Religion, Poverty and Wealth

781 Words4 Pages
Religion, Poverty and Wealth

Poverty is now a problem on a global scale, and Hinduism has needed,

and will continue to need, to undertake an ongoing state of change and

adaptation. Many of the beliefs Hindus held only a couple of centuries

ago have been altered or even removed altogether. The globalisation of

Hinduism, bringing it into contact with a wide range of other cultures

and religions, has influenced this a lot. Hinduism, however, is full

of variations itself, so what is said of Hinduism may be true for some

Hindus, and false for others. Hinduism is less a religion, than a

culture, and way of life. This way of life affects how they view

poverty and wealth, and what there reactions to it are, as outlined

below.

Unlike many other societies, where the caste system is based on power

or wealth, thus giving the poorest the least power, Hinduism has four

set castes, which a member belongs to by birth. These groups are

called varnas, and each has its own set of rules and duties to live

by, known as dharma. Too much inter-varna mixing, especially

intermarriage, is strongly disapproved of. The first, and highest

varna is that of a Brahmin-priests, teachers, and wisemen. The next is

Kshatriya-warriors, rulers, and leaders. The third is Vaishya-traders,

merchants, agriculture, and other work involved with commerce. The

final, and lowest varna is Sudra-manual labour and service. In many

societies, the difference between the high and the low, in terms of

social status, has caused great troubles, due to discontentment of the

poor and weak to continue living like they are. In Hinduism, however,

this problem is avoided, by the promise o...

... middle of paper ...

... many Hindus to make a small donation

to the poor, and will give old clothes or shoes away, rather than

throwing them out.

MK Gandhi changed many old Hindu beliefs with his teachings. He taught

that it is wrong to think that a poor person is only getting what they

deserve. He believed that everyone was a part of God, and people

should recognise that they share the same world and should care for

one another. He taught that service to others was the best way to find

God and comprehend fully the human condition. This had a profound

effect on the treatment of the poor in India today. There are many

charities set up for helping the poor in India, such as the Hindu

Mission Hospital and Prison Fellowship India. These receive many

donations from many Hindus-even those overseas will often send back

money to help the poor.
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