Essay Example on Hinduism is one of the main religions in the world









Hinduism is one of the main religions in the world which by traditional estimates came into being around 3000 BCE or by some recent estimates as early as between 3500 and 5000 BCE Over the course of history Hinduism has influenced many other religions and in its turn it has been influenced by them becoming a syncretic religion Having a great variety of beliefs and practices the Hindu religion has been able to survive centuries of foreign invasions internal turmoil encounters with Islam and Christianity urbanization modernization as well as series of political and social reforms and it is currently the third leading religion after Christianity and Islam when ranked by the number of followers Unlike Christianity Islam and various branches of Buddhism Hindus do not propagate their faith even though they do accept new members after their full assimilation and because of that Hinduism is largely confined to its birth place India where it is the dominant religion and where about 82 of the population follow its teachings Hinduism pervades daily life and culture of India to such extent that it is both a religion and the way of life of its followers One of the main features of Hinduism is its diversity of forms that have various expressions which are all given equal validity and due to this diversity the religion encourages reflection and places a greater emphasis on its followers deeds while allowing freedom of thought According to Hinduism each person is the atman or God within living in this person s body 

The same omnipresent and omniscient atman lives in any person and in any creature but the degree of its manifestation is highest in humans Hindus also believe in rebirth and the law of karma which holds that a person's deeds determine the fate of the person or in what form human or animal and status lower or higher caste the soul is to be reborn The ultimate goal is to stop this cycle of reincarnations and to achieve moksha or freedom from the physical limitations These beliefs create the incentives for Hindus to perform their assigned duties and hundreds of rituals which encompass all aspects of their life from birth to death and are different for each stage of life Hindus strive to be God conscious in all of their daily activities Many worship their household deity which involves maintaining a home altar daily prayers meditations visiting temples pilgrimages There are many different Gods and Goddesses to choose from even though not all of them recognized universally It should be noted that some Hindus believe that there is one omnipotent omnipresent and omniscient God and all the other Gods and Goddesses are different images or manifestations of this God Which deities or which aspect of the God to worship Hindus are free to choose based on their personal needs and preference In addition to worshipping their deities Hindus must study scriptures and apply their knowledge of ethical and moral principles of the scriptures to all the aspects of their personal and social life Daily recitation of scriptures is order to preserve their knowledge is also a part of the daily routine Hinduism also stresses the importance of daily remembrance of one's ancestors in order to preserve cultural heritage 

Another important feature of Hinduism is the doctrine of ahimsa According to this doctrine all life is sacred and therefore love and compassion for all living beings are necessary for achieving harmony in one's life and environment It follows from this doctrine that vegetarianism is a virtue even though the religion only forbids eating beef since cows have been considered sacred animals since ancient times But overall compassion can serve as a guide when deciding what to eat Ahimsa also means being free from greed hatred and anger And yet ahimsa does not imply extreme austerity or passivity It is necessary to perform one's duties but it also necessary to help those in need Living one's life in accordance with ahimsa is the highest possible virtue The Hindu religion also requires its followers to visit temples and to make pilgrimages Almost every village and practically all towns have temples In the temple priests oversee religious ceremonies and bless worshippers Hindu temples vary in their significance and architecture A temple can be a small box shaped stone structure which encloses an effigy It can also be a larger structure that houses a small bathing tank Larger classic temples have towers shaped like mountain peaks to reaffirm the belief that mountain peaks are abodes of the Gods

Depending on where you go temples are constructed in different styles Indian style temples tend to be tall but temples from Bali Hinduism or Puras are usually open aired There are even temple cities such as the cavern temple at Elephanta India or built from stone slabs with elaborate carvings temple at Khajuraho in India A known temple is the Temple of Angkor in Cambodia built to worship Vishnu There are also many sacred places such as Benares on the Ganges and Rishikesh in the Himalayas both in India which attract pilgrims from all over the country Life of a Hindu is a spiritual journey and Hinduism is a religion that is well suited to provide inspiration and guidance to its followers during every stage of their lives in moments of happiness and in moments of sorrow With its many deities and diverse teachings which emphasise harmony with oneself and environment Hinduism has proved its viability and relevance The religion endures despite the modernization and urbanization and its presence and outreach can be felt in small villages towns cities temples homes and hearts of Hindus

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