Hinduism is based on science

Hinduism

Collective term for the forms of religion native to India, the common basis of which is the recognition of the authority of the Vedas, the acceptance of the caste system, as well as the belief in karma and rebirth. With the first two criteria there is a clear differentiation from other religions of India such as Buddhism and Jainism, and later also Islam and Christianity. Another name for Hinduism is Brahmanism, which, however, only stands for the late Vedic epoch in the narrower sense. The term H. goes back to the Persian word for the Indus river, the residents of which were already referred to in ancient Persian inscriptions. It was introduced by the British colonial powers in the 19th century to simplify the summary of manifestations of indigenous-Indian religiosity. Around 800 AD, H. experienced a theoretical standardization through comments on the three texts of the Upaniṣads that are still valid today as the philosophical basis (prasthāna-traya) of H. Bhagavadgita (BhG) and the Brahmasūtras, written by the Vedānta philosopher and reformer Śaṅkara. The followers of Śaṅkaras represent as Smārtas (followers of the Smṛti, i.e. the authoritative tradition) the orthodoxy towards heterodox sects. Worldview: The notion of periodic cycles of world origins and world annihilations is characteristic of fully developed Hinduism, which are determined by astronomical concepts such as the duration of a cosmic period as a life of the god Brahman (100 Brahman years). A Brahman day (kalpa, 4.32 million years) consists of a thousand great world ages (mahāyuga), which are divided into four world ages (yuga) of decreasing quality and duration (krta-yuga, dvāpara-yuga, treta- yuga, as well as kaliyuga, which has existed since 3102 BC). In addition, there is a subdivision of the Kalpas according to the 14 progenitors of humanity (Manus) into just as many Manu periods (manvantara). The world is conceived as a complex of seven concentric ring continents, which are separated by oceans and in the middle of which lies the world mountain Meru as a world axis. The innermost continent, Jambudvīpa, is home to the human life in its southernmost zone. In a vertical view this lies between seven heavenly worlds, dwelling places of gods and similar beings, as well as seven underworlds (pātāla) and hells, places of snakes, demons etc. - Gods: The most important sources for the knowledge of the gods are the Ṙgveda, oldest of the four Vedas, as well as in detail the epics written in Sanskrit Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata (Mbh), and the popular, encyclopedic Purānas to call. The meaning of the Vedic gods is changed over time, partially replaced and new gods are added. So the great hero and most often mentioned god of Ṙgveda, Indra, experiences a change to pure rain and thunderstorm god; in the Mbh the birth of the elephant-headed Ganeśa is described in detail, who is later considered the son of Śiva and his wife Parvatī and is still very popular today. Opponents of the gods are traditionally demons (asuras), in addition there are numerous other inhabitants of non-human spheres, often of an ambivalent nature, such as nāgas (snake demons), gandharvas (geniuses of the airspace), bhūtas and pretas (ancestral spirits and ghosts) etc. The wise seers of the past (Ṙsis) also play a significant role in all of Hindu mythology. Originating in late Vedic times, the mythology of the epics names the three gods Brahman (Creator), Viṣṇu (Preserver) and Śiva (Destroyer) as universal powers, whereby the cult of the latter two tends to result in monotheistic forms of religion such as the Viṣṇuitische Pañcarātra- or the sivaitic Pāśupata system develop. Linked to Viṣṇu, the so-called. Avatara teachingwho represent the ten descents of God to maintain earthly order (Dharma) in the form of fish, turtle, boar, man-lion, dwarf, Rāma with the ax (Paraśu-Rāma), Rāma (of Rāmāyana), Krṣṇa Vāsudeva, Buddha and Kalki systematized. The divine Rāma of Rāmāyana and Krṣṇa Vāsudeva, who is probably identified with Viṣṇu from the BhG onwards, are important for Viṣṇu piety. With the Kṛṣṇa Viṣṇu cult, the concept of loving, sometimes ecstatic devotion to God (bhakti), which is still popular and, above all, strongly formative for medieval Viṣṇuism in South India, which ultimately leads to merging with him and thus to salvation, also emerged. It is closely linked to the philosophy of the reformed Vedānta and its representatives Rāmānuja, Madhva, Vallabha and Caitanya (Bengal). The Vedāntasūtras and the system of Sāṃkhya are therefore considered to be the basis of Vi .uit philosophy. From 14./15. The Bhakti movement in northern India was established in the 18th century by the Islamic influenced Sants and the weaver Kabir, who is also considered a Muslim saint. Around the same time, Guru Nānak founded the Hindu-Muslim, monotheistic religious community of the Sikhs in Punjab, which combines the teaching of Karman and rebirth with a total rejection of image service and ritualism and which still exists today. In contrast to the generally life-affirming to ecstatic mood of Viṣṇu piety, the atmosphere of the cults associated with Śiva is rather threatening. The ambivalent conception as destroyer, ascetic and at the same time healer probably goes back to Śiva's Vedic predecessor Rudra, the "master of the cattle" (pāsupati). Within the above The divine triad Brahman-Viṣṇu-Śiva