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blueiris
November 9th, 2004, 12:47 PM
I was wondering are there are any members here who practice Hinduism (or at least worship Hindu gods?) If so, what sort of rituals do you perform and how do you incorporate your beliefs into your daily lives?
Thanks! :)

LeftToWonder
November 9th, 2004, 01:06 PM
I have been really intrested in Hinduism recently. I identify alot with the gods of hinuism, but due to the fact that I can't seem to stop being so darn eclectic, I haven't really had a chance to focus very much on hinduism.

DebLipp
November 9th, 2004, 01:22 PM
There's a couple of threads on Kali worship in Gods & Goddesses.

shenanigans
November 9th, 2004, 04:37 PM
Namaste, happy Diwali to all!

I honor those Hindu practices that fit comfortably in my life. I keep an altar. I keep an oil lamp on my altar. I meditate. I've incorporated holy ash into spells and rituals. I regard trees and plants as sacred. When working with Hindu gods, I ring a bell to invoke divinity. I don't use a kalasha, but I can't be the only one who's seen the similarity between that and a cauldron, both in form, and in philosophy. Oh, and I own a conch. When you blow on a conch, you get the sound of Aum.

My favorite Hindu diety is Ardhanari Svara, followed by Shiva and Sarasvati

BenSt
November 10th, 2004, 12:29 AM
Namastare all, and a Happy Diwali to you too Shananigans...

Hinduism is one of the greater and in my opinions, more elegent spiritual spheres on this planet. I have followed Sri Devi Kali Ma for the majority of this year, after being introduced to Shakta and Tantric philosophies by a friend of mine. If you are going to truly walk a Hindu path, you must be willing to study and really put an effort into the philosophies...follow a course and follow it down right into the sect that fits you. Everything is metaphor and illusion in Hinduism, but on the other hand every detail must be followed to the letter. After a while, if you are thinking of Hinduism, every thing becomes instinct and you can focus on the deeper mysteries. I juts love to talk and think Hindu, so if you want to chat soemtime Blueiris, by all means add me...pm me if you want to chat soemtime :). Naamste :)

Tobias

Moonshine
November 10th, 2004, 12:44 AM
Hi everyone, :wave:

I am a Hindu by birth and have been fascinated with New Age theories. Diwali is the known as the festival of lights in India and is celebrated pretty much all over India.

~~ Happy Diwali to everyone and may this time bring all the light and joys in our lives! ~~

Best wishes, :broomride
Moonshine

Psyche Ague
November 10th, 2004, 01:38 AM
I love Hinduism and have been getting more and more into it recently. I pay homage and worship Lord Krishna (I'm actually quite a bit into Hare Krishna, too, especially after visiting them in London a month or so ago) and Radha, along with Kali, Radha, Saraswati, Shakti, Durga, Shiva, and Vishnu.

Gede
November 10th, 2004, 04:49 AM
MM~
I was raised in a Balinese Hindu family which is a little different from classical Indian Hinduism. My favourite God was Ganesh as when I was young and we were in Bali I persuaded my mum to buy a golden statue of Ganesh which we sat in the centre of our family altar surrounded by images of Shiva, Krishna, and various other deities. I would always light the two candles that sat either side of him and a stick of incense and kneel down and pray before him.

My father is the knowledgeable one in our family and he knows a lot about the various aspects of Hindu worship and has several temples built into his guest-house in Bali as he is a very devout person by nature, much like me (I think I get it from his side of the family). In fact Hinduism is very close in nature to the Wiccan religion. Originally the Indus Valley civilisation was believed to have revered both a Mother Goddess figure as indicated by the numerous statues discovered in the area as well as a horned man surrounded by animals (close in posture to the cross-legged Cernunnos on the Gundestrap Cauldron) who is believed to be an early incarnation of Shiva. In fact in the Tantric philosophy the polarity of force and form embodied in the masculine and feminine is majorly important - Shakti/Shiva. Each Hindu family also has a shrine/altar within their house hosting a variety of icons and representations of the deities, while also paying tribute to a particular deity who is believed to be the patron. There is also the matter of karma, reincarnation etc. Now I'm not saying this is because they are historically linked, I'm just stating this from a comparitive viewpoint. It's interesting when you think about it ;)

Namaste, Gede...

SylverStar
November 10th, 2004, 04:33 PM
Ah well I've just started studing Hinduism a few months ago...mostly just philosohical stuff...which most I align myself closely with. The rituals and worship is a bit overwelming for me...at least the little bit that I've ran across. It also seems pretty vast and just grasping little bits and pieces. But I absolutely love it...I feel more drawn to it than any other religion. As for gods/goddess I feel drawn to Maya (I've actually met her in meditation) and Ganesha as well ...Shiva has been starting to draw my interest. I'm actually not one for God/Goddess worship though. I like to get my little brain wrapped around the philosophies.

~ Monk ~
November 10th, 2004, 05:49 PM
I'm like Sylverstar in that I gravitate towards the philosophical aspect of Hinduism, though I've really not dug too deep into it at this point. This thread actually reminded me that somehwre on my bookshelf I have a really nice version of the Bhagavad Gita I've yet to crack open. I read a more basic translation last year (actually, Sylverstar, I think you and I had some discussions about it :) ) and absolutely loved it - it struck me as a very panthiestic-type scripture.

