Read our new article «Ex - Jehovah's Witnesses, who are now members of the Catholic Church, share their personal stories»

Thursday, 12 May 2016


Translated from the original by Costas Balomenos

The continuous and eternal wheel of reincarnations, from which the faithful of Hinduism wishes to escape

Hinduism is the traditional religion of India and that is why is not mentioned its founder. It consists of a hodgepodge of religious and philosophical systems, which start from a naive animism (i.e. all have life), continue in a labyrinthine polytheism with hundreds of thousands of Gods and Goddesses and end up not only in monotheism, but frequently and in atheism!...

Commonplace of all these religious and philosophical systems of Hinduism is the idea of reincarnation, according to which - after death - the soul of man is reincarnated in a new form as a plant, animal or human.  The "karma", i.e. the reward for human actions in his previous life, determines whether the soul will reincarnate favorably or not. This continuous and perpetual cycle of human reincarnations is called "samsara». The redemption from the “samsara”, i.e. the chain of continuous reincarnations, is called "moxa” and is considered the highest religious pursuance.
Consequently, a basic issue of the Indian religious search was the determination of the route for redemption. The development and the foundation of the ways and means to achieve this redemption ("moxa"), were the focus of various religious and philosophical schools of Hinduism. This problem was connected with a number of other issues on which the discussions and responses during the long evolution of Hinduism were multicomponent. The three routes towards redemption, which the Indian thought had appointed, are: "karma - marga '(the road of works), the" tznana - marga " (the road of knowledge) and the' bhakti - marga" (the street of of dedication). Or else, "karma - yoga", "tznana - yoga", "Bhakti - yoga". Yoga means exercise, dressage, coupling.  Of course, besides of the foregoing, because the Hindu religion are labyrinthine - as we have pointed out - there are several other variants and combinatorial forms of Hindu popular piety, but also many philosophical systems, which determine the “redemptive” knowledge. Six of these are considered as most important.
According to the first road, as was defined by the two dominant currents of Hinduism, the Vedism and Brahmanism, the salvation is achieved by projects. Among these projects, and center of religious life which leads to salvation are the sacrifices to the gods, the study of sacred texts (Vedas), the ceremonially projects, the food supply to the ancestral spirits, the hospitality to their fellow men and the occupation with "yoga", a kind of practice asceticism. The "yoga" allows - with various methods of breathing and exercises - to found someone in a trance, in which ceases to exist the duality of subject and object and so you are becoming one with the divine. For acceptance - on behalf of the gods - of human demands, the exact observance of the typical is a prerequisite. The standard is defined in detail in the Code of Manu. However, according to "karma – marga” the sacrifice to the gods is offering and produces everything. Later was searched the deeper theological interpretation of the meaning of these ritual formulas.
The second redemptive direction, who mainly point out the Upanishads (sacred explanatory texts of the sacred books of Hinduism Vedas), emphasizes that in the universe there is only one Atman (universal soul). Other, the individual atman (souls), constitutes differentiations of one. The Indian thought finally identifies the one and only Atman with Brahman (the Divine). The Upanishads, referring to salvation, the "moxa», emphasize that final purpose, which must seek the man is the redemption from the uninterrupted flow of rebirth (samsara). And this succeeds, when realize the identification Atman and Brahman. The man, being a spark of the global soul, the Atman, not separated from this oneness with disobedience ethical. The supreme authority of the universe, the Brahman, because it is impersonal, cannot be challenged. Well, for Indian thought, sin is mainly ignorance of this section, i.e. of the ego and of the Brahman, the so-called «Avidya». And this «Avidya» must be overcome with knowledge and experience, so that one can reach the effulgence. The volition conscripted not for the transformation of the world, but for the removal of person from this world of fraud. The ideal path towards salvation - in accordance with the "tznana – marga”- passes through four stations: the student of religion, of married family man, of the hermit ascetic and finally of the saint, who – with self-concentration - by achieving the highest knowledge, escapes definitively of the "karma" and of the cycle of reincarnations and is absorbed by the absolute Brahman, i.e. arrives in the final state called Samadhi.
