A Quick Tour of Hinduism

7 10 2009

Well, a REALLY quick tour of Hinduism, and less than it deserves, being both the oldest of the currently popular Religions, and the third most populous, behind Christianity and Islam, which, you’ll notice, I haven’t touched on at all yet.

Hinduism predates the mythology of the Greeks and Romans.  The oldest of the known pantheons of Hindu featured a Lightning God, named Dya.  Dya is the same god called Deo in the Roman languages, and is, therefore, the god currently called Deus.  Deus, was, in the Greek mythology, Zeus.  And God the Father, DeoPater, became Jupiter.

As with all things Hindu, the gods were mortal, but exceedingly long-lived.  Eventually, the old pantheon gave way to the new pantheon, of which some of the Gods have names known by we Westerners (Shiva, Kali, Laxmi, Ganesh) and teachings that we Westerners know something of (karma, reincarnation, Om (the primordial sound of the Universe)).  But, the main teaching of Hindu is that all life is Divine.  When Hindus meet, they put their hands together and bow slightly, saying Namaste, which means, loosely, “I offer reverence to the God within you which is also within me.”  The first syllable of Namaste, Nam, is the same word you see in things like Viet Nam, and the practice of the Buddhists who pray using the phrase “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo”.

The rest of Hinduism is a network of complex relationships between miscellaneous Deities, some which create, some which destroy, but all of which reside within each of us.  When Hindus chant their malas, they pray to individual aspects of the Deity which they wish to emphasize in their daily lives: Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles; Laxmi, the Provider of Material Comforts; Shiva, the Auspicious One and the Bringer of Change. 

But, with Hinduism, there is a God for everything.  Just good to know.




2 responses

7 10 2009
mette damgaard

Det var godt og orienterende skrevet, tak. Nu læner jeg mig tilbage, og glæder mig til at du skriver om Budismen 😉

3 04 2011

I missing your write about religion, it is so interesting and instructive. Thank you

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