Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma. It means eternal law.
Philosophy of Dharma is – Righteousness, Love, Service, Austerity, Simplicity and Faith in the Divine Lord.
Artha (money) is the means of living. It is not the aim. Dharma precedes Artha. To earn money in righteous way without hurting others, without cheating others, without grabbing others’ means of livelihood and possession. Kama denotes love and lust. Love for all and is righteous ways of love, satisfies natural instinct of Kama (lust) for ongoing creation. Lust is to be limited. Indulgence is bad. To be lion, it is to be limited. So, Righteousness (dharma) precedes artha (money) and kama (lust & love).
Moksha means liberation. Human body is manifestation of infinite parambrahma. In duality, as human being, we enjoy Brahma (Supreme Lord) like one enjoys sugar. In non-duality a person is merged with the Lord. Liberation means to realise this ultimate truth and merge in the Lord while following the path of Dharma, Love and Service.
Scriptures of Hinduism are based on Sruti (revealed) and Smriti (remembered). Main scriptures are four Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, The Bhagwat Gita a treatise from the Mahabharata spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna is the essence of the teaching of the Vedas, finally Hinduism. Hinduism believes in “creation, sustenance and destruction of world by Divine Lord”. Reincarnation based on Karma Yoga, Rajas Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyan Yoga is the teaching of Lord Krishna.
The syllable Om represents Parambrahma. Om is the divine sound at the time of creation of the world when the world was void. Scriptures give insight and philosophical teaching to the living world and how to realise the ultimate truth and reality with all happiness in austerity and simplicity.
Max Muller and Josh Woodroffe translated Vedas & Upanishads in English for the knowledge of the world. Enlightended teachers like Sri Tulsidas, Sant Kabir, Sri Sri Aurobindo, Paramhansa Ramkrishna, Paramhansa Sri Yoginandji, Swami Vivekanandji, Swami Rama have been awakening the true meaning of existence and love, the magnetic force balance the cosmic creation. Epic Ramayana sways the common masses, influences their devotion to God and establishes the righteous living and destruction of person/ persons who follow the path of unrighteousness.
Hindu believes that there is a spirit – Him the sword cannot pierce – him the fire cannot burn – him the water cannot melt – him the air cannot dry. Human should be eternal and immortal, perfect and infinite and death means only a change of centre from one body to another.
Vedic sage proclaimed “Hear you children of immortal bliss, come out of darkness, delusion, and know him. You are not sinner. Like all rivers flowing to sea, all various paths of religion lead to one cosmic / divine power / God. It is oneness. It is universal oneness.
The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ; the son of God, the saviour. It is centered on the life and teachings
of Jesus as presented in the New Testament. Resurrection of Jesus after three days of his death is the most important event. According to the gospels of Mathew and Luke, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Marry.
Trinity is an essential doctrine of Christianity – “Father, son and the holy spirit”. God is believed to be infinite. Trinity is also being defined as one God in three persons. Bible is the holy book. It is in two parts (The Old Testament & the New Testament). Christians assemble for communal worship on Sunday, the day of resurrection. The Cross is one of the most widely recognised symbols in the world.
Do not do to others what ye do not wish done to yourself; and wish for others too. l Thou shalt love God above all things, and thy neighbour as thyself. l Blessed are the pure in heart, for thy shall be filled. l Blessed are they which do have hunger and thirst for righteousness, for thy shall be filled. l Do not fear them who kill the body; fear him who is able to destroy soul. l Judge not, that you be not judged. l Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous-ness and all these things will be added to you. l Be not be afraid, only believe. l Oh father forgive them for they know not what they do. l Be you therefore perfect, even as your father heaven is perfect. l The light of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye be controlled, thy whole body shall be full of light. l Nature provides equity in life sustaining water, air, natural products balancing the entire earth. l Listen to own feeble voice of conscience every now and then.
