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Ask a Hindu anything!

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posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 02:53 AM
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Confused about Hinduism? Have some burning questions? Wonder what Hinduism has to say on particular matters? Well here is an opportunity to ask those questions to a self-professed expert on Hindusim
I will try my best to answer your questions, and if I don't know, I will try to direct you to the right source.


If you got any questions, fire away.

I'll leave this thread to float around here until somebody has a question.

[edit on 3-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]




posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 11:52 AM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 


Why do you people use so much curry in everything you cook?



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 12:40 PM
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Why is there such a violent reaction by several sects of Hindus in India to Christian missionaries, particularly in the north, if (from what i currently understand) Hindus believe Jesus was really an avatar of a god?

What influence does the caste system of old still exert on Hindu beliefs?

If my understanding is correct, Hindus believe in reincarnation to a station based on karma from previous lives, and this is not restricted to humans. What is the Hindu belief of the consciousness of animals, and what decisions could said animals make that would influence their karma one way or another?



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 01:33 PM
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Olive Oil,

The reason that Hindus use a lot curry and spieces in nearly everything they cook, and the reason that it has that distinct yellow colour and pungence has to do with the traditional health science of Hinduism: Ayurveda (literally science of life) In Ayurveda, cooking food is likened to a science and an exact proportion of tastes and spices is prescribed to make the perfect meal. According to Ayurveda all six tastes: salty, astringent, sweet, bitter, sour and pungent should be present in every meal in specific proportions to give a right balance of tastes. The distinct yellow colour, which is very staining is due to the presence of the Indian spice of tumeric, which is considered in Ayurveda to be a very beneficial spice with various medicinal properties. In recent studies Tumeric has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties.

The Hindu dietary routine as per Ayurveda can be summed up as: Have a kings breakfast, a common man’s lunch and a paupers dinner. This is because Ayurveda recognises that at different times of the day the metabolism/digestive fire of the body is at different rates. In the morning it at its most strongest, hence you are advised to have a large meal to give you energy to last for most of the day day, and towards the evening its at its weakest, hence you are advised to eat a small meal at the end of the day.

Hope that answers your question.

[edit on 3-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 02:08 PM
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Junglejake,

The violence against Christians in certain states in India has to do with some compelx religious politics. On one hand you have fundamentalist Christian groups that are actively trying to convert Indian people to Christianity by hook and crook(including assassination of Hindu spiritual leaders) and in the process also demonizing the indigenous religion Hinduism. This activity is supported by the Church and the Vatican, and visiting popes to India have made very anti-Hindu comments, one of the earlier visit’s the Pope said that all of India should be converted to Christians using traditional methods.


And on the other hand you have reactionary fundamentalist Hindus groups that are using violence against these Christian groups as well as innocent Christians to both deter and crush this Chrisitian movement. The fundamentalist Hindu group known as RSS(which is divided into various subgroups: notably Bajrang Dal, Shivasena) This is a complex Hindu nationalist organization which was inspired by facist politics in Germany and Italy, notably Nazism. A lot of violence against minorities(notably the Gujarat riots) in India is often traceable to members in this organization. However, the group disassociates itself from these extremist members. On the other hand, it is also involved in a lot of humantiairian efforts in India, helping with disaster relief, funding education and feeding, clothing and housing the poor, reviving Hinduism hence why they are popular with many Hindus. The majority of Hindus, however, consider their extremist philosophy to be the antithesis of Hinduism which is famous for it tolerance, humility and peaceful naure, and because of this Hindu nationalism is widely rejected by most Hindus in India and abroad. This is also the reason why the Hindu nationalist party BJP was voted out of power.

As the religious politics is complex it is very difficult to place blame on anybody. The Hindu group can be seen as fascist or even terrorist, but it can also be seen as reactionary, patriotic and defensive against Christian and Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in India.

Hope that answers you question. I will answer your other questions in the next post.

[edit on 3-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 02:54 PM
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Junglejake,

On Jesus and his status in Hinduism. It is true that many Hindus are very tolerant and very open to Jesus's teachings, they consider them very compatiable with their religion. Some even regard Jesus as another avatar, but this is not the majority view. The official list of avatars, which includes Lord Buddha is given in the Puranas(Hindu histories) and Jesus is of course not included in the official list.

