PagesHinduism & Quantum Physics
======= Understanding Hinduism =======
Religions in Brief
Click on underlined words to open paragraph
Compiled in 1984 by Swami Shivapadananda
Man sooner or later must realize that he is a thinking being endowed with discriminating faculties. This is the special blessing of God and Nature to man. Therefore it behoves man to willingly, freely and lovingly practise those disciplines that would make man manifest his Real Nature which is Divine. These excercises are found in all religions.
These disciplines are practical, genuine and well-tested by the votaries of the respective religions. The only criterion is that one would take it seriously and perform those exercises with sincerity, regularity and purity of motive. Be loyal to the ideal. This in turn will yield the highest result.
My prayer is that God gives you the strength and discrimination to realize the Truth. In conclusion, I appeal to you to join me in the following prayer:
Om sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu
May there be good to all
Although an independent and major religion of the world today, Buddhism began as a reform movement within Hinduism. The Four Noble Truths expounded by the Buddha in his first sermon at the Deer Park at Sarnath constitute the core of his teachings.
8.Right Absorption: There are various exercises for concentration to
develop meditation, culminating in absorption.
As time went on Buddhism split into two main groups Theravada and Mahayana. Within the Mahayana tradition there are five main schools, of which Zen is the intuitive school. Zen is the Japanese counterpart of the Chinese word Chan which, in turn, is a translation of the Sanskrit word Dhyana meaning the meditation, which leads to insight. The intuitive experience or enlightenment is called Satori.
In order to achieve Satori the mind has to be trained through three main methods.
Long hours are devoted to sitting silently with eyes half-open and the gaze falling unfocused on the floor a few feet in front. In meditation use is made of the Koan.
Seeing into ones own nature and attaining Buddhahood.
The three religions that have influenced Chinese culture are
Religion in ancient China took the basic form of ancestor worship. Confucius did not interrupt these ancestral rites but at the same time his emphasis was directed towards the living family. He said: "While you are not able to serve man, how can you serve their spirits?"
(Using the analogy of a tree)
Jen (the root) stands for a mans good relationship with others. It has as its heart the important Confucian concept of Shu (reciprocity) i.e. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. It is the motivation force in moral life. It is this virtue that separates man from the beasts.
Yi (the trunk) this is righteousness by justice.
Li (the branches) is that reverent propriety which is expressed by acting correctly in both a moral and religious way, Confucius conveyed the meaning of Li through maxims: anecdotes in which he sought to order an entire way of life so that no one properly raised need ever be left to improvise his responses on momentary impulse because he is at a loss as to how to behave.
Chih (the flower) is wisdom.
Hsin (the fruit) is faithfulness.
The superior man (Chun-tzu) or true gentleman is able anywhere and everywhere to have these virtues. As a son he is always filial, as a father just and kind, as an official loyal and faithful, as a husband righteous and judicious, as a friend sincere and tactful.
Chu His is regarded as the best interpreter of Confucianism. He was not only a scholar but he led an exemplary life. He would rise at dawn, clothe himself decently and pay homage to his ancestors and to Confucius. Then he went to his study and attended to his daily work. Sitting and sleeping he held himself erect, working or resting he behaved according to the model of behaviour prescribed by Confucius in his Classics. Everything in his home was permanently in good order, and in this way he lived from youth to old age.
Chu His found his spiritual and moral development best served by devoting a certain
portion of each day to solitary meditation, something he called Silent
Sitting. This was primarily a form of introspection in order to get oneself into a
state of equanimity in which one could feel at one with the order and harmony of the
Of all the religions of man Christianity is the most widespread and has the largest number of followers. It has also the greatest amount of diversities. The main divisions are Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and the Eastern Orthodoxy. The Christian faith is centred in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ although there are differences in custom and interpretation.
The reality of God and Jesus intimate relationship with God occupied the centre place in his thinking and determined the consistency of his point of view.
Nine Basic Beliefs of Christianity
Christians believe that the Bible is the uniquely inspired and fully trustworthy word of God. It is the final authority for Christians in matters of belief and practice, and though it was written long ago, it continues to speak to believers today.
