A Summary of What Most Hindus Believe

 
In the 1980s and early '90s the publishers of Hinduism Today magazine crafted a simple summary of Hindu beliefs. These were printed side-by-side with their Christian counterparts in Christianity Today magazine in February 1993 so Christians could better comprehend Hindus. These nine beliefs offer a basic summary of Sanatana Dharma's spirituality.

Nine Beliefs of Hinduism


Hindus believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world's most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God's word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.



Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.



Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.



Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.



Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.



Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.



Hindus believe that a spiritually awakened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation. Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, "noninjury."



Hindus believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God's Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.



Five Obligations of all Hindus

Worship, upasana: Young Hindus are taught daily worship in the family shrine room--rituals, disciplines, chants, yogas and religious study. They learn to be secure through devotion in home and temple, wearing traditional dress, bringing forth love of the Divine and preparing the mind for serene meditation.



Holy days, utsava: Young Hindus are taught to participate in Hindu festivals and holy days in the home and temple. They learn to be happy through sweet communion with God at such auspicious celebrations. Utsava includes fasting and attending the temple on Monday or Friday and other holy days.



Virtuous living, dharma: Young Hindus are taught to live a life of duty and good conduct. They learn to be selfless by thinking of others first, being respectful of parents, elders and swamis, following divine law, especially ahimsa, mental, emotional and physical noninjury to all beings. Thus they resolve karmas.



Pilgrimage, tirthayatra: Young Hindus are taught the value of pilgrimage and are taken at least once a year for darnana of holy persons, temples and places, near or far. They learn to be detached by setting aside worldly affairs and making God, Gods and gurus life's singular focus during these journeys.



Rites of passage, samskara: Young Hindus are taught to observe the many sacraments which mark and sanctify their passages through life. They learn to be traditional by celebrating the rites of birth, name-giving, head-shaving, first feeding, ear-piercing, first learning, coming of age, marriage and death.

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