Essential Principles of Hindu Dharma (Hinduism)

Date: 7/19/2006


14 Essential Principles of Hindu Dharma (Hinduism) These 14 principles have been written and revised over the last 35 years. Please teach them to your children and display it on the walls of your Hindu Temple. Visitors will also benefit from reading it. 1. Goal of Hinduism is moksha (mookti or freedom), which means to become one with God. To achieve moksha, you should love God, know thyself, do your dharma, Sadhana (spiritual practices), yoga, mediation, yagna, puja, japa, ahimsa, selfless service, going on pilgrimages, Ganges, visiting Temples, be good and do good. The goal of Hinduism is also known as dharma, artha, karma and moksha. 2. Brahman is the formless Supreme reality or God, which enters the material world in three forms that are: Brahma (the Creator; his daughter is Sarasvati) Vishnu (Preserver, his consort is Lakskmi) and Siva (Transformer, consorts are Durga or Kali, sons Ganesh and Subramanya). God is all and all is God. (Soham or Tat Tam Asi – that thou art)*. 3. God is nirguna (impersonal formless reality known as Brahman) or Om, or is sadguna (God in a personal form who listens to prayers and also comes to earth as an Avatar (God in a human incarnation). God has many forms and names Lord Vishnu incarnates as Ram, Krishna, et al. Surrender and love them. (Sat yam, Sivam, Sundaram)* 4. Hindus have freedom of thought and belief, but accept the conformity of dharma (i.e. duty, conformity of proper action, care for family). With freedom of belief, even atheism can be included in Hinduism. 5. Karma is the concept that a reaction follows every action. Good results come from good actions. Karma leads to reincarnation, which is the circle of birth and death. Everyone should advance in each life, with the goal of achieving moksha. 6. Yoga means union with God. Types of yoga are gnyana (knowledge), bhakti (devotional service), raja (meditation, kundalini), mantra, karma (selfless service), kriya (cleansing), and japa (reciting the names of God), and hatha (Aham Brahm Ashmi – I am Brahma or spirit*). 7. Parmatman (Supreme Soul or God), jivatman (individual souls) and the souls within all living entities are real. Everything else is maya (illusion). Purush (Spirit) is the Father-aspect of God. Pakriti (matter or energy) is the Mother-aspect of God. There are three worlds: material, astral and spiritual. (Satchitananda – means Existence, Knowledge and bliss absolute)* 8. Truth is one, but religions are many. Some of the main divisions of Hindus are Vaishnavas, Shaivas, and Shaktas. Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, as well as Charvaka and Sankhya philosophy are included as a part of Hinduism. 9. Hindu Scriptures are the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita (which are Sruti or words of God), as well as Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and many other books and commentaries written by the sages (which are Smritis, what is remembered). 10. There is no “Devil.” Each person is responsible for his own actions. Wrongdoers are not evil, but are in darkness and ignorance. There are seven temporary heavens and hells. Moksha is only possible while living in the material world. 11. It is your dharma (duty) to challenge or fight adharma (injustice or wrongdoers). Yet non-violence towards the weak is also Dharma. Vegetarianism is practiced to show non-violence towards animals. The four ashrams are 1) Brahmacarya, Grihastha, Vanpratha, and Sannyasa. 12. The Scriptures say there are four castes—brahman, kshatriya, vaishya, and sudra. A person’s caste was originally determined by a person’s nature, but later became set by birth. Adherence to the caste system is weakening. Slavery has never been a significant part of Hindu culture or history. There are four ashrams: brahmacharya, grahastya, vanaprashta, and sanyasa. 13. God is worshiped as mother, father, guru, friend, or in other forms. The guru is the spiritual teacher who takes you from darkness to light. A guru’s grace is essential for receiving spiritual knowledge. The Sat Guru may be worshipped as God. Murthi (idol) worship is used to focus one’s devotion on God or it is considered God in person. When a person says I am a Hindu he or she is a Hindu. Hindus do not convert, but recently some groups do. 14. Bharat, or Hindustan, is divya bhumi matru bhumi, where people of all religions are welcome. India has never invaded any country. Hinduism is a way of living. All of humanity is one family; Respect all religions. Arnold Toynbee said, “The world will realize that the only way to salvation for mankind is the Hindu way.”/////////////////// Prof. Bharat J. Gajjar, 614 Loveville Road, Bldg. D-1F, Hockessin, DE 19707, USA * These are mahavakyas. 000000000