Some Hindus, which includes myself, believe Jesus actually travelled to India and was under the tutelage of the Hindu sages and masters. This is why Christianity, especially the earlier Gnostic Christianity is so similar to Hinduism-Buddhism. However, this does not mean we accept the religion of Christianity, which in its orthodox form is very disagreeable to a Hindu’s sensibility.

On caste system. The caste system is officially outlawed by the state of India, which has adopted a secular political system. However, nonetheless the notion of caste is very prevalent in India and in Hindu society. The original caste system can still be found in rural communties in India amongst Hindu people. In urban Hindu society caste is still very important for matters like marriage and inter-caste marriage is not common. Even on internet marriage web sites like Shaadi.com, it is not uncommon to see ads discussing caste preferences.

By the way it is a myth that only Hindus have castes. In Indian society Sikhs, Christians and even Muslims have castes.

On animals and consciousness. A Hindus believes that everything is pervaded by consciousness and this consciousness is manifest in ascending degrees in the following order: minerals, plants, animals, humans, masters/sage, demigods, gods.
This evolution process is both deterministic and subject to choice, there is much lesser choice on the lower end of the scale, but there is still an element of it. The atoms are also conscious to an extent and can make choices. An animal can also expand in its conscioisness by making certain choices or by being domesticated by a higher consciousness being(humans etc) via which it can be brought closer to human level. Inherent within this is our belief that humans will ascend to the next level and the animals currently on this planet will ascend to the human level. The purpose of all life is ascend towards the source. This is the end of the evolution process.

Hope that answers your question.

[edit on 3-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 03:52 PM
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Thanks for such a generous thread.


I understand that Hindu beliefs include the transmigration of souls from animals to men. I once asked an Indian friend whether this meant adherents would avoid killing all animals, and he confirmed this. This led to what particularly puzzled me: does that mean a Hindu would not step on an insect, for fear of killing a (future) human? My friend said this was correct, and that at least some believers would go to great lengths to avoid stepping on ants, etc.

Assuming the above to be true, I would like to pose a couple of further questions:

What would be the attitude with respect to a malaria-carrying mosquito, for instance?

And - what particularly intrigues me - at what point would Hindu teaching say a creature exists in such a small format that it would no longer be regarded as not possessing a (future human) soul? Or would microbes also come into this category?



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 04:38 PM
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what is the hindu definition of a god?

i've heard of "god's" living in india and carnating from time to time. i've also heard of a top god that is incomprehensible that created everything.

ive always found what hindu's consider to gods somewhat confusing.



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 05:11 PM
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Pause 4 thought,

Thank you for your interesting question.

In Hinduism we do not believe that evil as an actual real thing exists, what we consider evil is necessary in the world. At the same time if you do commit evil actions you will face karmic costs definitely and this will hinder your spiritual evolution. With this in mind Hindus believe in the notion of necessary evil such as cutting down trees to build homes, eating plants, hunting animals if you have no other subsistence, and even killing humans who are evil to protect others. However, such necessary evil is only permissible if there is no other option. The more you can minimize your evil actions the better. Also there is no exception in the law of karma, you will still incur some karmic costs however considerate you have been.

As we are born in human bodies that require food for sustenance and we must utilise nature for our comforts we are already in karmic debt. Thus Hindus are expected to pay this debt back by looking after the ecosystems of this planet. Hindus will also do rituals before they commence activities like digging on soil to build something and give thanks to the gods. In Brahmanical religion in the times of Buddha, apparently they also conducted animal ritual sacrifices before they ate the meat. In Tantric Hinduism, animal sacrifice still goes on. On the whole, however, Hindu prefer vegetarianism.

Although Hindus will make special efforts not step on insects and kill any living organism even a plant, they are not all that affected if they do have to do it whether consciously or unconsciously. On the other hand Jain’s(Jainism) take it to the extreme and wear masks and take a broom with them to sweep the floor to avoid even killing germs. Most Hindus consider this to be too extreme.