Lord Mahavir was the 24th Tirthankara or Prophet of the Jain religion. His preaching is Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Anekanta (Non-Absolutism) and Aparigraha (Non- Possession).
Liberated souls are the supreme in this world.
“Do not injure any and do good to all that you can. Man has to bear his sorrow all alone. Attachment and aversion are the root causes of karma and karma originates from delusion”. Dharma is essence. The ten virtues are forgiveness, right faith, right knowledge, right conduct, giving protection to living creatures, supreme forgiveness, humility, straightforwardness, truthfulness, purity, self restraint, austerity, renunciation, detachment, continence. “The soul verily is Brahman. Fight with your own self. One who conquers one’s self by one’s own self alone experiences supreme bliss”
“Conquer anger by forgiveness, pride by humility, deceit by straightforwardness and greed by contentment.” “Mediate on one’s soul after controlling one’s diet, posture, sleep
and gaining knowledge wholesome and healthy food, in
“Be free from fear and let others be free from fear.” There should be no colour, no taste, no smell, no touch, no gender. The pure soul is free from the activities of mind, body and speech. It is full of infinite knowledge and perception, firmly established in the self.
Mahavir said that possession of an object itself is not possessiveness; the attachment to an object is possessiveness.
A monk in search of the supreme path of liberation resembles a lion (in fearlessness) an elephant (in dignity) a bull (in strength) a deer (in uprightness) a beast (in freedom from attachment) the wind (in being companion-less), the sun (in brilliance), an ocean (in serenity) the mountain (in firmness), the moon (in coolness) a diamond (in luster) the earth (in patience) a serpent (in being homeless) and the sky (independent, limitless, vast, humanity is the foundation of the Jain faith.
Thus, Jainism prescribes a path of non-violence for all forms of living being in the world. Self effort is essential for progress of soul on spiritual ladder to divine consciousness. One has to conquer own inner enemies. Every living soul is potentially divine. The universe and dharma are eternal, without beginning or end. The universe undergoes process of cyclical change. Soul incarnates in various life forms during its journey over time.
Jains do not believe in an omnipotent supreme being the creator. They believe in an eternal universe governed by natural laws. Compassion for all life both human and non-human is care to Jainism. Lord Mahavir was the last Tirthankara, preceded by 23 others to attend enlighten-ment. Jain rituals have been influenced by Hindu Philisophy. Hindu Holy books contain beautiful narration about Lord Rishabdev (first Tirthankar).
Lately there are sects in Jainism – Digambars and Svetambars. “Svetambars believe that women may attain liberation while digambaras do not believe in it. Holiest symbol is swastika. Other is Dharma-Chakra and Sidha-Chakra. Jain monks do research an obtain higher – education. “Do not injure any, do good to all that you can.”
King Nami, believer of Jainism said, “Fight with yourself! Why fight with external forces? He who conquers himself through himself will obtain happiness.” He who is desirous of pleasures will not get them and will come to a bad end at last.
Buddhism had its origin in the teachings of Gautama Buddha of the 5th century before Christianity became the world religion. Buddha saw truth by intuition and realisation. He was born in a royal family. Being moved by seeing an old man, a diseased person, a dead body and a sannyasin, he was moved and plunged into deep thought. After 6 years of renouncing everything, desired enlightenment dawned upon him. He preached full forty five years. He is not only the light of Asia but “the light of the world”. Swami Vivekananda said, “He was the ideal karmayogi acting without motive, he was the greatest man ever born beyond compare.”
Five Precepts : One has to abstain from killing, stealing, adultery, lying and liquor.
Eight Fold Path : Right understanding, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration.
Buddha looks equally with a kind heart to all the living beings.
The Tathagata has found the middle path. To satisfy the necessities of life is not evil. To keep the body in good health is a duty for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp to wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear.
Judaism is the ‘religion, philosophy, and way of life’ of the Jewish people. Originating in the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh), Judaism is considered by Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship which God developed with the Children of Israel.
