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Hinduism Analysis

Write a 500 to 750 word response to Hinduism. You may choose as the basis of your response any of the following questions:

1. What role do sacred texts play in the Hindu tradition?
2. What is the law of karma, and how does it affect the Hindu view of the human person?
3. How did the caste system emerge in India, and what is its influence on modern India?
4. How is Jainism like the other forms of India's religious tradition?
5. What are the similarities between the four paths of yoga?
6. What are the differences between the four paths of yoga?
7. Can you relate the four paths of yoga to other philosophical or religious traditions?
8. What kind of yoga do you think is the most popular in the Western world? Why?
9. You sometimes hear that there are many paths (religious ways) to the same goal (salvation, realization, Nirvana, heaven). How does Hinduism understand the relationship between pluralism (many paths) and oneness (the goal)?
10. How can you use the four paths of yoga to interpret the breadth of the Hindu religious tradition?

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1. What role do sacred texts play in the Hindu tradition?

Hindu scriptures play a large role in the Hindu tradition. There are four goals in civilized religious life. The four goals include:

1. dharma: righteousness
2. artha: economic development
3. kama: sensual enjoyment
4. moksha: liberation, the ultimate goal.

Liberation or moksha is achieved through union with God (yoga) (http://hinduism.iskcon.com/concepts/109.htm).

In other words, Hindu texts detail four sequential aims: dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. Dharma recommends righteous and regulated living, so that one is able one to acquire wealth, artha. With prosperity one can then enjoy kama, sensual pleasure. When one realises the futility of temporary gratification, one eventually seeks moksha (liberation). Some traditions, particularly of the bhakti school, accept moksha, but point out the selfishness in even desiring liberation. They mention a fifth goal called prema (love of God) or nitya-lila (eternal loving service)?(http://hinduism.iskcon.com/concepts/109.htm).

Spiritual emancipation is therefore considered the main goal of life, and other goals are necessary stepping stones towards it. Hinduism thus recommends a balanced life with an ultimate spiritual goal. Liberation usually entails union with God, conceived of in various ways by different traditions. The word for this process is yoga, from which we can derive the English word yoke, meaning to join (http://hinduism.iskcon.com/concepts/109.htm).

The following Scriptures explain aspects of each of the Four Paths:

* On karma-yoga: "Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme."
* On jnana-yoga: "In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as spiritual knowledge, which is the mature fruit of all mysticism. One who has become accomplished in the practice of yoga enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time."
* On raja-yoga: "To practice astanga-yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kusha grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on it very firmly and practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses and activities and fixing the mind on one point."
* On bhakti-yoga: "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." Bhagavad-gita 3.19, 4.38, 6.11?2, 9.23. (see http://hinduism.iskcon.com/practice/index.htm).

2. What is the law of karma, and how does it affect the Hindu view of the human person?

Actually the law of karma ...

Solution Summary

By addressing each question, this solution analyzes Hinduism on a number of key issues. Supplemented with two resources on Hinduism for further expansion.