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Here is what Hindu Religious Text Agni Purana says in its 9 Chapters!

"If the physical body is alive, that is no reason for rejoicing. Just as, if the physical body is dead, that is no reason for mourning. The atman (soul) does not die"

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A Hindu Temple, (representative image) ,Wikimedia

Nov 29, 2016: A Purana is a Hindu religious text and is a part of the Vedas. According to the Hindu Mythology, Agni Purana is a preaching by Lord Agni to sage Vashishth. Vashishth narrated the text to Vyasaji, who later narrated it to Sutji. Finally, it was narrated by Sutji in Naiminsharanya to a gathering of sages.

The initial chapters of this text talk about the different incarnations of Lord Vishnu. On proceeding, we see descriptions of rituals especially those performed for Lord Shiva. Many chapters are also dedicated to earth, stars and constellations and the duties of kings.

The Agni Purana consists of 9 chapters:

The Avatars

The first chapter containing seven sections says about the avatars of Lord Vishnu. An avatar is an incarnation or a human form a deity assumes to be born on earth. Lord Vishnu being the preserver of the universe has the most of incarnations and is believed to be already taken up nine forms and the tenth avatar is due in the future.

Harivamsha and Mahabharata

The second chapter tells us about the Harivamsha and Hindu Epic Mahabharata. The Harivamsha section of this chapter is dedicated to the lineage of Krishna which is also its literal translation (Hari means Krishna and vamsha means lineage). This section summarises all the exploits of Krishna but some of them spill over to the next section dedicated to the Mahabharata. The Hindu Epic tells us about the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas over their kingdom with its capital in Hastinapura. Krishna with the help of the Pandavas gets rid of the world’s evil through war.

Buddha, Kalki and Creation

The following chapter consists the tales of Lord Vishnu’s eighth and ninth avatar, namely Buddha and Kalki. It says how towards the end of the Kali era, everyone will abandon their values and the value of people will be measured only by their wealth. It says that people will start robbing each other. It will be at that time when the tenth avatar, the Kalki avatar will be born to establish order again and bring the dawn of a new ‘Satya Yuga’, a fresh era of righteousness.

The next chapter has the narration by ‘Agni’ about the history of creation. It says how Vishnu is the lord of creation, preservation and destruction. It narrates how Lord Brahma was born and how he created the universe as we know it.

Praying, Temples and Deities

The next chapter has four sections and gives the believers directions on how to pray, build temples and idols of deities. This chapter mentions the different forms the various incarnations appear as and what their idols are supposed to look like. This section lists the different pilgrimages and sacred places where deities visit often and people go to get rid of all the sins they have committed.

This holy text also has extended narrations and instructions related to geography and astrology.

Manvataras, Varnashrama and Vratas

The next chapter has four sections. The first being about Manvantaras (eras), each of these are ruled over by a Manu. The next section gives us an overview of the hierarchy of classes (varna) and the precepts of Dharma or righteousness. This section consists of instructions of living people belonging to each class should follow. It also tells us the different stages of life, namely, brahmacharya, garhathya, vanaprastha, sannyasa.

The next chapter reveals the different sins committed by a person and ways for the atonement of their sins. The following sections talk about ‘vratas’ (religious rituals) and ceremonies that are performed according to specific occasions.

Narakas, Charity, Gayatri Mantra and the Duties of a king

The next chapter has four sections where the first one explains the different hellish planets or Narakas. The following sections describe the importance of charity, the power of the Gayatri Mantra, and the duties of a king.

Dreams, Omens and Battle

The following chapter has four sections. The first two talk about dreams and omens or signs. These chapters describe what different dreams and omens mean and how can they be treated with rituals. The third chapter lists the rituals and preparations needed before a king heads out to war. The last section compares these precepts to the teachings of Rama who taught Lakshmana about a king’s duties.

Dhanurveda, Property, Dynasties

The succeeding chapter containing six sections imparts knowledge on weapons, property and the benefits of donating the Puranas. The following chapters describe vamsha (dynasties), medicine and literature.

Pralaya, Yama and Hell, The Gita

The next chapter has five sections which talk about Pralaya (destruction), Yama and Hell, Yoga, the knowledge of a Brahmin and the Holy Text Gita. This text is believed to be the lessons that Lord Krishna taught Arjun when he was unwilling to wage war against the elderly in the opposition.

The Agni Purana is not only a part of Hindu mythology but also a part of the rich Hindu culture. The followers of this religion have been following the teachings of the Hindu text Vedas and the Puranas for ages now and it has become a part of their belief.

-by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

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Hinduism
Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Hinduism
Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Paintings Which Beautifully Depict Scenes From Ramayana

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Ramayana
Ram lifting the bow during Sita Swayambar. Wikimedia Commons.

Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic which describes the narrative of Ayodhya Prince lord Rama’s struggles. The struggles include- exile of 14 years, abduction of his wife Sita, reaching Lanka, destruction of the evil. It is strongly ingrained in the Indian culture, especially, the Hindu culture since a long time. Hindus celebrate Diwali based on the narratives of Ramayana.

