Hinduism

1005 words 5 pages
1. What elements of earlier belief systems do you see integrated into Hinduism? What were the external conditions (environmental/societal/political/economic etc.) which gave rise to the origination of Hinduism? What was it about this time period? Location? Population? In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion since some elements of it date back thousands of years; Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings despite many key figures and numerous holy books that might indicate otherwise. Hence why Hinduism is often referred to as a “way of life” and why it makes sense that the religion was informed by so many external conditions around its “birth” (BBC Religion Profile, …show more content…
(BBC Religion Profile, Hinduism) (The World’s Religions, Huston Smith, The Stations of Life p.55-59.) When the British ruled over India, they utilized this caste system as way to “administer” the people, to give them jobs, but also as a way to define them and keep them “in their place” as colonizers. Indians still marry within castes and employment opportunities/types of professions are still largely defined by caste as well, despite India’s attempts by the Supreme Court to ensure discrimination based on caste is illegal (“Supreme Court: Caste discrimination is holding up India’s Progress,” www.idsn.org, 6 May 2011)

Or for instance, the concept of stages of life comes from the concept of never dying and having multiple lives. In wedding traditions for instance, the sacraments performed at a wedding are called vivah sanskar. This sanskar marks the start of the second and most important stage of life called Grihistha Ashrama, which involves setting up a new family unit. When the sacred fire is lit the sacred mantras are recited in Sanskrit teaching virtues of selflessness and the shilarohan in the wedding symbolizes a bride’s willingness to overcome hurdles, while doing her duties as a wife. Moreover, even the sweet food served at weddings is a symbolic part of the Hindu faith. These are all concepts inherent in Hinduism and its sacred texts, belief systems, and rituals. (Diglossic Hinduism: Liberation and

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