Essentials of Hinduism – Final Part (3) – by Swami Dayatmananda Ji
Hinduism believes that religion does not consist in merely believing a particular creed or dogma. Religion is the realisation of God. To know God is to become God, In this very life a human being can completely subdue his/her basic passions and manifest his/her higher nature.
UNITY IN DIVERSITY:
To Hinduism the universe is a unity in diversity. The various names and forms are in reality one existence. They are like the waves of the ocean. Human being’s relationship with others should be based upon this truth. To a good Hindu all life is sacred. The majority of Hindus are vegetarians. The golden rule in Hinduism is that one should not do unto others what one does not expect others to do unto oneself.
ABOUT OTHER RELIGIONS:
Hinduism believes in the harmony of religions. God is one, but is known by various names. The diverse religions are so many paths to reach one and the same God consciousness. There are different religions to suit different tastes and temperament.
Unflinching devotion to one’s own faith and unbounded respect for others’ faiths are the watch words of the genuine Hindu. He/She believes that there are different ways to commune with God. Perfection can be attained through selfless service to others through love of God that neither seeks return nor knows fear; through philosophical discrimination between the real and the unreal, and renunciation of the unreal; and finally, through selfcontrol and concentration. A particular discipline is chosen according to a human’s inborn nature.
To Hinduism our worldly pursuits and social life are not ends in themselves, but means to the attainment of freedom. Hinduism accepts the fact that men/women are born with unequal mental and physical characteristics, which are determined by their past actions. But that everyone should be helped to develop his/her highest potentiality. The social laws of the Hindus have been formulated with that in view.
Four ideals have been laid down which every normal human being should strive for. These are ethical virtues, economic security, legitimate experience of life in the world, and communion with the eternal. The first three pave the way to the acquisition of the last, which alone is the highest good. A Hindu believes in the caste system, which is based on the natural inequality of men/women at birth. The four castes represent spiritual power, physical valour, wealth, and manual labour. They are interdependent. It is sinful for one caste to exploit another or for the strong to repress the weak. All should work in harmony for the common welfare of society.
FOUR STAGES OF LIFE:
Life is likewise divided in Hinduism, into four stages. The first stage should be devoted to the acquisition of knowledge, the second to family life and service to society; the third to reflection on spiritual truths in solitude and the last to uninterrupted contemplation of God through renunciation of worldly attachments. To Hinduism the great God is our common Father, the creative energy our benign Mother, the world our home, and all God-loving people, regardless of their caste or creed, our kith and kin.