Anubis RainHawk
November 10th, 2004, 10:00 PM
Here's an article, "The Witch and Hinduism", written by Kala Trobe. I haven't read through the whole thing, but I assume it will be helpful to you. http://www.witchguide.com/essays/essay02.htm

Anubis RainHawk

WandererInGray
November 10th, 2004, 10:16 PM
*smiles and waves* Yup, for about three years now. KaliMa is my eternal matron despite my Buddhist / Bushido tendancies. I'm also very fond of Ganesh, Hanuman, and Lord Vishnu.

Lakshimi has been popping up a lot lately for me, but probably because we've been trying to sell our house and get some projects together.

Moonshine
November 10th, 2004, 10:51 PM
MM~
I was raised in a Balinese Hindu family which is a little different from classical Indian Hinduism. My favourite God was Ganesh as when I was young and we were in Bali I persuaded my mum to buy a golden statue of Ganesh which we sat in the centre of our family altar surrounded by images of Shiva, Krishna, and various other deities. I would always light the two candles that sat either side of him and a stick of incense and kneel down and pray before him.Namaste, Gede...

Hi Gede,
I agree with you. I have myself noticed so many striking similarities between pagan religions and Hinduism.

~ Pretty much every Hindu family has an altar where they place God/Goddess idols and religious symbols.
~ The phases of the Moon and the movements of the planets are given great importance. In fact, Hingu form of Astrology is based on lunar cycles, unlike Solar cycles in the western astrology. Planning activities based on the natural cycles is not uncommon among devout Hindus.
~ The directions, North,South, East, West are considered before performing important rituals.
~ The concept of lighting a candle (more like a tea light, called 'diya'), burning incense to cleanse (smudging), use of stones and crystals etc. is also very much a part of Hindu traditions.
~ The concept of chanting Mantras, which do not sound very different from spells is considered an important and sacred part of the rituals. Mantras are held in high regard and considered very powerful. Gayatri Mantra is one such popular mantra.
~ The concept of Holy water is present here also.
~ Meditation, visualization (yes, it is called 'drishti'), protective Gods/Goddesses (a lot like Patron/Matron God/Goddesses) are all taught and promoted.
~ The concept of holding animals and plants in reverence is practised.
~ I have not read any of the Vedas or Holy texts, but there may be many more similarities...

None of these activites are considered occult or dark, but are actually promoted for everyday use of a common Hindu.

Folks, the points I have listed above are from my own observations of Hindus around me. I myself do not do much of rituals etc. So if any of these ideas bother you, please understand that these are not coming from an expert Hindu. ;)

Best wishes,
Moonshine :broomride

Padma
November 10th, 2004, 10:58 PM
Hinduism is indeed awesome. To me Hinduism seems to be one of those traditions where you really need to have been born into it, exposed to it from the very start, to really truly understand it. It's so different from anything we have here in the west. It's one of the most gorgeous traditions in my mind, it's so rich and intricate. It wasn't until I discovered the Hindu pantheon, Kali in particular, that I started to feel like I had found my place. Nothing up to that point had really felt right.

Devi
November 11th, 2004, 12:40 AM
I was raised in a Hindu based religion.( I am not Indian though.)I still consider myself Hindu but not strictly practising. For example, I don't chant the sixteen 108rounds of mantra everyday. I do have an altar with deities of Radha and Krsna, Lord Jagannatha ,Lord Nrsingha Dev and Ganesh....... to name a few. :ballonsmi

I worship with bells,incense,water and sometimes flowers. Again not as strict as I was taught because usually more tools are used. I also like to worship more at home than in temples. :flowers:

blueiris
November 11th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Thanks everyone, you all have been very helpful. I've been attracted to Hinduism for a long, long time and recently came across the goddess Saraswati in meditation...I think she might be my patron goddess :) and I also am very fond of Vishnu, for reasons I can't really explain. I've read a couple of books on this religion and am trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my life. Thanks! :dancy:

Moonshine
November 11th, 2004, 12:26 PM
Hi folks,

Please feel free to PM me if you find difficulty with any of the terms used in the texts you may be reading. It may be a Hindi word that I should be able to elaborate on for you... Actually, this offer is for all the people trying to understand Hindu philosophy. Though I may not be an expert in Hinduism, but I do speak, read, write Hindi and a bit of Sanskrit...

Peace for everyone, (and a karma poke!) ;)
Namaste,
Moonshine :broomride

Ben Gruagach
November 11th, 2004, 01:03 PM
Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone have an article on their website at http://www.wicca.utvinternet.com/eastmeetswest.htm that talks about Hinduism and Wicca.

I don't find it that surprising that there are many elements of Hinduism that have found their way into modern Pagan practice in English-speaking countries. One of the big influences on occultism in English countries was H. P. Blavatsky's Theosophical society, which drew heavily on Indian ideas. In many ways, Theosophy was about bringing the ideas of Indian spirituality to the west, and blending it and western ideas into a workable whole.

Theosophy predated groups like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which in turn was a heavy influence on occultism that came later. The Golden Dawn brought in a lot more attention to Egyptian, Greek, and Roman ideas but it also had a large amount of Indian material (in particular ideas about reincarnation and karma, the use of tattwas for meditation, yoga, chakras, etc.)

