A Hindu Way of Living !
The Agniveshya Grihyasutra says that starting from inception in a mother’s womb, and until one’s body is taken to the cremation ground, a there are scriptural codes to guide a Hindu in his way of Life.
This ritualistic sanctification or sacrament is called samskâra in Sanskrit. There are many such samskâras, pertaining to
(1) Marriage (vivâha), (2) the fire-ceremony sanctifying marriage (kushandikâ), (3) the consummation of marriage (garbhâdhâna), (4) the ritualistic prayer for the birth of a male child (pungsavana), (5) the prayer-ritual for the well-being of the pregnant woman (sîmontonnayana), (6) the birth of a child (jâtakarma), (7) the naming of a baby (nâmakarana), (8) giving a baby its first solid food (annaprâshana), (9) a baby’s first hair-cut (chudâkarana), (10) the ritualistic piercing of a baby’s ear (karnavedha), (11) introduction of a child to reading and writing (vidyârambha), (12) giving a child with the sacred thread (upanayana), and (13) the returning-home-ceremony after a student completes his or her education at the teacher’s home. (In the Vedic period students used to live in their teacher’s home and study until graduation.)
Other than the above, there are prescribed sanctifying rituals for (1) the funeral (antyeshti-kriyâ), (2) post-funeral honoring of the departed (shrâddha-Kriyâ), (3) the ceremony connected with the foundation of a new building (vâstu-Pûjâ), (4) entering a newly-built house (griha-pravesha), (5) the attainment of puberty for girls, and (6) spiritual initiation from a teacher (dîkshâ).
Important beliefs of Hindus:
1. Respect all religion: All religions are the ways to realize God within. No religion is higher or inferior. Do not compare about religions. There are billions of people in this world and everyone is unique. You are free to choose the sadhana or path which takes you closer to God easily. Respect all religion and follow your chosen path with totality.
2. Reincarnation – It takes many many life times to grow and realize God within. There is a continuous cycle of birth and death unless you realize your true nature (you can call it enlightenment, salvation, moksha, nirvana, self-realization, nirvikalpa samadhi or any other word). Unless one realizes his true self, he/she will be born again. The consciousness at the time of one’s death will greatly affect the conditions of the next birth. Do good karma, dharma in all your life because that alone will decide your fate. Body is to be cremated and not to be buried (except in case of infants or Saints who have realized samadhi). A souls attachment to the body is severed at the Cremation and the soul starts its upward journey to the next birth or Moksha. There are a death rituals of 16 days.
3. Law of Karma: Every action has equal and opposite reaction. Every one has to face his/her karma. So be careful about it. What you sow that You shall reap. No one is exempt from this law of karma.
4. God: God is formless and with form as well. He is also a combination of form and formless ness. Choose a concept that suits you. Ultimately everything is ‘shunyata’ (or zero). What is important is that you may choose any form of worship, the ultimate goal is reach to god and attain Moksha.
5. Live in harmony with nature: Don’t harm the mother earth. Take care of birds, plants and all living beings. Be compassionate to all living beings. Observe non-violence. Don’t harm anybody in actions or even in thoughts. However to save dharma you can fight with oppressors. Don’t spoil water bodies, Don’t do air pollution or noise pollution.
6. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam means that the world is one family. Don’t think of just yourself and your immediate family. The whole earth is one big family. the people who are alive or died could have been your relatives in previous lives. Whenever possible share your abundance with less privileged people. Don’t hoard much. Don’t waste things. Share whatever you can. Every one has some thing to share. It could be love, wealth, knowledge or just a simple smile. Share and it will grow. Hoard and it will reduce.
7. Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Very important to follow these 3 qualities with totality to realize god. Satyam means truth, Shivam means consciousness and Sundaram is beauty or art .Always speak truth and defend it at any cost; Consciousness comes via meditation: Be more conscious of your thoughts, actions and emotions.
Sundaram is beauty or Art. Be creative and artistic. See the beauty in everything. See beauty within and outside. When you look at a women look with love but not with lust. that love could be of a brother, son, father. Remember except your wife all other women are your mother, sister or daughters. Love and protect Dharma and Nature.
Some common features of Hinduism are:
Reverence for the Vedic Scriptures.
Believe in God (Bhagawan, Ishvar) who is part of the universe, not distinct from it and who incarnates as innumerable divine beings
Adoration of the mother-goddess (Devi)
Absence of the concept of evil and the Devil; All negative things in life are seen as the result of ignorance and lack of awareness
Ritualism (yagnas, pujas, vratas, samskaras), including idol, plant, animal, ancestor and Nature worship
Belief in reincarnation and the fatalistic acceptance of present situation as a consequence of actions performed in the past life (karma)
Search for liberation from the cycle of existence through guidance of gurus or wise teachers
Balancing righteous conduct (dharma) with material aspirations (artha), sensual pleasures (kama) and spiritual pursuits (moksha)
Acceptance that there are many means (marga) to reach the divine
Perceiving the environment, the body and the mind as illusion (maya) and only the soul (atma) as the True Self that can be identified with the Supreme Divine Being (brahman)
Hinduism recognizes four goals of human life:
Kâma—satisfying the desire for sense pleasure.
Srtha—acquisition of worldly possessions or money.
Dharma—observance of religious duties.
Moksha—liberation achieved through God-realization.
