The word “Hindu” is in mediaeval Persian “Hindō,” representing the ancient Avesta hendava (Sanskrit- Saindhava), a dweller on the Sindhu or Indus Valley, northern India. The archaeological evidence of ‘Harappa’ and ‘Mohenjo-Daro’ from the Indus region indicates a civilisation dating back to 2250BC. Historians suggest that a tribe of Aryans, originally from southern Russia, invaded Indus region around 1750BC and together with the original Dravidian culture laid the foundations of Hinduism.
It is suggested that the world is made by the Supreme out of His own nature. God is both instrumental and the material cause of the world. The analogy of soul and body is used to indicate the absolute dependence of the world on God even as the body is absolutely dependent on the soul.
The reality of the Supreme is not a question to be solved by dialectic, which the vast majority of the human race will be unable to understand. Dialectic in itself and without reference to personal experience can not give us conviction. Only spiritual experience can provide us with proofs of the existence of Spirit. The emphasis of the Gita is on the Supreme as the personal God who creates the perceptible world by His nature (Parkrti). He resides in the heart of every being. The individual self is a portion of the Lord, a limited manifestation of God. We can reach the goal of perfection; attain the saving truth in three different ways, by knowledge of reality (jnana) or adoration and love (bhakti) of the Supreme Person or by the subjection of the will to the Divine purpose (karma).
Belief in One Supreme God remains at the centre of Hinduism. It also sees the need for faith to meet the spiritual needs of individuals and the necessity for moral laws to meet the needs of an orderly society.
On the basis that God is without attributes, Hinduism sees no contradiction in one seeing or experiencing God in any form within the confines of one’s own intellect. Despite the complex rituals that a Hindu performs he is equally aware that such rituals could be dispensed with in the pursuit of achieving the ultimate goal. He sees the Creator God in all His creation and therefore views everything in the world with some element of reverence. He also sees himself in the same light and considers that ultimately the personal sole can be with the One Supreme.
The development of Hinduism took many centuries. As a religion it has undergone many changes. The customs and practices have continued to evolve and change right to this day. The scriptures have been subject to many interpretations by scholars throughout the ages. Although there are many variations in the interpretations they are considered to be mutually complimentary.
The entire life of an average Hindu revolves round a complex set of rituals, religious ablutions, prayers, visits to temples and other religious symbolic acts intricately enmeshed with other secular activities. However, to the mystic thinker all this is useless, but he accepts that it is necessary for those who feel the need of it. Each individual is free to adopt the rituals as necessary if it helps to achieve the goal of salvation. Hinduism accepts that salvation may be achieved through devotion and worship (Bhakti), through proper observance of moral laws (Karma), or through meditation and knowledge (Jnana).
Hinduism does not claim to offer instant answers to all the questions but it can stimulate one to a state of self-awareness. Spiritual truth is reached only beyond the working limits of the logical mind and in this respect Hinduism shows many paths to reach the same goal.
Ram Aithal. Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) temple. Dudley road East. Tividale, west Midlands. B69 3 DU
Registered Charity No.326712
© 2015 Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple of UK