DebLipp
November 11th, 2004, 01:56 PM
Hi folks,

Please feel free to PM me if you find difficulty with any of the terms used in the texts you may be reading. It may be a Hindi word that I should be able to elaborate on for you... Actually, this offer is for all the people trying to understand Hindu philosophy. Though I may not be an expert in Hinduism, but I do speak, read, write Hindi and a bit of Sanskrit...

Peace for everyone, (and a karma poke!) ;)
Namaste,
Moonshine :broomride
Thanks, that's a very generous offer!

Dawa Lhamo
November 11th, 2004, 03:57 PM
Originally the Indus Valley civilisation was believed to have revered both a Mother Goddess figure as indicated by the numerous statues discovered in the area as well as a horned man surrounded by animals (close in posture to the cross-legged Cernunnos on the Gundestrap Cauldron) who is believed to be an early incarnation of Shiva.

I thought that (that Cernunnos and proto-Shiva were remarkably similar) when I first saw that image! Do you know of anything written about that? It would be interesting to read.

Anyway, I've studied Hinduism and Indian philosophies for only a few years now, but I really do find myself thinking in those sorts of terms, usually as often as I'll think in "strictly western" terms. Also I have been exposed to (and studied) Tibetan Buddhism for a few more years, which shares a lot of the forms and ideas of Hinduism, but approaches it differently (heterodoxically). I find it difficult to separate these parts of myself now, and at the risk of being labelled eclectic, I freely admit that I worship Krishna. I have many of his images in my home, and though generally I don't speak, as in prayers, I feel like he watches over me. I think what drew me to him was my deep love for cows (which comes from way out of left field, but I don't really question it). And, in a more Buddhist fashion, I do say mantras, though not every day, just when I can, I light incense to Krishna and other deities as the need arises, and I have prayer flags hanging about.

And speaking of astral travel, I just attended a lecture yesterday by the Hindi professor here on the role of the subtle body in Yoga, Tantra, and Indian alchemy. Quite interesting.

Tashi delek!
Dawa Lhamo

OMmomma
November 13th, 2004, 05:48 PM
Namaste and Happy Deepavali!

While I don't practice Hinduism, per se, I do practice a path of Yoga known as Kriya. My chanting is mainly to KRSNA and GANESH and KALI. Chanting mantra, kirtan, doing pranayam, extended meditation, observing yamas and niyamas, etc. I have a small altar set up, just for my focus on yoga. Pictures of my Guru and paramgurus, tealight, bowl-bell, incense, and a statue of Babaji.

Prior to practicing Yoga, I studied Theosophy, Qaballah, Myth, Shamanism, Astrology and Tarot, Herbology, Sex, Drugs, RocknRoll...:gagged:

OK, you get the picture...

I don't follow any religion, or orthodoxy. I am a mystic, and as such, choose to study the esoteric teachings of many minds and mythos.

I call myself an eclectic pagan.... for lack of a more accurate distinction. And I am continuing the process of assimilating all Truth, into my life and cosmology. Currently, I serve ISIS, incorporating into my life the vibrations of Love, Beauty, and Truth. Still I meditate, still I pray, still I study. And of course 'chop wood, and carry water'.

Peace

KageKi
December 20th, 2004, 02:59 PM
you'll find the deeper you study hinduism the deeper it will get

one thing about hinduism is that it is the most liberal religion of them all, basically because the goal is god realization!, whether it be through yoga, prayer, actions, knowledge etc...(its got something for everyone), actually the real name for hinduism before it was changed by the british invaders was Sanatan Dharma(way to eternal truth), pretty much "hindusim" assimilateas all religions, actually the goal back in the day was for everyone to worship together. The moment your looking for truth/god technically your considered a "hindu", even if its in a different church.

actually every villiage in india had a specific deity of worship, and they were all brought together into the practice known today as hindusim/Sanatan Dharma


there is so much there to talk about!

BenSt
December 21st, 2004, 10:08 PM
It's also very versatile and unlike other religions is coninually growing. I was recently looking up more obscure deities, and I found info on Santoshi Ma and Lord Ayyapan, who have just in this century grown to prominance. Santoshi Ma coming from a story about a woamn who's husband abused her, and how her patience with him and deep courage earned her immortality. Ayyappan is a celibate God, and is said to be a son of Shiva and Mohini (Vishnu's female form). It was pretty interesting. There's also Dayattriya, who is an apsect of Vishnu...and who is becoming more popular in worship. Always growing...Namaste.

Tobias

Paracelsus
January 3rd, 2005, 06:54 AM
Another idea that has yet to be discussed here is the relationship between Hindu Tantra, and Western Paganism. Anyone versed in the Pagan tradition will feel themselves very at home when discovering Tantra. Indeed, one of my A level students did a piece of coursework last year comparing a Wiccan Esbat and a Tantric Chakra Puja. A very challenging and stimulating piece of work - well researched and thought provoking. Of course Tantra has influenced Paganism through it's influence on western mystery tradition adepts like old Crow, but there are a large number of similarities. There are also a large number of western Tantrists - AMOOKOS being one organisation.
Two books that I would recommend in this respect are: White "Tantra in Practice", and Muller-Ebeling, Ratsch & Shahi "Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalyas" (The latter is one of the most fascinating books that I've ever read - complete with some recipes for hallucinogenic incense etc). I'm sure that you'll be suprised at the level of comparison.
BB

Olwenmsmind
January 5th, 2005, 12:01 AM
just a question from someone who is ignorant. when is Diwali and what does it celebrate?