Judaism is a monotheistic faith as it believes in only one God. Often this God is beyond our ability to comprehend, but God is nevertheless present in our everyday lives. Some connect with God through prayer, others see the divine in the majesty of the natural world, others may not think about God on a daily basis. Humankind in Judaism is the divine image of God. For this reason every person is equally important and has an infinite potential to do good in the world. People have the free will to make choices in their lives and each of us is responsible for the consequences of those choices. Judaism believes that Jews are uniquely connected and all Jews are part of a global Jewish community.
The Torah is Judaism’s most important text which contains stories and commandments that teach about life and death. It contains the 10 Commandments as well as the 613 commandments (mitzvot). The Ten Commandments that all Jews consider to be the most important are:
l I am the Lord your God
l You shall not recognise the gods of others in My presence
l You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain
l Remember the day of shabbat to keep it holy
l Honour your father and your mother
l You shall not murder
l You shall not commit adultery
l You shall not steal
l Do not give false testimony against your neighbour
l You shall not covet your fellow’s possessions
Sikhism is founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and ten successive Sikh gurus in the 15th century Punjab. The word Sikh comes from the Sanskrit word ‘sishya’ meaning disciple and ‘siksha’ meaning instruction.
Sikhism has faith in “Waheguru” using the sacred symbol of “Ikonkar”, the universal God. Holy scriptures are the Guru Granth Sahib (Adigranth) and Dasam Granth. Sikhism believes in equality of all humans. God is one, but He has innumerable forms. God is love. God is unity. The same God resides in the temple, in the mosque and outside as well.
Spiritual union with God is the ultimate aim of life. They believe in an endless cycle of birth i.e reincarnation.
Sikhism accepted some of the basic doctrines of Hinduism. God is Absolute, All pervading, and external. He is the creator, the cause of causes. Life is not sinful in its origin. God himself takes human form. To make His will your own will is the means to achieve Him. Give up to His supreme will. He cannot be comprehended by reason, one can never have contentment even with the riches of the world. All things are manifestation of His will. Discover untold spiritual riches within yourself. God is the only doer. Remember Him day and night. So pure is God’s name. Whoever obeys God, knows the pleasure of it, it has own heart. God’s name is the ocean of peace.
Guru is God like in power as creator, protector and destroyer. In Hinduism “Guru Brahman Guru Bishnu Guru Shiva Guru’s God (Govinda both are standing, whom should I salute first).
Three essentials for spiritual realisation of soul to God - Satguru, Satsang at holy assembly & prayers and Satnaam – chanting name of God. Like other religions Sikhism says, “Conquer your mind for victory over self ; victory over self is the victory over the world.”
Third Guru Amar Das’s son in law Ram Das founded the city of Amritsar, the Harmindar Sahib, the holiest city of Sikh. The 6th guru Har Govindji created “Akal Takht (the throne of timeless one) serving as the supreme decision making centre of Sikhdom. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed by Aurangzeb for helping to protect Hindus. Govind Singh ended the line of human gurus and now the guru granth sahib serves as the eternal guru, with its interpretation vested with the community.
Nanak taught that ritual, religious ceremonies or idol worship is of little use and Sikhs are discouraged from fasting or going on pilgrimages. Gurudwaras are open to all, regardless of religion, background, caste or race. Guru Nanak’s japji is a prayer. Jap meaning recitation of the divine name to combine all negative thoughts out of the mind. Sikh’s religion does not permit divorce. Khalsa (meaning pure) is the name given by Govind Singh to all Sikhs who have been baptized or irritated by taking a ammrit in a ceremony called ammrit sancar. Guru Nanak said, “As fragrance abides in the flower, as the reflection is within the mirror so does the lord abide within you. Why search for him without?”
The ray has merged in the sun, The wave in the sea
The light has merged in the light And man is fulfilled.
That which you practise day and night has been written on your forehead. How clear is the path of one who believes! He lives with honour, with honour he leaves walks straight on the highway, nor wanders in the by-ways. And is to Dharma, the duty bound when hands feet and body are soiled water washes them pure.
