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Hinduism – Culture and Way of Life

Hinduism is the oldest religion in modern day. It does not have a specific date of creation, or even a specific origin. It is a unique religion in that sense. Hinduism originated in India, and it is currently practiced as the most common religion in that country. About 75% of the entire country practices Hinduism.

Hinduistic beliefs are widely varied. Some forms of the religion believe in many gods, others only one. Some variations of Hinduism also believe in one god with the acceptance of others. The one thing that intrigues most Americans, who rely on cattle and beef for much of their food sources, is that some forms of Hindu worship sacred cows.

Hindus used the cow for fertilizer, plowing fields, and as sources of milk. They view cows as givers of life and have since developed them into their religion. The belief that cows are sacred has lead to many Hindus being vegetarians. They will not eat, or hurt, any cow that they come across. Cow slaughter is legally banned in most of the states of India. Hindus believe that all living things have a spirit and that you must not kill any other spirit to live in a purified life.

Hinduism does not have to be practiced in India. Although it makes up most of the country, and is even practiced by the Vice President, it is written in the Indian law that Indians are allowed to practice whatever religion they choose without consequence. Most of the country however, practices the rituals of Hinduism on a daily basis.

They read religious scripts and sing hymns for the gods. Many things that are seen on television, such as the praying on the carpet in Buddhist temples are also things that Hindus do in their own religion. They pray at small family shrines.

Because the size of the communities in India is often small, everyone is considered family. Everyone is entitled to the same rights and respect that Hindus believe they should get and receive.

This is commonly referred to as kharma. This is often the characteristic that is taken advantage of when Hindus are affected by American crime when they choose to live in the United States. Hinduism is unique, varied, and old, but it is one of the most influential religions of the world.


Hindu Gods

There are many gods that the Hindus worship. Among the most common are god, in many forms, Ishvara, also in different forms, Lakshmi, Ganesha, Saraswati, and others. Brahma is the major god of the religion, for he is known as the god of creation and he is much like the story of Adam and Eve is to Christianity.

Ishvara is the god of learning and knowledge, and is known as Saraswati. Likewise, Lakshmi represents wealth and prosperity. Many Hindus will say to one another, “you have been blessed by Lakshmi” or “you have been blessed by Saraswati.” In doing so, it is the same as an American saying that another has done well for themselves, in life or in a prosperity or that they are very smart and are able to learn quickly.

There are many different forms of Ishvara. Ganesha is used when someone has to accomplish something that they need luck for. It is often used when going to an exam or if they are trying to get a business proposal accepted. It is the same as saying good luck to someone when you give them the blessing of Ganesha, and Hindus believe that they are all the same god acting as one.

Hindus have their own system of worship and mythology. This mythology is often used in games such as the Final Fantasy saga. Shiva, known as the destroyer in Hindu belief systems, is one of the three main deities and is also used in final fantasy as a powerful summon that can be used in battle and, represented in a female form, is the goddess of ice used to attack your enemies.

Among the three main entities are Brahma and Vishnu are also present. Brahma is the beginning of all things. He is the creator and brought life to earth. Vishnu is the preserver. He takes care of and maintains all of mankind and keeps peace. There is a sense of balance to these beliefs.

There is a destroyer, one who is evil, a preserver, one of neutrality, and a creator, the source of everything. With all of these beliefs together, Hindus have a wide variety of practiced religious sects and have the ability to believe almost anything that they want and still be considered Hindu.

Hindu Temples

Hindu Temples

Hindu temples are locations to go for worship. Hindus are no different than any other religion when it comes to the practice of worship at temples. Each temple is allocated to a certain deity or god. They are usually dedicated to the “main deity”, but this deity can take almost any form that it wishes.

It can be the god of learning and knowledge. It can also be the god of success, or even the god of wealth. The main point is that the temples may be dedicated to one god, but also worship the sub-deities that that one god can become. Some temples may even be dedicated to many gods.

It is possible that a temple can be dedicated to a group of gods. This is primarily known for the Trimurti, or the group of the three most powerful gods. The gods are Shiva, the destroyer, Brahma, the creator, and when you have a creator and a destroyer, you need the god of peace and preservation, Vishnu. Having all three gods in one temple is common.