With regards to microbes, bacteria and viruses. Yes, they too are conscious. In Hinduism consciousness is all pervading, so there is nothing that does not have consciousness within it. However, microbes, bacteria and viruses come under the demonic category. They are considered both to have physical and spiritual/astral form. In the Ayurveda system they are classified into dozens of different categories and treated using a variety of means which range using from medicines, hydrotherapy, solar therapy, lifestyle and diet regulations, mantras and prayer.

Hope that answers your question.

[edit on 3-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 05:51 PM
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Miriam0556,

One of the most complex aspects of Hinduism is the Hindu concept of god and because of this it is very confusing to non-Hindus.

There is really only one god in Hinduism. This has been true since the earliest times of Hinduism. In the Vedas(the oldest and most sacred of Hindu scripture) it says very explicitly, “There is only one god, he is one without a second” and “In the beginning was the ONE….. the gods came later” There are some who will give you a polytheistic interpretation of Vedic religion though, but to a learned Hindu these interpretations fail to grasp the symbolic content of the Vedas which is monotheistic/monistic.

The confusion arises from mistaking the notion of “god” for the “gods.” God(singular) is the indefinable, mysterious, supreme being and absolute reality of all of existence. This god is called “Brahman” by Hindus. The word itself means “The absolute” In contrast, the god(plural) are forms of god and therefore do have definitions/attributes and even gender. For example “Brahma” is god as the creator and is masculine. Saraswati his consort is goddess of inspiration and is feminine.

Hindus also have a class of celestials beings which are confused with gods, but are actually more equivalent to angels and archangels/demi gods.

Most Hindus will have a favourite god(plural) The most popular are Vishnu, Shiva and the mother goddess.

Hope that answers your question



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 06:58 PM
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Would you know if there is a symbol which is supposed to be a predecessor of the current OM symbol which depicts the cross, the half-moon and a circle? (Looking similar to our western symbol for mercury)

The question is a matter of personal research.

Nice thread btw



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 07:52 PM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 


Regarding the above linked response, I have a couple of questions. First, I want to say I'm woefully ignorant of the situation going on in India. Most media outlets here in the US, both main stream as well as not so much, don't cover much on India.

However, I do have a friend out there who is a missionary whom I've known for years and have no reason not to trust. While he's told me many times it is the north eastern muslims who are hunting him, he has also mentioned Hindu leaders of villages he's visited responding less than cordially to him (as in trying to kill him). I also follow a Christian evangelical group that is in India which is seeking to provide sewing skills to widows there who would otherwise be without hope of survival, enabling them to have a trade skill and therefore an income.

All that to say, though my information is biased (I did have about 13 Hindu friends who were here for a year working for Motorola as well, but this was several years ago and much could have changed), I've not heard anything about these Christian assassins. I did hear a couple of years ago about the Hindu National party gaining control in a province, though I do not recall which one. I thought it was to the south, but I could be wrong...

So, blah blah blah, here's a couple of questions. Can you provide sources for the whole assassination thing, or at least a name and group that was accused? Also, was the group I heard about that I'm thinking was the Hindu Nationals the same you mentioned as having lost power? They were characterized by their militant anti-anything Hindu message, as well as violence and murder.



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 07:54 PM
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Skyfloating,

Thanks for your compliments.

I do not know of any precursor to the AUM symbol. The symbol is basically an isolation of the first letter of the Omkara, the primordial
sound of creation, as written in Devanagari script.

It is written as:

ओम्-कार

I am not aware of whether the script has any intrinsic connection to the sound. The Devanagari script was not the script that was used in Vedic times, so I would imagine they would have had another symbol to represent the same sound.

There is however a relationship between the AUM sound and the Sri Yantra. The Sri Yantra is suppose to to be the visual representation of the Aum sound: www.mandalas.com...

I hope that answers your question

[edit on 3-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 09:01 PM
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Junglejake,

Sorry to hear about your friend. I hope he is OK and no harm comes to him. At this moment the religious and political climate of certain states in India, especially in states like Orissa for Christian missionaries is not safe. The RSS are very powerful and their members are very alert for missionary activity and they are quick to use violence against Christian missionaries.