When the mind is polluted by sin and shame it is cleaned by love of your name for him you cannot hide your shame. When He the saver sees all within. If compassion be your mosque faith your prayer mat.
Arabia about the time of Muhammad’s birth in Mecca in AD 570 was in a state of religious unrest. There was urgent need of moral reform. At the age of forty, Muhammad received his first “divine revelation” in the solitude of the mountains near Mecca. Onward he felt he had a mission in life to life to the people from moral degradation. He proclaimed himself as the messenger of God to mankind. Swami Vivekananda said, Christianity is increasing due to service and Islam is multiplying by sword. He suffered every kind of indignity when he began to denounce the worship of idols and observance of superstitious practices. He migrated to Madina. He sent missionaries to all parts of Arabia and even to neigh-bouring countries including Egypt and Persia.
Prophet Muhammad’s lessons
l Have faith in God l Abandoning that which God disapproves l Purity and hospitality l Free from malice towards anyone l To love him who loves God l To hate him who hates God l To do unto all men and women as you would wish them to have done unto you l Speak the truth l Perform what you promise l Be chaste l Serve humanity – feed the hungry, serve sick l Resign to the will of God l Acquire riches in lawful manner l Love neighbour l Hold the oppressor from oppression l Whoever does good to you, return the same to him l Whoever does good to you, return the same to him l Giving alms, out of the little one owns l God is merciful. He is gracious. He is pure. He loves the pure lAdore God. He sees you l God is humble. Be humble l God is unity. He likes unity l One will enter heaven, if one has faith in heart equal to a single grain of mustard seed l Faith is a restraint against all violence l He who knows his own self, knows God l With knowledge man rises to the heights of goodness and to a noble position.
Sufism is defined by its adherents as esoteric, inner, mystical branch of Islam. Another name for a Sufi is dervish. Sufi means purity, truth and wisdom. Sufis trace their origin to an inner circle of disciples of the Prophet Muhammad, to whom he taught secret and hidden truths, not revealed to all. Living with total dedication and devotion to God, they realise God within their hearts, experiencing mystic visions and unity with the divine by the means of love and devotion towards the truth. This is called the ‘Tarigat’ – the spiritual path or way towards God. Through continuous meditation and contemplation one attains intuitive insights. One reaches the height of ecstasy through devotional music. Live in poverty to avoid material desires. And following path of truth, meditation, contemplation, living in austerity, singing songs of love in bliss ecstasy have the Union with divine. Muslims believe that they will become close to god in paradise after death and the final judgement. Sufis believe that one can become close to God and experience him while one is alive. The Sufi surrounds to God in love over and over.
The essential messages are remembrance of God - let go the consciousness of other things and forget all except god, until one can exclaim - ‘All that I have read and know I have forgotten, only awareness of the friend now remains constant’. Sufi loves all beings as manifestation of god and serves them service to others means service to God. Sufi prays-
“Thy light is in all forms. Thy love in all beings / In a loving mother, in a kind father, in an innocent child, in a helpful friend, in an aspiring teacher / Allow us to recognise that in all Thy Holy names and forms as Rama, as Krishna, as Siva as Buddha / Let us know Thee as Abraham, as Solomon, as Zarathushtra, as Moses, as Mohammad and in many other names and forms known and unknown to the world.” May the messages of God reach far and wide illuminating the whole humanity as one single brotherhood as Lalan Fakir, the famous Sufi Fakir sang-
The man who holds his beloved in his mind’, Can do without the rosary. He enjoys solitude or
I am the end of all knowledge
I may not be I
If you know the real I
You will also know the unknown
And I merges with I
It is the main stream of traditional religion in China. The
word Tao (or Dao) translates as the ‘path or way’ of life In Chinese religion and philosophy, Tao emphasises three jewels—‘compassion, moderation, humility.’ Taoist thought generally focuses on nature, the relationship between humanity and the cosmos, health and longevity and wuwei (action through inaction) which is considered to produce harmony with the Universe.
