THE ESSENCE OF HINDUISM - HINDUISM SIMPLIFIED

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Hinduism is the most democratic and all encompassing way of life. English language does not have a word that describes the word DHARMA in its proper sense. The nearest word is duty or the sense of duty.
It is described as the Sanatana Dharma or the ETERNAL DHARMA. The beginning was never said to have been propounded or revealed by any one person / individual. Its root lies in a keen observation of a repeating phenomenon observed by our ancestors. The phenomenon I am referring to is valid even today, and will remain so till the end of the world. There was no ne declaring “I have received communication from the god” and dictating a book or propounding a theory. No one was in a trance either.
The simplest phenomenon that is beyond human manipulation and control and which occurs regularly among humans is REBIRTH (Punarjanma). Now no one can say that this does not occur or that it occurs only among Hindu /Sanatani people. So when a person takes birth again in spite of his body being disposed off, it indicates that what had died and was disposed off was not the real person. The entity that takes rebirth is the spirit of that person which was called ATMAN or simply ATMA. It was also observed that the renewed spirit / ATMA carries the baggage or the effects of the deeds of past life. The deeds that got reflected in or affected the new life were called the KARMA.

Thus any person who believes in these three basic facts of human life called REBIRTH, ATMA & KARMA is a follower of Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism he does not need to be certified by a person or a body of persons as a Hindu, only an intelligent conviction and self declaration is sufficient.

When the fact of ATMA was established the concept of PARAMATMA (a greater atman / god) was natural to follow for some thinkers. Here I would like to make abundantly clear that a Hindu may or may not believe in a Paramatma that is GOD.
The concept of Paramatma has two divisions. One is dwait and the other is adwith, now let us see what these mean.

DWAIT is a concept in which the ATMA and the PARAMATMA (the conscious and the superconcious beings) are two different entities having the relation of a creator and the created. DWAIT simply means two in Sanskrit.

ADWAIT is a concept which assumes that the ATMA and the PARAMATMA are one and the same. That is the ATMA is an extension of the PARAMATMA. ADWIT in Sanskrit would mean single or that there is no second.

Once one accepts the existence of PARAMATMA either in DWAIT or the ADWAIT way, there is a further conceptual division in the form of SAKAR and NIRAKAR.

SAKAR means with form. For a person who believes a PARAMATMA with form, character, and presence (that is attributes). There are innumerable existing choices for a person to choose from. If not fully satisfied one can visualize one’s own satisfying form of a SAKAR PARAMATMA.
NIRAKAR is a concept in which the PARAMATMA has no attributes like shape, character etc., here however one may think of PARAMATMA as nothingness or a form of energy as well.

The escape from the cycle of birth and death is called NIRVANA.
To achieve nirvana there are four ways of life that one should lead to unite one’s spirit or Atma with the Paramatma or the universe, and they are GYANA YOGA, KARMA YOGA, BHAKTI YOGA and RAJA YOGA.

GYANA YOGA
refers to the pursuit of knowledge that is acquisition and dissemination of knowledge. Knowledge of any stream like literature, art, science (any subject) including the knowledge of warfare.

KARMA YOGA refers to selfless work (work is worship). Serving anything and or everything around, like human kind, animal creatures, environment just about anything without expecting rewards or benefits in return.

BHAKTI YOGA refers to worship. The object of worship could be your parents, teacher, leader, or an idol of a historic person or from mythology. Here the object of worship could be worshipped in multitude of relations like the god himself, a lover, brother, master, just about any and every adorable relationship is covered in this.


RJA YOGA this refers to a combination of the above three yoga in a convenient combination that suits an individual’s day to day life. This form of life is most suited to an individual leading a general domestic life that is called gruhastha in Sanskrit. The individual according to his convenience decides how much of pursuit of knowledge one can indulge in, how much of selfless work one can afford to do and how much of bhakti one wants to indulge in.

THERE ARE NO RIGID HARD AND FAST RULES TO STICK TO ANY FORM OF YOGA ONE CAN SWITCH FROM ONE TO THE OTHER AT PLEASURE.

Besides these basics there is immense knowledge stored in the VEDA, VEDANTA, and UPANISHADS there are also PURANAS, however Purina were being updated till the sixteenth century, so they carry influences of or a defensive reaction to the growing eminence of first Buddhism and then Islam.

Via: Sudarshan Shukla Ji
 

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