Indian Philosophy – While Hinduism has often been described as a way of life, allowing plenty of flexibility in forms of worship and gods, the fundamental gods of Hindus is to achieve moksha or liberation from the cycle of existence. Until the attainment of moksha, human beings are subject to rebirth. According to the Upanishads, there are four stages in life through which the seeker of truth has to pass. He has to live as a brahmachari, grihastha, vanaprasta and lastly as a sanyasi.
Karma is the fundamental law of the moral world. Every act, good or bad, performed by man has a deep impact on him. Conscious acts gradually grow into unconscious habits and become part of his character. Character, in its turn, determines action followed by its consequences.
The greatest heritage of the Vedic Hindu age is the idea of unity in the Upanishad, generally known as the philosophy of the Vedanta. Moreover, the concepts for the four stages of life and those of karma and sansar have not only become important parts of the religious faith of the Hindus, but have pervaded Indian poetry and literature.
The challenge of Buddhism and Jainism to the Vedic Hindu religion was a stimulating and refreshing inspiration to the minds of the Hindu thinkers who now left the beaten track and ventured on new paths of speculation and reasoning. Philosophical thinkers made their own original speculation on metaphysical problems and founded their own systems known as the six systems of Hindu philosophy.
The mainstay of popular Hinduism is the latent Vedic literature. The Puranas which some claim to have been written in the pre – Christian era, were in reality probably written between the 3rd and 7th centuries A.D.
The Buddhist philosophies advocates a middle path between the extremes of a life addicted to worldly pleasures and a life of painful asceticism and self-mortification.
The essence of Buddhism lies in the realization that life is transient causes sorrow and where sorrow and change prevail, the concept of a permanent soul or immoral remains nonsense.
It conceived God as a formless Nirankar. It was against idolatry and spoke against superstitious beliefs, whether of Hindu or Islamic origin, and taught people to distinguish between superstition and true religious values.
The basic tenets of Islam are belief in the one God Allah; belief that the life on earth is a period of testing and preparation for the life to come after the Judgement Day when everyone shall be recompensed by God according when everyone shall be recompensed by God according to the actions performed in life. The followers of Islam are bound to certain duties including the five ritual prayers everyday; a weekly Jummah prayer on friday noons.
Christians believes that there is only one God who created the universe and cares for it. Jesus, son of God, was sent onto the earth as his selected assistant to help people find the way to salvation. Christianity teaches that after Jesus early life, God’s presence remained on the earth in the form of the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost. The religion believes in the trinity of God – as the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Two practices important to Christian worship are baptism, which celebrates an individual’s entrance into Christianity, and Eucharist, in which worshipers partake of consecrated bread and wine as a sign of unity with one another and with Jesus.
The central tenet of Zoroastrianism is the belief in the struggle between good and evil. There is one enduring God, Ahura Mazda – wholly good and wise. Followers of Zoroastrianism believe that goodwill ultimately triumph over evil. Fire plays a central part in Zoroastrian worship. Indeed, earth, fire and air are regarded as sacred while death is the result of evil.
The fundamental teachings and laws of Judaism were extracted from the first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible called the Torah. The Talmud is a collection of legal and ethical writings as well as Jewish history and folklore. According to Jewish history and folklore, Jews believe that Abraham, their ancestor was promised by the God to bless him. And also God promised to bless Abraham’s descendants if they remained faithful to and worshipped God. This holy covenant was made to Abraham’s son, Jacob. God later gave the ten Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
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