD AND LORDS IN HINDUISM
God is a one being, yet we understand Him in three perfections: Absolute Reality, Pure Consciousness and Primal Soul. As Absolute Reality, God is unmanifest, unchanging and transcendent, the Self God, timeless, formless and spaceless. As Pure Consciousness, God is the manifest primal substance, pure divine love and light flowing through all form, existing everywhere in time and space as infinite intelligence and power. God is all and in all, great beyond our conception, a sacred mystery that can be known in direct communion.
Hindus believe in one Supreme Being. In the Hindu pantheon there are said to be three hundred and thirty-three million Lords(divine beings). The plurality of Lords are perceived as divine creations of that one Being. So, Hinduism has one supreme God, but it has an extensive hierarchy of Lords.
Hinduism views existence as composed of three worlds. The First World is the physical universe; the Second World is the subtle astral or mental plane of existence in which the devas, angels and spirits live; and the Third World is the spiritual universe of the Mahadevas, “great shining beings,” our Hindu Lords. Hinduism is the harmonious working together of these three worlds.
Hinduism is a family of four main denominations – Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Smartism – under a divine hierarchy of Mahadevas. These intelligent beings have evolved through eons of time and are able to help mankind without themselves having to live in a physical body. These great Mahadevas, with their multitudes of angelic devas, live and work constantly and tirelessly for the people of our religion, protecting and guiding them, opening new doors and closing unused ones.
SIGNIFICANCE OF HINDUISM
Hinduism is unique among the world’s religions. I boldly proclaim it the oldest religion in the world. To begin with, it is mankind’s oldest spiritual declaration, the very fountainhead of faith on the planet. Hinduism’s venerable age has seasoned it to maturity. It is the only religion, to my knowledge, which is not founded in a single historic event or prophet, but which itself proceeds recorded history. Hinduism has been called the “cradle of spirituality,” and the “mother of all religions,” partially because it has influenced virtually every major religion and partly because it can absorb all other religions, honor and embraces their scriptures, their saints, and their philosophy. This is possible because Hinduism looks compassionately on all genuine spiritual effort and knows unmistakably that all souls are evolving toward union with the Divine, and all are destined, without exception, to achieve spiritual enlightenment and liberation in this or a future life.
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