This series begins with Hinduism. According to The History Channel, “Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world’s Hindus live in India. Because the religion has no specific founder, it’s difficult to trace its origins and history. Hinduism is unique in that it’s not a single religion but a compilation of many traditions and philosophies.”
My first interviewee, Lata, kindly provided her answers below:
How long have you practiced this form of spirituality?
Since i was a child…almost 40 years
2. What about it fulfills your spiritual needs?
Worship expresses our profound love for God. Puja, bhajan, prayer and meditation are all worshipful means of direct, personal communion with God and Gods. God, Gods and devas are all real beings dwelling in the inner worlds. They can and want to help me in every aspect of my life. This they do in accord with my own patterns of karma and dharma. Daily, personal puja at home keeps me God-conscious and my home holy. God has established many temples to allow us to intimately communicate with Him. Temple puja opens a channel to God. Through His personal presence and shakti, prayers are answered, karma softened, spiritual unfoldment guided. Surrender, worship with intese love, and God fulfills my spiritual needs.
3. What challenges (if any) does being a hindu pose in everyday life?
Some of the troubling features of Hinduism is the birth based caste system, the status and the role of women and girl children, gender discrimination.
Hindu women in today’s world want their voices to be heard. They want to be respected and treated as equal partners in all aspects of life, including religious and spiritual practice. They also expect that gender discrimination will cease to be a social issue and both men and women should equally share the burdens.
4. Are there any misconceptions people have about your belief system you’d like to clear up?
1..Hindus are idol worshipers
Hindu will say he or she is worshiping an idol. Instead, Hindus believe a physical representation of God – in the form of an idol — helps them focus on an aspect of prayer or meditation.
2..Hindus worship cows
Hindus do not pray to cows but they do regard all creation and all life as sacred.
3..All Hindus are vegetarians.
A majority of Hindus eat meat.
But about 30 percent do not. That stems from a fundamental belief in ahimsa, the principle of non-violence