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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.01
A Comprehensive Study of the Ancient Tradition and the Perennial Philosophy
The Principles of Hindu Faith - an Overview of Chapters II to VII
-~ Level - 2 ~
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Lesson - 11 :
The Practice of Hinduism as in Vedas and Agamas
The Spiritual Discipline for Practice of the Faith
Please see below
for Lesson - 12
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The Philosophical teachings of Hinduism, like any scientific theory, are of no use to the common man unless it is applied for their daily practice. It has survived the test of time for many thousand years and still remains popular due to the sound principles on which its practice is based. It gives different rules of ethics and conducts for various categories of people. The Dharma Sasthras and Smrithis teach us of normal conduct in performing our work. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four Purusharthas that govern out activity.

Dharma is the proper rules of one's duty, which literally means "that which holds" the universe and its beings. They are classified as Samanya Dharma or the general and universal rules and Visesha Dharma or specific personal rules for each individual. They give peace, joy, strength and tranquillity. Artha and Kama are the materialistic desire and passion, that also govern our actions. Unless one seeks the material benefits and pleasures within the scope of Dharma, it will cause grief with greed and lust. Moksha is the relief from pain and suffering and ultimate liberation that is the main reason for all our actions.

As rituals became popular and were being considered as the sole path for the eternal bliss, the soundness of its philosophy and ethics of practice were reestablished by the sages. The four Yogas give us the spiritual discipline of our conduct. Karma Yoga is the correct path of performing work without greed or desire and the action performed without looking for the fruits of benefit or loss. Raja Yoga is the discipline of control of our body and mind. It teaches concentration, meditation, breathing and physical exercise and a state of equanimity of the mind as a natural reaction to all activities.

Bhakthi Yoga is the spiritual discipline of absolute devotion and love of God. It teaches prayers and surrender to God at all times. It teaches to see and feel God in all people and all actions. Jnana Yoga is the path of obtaining Spiritual knowledge through action, study, meditation and devotion.

 
     
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Lesson - 12 :

Teachings Applied for the Practice in Daily Life

Development of the Gunas in Cultural Practice
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Vedas describe three personality traits, Sathvika, Rajasika and Tamasika. Sathvika Gunas are present in the pious person who follows all teachings of the faith and Dharma. Compassion to all animals, Ahimsa and vegetarianism are advocated as Sathva Guna. The Rajasika Gunas are present in people who enjoyed some amount of worldly pleasures directed by desire and ego, which are Artha and Kama. Tamasika persons have no knowledge of the proper Dharma or they do not care for them. They are driven solely by Artha and Kama which are passion, greed and lust.

These Gunas are present in all but one is dominant. The Yogas advocate the ways to follow the superior Sathva Guna and the ways to suppress the undesirable Artha and Kama without the proper Dharma. Performance of proper Dharma and all the Karma leads to a sense of peace and equanimity of mind and eternal bliss. The individual makeup of a person, his Guna and effects of his Karma determines the rebirth and ultimate liberation.

Performance of one's duty without devotion to God is dry and empty. Performance of such duty should be without any attachment to its fruit but as a devotion to God. Hinduism gave us the four Vedas, the three Agamas, the six Dharsanas and the four Yogas. The Vedas give the details of rituals and Manthras for daily practice. The Agamas give the details of worship of the Supreme Reality as God in various forms with our devotional prayers in the path of Bhakthi.

We have many ways of practice of the faith. The popular ones are the Advaitha, Visishta-adhvaitha and Dvaitha systems. We have the practice of Saiva, Vaishnava and Saktha methods of worship of God in various forms as in Bhakthi path and the practice of Smarthas with many Vedic rituals along with the prayers. There are no strict dividing lines in these practices. In modern times we see a subtle merger of all these systems in the practice of Hinduism.

 
 

 

 
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Om! Sahanãvavatu Sahanau Bhunaktu Sahavêryam Karavãvah: |
Thejasvinaa Vadhêthamastu Mã Vidvishã Vahaih: ||
Om! Shãnthih: Shãnthih: Shãnthihih: Om!
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May He, the Supreme Lord, protect us both,
The teacher and the student. May He nourish us both.
May our study be thorough and fruitful. May we not hate each other.
Om ! Peace, Peace, Peace.
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Chapter - 1 : An Introduction and Overview of Hinduism - Lessons 11 & 12
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Go to Lessons: - :~: 01 & 02 :~: 03 & 04 :~: 05 & 06 :~: 07 & 08 :~: 09 & 10 :~: 11 & 12 :~: 13 & 14 :~: 15 & 16 .
 
 
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