Nov 04

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This week we will be looking at Hinduism. For a starter, just what do you know about Hinduism? It may surprise you to learn that Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. The first two are: 1) “Christianity” and 2) Islam. While searching for a few facts about Hinduism, it was learned that there is an estimated 1 billion Hindus worldwide; while about 80 percent of the India’s population regard themselves as Hindus. However, about 30 million Hindus live outside of India.
The first question that generally comes to mind is: “Does Hinduism have a “god,” a deity?” There is, as viewed in Hinduism, “One Supreme Reality” know as Brahman, but manifested in many gods and goddesses. Here is one statement found in my search: “The components of Hinduism can vary from individual to individual but generally include the belief that there is one Supreme Being that is the Creator and the Unmanifest Reality, the belief in four divine Veda scriptures, the belief that the universe will go through multiple creation cycles, the belief in karma, the belief in non-injury, the belief in the reincarnated soul and the belief that there are divine beings living in unseen worlds.” To help our understanding of Hinduism; here is another statement I found: “One of the more interesting Hindu teachings it the teaching of non-injury. Non-injury, or nonviolence, is one of the teachings that the spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi used throughout his political career. The idea of non-injury is that all life is sacred and should not be harmed through actions, words or even thoughts. Instead, all life must be revered. Many Hindus are vegetarians because they do not want animals to be harmed in any way as animal life is “life” and should be held sacred.”
Nearly everyone knows something about cows and India. However, here a few things you might not know. Thirty percent of the world’s cattle live in India! Also, there are 26 distinctive breeds of cows in India. Three of the types are: 1) the hump, 2) the long ears, and 3) the bushy tailed. This brings to the question, “Are cows really regarded as “sacred?” The first thing a person visiting India would notice is that there are cows everywhere! As one who has visited India, I can testify that cows indeed are everywhere; and they are free to roam inside stores! To help us see the high place the people of India hold the cow, here is a statement Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “If someone were to ask me what the most important outward manifestation of Hinduism was, I would suggest that it was the idea of cow protection.” There are some who trace the cow’s sacred status back to Lord Krishna, who is one of the “faith’s” most important people. It has been said that he appeared in a herd of 5,000 cows! He is described as “bala-gopala,” which means, “the child who protects the cows;” while another of Krishna’s holy names is “Govinda” which means: “one who brings satisfaction to the cows.” On the other hand, another of their scriptures identifies the cow as the “mother” of all civilization, while its milk is said to nurture the population! However, there is a question when it comes to the cow, which is regarded as “sacred,” the Hindus do not exactly worship the cow as deity; at least this is true of some; however, it is not true of all. On the Hindu calendar, on the 12th day of the 12th month, a cow ritual is performed in Jodhpur place which is in western Indian state of Rajasthan.
Finally, in this article, the question of sacred, there is the Mahabharata, an epic poem and we find Bhishama saying: “Cows represent sacrifice. Without them, there can be no sacrifice … Cows are guileless in their behavior and from them flow sacrifice … and milk and curds and butter. Hence cows are sacred…”
Is one religion as good as another and no worse? You can see that there is a great difference between “the teaching of Christ” and Hinduism! On the one hand, all you need do is just look at the nation of India and compare it with America, over the history of each. While America was advancing and modernizing, India was locked in time! The nation was not allowed to advance, as this is not the nature of Hinduism! While hunger is evident throughout India, there is the cow roaming free; and it is against to law to kill and eat!

Frank R. Williams

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