Main Disciplines and Deities of Hinduism

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 Hinduism belongs to a big group of religious established in India. At the beginning of XXI century, the followers consist of more than 80% of population of India and more than two billion people in the world. Hinduism is spear in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Kenya, South African Republic and United Arab Emirates, and Mauritius Island, Fiji Islands, mostly in India and Sri Lanka.

Hinduism is not only religion but also a culture, which determines social outlook and mentality. Religious traditions have still huge impact on daily life, on the choice of profession, on style of dressing, on communication, even on cooking. One, living in this society, lives in harmony with his dharma and overall it is reflected in the karma positively. However, those who violates rules of his dharma could be banished from a Jati.

Everything is based on rich mythology and religious origin of Indians. Religion, here, coincides with daily routine of a man and gods help them in their daily life. Rituals, which are held from a birth till the death when body is burned and ash is spread into the river, help to determine one’s new life. Cycle of death and reincarnation is a suffer and that’s why people want to get out of this cycle and reach Moksha.

Hinduism has a social structure called caste system, which separates people into four categories having different level of importance. New born children inherited parent’s caste. Caste system in India was abolished in 1955. Nowadays, Indian government prohibits discrimination based on caste. However, there are evidences that caste system is still popular and functional system in modern India. Caste system has four castes: Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras, and Untouchables.

First mentioning about Verna was in Rigveda, which is one of the four main and oldest Indian sacred canonical texts. It consists of Vedic Sanskrit and belongs to 2000 B.C. In the 10th mandala there is hymn about sacrificing a human named Purusha. According to that hymn, gods through Purusha to a sacrificing fire, oiled him, and dismember the body. Each part of the body became definition for determining social status namely caste. Mouth of Purusha became brahmans who are priests and teachers, arms became Kshatriyas who are warriors, hips became Vaishyas who are farmers and craftsmen, and legs became manual laborers.

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Untouchables are mainly street sweepers and latrine cleaners. They are out of this caste system and do not belong to any of caste. Everyone who touches untouchable becomes also untouchable. They were not allowed not talk even to look at those who have caste. More than 90% of marriages in India follow caste system. Marriage between representative of different castes is prohibited as it may defile a man and in next life he might be in untouchable caste or in form of animal.

The discipline that allows people to communicate with universal power is yoga. It contains different traditions and customs that are accumulated during a long time. In a nutshell, yoga is special combination of method that allow you to control you mind, body, and breath. Surprisingly, yoga is more popular and practices more on Western countries rather than in India. Yoga helps to keep your body and mind in tonus.

Hinduism was created in a process of rivalry between Buddhism and Brahmanism. Customs and traditions become more than democratic. Moreover, rites of gods were created who are earth gods, like in Buddhism. In Hinduism there are many different gods and the chef ones are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is a sustainer, and Shiva is a destroyer. These are three different directions of the same god. Brahma does not have sufficient impact in cultural life of Indians. Mostly, they worship to Shiva and Vishnu. So, there are two different directions on Hinduism: Shivaism and Vaishnavism.

Shiva is a god of death and destroys. He is the most worshipped god. His energy is focused on destroying and recreation of the world. He is depicted in sitting and meditating pose with many arms. On the forehead there is always closed third eye. There is his wife next to him. He had many wives: Sati, Parvati, Durga, Kali. Vishnu is a god that maintains and preserve the piece in the world. He also posed like Shiva. Unlike Shiva, he does not have third eye.

In Indian mythology Ganesh is a god of wisdom and that’s why he immediately took important place in Indian culture and got respect of people. He is always approached when one starts his business. Hi is son of Shiva and Parvati. There are several versions of creation of Ganesh.

First version tells that gods asked Shiva to create a new deity, which could resist to negative forces. Then Shiva created Ganesh. Another version is that after birth of the first child, Shiva decided to not have any child. This action offended his wife Parvati. Then Shiva cut off piece from his clothing and gave it to his wife with words: “Take it, this is your son”. When Parvati grab that piece of cloth it became her son.

To put all in a nutshell, Hinduism is very old and famous religion. As all many old religions, Hinduism has polytheism. Hinduism is a religion that is focused more on social and cultural aspect of people. It teaches how to become better and prohibits people doing negative actions. It gives hope that in next life one can get better and I think it is a great motivation to be polite, cleverer, and socially responsible citizen.

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