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Major Sections
Hinduism Through Questions & Answers

Index

Author

Question1 Question2
Question3 Question4
Question5 Question6
Question7 Question8
Question9 Question10
Question11 Question12
Question13 Question14
Question15 Question16
Question17 Question18
Question19 Question20
Question21 Question22
Question23 Question24
Question25 Question26
Question27 Question28
Question29 Question30
Question31 Question32
Question33 Question34
Question35 Question36
Question37 Question38
Question39 Question40

  

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INDEX OF HINDUISM THROUGH QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Author

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

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Question 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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Question 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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Question 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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Question 4. Many persons entertain wrong notions about Yajnas and Yagas. Is it possible to otter rational explanations to the objections often raised by them? 

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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Question 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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Question 6. Belief in God is common to almost all the religions of the world. What Is the nature of God according to Hinduism? 

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

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Question 7. If the Hindus really believe in one God, why do they worship a variety of gods like Siva, Devi, Vishau or Ganapati? Is it not tantamount to accepting many gods and godlings ? As If in approval of this tenet, don't we see these gods competing and conflicting with one another, if we an to believe the stories in our ? 

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

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Question 8. Is it not the height of foolishness to worship manmade images of stone, clay or metal? Does it not betray utter ignorance and superstition? 

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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Question 9. It is customary to install these images in temples which millions of Hindus visit to offer worship. What is the justification for this? Also, what is the significance of a temple? 

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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Question 10. What is the significance of worship, whether at home or at the temple? Is there any prescribed method for doing it? 

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

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Question 11. Why should not the ordinary spoken language be used in worship instead of Sanskrit? Will this not enable us to understand and follow these rites better? 

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

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Question 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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Question 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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Question 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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Question 15. It is the bitter experience of Hindu pilgrims that they are exploited and harassed by unscrupulous Pandas priests in the pilgrim centre. How can this be eradicated? 

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

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Question 16. Is it true that God incarnates in the harm form? How does it take place? Are there as recognized limits to such incarnations? 

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

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Question 17. So much about God and Hindu beliefs concerning Him. Coming to man as a subject, what has Hinduism to say about the nature of man and the purpose of his life? 

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

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Question 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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Question 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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Question 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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Question 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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Question 22. What is the meaning of Yoga, a word which we hear so often? How many Yogas are there? How do we practise yoga? 

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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Question 23. In this connection one is reminded of such terms as Guru (teacher), Sishya (disciple), Ishtadevata (the favourite deity for contemplation), Mantra (divine mm or the spiritual formula), Pranava (the syllable Om), Diksha (initiation), Dhyana (contemplation) and Japa (repetition of divine name or spiritual formula). What do they mm? 

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

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Question 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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Question 25. Can the theory of Kama stand the test of reason? Can we not say that this theory has retarded the progress of the Hindu society? 

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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Question 26. The world we live in, the universe we see and observe how were they created? Have the Hindu scriptures attempted any explanation of this phenomenon? Can their explanations stand the scrutiny of science? 

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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Question 27. The caste system has taken roots firmly and deeply in the Hindu Society. Mutual hatred based on castes and consequent conflicts are also raising their ugly head. There is a widespread belief that the Varna system is directly responsible for this state of affairs. How far is it true? How did the caste system originate and what is its mature? 

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

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Question 28. Allied to this problem, two more questions can be raised: Do the Hindu scriptures Prohibit inter dining, which pre supposes transcending the caste barrier? Does inter marriage have their sanction? 

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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Question 29. All thoughtful people are agreed that untouchability is a blot on the Hindu Society. Is there any authority for such discrimination in the Sastras? If not, how did this practice develop? What steps have been taken by the Hindu reformers to eradicate this evil? 

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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Question 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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Question 31. What is Samskara? How many Samskaras have been listed in out scriptures? Why should they be undertaken? What are the Samskaras that are still extant and applicable to all sections of Hindus society? 

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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Question 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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Question 33. In this context, can the concepts of Papa (sin, evil) and Punya (virtue, merit, good) be clarified and explained? Also, are there moral and ethical principles universally applicable to all sections of Hindu society? 

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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Question 34. What is the status accorded to woman in Hindu Society? Does she have equality with man? How much does she enjoy? 

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

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Question 35. When we observe the evolution of Hinduism through the ages and recognize that it is still a powerful living faith in spite of the various vicissitudes it had to pass through, we are obliged to concede that there must be some basic enduring quality. Do the various reform movements in Hinduism have a hand in shaping it? 

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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Question 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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Question 37. Have our Mathas (monastic seats) and the several religious institutions been participating in this movement? Somehow they do not seem to hold forth much promise as instruments of reform. How can these institutions he rejuvenated and reactivated? 

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

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Question 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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Question 39. It seems that the Hindu society is now at the crossroads of history. What should we do to build up a new Hindu society based on the eternal values of Hinduism?

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

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Question 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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