Hinduism; organized religion or compilation of smaller belief systems? Some would argue that Hinduism is a combination of both of those terms and much more. What encompasses the Hindu religion? Why do people of today, even in modern America still practice a faith that some may even consider paganism? In comparison to the dominant monotheistic religion of Christianity, where does the Hindu religion rank?
Although Hinduism is not the world’s leading religion, there are still large numbers of followers today. Hinduism is ranked as the number four world religion with approximately 900 million followers (Adherents.com, 2007). According to the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance (2006), ...view middle of the document...
Despite the original and emerging theories as to the origin of the Hindu religion, Hinduism has developed into a religion of its own rites.
Hinduism, monotheistic, polytheistic, or something else?
Hinduism or Sanātana Dharma is a henotheistic religion; it can also be viewed as polytheistic and monotheistic. It all depends on one’s view and perspective about how the Hindus worship their god. Hinduism recognizes a single deity and views other deities as a manifestation of that supreme god. This is a part of the central theme or fundamental of Hinduism belief in the Absolute, Supreme Reality, called Brahman and its identification with Aatman (individual soul). It is said that Brahman, which is formless, infinite, and impersonal in nature, can manifest in many forms, thus the worship of many gods/goddesses, some are even human. For the sake of making the worship more personal, the gods/goddesses had been personified and given different attributes. However, of all the deities that are worshipped by Hindu’s, the most worshipped are Shiva, Vishnu and Shakthi (Fisher, 2005). Hinduism is sometimes believed as the Trinitarian because Brahman is often seem as a triad—one god with three persons (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2007). The Trinitarian includes Brahman who is the creator; Vishnu is the preserver or the one who sustains, and Shiva the destroyer who can also be seen as compassionate.
Hindu belief about life and death
Hindus believe that all creatures go through the cycle of birth and rebirth called reincarnation. The principle of karma, which means action, and the consequences of action, follow from lifetime to lifetime, determines the status of each being’s birth. To escape from the cycle of birth, death, or rebirth (samsara) lead by karma is to achieve moksha. According to Fisher (2005), “To escape from samsara is to achieve moksha, or liberation from the limitations of space, time, and matter through realization of the immortal Absolute. Many lifetimes of upward-striving incarnations are required to reach this transcendence of earthly miseries” (p. 75).
Hindu sacred and religious text
There are many scripts and text in the Hindu religion; among the most sacred are the Vedas and Upanishad, which is often referred to as the foundation of the Sanatana Dharma. In Hindu Philosophy, there are six orthodox schools. They are Nyaya, Vaishseshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, Vedanta (Fisher, 2005).
Hindu ethics and religious practices
Hindus organize their lives around the Four Aims of Hinduism often referred to as the “doctrine of the fourfold end of life” (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2006). The first is dharma, which is righteousness in their religious life. The second is Artha, which means success in their economic life. The third is Kama, which is the gratification of the senses to include sexual, sensual, and pleasure. The fourth is Moksha, which is the liberation from samsara and the ultimate...