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
-~ Level - 2 ~
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Lesson - 83 :
Evolution of Beliefs and Spirit of Hinduism
Development of Cultural Practice in the Community
Please see below
for Lesson - 84
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The cultural practice of the community developed over the generations by adopting to the local area and the practices of various tribes they mixed with, as the groups moved from one place to the other. There was significant social interaction and acceptance of one another's belief with tolerance. There were many wars and imposition of some habits also, which at times led to modification of the basic cultural practice to adapt to other community habits and faith.

Vedic teachings were the main principle on which all these practices developed. The variations were very small and were based only on the interpretations of the teachings and the educational levels of the community. The applied form of the teachings led to the practice of the Bhakthi path of worship based on the Agamas and worship in the Temples and at home to a Deity in a Form. Most of these forms of rituals and practice of worship were generally similar, based on many different manifestations of God as in various Puanas and Ithihasas, using the same recitations of Vedas and Agamas.

Hinduism offered the six Dharsanas and developed the four major divisions of the faith for worship, namely, Saivam, Vaishnavam, Saktham and Smartham. They explain the three gunas, Sathva, Rajas and Tamas, the four purusharthas, dharma, artha, kaama and moksha. The theories of varna-ashrama dharma, karma and rebirth guide the individual in their life, far beyond the usual do's and don'ts given by most other faiths.

The Vedantha and Bhakthi concept and the four Yogas, Karma, Raja, Bhakthi and Jñana Yogas, define the pathway as a simple way both for religious practice and also for every activity of life. They clearly establish the ethics and practice for the common man, the elite and the illiterate alike. Each family and each community had a different form of God or one of their manifestations. Most of the community chose one form of worship or other and followed slightly different rules of life and ethics for each, according to Dharma Sasthra. As the community was very tolerant for opinion of other people and their freedom, as a respect to the others, they often attended many forms of worship, on the belief that all paths lead to the same God.

 

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Lesson - 84 :
How did this Culture Develop with Rules of Dharma?
The Characteristic Paths of Various Gunas and Varnas
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Vedas described three Gunas in every person, Saathva, Rajas and Tamas. They considered Saathva guna as superior and more acceptable. Based on these Gunas and the four varnas explained in Purusha Sooktha, the community got divided for following their vocations as a simple way of division of labor. The theories of karma and reincarnation were introduced to justify the injustices to hold on to the corrupted practices of family oriented job preferences.

Even the families at the lower end of the ladder wanted to remain stuck to this system, more than the ones in the upper end because of the fear of effects of karma. The pious ones, in spite of their castes of their birth, remained very religious. In the older times, they could move across the varna barrier through individual aspirations, desires, education, ambition, personal achievement and marriage. In the medieval times, struggle for existence led to tight walls across these lines.

In the true sense, Saathvika guna represented the pious and educated religious person who has to follow all the teaching of the faith and perform duties without attachment and follow the yogas properly. They follow truthfulness [sathyam], vegetarianism, nonviolence [ahimsa] and follow the proper dharma of their birth and status. They represent the pious, educated and religious people, but not necessarily according to one's "varna".

The kings, as they ruled several segments of the country, fighting with each other, allowed Rajasika guna as acceptable for their community that works to preserve the land and its people for administrative and military purpose. They enjoyed certain amount of worldly pleasures and could not follow all the dharma of the sathvic person. Ahimsa and Sathyam were sacrificed by this group to gain power of the land.

The group of people with Tamasika guna were left out with no knowledge or power. They had to make a living at the bottom of the ladder working for others as they could not afford to have the luxury of following high principles and demand what they want and what they will eat. They had no other choice except to get best out of what was available to them. Some of them still remained saathvic in spite of the sufferings but others had to give up most of the dharma for their living and were Tamasic.

 
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Chapter - 6: Daily Practice of Four Yogas in the Faith - Lessons 83 & 84
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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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