You are on page 1of 13

Core Beliefs of Hindus Hinduism is not an organized religion and has no single, systematic approach to teaching its value

system. Nor do Hindus have a simple set of rules to follow like the Ten Commandments. Local, regional, caste, and community-driven practices influence the interpretation and practice of beliefs throughout the Hindu world.

Yet a common thread among all these variations is belief in a Supreme Being and adherence to certain concepts such as Truth, dharma, and karma. And belief in the authority of the Vedas (sacred scriptures) serves, to a large extent, as the very definition of a Hindu, even though how the Vedas are interpreted may vary greatly.

Here are some of the key beliefs shared among Hindus:

Truth is eternal.

Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth: the very essence of the universe and the only Reality. According to the Vedas, Truth is One, but the wise express it in a variety of ways.

Brahman is Truth and Reality.

Hindus believe in Brahman as the one true God who is formless, limitless, all-inclusive, and eternal. Brahman is not an abstract concept; it is a real entity that encompasses everything (seen and unseen) in the universe.

The Vedas are the ultimate authority.

The Vedas are Hindu scriptures that contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages. Hindus believe that the Vedas are without beginning and without end; when everything else in the universe is destroyed (at the end of a cycle of time), the Vedas remain.

Everyone should strive to achieve dharma.

Understanding the concept of dharma helps you understand the Hindu faith. Unfortunately, no single English word adequately covers its meaning. Dharma can be described as right conduct, righteousness, moral law, and duty. Anyone who makes dharma central to ones life strives to do the right thing, according to ones duty and abilities, at all times.

Individual souls are immortal.

A Hindu believes that the individual soul (atman) is neither created nor destroyed; it has been, it is, and it will be. Actions of the soul while residing in a body require that it reap the consequences of those actions in the next life the same soul in a different body.

The process of movement of the atman from one body to another is known as transmigration. The kind of body the soul inhabits next is determined by karma (actions accumulated in previous lives).

The goal of the individual soul is moksha.

Moksha is liberation: the souls release from the cycle of death and rebirth. It occurs when the soul unites with Brahman by realizing its true nature. Several paths can lead to this realization and unity: the path of duty, the path of knowledge, and the path of devotion (unconditional surrender to God).

Introduction
Hinduism originated in the area now called India and is still practiced by 80% of its inhabitants. Hinduism is considered a major world religion because of its approximately 700 million believers and its has influence on many other religions during its long history. Some authorities date it back to about 1500 BC and consider it the oldest religion in the world. This religion cannot be traced to a specific founder and does not have only one "holy book" as a spiritual guide. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism does not promote the worship of one particular deity. A Hindu may worship one or many different manifestations of the divine. They consider themselves successful Hindus when the reach the "Ultimate Reality" or nirvana in their lives.

Central Belief
According to Hindu beliefs, Brahman is the principle source of the universe. This divine intelligence exists in all beings. Thus all the Hindu gods and goddesses are manifestations of the one Brahman. Hinduism is based on the concept of reincarnation, in which all living beings, from plants to gods, live in a cycle of living and dying.

Life is determined by the law of karma. According to karma, the quality of rebirth is determined by the moral behavior displayed in the previous life. In this view, life on earth is regarded as temporary and a challenge. The goal of existence is to reach liberation from the cycle of rebirth and death and enter into an indescribable state called moksha (liberation). The ones who reach this state no longer struggle with the cycle of life and death.

Deities
Shiva is the Hindu god that represents both the destructive and creative forces of the universe. He is often depicted wearing a cobra around his neck and the Ganges River flowing from his head. Shiva is also the god of selflessness and meditation. Some Hindus worship Shiva as the supreme deity. Hindus also consider him as the god of salvation and destruction.

Kali, Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi and other forms of the Divine Mother, or Devi, are depicted as consorts of particular gods and major powers in their own right. Through the Divine Mother, all life comes to have form. Her power is often referred to as shakti.

