For thousands of years, the human race has pondered its existence. One of the most common ways in finding meaning and purpose in our everyday lives and daily struggles is through the pursuit of religion. Beyond a mere religion, Hinduism, the third-largest in the world, is considered by its practitioners to also be a lifestyle, a daily way of living that incorporates both material and spiritual pursuits and one that is “guided though an interconnected and philosophical religious compilation of spirituality, yoga and meditation,” (Thillainathan, 2010). According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, Hinduism will remain at about 15% in both 2010 and 2050 and is projected to rise from slightly more than 1 billion in 2010 to nearly 1.4 billion in 2050.
With billions of adherents around the world, it is not surprising that there are many different spirituals pathways within the faith. Though “Hinduism thus recommends a balanced life with an ultimate spiritual goal” (“One Goal,” n.d.), there are some shared ideas, rituals, cosmology and some of the ancient texts, like the Vedas. The Vedas have “four main branches of yoga philosophy suitable to four types of personalities: Karma (action) yoga; Bhakti (devotion) yoga; Jnana (knowledge) yoga; and, Raja (meditation) yoga,” (Thillainathan, 2010). “Yoga” refers to the liberation from earthly distractions and troublesome ways involves incorporating the concept of God into one’s life.
Karma (“action”) yoga, then, is the “understanding that selfish action binds the soul,” and thereby recommends that, “all activities be linked to a greater cause… (it) specifically refers to sacrifices offered to various deities to attain material necessities in this life and the next, without accruing any ...
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...’ area,” (Raja Yoga, n.d.). It is essential that everything we do should be done with our spiritual lives in mind.
Each form of yoga allows a devotee a closer relationship with God, a deepening of their faith, and a clearer purpose in their mind that is compatible with both their inner selves and the greater spiritual world. This blends well with Hinduism’s continual emphasis on reality, on examining truth, taking personal accountability for deeds both good and bad and pulling back the artificial layers of our “one’s personality, mind, emotions, body, beliefs,” so we “cease to identify with these aspects of the small self…revealing one’s true nature as the infinite Self,” (Thillainathan, 2010). This religious faith and lifestyle allows us to find out who we are through discipline and examination and will remain a worldwide stronghold for the foreseeable future.
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