Understanding The Practices Of Hinduism Essay

1810 words - 8 pages

Religion is a powerful yet sensitive subject in many parts of the world. It is powerful in the sense that it gives a person comfort in their beliefs and practices. A particular religion that reflects the acceptance of a person’s own beliefs and practices would be Hinduism. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions that exist in our world today. It is widely practiced all over the world, especially in the west. Sometimes Hinduism can be misunderstood, as some people don’t really know how to interpret Hinduism. What exactly is Hinduism? Exploring the many themes of this particular religion helps answer the many questions that are raised by others.
As mentioned earlier, Hinduism is one of ...view middle of the document...

The Vedas consists of four different parts, including the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads. The Samhitas consists of all the hymns, or mantras, which were usually addressed to the Gods and Goddesses. The Brahmanas consisted of the rituals and rites of Hinduism. Sometimes the Aranyakas are considered parts of the Brahmanas, but it seems to focus more on the philosophy of the life of humankind. The Upanishads are considered the concluding part of the Vedas, which is usually referred to as the Vedanta. There are many times that some may consider the Vedas and Upanishads separately, but essentially the Upanishads represent many more important ideas/thoughts in the Epic period. The Vedas are viewed as the spiritual literature of the ancient Indian culture.
As previously mentioned, the Upanishads are another important part of Hindu history as they were focused on in the Epic period. The Upanishads are considered a concluding part of the Vedas, or referred to as the Vedanta, but this is when many of the core thoughts of Hinduism started to develop. It is said that the Upanishads is made up of mostly dialogue between a master and his disciple. It has brought forth many of the concepts that are central to Hinduism today, such as karma, moksha, samsara, atman and the Brahman. The Upanishads was when the very descriptions of the absolute Brahman, or the almighty, came about. Yoga and meditation were introduced during this time period. This era was important, as it was able to introduce spiritual vision as well as provide a philosophical argument.
The third time period, which is referred to as the Sutras or could be called the medieval period, is when the emphasis on the bhakti came about. The bhakti is basically the devotion to the major deities. During this time period is when the many temples were developed, each one belonging to a major deity. The main ones that were worshipped during this time were Vishnu, Shiva, and Devi. Many philosophers were writing their commentaries on many of the sacred texts, including the Vedas. Some schools of thought were also developed during this time period.
Although the time periods of Hinduism could continue on, one of the intriguing parts of Hinduism is the caste system. It was common to have people assigned to groups by birth into a social order or as some refer to it as a caste system. It didn’t matter what type of personality that particular person had, it was decided which group a person would belong to based on birth. The Indian society was divided into four main groups; however there was a fifth group referred to as “the untouchables”, or dalits, but they were considered outside of the caste system due to how low they were compared to the other classes. The uppermost part of the groups was called the Brahmins. They were known as the priests or spiritual leaders. The Brahmins were very important to society as they were the ones that were in charge of the ritual...

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