Secondary Hinduism Page 3

Hindu Beliefs

 

The Cycle of Life

Hindus believe that after we die, we are reborn. Even though we do not remember our past lives we have had many past lives. All of us started off as lesser life form and then evolved into human form. This theory of being reborn is called theory of reincarnation. The character we all possess has been formed in previous lives and that keeps coming with us when we are reborn. That is why we have to take great care to form a good character as that is the only thing that comes with us when we die. Once we are born as human beings it is highly unlikely that we will be reborn as lower life forms though it is possible. We continue to be reborn as human beings until we find God, merge in God. That is called moksha.

 

 

The Law of Karma

Karma means action and law of Karma is law of action and its consequences.   Hindus say that we have to take responsibility for everything we do. Everything we do will produce results we have to bear. For example if we are careless with a knife and cut ourselves, we feel the pain immediately. We are responsible for what happens to us. Sometimes the results of our actions are felt immediately sometimes we see them much later. For example if we have not been studying hard in school, we get bad grades at the end of the year. Hindus say that in some cases the results of what we have done or not done becomes visible only in future lives. Law of Karma tells us to be very careful with every small thing we do, as the results are bound to catch up with us sooner or later. It makes us be very responsible and puts us in charge of our destiny.

 

 

 

 

Many pathways to find God

There are as many ways to find God as there are people. Everyone has to find their own way to God and make the best use of their own abilities to do so. Hinduism prescribes four basic pathways. We can pick and choose any of these pathways, or a combination of these pathways. They pathways are called margas or yogas.

 

 Bhakti yoga

God as baby Krishna

Bhakti means intense love for God. Yoga means to join together. Bhakti yoga or bhakti marg  is the path of love. It is suited to those people who feel naturally drawn towards God. The devotee spends his time in prayers, worship, and constant remembrance of the deity of his choice. He may read scriptures, sing devotional songs, tell beads and socialise with people of a similar temperament to himself. He does worship with great deal of love and care, and develops a special, loving relationship with the deity of his choice.  Hindus have a choice of way they can think about God. Some think of God like their father in heaven and may call him Vishnu or Shiva. Some like to think of God as their mother in heaven like Parvati or Durga or Saraswati . Some Hindus like to think of God as a little child and they worship God as baby Krishna. or baby Rama.

 

 

Raja Yoga 

Yoga requires control of the body and mind

Raja Yoga is essentially the path to God through meditation. Many mistake the word ‘Yoga’ to mean physical exercises. Hindus recognise that this shouldn’t be an end in itself. Physical exercises, called Hatha Yoga are only the first step to making spiritual progress.  A healthy body is necessary before one is able to find God through meditation. Finding God through meditation is difficult as it requires one-pointed concentration forcing the mind to become absolutely still. When the mind becomes still it is able to reflect God. So God can actually be experienced. Hindus say that it is good to believe in God but better still is to actually experience God in deep meditation. Rishis, the founders of Hinduism, were able to see God in meditation.

 

 

Karma Yoga

Karma yoga means self-less activities

Karma Yoga is the ‘path of action’. Krishna teaches in the Bhagavad Gita that action is better than inaction. This forms the basis of Karma Yoga. We should never stop working but then the work we do must be self-less. If we work for the benefit of others that helps us practise Karma yoga.  We must learn to offer the results of all our actions to God. Thus we lead a God-centred life rather than an ego-centred or selfish life. This is the aim of Karma yoga. God lives in everyone so when we do good to others we automatically come closer to God.

 

 

Jnana Yoga 

Though force of reason we can come close to God

Jnana Yoga is often described as the way to God through reason and intellect. This path claims that to find God, we need to clear our vision of reality. As our intellect develops, our perception of the world becomes clearer. We start seeing things in a different light. With the advance of science we now view the world in a very different way than the ancient man. Jnana Yoga says that this process should be sharpened further. We require a far greater understanding of the world in order to ‘really’ see what is out there, and what we are all about. The tools needed are ‘discrimination’ and ‘dispassion’. First we need dispassion towards the world in order to become less distracted. Then we need to focus our minds on what is real and what is unreal. This is called discrimination.

 

 

Page

1

Intro

2

God

3

Beliefs

4

Practices

5

Phil.

6

Gita

7

Glossary

8

Resources

Index

 

Back to Hinduism for Schools Home Page

 

© Hindu Academy London ~ Copyright law applies to each page