In the temples, there are always depictions on the walls. Some of the same concepts that you would have in other religions, including that of war, the beginning of life, and of peace and tranquility, are found in the depictions painted on the walls and floor of the Hindu temples. The murti, or symbols of the gods, is also displayed in that temple. This symbol may often be found on the forehead of statues relating to the god, to give a clearer understanding of what the statue may be even after it is no longer recognizable.

The temples all contain an inner sanctum. This is where the picture of the deity is portrayed to all who enter. The temples also have antechambers, for the monks, and areas of prayer. The temples also come in two main styles: Nagara, and Dravida. Nagara is shaped like a round cone that comes to a point at the top. These are some of the most fantastic displays of modern architecture. The dravida looks almost like a castle, as it rises it gets smaller with each level.

Hindu Child

Hindu Names

Among Hindu names, some of the most important are the first names given to newborns. This is the given name that every parent gives their child and it represents an identity in the world. Most names mean something in the language, just like other culture, only they may be less known.

For example, Daniel is used in the English language and doesn’t have a meaning other than as a prophet released from a lion’s den by god. In Hindu, the name Achal is listed as steady, while Adhira means lightning. These names could be very fine attributes to lend to a person. Given the name Adhira, the boy might be more apt to have a very electric personality. They charge quickly and have a quick release. This could mean having a short tempered personality.

In a Hindu society, such as in India, the naming system can tell another person a lot about you. Your middle name may be your father’s name. In many cases, if you have a middle name, it is the same for all of your siblings, for that name is the first name of your father and it shows your genealogy.

If you have longer names, they can be used to represent different things. Some names can be the names of the town that you were born in. They may also be the names of regions or states that you were born in. There are two downfalls to this process. One: people can automatically know about your history, i.e. where you are from, who your father is, even the caste that you are in.

Being a caste based society, it is important to understand some of the differences in the castes and to not mingle with the other castes. If you do “mingle” with the other castes, it is likely that you could be killed, especially if you are female. For all purposes, your name is truly your identity.

The last part about naming is that when a person gets married, the process of naming is often the same as in America. The female usually takes the surname of the man that they wed, for they become part of his family and are no longer part of their own, so to speak. Summarily, naming can be you identity in more ways than one. Your origin, family, caste, and even your personality can be distinguishable in the names that you may have.


HIndu Wedding

Hindu Weddings

Hindu weddings are very religious. They are the union of a man and a woman. They are therefore said in Sanskrit, which is the language used in almost all of the religious performances and ceremonies conducted in India.

Since India has a very low education rate, the main language is also used for the sake of understanding. Marriage laws that they practice are not uncommon to the United States. They can intermarry, but have to stay within their own caste system. They are not allowed to move outside of the Hindu religion or even their own caste unless certain conditions are met.

During the ceremony, many prayers are said for the couple. They are said in the hope that the couple succeeds and that they prosper and are happy. The prayers may also be coupled by blessing from gods, such as Laksmi, the god of prosperity, Saraswati the god who gives learning and knowledge, and Ganesha, the god of luck and achievement. Ganesha may be the most commonly used, as I would use it for my friend’s wedding right now.

The weddings are very ceremonial. They have many rituals, including Saptapadi in which the couple takes their vows around a sacred fire. Barni Bandhwana is the ritual in which the couple prays that the wedding goes well and encounters no problems. One of the more interesting processions is when the groom leaves for the wedding riding an elephant. This is very formal and the groom is dressed to look remarkable. He has a lot of color and a long shirt that makes him look almost like royalty. This would be the Americans form of a limo.

However different their procedures may be, the Hindu religion is much like our own when it comes to marriage. Under law, polygamy is forbidden. They can only marry one person. They also conduct some of the same ceremonies. They take their vows around a sacred fire to represent the gods, we use rings. They have a procession with an elephant, we use a limo. They also pray before the wedding and hope that there are no problems or conflicts and that everyone can be happy. Hey, seriously, who gets married and doesn’t do this ritual?

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