Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.06
An Applied Method of Practice of the Agamas and the Vedas
The Right Path for a Pious and Peaceful Way of Life with True Happiness
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Lesson - 81 :
The Applied Form of the Faith for Daily Practice
Evolution of the Faith and the Practice
Please see below
for Lesson - 82
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The religious practice of the Hindu community evolved over many years assimilating various local community practices and faiths along with the Vedic teachings. As their religious teachings were very tolerant to alternate thoughts, faiths and rituals, it was easy for them to accommodate the different social customs.

In the ancient times, every small community in the various parts of the Indian subcontinent, and probably the adjoining areas of Persia [Iran], Afghanistan, Central Asia and Southeast Asia had very similar thinking and philosophy with similar social customs and practice. They all believed in One God as Almighty superior force and prayed in several forms, distinct and different in each area. Even though they had been fighting many wars from ancient times, as Asuras and Devas, their belief remained similar. Many Hindu Saints including Vyasa, Apasthamba, Bodhayana and others established the rationalized thinking and practice based on Vedic and Agamic teachings.

While the Vedas and later books explained the Philosophy and rituals along with prayers, there was always a subtle message in all of them for proper social behavior, recommended for the individual and the community. Any scientific theory, Philosophical teaching or socioeconomic principle is of no use to the community unless it is applied to the people for their day to day living. It will not survive the test of time unless it is popular among the masses for their personal use.

The Vedic teachings are all theories and philosophy useful for scholars to study and understand the Divine Principle. The Smrithis and Dharma Sasthras were establishing the constitutional rules for daily living and regular rituals for daily practice to establish that faith. There were different rules for varying age-groups and for each community. The Agamas and various Puranas translated them with simple stories for the masses. This helps not only to understand the principles but also to keep it popular over many generations of people to adhere to the faith. They help to comprehend the main teachings on qualities of the Divine and various aspects of Dharma, Karma and Ahimsa.

 

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Lesson - 82 :
The Spiritual Discipline and Moral Values
Changes in the Practice of the Faith over Time
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As the years passed by, often the rituals became more popular for the common man than philosophy, as it was easier to follow. Many reformers came to establish the philosophy as the primary objective of the faith. The Darsanas and Yogas helped to establish the ethics and the practice and explained the problems of the society. Still the rituals and prayers remained the popular method to propagate the faith in the religion and its teachings, to hold the people within the faith.

The Vedic rituals with prayers offered to natural forces and Vedic Gods were popular among the community in the North. In the South, often it was community gathering to offer prayers to God in various forms with a marker stone or a monument in a structure built up like a Temple.

Prayer songs and group singing by the masses took the place of Vedic rituals in some areas. This gave them concentration, faith in the superior force and unity amongst the members of the group. The spiritual discipline, social values, morals and ethical behavior were maintained in the community through such propagation of faith through rituals and practice.

The land, for many years, was frequently visited by aliens from far off lands, with people of varying faiths. Some groups came as friends and some as refugees. They assimilated well with the society, while others maintained their own identity and culture. The local people tolerated and accepted them while they followed their own customs and faith.

However, slowly and gradually, these left some impression on the indigenous culture and faith. People became more materialistic with loss of Spiritual values. In the medieval periods, there was mass migration of people into India escaping persecution. There were also invading armies, conquering the land from the West, came to rule parts of India. They introduced their faith and culture, sometimes threatening with force.

Later Hindu scholars, while explaining the scriptures used some of these alien thoughts. This changed the way they practiced Hinduism in several parts India, where people started gathering in houses to pray through songs instead of rituals in Temples.

 
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When we help another person in need, we should not wait and expect any favor in return and wait for it; it will come just like the tall coconut tree which takes the plain water poured at its feet [root] returns it back to us as sweet water at its head. --[a Tamil poem by Poet Saint Avvaiyaar]

 

The effects of all our actions as Karma will be returned back to us properly. But, any action performed with greed, and attachment looking for a return of benefit will lead to pain and grief only. When we help a person in need, such action will be rewarded at appropriate time in a better form when we are in need of such services.

 
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Chapter - 6: Daily Practice of Four Yogas in the Faith - Lessons 81 & 82
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Lessons: ~: 81 & 82 :-: 83 & 84 :-: 85 & 86 :-: 87 & 88 :-: 89 & 90 :-: 91 & 92 :-: 93 & 94 :-: 95 & 96 :~:
 
 
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