Hinduism And Death Essay

1135 words - 5 pages

Each month our educational center section provides the Hinduism Today staff with a 'kind of group meditation. Individually we ponder our subject, and together we discuss it in detail. These past 30 days our meditation was on death. You might think we had a morbid March. Not so, since, as U.S. General George Patton rightly noted, "For Hindus death is the most exalted experience of life."

This idea is sometimes hard for non-Hindus to grasp - especially for atheists facing Eternal Oblivion and for those of the semitic faiths which define death as a kind of punishment for man's sin and disobedience. According to this view, death is the ultimate sign of man's spiritual failure, a belief which understandably arouses instincts of denial and injustice. We may feel shamed, penitent, guilty and graced, not to mentioned frightened. And that's a long way from exultation.

No such thoughts attend the dying and death of a Hindu. Of course, there is much sadness surrounding the passing of friends and family, but that is honest acknowledgement of our love and attachment to life and to each other. Inside we know that death is OK, it is natural. Inside we know that the soul, even if it was less than perfect in this life, is continuing its appointed journey toward Liberation and will, in time, reach the other shore. Such knowledge is reassuring, whether the death is another's or our own. Thus, Hindus called death by a lofty name - Maha Samadhi, "the Great Superconscious State." And to be near an awakened soul at the time he or she gives up the body is considered one of the most auspicious and blessed of opportunities.

If we see death as the opposite of life, then life is good and death is bad. But if we see life and death not as hostile but as collaborative parts of a greater whole called samsara (the cosmic evolutionary cycle of birth-death-rebirth), then life is good and death is also good. Both are part of the Cosmic-What-Is.

That being so, the pious Hindu approaches death as a mediation and a sadhana, as a spiritual opportunity. The physical body's impending demise compels him to practice detachment which yogis find easy but which is so difficult to achieve in the tumult of life. Yama's nearness brings an urgency to strive more than ever, to plunge deeper into consciousness in a renewed search for the Divine Self. No longer can he put it off. No more excuses about lacking time for the quest. No more distractions. Death's knock at the door reminds him of what is transient and what is eternal, and he knows instinctively who to embrace.

Impermanent though life is, we are getting more of it these days. It is estimated that the average life span for prehistoric man was only 18 years. In ancient Greece and Rome it was 20-22. Alexander the Great, having conquered the world, died at the ripe old age of 32. Sankara, having conquered the mind, also died at 32. Obviously, the quality of life does not correspond too directly with its quantity. In...

Find Another Essay On Hinduism and Death

Hinduism; WIU Essay

844 words - 3 pages PAGE PAGE 5 Hinduism HinduismLaura GabbardWestern International UniversityHUM 127 Religions of the WorldJohn PapazafiropoulosMarch 19, 2006HinduismUnlike Christianity or Islam, Hinduism does not have a uniting belief system. Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth governed by karma, the actions of the individual in the present life combined with the actions of past lives. Good deeds and behavior leads to good

The Spread of Hinduism and Buddhism in Southeast Asia

1757 words - 7 pages Hinduism is a very popular religion in India, being that it could possibly be the oldest religion of all time and originated in India, the Hindu population in India is 80%. With Hinduism being such a popular religion, it competes with Christianity and Islam at 900 million followers of Hinduism worldwide (Miksic, 10). As for the popularity of Buddhism, it is not nearly as prevalent as Hinduism is, even in India. A very important attribute to

A Look into Hinduism

806 words - 3 pages Many foreigners cannot know what makes Hinduism so strange. Hinduism lacks an uniting belief system and many people do not know faithfully what makes up the Hindu religious belief. After one goes in-depth concerning Hinduism, one must be familiar with the fundamental details about this difficult religion. Do you realize that almost 80 percent of the India people find themselves being Hindus? Hinduism is in addition known as the Sanatana

Hinduism or Buddhism

964 words - 4 pages beginning or founder of Buddhism. To Buddhists, he is the prophet of wisdom, perfection, absolute compassion. Born Man, he became the Buddha of wisdom and strength drive to abandon attachments, mental poisons, and illusions. Hindus consider “the awakened one” as avatar of Vishnu. Although Buddhism is somewhat different to Hinduism because it is the religion with no God, they share the idea of reincarnation or the cycle of life, death and rebirth as

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shinto

1321 words - 5 pages why) and Matsuri which is a festival to honor the Kami. Unlike Buddhism and Hinduism according to the article Life After Death: Shinto “Shinto followers place little emphasis on death and what happens after it; death means the kami is hiding in the invisible world, the same as birth means that someone has made an entrance into the visible world.” Death is not as big of a deal. Although Shinto preform a Buddhist funeral for their dead emphasizing

