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Hinduism In American Life

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Autor:   •  September 8, 2010  •  1,435 Words (6 Pages)  •  344 Views

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The English word religion loosely translates into "rules" in Latin. Therefore, a religion teaches us how to think, how to act, and basically everything except what to eat in the morning. The Hindu and Christian religion agree on many things and our society follows some of the rules too because religion and laws are based on humanity. From holy literature many different ideas have been pawned but they are all supposed to lead you to the same things: a happy, healthy life, contribution to the world around us, and some kind of liberation after death. Concerning these ideals the Hindu religion has come up with three ways to make sure that everybody will get what they want out of life and those are the four stages, the four goals, and the four castes of life. There is so much holy war about which religion is right and wrong but if they all are striving for the same thing it is hard for me to see why they take place. In this essay I will show that Christianity is very similar to Hinduism.

The first thing that the Hindus follow to insure that you grow up to be productive (if you are in the upper three castes) is having specific stages of life. In other words throughout our life we have different responsibilities and duties which are spelled out by the Holy Scriptures. The four stages are student, "family man", forest dweller and ascetic. The first stage of student requires you to go to school (if you were a male) and be initiated with the Upanayana ceremony. If a kid was at the top of the caste system and was preparing to be a priest he needs to get trained and before he gets trained he must have a Upanayana ceremony because without these he won't know what he is talking about and won't know and won't have any credibility when he becomes a priest. It isn't enough just to get an education and a little plaque on your wall, you must have lived a celibate life and you must be provided for by your family. This is a way of getting them to think a certain way since according to Hindu laws believe all members of a certain caste are supposed to do the same thing in the same way. The next stage of "family man" is also one that gets you not only to act a certain way but think a certain way. In this stage a man is supposed to get a wife, get a family, and repay his debts to everything that helped him including society. If you can do these two things you have led a successful life even though you can "be more holy" by following two final stages written in the Laws of Manu. The stage of forest dweller is very much life the family man stage but there are three main differences, he can retire to a forest, he has no obligation to pay back society or work and he is supposed to spend time reading the Vedas. After that if he wants to be ultra holy you can detach from life by staging your own social death and do nothing but pursue salvific knowledge. Many people in The United States lead a life almost exactly like this. They start off as a student to learn knowledge for jobs and spiritual journeys later in life. The law requires that we go to school until atleast 16 and most of our parents require us to go to church. If you do not go to school there are consequences in each religion and to receive awards you must be first be a student. In our culture today we can live off of the government. The next stage of life Hindu life is like American life because most of us start families and provide for them and a lot of us do things for society like working at a research university or donating clothes to charity. In fact our society rewards charity by giving us tax exemption and Nobel peace prizes for science achievements and discoveries. The Christian and Jewish religion stress that you must do things for society to be a better human being. After the family man stage many old people retire and many people become more religious at this time. If you are religious you get accepted to heaven so many old people take their extra free time to get more intimate with god so they can receive their rewards. Just like in Hinduism very few people will reach the final stage of life because to stage your social death means to break off communication with our offspring and grandchildren. Although when people go into nursing homes they get very few of their old friends and family visiting them so in a way it is like Hinduism but most people in nursing homes don't have the energy or health to dedicate their life to salvific knowledge. Most of them have a hard time seeing words on a page.

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