Introduction of Hindu Dharma
dharma is world’s oldest living dharma (religious philosophy and way of
Hindu dharma is over 8500 years old.
It is tolerant, resilient and peace-loving.
The root of Hindu dharma lie in the Indian subcontinent, in the Indus (Sindhu)
valley which had 300 advanced settlements as early as 5000 BCE.
Hindu dharma is also called Sanatana Dharma or Eternal Dharma.
Hindu dharma has no founder, the word Sanatana implies that it always
Acceptance of different modes of worship.
SUMMARY OF ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS
of religions : All true religions lead to the same goal. Revere all
great teachers and prophets of all religions, respect their teachings as the
same eternal truths adopted to the needs of different peoples at different
times. Hindus do not seek to convert.
Incarnation : Whenever righteousness declines and unrighteousness
rises, God incarnates himself on earth to restore righteousness.
Non Violence : Non-violence, non-injury and non-killing (Ahimsa).
Doctrine of Karma : Belief in the doctrine of Karma and rebirth.
Ignorance viewed as cause of bondage.
Unity of Existence : All things and beings are the manifestation of
one Supreme Being. When the mind is transcendent through spiritual
experience, the Universal spirit is seen as the sole essence of the
Dharma : Righteousness and good moral and ethical practices in
accordance with the scriptures. Includes all duties -- individual, social
Humanism : Equality of all human beings, regardless of caste, color
and creed. Respect and reverence for womanhood.
Atman : Essence of all living things and beings is Atman, infinite
and eternal, unchanging and indivisible. True nature of the individual is
the Atman, which is one with the underlying reality of the Universe. There
is but one being, one reality "Thou art That".
Reality : The Supreme Reality (Brahman) is both formless and with
form, impersonal and personal, transcendent and imminent. The supreme
reality becomes manifest in various aspects and forms, and is known by
various names. There are various ways by which individuals, in accordance
with his/her temperament can realize God.
Moksha : Freedom from cycle of birth and death. To make an individual
a better person, so that he/she can live harmoniously in this world and seek
union with God.
Authority : Non-reliance on a single book. Has many sacred writings
Vedas, Upanishads, Brahma sutra, Sutras, Bhagwad Gita etc.
CONCEPT OF GOD
(Ultimate Reality) is one, Sages call it by different names - there is one
God, (Supreme Reality) perceived differently.
Supreme Reality - Brahman has two aspects, transcendent (impersonal) and
In the impersonal aspect Brahman is without attributes (nirguna Brahman).
aspect (saguna Brahman) the God is creator, preserver and controller of the
Saguna Brahman is worshipped in male and female form.
Hindu Deities represent various perceptions of a one God.
Hindus believe in monotheistic polytheism, rather than polytheism.
Three manifestations of the Supreme Reality.
These are :
Hindu Trinity (Trimurti)
Functions of the Supreme Lord
+ Operator + Destroyer = GOD
FOUR ENDS OF
Based on the
principle of progressive evolution of soul. Doctrine of four ends forms the
basis of individual and social life of a Hindu. The four Ends are :
Not an end
in itself but basic necessity, one must earn enough wealth in order to
raise a family and maintain a household
must not be for hoarding but for sharing with those who are poor,
handicapped or less fortunate
Artha must be coordinated in order to earn decent living while recognizing
that artha is not an ultimate end of Hindu religious life
the wants and desires of body and mind in the form of desires, passions,
emotions and drives
Satisfaction of genuine human desires such as art, music, savory food,
sports, conjugal love, filial affections, clothes, jewelry etc. are not
suppressed but must be satisfied in a controlled fashion
controlled satisfaction of genuine desires and passions, an individual
becomes free from kama.
from sensual desires and passion is necessary for attaining moksha and is
made possible by the proper coordination of dharma, artha, and kama
Debt to God that can be repaid by dedicating one’s life to the service of
God - this is done by :
Service to all mankind
Reverence for elders, teacher
Practice of non-violence, truthfulness, respectfulness
Obeying scriptural injunction
Protection of the Earth
Vegetarianism or Purity in Diet
Second Debt to sages and saints that can be repaid by
Reverence and and service to saints, sages and gurus
Transmission of the scriptural teaching and cultural heritage
serving the society and poor, without expectation of returns
Debt to one’s ancestors
be repaid by raising one’s family in accordance with the moral and ethical
principals of dharma
TEN GREAT OBSERVANCES
Patience, firmness and stability (Dhruti)
Self-control and contentment (Dama)
to steal or conceal, or be selfish (Asteya)
Cleanliness, purity and honesty (Saucham)
Control over senses and sexual energy (Indriya Nigraha)
knowledge of the scripture (Dhee)
Material and spiritual knowledge or study (Vidya)
Absence of anger (Akrodha)
OF HINDU LIFE
begins when a child enters school at an early age and continues until he or
she has finished all schooling . The goal is to acquire knowedge, build
character and learn to shoulder resonsibilities.
begins at marriage. In this ashrama an individual pays three debts (service
of God, serving sages and saints and to ancestors), and enjoys good and
noble things in life in accordace with Artha-Kama-Moksha.
responsibilities of Grahastha ashrama are complete (when one’s children have
reached adulthood) one enters this ashrama. This is known as ascetic or
hermit stage of life. In this stage one gradually withdraws from active life
and begins devoting more time to study of scriptures, contemplation and
is the final stage of life in which an individual mentally renounces
all worldly ties, spends all of his or her time in meditation and
contemplation and ponders over the mystries of life. In ancient times one
would part company with one’s family and become a mendicant
SYMBOL – AUM
most sacred symbol in Hindu dharma. Aum (OM) is the sound of the infinite.
Aum is said to be the essence of all mantras, the highest of all matras or
divine word (shabda), brahman (ultimate reality) itself. Aum is said to be
the essence of the Vedas.
By sound and form, AUM symbolizes the infinite Brahman (ultimate reality)
and the entire universe.
A stands for Creation.
U stands for Preservation.
M stands for Destruction or dissolution.
This is representative of the Trinity of God in Hindu dharma (Brahma, Vishnu
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 indicates three planes of existence, heaven (swarga),
earth (martya) and netherworld (patala).
All the words produced by the human vocal organ can be represented by AUM. A
is produced by the throat, U & M by the lips.
In the Vedas, AUM is the sound of the Sun, the sound of Light. It is the
sound of assent (affirmation) and ascent (it has an upwards movement and
uplifts the soul, as the sound of the divine eagle or falcon.