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-: Hindu Tenets and Concepts :-


Harmony of Religions

Hindu sages declare that there is no one religion that teaches an exclusive road to salvation. All genuine spiritual paths are valid and all great religions are like the branches of a tree -- the tree of religion. This doctrine lays foundation for the Hindu ideal of universal harmony.

Ishwara (God)

There is but one Supreme Being, Who is absolute existence, absolute knowledge and absolute bliss (satchid-ananda). He is both immanent and transcendent, and both Creator and Un-manifest Reality. There is no duality of God and the world, but only unity. God can be worshipped and prayed in the form of a chosen deity (Ishta Devata) in the temples and in the home shrines.

Non-Violence (Ahimsa)

Ahimsa means non-violence (in thought, word and deed), non-injury and non-killing. The Hindu Dharma teaches that all forms of life are different manifestations of Brahman. We must therefore not be indifferent to the sufferings of any of the God's creatures. This doctrine creates love for humans between themselves as well as with other forms of life and encourages the protection of our environment.

Religious Discipline

Hindus believe that wisdom is not an exclusive possession of any particular race or religion. Hindu Dharma allows an individual to select a religious discipline in accordance with one's own religious yearning and spiritual competence. Hindu Dharma recommends the guidance of a spiritually awakened master (guru) for attaining perfection in life.


Dharma is the law that maintains the cosmic order as well as the individual and social order. Dharma is of four kinds: universal dharma (rita), human dharma (ashram dharma), social dharma (varana dharma) and individual dharma (svadharma). All four dharmas together are called sanatana dharma, the original name of the Hindu religion. Universal dharma includes the natural laws associated with the physical phenomenon of the universe, such as the laws of matter, science and planetary motions. Human dharma means the human actions which maintain the individual, social and environmental order. Social dharma is exemplified in human actions associated with professional, social, community and national duties and responsibilities. Individual dharma consists of individual actions associated with one's individual duties and responsibilities. The Hindu doctrine of dharma states that right action must be performed for the sake of righteousness and good must be done for the sake of goodness, without any expectation of receiving something in return.

Unity of Existence

Hindu sages have declared that the cosmic energy is a manifestation of the Universal Spirit (Brahman). The entire universe is a play between Brahman, or the cosmic consciousness, and the cosmic energy. Brahman has become all things and beings of the world. Thus we are all interconnected in subtle ways.

Law of Karma

The word karma literally means 'deed or action,' but implies the entire cycle of cause and its effects. According to the Law of Karma, every human action-in thought, word, or deed-inevitably leads to results, good or bad, depending upon the moral quality of the action. The Law of Karma conserves the moral consequences of all actions and conditions our future lives accordingly. We ourselves create our future destinies by our own choices each minute. Every child born in this world is born to work out its own past deeds.The doctrine of karma (karmavada) is based upon the theory of cause and effect. According to this doctrine, God is not responsible for the pleasure or pain of His creatures. They suffer or enjoy owing to the consequences of their own bad or good deeds.

The doctrine of karma is actually the law of harmony and equilibrium. It adjusts wisely, intelligently and equitably each effect to its cause. But, it is also the law of opportunity, which allows an individual to change his past for a better future. The past karma of an individual consists of two parts, prarabdha karma and sanchita karma. Prarabdha karma is the part of one's past karma which is to bear fruit in the present life of the individual. Sanchita karma is accumulated karma of the previous births, which is to bear fruit in the future. Prarabdha karma of an individual consists of two components: fixed and variable.

The fixed component of karma is beyond our control and consists of that component of the past karma which determines one's parents, the family and the country in which a child must be born, the general features of the physical body that the child will eventually develop and the social and religious environment in which the child must grow. The variable component of the past karma remains latent in the subconscious mind of the child in the form of samskaras (natural habits and tendencies). It is this variable part of the past karma that one can overcome by initiative and free will. ]

An individual's particular incarnation is determined by the overall balance of past karma. If the overall balance is positive (i.e. overall good karma), the individual will be born in an environment that would be naturally conducive toward the onward progress of his soul. In a particular incarnation, only those innate tendencies (samskaras) are manifested for which conditions are favorable in that incarnation. Ultimately we must go beyond all karma, good or evil. The greatest virtue does not seek to change the world or improve us but to rest in harmony with the peace of what is.

According to the doctrine of predestination, everything happens only according to God's will. Individuals do not have any control over events. This doctrine appears to contradict the doctrine of Karma. Hindu dharma however, accepts both the doctrines as valid. In the doctrine of karma a person holds himself responsible for his actions, whether good or bad. But through intense spiritual practice a person's mind can be made to acquire higher and higher degree of purity. At a certain high level of mental purity the spiritual aspirant feels that he is only an instrument in the hands of God. At this high level of spirituality the doctrine of predestination becomes the only valid doctrine.

