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Hinduism Throu Questions And Answers

Hindu Books > Introduction And References > Hinduism Throu Questions And Answers

About The Author - Shri Swami Harshananda

Introduction To The Author Of 'Hinduism Through Questions & Answers '

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Q #1. What is Hinduism ?

The ancient Persians in whose language the letter 'sa' got metamorphosed into 'ha', used to call this land of the river Sindhu (Indus) as Hindusthan or Hindudesh, the people as Hindus and their religion as Hind Dharma.

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Q #2. From whom did it originate and when ?

Unlike the other religions of the world, Hinduism did not originate with any single prophet or at a particular period of human history.

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Q #3. What is the basic scripture of Hinduism ? Would you epitomize its contents ?

The Vedas are the basic scriptures of Hinduism. Literally Veda means knowledge or wisdom.

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Q #4. Many persons entertain wrong notions about Yajnas...?

If we are interested in living happily in this world, there must be the spirit of mutual co operation amongst us.

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Q #5. Are there other scriptures also, considered sacred and authoritative ?

In Hinduism, the number of books, considered as sacred, is legion.

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Q #6. Belief in God is common to almost all the religions of the world ...

God is one only, one without a second. His nature is Sachitananda i.e., eternal Existence Consciousness Bliss.

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Q #7. If the Hindus really believe in one God, why do they worship a variety of gods ....

Though Hinduism concedes the existence of several gods or deities, it accepts only one God, the Supreme.

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Q #8. Is it not the height of foolishness to worship manmade images of stone, clay or metal ?...

This objection, which is very common, has been raised without a proper understanding of the great and sublime principle behind image worship.

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Q #9. It is customary to install these images in temples which millions of Hindus visit to offer worship ...

God exists. He is the creator and controller. His grace gives us happiness and peace. His wrath brings about sorrow and suffering.

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Q #10. What is the significance of worship, whether at home or at the temple ? ...

Puja or worship is a loving entertainment of God, even as we entertain our friends and relatives whom we love.

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Q #11. Why should not the ordinary spoken language be used in worship instead of Sanskrit ? ...

Pita (worship), Homa (sacrifice) and other similar religious rites are considered as sacred and holy acts.

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Q #12. Are non Hindus permitted into Hindu temples ?

Of late, non Hindus also are being permitted to enter many Hindu temples. In some temples, however, admission is restricted to certain parts of the temple only.

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Q #13. Allied to this topic, two more queries crop up. First Why and how should we observe the festivals ?

Celebration of festivals and sacred days is a common phenomenon found in all religions.

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Q #14. Second Where is the need for pilgrimages? Are there set rules to be observed while undertaking them ?

A routine daily life in this humdrum world generates boredom very soon.

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Q #15. It is the bitter experience of Hindu pilgrims that they are exploited and harassed ...

This is a fundamental problem. Or, rather, it is the symptom of a fundamental problem.

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Q #16. Is it true that God incarnates in the harm form? How does it take place ? ....

In such matters as this, it is the Sastra or the scripture that is our authority.

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Q #17. So much about God and Hindu beliefs concerning Him. Coming to man as a subject, What has Hinduism to say ....

Though this question appears to be short and simple, it concerns a very profound subject discussed in our philosophical works.

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Q #18. In that case, Why do we undergo suffering in life ? Will it never come to an end ?

It is exactly this that has been called Maya, Ajnana or Avidya! Because of it, we forget our real nature as Atman, identify ourselves with the body, senses and mind, and consequently suffer.

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Q #19. Is Moksha the only goal of life ? Has Hinduism relegated other goals concerned with life in this world ?

No; this is in fact one of the misconceptions about Hindu values of life.

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Q #20. What is Moksha ? What will that experience be like ? How can one attain it ?

We know from our direct experience that we are separate from the dress we wear or the house we live in.

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Q #21. What Is Vedanta ? Are there different schools in it ? If so, what is the essential teaching of each school ?

Meaning of the word anta is end or essence. Since the Upanishads form the end portions of the Vedas and contain their essence, they have been termed as Vedanta.

