What Do All Hindus Believe?
Hinduism as a universal
tradition does not emphasize a particular code of beliefs that
divides humanity into believers and non-believers. It does not begin
with the assertion "I believe in God" but with the
recognition "God or Truth and myself are one." It does not
state that only those of our faith can find God but that God or
Truth is the nature of all beings. It does not have articles of
faith, like the belief in various miracles or special revelations,
but directs us to discover the nature of Truth, which we can
experience in our own consciousness as clearly as we can see the sun
rise in the morning.
Hinduism is not centered in
a particular name or form but on Truth which lies behind all names
and forms. It is an open tradition that encourages a diversity of
approaches, not a monolithic religion consisting of a standard
creed. Its emphasis is Dharma or Universal Truth that one can
perceive, not belief, which appears contrary to the nature of
things. Hinduism recognizes not only the unity of the Divine but the
infinity of Truth.
The principles which all
Hindus accept are not articles of faith but dharmas or natural laws.
Such are the law of karma, rebirth, the existence of a cosmic Lord (Ishvara)
and universal intelligence, the beneficence of the world of Nature,
and Self-realization as the ultimate goal of life. Hindus similarly
share common practices like ritual, prayer, pilgrimage, charity,
Yoga and meditation but there is no prescribed system of activities
that all Hindus must follow. There are common Hindu values and
attitudes like non-violence, truthfulness, self-discipline and
control of sexual energy, which are even more important than these
These approaches are
employed as ways of finding Truth, not as dogmas that tell us what
that truth is supposed to be. Sanatana Dharma tells us that it is
more important to give people the means to find Truth, than it is to
tell people what Truth is supposed to be, which becomes a dogma. As
Truth is our own nature, we need only let it come forth by no longer
trying to impose any external influences upon it. We see therefore
that many people, who may not formally regard themselves as Hindus,
may have a Hindu view of reality. This is because the Hindu view is
not a sectarian view but the view of the whole, which is that One
Self is All.