now reaping the results of those previous actions. It must also be true then that we can take charge of our destiny right now. We can create a better tomorrow by resolving do better actions today. However, as long as desires remain in the mind, the tendency toward rebirth will exist. What is Maya? In this life we do not see things very clearly. We are constantly faced with contradictions. Though we know what is right, we have trouble doing it. Our thoughts soar high, but our actions cannot rise to the level of our thoughts. The world is full of misery and injustice; as quickly as we remove some, more seems to rush in to take its place. We are told by the saints, and we also feel, that a loving
God is at work in this creation, but we cannot reconcile this with what we see around us. This complex situation in which we find ourselves is called Maya. The way out of this, according to Hinduism or Vedanta, is that we are not really seeing the world properly. If we saw it properly, we would see that it is God alone before us. Instead, we superimpose all this complex world on that divine reality. The illustration given is that of a rope, mistaken in semi-darkness for a snake. The snake of this world frightens us. What is the solution? Bring a light and you will see its real nature. It is only a rope. Likewise, the real nature or essence of this world is divinity alone. Bring the light of spiritual wisdom through yoga, and you will see God alone everywhere. This is what constitutes spiritual freedom or liberation, Moksha. When this knowledge dawns, there is complete satisfaction; no desire remains in the mind, and no further impulse for rebirth remains. What code of behavior do Hindus follow? The code of behavior is one's dharma. This is determined by the place in society and the duties associated with it. There are four main social positions or varna; Brahmins (priests and teachers) Kshatriyas (rulers and soldiers), Vaishyas (merchants) and Shudras (workers). There are four ideal stages of life described in Hindu scriptures: the student, the family man, the recluse, and the wandering holy man. For most Hindu people these represent a metaphorical path, not an actual path. What are the Hindu sacred texts? Hindu ancient, sacred texts were written in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India. The Vedas are the oldest - about 3000 years old. They are a collection of hymns, prayers, and magic spells. The Upanishads are stories and parables told by gurus (teachers) to their students The Mahabharata is a story of a war between two royal families. The Bhagavad Gita is a very popular part of this text. The Ramayana is a story of the god Rama and the rescue of his wife Sita from Ravana, the evil demon king.
Introduction to Hinduism Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide.
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- Fall '19