Robinet asserts that Taoism is better understood as a way of life than a religion. “Man is a macrocosm for the Universe. The body ties directly into the Chinese five elements”. The five organs correlate with the five elements, five directions and the seasons. Man may gain knowledge of the Universe by understanding himself. Various rituals, exercises and substances are said to positively attract one’s physical and mental health. They are also intended to align one spiritually with cosmic forces or enable ecstatic spiritual journeys.
Some of the essence of Taoism and Hinduism appears to be the same. Lord Krishna told Arjuna, ‘Action is inaction and inaction is action.’ One of the means to be near Divinity: ‘Five elements and five organs are to be regulated.’
Thee only do I know to be Supreme. All other I dismiss from this my mind. He who is known as Ahura Mazata with duteous deeds we worship Him alone we know thee as supreme above all lives. O pilgrims for the shrine! Where go come back! Come back! Ye, where? The beloved is here! His presence in all your neighbourhood both bless. Why will ye wander in the wilderness!
In reality, it is not a religion. Confucius was a philosopher, moralist, statesman, educationist and above all a saint but not a religionist. China has not suffered the calamity of a religious war. The Chinese have welcomed every visiting religion from outside and assimilated it by a gradual process of humanisation. Confucius said that with heaven and earth, there is no past nor present and no beginning nor end. The best way for human life is to follow nature and to be harmonised with it. Know to serve living beings, then think of serving God. All beings are just like the flowing water, changing and changing without a moment’s cessation. A virtuous man has three awes: first awe for heaven’s decree: then; second awe for a great man, third awe for the saint’s words. His teachings urge one to be loyal and filial, faithful and moral, to know propriety and righteousness, to value shame and purity and to practise all ways of self-culture. The wise and the able should be chosen to rule: faithfulness and peacefulness cultivated by and maintained among all. Man must not only love his own parents and his own children, but also endeavour to give the aged rest and comfort, make the grown ups work and serve and help the young grow in body and mind. How to realise Perfect Beauty and Perfect Good is based upon the cultivation of individual personality.
China’s ruling Communist Party embraces Confucianism for use in shaping what it likes to call a ‘harmonious society’, but it has also stoked the nationalist sentiments that sparked objections to the church in Qufu.
The Bahai Faith is a, founded by Bahaullah in nineteenth-century, emphasising the spiritual unity of all humankind. In the Bahai faith, religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers. The followers of Bahai religion believes -
lAll humanity is one family lWomen and men are equal lAll prejudice - racial, religious, national, or economic - is destructive and must be overcome lWe must investigate truth for ourselves, without preconceptions lScience and religion are in harmony lOur economic problems are linked to spiritual problems lThe family and its unity are very important lThere is one God lAll major religions come from God lWorld peace is the crying need of our time
Essence of all religions is humanity which revolves around righteousness, action, creation, sustenance, happiness and ultimate self realisation to who am I and who is He. Human is called social animal. But it forget the same by overcoming greed and so on. Animals are better grateful. All you know the story of “Alexendra, the slave and lion”. On being treated of his wound, lion though hungry for days did not eat Alexendara.
Hinduism is ageless, sanatana - a religion of wisdom, love and hope for all. It does not divide, but unites, does not injure but heals, does not kill but saves. If you attain to God and his kingdom of righteousness, all other things shall be added unto you.
One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.
Ye who are seeking God! You are He! Ye need not search! He is ye very much! Why will ye seek for what was never lost? There is naught – else than ye! Be not in doubt. “The wise see in their heart the face of God. And not in images of stone seven clay, who in themselves, alas I can see him not. They see to find him in some outer spot”.
Religion everywhere served the purpose of supporting the moral & social principles which have made human beings civilised. To all religions, my salutation again and again and my salutation to the truth of all religions.