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What Is A Hindu?

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? Well, as scholar Jayesh Singh says, "A Hindu is one of lucid mind and spirit." (Article, WWW, hindunet) This is because Hinduism is a way of life, rather than a religion. It consists of many principles and beliefs, that come together to be Hinduism.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are many different principals to Hinduism. Some of the most common principals are Daamyata, Datta, and, Dayadhvamh. Daamyata includes mental, spiritual and physical self-control, and is basically the same thing as Dama, which is actually just a subdivision of Daamyata.(article, WWW, Datta is to be generous and giving and includes the sub-principal Dharma. Dayadhvamh says to be compassionate and includes KaruNa.
There are also many sub-principals within these principals. These are Ahimsa, satya, Brahmacharya, Maitri, Dharma, KaruNa, Viirya, Dama, and Shaucha. Ahimsa means nonviolence and in strict Hindu households may include vegetarianism. Satya is truthfulness and honesty at all costs. Brahmacharya is often translated incorrectly as sexual continence, but actually means the state of incessant search for the truth; the truth being Brahman. Notice that Brahman is not called God, merely "The Truth" whatever it may be. Maitri is the guidelines for friendship which is the principal relationship in Hindu society. Dharma is translated as "Fulfilling one's duty". Duty is the commitment to Society, Temple, and Family. Viirya is fortitude and includes the ability to understand the strains of a Hindu in society. Dama is self-restraint and is involved with chastity. Shaucha means purity and is also associated with chastity.
Just as there are many principals of Hinduism, there are also many gods and goddesses. This is referred to as polytheism. The Hindu Trinity consists of Brahma, or "The Creator", this is not to be confused with Brahman. Then there is Vishu who is "The Protector". Lastly, there is Shiva, who is "The Destroyer". Other primary goddesses include Saraswati, Lakshimi, and Shakti. Saraswati is Brahma's consort and is the goddess of speech and learning. Lakshimi is Vishu's consort and is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. And Shakti is Shiva's consort and is the goddess of power.
There are many sects of Hinduism, each worshipping a different god or goddess. Some of the most common sects are Viashhnava, which worship Vishu exclusively. Shaiva worship shiva exclusively, Shaakteya worship Shakti exclusively. Last but not least is Smaartas, who worship all gods without preference.
In any religion there are many laws, values, and morals. Hinduism is no exception. The morale of Hindus can be summarized in "The Law of Spiritual Progression". The Spiritual values are, truth, beauty, love, and righteousness. The Intellectual values are clarity, cogency, subtlety, and skill. The Material values are riches, posessions, and pleasures. These values are of the least importance. The Biological values are health, strength, and vitality. These values are not only applicable in humans, but in animals also.
In India, there is a very strict caste system. It separates the working class, the lower class and the upper class. The system also further divides these classes into about 2,000 different castes within each class. (article, WWW, Within each caste, each person progresses through 4 stages of life. These stages are called Aashrama. The first stage is Brahmacharya which is when one is a student. The second is Gaarhastya where one is a householder. The third, Vaanaprastha is the reclusive state, and finally, Sannyaasa, which is the state of being a religious mendicant.
Also dependant on your caste, is your "afterlife" or what happens after you die. In each caste, there are personal duties to fulfill called Dharma. (article, WWW, If one fulfills one's Dharma, then ...

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