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What most Hindus believe

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A Summary of What Most Hindus Believe

 In the 1980s and early '90s the publishers of Hinduism Today magazine crafted a simple summary of Hindu beliefs. These were printed side-by-side with their Christian counterparts in Christianity Today magazine in February 1993 (below) so Christians could better comprehend Hindus. These nine beliefs offer a basic summary of Sanatana Dharma's spirituality.

Nine Beliefs of Hinduism

Hindus believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world's most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God's word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.

Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.

Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.

Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.

Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.

Hindus believe that a spiritually awakened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation. Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, "noninjury."

Hindus believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God's Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.

Five Obligations of all Hindus

Worship, upasana: Young Hindus are taught daily worship in the family shrine room--rituals, disciplines, chants, yogas and religious study. They learn to be secure through devotion in home and temple, wearing traditional dress, bringing forth love of the Divine and preparing the mind for serene meditation.

Holy days, utsava: Young Hindus are taught to participate in Hindu festivals and holy days in the home and temple. They learn to be happy through sweet communion with God at such auspicious celebrations. Utsava includes fasting and attending the temple on Monday or Friday and other holy days.

Virtuous living, dharma: Young Hindus are taught to live a life of duty and good conduct. They learn to be selfless by thinking of others first, being respectful of parents, elders and swamis, following divine law, especially ahimsa, mental, emotional and physical noninjury to all beings. Thus they resolve karmas.

Pilgrimage, tirthayatra: Young Hindus are taught the value of pilgrimage and are taken at least once a year for darnana of holy persons, temples and places, near or far. They learn to be detached by setting aside worldly affairs and making God, Gods and gurus life's singular focus during these journeys.

Rites of passage, samskara: Young Hindus are taught to observe the many sacraments which mark and sanctify their passages through life. They learn to be traditional by celebrating the rites of birth, name-giving, head-shaving, first feeding, ear-piercing, first learning, coming of age, marriage and death.

Please visit BeliefNet


June 1994

A Point-Counterpoint of Hindu and Christian Beliefs

The editors of Hinduism Today and Christianity Today collaborated to compose the following summaries of their respective faiths. These were published in Christianity Today in February, 1993, as an ecumenical gesture for greater understanding between the 2.5 billion members of these two great religions.

Hindus Believe:

1) In a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

2) That the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.

3) That all souls are evolving toward union with God and will ultimately find spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.

4) In karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.

5) That the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved.

6) That divine beings exist in unseen inner worlds and that temple worship, rituals and sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with the devas and Gods.

7) That a spiritually awakened Master is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, self-inquiry and meditation.

8) That all life is sacred and to be loved and revered, through the practice of nonviolence, ahimsa.

9) That no one religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God's Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.

Christians Believe:

1) In one God in three persons. He is distinct from his creation, yet intimately involved with it as its sustainer and redeemer.

2) That the world was created once by the divine will, was corrupted by sin, yet under God's providence moves toward final perfection.

3) That in Adam's sin, the human race was spiritually alienated from God, and that those who are called by God and respond to his grace will have eternal life. Those who persist in rebellion will be lost eternally.

4) That through God's grace and favor, lost sinners are rescued from the guilt, power and eternal consequences of their evil thoughts, words and deeds.

5) That it is appointed for human beings to die once and after that face judgment.

6) That spirit beings inhabit the universe, some good and some evil; but that our worship is due to God alone.

7) That God has given us a clear revelation of himself in Jesus and the sacred Scriptures. He has empowered by his Spirit prophets, apostles, evangelists and pastors who are teachers charged to guide us into faith and holiness in accordance with his Word.

8) That life is to be highly esteemed but that it must be subordinated in the service of biblical love and justice.

9) That Jesus is God incarnate, and therefore the only sure path to salvation. Many religions may offer ethical and spiritual insights, but only Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/


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