Exploring the Hindu Religion

1614 words - 6 pages the statement "everyone is a Hindu" a notably pertinent one in relation to Hinduism. Hindus have a sense of interconnectedness that pervades throughout everything in the universe: all plants, animals, people, and the cosmos. Brahman is the sacred force that holds everything together is. It is the ultimate reality that is unseen in the karmic cycle of birth and death, called samsara, which Hindus believe we humans are entrapped in. The ultimate

Hinduism In The World

768 words - 3 pages goal of every Hindu believer to gain liberation from earthly existence. The Hindu belief balances on the wheel of reincarnation and it is through the idea of karma that one endeavors to purify the soul through pure deeds. It is believed that if an individual cannot perform pure deeds that the soul will remain impure, and the individual will continue to repeat the cycle of death and rebirth. The desire for purity has also made Hinduism an

The Seperation of Hinduism and Buddhism

1727 words - 7 pages ,” its hard to disagree with the masses. (Esposito, Fasching, and Lewis 413) Despite all these differences between Hinduism and Buddhism, they do share the idea of saṃsāra, and the beliefs of Moksha and Nirvana are even similar. For both Hinduism and Buddhism, saṃsāra is the “cycle of birth, death, and rebirth” (Mittal and Thursby 121). Moksha, the 4th aim of life in Hinduism, is the release from saṃsāra and reincarnation. The soul is free from

The Ultimate Goal of Hinduism

2214 words - 9 pages unlimited and may exist in many different forms and expressions (Flood, Hindu Concepts, 2009) . The ultimate goal of Hinduism is to reach moksha, the release of a person’s soul from samsara, or reincarnation. Samsara is a never ending cycle of life, death, and reincarnation (Berkely Center for Peace, Religion, and World Affairs, n.d.). After death, Hindus believe that the soul survives and may be placed into a physical body, which could be

Analysis of a Hindu Reflection and Research

1820 words - 7 pages that the Hindu’s can give that much focus, energy, passion, and attention to worship for that long. I found it interesting to learn that Hinduism had many different denominations. I knew other religions had denominations, but I just always considered Hinduism as one big religion. I thought it was very interesting how they offer fruit’s as sacrifices to their gods. I figure there is some reason to why they choose the fruit they do, but I just am


823 words - 3 pages Hinduism is the oldest known religion and is very rich with literally hundreds of gods, symbolistic rituals and beliefs. It is believed to have been established around 1500 B.C. but no one person founded Hinduism as it evolved over a long period of time. Buddhism on the other hand has a definite founder, Siddhartha Gautama who is otherwise known as the Buddha or Enlightened One who lived from 565 to 483 B.C. Both these religions originated in

Similar Essays

Hinduism. A) Describe The Sacred Stories And Writings. B) Four Principal Beliefs, Nature Of God, Significance Of Life After Death. C) Hinduism In Australia

1271 words - 5 pages A) The Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayama, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Dharmashastras, Manusmrti are some of the most important sacred writings in Hinduism. The original language was in Sanskrit, meaning cultured or refined.The sacred literature of Hinduism can be divided up into two distinct categories: sruti and smrti. Sruti texts are those that are heard or divinely revealed, such as the Vedas and the Upanishads. The Vedas are the primary

Meaning Of Death In Hinduism Essay

2053 words - 8 pages society and social status; and the result of such rightful life would be the rebirth into a better social position.With time 'the way of action' philosophy became less satisfactory for its followers, since it seemed to lack the total liberation from the infinite cycle of death and rebirth.As Hindu religion became more complicated and people began to look for total liberation from the circle of death and rebirth the segment of Hinduism known as the way

Comparing Christianity & Hinduism Essay

988 words - 4 pages man "Shiva" and women "Shakti" find their identity (becoming part of the ultimate reality) by obtaining enlightenment in "the individual self to lose its separate identity in the universal Self" (Shattuck) and achieve "union with an impersonal oneness" (Halverson). The Question of Meaning/Purpose – Hinduism is a revolving wheel of life, death and rebirth called Samsara better known as reincarnation. Hinduism believes this life cycle is directly

Hinduism "Santana Deharma" Essay

884 words - 4 pages world, and this ignorance gives rise to acts that result in bad karma and traps us in the cycle of reincarnation" (Road, 1994, Hinduism, ¶ 32). The Hindu religion does not teach about sin, they offer forgiveness without any judgment on sin. "In contrast, the Christian gospel is this: God the Son became a man, died a sacrificial death on the cross, making real forgiveness of real sins against the real God possible to those who place complete