Hinduism has one billion adherents; it is the oldest of living religions. Hinduism represents over 5000 years of development in the Indian sub-continent. Hindu time scale spans trillions of years. It was always there (eternal). No single founder. Directly taught by God to some seekers (Example: The Bhagavadgita) and revealed indirectly to several other seekers (Example: The Vedic seers). Primary scriptures are Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmasutra and Bhagavadgita. Secondary Scriptures are numerous; they include Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, Itihasas, Dharma Sutras, etc.Basic tenets are: 1. May Noble inspirations come to us from everywhere; 2. God is ONE, names are many; it has both respect and tolerance of different paths; 3. God incarnates as needed to set things right on Earth; 4. All creation is part of God. World is one sacred unit like a bird’s nest or one family! Relish life with humility, reverence and righteousness; ultimate goal is union with GOD (many opportunities and ways for that; surrender to God being the easiest). May all be happy, healthy and prosperous. May Peace prevail in all realms.
The essential principles of Hinduism can be summarized as A-E-I-O-U-Y of H-I-N-D-U-I-S-M
“AnO bhadrAh kratavO yantu vishvatah” (R~g Veda): Let noble inspirations come to us from everywhere.
“Ekam sat, viprAh bahudhA vadanti” (R~g Veda): GOD is One; sages speak of it in numerous ways.
“Isha avAsyam idagam sarvam, yat kincha jagatyAm jagat, tEna tyaktEna bhunjItA, mA gridhah kasyasviddhanam” (Isha upanishad): God permeates everything in this everchanging universe; enjoy your share with detachment, don’t be greedy after someone else’s share.
“Om iti brahma, Om itIdagam sarvam” (taittireeya Upanishad): Om is God, Om is everything! Om represents our birth (spring), growth (summer), letting go (autumn/fall), and immortality (the silence of winter)]. Om is the most sacred mantra (chant) of Hinduism.
“UddarEt Atmana AtmAnam, AtmAnam avasAdayEt, Atma Eva hi AtmanO bandhuh, Atma Eva ripuh Atmanah” (Bhagavadgita): We should elevate our self by our own effort, we should not put down our self. We are our friend and enemy.
“YopAm Ayatanam vEda, AyatanavAn bhavati” (Krishna Yajur Veda): One who realizes the sustaining power of Lord, he indeed is in good hands.
“H” for harmony: Hinduism respects all religions and thus aspires for mutual tolerance and respect This does not mean that all religions are same. It does not encourage hate (intolerant of intolerance!) or actively seek converts. It has the capacity to assimilate all the faiths and the Philosophies.
“I” for Incarnation (Avataar): God descends to Earth in any form and under any sky as may be needed to uphold DHARMA (righteousness). There is no space, time, form or limitations to an avataar.
“N” for nonviolence (Ahimsa). Hinduism recognizes that life supports life. One should avoid causing unnecessary injury (in thoughts, words or deeds) to one-self or other fellow beings including all life forms. Some Hindu sects stress vegetarianism, but it is not a prerequisite to be a Hindu.
Attitude of gratitude (to Almighty) with which we take food is more important!
“D” for Dharma. Always support what is right. To help others is Good to hurt others is sin.
“U” for Unity of existence. Everything and all beings are inter connected and are essentially the manifestation or extension of the one Supreme Being (God). The world is one big family.
“I” for Inherent Value. God is Omnipresent & Omnipotent. God can be worshipped in any ‘Form’ or ‘No Form’. Just as the Flag is a symbol of a Nation, an Idol for the Hindu is symbolic of the God.
“S” for Supreme Reality is God. It is transcendent and immanent. It is known by many names.
“M” for Moksha & Mantra. Dharma (Virtue), Artha (Material prosperity), Kama (pleasures) & Moksha (liberation from cycles of birth & death, harmonious union with God) are the goals of life. Adherence to svadharma [one’s own inherent talents (attitudes & aptitudes)] in achieving these goals is suggested. There are numerous paths and innumerable opportunities for liberation. It can happen by one way or the other and in one life or the other. The various paths for liberation are:
- Selfless good deeds;
- Knowledge of God;
- Faith or devotion;
- Control of body, mind and intellect;
- Easiest being total surrender.
The Hind universal prayer is: May all be happy, healthy and prosperous. May none suffer). “Om shaantih shaantih shaantihi” (Om peace, peace, peace; peace in all our 3 realms (Surroundings, body and mind). If you like to discuss further, please contact: Koti Sreekrishna (firstname.lastname@example.org).