The Bhagavad - Gita, one of the holiest and most beloved texts of Hinduism, describes the third way for the salvation of man, the “Bhakti – marga”.  So, as a way of salvation, simpler and more direct considers the dedication and complete abandonment to the love of a personal deity, from the hundreds of thousands of gods and goddesses who Hinduism has and in her adoration.  Indeed, the most eminent theologian, who emphasized the dedication and the loving attachment to a certain deity, was the great theologian and poet Ramanoutza (11th-12th century AD). He had give in god Vishnu his warm love and particularly in Krishna, an incarnation of this in the world.
Nevertheless, all three roads to redemption of the Hinduism believers are contained in the Code of Manu, written around 200 p. X. The Bhagavad - Gita is attempting to combine these three roads in one, putting special emphasis on the wholehearted devotion to God Krishna, who is also her central hero.
Here's an excerpt from the Bhagavad - Gita, which describes how the god Krishna teaches the ways of union with him:
«To those who ..., dedicating all their acts to me and considering me as the ultimate purpose they worship me, meditating over to me with exclusive devotion, who have their mind committed to me, I, without delay, I am coming to redeem them from the ocean of this world of death. He placed your mind only to me, intently to your understanding in me. In me then you will be resident from there and then without doubt. But if you cannot dedicate your mind steadily on me, then ... the acts of consoling let him be your highest purpose. Even by doing acts to propitiate me, you would reach to perfection. If you cannot do even that, then resorted to the dedication to me, and with restraint, let all the fruits of your actions ... My faithful, who is indifferent, pure, impartial, free from grief, leaving all acts [that have as their object the acquisition of fruits], is very dear to me... He, who is himself to his friend and to the enemy, is himself to the honor and dishonor, to the cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, who is free from adhesions, he for whom the praise and reproach are the same, who is silent, content with whatever, homeless, with stable mind and full of dedication, he is very dear to me.»  Bhagavad - Gita, XII
Although the search for “moxa” has never been an ideal, but only for a small minority of the Hinduism believers, the release was everything a religious rule for all, that was affected their lives. That was happening because the "moxa” was define out not only the hierarchical values of social institutions, of religious doctrines and religious customs of the Indians, but also the operating mode of the Indian philosophy, which must consider what it should do the human, to conquer the true happiness and what must be understand through the direct experience, to escape from samsara (the bondage) and to gain spiritual freedom. While those who have not deepen in the Brahmanical thought, have only an indefinite idea about the doctrine of "karma" and "moxa" in the lower classes of Indians, these doctrines constituted the motivations of meditation on a large scale.
For the common Hindu, the main aim of worldly life is the conformity to social obligations in ritual functions and traditional behavior rules of caste, namely in social position belonging necessarily congenital from the religion of Hinduism, his family and his profession. In these tasks and obligations included a personal, individual “dharma” (rule and tasks), i.e. the stability, the law, the order and the fundamental balance in the universe, in nature and in society, which must not be violated by the fear of undesirable results. The "sanatana (traditional) dharma" - a term used by every Hindu to his own religion - is a concept similar to the "religious practice" of Western thought. Thus, for the Hindu, the religion is a tradition and a way of life and a way of thinking. In practice, it is the proper application of methods, which ensure to him the prosperity in life and a good situation in the "other world".


1. Anastasios Giannoulatos, Archbishop of Tirana: "Traces from the browse of the transcendental"
2. Encyclopedia "Papyrus - Larousse - Britannica»
3. Encyclopedia "Science and Life"
4. "Great Soviet Encyclopedia"
5. "Religious and Ethics Encyclopedia"
6. School Manual of Religious "Christianity and Religions", B' Lyceum, 2009.

Writer Christos Pal

No comments: