• Devi(Durga)Navaratri »

5th to 13th, Oct 2013.

• Vijaya Dashami »

14th Oct, 2013.

• Diwali/Deepavali »

3rd Nov , 2013.


Some of the frequently asked questions about Hinduism:

What is the law of karma (laws of cause and effect)?
What happens when we die?
What is reincarnation?
What is Moksha (Freedom or Salvation)?
What are the four stages in life?
What are schools of philosophy Dharsha)?
What is the concept of time?

What is the law of karma (laws of cause and effect)?

 Karma is one of the natural laws of the mind, just as gravity is a law of matter. It simply means "cause and effect." What happens to us that is apparently unfortunate or unjust is not God punishing us. It is the result of our past actions. The Vedas, Hinduism’s revealed scriptures, tells us that if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil. The divine law is whatever karma we are experiencing in our life is just what we need at the moment, and nothing can happen but that we have the strength to meet it. Even harsh Karma, when faced in wisdom, can be the greatest catalyst for spiritual unfoldment.

 The human predicament in the midst of the omnipresent and universal change and suffering is often expressed in Vedanta and Buddhism by the image of the wheel. Lord Krishna speaks of the terrible wheel of birth and death which binds the individual down to the phenomenal world of time and circumstance "The spirit of man when in nature feels the ever-changing conditions of nature. When he binds himself to things ever-changing, a good or evil fate whirls him round through life-to-death. Even Gautam Buddha alludes to the wheel of existence, which he calls samsara.

 "The law of Karma postulates that in this world there are no rewards or punishments; it is simply a case of inevitable consequences. As you sow, so shall you reap. Sometimes others reap what you have sown. There is an interlinking and inter-connection all round and at every level, in time and in space. No one lives, or can possibly live, in isolation. The past is linked to the future, the world to the next, men to their fellow-men, thoughts to actions, actions to reactions, the living spirits to the departed ones. The law of karma governs all."

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What happens when we die?

 According to Hinduism, the body alone dies, the soul never dies. But the path the soul takes is decided upon by the past actions or Karmas. Past actions are attached to the soul and they decide the path of the soul’s travel. So if you are born with a disease or a handicap, it is the result of your past actions done in past lives. If you live a good moral pious life, then you will be born in better situation and ideal life.

 According to Hinduism, the soul continues this journey with a heavy load of Karmas, (good or bad) until it exhausts all Karmas by undergoing pain or pleasure sensations in the body. Then the individual soul, will merge with the Absolute Soul or infinite power. This merging process is known as Salvation. God does not punish us. God created man near to perfection and has given him the free will to decide whatever he wants. There is no such thing as being cursed. Hindus believe even God is bound by the law of Karma once He takes human form.

 Karma is a very just law, too, as it is equal in repayment. Karma is a rational explanation for inequalities among human beings which cannot be given. The possibility of rebirth makes death more acceptable.
This process by which an individual jiva (soul) passes through a sequence of bodies is known as reincarnation or transmigration of the soul - in Sanskrit samsara, a word that signifies endless passage through cycles of life, death and rebirth.

 Hinduism believes that God, who is all-loving and merciful, does not punish or reward anyone. He molds our destinies based upon our own thoughts and deeds. Every action of a person, in thought or deed, brings results, either good or bad, depending upon the moral quality of the action, in accordance with the adage, As you sow, so shall you reap. Moral consequences of all actions are conserved by Nature. Until we reach the end of our journey we are subject to the law of Karma which makes out that our desires and acts determines the pace of our progress. Our present state is conditioned by our past and what we do now will determine our future. Death and rebirth do not interrupt this process. Four our present condition, we are ourselves responsible. Mahabharata says that there is no external judge who punishes us; our inner self is the judge.

If a person lives a good life on earth, he or she will be born into a better life in the next incarnation. For example, a sinner who leads an immoral life will be born as a poor human or as an animal in the next incarnation. A person born again and again to reap the fruits of his or her own actions. This cycle of birth and death continues until the person attains moksha or freedom from the cycle of birth and death. In all forms of hindu thought, time is symbolized by birth and death. The world is represented by wheel of time, of births and deaths.

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What is reincarnation?

 Reincarnation is interlinked with karma successive lives afford the requisite scope in which the law of karma operates.  It is the natural way the soul evolves from immaturity to spiritual illumination. When all the lessons are worked out and all the lessons of life are learnt, one attains enlightenment and moksha (liberation). This means you will exist, but will no longer be pulled back to be born in a physical body. Nonetheless, one is not condemned to stay in this cycle of repeated birth and death forever. There is a way out. In the human form one can attain the knowledge of spiritual realization and attain release from Samsara. This is why every religious process in the world encourages people not to hanker for sensual enjoyments which bind them to this world but to look forwards what is spiritual and gives eternal freedom from Samsara.

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What is Moksha (Freedom or Salvation)?

 Moksha means freedom from the cycle of birth and death. The ultimate goal of Hindu religious life is to attain freedom from the cycle of birth and death, or union with God. This union is achieved through true knowledge (jnana), devotion (bhakti), or right work (karma). Purity, self-control, truthfulness, non-violence, and compassion toward all forms of life are the necessary prerequisites for any spiritual path in Hinduism. There is no concept of Savior. You have to free yourself by your own effort. No savior can help you achieve God realization without your personal effort.

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What are the four stages in life?

 All cycles in the world we perceive are characterized by the number four, which is the number of the Earth. Like all things terrestrial, man's life thus divides into four periods - the four stages of life. All life has a springtime, summer, autumn, and winter, as also its morning, noon, evening, and night. These four periods of life are called "the four stages of action" the four Ashramas.

The First Stage of Life  The quest for knowledge (Brahmacharya) - the student
The Second Stage of Life Family Life (Grihastha) - dedicated to domestic affairs.
The Third Stage of Life Retreat into the Forest - (Vana-Prastha) - to devote to study and reflection.
The Fourth Stage of Life Renunciation (Sanyasa) -  Renunciation all attachments, the spiritual and physical preparation for death.

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What are schools of philosophy (Dharsha)?

 Hindu dharma has six schools of philosophy. Hindu philosophical thought, in contrast to the other tradition, has remained more stable and more clearly continuous. In spite of its metaphysical nature and religious overtones, Hindu philosophy is essentially practical, aiming at realizing spiritually what is known intellectually. Knowledge without vision is meaningless. Hence, Hindus call their philosophy darshan, vision. Philosophy and religion in Hinduism are intertwined, because religion for the Hindu is experience or an attitude of mind, a transformation of one’s being, a consciousness of the ultimate reality, not a theory about God. Whatever view of god the Hindu many adopt, he believes that the divine is in man.

The Hindu religious system can be divided into two major systems. The Orthodox system (called 'Astika' in Sanskrit) accepts the authority of the Vedas.
Sankhya - founder Sage Kapila
Yoga  -  Sage Patanjali
Mimamsa  - Sage Vyasa / Sage Jaimini
Vedanta  - Shankaracharya, Ramanuja/Chaitanya/ Madhava/Vallabha
Nyaya  - Sage Gautama (not Buddha)
Vaisheshika - Sage Kanda

The Heterdox (Nastika) system rejects the authority of the Vedas. This system includes Carvaka (materialism), Jainism, and Buddhism. The Carvaka system denies existence of the individual self(atman) apart from the body and rejects the notion of moksha (salvation) for the atman. This system never gained popularity among the Hindus.

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What is the concept of time?

 The transcendence of time is the aim of every Hindu’s spiritual tradition. Time is often presented as an eternal wheel that binds the soul to a mortal existence of ignorance and suffering. "Release" from time's fateful wheel is termed moksha, and an advanced ascetic may be called Kala-Attita ('he who has transcended time').

 Hindus believe that the universe is without a beginning (Anadi= beginning-less) or an end (Ananta = end-less).  Rather the universe is projected in cycles.
Each cycle is divided into four Yugas (ages of the world).
Satya yuga     (golden age)     4,000,000 years     
Treta yuga     (silver age)     3,600,000 years     
Dvapara yuga     (copper age)     2,400,000 years     
Kali yuga     (iron age)     1,200,000 years     
Pralaya      (cosmic deluge )     4000,000 years     
New Creation          400,000 years     
Duration of One Cycle          12,000,000 years     
 Total duration of the four Yugas is called a Kalpa.  At the end of Kalyuga the universe is dissolved by Pralaya (cosmic deluge ) and another cycle begins. Each cycle of creation lasts one Kalpa, that is 12,000,000 human years ( or 12,000 Brahma years).

 Time in Hindu mythology is conceived as a wheel turning through vast cycles According to Carl Sagan, (1934-1996) astro-physicist, in his book "Cosmos" says "The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology".

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Hara hara Sankara!

Jaya jaya Sankara!


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