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Q #22. What is the meaning of Yoga, a word which we hear so often ? How many Yogas are there ? ....

Yoga is that which unites (yuj to yoke) the Jivatman (the individual soul) with the Paramatman (the Supreme Self or God).

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Q #23. In this connection one is reminded of such terms as Guru (teacher), Sishya (disciple), Ishtadevata ....

Guru is one who dispels the darkness of ignorance and bestows the light of knowledge.

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Q #24. Is there rebirth for human beings ? If so, what causes it ?

There is rebirth for human beings and it is Karma that causes it. It is common experience that an injury.caused by a few seconds' exposure to fire will take several days (=3Dmillions of seconds!) to heal up.

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Q #25. Can the theory of Kama stand the test of reason? Can we not say that this theory has retarded the progress ....

The theory of Karma is just an extension of the well known maxim: 'As you sow, so you reap', to the inner world of moral values.

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Q #26. The world we live in, the universe we see and observe how were they created? Have the Hindu scriptures ....

The secret behind the creation of this world as also the process of creation the mystery surrounding the phenomena of birth and death.

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Q #27. The caste system has taken roots firmly and deeply in the Hindu Society. Mutual hatred based on castes ....

The early Vedic society seems to have been divided into two broad groups.

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Q #28. Allied to this problem, two more questions can be raised: Do the Hindu scriptures Prohibit inter dining ....

Many of the Dharmasastras permit even the Brahmanas to accept food from persons who are of pure character, whatever be their caste.

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Q #29. All thoughtful people are agreed that untouchability is a blot on the Hindu Society. Is there any authority ....

There are no two opinions about the urgent need for eradication of untouchability which is universally considered as a blot on the Hindu society.

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Q #30. What is the Varna Ashrama system ? Are these institutions sill in vogue today ?

According to the Value system propounded by Hinduism, Moksha or spiritual emancipation is the ultimate goal of life.

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Q #31. What is Samskara ? How many Samskaras have been listed in out scriptures ? Why should they be undertaken ? ...

Our life can be compared to a Yajna, a sacrifice. Even as the implements of a sacrifice are cleaned and purified, every Hindu is expected to cleanse and purify his body and mind through certain rites.

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Q #32. Granting that a Person is purified by these Samskaras what are the factors that pollute him ?

The Sastras declare that an individual is polluted by physical impurities while residing in the mother's womb and by Ajnana or ignorance in later life.

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Q #33. In this context, can the concepts of Papa (sin, evil) and Punya (virtue, merit, good) be clarified and explained ? ....

The concepts of good and evil, sin and virtue, exist practically in all religions. There is an oft quoted saying that defines Punya (virtue or good) as doing good to others and Papa (sin, evil) as harming others.

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Q #34. What is the status accorded to woman in Hindu Society ? Does she have equality with man ? ....

Hinduism has looked at the status and position of woman from two standpoints.

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Q #35. When we observe the evolution of Hinduism through the ages and recognize that it is still a powerful living ....

Undoubtedly. Hinduism has an enduring trait which has been shaped. sustained and strengthened by the various reform movements over the ages.

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Q #36. What were these principal reform movements ?

The sages of the Upanishadic age, were the forerunners of all the reform movements.

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Q #37. Have our Mathas (monastic seats) and the several religious institutions been participating in this movement ? ....

Some of the modern Mathas and religious institutions are a direct outcome of this latest reform movement.

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Q #38. What should be the ideal daily routine for a Hindu ?

An ideal daily routine for a Hindu could perhaps be suggested as follows: .....

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Q #39. It seems that the Hindu society is now at the crossroads of history. What should we do to build up a new ....

Firstly: We have to lead a good life as suggested in the foregoing section.

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Q #40. And lastly What should be the attitude of a Hindu towards other religions ?

An ideal Hindu believes that different religions are like the different radii of a circle, each leading to the self same centre, the centre being God experience.

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Copyright © by Hindu Books Universe All Right Reserved.

Published on: 2003-03-03 (5520 reads)

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