Hinduism basic knowledge of hinduism essay

Both concepts are linked to the ideal of enlightenment and realization or spiritual awakening which leads to release from the suffering of continual rebirth or Karma. However, these concepts are also related to different religious and spiritual traditions. As a result there are subtle differences that can be discerned in the way that these terms are understood in different traditions. The following discussion will explore these different meaning of Moksha and Nirvana and the differences and similarities of these terms in the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical and spiritual traditions.

Hinduism basic knowledge of hinduism essay

Hinduism basic knowledge of hinduism essay

What is the basis of Hinduism? From which sources does Hinduism derive its knowledge, beliefs and practices? In this essay we explore the sources of the sacred knowledge of Hinduism, with specific reference to its literary sources and how they help the tradition cope with the changing times.

When we attempt to understand the nature of Hinduism, first, we have to examine the thought process that went into the formation of it. We have to know from where Hinduism draws its inspiration, doctrine and beliefs.

Hinduism is unlike any other religion. It has no founder and no particular text which can fully represent it as in case of the Abrahamic religions such as Christianity or Islam. Its philosophy, beliefs, practices, customs and traditions are derived from numerous sources. However, we know that the Vedic religion or Brahmanism constitutes it core and overtime all other sects and traditions of Hinduism have aligned themselves to its core beliefs.

Therefore, if we want to understand the scriptural basis of Hinduism or the scources of its knowledge, we have to first examine the texts that shaped the Vedic religion and how they still continue to influence Hinduism also.

The literary sources of Hinduism

In this article, we will examine the main literary sources of Hinduism and their importance in the growth and development of Hinduism. The main sources of the knowledge of Hinduism The ritual and spiritual knowledge of Hinduism, its philosophy, beliefs and practices are derived principally derived from three sources namely, the teacher traditions, ascetic teachings, sectarian works, and literary sources.

Hinduism continues to derive its doctrinal knowledge even today.

For a longtime the teacher traditions or guru traditions played a significant role in promoting and preserving the knowledge of Hinduism. They brought to light the secrets hidden in the principal texts of Hinduism, adding their own revelations and interpretations wherever necessary.

Apart from teacher traditions, India also witnessed the rise of numerous ascetic movements who drew their inspiration from the sacred texts of Hinduism and in turn enriched its theology and spiritual philosophy.

Sometimes, the distinction between the guru traditions and the ascetic traditions was rather blurred since they both followed the same principles to transmit knowledge or ensure their continuity.

Nevertheless, they contributed to our understanding of Hinduism.

The main sources of the knowledge of Hinduism

All these sects might have originated independently, but in course of time they became integrated into the Vedic tradition. Yet, each of the sects has distinct identity and its set of beliefs and practices and literary resources. They also contribute richly to the sacred knowledge of Hinduism. The literary sources of Hinduism Hinduism has neither a founder nor a principal, sacred text.

However, we cannot say that it has no scriptural basis. It is a religion with too many gospels. Although, Hinduism does not exclusively rely upon any particular scripture, it derives its inspiration from various sources, most of which are literary.

The Vedas and the Agamas are the important sources among them. Apart from them we have the Vedangas, the Puranas, the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, the sutra literature, numerous commentaries bhashyaslaw books or Dharmashastras, the works of various schools of philosophy Darshanasliterary and secular works such as those of Kalidasa, vernacular literature, the teachings of numerous Shaiva and Vaishnava scholars and spiritual teachers such as Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhava, the works of foreigners who visited India in ancient times, and so on.

Traditionally, the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita, and the Brahmasutras are considered the three most important sources prastana traya to corroborate or confirm the validity of any belief, truth or practice of Hinduism.

However, it is difficult to say the relative importance of each of these sources. The Vedas are undoubtedly the most indisputable sources of Hindu belief system. However, we cannot say that all Hindus regard them with the same respect and veneration.

Those who practice Shaivism or Vaishnavism look to their principal sources. People who practice Tantra, draw their inspiration from the Agamas or the Tantras and may even totally ignore the Vedas.

While scholars and spiritual teachers may debate the relative importance of each of these works, the common Hindus may not even bother to read any texts. It is not an exaggeration to say that most of the Hindus may never read the Vedas, the Upanishads or any of the principal texts.The ritual and spiritual knowledge of Hinduism, its philosophy, beliefs and practices are derived principally derived from three sources namely, the teacher traditions, ascetic .

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