An attempt to answer anything u might wanna know about Hinduism or about India
Do you like puppies?
Strangely enough, a large percentage of Indians are known to show a strong pre-disposition to liking puppies.
Me, I hate those furry, cute, little playful devils …
Hi TruthFinder, I’ve seen you around. Got a couple of questions here. Firstly, what percentage of Hindus are completely vegetarian? Secondly, do you know much about Jains and if you do could you tell me a bit about them? Thanks!
My knowledge of Jainism is only limited to what I know from friends practising the religion. So do check out with the links provided.
Jainism is based on the teachings of its saints called Tirthankaras the most recent of whom is Lord Mahavir. Its a very old religion said to be present since the Aryan times in India.
The main principles are
a) Non-violence : Ahimsa - or non-violence is to be practised against all living beings. This kinda links to vegetarianism. Ahimsa is to be practised very strictly even in ur thoughts.
b) Spiritual purity : A person should strive to understand his spiritual self , be one with it and be free of material wants and bonds. I’m simplifying here. U should really look at the following links.
Also a site with links
c) Virtuous living : Jains have a number of principles which include honesty in life, non-violence and so on. Every person has to take a vow to abide by these principles in life.
Well, Hope that gives u a decent idea on Jainism.
About vegetarianism, I’d say a significant percentage of Hindus. Can’t really give u any hard numbers on that. Hinduism generally advocates vegetarianism primarily coz its against killing animals.
Do they practice circumcision?
No , They dont practise circumcison.
However some guys do get their ears pierced early on. And in some castes guys have to shave their heads when they are initiated.
Of course most women have their ears and/or nose pierced. But IMO, Its more an Indian thing rather than a Hindu thing.
I had always had the impression that Brahma and/or Vishnu were considered the most powerful Gods being the creator and sustainer respectively. However, when I started traveling to India on a regular basis I noticed that Ganesh appears to be honored more than any other Hindu God. Ganesh was honored with the largest and most popular temples and his image seemed to hang in every shop or restaurant you went to. At first I thought Ganesh may have something to do with wealth or prosperity, but that was not the case as Goddess Lakshmi has that job. Ganesh is considered the God of wisdom. So what gives? Why is Ganesh so popular?
Could you tell me about Kali? They named my nephew Kali. If I have the wrong religion, please cure my ignorance.
There's one thing I should clarify at the outset. The concept of God in Hinduism is not a power struggle between different divine entities. Rather it carries with it an understanding that though we choose to worship different entities we are really worshipping the same eternal being, The Par-Bramha, the Divine truth. Now in the Hindu mythology of Gods , This fundamental force has 3 forms.
a) Bramha , The creator
b) Vishnu , The sustainer
c) Shiva or Maheshwara , The destroyer.
These are the three forms of the eternal divine entity. Popular depictions show a 3 faced entity, the faces being those I mentioned, to show that they are 3 forms of the same idea.
So, Its not as if u worship the one whom u think is the most powerful. The choice generally stems from the function that particular diety seems to perform in ur life.
In that respect, Lord Ganesh seems to be the most popular. He’s the Lord of Wisdom. He’s also called , Vighnaharta, or Remover of Obstacles. So, most people would like him to do that for them.
And besides, He’s got the head of an elephant, Strong as an elephant, Slayer of various assorted demons, Pot-bellied, rides a mouse, and has a sweet tooth( loves sweets). Now who wouldn’t love a God like that !!!
Goddess Kali is the form of Shakti ( Shakti literally means the Power or the Force ).
Goddess Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva , The destroyer , is a rishi or ascetic living in his abode in the Himalayas performing meditation. At various times in Hindu mythology, There were times when demons terrorized this earth. And Lord Shiva was deeply engrossed in meditation. So the gods beseeched Goddess Parvati for help.
At such times, Goddess Parvati took on the form of Goddess Kali and rid the earth of its demons.
Goddess Kali is worshipped , coz’ She is kind, benevolent as Goddess Parvati, but at the same time She takes on this role of the Destroyer of Evil.
Do you find Hollywood representations of Indians such as The Simpsons’ Apu offensive?
What is the relationship between Hindu ism and Hare Krishna? (also what is the link of these to to Lord KRSHNA (sp)) whose group distributes many copies of the Bhagvad-gita?
