Hinduism is a religion based in India and neighboring countries. The religion’s origin is traced back to before 2000 BCE during the Harappa culture. The religion’s beliefs were documented into distinguished written works during 2000 to 500 BCE. Practices and important knowledge are preserved in important literature called the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Ramayana. The Vedas are composed of four written works. The first book is the Rig Veda that teaches important hymns. The second is the Yajur Veda which teaches about ceremonies important to Hinduism. The Sama Veda teaches chants used in Hinduism. Lastly, the Atharva Veda teaches the knowledge from the teacher. These written works are very important to the religion of Hinduism because when these were made, the traditions were no longer passed down from generation to generation from mouth like indigenous religions. I believe that writing down these works instead of only using oral tradition helped make Hinduism more concrete and consistent with no major changes.
The Upanishads were produced after the Vedas. It teaches about religious and philosophical ideas. During the time this work was created, it was common in this period for Hindus to adopt the practices of Aranyakas who abandoned all social life to live in the solitude within the woods and created experiments to alter consciousness. I learned about this way of living in the book, Siddhartha, it sounds very difficult but is also a good way to let go of all materialistic possession and recognize how little a person can survive on. The Upanishads also provide information about important elements such as Brahman, Atman, Maya, Karma, Samsara, and Moksha. The Brahman is the highest God in Hinduism this can be compared to Christianity by saying Brahman is like their God the father. Atman is known as the eternal soul of all things this would be like the Holy Ghost in Christianity. The Maya translates to illusion and refers to the everyday world. Karma is a concept that all good deeds have an effect of good consequences and bad deeds have bad consequences. I think that all religions have an idea of karma in it, whether good and bad deeds are monitored by a God, gods, the universe, or ancestors. Samsara is the idea of rebirth through many lives until perfection is achieved. Lastly, Moksha is liberation from all suffering in the world caused by desire. Moksha would be like the idea of rebirth in Christianity when a person dedicates their life to follow God instead of worldly things.
Another written work in Hinduism is the Bhagavad Gita which is a portion of an epic poem called Mahabharata that tells about Sons of Pandu that conquer their cousins, the Kauravas. This poem outlines the struggle between the prince’s desire to avoid violence and the duty to preserve the righteous kingdom. This story shows the peaceful attitude this religion promotes.
Yoga is also a large part of the Hindu. Different types of yoga are Jnana which is knowledge, karma which is selfless action, Bhakti or devotion, Raja or meditation, and Hatha or exercises. Although I am not Hindu, I enjoy the practice of Hatha Yoga and Raja yoga. Hatha yoga exercises focus on breathing, balance, flexibility, and strength. These exercises are useful to clear your mind and release yourself from negative energy. This is important for this religion because of its focus on avoiding violence and doing good deeds.
Buddhism is not a religion, it is more of a culture and a set of rules for life to gain perfection. Buddhism is widely practiced in Asia and is normally paired with the religion of Hinduism. Ideas called the three jewels set the foundation for attaining perfection. The first is Buddha which is a perfect being free from suffering. Dharma is the total of all Buddhist teachings about how to view the world and live properly. Lastly, Sangha is the community of nuns and monks. Buddhism teaches Ahimsa, to do no harm, Soul, Karma, and Nirvana. Like Hinduism, the Buddhist culture is very peaceful and evades violence and harmful acts.