India Cultural Intelligence/Beliefs

By: Haylee King & Morgan Schwallie

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This religion is the most practiced in India.The religion of India that emphasizes freedom from the material world through purification of desires and elimination of personal identity. More than 80% of the population is involved with Hinduism. This is considered the oldest religion in the world.

Hindu Beliefs

  • These fundamental Hindu beliefs include: the authority of the Vedas (the oldest Indian sacred texts) and the Brahmans (priests); the existence of an enduring soul that transmigrates from one body to another at death (reincarnation); and the law of karma that determines one's destiny both in this life and the next.
  • Most well-known Hindu saying about religion is: "Truth is one; sages call it by different names."

Hindu Practices

This devotion usually takes the form of rituals and practices associated with sculptures and images of gods in home shrines.

  • Ayurveda:

    Ayurveda is an ancient Hindu system of medicine and healing that has found new popularity in the west today.

  • Hatha Yoga:

    Outside of Hindu culture, the word "yoga" is usually understood to refer to the practice of meditative movement, or Hatha Yoga. However, Hatha Yoga is only one part of the Hindu traditions of Yoga and Tantra. It is one of the paths leading to the ultimate goal of Raja Yoga, or contemplation of the One Reality.

  • Kundalini Yoga:

    Kundalini yoga is a tantric form of yoga focused on awakening the kundalini, the latent psychic energy that lies at the base of the spine, and making it rise through the seven chakras to the top of the spine.

  • Namaste Greeting:

    The gesture (or mudra) of namaste is a simple act made by bringing together both palms of the hands before the heart, and lightly bowing the head. In the simplest of terms it is accepted as a humble greeting straight from the heart and reciprocated accordingly.

  • Puja (Pooja):

    Puja is a religious ritual which some Hindus perform every morning after bathing and dressing but prior to taking any food or drink. Puja is seen as a way of relating humans to the domain and actions of the divine, and can be performed for anything considered divine, from Vishnu to a holy tree.

  • The Sadhu (Holy Man):

    Some Hindus choose to leave their homes and dedicate their lives to spiritual disciplines. They renounce their possessions and devote themselves to a particular god and/or meditation, yoga and spiritual discussion. These are called sadhus, or holy men.

  • Temples and Temple Rituals:

    A guide to Hindu temples: how they are designed and built and the rituals and ceremonies that take place there.

Hindu Scripture

Sruti ("heard") or smruti ("remembered")

Sruti scriptures are considered divinely inspired and fully authoritative for belief and practice, while smruti are recognized as the products of the minds of the great sages

Hindu Holidays & Festivals

Holi : an annual festival celebrated on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of March.

Diwali : a Hindu festival of lights lasting five days.

Mahashivaratri (Shiva Ratri) : Great Festival of Shiva.

- Rama Navami - birthday of Lord Rama (April)
- Krishna Jayanti - birthday of Lord Krishna (July-August)
- Raksābandhana - renewing bonds between brothers and sisters (July-August)
- Kumbh Mela - pilgrimage every 12 years to four cities in India (July-August; last one 2003)
- Ganesha-Chaturthi (Ganesha Utsava) - festival of Ganesh (August-September)
- Dassera - victory of Rama over demon king Ravana (September-October)
- Navaratri - festival of Shakti (in Bengal) or Rama's victory over Ravana (South India) (September-October)