As enumerated by the scriptures, all Hindus were expected to go through four stages of life, namely Brahmacharya (the life of a student), Grhasthya (the life of a house-holder), Vânaprastha (the life of a ascetic) and Sannyâsa (the life of a renunciate monk). These stages were devised by the sages to gradually lead Hindus from enjoyment to ultimate renunciation. The derivative meaning of the word Sannyâsa is “Supreme renunciation.” And the greatest renunciation is renunciation of Selfishness.
The entire marriage procedure in Hinduism is an elaborate religious ritual for the bridegroom and the bride.
The procedure mainly consists of fasting, prayer and worship. Their married life is meant to be the practice of Dharma—the practice of Self-sacrifice.
The wife is called Sahadharminî, which means “the partner” in spiritual life.
Who is a good husband?
A good husband is he who willingly and lovingly makes self-sacrifice for his wife. Similarly, a good wife makes willing and loving self-sacrifice for her husband.
According to the Mahâ Nirvâna Tantra the following are some of the duties of a householder:
The goal of a householder is to realize God. To achieve this goal he should perform all his duties as enjoined by the scriptures.
He should constantly work by surrendering the fruits of his actions to God.
He should earn a living through honest means and remember that his life is for the service of God and the poor and helpless.
He should always try to please his parents looking upon them as tangible representatives of God.
A householder must not eat before providing food for his parents, his wife and children, and the poor.
He should undergo a thousand troubles in order to serve his parents because he must not forget that he owes his body to them.
He must never scold, hurt the feelings of his wife, or show anger towards her.
He must maintain complete fidelity to his wife. He will go to the darkest hell if he even craves mentally another woman.
He must always please his wife with money, clothes, love, faithfulness, and sweet words, and never do anything to hurt her.
He must not talk in public of his own fame, nor should he brag about his wealth, power or position. He must not talk about his poverty either.
He should always be enthusiastic and active. He must be brave and must not act like a coward and try to rationalize his cowardice by talking about non-resistance or non-violence.
If a householder be rich and yet does not help his needy relatives and the poor, he is a brute, and not a human being.
A householder must never show respect to the wicked nor condone wickedness. He must respect those who are good and endowed with noble qualities.
A householder who does not struggle to become wealthy through honest means is failing in his moral duty.
If he is lazy and leads an idle life, he should be considered immoral. He must be enthusiastic in earning money in order to help others who depend on him.
A householder should engage in social service for the benefit of people.
Such selfless action will help the householder to attain the same spiritual goal as the greatest Yogi.
The scriptures of Hinduism have strongly condemned the practice of Giving or taking a dowry in marriage.
Apastamba Smriti and Manu Smriti, and scriptures like Nârada Purâna, have strongly condemned the dowry system.
In olden times a dowry used to be demanded by the father or guardian of the bride. In recent times, however, it is the father of the bridegroom who demands a dowry from the bride’s parents or guardians.
Many saints and reformers in Hinduism also have condemned this dowry system.
There is no belief system to the Hindu way of life. Some believes in God, Someone else can choose not to believe in God.
Everybody can have their own way of worship and way to salvation. If there are five people in your family, each one can worship the God of their choice, or not worship anything, and still be a good Hindu.
So you are a Hindu irrespective of What you believe or don’t believe.
At the same time, there was a common line running through all these.
In this culture, the only goal in human life is liberation or mukti. Liberation from the very process of life, from everything that you know as limitations and to go beyond that.
God is not held as the ultimate thing, God is seen as one of the stepping stones. Hinduism is the only culture that has given humans the freedom not just to make a choice of Gods, but to create the sort of God that you can relate to.
You can worship a rock, a cow, your mother, father, ancestors, guru, a tree or even a snake. You can worship in whatever form you feel like; because there is one God.
The form or object of worship does not matter. The Prayathna will only lead you to salvation.
God reveals Himself to His devotees in a variety of ways. He assumes the very form which the devotee has chosen for his worship.
If you worship Him as Lord Hari with four hands, He will come to you as Hari. If you adore Him as Siva, He will give you Darsana as Siva.
If you worship Him as Mother Durga or Kali, He will come to you as Durga or Kali.
If you worship Him as Lord Rama, Lord Krishna or Lord Dattatreya, He will come to you as Rama, Krishna or Dattatreya.
You may worship Lord Siva or Lord Hari, Lord Ganesa or Lord Subrahmanya or Lord Dattatreya, or anyone of the Avataras, Lord Rama or Lord Krishna, Sarasvati or Lakshmi, Gayatri or Kali, Durga or Chandi.
All are aspects of one Isvara or Lord. Under whatever name and form, it is Isvara who is adored.
Worship goes to the Indweller, the Lord in the form. It is ignorance to think that one form is superior to another.
All forms are one and the same. Siva, Vishnu, Gayatri, Rama, Krishna, Devi and Brahman are one. All are adoring the same Isvara.
The differences are only differences of names due to differences in the worshippers, but not in the object of adoration. It is only out of ignorance that different religionists and different sects fight and quarrel amongst themselves.
Swami Vivekananda: ” All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything”
True Charity : Swamy Sivananda:
1 To be kind and loving is charity.
2 To forget and forgive some harm done to you is charity.
3 A kind word said to a suffering man is charity.
4 Even a little meditation saves one from fear of death.
Spiritual progress is not measured by Siddhis, or powers, but only by the depth of your bliss in meditation.
May the Lord bless us, all !
Om tat sat !