But as I said earlier it is hard to play the blame game, because both sides are engaging in untoward actions which can be broadly be called terrorism and fundamentalism. Christian fundamentalists are targeting tribal communities in states like Orissa to mass-convert them to Christianity by exploiting caste-based politics and defaming Hinduism as well as using their economic resources to entice them.

The incident which lead to the greatest intensity of violence against Christians in Orissa was the murder of an 80 year old holy Hindu man, Swami Lakshmiananda who was very vocal in his opposition to the missionary activity that was going on. He was murdered in cold blood by allegedly a Christian Fundamentalist group, Wold Vision, that claims to be a charity group.


He was killed at his kanyashram (Girls school) at Tumudibandh, about 100 km from Phulbani, the district headquarters of Kandhamal district. Four others including a boy were also killed.[7]

The murder was committed on the Kanya Ashram (a residential school) which housed 130 girls on the day of the Janmashtami festival. A group of 30-40 armed men surrounded the Ashram. Four of the assailants carried AK-47s and many others had locally made revolvers. Two of the four government provided security guards had gone home to eat. The assailants tied and gagged the two remaining guards[8].


Culprits:


The police have arrested Pradesh Kumar Das, an employee of the World Vision, a Christian Charity, from Khadagpur while escaping from the district at Buguda. In another drive, two other persons Vikram Digal and William Digal have been arrested from the house of Lal Digal, a local militant Christian, from Nuasahi at Gunjibadi, Nuagaan. They have admitted to having joined a group of 28 other assailants.[13]


Source


The article is no longer available, but it was reported in the daily pioneer(Indian publication)


The politics is however complex with some claming it was Christian fundamentalists, some claiming it was Maoist fundamentalists and some claiming it was a combination.

Swami Lakshmananda was also attacked in previous incidents by Christian fundamentalists:


Swami Lakshamanananda was on his way to visit Brahmanigoan village. However, a bus belonging to Mr. Sugriba Singh, Panna Christian leader and BJD Member of Parliament (Lower House) obstructed the road and Swami was attacked on that spot injuring him, driver and security guard. In his statement Swami blamed Mr. Radha Kanta Nayak, Congress Member of Parliament (Upper House) and chief of Christian group World Vision. He further stated that this was for the seventh time that they failed to kill him. [1].[2]


The following is a list of known Christian terrorist groups in India:


India
The National Liberation Front of Tripura, a rebel group operating in Tripura, North-East India classified by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism as one of the ten most active terrorist groups in the world, has been accused of forcefully converting people to Christianity.[6][7][8]
The Nagaland Rebels of Nagaland, North-East India is a coalition of rebel groups including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah, has been involved in an ethnic conflict that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths since the Indian Declaration of Independence.[9]


Source


The following links gives you the perspective of these fundamentalist Hindu groups, archiving various articles on Christian terrorism and subversive activity being sponsored by the Church: christianwatchindia.wordpress.com...

So you can probably see the religious political climate is very complicated. The Hindu nationalist groups see themselves as freedom fighters fighting against Islamic and Christian fundamentalism in their country, which exploit the liberal laws of the state and spread defamatory and slanderous information about Hinduism and incite caste-based violence. On the other hand, the Christians see themselves as saving the poor in India and provide for them by offering them food, shelter, education, water in return for conversion.

I hope that answers your question.

[edit on 3-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Jan, 3 2010 @ 11:17 PM
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Why is so much money in India wasted on trivial things such as the IPL (20/20 Cricket) when there are millions starving and living in shanty towns built over rubbish dumps? Is this growing fascination with capitalism devouring spiritualism in India?

IRM



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 01:26 AM
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Infrared,

Hindu civilisation has been in the dark ages since 3000BCE(the Indus valley civilisation) this is also prophesised by the Hindu yuga(epoch) system which calls this the age of darkness. It was once the most richest and advanced civilisation in the world, and this continued on like well into the 10th century, but massive corruption had begin to settle in necessitating the rise of reformist religions like Buddhism, Jainism and then in the medieval ages Sikhism. After the fall of last great empire of Hinduism, the Gupta empire, Hindu civilisation fell very badly due to further degradation of the original Vedic culture. Hindu society fell first to the Muslims and then to the British. It is around this period we see many social evils creep into Hinduism such as widow-burning, child marriage and all kinds of superstitious and bizarre practices which form a large part of Tantric Hinduism today.

