Most people in the world derive their religious beliefs and traditions from their parents and peer influences. From a religious point of view, “There are many definitions for the term ‘religion’ in common usage. [Broadly defined], in order to include the greatest number of belief systems: ‘Religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, and a philosophy of life’” (Robinson, 1996). However, in examining Hinduism, it is difficult to label the practices as a religion. This paper will expound upon the Hindu traditions, taking into account the characteristics of sacred elements, their meaning, and significance.
“For thousands of years people have associated objects in the sky, the Earth, and aspects of their physical world with the gods and goddesses of their culture” (Windows Team, 2000, Mythology). The Hindu culture is no different with the association of several gods and goddesses acknowledged through their traditional worship. Worshipping the many gods and goddesses makes Hinduism difficult to comprehend the many elements of the tradition. The worship of many gods and goddesses is rooted in henotheism. “Belief in one god without denying the existence of others” (Yahooligans! Reference, 2000). This way of worship is what makes Hinduism complex and hard to understand.
In addition, what makes Hinduism even more complex, is that fact that it is also “viewed as a monotheistic religion, because it recognizes only one supreme God: the panentheistic principle of Brahman that all reality is a unity. The entire universe is seen as one divine entity who is simultaneously at one with the universe and who transcends it as well. [Still others] view Hinduism as Trinitarian because Brahman is simultaneously visualized as a triad - - one God with three persons” (Robinson, 1995):
• Brahma the Creator who is continuing to create new realities;
• Vishnu, (Krishna) the Preserver, who preserves these new creations. Whenever Dharma (eternal order, righteousness, religion, law, and duty) is threatened, Vishnu travels from heaven to earth in one of ten incarnations;
• Shiva, the Destroyer, is at times compassionate, erotic, and destructive.
Thus, it is understandable, based on the various gods worshipped in Hinduism that one must look at th...
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June 13, 2005 from Religious Tolerance Website on the World
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Robinson, B.A. (1995). Hinduism: A general introduction. Retrieved June 13, 2005
from Religious Tolerance Website on the World Wide Web:
Robinson, B.A. (1996). About specific religions, faith groups, ethical systems, etc.
Retrieved May 31, 2005 from Religious Tolerance Website on the World
Wide Web: http://www.religioustolerance.org/var_rel.htm
Windows Team (2000). Mythology. Retrieved May 31, 2005 from Windows to the
Universe Database on the World Wide Web: http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link%3D/mythology/mythology.html%26edu%3Dmid
Windows Team (2000). Surya. Retrieved June 13, 2005 from Windows to the
Universe Database on the World Wide Web:
Yahooligans! Reference (2000). The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English
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