Olwenmsmind
January 5th, 2005, 12:01 AM
Hi everyone, :wave:

I am a Hindu by birth and have been fascinated with New Age theories. Diwali is the known as the festival of lights in India and is celebrated pretty much all over India.

~~ Happy Diwali to everyone and may this time bring all the light and joys in our lives! ~~

Best wishes, :broomride
Moonshine
just a question from someone who is ignorant. when is Diwali and what does it celebrate?

Suzette
January 5th, 2005, 12:54 AM
I just posted recently on how I view Divinity and the Divine, but I wanted to add that I derive as much from the Hindu tradition as I do the Celtic, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, etc., etc. I mentioned as my opinion is I feel our "Divine" IS Nature, but do call upon energies (pantheons) for certain focus and guidance.

In my garden, Pan is hanging out next to Krishna and Shiva, next to the bronze frog-prince spitting water into a huge cauldron and the sleeping gnome in my birdbath, next to the seasiren and the bronze fairy overlooking it all...

Is there a Hindu diety representing gigantic spiders? If so, she's there in my garden as well... Hmm, Kali perhaps?

Gede
January 5th, 2005, 10:08 AM
MM~

Of course Tantra has influenced Paganism through it's influence on western mystery tradition adepts like old Crow, but there are a large number of similarities.

Definitely. I've been researching Shivaic Tantrism for a section in the book that I am working on and I read Tantric Quest by Daniel Odier which is a personal account of how the author came under the tutelage of a yogini who opened him to the teachings of Tantrism. I was fascinated and utterly engrossed as the similarities between Wicca and the Tantric system grew and grew. I have no doubt that on some level it comes down to the basic truths of human spirituality, but I also believe it has something to do with the transmission of philosophies and ideas by way of the Theosophical society and by other occult systems active in the 19th and 20th centuries. It would be interesting to some day read a book comparing the two systems historically, socially, culturally etc.


I thought that (that Cernunnos and proto-Shiva were remarkably similar) when I first saw that image! Do you know of anything written about that? It would be interesting to read.

For anyone interested in the similarities between Shiva and Cernunnos the following link makes reference to it (including pictures):

http://avebury-megalithos.net/religion.html

Namaste, Gede...

argento_occhi
January 11th, 2005, 01:33 PM
i haven't stdied any form of Hinduism, but i've become more fascinated with it these last few years. My current (but rather eclectic) Kemetic path doesn't make much room for other things, though my path has taken a new direction recently. I really must start looking into this. For some reason, of the few Hindu deities i know, Kali is the one that fascinates me, probably since i read a book about one woman's quest to find the black Kali, if i'm not mistaken (thiough it was a couple of years ago). I found that a fascinating read and it added to and changed the way i saw Her, since i'd only read small descriptions of Hindu deities before then. well, i'm going to the library tomorrow. Will come back with an armful of books. Another book i read way back in yr 11 (about 5 years ago) was a book about the origins of Paganism, tracing it way back to the Indus Valley. I can't remember the name of it or who wrote it, but it was an insightful read. it seems this thread has inspired me to act on this whole Hinduism fascination. Thanks for the insightful thread.

bright blessings,
argent

SylverStar
January 11th, 2005, 01:52 PM
Cool. Yeah I've only become interested it lately. I think what sparked my interest the most was a history class I took. We studied the Indus valley civilazation and talked about he mentioned the Vedas. I found it interesting. That was about 3yrs ago and I've only in the past 6 months, or so, become interested in Hinduism...I've pushed it aside many times because I've never really agreed with the caste system. But I've realised that it really is a diverse religion.

Paracelsus
January 11th, 2005, 02:42 PM
I don't know if it will be of interest to anyone here, but I've got a lot of Hinduism resources online formy sixth formers at http://www.kingsbridge-re.co.uk/ - just follow the link to AS/A2 Hinduism. As the disclaimer says, it is from an academic point of view, and aimed at one particular exam board's questions, but there is some good stuff there. Hope it is of interest.
BB

blueiris
January 11th, 2005, 04:26 PM
Thanks for the link :)
I was wondering, as I couldn't go to a Hindu temple or anything, does anyone practice Hinduism at home? Like, what sort of rituals do you do? How did you celebrate Diwali (did I spell that right)? And so forth. Also, are there any books that people would recommend to me?
Thanks.

BenSt
January 11th, 2005, 11:11 PM
Books for soemr eason seem to be scarce here in the west....it isn't near as big as New Age books. In home worship...since Mandirs and Sanghas dont seem to be around over here...the prefered worship is in the home. Even in hindu countires like India, ppl have small shrines and alters with images of their chosen Devas. My own alter holds several images of Kali, and i'm trying to get a Mudra (statue) of her. The rituels are not as grandiose as in the Mandirs, but they can include chanting, singing Bhajans/Mantras/Aartis, and studying of the scriptures. Every good hindu (im not a very good one *wink*) performs the five prayers in the morning. Other than that, it really does depend on the caste, on the form of worship, on what devas you follow, and what your scriptures. Namaskare

Tobias

SylverStar
January 12th, 2005, 09:03 AM
As far as I know Hinduism is mostly practiced at home...visiting temples is not even neccesarrily essential (correct me if I'm wrong). Though many people celebrate big holidays and go on pilgrimages to temples and such. Also from what I understand there are life rituals...becoming a man, getting married that are very important. I'm still learning so this may not be universally true. I myself do not do any ritual..mostly because I'm still finding myself and learning.

