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Nine Beliefs of Hinduism

Beliefs are the building blocks of the mind. Our beliefs determine our thoughts and attitudes about life, which in turn direct our actions. By our actions we create our destiny. Beliefs about sacred matters—God, man and cosmos—are essential to one's approach to enlightenment. But beliefs are not mere matters of agreement. They are what we value and hold as true. Hindus believe many diverse things, but there are a few bedrock concepts on which most Hindus concur. The following nine beliefs, though not exhaustive, offer a simple summary of Hindu spirituality.

  1. I believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world's most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God's word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.
  2. I believe in one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
  3. I believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
  4. I believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
  5. I believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and Moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.
  6. I believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, and sacraments, as well as personal devotionals, create a communion with these Devas and Gods.
  7. I believe that a spiritually awakened master, or Satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation.
  8. I believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore I practice Ahimsa, "non-injury."
  9. I believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God's Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.

Hinduism, the world's oldest religion, has no beginning—it precedes recorded history. It has no human founder. It is a mystical religion, leading the devotee to personally experience the Truth within, finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are one. Hinduism has three main denominations—Saivism, Shaktism, and Vaishnavism. The preceding nine beliefs form a common ground for all Hindu sects.

Four Facts of Hinduism

What Is Karma?

Karma is what the soul undergoes in one of two ways, according to whether its actions are virtuous or not; but both kinds subsist until the end of enjoyment in this world.
-Svayambu Agama

God's cosmic law of karma governs our life experiences through cause and effect. As God's force of gravity shapes cosmic order, karma shapes experiential order. Through karma, your thoughts, emotions and deeds-whether good, bad or mixed-return to you. Thus, karma is your teacher. It imparts the lessons you need and are able to meet. For it is a divine law that no karmic situation will arise that exceeds your ability to resolve it. Karma is not fate. You have free will. No God or external force is controlling your life. It is your own karmic creation. To be responsible for your karma is strength. To blame another is weakness. Therefore, remember God's great law of karma and act wisely.

What Is Reincarnation?

Through his past works he shall return once more to birth, entering whatever form his heart is set on. This mighty soul unborn grows not old, nor dies, for the soul is immortal and fearless.
-Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Your soul is an immortal body of light. Its Absolute and superconscious essence is identical to with God. Yet, this identity needs to be realized and unfolded within the soul. Toward this goal your soul undertakes many, many lifetimes in a physical body. You are now the sum total of all your past lives. You undergo every conceivable human experience as the forces of the body, ego and desire manifest. In the latter lives the forces are transmuted toward spirituality. Finally, your soul realizes God. After resolving all residual karmas, your soul no longer incarnates into human form. As the Agamas and Vedas teach, the soul continues its evolution in the inner worlds. Therefore, you live joyously, strive for spiritual unfoldment and do not fear death.


What Is Dharma?

May noble wisdom come to us from all sides, undeceived, unhindered, overflowing, so that the Devas may always help us onward, unceasing is their care, our Guardians day by day.
-Rig Veda

Dharma is God's Divine Law, the law of being. Dharma is to the individual what its normal development is to a seed-the orderly fulfillment of an inherent nature and destiny. When following Dharma you are in harmony with the cosmic order; you abide close to God. The moral dimension of Hindu Dharma is embodied in the eight yamas (restrains) and eight niyamas (observances). The yamas are: nonviolence not stealing; disciplining desire; abjuring lust and greed; curbing arrogance and anger; not lying; avoiding injustice; shunning wrongdoing and evil company. The niyamas: be pure in body, mind and speech; love mankind; seek contentment; cultivate devotion; develop forbearance; give charitably; study the scriptures; perform penance and sacrifice. Every person has his or her path; worship God, and your Dharma will become clear.

How Do Hindus Worship?

Offering of perfumed substances, flowers, incense, lamps and fresh fruit—these are the five elements of the traditional puja which culminates with offering of the lamps.
-Kamika Agama

Worship expresses our profound love for God. Puja, bhajan, prayer and meditation are all worshipful means of direct, personal communion with God and Gods. God, Gods and devas are all real beings dwelling in the inner worlds. They can and want to help you in every aspect of your life. This they do in accord with your own patterns of karma and Dharma. Daily, personal puja at home keeps you God-conscious and your home holy. God has established many temples to allow us to intimately communicate with Him. Temple puja opens a channel to God. Through His personal presence and shakti, prayers are answered, karma softened, spiritual unfoldment guided. Surrender, worship with intense love, and God hears.

These four facts—karma, reincarnation, Dharma, worship—are the essence of the Vedas and Agamas and the fabric of every Hindu's life.

To invite Acharya Bharat to speak on Hinduism at your group or event, please call him at 503.330.4960 or Contact Bharat

You can also visit the Brahma Premananda Ashram/Temple, 11515 SW Hall Blvd. in Tigard, Oregon 97223, Ph. 503-598-3073 to see living Hinduism in action. Click here to enter the Temple Web site:
www.portlandhindutemple.org