A Glimpse of Hinduism

Bristol is home to approximately just under 3000 Hindus of which 2000 of them might be under 40 years of age. The Hindu Temple situated on  Church Road, Redfield, Bristol.

Origins

When the Persians came to India, the civilisation flourishing in the Indo Gangetic Plain, in the existing language of the time was known as “Sindhu- Ganga Sarnatala”. So they called them “Sindhus” with reference to the place they lived. Due to some peculiar reason the letter “S” became replaced by the letter “H” and thus became Hindus. Westerners coming into this land added “ism” as the religion they followed, thus coining the word “Hinduism”. Hinduism is based on certain eternal principles and values of life which hold good for all people for all times, irrespective of personalities involved. Several personalities and even gods in Hinduism are held as sacred, and even worshiped. However, is strictly a “Monotheistic” religion, misunderstood as polytheistic in its concept, by majority of people, even among Hindus. The difficulty comes because of words like “deva” “Iswara”, Brahma. The English equivalent is God. The three mentioned words are in fact different levels of concept. The greatest tragedy today ismany people are trying to understand Hinduism through the English language, the vocabulary of which inadequately translates the language in which Hinduism originates – Sanskrit.

What is Hinduism based on?

“Sanatana Dharma”, the most ancient of all religions of today- popularly called “Hinduism”. It is not exactly a religion in the strict sense of the
term, but a way of life.

What is Sanatana Dharma?

“Sanatana” means eternal. “Dharma” means “the value of life that sustains”. Therefore “Sanatana Dharma” means “the religion based on the
eternal sustaining values of life”.

The 7 Creeds of Sanatana Dharma

1. I believe in God, the Supreme Reality, the changeless Truth
2. I believe that God manifests Himself as the Creative and Preserving Power of the whole universe.
3. I believe that this Supreme Power assumes forms from time to time to bring erring humanity to the correct path
4. I believe that man is not only the body, the organ, the mind or the intellect but something greater.
5. I believe that the Soul is essentially divine, by nature pure and perfect, infinite in power and free. It will never die, but will pass from body to
body.
6. I believe in the Law of Karma. I am the creator of my own destiny. My present condition is due to my past thoughts and conduct. My future
will depend on my past and present actions.
7. I believe that the Vedas contain the eternal truth.

The Fundamental Doctrines are the Doctrine of Karma and the Doctrine of Re-incarnation.

Hinduism allows flexibility and practicality. There are no set of rules that govern you, but a way of life that makes you think about others, as the essence is about Karma. The cycle of life. It basically means that every good thought, word or deed begets a similar reaction. Your Good deeds will always be rewarded and your mistakes will allow growth as you learn from them. Hinduism teaches tolerance and acceptance. It is building of good character. Fasting, teaches the discipline of resistance and resilience. Yoga has the same teaching, but on a different level and also conveys self realization. Hinduism teaches that we are passing through this world; but are all heading to the same destination, each on our own
journey. Ultimately, we end up as the story of the hare and the tortoise. When we finally reach there, we are surprised that we, all through our own paths, journeys and experiences, reach the same goal and there is no right or wrong path.We merely reach our destination when we are
ready, but we all reach the same destination. Which is “Moksha” liberation. In English it may be called Heaven. Hinduism begins with the story of Brahma depicted as possessing many hands and many heads. This is an attempt to capture the many forms, many strengths and power that God represents.

Brahma – has four faces – which represents four Vedas

He has four hands – the four directions.
In each hand he holds the following:
»» The Vedas – Knowledge,
»» A rosary, which he counts, so that represents – time,
»» A water pot- The whole universe evolved out of water
»» A Sceptre – protection

Does Hinduism perpetuate the caste system?

Hinduism has mistakenly been recognised by some as a religion based on a caste system. Hindus believe that society is divided into largely 4 main categories, i.e. the leaders, the warriors, the professional and the workers, allowing for social mobility. This serves as an acknowledgement that we are all equal with different strengths in different fields.

Useful Links

»» Bristol Hindu Temple, 163b Church Road, Redfield, Bristol, BS5 9LA, www.bristolhindutemple.co.uk
»» The Hindu Council of the UK: www.hinducounciluk.org