|Dr. Hartnell's Nutty the A.D.D. Squirrel||
Heads up! Karama's watching...
Hinduism is the oldest major religion still practiced today. It started in India around 1500 BC (although no one person is considered its "founder".)
Many of the beliefs were based on the Vedas, collections of hymns and ceremonies passed down orally by Aryan priests and then eventually written down. Hindus believe in a spiritual force called Brahman, which can take the form of many gods, like: Brahma the Creator (God), Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer, or Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of strength.
For Hindus, life's goal is to seek union with Brahman, a quest that may take several lifetimes. For that reason, Hindus believe in reincarnation, meaning the soul never dies and is reborn again in another person, animal, vegetable, or mineral.
A person's karma (his/her actions) determines what form they take in the next life. Bad karma might mean returning as an animal whereas good karma could result in a higher position on the ladder of incarnation.
Hinduism's goal is to be released from reincarnation and united with Brahman. One of the ways Hindus increase "good" karma is by washing away their sins in the sacred Ganges River in India. Yoga, a method of physical training and exercise, is another way to achieve unity with Braham.
In the U.S., cows are considered walking hamburgers. In India, the
cow is believed to be a symbol of the earth because it gives so much yet asks
nothing in return. Cows act as surrogate mothers by providing milk to humans.
Since the cow is thought to be God's gift to mankind, consuming or selling beef
is a sin.
Mahatma Gandhi, who helped India achieve independence from Britain through nonviolence, is the best-known Hindu. He lived a life of prayer, fasting, and
meditation. Refusing possessions, he wore the loincloth of the lowliest Indian. He was called Mahatma, which meant "great soul". He was assassinated in 1948 by a Hindu fanatic upset with
Gandhi's tolerance of Muslims. His death was an international tragedy.
From the files of "Sad But True" comes this gem...
In a 2011 poll, more American teenagers could correctly identify Apu (the fictitious Hindu Kwik-E-Mart owner from The Simpsons) than could point out Gandhi.