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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

chat on "Hinduism - A way of life"


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Jessica: how does religion affect your daily life
ShivaBhakta: ok
ShivaBhakta: Are you from Hawaii?
Jessica: haha i wish!! but sadly no
Jessica: we are in california
ShivaBhakta: Hinduism is a way of life - not too many restrictions, we don't have to go to church every week. It is flexible. It is grounded and it is ancient, so people are more comfortable with the religion. Hindus are generally not over zealous about religion
Jessica: i see i kinda got that feeling when we read this book our teacher recommended. thats interesting
ShivaBhakta: which book?
Jessica: um... World's Religion
Jessica: it talked a lot about the tenets
Jessica: hmm are there any holidays
Jessica: that are particular to the Hindu
ShivaBhakta: yes, list of Hindu Holidays is here
Jessica: can you give an example of one and how it is celebrated
ShivaBhakta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holidays_in_India#Hinduism
Jessica: which god do you focus more on
ShivaBhakta: Diwali - you can look it up here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali
Jessica: is there a reason why ?
ShivaBhakta: It is the celebration of good over evil
ShivaBhakta: There are 3 main Gods Shiva (Destroyer of evil), Vishnu (Preserver) and Brahma (Creator). Brahma has created life and the earth. There are wikipedias on them also
Jessica: i see
ShivaBhakta: I follow Shiva. Shiva provides us the path to Moksha or enlightenment. Buddism is heavily derived from this aspect of Hinduism.
Jessica: what do you feel about reincarnation
ShivaBhakta: According to Hinduism, the world is an illusion. We are representative of God as we live life. Once we get in touch with the inner part of us that is God, we attain enlightenment - and we are cut away from the sorrows and joy of the world (this strain of philosophy is ADVAITISM or DUALITY) and we are off the cycle of birth and death
ShivaBhakta: I just explained it
Jessica: ^^ wow you read my mind
Jessica: haha
Jessica: is there any dietary restrictions?
Jessica: cause being Buddhist, there are days where we are not to eat meat
ShivaBhakta: Vegetarian is the preferred diet, non-violence is at the core. India has had a very fertile agricultural land and there hasn't been a need to eat meat. Plus, not eating meat, helps the mind orient itself to the path of Godliness. The ancient books (RigVeda, AtharwaVeda, Samaveda) have prescribed modes of life and being vegetarian is one of them - and have lucidly explained the reasons behind it
Jessica: ahh
ShivaBhakta: Any more?
Jessica: um.. theres one more.. i hope i don't make you feel offended .. but is there a part of your religion that you disagree with.
ShivaBhakta: Yes, I think some of the things that were a bit predated have been eliminated - widows can get married again, Casteism etc. Religion, as it evolves, is misconstrued by the religious powers example casteism i.e layers of society. But none of this was dictated by the religious books, but just evolved thanks to some of the power mongers. India is a socialistic democracy (all religions co-habitate) and our outlook has been a blend of the past with the future - in fine tuning religion. So some of these age old - false practices - have been eliminated.
Jessica: Thank you for taking your time to help me

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This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!

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