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Hinduism Definitions

Hinduism and all other Indian religions are very different from Abrahamic faiths in this respect. In Abrahamic faiths, it is often considered imperative to have belief in some specific things depending who you are asking. But Indian religions are mostly centered towards seeking. Seeking to understand the reality around us. Then why have I used “beliefs” in the title is because you search for it.

Hindus seek to understand the reality through knowledge. Following are the main concepts Hindus subscribe to

Sanatana Dharma

Sanatana Dharma is a Sanskrit term that refers to the eternal set of principles that uphold and guide Hinduism. This term is often used to describe Hinduism as a whole or the “eternal law” that governs all of reality.

Brahman

Brahman is the supreme reality from which everything originates i.e. it is the causal reality of everything. It is the base of all beings, the absolute reality that underlies and pervades all of creation. Brahman is sometimes described as the “divine self” or the “cosmic self”.

Atman

Atman is the individual self or soul in Hinduism. It is the eternal, unchanging essence of each person that is reborn in each lifetime. The goal of Hinduism is to realize one’s true nature as atman, which is ultimately identical to Brahman.

People usually translate Atman to soul but these two are fundamentally different concepts albeit with some similarity. Atman is considered ever existing reality just like Brahman.

Karma

It is the principle that every action has a consequence, and that our present circumstances are the result of our past actions. Karma determines our destiny, and it is also the basis for reincarnation.

Karma is not cause & effect doctrine as understood by many. Literal meaning of Karma is “action”. If there is action so there will be consequences, good or bad.

Reincarnation or Transmigration

Reincarnation is the belief that after we die, our soul is reborn into another body. This cycle of birth and death is called samsara. We are reborn into different bodies according to our karma, and our goal is to eventually break free from the cycle of reincarnation.

In other words, Transmigration means going from one state of existence to another. This concept is central to the concept of atman.

Moksha

Freeing oneself from the cycles of birth & death. Symbolically, it also means getting detached from your surroundings. That doesn’t mean you can’t have wealth or material possessions. It is the liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and the realization of our true nature as atman. Moksha can be achieved through different spiritual practices, such as yoga and meditation.

Vedas

Etymologically, Veda is derived from the root word “vid” which means “to know”. Veda connotes as knowledge. Vedas are 4 in number. Vedas are considered shruti in Hinduism.

Devas

In Hinduism, the devas are the celestial beings. They are often thought of as gods and goddesses, although they are not necessarily worshipped in the same way as the gods of other religions.

Ishwar

In Hinduism, Ishwar is the supreme god. He is the creator of the universe and the protector of all beings.

Brahma

Brahma is the creator god of the Hindu Trinity, responsible for creating the universe. He is often depicted as a four-headed god, with each head representing a different aspect of creation.

Vishnu

Vishnu is one of the principal Hindu deities. He is the supreme being within Vaishnavism, one of the major traditions within Hinduism. Vishnu is known as “The Preserver” within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity that includes Brahma and Shiva.

Shiva

In Hinduism, Shiva is the destroyer of the world, following Brahma the creator, and Vishnu the preserver. Shiva is the third god in the Hindu triumvirate. The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep, and destruction of the world. Shiva is known to have untamed passion, which leads him to extreme behaviors.

Prakriti

The inanimate material of existence from which everything is made be it atoms, electrons, strings, elements or even our bodies.

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