BenSt
January 12th, 2005, 10:40 AM
*smiles, waves* Hi Sylverstar....your right...well it's a bit like rites of ascension. Like a Hindu Barmitzvah so to speak. You have a rituel at I think 13 when you become inducted into one of the four Castes (Warrior, Labourer, Merchant, and Religious) and then you either become a student or aprentice. Then there is the great Marriage rituel, I suggest you watch the 1980's 'Ghandi'...they have an elegant short form of the Marriage ceremony performed by Ben Kinglsey and the actress playing his wife. Umm, let me see off the top of my head, 'One step for knowing, two for friendship, three for marriage, and four to complete. Man: You are my consort and shakti, Woman: You are my husband, lover, friend, my highest Guru..."

SylverStar
January 12th, 2005, 10:50 AM
Yeah I remember seeing in that movie. There's a lot of little things I relly like about the marriage cermony...though I haven't looked in depth into. Are those rituals practiced as much in Northern America and/or Britain? I read a story of a boy flying to India to do his ritual.

kismet
January 12th, 2005, 01:41 PM
Could someone please explain the caste system to me? Everything I've read about it upsets me. The other day, I read an article about how tsunami victims are being denied aid because they are 'broken ones', the lowest caste.

Paracelsus
January 12th, 2005, 04:54 PM
OK, I'll have a crack at the Caste system, although it is a tricky subject.

Firstly, the whole idea of a "caste" system is pretty dodgy - Caste is not an Indian word, but one derived from the Portuguese word "casta" (meaning colour) - thus ideas of a "caste" system are actually those of westerners looking in at a social hierarchy that they do not really comprehend. There are, in fact, two hierarchies within Hinduism; Varna (the religious hierarchy), and Jati (a hierarchy based upon income & hereditary employment). The one that is most interesting really is that of Varna. There are four Varnas;

Brahmin / Brahmana (Priests)
Kshatriya (Warrior / ruler)
Vaisya (Trader)
Sudra (Labourer)

Of course, these employment ideas are not always adhered to!

Below these are the Dalits (Oppressed), who, according to the 1988 Mandal report comprise about 80% of the Indian population. They are sometimes referred to as Outcastes, or in Gandhi's terms "Harijans" (which means children of Hari; another name for Vishnu. Most Dalits consider this a pejorative, and slightly patronising term). Many of the individuals who you referred to in your post are dalits, who identify themselves as being within a jati - thus even amongst the excluded, there are hierarchies.

So, why are these Varnas important to Hindus?

Various reasons;
1) The system is both ancient, and regarded as divine in origin. Many scholars reckon that the Varna system certainly goes back to Vedic times, and that evidence of a similar kind of hierarchy may be deduced from some excavations in the Indus Valley Civilisation. The spiritual significane begins when one considers that the system is seen as divinely ordained; in the Purusa Sukta ( a section of the Rig Veda), the sacrifice of the primal man, in order to create the physical universe is described. An important part of this is the creation of the Varna system from the body of the Purusa: "When they divided the man, into how many parts did they disperse him? What became of his mouth, what of his arms, what were his two thighs and his two feet called? His mouth was the Brahmin, his arms were made into the Kşatriyas, his two thighs were the Vaiśyas, and from his feet the Śūdras were born" (Ŗg Veda. X, 12).

2) Being in a Varna means that you know what your dharma (personal religious duty) is - and thus you may work at getting good karma (and thus progress spiritually, within Karma Marga). Put crudely - Karma is the "Points" that you get according to your actions - good points for good actions, Bad for bad. These effect your progress through subsequent incarnations. You know what good or bad actions are according to your dharma - i.e a Kshatriya's dharma is to fight in a righteous war, to uphold dharma, which is different from the dharma of a Brahmin (to perform sacrifices, learn mantras, teach scripture). This is of prime importance - "Think thou also of thy duty, and do not waver. There is no greater good for a kśatriya than to fight in a righteous war. There is a war that opens the doors of heaven, Arjuna! Happy the warriors whose fate is to fight such a war. But to forgo this fight for righteousness is to forgo thy duty and honour, is to fall into transgression. Men will tell of thy dishonour now, and in times to come, and to a man who is in honour, dishonour is more than death". Bhagavad Gita 2,31-34.

3) Varna controls much of your life - who you marry, who can cook for you, your employment, education etc. This aspect is still important in village Hinduism in India, and amongst some diaspora hindus (though less so amongst some urbanites in India - indeed, some of the country's richest business men, and most powerful politicians are dalits).