The Four Ends of Human Life

The four ends of human life are dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. Dharma is the first human goal and forms the foundation for the pursuit of the other three goals. Dharmic actions are those individual, social, political, and professional actions which are based upon the four virtues: truth, ahimsa, morality and ethics. Artha means to earn wealth in accordance with dharma.

Kama is to satisfy one's mental and intellectual desires in accordance with dharma. Moksha denotes spiritual perfection, which is attained automatically when one leads a life that is dedicated to dharma.

Every child born on this earth is required to repay three debts in his (or her) lifetime. The first debt is to God and the repayment requires regular prayers and worship, and selfless service to all of God's creatures. The second debt is to the sages and saints, who have revealed truths in scriptures. The third debt is to one's ancestors, parents and teachers. To help individual repay the above three debts, the Hindu sages have organized life into four stages: studentship (Brahmacharya Ashrama), householder stage (Grhastha Ashrama), retirement (Vanaprastha Ashrama) and renunciation (Sannyasa Ashrama).

Death and Lokas

According to Hindu dharma, when a person dies, his gross physical body (physical body) is left behind and the soul with the subtle body (consisting of the mind, intellect, sense organs, motor organs and vital energies) goes to a different plane of existence. Such a plane of existence is called loka in Sanskrit. Although popular belief is that there are three lokas (svarga, martya and patala), the scriptures speak of fourteen lokas, including the earthy plane (Bjurloka). The lokas are Satyaloka, Tapoloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Svarloka, Bhuvarloka, Bhurloka, Atalaloka, Vitalaloka, Sutalaloka, Rasatalaloka, Talatalaloka, Mahatalaloka and Patalaloka.

Among these, the first six are considered the higher lokas, while the last seven are considered to be lower lokas.


The Hindu dharma says that the unfulfilled desires of departed people are primarily responsible for their rebirth. The true reincarnating entity is the causal body, wherein our karmic impressions are stored. It is possible for one soul to take more than one birth at the same time, either high or low. Less evolved souls may only experience a prolonged deep sleep between incarnations. These usually incarnate into the same location on earth and seek a similar life experience. Very advanced souls may enter into a deep meditative trance and may reincarnate quickly.


Each human being, regardless of religion, geographic region, colour or creed is in reality atman clothed in a physical body. In the Hindu view, atman (soul, self or sprit) is the source of the human will. Since atman is divine and immortal, the human will is potentially powerful. An individual is not born a sinner, but becomes a victim of maya (cosmic ignorance). The true soul is beyond the mind and does not function through thought. The goal of the soul in evolution is merging into the divine of the inner Self. This brings about freedom from the cycle of rebirth. The essence of life is to see our Self in all beings and all beings in our Self. Each soul has to grow itself and must be free to gain the experiences it needs. Any soul can turn around and move to the truth. Liberation from the world is not abandoning the world but merging into the world and beyond, becoming the all encompassing. This state has been called by various names like nirvana, kaivalya, mukti and moksha.

Moksha or Mukti

The ultimate goal of Hindu religious life is to attain spiritual freedom called nirvana, kaivalya, mukti or moksha i.e. freedom from the cycle of birth and death in the phenomenal world or union with God. Mukti or moksha is everything and nothing, everyone and no one. A liberated soul possesses divine qualities such as purity, omnipresence and omnipotence, and is beyond any limitations. Moksha is automatically attained when one leads a life dedicated to dharma, artha and kama.

Avatara (Incarnation)

Hindus believe that God incarnates Himself on earth (avatara) to uphold righteousness whenever there is a loss of virtue. The Bhagwad Gta thus declares, "whenever there is a decline of righteousness and predominance of unrighteousness, I (God) embody Myself. For the protection of the good and for the destruction of the evil-doers and for the re-establishment of righteousness, I am born from age to age.


OM is the most sacred symbol in the Hindu dharma. Aum (OM) is the sound of the infinite. Aum is said to be the essence of all mantras, the highest of all mantras or divine word (shabda) and brahman (ultimate reality) itself. Aum is said to be the essence of the Vedas and is considered as the sound of the Sun, the sound of Light. By sound and form, AUM symbolizes the infinite Brahman (ultimate reality) and the entire universe. A stands for Creation; U stands for Preservation and M stands for Destruction or dissolution.

This is representative of the Trinity of God in the Hindu dharma (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). The three portions of AUM relate to the states of waking, dream and deep sleep and the three gunas (rajas, satva, tamas) The three letters also indicate the three planes of existence, heaven (swarga), earth (martya) and netherworld (patala).