Hindu Religious Tradition: Sacred Elements Their Significance And Meanings

1041 words - 4 pages

The subsequent paper will examine some of the ceremonies, traditions, and rituals of Hinduism. Definitions and translations will be provided for clarification and comparison purposes. The significance of various practices will also be discussed. A general interpretation of several celebratory events will also be presented. Lastly, the aspect of karma with respect to the environment will be explored.The premise that reverence and homage to deities of nature believed to provide protection and good fortune or karma of devotees, to the asceticism beliefs and practices of Jains exemplifies an extreme variation of "Hinduism." This paper will argue that the practices of varying forms of rituals and ceremonies signifying the veneration of the deities by devotees are contrary to the basic tenets of the "Hinduism" affect on nature.Hinduism is one of the oldest religions, dating back approximately 3,500 years. It is a pantheistic religion that recognizes multiple Gods, each of which is subordinate to a single cosmic God, Brahman (The Futurist, 2006). Inherently the same spirit or Brahman that animates human beings animates all natural objects. As religion of nature, all entities of nature are alive, from the humble rocks and rivers to bacteria and trees, and deeply connected to all others.There are several prominent deities in the Hindu religion. The goddess Lakshmi, known for her graciousness and generosity; Vishnu, Lord of the universe; the popular elephant-headed god Ganesh; Shiva, the mysterious and gracious destroyer of illusions, the loving and playful Murugan, the welcoming Ayappan who is child of both Vishnu and Shiva, and the beloved monkey god Hanuman (Clooney, 2001) . Holy days and ceremonies to honor and celebrate deities are based on a lunar calendar, similar to Western holidays.A daily ritual performed by Hindu women is the construction of a colorful sand-painting known as a "rangoli." These elaborate designs are symbolic and common to the whole country. They are carefully constructed using rice flour. Insects and other small animals come and feed on the rice powder, as they may be reincarnated souls. This symbolically acknowledges the importance of every being on Earth.The entrance decoration is a gesture of welcome. Rangolis also tell us something about the family. During times of festivals, Rangolis are big and decorative. When there is no Rangolis drawn in the front porch of the house, it may mean death or funeral rites are being performed in the house. On ordinary days, the house has simple patterns drawn. These motifs are often modified to fit in with the local images and rhythms. One important point is that the entire design must be an unbroken line, with no gaps left anywhere between the lines for evil spirits to enter (Selvam, 2005).The five-day festival of lights, Diwali, a Hindu New Year is celebrated as widely as Christmas. Special types of sweets are prepared and eaten in hopes that the rest of the year will be pleasant and sweet....

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