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Introduction to Hinduism - A Book

Hinduism is an eternal tradition (sanatana dharma). Its knowledge and wisdom said to exist eternally in the highest heaven in the form of the Vedas.

The scriptures affirm that Hinduism is practiced not only by humans but also gods, by beings of the other worlds and God Himself. From time to time, He descends upon earth as an incarnation or an emanation to increases our understanding of the eternal tradition as part of His duty and as the upholder of dharma.

In fact, from the Bhagavadgita, the epics and the Puranas we learn that God, the Supreme Self, practices Hindu Dharma as His duty, apart from upholding it and enforcing it, even though He is not interested particularly in anything.

He teaches it to gods, demons and humans, according to their knowledge and intelligence, through Brahma, the creator god, because such knowledge is necessary for ensuring the order and regularity of the worlds and keeping them in their respective spheres, without which there would be chaos and darkness.

Hinduism envisages God in many roles. One of them is that of a teacher or revealer. He is the World Teacher, who opens our minds to transcendental truths that cannot be easily grasped without purity and inner awakening.

The Vedas are just a tip of the iceberg

The Vedas constitute the core teachings of Hinduism. They are considered eternal. It is said that in each cycle of creation, God reveals them to the humanity for their welfare.

Why they are important? It is because they contain knowledge of various types of sacrifices that are central to creation and preservation of the worlds and beings. Sacrifices here denote not only ceremonial sacrifices but also all actions we perform internally and externally with an attitude of sacrifice and service.

To live for your own desires and interests is animal nature; to live for others or God with a sacrificial attitude is human and divine. The Vedas point to this ideal. With the help of sacrifices, we can sustain the worlds and ensure our welfare.

It is possible that the Vedas we have today are remnants of a vast body of divine knowledge made available to us in the beginning of creation. We might have lost portions of it as the world progressed and suffered from many catastrophes and upheavals. Some knowledge may still be hidden and revealed in course of time. Men of wisdom may be able to tap into this vast reservoir of knowledge and reveal it to us when the time is due.

Veda means knowledge. The revelations of God are part of this vast body of eternal knowledge stored in the heaven. Knowledge that liberates purifies and uplifts the humanity comes to us from this source only.

We may quarrel about which aspect of it is right because of our desires, attachment or limited knowledge, but in truth, all knowledge whose source is God is divine. In the course of our existence we are introduced to only that part of it that is essential for our spiritual advancement upon earth. (Source: An Introduction to Hinduism by Jayaram V. Buy This Book

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Compiled by Jayaram V for Hinduwebsite.com

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