Hinduism: A Way of Life
Though I’ve been an atheist and still am one. Being born into a Hindu family has always made me proud. And the reason for this is that, after decades of research on spiritualism, particularly how it began and evolved from India through the Hindus, I’ve concluded. Hinduism is more than just a religion. So, if you’re interested in understanding more about Hinduism and its nuances, let me tell you about my understanding of Hinduism.
The Evolution of Hinduism: A Philosophy and Spiritualism
In my view, a Hindu is an atheist, polytheist, monotheist, and henotheist. He is henotheistic because he believes in only one God yet acknowledges the presence of other deities and subsidiary gods. For example, while Shiva is the most superior Hindu god, Hindus also worship many other lesser gods to whom there is no end or limit. This means that a Hindu can pray to anything around – a tree, a cow, a mountain, a stone or a river.
This distinguishes Hinduism from all other religions. It is a philosophy, even though now muddled up with supernatural beliefs and traditions. Hinduism cannot be called a religion. It’s a way of life for them. It arose from various interconnected thoughts such as demographics, cultural practices, and ancient philosophical scriptures and teachings.
It evolved over thousands of years and is the oldest known religion globally. All beliefs and myths add up from one generation to another—philosophers, pundits, commentators, interpreters, gurus, etc.
Each of them comes up with their names, concepts, and supernatural beliefs. Many religions, including a subset of religions, have been influenced by Hinduism, including Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, etc. I’d go so far as to say it’s the mother of all religions. According to Yajurveda, “All living beings are equally divine.” As a result, when all living creatures are equally divine, and the Hindu religion accepts everyone and allows other religions to coexist in its embrace, it must have been the mother of all ideologies. Add to that the fact that there is no conversion in Hinduism from one religion to another. It also doesn’t have a founder or any precepts. It consists solely of Mahavakyas or great sayings.
The Concept of God in Hinduism
Let’s take a closer look at the term “Hindu.” The Persians coined the term “Hindu,” which they used to describe the people who lived beyond the Shindus River. They couldn’t distinguish between the sounds “SA” and “Ha” when pronouncing the word Sindhu, So Sindhu turned Hindu. As you must have noticed, there is no -ism in it. The term “Hinduism,” which relates to the Hindu people’s religion, was coined later. They could not understand its true nature as an outsider looking in and just called it a religion. Hinduism is a way of life, not a religion, to realize one’s full potential. God in Hinduism is that of pure consciousness. A final destination for Aatma (the soul) to realize absolute awareness.
In Hinduism, unlike any other faith, the Creator and creation are the same. There is no distinction. Since you have that divinity within you, you are that potential divine. This means God is the highest state of pure consciousness to liberate the human body and mind we call Moksha. The above implies that the divine exists because of you, the earth exists because of you, the universe exists because of you, and everything exists because of your aware-conscious energy contained in the soul. You, as the potential divine, came first, and God followed.
The Four Goals of Life in Hinduism
In Hinduism, this is what is divine. The key to spiritual knowledge is not blindly following traditions but seeking self-awareness beyond the limitations of the body and mind. This self-awareness teaches you that God, Guru, and the Self are one. Advaita Vedanta is the name given to that absolute non-dual state of aware energy; the supreme ability of energy – Brahman referred to as Parabrahman or Paramatma; par meaning beyond.
All of this sprang from four Upanishad mahavakyas. When they declared, “Prajnanam Brahma,” – Insight is the creator of everything in the cosmos (Brahman). The second, “Ayam Aatman Brahma”, is Brahman – the Soul, which contains the spirit. Third, “Tat Tvam Asi” – That art Thou, and the fourth is “Aham Bhramasmi,” which means “I am that Brahman, the one in many and the many in One – total energy.
The Vedas are the foundational texts of Hinduism; it concludes with Advaita Vedanta, which is the essence and philosophical knowledge of the Upanishads. Let us now consider how supreme and sublime the entire concept of Hinduism’s scriptures is. Perhaps this is why the Upanishads offered us four life goals to follow.
These four goals in life are Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
- One of the numerous meanings of Dharma is righteousness, which means the divine order of the human person.
- The second purpose is Artha, which aims for economic growth.
- Kama is the third. It is to fulfill your essential desires and, finally, to be satisfied.
- The ultimate objective for Hindus is to achieve Moksha or liberation.
Sanatan Dharma is the actual name of Hinduism. Sanatana is Sanskrit for “eternal law.” And Dharma is the order of righteousness, formed by combining two words into one.
Advaita Vedanta: The Non-Dual State of Aware Energy
Dharma refers to how you should live, whereas karma refers to how you are already living, with the Sanatan – eternal laws filling in the gaps. The universal law of eternity, the universal rule of righteousness, the universal law of non-duality, where there is no duality or relativity; because the truth, God, and everything else is related towards duality in our mind to its opposite?
All you need to do now is awaken that God, the Atma, in the center. So that the soul can check and guide the mind to make it alert, attentive and aware to progress from lower to higher consciousness towards non-duality in absoluteness for that ultimate fulfilment. Therefore, Hinduism is different from all other religions. It teaches you that salvation is found more in your religiousness, devoutness in religiosity. To awaken and liberate from the clutches of the material mind experiencing to realize that the God Guru and the actual Self are lying dormant within.
In conclusion, Hinduism is a way of life that evolved from various interconnected thoughts such as demographics, cultural practices, and ancient philosophical scriptures and teachings. It is more than just a religion, encompassing atheism, polytheism, monotheism, and henotheism, allowing people to pray to anything around them. Hinduism has influenced many religions and is the oldest known religion globally. It accepts everyone and allows other religions to coexist within its embrace, making it the mother of all ideologies.
God in Hinduism is that of pure consciousness, and the ultimate objective is to achieve Moksha or liberation. The four life goals to follow are Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Self-knowledge for self-awakening is the most crucial thing in life in Hinduism, and Advaita Vedanta is the essence and philosophical knowledge of the Upanishads. The beauty of Hinduism lies in its inclusiveness, allowing people to live a fulfilling life while realizing their full potential.
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