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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.02
Some of the Basic Aspects of Hindu Religious Beliefs and Practice
A Short Note on the Evolution of the Faith, its Spirit and the Culture
-~ Level - 2 ~
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Lesson - 19 :
Fundamental of the Principles and the Practice
Simple Principles of the Philosophy as a Basic Faith
Please see below
for Lesson - 20
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The basic principle of Hindu religion is the belief in one Supreme Being who may be worshipped as a formless entity or in any of the several hundreds of forms as His manifestations or incarnations according to ones own faith and belief. Unlike some other religious faiths, Hinduism does not force a teaching with a dogma without reasoning. It never says "Your belief is wrong, to follow that is a sin," or "If you do not pray in the way I say, God will not accept you or elevate you to His Heaven." Hindus believe that God accepts your prayers in every form you worship Him.

Hindus do not believe in a judgment day or a punishment in a "Hell". They believe that every soul has to go through some suffering for their wrong deeds as their 'Karma' done by them in this or past births due to their normal aspirations, desire, attachment and passion. So the soul gets reborn again and again to purify itself by its good Karma and ultimately reaches "Moksha" which is union with the Almighty God.

Hinduism is a rare faith with very few "Do's and Don'ts" and gives wide choices and variations in the faith. It is not a set of abstract philosophical theories, unrelated to life, or a collection of religious dogmas to be accepted with blind faith. Hinduism is not all theology and prayers to God. It combines both philosophy and religion, reasoning and faith, and grounds for acceptance of that insight.

It is also a set of rituals for daily living, a book of philosophical teachings and a guide for standard behavior all through one's life and beyond. Its mythology teaches the philosophy and morals to even an illiterate person who cannot understand the teachings of Vedic Truths.

It gives simple rules for daily living even for an uneducated person who is able to follow a simple way of life without anxiety or fear. It accepted all the beliefs and customs of several local tribal communities in India and merged it with the Vedic teachings and philosophy as one faith. The greatness of Hindu Religion is its simplicity and its complexity at the same time.

 
     
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Lesson - 20 :
So Simple and Yet So Complicated at the Same Time
Practice of faith as one's own individual and personal belief
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Hinduism gives everyone a choice in the practice, suitable for each individual's personal belief and understanding. It does not force anyone to accept its teachings blindly. It allows everyone to think, question and reason for himself /herself. Indeed, it does not even condemn those who do not believe in God, those who do not offer prayer to God or those who perform rituals blindly without knowing the true nature of the Faith. It allows even those persons to believe as they wish. A Hindu may not believe in a God or in the Vedas or do any rituals but still do good service to the people and obtain liberation. The various figurines, called Vigrahas or Deities by Hindu as symbols of worship, may look confusing to a non-Hindu who fails to understand the principle. A Hindu devotee who practices them faithfully understands that these are just the means to reach the ultimate reality of One God Almighty who comes in every form they comprehend to pray and as they need at any given time.

Hinduism has the most complex and complete Philosophical Truths for the learned ones and the ritualistic sacrifice method of practice for the priestly class. They also have mythological story form of the Vedic teachings for the uninitiated and some simple prayer method for the illiterate. Sometimes the prayers are performed with elaborate rituals to fire and water or just by silent meditation. An illiterate villager in a farm-land may pray to a small stone sculpture or piece of rock or a crude clay figure. He may perform rituals with flowers and incense, with the same devotion as a more learned one praying in a Temple or in a Vedic ritual with fire and water. He may just face the Sun and offer silent prayers in meditation. They all know that they pray to One God who is Omnipotent and Omnipresent but unmanifest. The figures they pray are only a representation for concentration. They recite in their daily prayers: "Like all the rain water falling from the sky to earth ultimately reaches the same ocean; Let all my prayers to every form of Deity reach ultimately the One God Almighty, Kesava."

 
 

 

 
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Aakãsat pathitham thoyam Yathã gacchathi Sãgaram |
Sarva Deva Namaskarah: Kesavam prathigacchathi ||
Ke'savam prathigacchathi Om nama iti ||
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"Like all the rain water falling from the sky to earth ultimately reaches the same ocean;
Let all my prayers to every form of Deity reach ultimately the One God Almighty, Kesava."
 
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Chapter - 2 :- The Essentials of the Hindu Traditions - Lessons 19 & 20
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Go to Lessons: - :~: 17 & 18 :~: 19 & 20 :~: 21 & 22 :~: 23 & 24 :~: 25 & 26 :~: 27 & 28 :~: 29 & 30 :~: 31 & 32 :
 
 
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