In contemporary secular India, prejudice based upon Varna is illegal, although the recent rise of militant fundamentalist Hindu nationalist parties has seen a sharp increase in some oppression of dalits. Some scholars suggest that it has been unsubtle manipulation of religious texts that have enabled those within the Varna system to maintain it - who do you think might have written the following passage, from the Laws of Manu?"The very birth of a Brahmin is an eternal embodiment of dharma: for he is born to fulfil dharma and worthy to become Brahman. He is born as the highest on earth, the lord of all created beings, for the protection of the treasure of dharma. Whatever exists in this world is the property of the Brahmin: on account of the excellence of his origin the Brahmin is entitled to it all. The Brahmin eats but his own food, wears but his own apparel, bestows but his own in alms; other mortals subsist through the benevolence of the Brahmanas". Manusmŗti 1, 98-101.

Do not get the impression that all Hindus are terribly keen on this though- in Bhakti cults (those based upon loving devotion to a deity) - varna is seen as unimportant - what matters is your devotion to God. Many Hinu reformers of the last two centuries - Gandhi, Bhose, Rammohan roy, even Dayananda Saraswati, have been opposed to caste oppression - although the one big champion of the dalits - Dr Ambedkhar, is a name that few outside India know.

Did that help? I hope so.
BB

kismet
January 12th, 2005, 07:25 PM
Very helpful. Thank you.

BenSt
January 13th, 2005, 01:06 AM
Again, you fill a post with such great knowledge Paracelsus, I place my hands together in Namaste to you :). You've been here only a little while, and yet whenever you enter a conversation I'm still impressed by your knowledge of the east. The 'Caste' system is a very difficult and controversial subject indeed...it is both debated and upheld in india and other countries right now. In some areas it can be quite rigid...an example might be that a Brahmin in one of the higher subvarnas (I might add that within the main Varnas are hundreds of smaller Varnas...) will not even eat food prepared by a lower level Brahmin. All in all though, it is important to realize what is true and what is not true of the Varnas, and many sutractors of the system have tried to bring these out. Are the Varnas devine in origin? Or creations of the original Aryan peoples in trying to subvert the native Dravidians...or even assimilate them as servents. (it is interesting to note that the Sudras are darker in skin than the other castes...the dravidians were dark skinned...and inter caste marriages are almost taboo...) There are good and bad things about the system, yet look on the more positive aspects. Your Varna is almost like being inducted into a larger family that takes care of your education requirements, your social security, even soemtimes helps you in everyday life.

About the flying to India Sylverstar, it is not really uncommon to fly to the homeland to celebrate festivals, rituels, and rites. It would be just like Jews going to the wailing wall for a Barmitzvah, or Christians travelling to Rome or the Holy Land for Christmas. With certain rituels, like funerary rites...it is not uncommon to take ashes of loved ones to be submerged at any of the more auspicious places (Varanasi, Kalighat...etc,.) along the Ganges to be submerged. In some festivals, it can be quite a liberating experiance to join in worship of the major gods with millions of other people. With marriage, i believe there is a belief among soem of the northern states that if both bride and groom wash in a lake together, thier sins will be gone and their Karma will basicly be eqaul so they can remain and rejoin each other life after life. In soem of the other rites, like induction into a caste/subcaste...the leader of that Caste (mostly an elder, or powerful member) requires them to come to the homeland. It doesnt mean always that these rites are conducted in india only...a friend of mine from down in Toronto goes to atleast 5 weddings a year, granted half of them are Muslim weddings...but the Hindu weddings he attends can be performed outside of India. They are gorgeous as well, there was a family in Brampton (near Toronto) that spent almost 1 million dollars (granted they were Canadian dollars) on importing material and Sari's, building several pagodas...even a small Mandir on site...I forget which Deva presided....probably Lakshmi. That was a very complex ceremony, the basic outline of general marriages is very similar to the christian form...performed by Pundit....with parties for the women and men...and then the vows. It is quite beautiful. :)...Namaskare

Tobias

blueiris
January 26th, 2005, 05:34 PM
Can you suggest some books that might help me understand Hinduism some more? Introductions, philosphy, etc. Thanks :)

Ben Gruagach
January 26th, 2005, 05:39 PM
Can you suggest some books that might help me understand Hinduism some more? Introductions, philosphy, etc. Thanks :)

I'm not Hindu but I have the following in my own collection. (I'm curious to hear recommendations from people who actually know something about Hinduism though -- are these books any good? What ones would you recommend?)

"Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion" by Stephen P. Huyler. (This one is amazing -- it's basically a collection of photos taken in India showing lots of snippets of how Hinduism is practiced.)

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism" by Linda Johnsen.

"The Myths and Gods of India" byb Alain Danielou.

"India Unveiled" by Robert Arnett (more of a general book about India, but it looks interesting.)

Dawa Lhamo
January 27th, 2005, 12:28 AM
Can you suggest some books that might help me understand Hinduism some more? Introductions, philosphy, etc. Thanks :) Hmm... my Intro to Hinduism course used :
Gavin Flood An Introduction to Hinduism,
Kim Knott Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction,
David Kinsley Hindu Goddesses,
Julius Lipner Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices,
R.K. Narayan translation of the Mahabharata,
William Buck translation of the Ramayana and
I forget which translation of the Bhagavad Gita.

I particularly liked the first two books and the last three epic tales.

And at the bottom of this page (http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~jhbauer/hindu_religion_study.htm#A) are a number of links that can take you to further resources.

I haven't read any of the books BenG suggests, so I don't know if they're good or not, not that I'm claiming to know a whole lot about Hinduism, either. Sorry, Ben!

