I wrote this for a friend a few days ago and thought it may have some use here. I realize that this is only scratching the surface of the faith and hope I have not offended anybody.
The Hindu faith has affected millions of people for hundreds of years and re-emerged as a guiding light in contemporary times.
Colourful and often charismatic gurus helped create the vision of a cycle of life that we term as reincarnation.
The traditional and orthodox teachings of the Hindu were written probably between 800 and 600 BCE. There are said to be 10?000 original writings which are divided into different areas and are known as ?Vedas? (scriptures if you like).
Between the polytheistic world view (the belief that there are many Gods) to the lake of infinity that each of us is said to belong to (Brahman), there can be no doubt that these concepts have helped forge the spiritual vision of millions, and in the current so called ?new age? climate, the belief in reincarnation has gained immense popularity.
Without even knowing its origin, many have mentally acknowledged this theory as an essential and deeper truth.
Prime time television shows are seen to feature the generic hypnotherapist, helping to regress a subject to a previous life. Often the subject will recall a profound vision through the eyes of their former self, which then seems to colour their present day personality.
The 1960s stands out as the decade which created a boom in alternate versions of worship; blending Eastern mysticism with Western Christian dogma. Through that decade the age of the guru gained popular standing once more.
Then by the 1970s artists like The Beatles, Hawkwind and The Moody Blues each added their nod of approval to philosophies that would help shape the mind of future generations. Singing songs about past lives, cycles of life, and about rejection of the material world; these anthems helped educate and enthrall the mind.
Psychedelic drugs twisted perception of this reality into something that appeared to literally go beyond and touch the supernatural. With this heady cocktail of chemicals and the underpinning Eastern doctrines resonating through pop culture, the gurus spell was cast anew.
So then, what are the basic teachings of the Hindu?
? We each hold a spark of life called ?Atman? (think soul if you will). In fact, we are Atman to the Hindu.
? Atman is part of the universal wholeness known as Brahman. Brahman is everything and is classed as the universal spirit.
? Brahman represents the universe outside of the body and Atman represents the universe inside of the body and both are equally as important as each other.
? There is not a singular God (monotheism).
? There are many Gods; each representing aspects of our life and all creating a complete universal picture.
? To the Hindu there are 3 important deities to understand: Brahma ? The creator / Vishnu ? The sustainer / Shiva ? The destroyer.
? The actual aim of the Hindu is to attain divine status. This is achieved through the cycle of rebirth and in a sense to be reborn is to remain imperfect.
? Karma is an important factor to consider. Karma is seen as the energy that drives a man. If a man commits a selfish act he is said to have bad Karma. Bad Karma is to be avoided, this inhibits spiritual progress. Presumably, the greater amount of bad Karma one has in the bank at death, the less chance there is to link with the highest divine state.
? An inward focus is encouraged through meditation. A casting off of the material world around us and a centring of the mind is to be sought by an acolyte of the Hindu faith.
? The Hindu faith is fragmented into different philosophical schools, yet each retain the basic pillars of the faith. The variance being manifest through interpretation of those pillars.
? and there you have it. A bite size chunk of Hinduism for the beginner