Basic Lessons on Hindu Dharma
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  Basic Lessons on Hindu Dharma ~ Level - 1  
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Chapter - 4:
An Introduction to Hindu Philosophy and Traditions
 
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HR104 - 03
The Daily Practice of our Teachings and Religious Experience
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Lesson: 4-03
Dharma Sasthras, Rituals, Beliefs and Culture
Rituals and Prayers in daily practice based on the Dharma Shãstras
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Essentials of Dharma Sãstrãs and Applied Hindu Philosophy in our Practice
 
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The basic thought of Hinduism, both in the Vedic teachings and Agama practice, is the belief that there is One formless God or Nirguna Brahmam. According to Vedantha, Adhvaitha and Smartha Sampradaya, He manifests through His Yoga Maya as the Saguna Brahmam in the material Universe created by Him and He takes the various forms for our understanding. We are created as a part of His Divine spirit which goes through endless cycles of rebirth until it is purified to be liberated, to be united with the Divine, by performing its various Karma according to each one's Dharma.

Explanations of other schools of philosophy, such as Sankhya, Poorva Mimamsa, Dhvaitham, the Bhakthi schools, and followers of Agama forms of worship are slightly different. These will be explained later. Sankhya and Mimamsa are based on the practice of Karma and Rituals as the basic approach without an important role for a God. The Bhakthi schools support the theories of devotion and surrender to God and that all individual souls are different from the Divine Reality and do not attain equality with God but only serve Him to reach His abode as ultimate liberation from the cycle of Samsara, of birth, death and reincarnation.

The Agamas established the rules for construction of Temples and worship of God in various forms of Deities. A small fragment of the community who were the priests only understood them and others started to follow it blindly without studying them. Often they thought that mere recitation alone would give them Divine Powers.

The Dharma Sasthras established the rules of conduct for daily living and for regular prayer rituals. The Dharsanas explained the Philosophy of the Vedas. The Ithihasas and Puranas told the stories of Divine Incarnations as examples of the Spiritual message. In the medieval period many leaders gave us these teachings as simple theories of Spiritual Discipline for daily practice.

The highly educated religious Yogis and Gnaanis could follow the path of knowledge and observe the way of life as in the Scriptures with meditation and prayers to the Absolute -the One Supreme Reality- Formless God, in what is known as Nirguna-upasana.The common people could not comprehend all the teachings of the Vedic philosophy. They followed the rituals, recitations of Vedas and the path of Devotion. They performed the prayers and sang songs to the manifestations of God in various forms, called the Saguna-upasana, and followed the Agamas and Puranas with Vedic rituals to fire and water.

 
 

 

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Lessons: - :~: 4-01 :~: 4-02 :~: 4-03 :~: 4-04 :~: 4-05 :~: 4-06 :~: 4-07 :~: 4-08 :~: 4-09 :~:
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