More than a religious community, Hinduism is a faith or a way of life. There is no particular approach or a prescribed book of rules that governs it. It is greatly influenced by the people, their caste, the region they belong from and community-driven practices. Even with all these variations, there is a common thread of belief in a supreme being which revolves around the principles of truth, dharma, and karma. It was not started or preached by anyone and has its roots which precede recorded history.
There are nine beliefs which are prevalent among the many other beliefs and are the pillars of Hindu spirituality-
- One Almighty– Hindus believe in an omnipresent being that is a supreme power whose existence is beyond the understanding of humans- the one who is the creator of this universe.
- The sacred scriptures– Hindus believe in the four divine Vedas; Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda. These texts are ancient and the oldest proof of Hinduism. These Vedas elaborate on the ways of worship, sacrifices and method of meditation. The main essence of these Vedas is to understand the creation of this universe.
- The three worlds– According to the Hindu beliefs, there are three worlds- Satya Loka ( Heaven), Bhu Loka (Earth) and Patala loka (Hell). The universe undergoes a continuous cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution.
- The law of Karma– Karma is the law of cause and effect. It is how a person’s life is influenced and moulded because of one’s own deeds. Hindus believe that if you do good, you get good back.
- The Theory of Reincarnation– In Hinduism, people believe in rebirth until you get liberation. It is closely related to the law of karma. It is believed that you are reborn until you have resolved all your karmas and attain moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirth).
- Temples– Divine beings exist in a world we don’t know about. Hinduism talks about temple worship and rituals. They believe that prayers are a medium of communication with the Gods.
- The Guru– Hindus follow spiritual leaders who practice and teach others the way of life, self-discipline, good behaviour, and meditation.
- Ahimsa– Everyone is equal and deserves to be loved and respected. They do not harm or hurt any other being by words or action.
- Equal respect for all– Hinduism believes that all religions have their own rules and practices, but are different facets of God and lead to the same values of Love and Light.
These 9 being the pillars of Hinduism are still just a small part of the entire faith. There is no way you can convert to be a Hindu, you can be born Hindu or simply practice Hinduism. There is no specific scripture which lists downs the codes of conduct or the way of life a Hindu should follow. Hinduism allows an individual to experience life and learn through it. A man who is successful in understanding this achieves enlightenment and becomes one with God.