How are women regarded and treated? Right now I am not understanding why Islam fundamentalists look “upon women as sub-humans, fit only for household slavery and as a means of procreation.” See http://rawa.fancymarketing.net/wom-view.htm I hope this is not the situation in many other areas.
I have a friend that is Hindu, and there are many questions I would like to ask her but don’t really know how to. The sect she belongs to believes that an incarnation of God came to Earth in the 1800s or somewhere around then. Do you know anything about that?
What is a typical Hindu religious service like?
I’d like to know more about diatary restrictions and fasting. Not only is my friend a vegetarian (pretty normal around here) but she went through a period where she would not eat garlic or onions. She also fasts quite often.
Whats with women?My friend said that she grew up in a household where the women would serve dinner to the men and then would wait to eat until they were done, and then eat the leftovers-- yet here family also expects her to be a scientist- they are mad at her for changing her major to biology instead of chemistry, because biology isn’t prestigious enough for them! It seems like women are experiencing a lot of contradictory expectations.
Wow, I have a lot of questions but I’m not espressing myself well…thanks for opening this thread.
Mr. Blue Sky:
I haven't seen the Simpsons episodes with Apu. But I have seen the Indian character in Dilbert. I found that character pretty balanced. Well, the thing is I don't find it offensive as long as its all in the spirit of good humour. But Its difficult to establish when the line is crossed and when exactly a potrayal becomes malicious and stereotyped. So, sometimes it does get uncomfortable. Like for instance, There were reports that some shoe manufacturers were printing pictures of Hindu Gods on their shoes. That I thought was disrespectful.
The Hare Krshna group primarily worships Lord Krshna and his teachings in the Bhagvad-Gita.
Now Lord Krshna is the human form taken by Lord Vishnu, The sustainer . In Hindu mythology, Lord Krshna was a great influence on a huge war ( Mahabharata ) that was fought between good and evil. It was at the begining of this war that He recited the Bhagvad Gita. The Bhagvad Gita describes the Idea of God, The duties of Good Humans, The meaning of Life and Death, and the relation between all life and God.
The Bhagvad Gita is an amazing philophical text and the Hare Krshna group pursues its teachings.
I can see ur problem with the treatment of women in fundamentalist Islam but its kinda unfair that only this fundamentalist view is getting the most publicity. From what I gather, Islamic society in Bombay & Delhi(India) and in Karachi (Pakistan) is amazingly progressive in its treatment of women.
Getting back to Hinduism, as far as Hindu religious rituals go, The role of the women is rather secondary. Women are generally respected as a strong component of society. However, Women are also held as the honour/pride of the family. This cultural fact has made life difficult coz they have to walk a very tight line so as not to cause dishonour to the family name. In the past there were a lot of rather questionable practises like suttee and child marriages. However, today hindu urban society is different, more reformed. Women are very progressive, very independent and enjoy freedom on level with the male population.
Thanks, TruthFinder, for your candid answers, & for taking time to do this. I once had an acquaintance who was from East India (I can’t recall the city or location). She always wore a sari, and she attended college. We never discussed religion. I’m sorry that we lost contact because she also had a good sense of humor.
I dont know about this incarnation. Perhaps if u could give me some names I’d be able to help.
A typical Hindu service involves a priest, a lot of chanting Sanskrit hymns, sometimes a holy fire and generally pure veg. food. The basic concept is that the priest purifies the place of the ceremonies. Then based on the occasion, he chants the appropriates religious hymns to bless the occasion and ensure that proper procedures are followed and ensure that appropriate dieties are invoked to seek their blessings. Thats the main theme in almost all rituals.
Well, Veg. food on religious occasions generally means no onions and garlic either. I’ll try to find out why this is so.
For Hindus, Certain days of the week are associated with worship of a particular diety. So, Hindus fast on those days, as a form of worship to that diety.
Women were supposed to eat after the men, but I dont believe they were made to eat leftovers. Like I said, The role of women was secondary in Hindu society. A common precept was that The husband is like God for a Hindu woman. Traditional Hindu families still pursue some of this stuff.
I think ur friends case is an example of a Hindu family caught between 2 worlds, A part still holding on to the old and a part pursuing a new progressive role for women. Also education has a lot of importance for Indians and u’ll find most Indian women today highly educated.