Hindus believe many diverse things, here are few basic concepts on which most Hindus concur and offer a simple summary of Hindu spirituality.
Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth: the very essence of the universe and the only Reality. According to the Vedas, Truth is One, but the wise express it in a variety of ways.Brahma is Truth
Hindus believe in Brahma as the one true God who is formless, limitless, all-inclusive, and eternal. Brahma is not an abstract concept; it is a real entity that encompasses everything (seen and unseen) in the universeThe Vedas are the ultimate authority
The Vedas are Hindu scriptures that contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages. Hindus believe that the Vedas are without beginning and without end; when everything else in the universe is destroyed (at the end of a cycle of time), the Vedas remain.Individual souls are immortal
A Hindu believes that the individual soul (atma) is neither created nor destroyed; it has been, it is, and it will be. Actions of the soul while residing in a body require that it reap the consequences of those actions in the next life — the same soul in a different body.The goal of the individual soul is moksha
Moksha is liberation: the soul’s release from the cycle of death and rebirth. It occurs when the soul unites with Brahman by realizing its true nature. Several paths can lead to this realization and unity: the path of duty, the path of knowledge, and the path of devotion (unconditional surrender to God).
Hindu scriptures are classified into two divisions: Sruti scriptures and Smriti scriptures.
Sruti in Sanskrit means "that which is heard." Thus the Vedas are the eternal truths that the Vedic seers, called rishis, are said to have heard during their deep meditations. The Vedas are not considered the works of the human mind, but an expression of what has been realized through intuitive perception by Vedic rishis, who had powers to see beyond the physical phenomena. Sruti include the Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) and the Bhagavad Gita. The Vedas are the primary scriptures of Hinduism. Each of the four Vedas consists of four parts: Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads.
Smriti in Sanskrit means "that which is remembered." Smriti scriptures are derived from the Vedas and are considered to be of human origin and not of divine origin. They were written to explain and elaborate the Vedas, making them understandable and more meaningful to the general population. The Smriti are considered the secondary scriptures of Hinduism. Smriti inlcude the Dharma Shastras, Nibhandas, Puranas, The Epics, Agamas or Tantras, Darshanas and Vedangas (Upa Vedas).
Karma is the universal principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual. Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.
Yes, we believe the soul is immortal and takes birth time and time again. Through this process, we have experiences, learn lessons and evolve spiritually. All humans go through various lives and thus moving higher or lower in the way to reach perfection and nirvana.
Many Hindus have reservation about the use of the word idol in reference to the practice of worshipping the forms of God. Idol worship refers to the practice of worshipping God in image form because the mind objectifies everything, even the idea of formlessness.
An idol or an image of a deity is just a symbol, or a form, which serves as the object of worship or concentration and meditation and helps the devotees to connect to him. The devotees know that the ultimate reality is beyond the senses, beyond names and forms and beyond the field of illusion. They know that although the objective reality does not truly represent God, it has its own value and importance in our understanding of truths, in our worship of God and in our experience of spiritual states.
Perhaps the greatest gift of our culture is the sacred word OM. The word can be broken into three parts – AH, OH, UM. This symbolizes heaven, earth and underworld. This could also symbolize the unison of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This holy word channelizes our inner peace and reduces all negativity around or within us. It is said that if someone wants to understand himself better, he should chant OM every day. Regular chanting of this powerful word brings us closer to ourselves and the supreme power. Truly, our culture and its elements are extremely powerful.
The Padmasana pose of yoga (sitting cross-legged on the floor) promotes discipline and balance, quelling the restlessness of the mind and body, and allowing spiritual energy to flow upward unimpeded through the kundalini (the spinal column).
Deeply rooted in Hindu scripture and belief, yoga is a vital part of Hindu religion and culture. Today it is embraced by tens of millions of non-Hindus seeking its renowned benefits to physical, mental and spiritual health.