National and national religions, Hinduism, Multifaceted...

National-ethnic religions


Many Hinduism

Hinduism is the totality of religious and mythological views and cults that has developed and is prevalent in South Asia: India (83% of the population), Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. In part, it is common in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore), Africa and some other regions, mainly among immigrants from India or Sri Lanka. Followers of Hinduism in the world there are more than 700 million people. The term Hinduism arose on the basis of the word asind - the Persian version of the name of the Sindhu River (Greek Indus, present Ind) , which is fixed in the Avesta. Later this word began to mean not only the river and the country adjacent to it, i.e. India, but also the people inhabiting it. In times of Muslim and European conquests, all the adherents of the local religion were called, opposing them to Muslims and later to Christians. Hindus themselves (Hindus, Hindus), having perceived the word Hinduism continue to use the self-name of religion - sanatana dharma, that, given the ambiguity of the word dharma, can only be translated in a very general way - as the eternal order, the eternal law. Hinduism inherited the traditions of Vedic religion and Brahmanism.

Although in Hinduism, as in Indian culture as a whole, there is a very developed tendency to classify and systematize phenomena, it itself appears to lack the clear boundaries of a complex that breaks down into a number of currents or branches, a large number of schools, creations and cults based at times on mutually exclusive ideas and practices. In Hinduism there are many gods, but there is no one god for all; there is no founder of religion, teacher or prophet, but there are many founders (often mythical) of individual teachings and a strongly developed cult of spiritual mentoring; there is no single Holy Scripture, but the authority of the texts and legends that are fundamental to this or that direction is extremely high; there is no symbol of faith or generally accepted doctrine, but there are concepts that are always in the center of attention of Hindus - dharma, karma, samsara, moksha, Brahman, Atman, varna, caste In Hinduism there is nothing like the Church organization that is familiar to the West, but it does not mean anarchy, it has other internal bracing, the most powerful of which is probably the caste system sanctified by it often perceived as the cornerstone of the traditional Hindu society. However, she is rejected by many members of this society, and her meaning is not always the same and not always the same. In general, Hinduism does not have what all Hindus would unequivocally acknowledge and that it would only be considered from one, once and for all fixed point of view. One clear example of this is the mobile system of vital goals, values, hindu landmarks ( varna-ashrama-dharma), which vary not only according to its position in society, but and on what stage of life he is (disciple, householder, hermit, ascetic-sannyasin).

The amazing diversity of Hinduism forces some researchers to argue that Hinduism is not a religion, but a combination of separate, albeit close to each other religions (say, Shaivism, Vishnuism, etc.). Others, also rejecting the existence of Hinduism in general, offer to distinguish only its different types: temple, house, priestly, rural, or folk, tribal, etc. In this approach to such a complex phenomenon there is a reason, but to abandon the general notion Hinduism seems wrong - after all the individual components, levels, elements of this religious complex, without any doubt, are closely are interconnected, constantly interact, complement each other, use the same stock of ideas, ideas and images. The point is only how, in certain directions, doctrines or schools of Hinduism, their selection, rethinking and functioning takes place. Obviously, some of them stand out, others - sometimes demonstratively - are discarded. This is the expression of the pluralism of Hinduism, which explains the absence of heresies to be eradicated. This does not at all mean that the history of Hinduism does not know religious strife and that it is inherent in, as it is sometimes believed, absolute religious tolerance, but in its history, the struggle against dissent really rarely took extreme forms, and the alien elements, as a rule, were not exorcised, but processed and were assimilated. Something Hinduism borrowed even from Islam and Christianity, and he himself influenced them during close contacts, but could not completely subordinate them to himself.

The most universal notion of what Hinduism operates with is dharma (from the Sanskrit root "dhar" - to support). Its polysemy expresses a specific view of man. On the one hand, dharma is a complex of ethical precepts, reflecting universal, more precisely, superhuman values: the pursuit of truth, right behavior, conscientiousness, purity, gentleness, non-harm to living beings ( ahimsa ). On the other hand, dharma is the norms and rules that a person must observe, being a member of a particular social group - varna, or caste. There is individual dharma, associated with a certain stage of his life (varna-ashrama-dharma), which firmly links it with the social structure that divides society into rigidly fixed levels and cells interacting on the basis of a dichotomy: ritual purity is impurity. In this sense, Hinduism appears not only as a set of views, but also as a way of life, as a system of norms and rituals that completely regulate a person's life.

Dharma gives a person another dimension - cosmic, for in the most general sense it is understood as a world law, to which the individual and human society, and gods, and cosmos are subordinate. Man, according to the teachings of most of the directions of Hinduism, is a particle ( Atman) of the world spirit ( Brahman), encased in bodily The shell, which is understood not only carnal, but also psycho-emotional beginning in a person. This shell is acquired by him according to the law karma, according to which the deeds of a person in one birth are the cause of his existence in the next. Sansara, or the chain of reincarnations of the Atman in different bodies and spheres of being, is estimated in Hinduism, as a rule, negatively. The ideal and ultimate goal of the Hindu is liberation from samsara, liberation from rebirth ( moksha, mukti), which means joining the Atman with Brahman and achieving supreme bliss. Ways to this are offered various, the most important of which are: karma-marga (the path of deeds): the performance of duty, rituals, veneration of gods, ancestors, etc .; jnana-marga (the path of knowledge): intellectual work, the search for Truth, comprehension of the unity of the Atman and Brahman; bhakti-marga (path of devotion): emotional love for God, giving yourself to his mercy.

As we see, from the point of view of normative Hinduism, a person can be defined as the point of intersection of different dharmas, a being whose degree of personalization and freedom is contented with little. It is no accident that in Hinduism, the tradition of ethical preaching and various kinds of instruction is strongly developed, and the life of any Hindu is entwined with a dense network of rites, norms and prohibitions. The most indispensable of these are the rituals of the life cycle that accompany the Hindu from birth (or rather, even conception) to death. The correct execution of the prescriptions is perhaps the main virtue of a Hindu, and everything that destroys a person from this path is considered vicious. By the way, Hinduism also recognizes the manifestation of bad human qualities - lust, anger, greed, ignorance, pride, envy.

Despite the fact that moksha is the most important ideal of Hinduism, even it can not be called absolute. Some currents do not recognize the law of karma and, consequently, of liberation, and some faithfully loving adepts often reject moksha in favor of life on earth, allowing them to jealously worship their god. In addition, for most Hindus, the idea of ​​liberation is overshadowed by everyday activities, and they are limited to performing rituals, visiting temples, commemorating ancestors, etc. Only very few are able to go to the end and become wandering ascetics. Such an ascetic, sannyasin, - a figure that is highly characteristic of Hinduism - represents a visual embodiment of closeness to the sought-after ideal of liberation, and thus plays a significant regulative role in the system of Hindu society .

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