Religion / Hinduism In American Life
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Autor: anton 08 September 2010
Words: 1435 | Pages: 6
The English word religion loosely translates into â€œrulesâ€ in Latin. Therefore, a religion teaches us how to think, how to act, and basically everything except what to eat in the morning. The Hindu and Christian religion agree on many things and our society follows some of the rules too because religion and laws are based on humanity. From holy literature many different ideas have been pawned but they are all supposed to lead you to the same things: a happy, healthy life, contribution to the world around us, and some kind of liberation after death. Concerning these ideals the Hindu religion has come up with three ways to make sure that everybody will get what they want out of life and those are the four stages, the four goals, and the four castes of life. There is so much holy war about which religion is right and wrong but if they all are striving for the same thing it is hard for me to see why they take place. In this essay I will show that Christianity is very similar to Hinduism.
The first thing that the Hindus follow to insure that you grow up to be productive (if you are in the upper three castes) is having specific stages of life. In other words throughout our life we have different responsibilities and duties which are spelled out by the Holy Scriptures. The four stages are student, â€œfamily manâ€, forest dweller and ascetic. The first stage of student requires you to go to school (if you were a male) and be initiated with the Upanayana ceremony. If a kid was at the top of the caste system and was preparing to be a priest he needs to get trained and before he gets trained he must have a Upanayana ceremony because without these he wonâ€™t know what he is talking about and wonâ€™t know and wonâ€™t have any credibility when he becomes a priest. It isnâ€™t enough just to get an education and a little plaque on your wall, you must have lived a celibate life and you must be provided for by your family. This is a way of getting them to think a certain way since according to Hindu laws believe all members of a certain caste are supposed to do the same thing in the same way. The next stage of â€œfamily manâ€ is also one that gets you not only to act a certain way but think a certain way. In this stage a man is supposed to get a wife, get a family, and repay his debts to everything that helped him including society. If you can do these two things you have led a successful life even though you can â€œbe more holyâ€ by following two final stages written in the Laws of Manu. The stage of forest dweller is very much life the family man stage but there are three main differences, he can retire to a forest, he has no obligation to pay back society or work and he is supposed to spend time reading the Vedas. After that if he wants to be ultra holy you can detach from life by staging your own social death and do nothing but pursue salvific knowledge. Many people in The United States lead a life almost exactly like this. They start off as a student to learn knowledge for jobs and spiritual journeys later in life. The law requires that we go to school until atleast 16 and most of our parents require us to go to church. If you do not go to school there are consequences in each religion and to receive awards you must be first be a student. In our culture today we can live off of the government. The next stage of life Hindu life is like American life because most of us start families and provide for them and a lot of us do things for society like working at a research university or donating clothes to charity. In fact our society rewards charity by giving us tax exemption and Nobel peace prizes for science achievements and discoveries. The Christian and Jewish religion stress that you must do things for society to be a better human being. After the family man stage many old people retire and many people become more religious at this time. If you are religious you get accepted to heaven so many old people take their extra free time to get more intimate with god so they can receive their rewards. Just like in Hinduism very few people will reach the final stage of life because to stage your social death means to break off communication with our offspring and grandchildren. Although when people go into nursing homes they get very few of their old friends and family visiting them so in a way it is like Hinduism but most people in nursing homes donâ€™t have the energy or health to dedicate their life to salvific knowledge. Most of them have a hard time seeing words on a page.
Even though the book and the lecture say there are 4 goals in a Hinduâ€™s life I would argue that there is only one: liberation. We all want to go to heaven and all of these things are meant to do just that. According to the book though there are four different yogas that you are supposed to harness through discipline in your every day life. Those four yogas are of spiritual knowledge, meditation, offering yourself to god, and doing your duty. Again, we practice things very similarly to Hindus and we have the same exact goal, to go to the afterworld. Hindus have atman=bhramin and we have heaven; itâ€™s a wish that everybody has. Here it is Christianity and Judaism that influence our people into doing the same things. The biggest rule to get into heaven is you must believe in god and you must accept him and only him as god. This is like spiritual knowledge yoga because you must know about their god (Christians) before you can believe in him. Meditation as defined Websters Unabridged Dictionary is â€œThe act of meditating; close or continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation; reflection; musing.
When people â€œpray to godâ€ they are in a state of meditation because when you pray you donâ€™t talk and you continue thinking. According to The Bible god has an image in his head over how he wants the earth and we are supposed to follow in his vision as if it were our duty. If you do your duty to him by being nice, generous etc than you are dedicating yourself to him because Iâ€™m sure everybody gets at least the temptation to do â€œevilâ€ things and the bible even admits it. The bible tells us to do so many different things so if you follow them you are following your duty.
One thing the Hindus have to make duties and responsibilities more straightforward is the caste system. The caste system is based on reincarnation and the better Hindu that youâ€™ve been in past lives makes you who you are. The highest people up on the social pyramid are the priests followed by kings, then merchants and finally the servents. It makes clear just how good and pure the person has been in this and past lives because they are either high up on the ladder or they arenâ€™t. There is something beneficial about being seen as a good person. Since most of our morals in America come from the Bible if you are seen as a good Christian than you will get special job offers and when you meet your girlfriendâ€™s parents they wonâ€™t hate you. In India you can tell who is a servant apart from who is a king because of what they do in a day and what kind of clothes they wear etc. In America we have little status symbols such as crosses that go around our neck and making conversation of what you learned in the bible or church. The whole point of the caste system is to segregate people and give some people certain advantages based on how well they accord with the popular religious beliefs based on region of the world.
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