Hinduism: The dominant religion of India that emphasizes dharma with its resulting ritualand social observances, and often mystical contemplation and asceticpractices.
These few words, like autumn winds compared to winterblizzards, only mask my definition of how this religion has affected me. The twoaspects of Hinduism that have had the most impact on me are sanatana dharma andvarnashrama dharma.
Sanatana dharma as described in An Introduction toHindu Culture by Swami Tejomayananda is the eternal, universal value to befollowed by all people, irrespective of age, nationality, profession or station.I consider this a building block in my life. I have not only learned to respectpeople, but objects, too. For example, when we buy a car and bring it home, wepray for it, hoping it will run well, last long and provide safety. And when Iaccidentally touch an elder with my foot, I do namaskarum. If the same incidenthappens with a book of scriptures, like The Bhagavath Geetha, I will donamaskarum as well because it, like us, has a purpose of existence. Its dutiesare to teach us more about our leaders, values and traditions, as our duty is tofollow and have belief in them.
Varnashrama dharma (also as described byTejomayananda) is specific duties given to each individual with respect to his orher age, sex and status in society. This dharma tells me how to fulfill my dutiesas a student and how to accomplish my goals. As a teenager, my main focuses inlife are education and considering future fields of work. Varnashrama dharma hashelped guide me onto the right track. Many people go through a phase ofambivalence during their teen years, with an enormous amount of peer pressure.This dharma, however, has given me the inspiration to set high goals and thedetermination to accomplish them.
The one thing that separates Hinduismfrom other cultures, something I respect the most, is tolerance. Hinduism praisesother religions rather than discriminate against them. We believe that anyone whoworships God, whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish – anyone who shows respect to aleader – should be treated with respect. To me, Hinduism is more than just areligion – it’s a way of life.