w w w . g l o b a l e t h i c p e n a n g . n e t.

Indigenous Spiritualities
Chinese Religion
Baha'i Faith

A Hindu’s Four Classic Aims in Life

Striving for what is pleasant and delightful for the senses (kama)

Striving for what is useful
and attaining prosperity (artha)

Working for justice
and virtue (dharma)

Striving for liberation
and redemption (moksha)
from the cycle of birth, death
and reincarnation




The name Hinduism was invented by Europeans for the Indian religion. In reality, it does not denote a single Indian religion but a whole cluster of religions, a confederation of religions.

Indians themselves usually call their religion eternal order. In Sanskrit, the old classical language of India, this is Sanatana dharma. This central concept of dharma determines everything: it means order, the law, obligation.

Order in Hinduism is not a legal order but an all-embracing cosmic order which governs all life. All men and women, regardless of the caste or class to which they belong, are to observe it and to seek and, finally, obtain cosmic conciousness. The journey of the human being is, therefore, from humanity to divinity.

The notion of dharma reminds us of something like the fundamental ethic that can already be found among the Aboriginal people of Australia, a fundamental order which was there from the start, right from the beginning.

From left: Kandariya Mahadev temple, Khajuraho; Varanasi, the city of Shiva

Hinduism is not primarily a matter of statements of faith, dogmas, orthodoxy. Hinduism has no official doctrinal authority, but is about right action, the correct rite, morality – everything that makes up the practice of religion.

Hinduism is not primarily about specific rights either. It is about our great human destiny, the responsibilities that we have: responsibilities towards family, society, God and the gods which are regarded as manifestations of the one and only Ultimate Reality.

Most Hindus believe in one God, Brahman, the Supreme Entity and the Absolute, but depending on the path they choose, they associate themselves with a particular divine revealer figure, like Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Krishna or Ram.

Hindus are convinced that the human soul is eternal, that it is identical with the primal ground of the world and according to the law of karma, undergoes several earthly existences.

Karma means that all actions have causes from earlier life and effects on later existences.

The four Vedas are regarded as classical sacred scriptures of the Hindus, but the Bhagavad-Gita, a book from the Mahabharata epic, is also extremely popular.

There are more than 800 million Hindus worldwide; most of them live in India.

From left: A devotee at the temple; Morning prayers in the Ganges; A Vishnavite priest.


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