Tashi delek!
Dawa Lhamo

BenSt
January 27th, 2005, 12:51 AM
I wouldn't suggest the Idiots Guide to Hinduism, it is filled with information that is quite easily accessable online...and somehow it doesn't fully touch that place of interest...atleast in my opinion. The other books you've mentioned, although I have only glanced at them seem to be sound and very informatinve :). If any of you are interested in books specifically to do with ritual and prayers, there is a great series of books written by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, as far as I can tell he has written small books on almost every major Deva who is worshipped (you won't find anything to with the worship of Lord Brahma...incase that is frustrating anyone, basicly his worship was completly obliterated by Shiva and Vishnu).Kali Puja (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1887472649/qid=1106801241/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/104-9719080-0974331) is his book on Kali and her worship...im not sure if that is specifically Tantrik, Shakta, Shivite or Vaishnava worship...but she is Kali non the less by which ever sect is worshipping her.

One great book that I read was actually an anthology from 1953 entitled: The Religion of the Hindus. It was a collection of essays by leading scholars and proffessors from the various castes and some of the major Indian univirsities. Included were lengthy essays on: The various views of the Divine among Hindu theistic systems(including summaries of the majore Devas), the Temple life (including what a Statue is thought to represent and how to care for one), the Life of a practicing Hindu, summaries of the many scriptures, as well as general information about the history and mythology of India. It was a greta read, and soemthing that I recommend to everyone. Namaskare

Tobias

blueiris
January 29th, 2005, 12:01 AM
Thanks guys. I actually have the Complete Idiot's Guide to Hindiusm, I finished it a couple of weeks ago. It was the only book in Barnes & Noble on Hinduism, besides a book on karma sutra (spelling?). Thanks :)

Verthandi
January 29th, 2005, 01:41 AM
The Internet Sacred Text site has quite a bit of reading material: http://www.sacred-texts.com/index.htm

Morning Star
January 29th, 2005, 09:08 AM
Thanks guys. I actually have the Complete Idiot's Guide to Hindiusm, I finished it a couple of weeks ago. It was the only book in Barnes & Noble on Hinduism, besides a book on karma sutra (spelling?). Thanks :)

1. Yes, Barns and Nobles religion sections are terrible. You'll want to look into a Borders if you can find one.

2. I love your avatar. That's Exploding Dog is it not?

Ben Gruagach
January 29th, 2005, 12:58 PM
1. Yes, Barns and Nobles religion sections are terrible. You'll want to look into a Borders if you can find one.

It all depends where you are. The Barnes & Noble stores aren't really any different from the Borders stores where I've lived (in Minneapolis and in Phoenix.)

I've found they both have pretty good selections. But it is worthwhile visiting both if you have them around because they do tend to have different things on their shelves.

blueiris
January 29th, 2005, 02:49 PM
I think it's Exploding Dog, I don't remember. :)
The Borders that we have is awesome - it's huge - but it's an hour away, while Barnes & Noble is only fifteen minutes. Their sections on New Age and Eastern Religions are absolutely terrible. That's why I generally prefer amazon.com, but I usually only do that if I'm going to buy a large amount of books.

Devi
January 30th, 2005, 12:33 AM
The Bhagavad Gita is a good book to get you started. The one I'm familiar with is the Bhagavad Gita as it is translated by Srila Prahbhupada. Here is a link :heartthro

Bhagavad Gita (http://www.asitis.com/)

Paracelsus
January 30th, 2005, 02:09 PM
Prabhupada's translation of the Gita is one that is, like so many, based upon, and therefore slanted towards a particular point of view - in his case the bhakti of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and the acintya bedha abedha tattva philosophy of Caitanya Mahapradu. The Gita is such a seminal text that every philosophical school of Hinduism has it's own version thereof.
There is an easier text for the westerner, that of Juan Mascaro (Penguin classics). There are, of course, problems with this translation too - but it is certainly an easier, and rather more inspiring read.
I would add a couple of suggestions to the general reading list (though I would also back up the suggestions of Flood & Lipner) - Klostermaier's "Survey of Hinduism" is a good, academic study of the principal ideas, and "The Camphor Flame" (my copy is out on loan, and I can't remember who wrote it - but it is an excellen guide to vernacular, village hinduism). Also anything by Diana Eck, particularly Benares - City of light. Dolph Hartsuiger's "Sadhus" is fantastic - a photographic essay of this particularly fascinating practice within Hinduism, and Huyler's "Meeting God" (a photographic essay of similar material to the camphor flame), are worth getting hold of as well.
If you find getting hold of these difficult, then may I recommend Abebooks.com - a fantastic secondhand book site with many dealers in India (which means that you get very reasonable editions!).
BB

