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Hinduism is among the world’s oldest religion that has no beginning it was there before recorded history. Unlike most other religions, it cannot be linked to a single founder as it is formed from diverse traditions. It is a predominant religion in the Indian subcontinent and is one of its indigenous religions (Sen, 2005) Due to the fact that it cannot be clearly defined and does not have rigid guidelines various forms of religious expressions coexist in Hinduism. It is actually a way of life since there are no set customs or rituals that make a person a Hindu if followed. It has four main denominations or sects which are saivism, Shaktism, vaishnavism and smartism.
BeliefsWithin Hinduism there is the belief of a supreme God whose qualities are represented by deities which emanate from him. The Supreme Being is all-pervasive that is both immanent and transcendent and is also the creator and unmanifest reality (Kumar, 2003.)
In Hinduism there is also the belief in karma the law of cause and effect. This belief is based on the fact that every individual has a way of creating their own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds. It governs the fact that life exists in a cycle from birth, death and rebirth.
There is also the belief of reincarnation of the soul that evolves through many births until all karmas have been resolved and the liberation from rebirths cycle has been attained. This means that death of the body does not mean everything is over since there is continuity of life. Each incarnation depends on how the previous life was lived (Kumar, 2003.)No single soul will be deprived of his destiny. There is also the belief in upholding righteousness in material and spiritual affairs, they believe in the existence of a natural moral code that ensures justice for all when followed diligently. Hindus believe that all life is sacred since all creatures are a manifestation of the Supreme Being. Life should therefore be loved and reserved.
Hindus recognize three paths to salvation, the first is through work. Its emphasis is that one can get salvation when they do their duties and hence escape the weight of bad karma. The second way of attaining salvation is through deep medidation.the third way is through devotion. This requires the longing for a more emotional and personal approach to religion. It involves self-surrender to one of the many gods and goddesses in Hinduism (Kumar, 2003.)
EthicsThe medical ethics in Hinduism rise from the principle of non violence.hinduism advocates for making choices that do not cause harm. Abortion is one of the unacceptable deeds in Hinduism since it can cause harm to a mother, foetus, father and the society at large. The doctrine of reincarnation forma another basis against abortion since killing of the foetus causes a major karmic setback to it. Since it is deprived the opportunity its potential human existence would have given it to earn good karma and is immediately returned to the cycle.hinduism is against suicide since they view it as assisting death and this brings about bad karma since it violates the non violence principle.hinduism includes teachings that condemn violence and war and promote moral duty through teaching(Hebbar,2009) Hinduism also opposes capital punishment since it is not in line with the non-violence code of Hinduism.
Rites and ritualsAt birth there are baby rites that are performed to the baby. This are performed to welcome the baby to family. It involves placing honey in the baby’s mouth and whispering the name of God into his ear. There are also precise details and rituals that are performed in a wedding ceremony. There are also sacraments involved at that time of the wedding.
The whole essence of Hinduism is difficult to grasp since there are varied thoughts and concepts or lack of set rules governing the religion. The uniqueness of Hinduism and the fundamental concept is that it accepts all religions as being true and can lead one to salvation. It also acknowledges that there is no one path that can unveil the divine intervention in all humans. It is an evolving religion that is constantly influenced by various thoughts, ideas and cultures that requires humans to lead lives that seek knowledge and truth hence they attain true enlightening.
ReferencesShattuck, C. T. (1999). Hinduism. London: Routledge.
Sen, K. M. (2005). Hinduism. London: Penguin. (Chapter1 and 2)
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Hebbar, N. (2009). Ethics of Hinduism
Kumar, V. (2003.). Hinduism Beliefs Major Facts about Hinduism. Retrieved October 15, 2012, from http://www.godrealized.com/hinduism_beliefs.htmlPustak ,M (2006).The Philosophy of Hinduism : Four Objectives of Human Life ; Dharma (Right Conduct), Artha (Right Wealth), Kama (Right Desire), Moksha (Right Exit (Liberation) ISBN 81-223-0945-3Bottom of Form