Hindu Traditions Paper

Topics: Hinduism, Hindu, Religion Pages: 5 (1505 words) Published: June 23, 2010
Hindu Religions Tradition Paper
Phonesia Machado
University of Phoenix
REL 133/ Calvin Habig, Faciliatator

The sacred elements of Hinduism are comprised of Hindu religious traditions, and their transcendent connotations. It would be very difficult to completely list all the sacred elements of Hinduism that make up the Hindu religious traditions because of the sheer enormity and depth of the Hindu culture and traditions that have evolved through thousands of years. However, I will deign to describe some of the most notable or prevalent elements. Hinduism is referred to as Sanatana Dharma, the eternal faith. Hinduism is not strictly a religion. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the code of life. While religion means to bind, Dharma means to hold. What man holds on to is his inner law, which leads from ignorance to truth. Though reading of the scriptures Shastras or Vedas, the teachings provide a basis and a path for spirituality (Das, 2007). The sacred elements include different roles as they describe aspects of the religion. Samhitas are hymns praising deities mostly of the elements. Brahmanas are written works of these rituals (Fisher, 2003). The Aryankas are works dedicated to old Hinduism and primarily serve forest deities and serve as the foundational element of traditional Hinduism today.  The Upanishads are theological discussions of Hindu text. Today’s Veda branches which are descendants of these texts are the Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva (Fisher, 2003). Again these texts are broken into sections to describe the different roles of deities, practices, rituals, worship and discussion. If one was to further discern the sacred elements there are five basic themes for all and they are listed as follows: 1) Common Scriptures

2) Common Deities
3) Common Beliefs
4) Common Practices
5) Common Ideals
Common scriptures of the Hindu religion are inclusive of centuries of storytelling, teaching and rituals. The Vedas represent the spiritual experiences of the Rishis or seers of yesteryear. The Rishi is only a medium or an agent to transmit to people the intuitional experiences which he received. The truths of the Vedas are revelations. All the other religions of the world claim their authority as being delivered by special messengers of God to certain persons, but the Vedas do not owe their authority to anyone. Common deities of the Hindu religion Hindus have a multitude of gods and goddesses that symbolize the one abstract Supreme Being or Brahman. The most fundamental of Hindu deities are the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Other deities such as Ganesha, Krishna, Rama, and Hanuman, are popular with Hindus across the world. As one of the more popular deities Ganesha has one of the commonest mnemonics for anything associated with Hinduism. The son of Shiva and Parvati, Ganesha is depicted has having a curved trunk and big ears, and a huge pot-bellied body of a human being. He is the lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of knowledge, wisdom and wealth (Das, 2007). There is no belief that is common to all practitioners of Hinduism. Many historians believe over the centuries Hinduism had adopted many spiritual traditions and practices, which are seen even today in the homes of many Hindu (Fisher, 2003) s. It is not easy to generalize the beliefs of Hinduism because the practices vary widely among the believers of this religion. In trying to gauge some commonality in a few basic and common beliefs that are practiced by all Hindus, the most prominent are as follows: 1)All religious paths lead to God who is supreme power and omnipotent. 2)The Law of Karma is one of the basic beliefs of Hinduism. Karma means "actions or deeds". Hindus believe in rebirths and reincarnation. It is believed the karma of a person in this birth decides his life after death. There are seven cycles of birth that a person undergoes before he achieves moksha or nirvana...

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