Essentials of Hinduism Part 2 – by Swami Dayatmananda Ji
HINDU IDEA OF GOD:
Hinduism believes in the reality and oneness of God, who is the power that creates and preserves the universe, and unto whom it periodically returns. God has many aspects. Some regard God as personal, some as personal but not human, and some as entirely impersonal. He is the eternal Spirit, birthless and deathless, and the repository of infinite blessed qualities.
Some Hindus commune with God through appropriate images and some in a direct manner, without help of any symbols. As the saviour of humanity, God manifests in times of human crisis as incarnations like Buddha, Krishna, and Christ. Hinduism accepts prophets and incarnations outside his own religious tradition. God is immanent in the universe. God dwells in all beings as life and consciousness. Through grace a human being is liberated from the bondage and suffering of life.
Hinduism believes that God projects the universe out of own self, as the spider its web. The world was not created out of nothing at a particular point of time; it is without beginning and end. At the end of a cycle, or world period, gross forms pass into a fine state, and at the beginning of the next cycle, the fine forms become gross.
HINDU IDEA OF SOUL:
Hinduism believes in the divinity of the soul. Each soul is potentially divine, and the purpose of religion is to manifest its divinity. Human Beings , in his/her true nature, is completely separate from the body and mind, which are subject to change. He/She is the Spirit, which is immutable, eternal, pure, and perfect. For some reason, inscrutable to the finite mind, the infinite Spirit becomes individualised and assumes a finite body.
Evil actions contract or hide the soul’s natural purity, and good actions bring it out. Every soul will ultimately attain to liberation. A sinner has a future as a saint has a past. What is called sin is but a passing phase in human evolution toward a God-like nature.
Hinduism believes that the highest and supreme goal of life is to attain MUKTI i.e. to realize one’s divine nature and be free. This liberation can be attained through any path or religion. Mainly there are four paths whatever be one’s religion. These are the paths of devotion, self less service, meditation and knowledge. In Sanskrit these are called yogas.
KARMA & REBIRTH:
Hinduism believes in rebirth. At the time of death the soul discards the material body, just as a person discards his/her old and wornout clothes. It assumes body after body, whose nature is determined by the individual’s past actions. Each person is entirely responsible for the good and evil in his life. Through successive births, he/she acquires more and more righteousness, and in the end becomes perfect through God’s grace. According to some Hindus, the liberated soul retains its individuality. according to others, it is entirely absorbed in God.
To be continued in Final Part 3….