Hindu Religious Tradition

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Hindu Religious Tradition

Hindu Religious Tradition

The religious life of most of the Hindus is centered on the devotion to God. The interpretations of God may differ from person to person. Many rituals are developed which help the man realize the divinity from the midst of daily life.

The more philosophically oriented Hindus will ignore the idea of gods and seek realization through different forms of meditation. Other Hindus will perform their duties towards society while keeping the moral values and seek the divine. In fact, there are three possible paths (margas) to liberation and all the recognized as equally valid. The three paths are:

Karmamarga-the path of work and action

Jnanamarga -the path of knowledge

Bhaktimarga- the path of devotion

All the stages in the life of a traditional Hindu involve religious rituals and practices.

Sanatana Dharma, or otherwise known to Western civilization as Hinduism, is one of the world's oldest living religions, dating back to 8000BCE. (Fisher, 2002 p.83)

Sacred Elements that Characterize Hindu Religious Traditions

The sacred elements that set apart Hindu religious traditions would be difficult to list. The absolute immensity and richness of the Hindu culture and customs handed down from generation to generation have evolved over thousands of years. Hinduism is not considered a structured religion, but rather an assemblage of hundreds, even thousands of smaller beliefs. Perhaps this is why Hindu beliefs seems so multifarious to Western philosophers. The complexity of Hinduism stems from many deities and gods. The three primary deities of Hinduism are, Shakti, divine feminine, Vishnu, protector of all things, Shiva, creator and destroyer of all living things. (Fisher, 2002 p.103)

Hindu deities are portrayed with eight arms, and multiple heads and emblems. These multiple parts are used to set the deities apart from ordinary mortals. Many of the Hindu deities were created over 6000 years ago and are still highly praised in most Hindu cultures today. The Hindu deities' number over 330 million and with the sheer number being so large may indicate that the deities may have been created in the minds of the Hindus. (Stutley, 2006, p. 15-16) Hindus recognize the divine as an accolade of opposite, through assorted rituals of devotion or puja. The masculine divine is known as Purusha, while the feminine divine is known as Prakriti, maintain equilibrium of all existence.

The Vedas, or sacred text, are a collection of hymns compromising four parts which are the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads. Each ...
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