Although the Muslims were very bad for Hindus and exterminated millions of Hindus over their rule, destroyed thousands of temples and places of learning, Indians were still at large economically prosperous owing to the Muslim empire in India and Hindu empires that continued to exist simultaneously but in a state of conflict. When the British arrived first as traders in India, they capitalized on the religious and political conflict between Hindus and Muslims and pit them against each other(classic divide and rule strategy) this gave the British the political leverage to gradually take over India. Unfortunately, their interests were not to govern their subjects, but to exploit and drain India of all her riches and send this back to Britain(which helped fund the industrial revolution) They introduced fatal taxes that shut down all of India’s industries and rendered Indian people jobless. This lead to massive famines in India that killed of tens of millions of the population in India over a few decades and even during these famines British demanded taxes in the form of grains(Lagaan) from Indians. In this way over 300 years India was economically bled to death. When the British left India in 1947 the vast majority of Indian society were severely poor and illiterate.

Indians remained severely poor right up until the 90’s due to corrupt governance and bad socialist economic policies, which sarcastically came to be called the “Hindu rate of growth” It was only in the 90’s that India decided to liberalise its economy and adopt a capitalist model. This brought about a huge revolution in the Indian economy, allowing a middle class to form which is 200-300 million strong today. This middle class sector is fuelling the massive economic boom of India which is now the second fastest growing economy in the world. The middle class have westernized standards and thus to meet their standards the entertainment industry, software industry, shopping industry has taken off. As a result middle class Indians tend to be very materialistic. The trickle down effect of the bourgeoning middle class has also reduced poverty by a huge margin. However, poverty still remains a rampant problem and much needs to be done.

Hinduism is neither responsible for the decline of India and nor is it responsible for the rise of India. Hinduism, in its original Vedic form is no longer prevalent in India. However, in the last few decade Hinduism is seeing a revival with Yoga and Ayurveda taking off massively in India right now, and several Hindu spiritual organizations sprouting all over India that are spreading the original Vedic form not only in India, but internationally. Several plans are underway to build temples, revive destroyed temples and ancient universities. Most notable is the revival of the ancient Buddhist university. So I think Vedic Hinduism is seeing a huge resurgence and this may lead to the birth of a more ethical capitalism. Indeed, many of the people who are fuelling the rise of Hinduism are the rich philanthropists of India.

I hope that answers your question.

[edit on 4-1-2010 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 04:00 AM
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Originally posted by Indigo_Child
I do not know of any precursor to the AUM symbol. The symbol is basically an isolation of the first letter of the Omkara, the primordial
sound of creation, as written in Devanagari script.



The symbol I was referring to looks similar to this (except it has a dot above the half-moon):



But if you have no info on this having been the OM-Symbol, thats alright. That would indicate that it most probably wasnt.



posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 12:52 PM
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As a Hindu my self I applaud your efforts.
What do you know about the history of Grantha script? My grandfather used to teach me when I was about 4 or 5 years old (I still remember writing the letters in sand again and again till I couldn't feel my finger)

But I always wondered if both Nagara(Deva Nagari) and Grantha scripts were in existence from ancient time or one or the other was developed later on. I know for a fact that Grantha script is exclusively used by the priests in south India and Sri Lanka. because my grandfather wrote several books on how to conduct hindu temple festivals and other events and every book collections he had was in Grantha script.



posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 06:38 PM
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Vanthiyathevan,

Thank you for your compliments.

The issue of script is quite controversial due to the Harrapan script still not having any accepted decypherments. Various attempts have been made which range from decoding the script as Proto-Dravidian, Proto-Brahmi and Proto-Munda. As far as evidence is concerned the oldest Indian script is the Harrapan script of the Indus valley(3000BCE).

I hope that answers your question.



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 01:45 AM
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To the OP: With what "sub-branch," if any, of Hinduism do you most closely identify yourself (i.e, Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Smartism, etc.)?



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