Under the name of Hinduism there still exists in India today a system of religion
which embraces all the religious thought of the world. It stands like a huge Banyan tree,
spreading its far reaching branches over hundreds of sects, creeds and denominations, and
covering with its innumerable leaves, all forms of worship
For Hindus the attainment of spiritual perfection and freedom is the aim of life and the purpose of human birth. There are basic human values that are regarded as preliminary in this quest. The Hindu scriptures give several lists of virtues, which stem from the five cardinal virtues of:
With these virtues as a foundation the Hindu pursues his search for God along the path that suits his nature. Hinduism sees man as being a combination of body (action), emotions (feelings), will (thoughts) and intellect (discrimination). Each of these facets of an individuals personality can be made perfectly attuned to the Divine this is called Yoga or union of the individual soul with the universal Soul.
The ways to this union are also called Yogas. There are four Yogas, which correspond to each of the facets mentioned above. According to ones nature, one Yoga will be predominant. They are all practical methods involving various disciplines that take one to the goal of 'Moksha or God-realization. This is brought out in the famous aphorism of Swami Vivekananda:
"Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by
controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work (Karma Yoga or yoga of
action) or worship (Bhakti Yoga or yoga of devotion - feelings) or psychic control
(Raja-Yoga or yoga of meditation - will) or philosophy (Jnana-Yoga or yoga of knowledge-
discrimination) by one or more or all of these and be free. This is the
whole of religion. Doctrines or dogmas or rituals or books or temples or forms are but
Nine basic beliefs of Hinduism
1.Hindus believe in the divinity of the Vedas
The Vedas are the worlds most ancient scriptures and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are Gods word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.
2.Hindus believe in one, all pervading God
One all pervasive God who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
3.Hindus believe in endless cycles of creation
Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
4.Hindus believe in Karma
Hindus believe in Karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
5.Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates
Evolving through many births until all Karmas have been resolved, and Moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth , is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.
6.Hindus believe that divine beings exist
Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these Devas and Gods.
7.Hindus believe that Guru is essential
Hindus believe that a spiritually awakened master or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendental Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation.
8.Hindus believe that all life is sacred
All life is to be loved and revered, and therefore practise Ahimsa or non-injury.
9.Hindus believe in respect for all religions
Hindus believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all
others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of Gods Pure Love and Light,
deserving tolerance and understanding.
Jainism in Brief
The first founder of the sect was Parsvanatha. Its first active propagator was Mahavira. The Jains are found in great numbers especially in the western coast of India. They are divided into two principal sects- the Svetambaras (clothed in white garments) and the Digambaras (sky-clad or naked).
The Jains do not admit the divine origin of the Vedas. They do not believe in any Supreme Deity. They pay reverence to holy men or saints who are styled Tirthankaras, who dwell in the heavenly abode and who, by long discipline, have raised themselves to divine perfection. The images of one or more of these Tirthankaras are placed in every Jain temple.
The Jains are strict vegetarians. They attach great sanctity to life. They practise Ahimsa (non-killing, non-violence). Strict Jains strain water before drinking, sweep the ground with a brush before treading on it or before sitting, never eat or drink at night and sometimes cover their mouths with muslin to prevent the risk of swallowing minute organisms.
There are two classes of Jains, viz., Sravakas who engage themselves in secular
occupations and Yatis or monks who lead an ascetic life.
Sikkhism in Brief
Guru Nanak gave to Sikkhism its basic theological concepts and three of its most important institutions i.e. the Sangat (congregational meetings), the Pangat (community kitchens - Langar), and the institution of Guruship. To him true spiritual life meant the performance of duties in the world, and facing and solving the moral and spiritual problems of mankind. All the Sikh Gurus regarded the householders life as the highest of all.
Guru Nanaks mission was twofold to rid Hindu practices of their superstition and empty formalism and to bring about understanding between Muslims and Hindus.
The main points in the teachings of Guru Nanak are:
1. God is the formless Absolute, it does not matter which name is used.
2. Repetition of Gods name (Sumarin) is the best way to realize God.
3. The doctrine of Sabad. By repetition of the Lords name, one gets connected with the Sabad (creative sound) and attains the highest inner illumination.
