Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughts on Hinduism

I'm in the process of reading the Bhagavad Gita for my seminary class, and it's certainly been a learning experience. Not only is it beautiful on its own as a sacred text and as "prosetry" (at least in English), but it is an interesting manual for living. I am also startled by the similarities between the Hindu gods and my own!

There is a certain amount of cross-over. People sometimes refer to Vishna as a "face of" Zeus, etc. But I'm just shocked at how similar some of them are. Take Krishna here. He's the one with the blue skin. When you do some reading about him, he's a pretty practical guy, but not afraid to enjoy the finer things in life, either. He has a very feminine look to him, too, which is a Dionysian trait. I just find it fascinating.

From watching videos on Youtube, I am getting a feel for Hindu worship. There seems to be two types, which is again similar to Hellenismos. There is the home shrine tending, which is somewhat informal and done at the same time each day. Hindus seem to tend to want to do their home worship in the morning, right after their bath.

I watched one young lady in India explaining (in excellent English, I might add!) how she tended her family's shrines. She told us that she's "just a daughter-in-law" so the task falls to her, but she likes it anyhow. I found that somewhat funny. She carefully put yellow and red powder on the foreheads of each picture or statue of her family's gods (there were about 8 or 9), offered each some rice, and burned some incense. She spoke prayers and sung songs, though I couldn't tell you what they were as she was speaking in Sanskrit. It was beautiful - you could see the love in her eyes as she tended to her duties.

This is similar to my own morning proceedures right now. I get up, get the kids up and out the door to school, feed myself and whoever eles is here, and then go up to work on school work. Before I do, I stop before my altar and light a candle, turn on the fountain, and take a moment to pause, say thanks, and ask for guidance throughout my daily work. It's been nice, a real break for my soul!

The second type of Hindu worship is the temple worship. I know less about this, because there aren't as many videos of what goes on in temples, and the ones I have managed to find are broken into badly filmed sections. However, I see the incense, the chanting, the altar with its large statues and images. Again, it seems very reminiscint of the Hellenic worship of the Theoi.
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