Devi
January 30th, 2005, 05:07 PM
Prabhupada's translation of the Gita is one that is, like so many, based upon, and therefore slanted towards a particular point of view - in his case the bhakti of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, and the acintya bedha abedha tattva philosophy of Caitanya Mahapradu. The Gita is such a seminal text that every philosophical school of Hinduism has it's own version thereof.
There is an easier text for the westerner, that of Juan Mascaro (Penguin classics). There are, of course, problems with this translation too - but it is certainly an easier, and rather more inspiring read.
I would add a couple of suggestions to the general reading list (though I would also back up the suggestions of Flood & Lipner) - Klostermaier's "Survey of Hinduism" is a good, academic study of the principal ideas, and "The Camphor Flame" (my copy is out on loan, and I can't remember who wrote it - but it is an excellen guide to vernacular, village hinduism). Also anything by Diana Eck, particularly Benares - City of light. Dolph Hartsuiger's "Sadhus" is fantastic - a photographic essay of this particularly fascinating practice within Hinduism, and Huyler's "Meeting God" (a photographic essay of similar material to the camphor flame), are worth getting hold of as well.
If you find getting hold of these difficult, then may I recommend Abebooks.com - a fantastic secondhand book site with many dealers in India (which means that you get very reasonable editions!).
BB

While it's true that Srila prabhupada followed a disciplic succesion that can be linked backed to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and thus his purport or thoughts of the sanskrit verses reflect that. But his direct translation of the ancient sanskrit text are without personal opinion or influence that is why its called bhagavagita As it is. :heartthro

Paracelsus
January 31st, 2005, 02:57 AM
I disagree - I'm sure that this is what he set out to achieve, but a "straightforward" translation of the Gita that enables the non-sanskrit reader to get their heads round it as a text without commentary or attached discourse, is impossible - not only are you translating different linguistic ideas, but different underlying philosophies as well. I'm not, for a moment, suggesting that anyone has managed to do this, but I am suggesting that anyone who has set out to acheive this is on a very sticky wicket indeed. I've read many translations of the Gita, and have learned something new from every one, but none of them are "the Gita" - they are all translations, and all of them are written from particular viewpoints - Prabhupada as well as, say Swami Gambhirananda's translation with Sankara's commentary. I think an awareness of this difficulty is most obvious in Islam - which prohibits the translation of the Qur'an - if you want to read it as a pious Muslim, then you have to learn Arabic. This is because any translation, by it's very nature, and with the best will in the world will alter, or re-focus certain aspects of meaning.

Morning Star
January 31st, 2005, 09:19 AM
I've read many translations of the Gita, and have learned something new from every one, but none of them are "the Gita" - they are all translations, and all of them are written from particular viewpoints -

I think it is important to read as many translations as you can. Furthermore, I would recommend reading the Beautiful Legend of God, the Upanishads and my favorite, the Uddhava Gita. All of the Bagavatha Purana is important to understanding the general philosophies involved in the Gita, in order to establish a broader context. It has been my experience that Hindu texts require the Western reader to read as many commentaries as they can in order to really begin to see the whole picture.

blueiris
February 28th, 2005, 05:46 PM
I'm having trouble finding information on Hindu holidays. I have a couple of books and they mention the holidays but they don't go into any detail. Are there any websites with details? Thanks. :)

BenSt
February 28th, 2005, 10:59 PM
There are a great deal of Hindu Websites...or you could just go into a Yahoo Hindu webchat. One website I would contact is www.vishnumandir.org It is one of the more powerful Temples in Ontario...and one of the largest as well.

I know a few of the holidays...Holi (Festival of Colour, honouring young Krishna defeating Holika). Kali Yuga, honouring Kali. Mahashri Ratri (I think thats how you spell it) honouring Lord Shiva, I believe in his Shankar form.

As for the Bhagavad Gita, you are right Morning Star...you should read as many commentaries as possible. Hinduism is a religion built with commentaries. The many sects and subsects were based on new movements built on the teachings of Gurus and Swamis. However, with that comes a bias...and with any scripture a bias can only be reinforced if that is the first AND ONLY commentary you are exposed to. Many of the Hindus and people living down in Central America...Prabhupada's Gita translation may have been the only translation they recieved. Now, not to get into a argument, I have read Prabhupada's translation and if it is without personal bias...why is it so vehemently against Athiests? I doubt that Lord Krishna would be so violent against Athiests...especially when in some other translations, athiest appears as 'asura'? Namaste

Tobias

Devi
March 1st, 2005, 01:16 AM
I disagree - I'm sure that this is what he set out to achieve, but a "straightforward" translation of the Gita that enables the non-sanskrit reader to get their heads round it as a text without commentary or attached discourse, is impossible - not only are you translating different linguistic ideas, but different underlying philosophies as well. I'm not, for a moment, suggesting that anyone has managed to do this, but I am suggesting that anyone who has set out to acheive this is on a very sticky wicket indeed. I've read many translations of the Gita, and have learned something new from every one, but none of them are "the Gita" - they are all translations, and all of them are written from particular viewpoints - Prabhupada as well as, say Swami Gambhirananda's translation with Sankara's commentary. I think an awareness of this difficulty is most obvious in Islam - which prohibits the translation of the Qur'an - if you want to read it as a pious Muslim, then you have to learn Arabic. This is because any translation, by it's very nature, and with the best will in the world will alter, or re-focus certain aspects of meaning.


Well,this is your opinion and I still stand by mine. :heartthro

acorn elf
March 24th, 2005, 11:07 AM
I don't know if this is the place to post this, but I was wondering about some things you do at the temple--What is the red powder in your hair's part for? And why do you ring the bell when you come in? I go to the hindu temple a few times a year for dance but once my friend and her mom prayed some and I saw them doing these things.