4. The necessity of surrendering to a Satguru (true Guru) for guidance and instruction in order to attain God-realization.
5. The body is the temple of God. It should neither be looked down upon nor mortified nor used for sense gratification. We should regulate and control it and make it a suitable instrument for divine realization.
6. Proper ethical conduct and purity of heart are absolutely necessary for God-realization. Every one should shun vice and become virtuous. The way to become virtuous is to repeat Gods name with faith and devotion.
7. Formalities and rituals only have value when we are alive to their inner meanings.
Guru Govind Singh was the tenth and last Guru. At his instruction the holy book of the Sikhs The Granth Sahab is now regarded as the Guru.
There are two main sects of Sikhs: the Nanakpanthis or Sahajdharis, who did not follow
the new martial order of Guru Govind Singh, and the Khalsa or Keshadhari which was started
by Guru Govind Singh in reaction to the cruelty of the Moghul rulers. He wished to revive
the old heroic tradition to defend the faith. He opened it to all, regardless of caste.
However, it was not to be merely a military group but a group controlled by religious
morals and devotion to God.
The full connotation of the word Islam is the perfect peace that comes when ones life is surrendered to God. After Muhammads time, Muslim authorities subsumed most of Islam under three heads:
There is no god but God (Allah). Allah reveals His will through Muhammad his messenger; through the Quran, his revelation; and through the angels.
The Quran gives comprehensive guidance for all acts of everyday life from birth to death.
The following are known as the Five Pillars of Islam that constitute the straight path the Muslim is to follow in order to be assured salvation.
The one great theme of the Jewish religion is that a single, righteous God is at work in the social and natural order, and He has revealed His will in history. There are many different forms of Judaism. Some conservative, some intellectual, others mystical etc. all are different approaches to the basic beliefs which are as follows:
There is no official creed or doctrine for Jews to accept, but there are rituals whose aim is the hallowing of life. Piety consists in seeing the whole world as belonging to God and reflecting His glory. By observing tradition one elevates eating, marriage, children, nature etc. to holiness.
*[Note: Re:'Yahweh Email received by us: minor correction by a reader:]
Your descriptions of other religions seem very accurate and respectful. Please note for Judaism, that the term "Yahweh" is an academic reconstruction, and it is considered blasphemous to attempt to pronounce the word written YHWH by all religious Jews.
Tao means literally path or way. There are three senses in which this way can be understood:
The way of ultimate reality: The transcendent, ultimate Tao, the ground of all existence, from which all life springs and to which it again returns.
The way of the universe:The immanent Tao, the ordering principle, the energy and rhythm of nature.
The way man should order his life:To be in harmony with Tao is to attain fullness of life this is the chief aim of human existence.
Although popular Taoism has degenerated into a type of magic, the philosophical Taoism continues to shape the Chinese character in the direction of serenity and grace.
Virtues of Wu Wei
The basic quality of life in tune with the universe is Wu Wei. This is not inaction but creative quietude or non-assertive effortless being. When this quality is manifested one lives in Tao.
Water is used as an example because of the way it adapts itself to its surroundings and seeks out the lowest places and yet, despite its accommodation, wears down rocks. Infinitely supple yet incomparably strong these virtues of water are precisely those of Wu Wei. The man who embodies this virtue works without working he acts without strain, persuades without argument, is eloquent without flourish, makes his point without violence. Though unnoticed, his influence is decisive. By being humble one does not assert oneself but blends with nature, thereby achieving the highest i.e. to identify with Tao and let It work through one.
This is the traditional Chinese symbolism of lifes two interacting energies the positive and the negative. Everything that exists is seen to be made up of these basic opposites e.g. good/evil, active/passive, light/dark, male/female etc. They interact in creation, but are held together and finally resolved in the all-embracing circle, symbolizing Tao, which is beyond these relative pairs of opposites. Taoists use this symbol for meditation.
These are the tenets of the Mazdayasni Zarathushtri religion, as accepted and preached by all the Dasturjees and religious teachers and common Zarathushtris in India.
