Hindu Religious Traditions

1100 Words5 Pages
Hinduism is a complex religion that has a variety of beliefs and traditions. In the nineteenth century, the British had to categorize the people living in the region of the Indus River for census purposes thus getting the name Hindus by foreigners. Today they have a preference of being labeled as "Sanatana Dharma (eternal religion)" (Pg 79) There are many sacred elements that characterize the Hindu religion. The Vedas are considered to be the religious texts of Sanatana Dharma. However, "their origins and antiquity are still unknown; the Vedas themselves can be examined. They are a revered collection of ancient sacred hymns comprising four parts, which appear to have developed over time. The earliest are the Samhitas, hymns of praise in worship of deities." (Pg 82) Following this, the Brahmanas appeared explaining the "symbolic correspondences between the microcosm of the ritual process and the "real world" in which rituals are performed." (pg 82) The third part of the Vedas is known as Aranyakas; these recluse people went to the forest to mediate. The last of the Vedas consisted of teachings "from highly realized spiritual masters: known as Upanishads. The Vedic devotion centers around fire sacrifice rituals that were created and controlled by the Brahmins. Reincarnation is an answer that fills many with the question "what happens after we die?" The Hindus believe that the soul leaves one body and enters another. It is a very rare and fortunate thing when a soul is born as a human. It can take any form of life however, when born as a human being; this gives the soul a chance "to advance toward its ultimate goal of liberation from rebirth and merging with the Absolute Reality." (pg 86) Karma "means action, and also the consequences of action. Every act we make, and even every thought and every desire we have, shape our future experiences. Our life is what we have made it. And we ourselves are shaped by what we have done: "As a man acts, so does he become. . . . A man becomes pure through pure deeds, impure through impure deeds." Not only do we reap in this life the good or evil we have sown; they also follow us after physical death, affecting our next incarnation. Ethically, this is a strong teaching, for our every move has far-reaching consequences." (pg 87) In order to

More about Hindu Religious Traditions

Open Document