Vishnu is the other major god of Hinduism. He is thought of as the preserver of the universe. Some writings refer to him as the eternal, almighty spirit that existed with primitive waters believed to have been present before the creation of the world. Vishnu, when in one of his mortal forms is shown sleeping on a great serpent and floating on water. While in his godly form, he is seen in either black or blue. He can be seen in various colors while in mortal form. Normally, in his godly form, he is seen with four arms: One hand holds a lotus; a second holds a conch; a third holds a discus, which always returns by itself after being thrown; and the fourth carries a mace.

Rama is a Hindu deity worshiped throughout Hinduism as the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Rama is represented as the ideal hero of the Sanskrit epic poem the Ramayana. He was meant to be a secular hero in the epic, but he is seen in the first and sixth books as an incarnation of Vishnu. Rama comes to earth to kill the demon king Ravana.

Krishna is the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu. According to legend, Vishnu appeared as Krishna to rid the world of a tyrannical king named Kamsa, a son of a demon. Many legends tell of Krishna's miracles and heroic exploits. He mostly appears in the epic poem Mahabharata in which he helps the hero Arjuna. Right before a decisive battle, Krishna delivers a speech to Arjuna. This speech became the famous commentary on duty and life known as the Bhagavad-Gita. Bhagavad-Gita Bhagavad-Gita is a Sanskrit poem consisting of 700 verses divided into 18 chapters. Most Hindus regard it as their most important text and the essence of their belief. Nirvana

Nirvana is the supreme state free from suffering and individual existence. It is a state often referred to as "self realization" or "God realization". Its the ultimate religious goal of all Hindus. The attainment of nirvana breaks the otherwise endless rebirth cycle of transmigration. Hindus call this nirvana "eternal bliss". However, no

one can describe in words what nirvana is. It can only be experienced directly.

Transmigration

Transmigration is passing of the soul at death into a new body or new form of being. Transmigration and reincarnation, the soul's rebirth in a new body, are roughly the same. Transmigration occurs until a soul reaches the perfect state of nirvana, or God. Yoga Yoga is one of the six classic systems of Hindu philosophy that practices certain disciplines to achieve freedom from the limitations of the flesh and lead to the fulfillment of knowledge. The goal of Yoga is not to achieve peace within, channeling, or the working of miracles, but the acquirement of knowledge. In fact, the Yoga doctrine insists that physical and mental training should be used only as a means to spiritual needs.

Yoga practice forms a ladder to perfect knowledge through eight stages: self-control, religious observance, postures, regulation of the breath, restraint of the senses, steadying of the mind, meditation, and profound contemplation.

The Twelve Beliefs of Hinduism


1 Hindus believe in One Supreme God whose nature is All-Pervasive, while also Transcending the universe. His functions are Creation, Preservation, Dissolution, Showering Grace and Obscuring Grace. 2 Hindus believe in the existence of unseen spiritual worlds, abodes where God and His mighty band of Spiritual helpersMahadevas and devaslive. It is through worship and spiritual disciplines that we communicate with God and the Mahadevas. 3 Hindus revere the ancient VedasRig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvaas our Holy Scriptures revealed by God. 4 Hindus believe in the existence and immortality of the atma or the soul, which is the spiritual body of light and Divinity within them, created by God. The atma grows and evolves spiritually through the physical body during its incarnations on Earth. 5 Hindus believe in the law of karma. The spiritual law of cause and effect. Karma dictates that whatever action one performs whether through thoughts, words or deeds, he or she will reap the same reaction. Such as goodness begets goodness while hurt begets hurt. Through karma our individual future is formed and our soul evolves through the lessons it learns from karmic effects. 6 Hindus believe in reincarnation, that the soul undergoes countless cycles of birth, death and rebirth on earth. The ultimate achievement of life on earth is the attainment of mokshafreedom from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth on Earth.

