Hinduism, The Trinity and Scriptures
The Concept of God
There is one God, (Supreme Reality) perceived differently. Supreme Reality - Brahman has two aspects, transcendent (impersonal) and immanent (personal). In the impersonal aspect Bhraman is without attributes (nirguna Brahman). In the personal aspect (saguna Brahman) God is the creator, preserver and controller of the universe generally known as the Hindu Trinity. the Hindu Trinity represents three manifestations of Supreme Reality. They are as follows:
Brahma: Creation, Vishnu: Preservation, Shiva: Destruction
Hinduism, The Trinity and Scriptures
The Cosmic Functions of the Supreme Load:
Creator + Preservation + Destruction
Generator + Operator + Destroyer = GOD
Bhrama is the Creator. However Bhrama is not worshipped is the same way as other gods because it is believed that his work - that of creation - has already been done. Hindus worship other expression of Bhraman (Universe), which take a veriety of forms. Hindus are often classifed intoo three groups according to which form of Brahman they worship. Those who worship Vishnu (the preserver) and Vishunu's important incarnations Rama, Krishna and Narasimha, those who worship Shiva (the destroyer) and those who worship the Mother Goddess, Shakti, also called Parvati Lakshmi, Durga, Kali or Saraswati.
Vishnu, the preserver is believed to be llinked to a very early sun god and is considered by his worshippers to be greast among the gods. He is also referred to as Narayana. Vishnu preserves and protects the universe and has appeared on earth through his avatars (incarnations) to save humankind from natural disaster or tyranny. The most well-known avatars are: Rama (purna Purushoottam), Krishna, who destroyed the wicked and established a new order, Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and Kalki (future incarnation). Vishnu is represented in sculpture and painging in a human form, ofter painted blue. Lakshmi is the consort of Vishnu who has appeared as the wife of each of Vishnu's incarnations including Site, wife of Prince Ram, and Rukmani, wife of Krishn. She is the goddess of wealth and good fortune who offered special worship during the Diwali festival
Lord Shiva the destroyer is a necessary part of the trinity because without destruction, there can be no re-creation. His city is Varnasi, and it its believed that my Hindu who dies tere goes straight to heaven. Shiva is the source oof both good and evil. He conmbines many conttradictory elements. In picturres and sculptures, Shiva is represented as Lord of the Dance (Natraj) who controls the movement of the universe. He is also associated with fertility. Shiva has many consorts including Kali, often poortrayed as wild and voilent, Parvati, rekknowned for her gentleness, and Durga, a powerful goddess created from the combined forces of the anger of several gods.
Mahadevi, and other Vedic Gods:
The Great Goddess (Mahadevi) appears as a consort of the principal male gods and encompasss the theousands of local goddness or mates. these can be both beautiful and benign, like Lakshmi, or all-powerful ddestructive forces like Kali. Great Goddness shrines are associated with agriculture, fertility and the female energy, or shakti, is important in ancient texts which are collectively known as the Tantras. Shakti is contrasted with Shiva, whose masculine consciousness is powerless without the creative female energy. Other Vedic gods Indra, the god of storms was once the Vedic king of all gods but has over time, lost some influence.
- Indra's main function is in leading the warriors.
- Indra fights not only human enemics, but also demons.
- Agni is the Vedic god of fire and is one of the supreme gods of the Riig Veda.
- Agni is believed to take the offerings to the other world through fire.
- Agni is represented by the ram.
- Varuna is the third vedic god whose inffluence persist today.
- Varurna persides over the orderliness of the unverse.
- Varuna rules over the night sky.
- Varuna is believved to know everything.
- Varuna is the god of truth and moral jadgment.
- Varuna knows the secrets of the hearts
As one can see Saguna Brahman is worshipped is male and female forms. Hindu Deities represent various perceptions of one God. Hindus believve in monotheistic ploytheism, rather than polytheism.
Paths to Moksha
The Hindu religion recognize many paths to salvation (Moksha) or Atma's reunion with Param-Atma (God), threeof which are:
- The path of knowledge (Gnan).
- The path of work and religious performance (Karma)
- The path of devotion (Bhakti)
These are the most ancient religious texts which define truth for Hindus. They were introduced to India by the Aryans. Hindu believe that the texts were received by scholars direct from God and passed on to future generations by word of mouth. Vedic texts are sometimes called shruti, which means hearing. For hundreds, may be even thousands of years, the texts were passed on oreally. Contents of the Vedic are made up of four compositions:
- Rig Veda Samhita, the oldest of four Vedas consists of 1028 hymns praising the GODs
- Yajur-Veda Samhita is used as handbook by priests performing the Vedic rituals.
- Sema-Veda Samhita consists of Chants and tunes for singing at the rituals
- Atharva-Veda Samhitga preserves many traditions which pre-date the Aryan influence and
- consists of spells, charms and magical formulae.
The Upanishads were so called bacause they were taught to those who sat down beside their teachers. (upa = near, ni = down, shad = sit). These texts developed from the Vedic tradition, largely reshaped Hinduism by providing believes with philosophical knowledge. The major Upanishads are partly prose, partly verse. Central to the Upanishads is the concept of Brahman; the scared power which informs reality.
The Mahabharat and Bhagavad Gitam
The Mahabharat is an acccount of the wars of the house of Bharat. It is one of the most popular Hindu texts and is known as a smriti text (the remembered tradition). This is considered by some to be of less importance than shruti (the heared text, such as Vedas). It has, nevertheless, an important palce within Hindu tradition. (The Bhagvad Gita, or "Song of the Lord" is part o
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