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The Caste System dictates everything for us...even marriage!
Our traditional Hindu marriages are always planned by parents. Social status, personality, and education are all considered greatly when Hindu parents are deciding who to marry their daughter/son off with. Due to the belief of reincarnation as well as karma, the caste system is regarded very highly and causes people to marry within the same caste. Weddings in our culture are held at the house of the bride. Sometimes even places such as gardens or courtyards are used to hold a wedding.
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Above shows a picture of my two best friends at their wedding ceremony.
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While Buddhism came before Hinduism, Hinduism is much more superior to the Buddhist Religion. As time progressed, Hinduism began to change in the sense that while Hindus first gathered inspiration from the traditional brahmins, the Upanishads and the Vedas brought about new thoughts and caused popularity of the religion to increase greatly.
Our Hindu religion first began as a result of a blend of the religions of many peoples including the Dravidians, the Indo-Iranians, and the people living in the Indus Valley Civilizations. Hinduism has existed for roughly 9000 years and is known to the world as being the longest existing major religion of the world. Our belief system is based upon the Vedas which are early collections of prayers and hymns. These provide the information about our Indo-European Aryan ancestors who travelled to India around the time of 1500 BCE. Of the Vedas, the "Rig Veda" is the most important and sacred to our religion. In Hinduism, we believe greatly in the concept of reincarnation of both human and animal spirits. Behavior during your life will dictate into which body form you are placed after you have died. For example, if you are an upstanding person with piety to your moral values, you will be born into a higher caste during your second life and will be a person of the upper class. However, if you are a person who does not respect morals than you will be born into poverty in a lower caste during your second life.

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The Hindus

Above is an image which depicts our religion.

Friends

Buddhists
Christianity
India
Gupta Dynasty

Religious Ceremonies

Culture

Our culture consists of great points of reflection. The popular exercise and meditation of you people today--especially in America as a new exercise craze--YOGA...first originated from our religion to be meant as an exercise of the body, spirit, and the mind. We do not believe in the eating of meat. How on earth could anyone eat meat?! Would you eat your best friends? I'd hope not--well think about that next time you slice your knife through that juicy prime rib--how do you know whether or not that is your best friend, your old neighbor who has passed on, or even one of your very close family members who has left their first life and went on to travel through the path of reincarnation. What's so hard about eating some nice fruits and veggies or some traditional Hindu food?!

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Mmmm..smells like some of Momma's cookin'!

Below is a cute picture of me participating in some traditional yoga ...reflecting upon the beliefs of Hinduism

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Map of India, a country where Hinduism is a prominent religion even today.
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Religion

Atman
The eternal life principle
Brama
Creator God
Brahman
Ultimate reality
Dharma
Teachings of principle and virtue
Karma
All of a person's actions during life which determine place after rebirth
Mahabharta
One of the national epics of India
Maya
Power that produces phenomena of physical existence
Puranas
Part of the Hindu scriptures which includes myths and legends and historical events
Samsara
Rebirth of souls
Upanishads
The part of the sacred Hindu texts containing information on the nature of reality and how to achieve union with the main God
Veda
Oldest of the Hindu scriptures--four collections of sacred writings
Brahmin
Member of the priestly caste--the highest caste
Moksha
Liberation from the bondage of finite existence
Yoga
Union with the divine--exercise (physical, mental, or spiritual) that helps to connect a union with Brahma
In the above chart, basic concepts of Hinduism are expressed.

In addition to these basic concepts of Hinduism, is the reaching of Nirvana which is the peaceful escape from the cycle of reincarnation. Our religious documents come in two forms--either the Sruti (which is heard) or the Smriti (which is what is remembered).
The Vedas which are the religious writings are composed of the mantras (hymns of praise), brahamans(sacrificial rituals) and Upanishads ( which are 108 sacred teachings). Smriti includes the law (books of laws), puranas (myths, stories, legends) and epics which are myths. The Epics include the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
To be a sucessful as well as a pius Hindu as I am...you must follow certain paths. You must pay devotion to your gods, take part in the rituals and have a time of self reflection in your life ALWAYS. These will all lead you to ultimate salvation.


Blog

Blog Entry One - Monday April 20th, 1000 CE
So I woke up this morning and decided to participate in some traditional yoga in order to reflect on my religion and come to the realization of what I am really meant to be spiritually. You can check out my pic above in the culture section ;)...ladies I'm single! Anyways, upon my meditation I began to realize that I need to change my ways. I don't spend a great deal of time reading the Upanishads. Through reading these I would learn how to become closer in my union with god--and through reading these texts I would be able to help myself in finding a way in which I would reach Nirvana. Honestly, if I were to die suddenly today I know I would be punished after the cycle of reincarnation. I would be a small mouse crawling along the street searching for somewhere to go and looking for purpose in my life. I have betrayed my gods but today I am starting to change my ways. I am going to stop eating hamburgers and start participating in thoughtful prayer as well as yoga from now on. I am determined to reach Nirvana ...even if it means eating some of that nasty tofu stuff.
Blog Entry Two - Thursday May 2nd, 1000 CE

I have made great strides in finding meaning in my life as a Hindu. Today I learned some new concepts which I had never taken the time to study before. So I learned about all of that social status stuff which before I thought was a bunch of boring stuff, but actually it's pretty cool. So that guy Krishna, ya all you Hindus out there know him--that 8th reincarnation of the god Vishnu...well ya...so he held that Arjuna's caste brought duties to specific people. Basically, they came out with that whole system...you know the one that tells you what your purpose is...so here it goes--I have a quiz tomorrow in my "HINDUS 101" class..so I might as well practice now and teach you what I learned!

Shudras- Serve
Vaishyas- Work
Brahmins- Learn the scriptures and gather wisdom
Kshatriyas- Govern and fight


Blog Entry - Friday May 3rd, Three 1000
Sooo..I'm becoming such an amazing Hindu! Today I brought some people into salvation by teaching them all about what I've learned regarding Hinduism. Pretty soon Hinduism is going to be sooo much more popular than Buddhism I can just feel it. I mean right now its the first millennium CE..so Buddhism, yeah still pretty strong, but wait until the 8th century--I can see into the future and I'm just telling you -- watch out...we're gonna be pretty popular then! I hear we're pretty into education too..which is quite appealling! Well, I gotta go! Dinner's ready...yummmm no beef tonight!

The Wall

Yea Hinduism! Just wanted to give a shout out to my favorite religion ever! Best Buddies for life! I'll see you at temple!
- Love, India
Yeah India! Hinduism is the best religion all around. Since we were a dynasty located strictly in India, we believed in Hinduism. I love you peeps out there! Hindus for life! -Gupta Dynasty

- Chola Kingdom (In the tenth century) Our kings have taken the dancing Shiva as our family god and spread the cult's popularity throughout southern India. We venerate images of Shiva and Vishnu, offer food and drink, meditate, and hope to achieve union with the gods. Hinduism is more than a religion for us. It has also influenced philosophy.

-Sup y'all, just wanted to throw this out there....We, the Vijayanagara Empire, created an generation in South Indian history that defeated regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor. We helped promote your religion to many of our current followers....
Peace out....
Vijayanagar Empire

A short poem called the Bhagavad Gita ("song of the lord") shows that we, the mauryan dynasty, believe that Hinduism will hold salvation for us. The Gita was written by many of our people and the time frame is unknown. However, it still illustrates the cultural climate of our society. ttyl xxooxox -Mauryan Dynasty

Hey, Islam is soooooo much better. After we destroyed many of your worship houses, you think you'd get the point - Sultanate of Delhi
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