What Makes You a Hindu?

Being born into a family practicing Hinduism does not make you a Hindu, if you go by the characteristics that you must have to be counted as one. There are many traits that give away whether a person is a true Hindu. For example, Hinduism is unique because of some ideas that are very different from the other religions of the world. Hindus are firm believers in the rewards of good karma: if you do good deeds, you’re bound to reap the benefits. A good Hindu will never shy away from doing good deeds because that is a crucial part of the Hindu identity.

You’re a Hindu if you believe in the concept of afterlife. Ancient texts and even the epics that Hindus consider holy have propagated the idea that death is only a part of the soul’s journey. It is not the end of the road, but only a bend. There’s a lot of ground still left to be covered. What you do in this life only prepares you for the next life – the afterlife. That is why Hindu gurus advise people to live a meaningful life and to acquire good karma. Such ways of dealing with life will ensure that you have a blissful afterlife. If the cycle of life comes to an end because of your good karma, you will find eternal joy in heaven.

The life of a Hindu is guided by the values of charity and generosity. Hinduism teaches its followers to give out to people so that society is benefitted. A good Hindu is someone who is generous at heart and has a philanthropic spirit. Hindus are also believers in the doctrines of sacrifice. To give up what one considers worth keeping is called sacrifice. It enriches the person’s soul and makes it rise beyond the materialistic world that we live in. Hinduism does not demand that you live an ascetic life in seclusion. What is expects from Hindus is that you must be able to look after your fellow beings and help them out when they are down and out.

Hindus have a strong belief in the powers of the divine. A good Hindu will never doubt the power of the God that he believes in. Worshippers in Hinduism usually have a God that they believe in more than the others in the pantheon. That is why you have worshippers of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu or Lord Ganesha. Though all these paths lead to the same destination, Hindus are zealous about the Gods that they owe allegiance to. Dedicated Hindus are also particular about chanting mantras to appease the deities. Separate sets of mantras were written in the holy Hindu texts for different deities. Hindus learn them up for ceremonies and pujas. The mantras are their means of direct communion with their preferred deity.

Hinduism does not demand that you have to be very particular about rituals and ceremonies to be at one with God. It advises people to live their life according to a code of ethics, known to Hindus as dharma. Adherence to this code will make you a better Hindu than most.

Thanks to: Miracle Yantra 

Krishna Janmashtami

“yad yad acarati shresthasthat devetaro janah sa yat pramam kurute lokas tadanuvartate.”  – Lord Krishna

The Birthday of Lord Krishna

The birthday of Hinduism’s favorite Lord Krishna is a special occasion for Hindus, who consider him their leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher and friend all rolled into one.

Krishnatook birth at midnight on the ashtami or the 8th day of the Krishnapaksha or dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Shravan (August-September). This auspicious day is called Janmashtami. Indian as well as Western scholars have now accepted the period between 3200 and 3100 BC as the period in which Lord Krishna lived on earth.

How do Hindus celebrate Janmashtami? The devotees of Lord Krishna observe fast for the whole day and night, worshipping him and keeping vigil through the night while listening to his tales and exploits, recite hymns from the Gita, sing devotional songs, and chant the mantra Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.

Krishna’s birthplace Mathuraand Vrindavan celebrate this occasion with great pomp and show. Raslilas or religious plays are performed to recreate incidents from the life ofKrishna and to commemorate his love for Radha.

Song and dance mark the celebration of this festive occasion all over northernIndia. At midnight, the statue of infantKrishnais bathed and placed in a cradle, which is rocked, amidst the blowing of conch shells and the ringing of bells.

In the south western state ofMaharashtra, people enact the god’s childhood attempts to steal butter and curd from earthen pots beyond his reach. A similar pot is suspended high above the ground and groups of young people form humans pyramids to try and reach the pot and break it.

The town ofDwarkain Gujarat,Krishna’s own land, comes alive with major celebrations as hordes of visitors flock to the town.

By Subhamoy Das, About.com Guide

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