Religion and spirituality have existed in some form since the dawn of time. There has long been a need to believe in the existence of something bigger than ourselves and a desire to make sense of the world around us. The result has often been the birth of a religion. Hinduism, though named by a western society that may have oversimplified things, is the product of enlightenment throughout much of India, and other parts of the world.
Hinduism is fairly unique in the sense that it is not founded on one unifying principle or doctrine. Rather, it has grown and changed with time; allowing itself to become an almost living breathing entity that evolves with its followers. The religion is ...view middle of the document...
A follower may opt to choose a path of the Shaktas, Shaivites, Vaishnavites, or to recognize a genderless deity. Each group typically worships a specific deity, but will also recognize and honor others. Many of the teachings surrounding Hinduism focus on inner peace, reflection, and respect for nature. The Shaktas in particular have a deep connection to feminine deities. These deities are much more accessible than those of many other religions. The local goddesses are believed to have personal knowledge of the local area.
The desire to ascend to something greater than an earthly existence is a common thread found in almost every religion; Christians aspire to gain entrance into heaven, the Vikings sought to earn their place in Valhalla, Muslims wait for the return of Allah to enter into Paradise. Hinduism is no different. Reincarnation is how they achieve freedom from the trials and tribulations of mortality. Unlike most religions, that view passing into the afterlife as a singular event; Hindis see it as a process, a reward which can eventually be won. The soul is reborn over and over and in each life it learns something more about life and the divine, until the day when it has learned enough to be able to ascend and reside with the divine. All of these beliefs speak to a desire to believe that there is more to life than what is experienced here on earth. For anyone has ever suffered a loss, there is comfort in believing that the person who has died has moved on to a better place than the one they left. For those left behind, the thought of being reunited with those lost loved ones can help cope with the loss.