embodies the principle of world annihilation, which he introduces with the cosmic world annihilation dance (tāṇḍava) and which is sometimes expressed in the equation with God Kāla, personification of time and death. Śiva shows a special ambivalence as ascetic and yogin, in whom the forces gathered through asceticism simultaneously represent sexual and procreative abilities, which are symbolized by the Śivaliṅgam, a phallic and fertility symbol that can be found everywhere in India. In the area of ​​monotheistic Śiva religiosity, prevalent in the late Middle Ages in South India, Kashmir and Bengal, he is revered as the great god (mahādeva) encompassing the universe. Specific śivaitic philosophy is earliest from the 2nd half of the 1st millennium AD through its mention in the compendium Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha (Summary of all systems) verifiable. Special mention should be made of Kashmiri Śivaism, the heyday of which is to be set in the 10th and 11th centuries AD. He has strongly monistic tendencies, which are reflected in the "doctrine of recognition" (pratyabhi¡ānaśāstra) of the individual in Śiva, but are just as strongly bhakti-oriented. The most important representatives of this period are Somānanda, Utpaladeva, Kṣemarāja and Abhinavagupta. The South Indian sects of Śaivasiddhānta and Vīraśaivas, on the other hand, explicitly represent a reformed non-dualism. A separate direction with sectarian approaches emerged around the middle of the 1st century AD with (Hindu) Tantrism, the basis of which is the idea of ​​a parallelism of all levels of existence and, accordingly, the identity of God, man and cosmos. By means of sayings or mystical sounds (mantra), diagrams (man. d. ala) and ritual practices, often with pronounced sexual symbolism, the salvation of man should be achieved through becoming one with God and the cosmos. Bengali Śaktism, whose texts are also referred to as tantras, is possibly influenced by archaic, Near Eastern cults of a mother goddess. The goddess, mostly Durgā, is the personified energy (śakti) of her divine husband Śiva in the center of orgiastic worship. The ritual practices of tantrism and Śactism are i. d. R. rejected by Hindu orthodoxy. The folk and sometimes also tribal religions with their various manifestations are often included in the H. complex, which, however, usually lack written principles and research is still in its infancy. Modern Hindu reform movements emerged at the end of the 19th century with the aim of returning to their own culture against the background of European colonization and Christian mission, initially from Bengal, the seat of the British East India Company, outgoing. Founded in 1823 by Ram Mohan Roy, based on the teachings of the Upaniṣads Brāhma Samāj represents an image-free monism, while that founded by Dayānand Sarasvatī in 1875Ārya Samāj represents a nationalistic, image and ritualless H. who claims to be close to the original Vedic religion and therefore also expresses himself critical of the established caste system and its social consequences. Political and social reforms are also essential concerns of the Vivekānanda initiated in 1879 Rāmakṛṣṇa Missionwhose namesake was his teacher. It is essentially based on a reformed Vedānta interpretation that is open to all world religions and sees in it the perfect expression of a universal truth inherent in all religions. For this stance, the Indologist Paul Hacker coined the term inclusivism, the representative of which is the philosopher and politician S. Radhakrishan. He is also committed to the Vedānta Integral yoga of the Aurobindo Ghose (Śri Aurobindo) who seeks to regain the identity of the individual with the Absolute through integral yoga. The ideal of M. K. Gandhi is strongly influenced by the Jainist ideal of non-violence (Ahiṃsā), which is religiously legitimized by the principle of "clinging to the truth" (satyagraha), which he identifies with God. - Religious duties: The complex Vedic ritual is gradually replaced in classical H. by the pūjā, the making of offerings to the image of the deity in the temple or on the house altar. Within the Bhakti movement, only religious sentiment and piety are usually beneficial. Numerous festivals are decisive for the Hindu calendar, pilgrimages (yātrā) to the holy bathing places (tīrtha) Haridvār, Allahābād and Vārānasi on the Ganges are particularly meritorious. In addition to the personal relationship to the deity, belief in the dynamics of the cycle of birth (Saṃsāra) and the possible redemption from this (Mokṣa) through the fulfillment of one's own religious duty (sva-dharma) is decisive for everyday life. This is also part of the doctrine of the three declared goals in life of every devout Hindu: Dharma (fulfillment of duty), Artha (material art of living), and Kāma (enjoyment of the senses). These should be cultivated within four stages of life so that salvation results from them as the optimal consequence.

Literature:

  • H. Bechert / G. v. Simson (ed.): Introduction to Indology. Stand - methods - tasks. Darmstadt 21993. pp. 106-115
  • J. Gonda: The Religions of India I: Veda and Older Hinduism; III: Younger Hinduism. Stuttgart 1960–63
  • A. Michaels: Hinduism. History and present. Munich 1998
  • P. Schreiner: The lotus opens in the moonlight. Düsseldorf 1996
  • H. v. Stietencron: Hinduism. Munich 2001.

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