Hindu way of life and its Basic tenets, named by westerners as the Hindu Religion


In India i.e. Bharat we find people calling themselves as Saivites, Vaishnavites, Madhvas, Sakteyas, Dwaitas, Adwaitas and Visistadwaitas etc. besides Arya Samajikas, Brahma Samajikas, Jains, Buddhists and many others all calling themselves as Hindus. Are all these, Hindu Religions or only one among them is Hindu Religion? No, it is not possible to say that all or any one of them is Hindu Religion. Then, can it be said decisively that this is Hindu Religion? Yes, it can be said decisively. How can it be said? Hindu Religion has certain definite and precise characteristics and whichever religion has all these characteristics can only be called rightly as Hindu Religion. What are these Characteristics? They are - 1) Aatma Nirnayam, 2) Janmantara Visvasam, 3) Karmanustanam, 4) Eswara Nirnayam, 5) Vigraharadhanam, 6) Paraloka Satyatvam, 7) Punya Papa Visvasam, 8)Varnasrama Dharmam and 9) Veda Pramanyam. These are explained herein.

Only that religion professing all the above nine characteristics can be called Hindu religion and others not. It is also called "Asthika Matam" or one, which believes in the existence of God or the Ultimate Reality.

(i) Aatma Nirnayam:

One should know, realize or believe that the results of the good or bad actions done by him in this birth have to be experienced by him alone i.e. his "Atma" alone either in the next birth or in the other world. "Atma" means self only - say Charvakas that "Sareeram" or body is only "Atma" but not different from it. If that is so, then this "Atma" or self also should get destroyed along with the body. Then it has to be accepted, that the result of all his actions good or bad will also be destroyed along with the body. In that case he has to agree that there is no "Punyam" or "Papam" i.e. good or bad which is ridiculous. Therefore to say or believe that there is neither "Punya" nor "Papa" cannot be called as Hindu Religion or "Astika Matam". Therefore the first foundation stone for "Astika Matam" or Siddhanta is "Atma Nirnayam". That his self or "Atma" is different from his body - is the first characteristic for "Astika Matam".

(ii) Janmantara Viswasam:

The second characteristic is, to believe that his self has to take on another birth after rejecting the present body. This is called "Janmantara Visvasam".

(iii) Karmanustanam:

The Third characteristic is, to believe that "Karma" or action is the root cause for taking another birth. The Hindu religion in its wisdom prescribes and tells at length the good deeds or actions to be performed by the self during one's life. This is stated in fourteen books popularly called as "Chaturdasa Vidyasthanams". These are the four Vedas - Rig veda, Yajurveda, Atharvana Veda, Sama Veda and Six Vedangas - Siksha, Vyakaranam, Kalpam, Niruktam, Jyotisham, and Chandas and four Upangas - Mimamsa, Nyaya Sastra, the Puranas and Dharmasastras - total fourteen, Chaturdasa Vidyasthanams.

(iv) Eswara Nischayam:

The Fourth characteristic is, to believe that there is God to confer the result of one's actions done in this birth.

(v) Vigraharadhanam:

The fifth characteristic is to pray or serve God in the shape of "Vigraham" or idol form, called idol worship. All most all religions of the world are following the idol worship in one form or the other.

(vi) Paraloka Satyatvam:

The Sixth characteristic is, to believe firmly that there is another world or "Paralokam" to experience the result of all actions good or bad done in this world and in this birth.

(vii) Punya Papa Viswasam:

The Seventh characteristic is, to believe in the existence of "Punya" and "Papa" or the results for doing good deeds or actions and bad deeds or committing sins.

(viii) Varnasrama Dharmam:

The Eighth characteristic is, to follow scrupulously the duties ordained by the Vedas to each of the people born in the four varnas namely Brahmana, Kshtriya, Vaisya and Sudra in their four Asramams, i.e. Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprasta and Sanyas Asramams, applicable to all of them.

(ix) Veda Pramanyam:

The Ninth and the most important characteristic is, to believe in the sayings of the Vedas prescribing dos and dont's for the good of the people, protecting them from committing sins.

Therefore, unless the educated persons are fully aware of "Astika Tatvam" and characteristics of the Hindu religion they are following, they cannot do justice either to themselves or to the society at large. Again instead of brushing aside religion, as creating headache, it is necessary for one and all to know the Hindu religion as stated by God Almighty and later expounded by Veda Vyasa and other Maharshis, which prescribes certain duties or Dharmas to be performed for living happily in this birth and for getting "Bhakti" and "Jnanam" to get "Mukti" or salvation ultimately.

"Hinduism is a way of life, a life in which one can reach God identified as Siva, the Ultimate Reality, Eswara, the Brahman, eulogised in Vedas and Upanishads as such and on which lies the greatness of India i.e. Bharata Khandam for generations to come."
(Let all people, the world over live in peace and happiness, rolling in wealth with full of piety and compassion towards fellow beings is the motto of this great Hindu way of life)

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