Monday January 22, 2018

Hinduism and Judaism: A Tale of Two Religions Fastening Humanity Over The Centuries

A subtle understanding of the principles of Hinduism and Judaism

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Hinduism and Judaism are confluence of faith
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  • Hinduism and Judaism are a confluence of two deep-seated faiths
  • The article will talk about contrast and comparison of Hindus and Jews
  • Duty, karma and adherence over belief are the teachings of both the religions

JULY 5, 2017: Hinduism and Judaism are the two foundational religions in the East and the West. Referred by scholars as Sanatana Dharma, Hinduism shares its underlying concepts such as karma and liberation from samsara with Buddhism and Jainism. A thorough compare and contrast provide better apprehension.

Professor B.Holdrege elucidates that Hinduism and Judaism represent a definite form of religion, keen to “practice, observance and law.” The religions are regarded by scholars to be ethnic religions sharing common elements in regard to purity codes, dietary restrictions among others. Hinduism and Judaism, each “defines itself in relation to a particular sacred language and to a particular corpus of sacred texts.”

Classical Judaism holds that there is only one God in cosmos, a creator of all that exists. God made a relationship, a covenant, with the people of Israel taking two forms. The first being an eternal relationship with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, King David and his descendants as the leaders of the congregation. The second is a reciprocal relationship that applies to the followers to fulfil God’s commandments.

The commandments encompass social, ethical components such as prayer, the observance of Sabbath, marriage and family practices. The commandments are articulated in the written Torah- the Five Books of Moses. It serves the purpose of making Israel a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. The Oral Torah compliments and explains the Written Torah. With the guidance of Torah, the practitioners of Judaism come to understand God’s will and the sacred tenets.

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Hinduism maintains that the cosmos is sacred. Like Judaism, Hindu Dharma concerns itself with attitude and practice and emphasises these features over dogmatic belief. Dharma is committed to the deep abiding laws of nature, and to society. Like Judaism, Hinduism girdle around ethical, social and ritual components. The Hindu Dharma functions like commandments to its followers. The Dharma recognises the unique, intellectual and spiritual outlooks. Dharma sources, written and customary, are mainly composed in Sanskrit. The distinction of Dharma from the Western sense of religion is crucial to the understanding of Hindu religious identity. The word Sanatana, meaning immemorial and eternal emphasises the unbroken continuity of Hindu tradition.

By Puja Sinha of NewsGram. twitter: @Pujas1994

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Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America: The first annual Hindu Heritage Day celebrated in New Jersey

The HHD was successful in providing a platform for the Hindu-American population to reconnect with their land and culture

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Image Source : Facebook
  • The first annual “Hindu Heritage Day” by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America-Ney Jersey, was celebrated on July 9
  • The main highlight of the event was the cultural program in which over 250 students performed in events like classical music and dance
  • A Sanskrit play – “Utthishthata, Jagrata” was also performed on stage

The first annual “Hindu Heritage Day” by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America-New Jersey, was celebrated on July 9 at North Brunswick High School, 98 Raider Road, North Brunswick. It was a grand success with more than 900 attendees, including children of all races and religions.

The VHPA is an independent, non-profit and volunteer-based charitable (socio-cultural- spiritual) organization serving the needs of Hindu community in US with an aim to create a dynamic, vibrant Hindu society inspired by the eternal values of Sanatana Dharma, and the lofty ideals of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam, meaning “the entire creation is one family.”

With an aim to promote, support and celebrate Santana Dharma and the values and traditions of the rich Hindu heritage, several events were held simultaneously over eight hours for people of all ages. About 11 non-profit organisations and many local food and clothing vendors also participated.

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The main highlight of the event was the cultural program in which over 250 students performed in events like classical music, dance, poem recitation and chanting the traditional hymns. A Sanskrit play – “Utthishthata, Jagrata” was also performed on stage. A discourse on stress relief was given by Swami Adhyatamananda. Messages or quotes were cited from Hindu literature to broaden the understanding on several universal topics.

Several activities like face painting kite flying, field games like kho-kho, rangoli and henna competitions were held for the kids and ladies while the elderly enjoyed the Kavi Sammelan and the thought-provoking plays. The Hindu Heritage Day (HHD) thus exhibited the vibrant, artistic and spiritual heritage of India.

A play in simple Sanskrit! - "Utthishthata, Jagrata". Image Source : Facebook
A play in simple Sanskrit! – “Utthishthata, Jagrata”. Image Source : Facebook

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“VHPA wants to engage second-generation youth and their families to connect with their heritage, and also give them a platform to exhibit their talent and skills,” said Brahm Sharma, president of the N.J. Chapter, reports newsindiatimes.com.

Arun Joshi, one of the main organizers of the event, said that by making HHD an annual event, an effort is being made to help the public understand Hindu values and different aspects of the Indian tradition.

The HHD was successful in providing a platform for the Hindu-American population to reconnect with their land and culture and cultivate an interest in the Hindu heritage and values among the children.

The organizers are planning to include a diverse crowd like those who are unfamiliar with Hinduism or who want to learn about it to the event from next year.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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