7 Hindus believe in the need for the personal experience of God. This is accomplished through temple worship, virtous conduct, by performing penance, self-inquiry and meditation. The personal experience of God is required for resolution of all karmas and to achieve moksha. 8 Hindus believe in dharma; the inherent laws created by God to govern the spiritual and physical universe. Through dharma proper guidelines are drawn towards the achievements of the purusharthas, which are the four goals of life, namely 1) DharmaThe pursuit of a virtuous and ethical life 2) ArthaThe pursuit of wealth by honest means 3) KamaThe pursuit of holistic happiness and pleasures in life 4) MokshaThe pursuit of God Realization and spiritual liberation. 9 Hindus believe in the need for a guru to guide the devotee into an ever deepening experience of God. 10 Hindus believe in ahimsa, or non-violence in thought, word and deed as a cardinal virtue of life, and believe in the ultimate sacredness of the entire universe. 11 Hindus believe that the universe is governed by immense cycles of time called the yugas and repeating cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution. 12 Hindus believe in the acceptance and existence of other genuine religions and spiritual persuasions. The existence of diverse religions are all part of Gods Grace and compassion for humanity. No particular religion has an exclusive claim to salvation.

Bhagavad Gita and Modern Management


Modern management techniques are heavily borrowed from Western practices. Despite the exhaustive training managers get in business schools and in their own organizations, there have been many instances of greed and fraud even in famous companies. Lets take a u-turn and check what the ancient tome, the Bhagavad Gita, has to offer for modern managers.

Lessons in Work Commitment In the Gita, verse 2.47 advises non-attachment to the results after performing ones duty diligently, and with care. This means doing dedicated work in the spirit of work for works sake. We should not think of promotion or incentives, while giving our best at the workplace. When performance is tilted in anticipation of benefits, its quality suffers due to mental agitation created by anxiety for the future.

Thus, verse 2.47 brilliantly guides a manager on psychological energy conservation and can prevent burn-outs and work-related stress. Thus, the Gita can save the cost of sending managers to expensive stressprevention workshops. The Law of Karma Another advantage of not being attached to results is that whatever fruits we expect may not always result, despite our best efforts. Therefore, the Gita advises us to abstain from mortgaging present

dedication in favor of an uncertain future. Some people may argue that non-attachment to results would lead to decreased accountability. But, the Gita clarifies that according to the law of cause and effect, the doer is responsible for the results of his actions.

The Gita advises the manager to become the work, he/she is doing at the moment. This is the right attitude, as it prevents the mind and ego from speculating on future losses or gains, enabling full focus on the current work.

Theory of Self-realization Modern management techniques say that workers are motivated by lower needs such as food, clothing, shelter, appreciation, recognition, status etc. However the Gitas theory of self-realization states that one should sacrifice these lower needs and be inspired by an non-egoistic outlook, team work, sharing, harmony and trust. Thus, selftranscenders are innovators and visionaries. They do not let the ego spoil their work.

Two Types of Work Culture In chapter 16, Krishna enunciates two types of work culture. These are:

Divine Work Culture:

This means calmness, self-denial, modesty, absence of pride, envy or greed, sacrifice, purity and fearlessness.

Demonic Work Culture: This means delusion, egoism, desire-centric performance and nonobservance of work ethics.

The Gitas Ultimate Message for Managers Krishna clearly says that a doer of good deeds will not face misery, as according to the law of karma, good deeds beget good results, while evil action begets misery. Therefore, a manager who acts well will be rewarded. Finally, the ideal manager should keep in mind the holistic attitude of work for the welfare and good of many.

Twelve Important Festivals


The following is a list of twelve main festivals along with their corresponding deities and any related stories.

Festival
Sarasvati Puja Maha Shiva Ratri Holi Rama Navami Hanuman Jayanti RathaYatra Raksha Bandhana Janmashtami

Month
January Feb/March March Mar/April April June/July August Aug/Sept

Deity
Sarasvati Shiva Vishnu (Narasimha) Rama Hanuman Jagannatha Krishna

Related Stories
Saraswati curses Brahma Stories of Shiva Rama's birth Ramayan later episodes The proud merchant Indra wears a rakhi Krishna's birth and childhood

Prahlad and Narasimha (and Holik

Ganesh Chaturthi Navaratri/Durga Puja Dussehra Diwali*

Aug/Sept Sept/Oct October Oct/Nov

Ganesh Shakti, Parvati Rama Lakshmi/Rama

How Ganesh received his head Durga kills Mahisha, and others Ramayana Stories of Lakshmi/Ramayana