The story of Ramayana gives out the beautiful message that humanity and service to the mankind is way more important than kingdom and wealth. Below are five paintings describing the scenes from Ramayana:

1. Agni Pariksha in Ramayana

Ramayana
Agni Pariksha. Wikimedia.

When Lord Rama questions Sita’s chastity, she undergoes Agni Pariksha, wherein, she enters a burning pyre, declaring that if she has been faithful to her husband then the fire would harm her. She gets through the test without any injuries or pain. The fire God, Agni, was the proof of her purity. Lord Rama accepts Sita and they return to Ayodhya. 

2. Scene From The Panchavati Forest

Ramayana
scene from the panchavati forest. wikimedia.

The picture describes a scene from the Panchavati forest. It is believed that Lord Rama built his forest by residing in the woods of Panchavati, near the sources of the river Godavari, a few miles from the modern city of Mumbai. He lived in peace with his wife and brother in the forest.

3. Hanuman Visits Sita

Ramayana
Hanuman meets Sita. Wikimedia.

Hanuman reaches Lanka in search of Sita. At first, he was unable to find Sita. He later saw a woman sitting in Ashok Vatika, drowned in her sorrows, looked extremely pale. He recognized her. After seeing the evil king, Ravana making her regular visit to Sita, he hid somewhere in the Vatika. After Ravana left, Hanuman proved Sita that he is Rama’s messenger by showing her his ring. He assured her that Rama would soon come to rescue her. Before leaving Lanka, he heckled Ravana. Agitated by Hanuman’s actions, Ravana ordered to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. With the burning tail, Hanuman set the entire city on fire.

 

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Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Hinduism- the oldest religion in the world is based on certain established beliefs. Read more to find out what these beliefs are.

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justice and Injustice factor of Hinduism
Hinduism of Hindus when compared between justice and injustice

Hinduism being the world’s oldest religion does not have any proper beginning story like the other monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam do. It has no human founder. Therefore it leads us to the question that if there was no human who started Hinduism then how did its teaching come to being. Well, there is no definitive way to answer this question. What we can answer though are the nine beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion which believes that if a person realizes the Truth within himself then only he can reach a point where the consciousness of man and god are one.

Our beliefs determine our thought process and attitude toward life which lead us to our actions. It is said that we create our destiny from our actions. Beliefs regarding matters such as God, soul, and cosmos often shape our perceptions towards life. Hindus believe in a variety of concepts but there are few critical ones which shape the basic belief of Hinduism. The following are the nine beliefs which not exactly very comprehensive but they form the base of the spirituality of Hinduism.

Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

All Pervasive Divine Power

  • Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

Rig Veda – Wikipedia Commons

Divinity of the Sacred Scriptures

  • Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.

Hinduism – Pixabay

Creation Cycle

  • Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution.

Hindu Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, Wikimedia

Belief in Karma

  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words, and deeds.

Reincarnation and Liberation

  • Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.

penance
Belur, Chennakeshava Temple, Gajasurasamhara, Shiva slaying the demon Gajasura. Wikimedia

Worship in Temples

  • Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.

Hindu dharma
Hindu Sadhguru –  Pixabay

Belief in a Enlightened Satguru

  • Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender in God.

Hinduism, Hindu temple, Krishna idol
Krishna idol. Pixabay

Propagation of Non-Violence and Compassion towards living things

  • Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered and therefore practice ahimsa, non-injury, in thought, word and deed.

The symbol has been adopted by various religions and cultures across the world.
The swastika is a Hindu symbol of spiritual principles and values. Wikimedia Commons.

Respect and Tolerance for other faiths

  • Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance, and understanding.

Prepared by Saloni Hindocha (@siatipton)

One response to “Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know”

  1. Please use proper words for our culture. There are no ‘beliefs’ in Hinduism. There are only ‘hypotheses’ of Hinduism. Belief is something a person is required to adhere to, even in the face of disproving evidence. It demands a suspension of rational thought which goes against the basic nature of Hinduism. Please do not explain Hinduism using the same terminology used by Abrahamic religions. Or more appropriately, call Hinduism and other non-Abrahamic religions as ‘dharma’ to distinguish their inherent nature. Even religious Shinto-Buddhist Japanese say they have no religion when asked. Also, I do not know how you came up with these nine basic so-called ‘beliefs’. I am a Hindu and have never heard of some of them. Please call them ‘some’ of the hypotheses of Hinduism that ‘some’ Hindus agree with. Disagree with ‘tolerance for other faiths’, respect for other dharma – yes, tolerance – not applicable. This word ‘tolerance’ is required by Abrahamic religions which are intrinsically supremacist. Hence they need tolerance to be able to live in a diverse civil society without the tendency to occasionally commit violence for their religion. A dharma like Hinduism has nothing to ‘tolerate’. A Hindu/Jain/Buddhist/Shinto/Taoist/etc. does not care about the religious ‘labels’ and will easily exchange gods/practices/hypotheses with each other if they make sense or are harmless but satisfy some need. Of course, things that are bad deserve criticism and no tolerance (except for basic human respect). How can anyone attempt to define a culture that has always been and will always be in flux as human knowledge increases? It’s time we restored our so-called ‘religion’ to what it always has been i.e. ancient science.

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