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  Basic Lessons on Hindu Dharma ~ Level - 1  
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Chapter 1:
A Basic Study of Hindu Dharma
 
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HR101.01 - 02
The True Message of the Vedas and Hindu Philosophy
~ Level - 1 ~
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Lesson: 1-02
A Primer to Hindu Philosophy
Principles and Philosophy of the Ancient Teachings in the Faith
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Basic Information about Hindu Philosophy and its Principles in a Nutshell
 
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i. The Basic Message of our Religious Teachings.
ii. The Divine Laws that holds True for ever.
iii. Ancient sets of Rules that holds and changes with Time.
iv. Varying Rules of Duty for Different Times.
v. An un-encompassed light, Transcendent and Immanent.

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i. The Message of Our Teachings and Religious Experience

Philosophy is the rational aspect of the faith, in any culture or Religion. It is an integral part of Hindu religious beliefs and culture in India. It is a rational inquiry into the nature of truth or reality, giving clear solutions to many problems of life and human behavior. It shows the ways to get rid of the pain and sufferings, to get happiness and peace of mind and to attain liberation and eternal bliss. Theology is considered important in most world religions. Philosophy is often agnostic and it is not part of the religious study. Hindus consider philosophy as an integral part of their religious experience. In Hindu culture, theology is well mixed in all aspects of life through its mythology, art, music and dance and they all carry a moral. Hindu Philosophy is not merely a speculation or guesswork of a solution for human problems and doubts, but an organized doctrine based on the mystical experience of the Sages and Seers.

ii. Dharma - The Divine Laws that holds True forever

The teachings of Hindu philosophy are given to us in the Upanishads that are the wealth of our knowledge. The ethics and tenets are obtained from them through the Six Dharsanas and various later schools of philosophers. The glory of Hindu philosophy is seen in the teachings of Hindu dharma, the theory of karma and rebirth, the six dharsanas, and the four yogas or spiritual disciplines. They not only create the questions in our mind to think but also give us the answers to the problems. Dharma means "that which holds" the people of this world and the whole creation. It is the eternal Divine law of God. That which brings wellbeing to man and supports the world with prosperity is dharma. It is the absolute Truth and laws of righteous living. The four Vedas are the authority of Dharma. The truth about dharma can not be realized through any other knowledge and one's own reasoning through any analysis alone can not be that authority.

iii. Ancient sets of Rules that holds and changes with Time

Purushartha are the four kinds of human aspirations, which are dharma, artha, kaama and moksha. Among these, dharma is the foremost and is the gateway to moksha or immortality and eternal bliss. Practice of proper Dharma gives an experience of peace, joy, strength and tranquillity within ones-self and life becomes thoroughly disciplined. It is classified as [ i ] Samanya dharma or the general and Universal Dharma and [ ii ] Visesha dharma or specific personal dharma. Samanya dharma includes contentment, forgiveness, self-restraint, spiritual knowledge, absence of anger, non-greediness, non-stealing, truthfulness, purity, non-violence, control of senses and desire, discrimination between right and wrong and between real and unreal. Visesha or specific dharma includes duties due to one's birth, age and family and duties to society and family, due to one's career and job and spiritual life. They also include the specific dharmas for the four ashramas and four varnas. These are the regular duties including the rituals and services to the family, community, ancestors and God that every one is expected to perform. We have separate Dharma for each of the four Yugas or time periods.

iv. Varying Rules of Duty for Different Times

The Vedas give different rules of Dharma for people of different age groups, different family traits and different periods of time. The ashrama dharma gives the standards of living for different age groups of individuals. The varna dharma is one that is most misinterpreted and misused. If properly interpreted and understood, it is the most efficient sociological system of the nation. It is indeed a splendid theory with a flawless rule. But, the defect came from somewhere else. Various dharma sasthras, or smrithis, written by Rishis like Manu, Parasara, and Yaagnavalkya, have varied for different periods of time according to varying social and emotional surroundings of the Hindu society [Yuga-Dharma]. The Hindus often follow the teachings of various Dharma sasthras for the philosophical guidance for daily living.

v. An un-encompassed light, Transcendent and Immanent

The greatest Philosopher of this century, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, past President of India, in one of his great works, explains the true nature of the Supreme God and the human Spirit very well. "The Divine is both in us and out of us. God is neither completely transcendent nor completely immanent. He is divine darkness as well as 'un-encompassed light.' The philosophers with their passion for unity emphasize the immanent aspect, that there is no barrier dividing man from the real. Those who emphasize the Transcendence of the Supreme to the human insist on the specifically religious consciousness, of communion with a higher than ourselves with whom it is impossible for the individual to get assimilated." [This is seen both in Eastern and Western Faiths]

"There cannot be a fundamental contradiction between the philosophical idea of God as an all-embracing spirit and the devotional idea of a personal God who arouses in us the specifically religious emotion. The personal conception develops the aspect of spiritual experience in which it may be regarded as fulfilling the human needs. God is represented as possessing the qualities we lack. Justice, love and holiness are the highest qualities we know and we imagine God as possessing them, though these qualities exist in God in a different sense from their existence in us. The difference between the Supreme as spirit and Supreme as person is one of stand point and not of essence, between God as He is and as he seems to us."

 

 

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