Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Eternal Path

Note: This article has been published with permission from the original author, Koti Shreekrishna Tatachar.

HINDUISM (Sanatana Dharma or The Eternal Path)

H stands for Harmony
Hinduism respects all religions and thus aspires for mutual tolerance and respect.
Hinduism does not encourage hate or distrust.
Hinduism is intolerant of intolerance.
It does not actively seek converts.

It has the capacity to assimilate all the Faiths and the Philosophies.

I for Incarnation (Avataara)
God descends to Earth in any form and under any sky as may be needed to uphold DHARMA (righteousness). There is no space, time, form or numerical limitation to Avataaras. Another way to look at this is: History has shown that during a great crisis, someone rises to the occasion, assumes leadership, and brings about change.

N for Non-Violence (Ahimsa)
Hinduism recognizes that life supports life. One should avoid causing unnecessary injury (in thoughts, words or deeds) to one-self or other fellow beings including other life forms.Vegetarianism is glorified by some Hindu sects, but never a prerequisite to be a Hindu. While eating, it is recommended to eat with an attitude of gratitude and without a sense of entitlement.

D for Dharma (Righteousness)
We should always protect Dharma (support what is right). This is regarded as a necessity, because Dharma is the basis of harmonious life. If we don't support Dharma, it will be as if chopping the very branches of the tree (of life) we are resting on.

U for Unity of existence
Everything and all beings are inter connected or inter related and are essentially the manifestation or extension of the one Supreme Being. Hindu worldview emphasizes conduct more than creed. It celebrates the diversity of existence and embraces the world as part of a big family.

I for Inherent Value
The God is Omnipresent & Omnipotent. Both the manifest and the un-manifest are a projection of God. They are supported, directed and controlled by God as well. The God can be worshipped in any 'Form' or 'No Form'. Just as the Flag is a symbol of a Nation, an Idol for the Hindu is symbolic of the God. A Hindu worships the God enshrined in the Idol, not the idol itself.

S for Supreme Reality (Brahman)
Supreme Reality is both unmanifested and with form, impersonal and personal, transcendent and immanent. The Supreme Reality is known by many names.

M for Moksha & Mantra
Dharma (Virtue), Artha (Material prosperity), Kama (pleasures) & Moksha (liberation from cycles of birth & death, harmonious union with God) are the goals of life.
The secondary objectives (Artha & Kama) are sandwiched between the primary objectives of (Dharma & Moksha).
Adherence to one's own inherent talents (attitudes & aptitudes) in achieving these goals is suggested.
Moksha is the ultimate goal of Hindu life.
There are numerous paths and innumerable opportunities.
It can happen by one way or the other and in one life or the other.

The various paths for Moksha include:
Karma Yoga - Selfless good deeds
Gnaana Yoga - Knowledge of Brahman
Bhakti Yoga - Faith or Devotion
Prapatti (sharNaagati) Yoga - Total Surrender
Raaja Yoga - Control of body, mind and intellect
Mantra Yoga - Union with God through repetition of a Mantra, etc.

Mantra is a sacred word or a verse used for prayer. Some examples below:

The most sacred Mantra of Hinduism is AUM/OM. AUM represents our beginning (Spring), being (Summer), passing away (Fall) and immortality (Winter). The A, U and M are followed by silence.
OM iti Brahma, OM iteedam Sarvam (Shiksha Valli, Taittireeya Upanishad )
OM is Brahman, All this is OM (OM is The One - OM is The Many)
(OM is the WOMb of everything)

sarvE bhavantu suKhinah sarvE santu niraamayaah.
May all be happy, may all be healthy
sarvE bhadraaNi pashyantu ma-kashchit dhuhkha-bhaag bhavEt.
May all be prosperous, may none suffer

Om shaantih shaantih shaantihi
Om Peace Peace Peace. Peace in all our 3 realms of existence
(Surroundings, body and mind)

Koti Shreekrishna

Shree Koti Shreekrishna's Hinduism write-ups can be found at:

Shree Koti Shreekrishna's translation works can be found at: - A New Bhagavad Gita Translation by Koti and Hari