TV9 Samskara: Hindu Customs, Traditions, Culture & Practices: (1-11-2013) – Full

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TV9 ಸಂಸ್ಕರ: {1st-November-2013} Hindu Customs, Traditions, Culture & Practices – Full….,
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Hinduism is the major religion of the Indian subcontinent, particularly of Nepal and India. Hinduism includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shrauta among numerous other traditions. Among other practices and philosophies, Hinduism includes a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of “daily morality” based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a categorisation of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs.
Hinduism consists of many diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its direct roots are the ancient Dravidian culture and the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India. As such, Hinduism is often called the “oldest living religion” or the “oldest living major religion” in the world. Since Vedic times, a process of Sanskritization or Indo-Aryanization has been taking place, in which “people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms”.
One orthodox classification of Hindu texts is to divide them into Śruti (“revealed”) and Smriti (“remembered”) texts. These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna and agamic rituals and temple building among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Manusmriti, Bhagavad Gita and Agamas.
Hinduism, with about one billion followers (950 million estimated in India), is the world’s third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.

Hindu practices generally involve seeking awareness of God and sometimes also seeking blessings from Devas. Therefore, Hinduism has developed numerous practices meant to help one think of divinity in the midst of everyday life. Hindus can engage in pūjā (worship or veneration),[151] either at home or at a temple. At home, Hindus often create a shrine with icons dedicated to their chosen form(s) of God. Temples are usually dedicated to a primary deity along with associated subordinate deities though some commemorate multiple deities. Visiting temples is not obligatory,[192] and many visit temples only during religious festivals. Hindus perform their worship through icons (murtis). The icon serves as a tangible link between the worshiper and God.[193] The image is often considered a manifestation of God, since God is immanent. The Padma Purana states that the mūrti is not to be thought of as mere stone or wood but as a manifest form of the Divinity.[194] A few Hindu sects, such as the Ārya Samāj, do not believe in worshiping God through icons.
Hinduism has a developed system of symbolism and iconography to represent the sacred in art, architecture, literature and worship. These symbols gain their meaning from the scriptures, mythology, or cultural traditions. The syllable Om (which represents the Parabrahman) and the Swastika sign (which symbolises auspiciousness) have grown to represent Hinduism itself, while other markings such as tilaka identify a follower of the faith. Hinduism associates many symbols, which include the lotus, chakra and veena, with particular deities.
Mantras are invocations, praise and prayers that through their meaning, sound, and chanting style help a devotee focus the mind on holy thoughts or express devotion to God/the deities. Many devotees perform morning ablutions at the bank of a sacred river while chanting the Gayatri Mantra or Mahamrityunjaya mantras.[195] The epic Mahabharata extols Japa (ritualistic chanting) as the greatest duty in the Kali Yuga (what Hindus believe to be the current age).[196] Many adopt Japa as their primary spiritual practice.[196] Yoga is a Hindu discipline which trains the consciousness for tranquility, health and spiritual insight. This is done through a system of postures and exercises to practise control of the body and mind.

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