May our faith increase day by day, in these glorious tenets, that our ancestors have believed in for thousands of years. All our Scriptures are sacred, including the Gathas, Yashts, and the Vendidad. We pray all of them in our Fire temples, before the Sacred Fire, and they have immense spiritual power, their very utterance in the sacred Avestan language serving to further righteousness and fight evil.
All our fire-temples and rituals of the Yasna are sacred and are necessary for the religion, such as the Nirang-din ceremony, which creates the Holy Nirang. The spiritually powerful Nirang forms the foundation of many other sacred rituals, that when performed, increase the power of good in this world and decrease the power of evil.
Dakhma-nashini is the only method of corpse-destruction for a Zarathushtri, as enjoined in the Vendidad: this is the destruction of the dead body in the stone-enclosed Dakhma, by the flesh-eating bird or the rays of the Sun, the most spiritually powerful method as commanded by Ahura Mazda to Zarathushtra. Dakhma-nashini is also very hygienic and ecologically-sound, because it prevents the world from being spiritually or materially polluted by decaying dead matter.
Marrying, Zarathushtri man or woman, to a Zarathushtri only is commanded in our religion in the Vendidad, to preserve the spiritual strength of the Aryan Mazdayasni religion, and the ethnic identity of the Zarathushtri Aryans. For the Zarathushtri, ethnic identity and religion are synonymous, as declared in the Vendidad by Ahura Mazda Himself - the Mazdayasni faith was revealed by Ahura to the Aryans under King Jamshed, thousands of years before Zarathushtra, and was meant only for the Aryans of Iran.
As such, there was no "conversion", because the Aryans of Iran were already Mazdayasnis when Zarathushtra came, and Zarathushtra was RE-REVEALING THE ORIGINAL FAITH, along with the AGUSTO VACHO - previously unheard of words of Ahura Mazda, such as the most powerful Ahunavar (Yatha Ahu Vairyo). The Fravardin Yasht also says that the Righteous of every nation in this world are present in heaven in the form of Glorious Fravarshis. Thus, the Righteous of every religion go to heaven, all religions are equal, and it is folly to convert. Conversion goes against the Master Law of Ereta (righteousness) itself, because God has given us birth in our respective religions, to adore Him in them, and not to mistrust His Judgement and rebel and go over to another faith. For, each faith leads ultimately to God. Thus, the Zarathushtris do not convert other people, but they rely on MARRIAGE WITHIN and INCREASED CHILD BIRTH to increase their numbers.
The observance of the Laws of the Vendidad is an important pillar of the Zarathushtri religion. This includes the concept of menstrual seclusion (the woman is in a state of impurity during menstruation and must stay away from all religious objects including the household fire, and also stay away from her husband during those days) and the dreaded impure state of NASU the corpse is in after death, only touchable by the Nassesalars (corpse-bearers) who may then be purified by ritual means. The Vendidad also carries strong moral injuctions against the acts of homosexuality and prostitution, prohibiting these immoral acts.
Faith, and Hope in the coming of the Saoshyant (Saviour) has sustained our religion through the centuries. We firmly hope, and pray, that Ahura Mazda sends the Saoshyant to the earth to defeat evil and further righteousness (Ashoi). The Zarathushtri religion was the first to proclaim that Ahura Mazda will send the Saoshyant, born of a virgin, and many other religions took on this belief.
We firmly believe that when the Saoshyant comes, the final spiritual battle between the forces of good and evil will commence, resulting in the utter destruction of evil. Ristakhiz, the ressurection of the dead will take place - the dead will rise, by the Will of Ahura Mazda. The world will be purged by molten metal, in which the righteous will wade as if through warm milk, and the evil will be scalded. The Final Judgement of all souls will commence, at the hands of Ahura Mazda the Judge (Davar), and all sinners punished, then forgiven, and humanity made immortal and free from hunger, thirst, poverty, old age, disease and death. The World will be made perfect once again, as it was before the onslaught of the evil one. Such is the Frashogad (Frasho-kereti), the Renovation, brought on by the Will of Ahura Mazda, the Frashogar. Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami, May it be so as we wish