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Insight into the Religion
The River Ganges plays an important role in Hinduism.

Insight into the Religion

Although Hindus have several holy cities and temple cities, pilgrimage is not mandatory in Hinduism. Some important cities of Hindu devotions include Allahabad, Haridwar, Varanasi, Katra and Tirumala-Tirupati, as well as some sets of pilgrim centres which are linked together by theology.

Hinduism also has quite a number of festivals throughout the calendar. Usually, Hindu festivals have their grounding in mythology. Some widespread Hindu festivals include Dussehra, Holi and Diwali.

As well as festivals Hinduism also has certain rites. Occasions like marriage, birth and death involve sets of ceremonious customs. Cremation is considered obligatory after death and is performed by wrapping the dead body in a white cloth and placing it on a pyre until it becomes ashes.

Generally, the majority of Hindus seek salvation through utter devotion to the Gods, while most of the educated classes seek salvation through the path of knowledge. The intellectual Hinduism paradigm revolves around six houses of philosophy, these being Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, Vedanta, Vaiseshika and Nyana. All of these philosophies claim to have originated from the Vedas, and ultimately, revolve around common themes - the difference being their view of the ultimate reality. However, the Vedanta system is more monistic and emphasises that the Para-Brahma is the only essence in the universe; all else being merely illusion. The Yoga, Samkhya, Nyana and Vaiseshika systems are dualistic. They assert that our universe is composed of two objects - spirit and matter. The Mimamsa system is originally atheistic and preaches that salvation comes through the absolute observance of the Vedic rituals.

Major worship in Hinduism tends to centre on the Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar (Shiva) above the countless other major and minor gods. Brahma is the least popular while Shiva receives the most attention. He is the god of power, sex, calmness and fertility and is appealing to the masses who live in deprivation. The various goddess consorts of Shiva, such as Kali, are highly and almost equally revered. Vishnu has appeared on earth in nine forms according to the mythology. It is believed that he will come a tenth time to bring the world to an end and so bring an end to all evils. Among his various appearances, the most popular are Krishna, Rama, Gautama (the Buddha) and Varaha the boar.

1.
Which river is the mother of the great warrior Bhishma?
The Indus
The Mekong
The Ganga
The Bramaputra
Ganga, as well as being purifying and the most sacred of rivers is also the wife of Shantanu and the mother of Bhishma
2.
Between the creations of the cosmos, Vishnu rests on a serpent creature. What is this serpent creature called?
Kalpa
Ananta Shesha
Nandi
Sarasvati
In the Puranas it is mentioned that the Ananta Shesha took incarnations in human forms every time Lord Vishnu had one. For example, in Vishnu's incarnation as Rama, Ananta Shesha was Lakshman. In his incarnation as Shri Krishna, Ananta Shesha was Balaram
3.
Which of the Hindu castes is strictly vegetarian?
Kshatriya, the warrior caste
Shudra, the labourer caste
Brahmin, the priest caste
Vaishya, the artisan caste
The Brahmin caste follows a very pure way of life dedicated to a single cause - to attain Moksha, release from saṃsâra, the cycle of death and rebirth. He never consumes anything which might disturb his tranquility
4.
What is the Sacred River of Hinduism?
The Ganga
The Amazon
The Yamuna
The Indus
The Ganga (or Ganges) is considered to be a goddess. It is a sacred river to Hindus and is the longest river in India
5.
How many husbands did Draupadi have?
No husbands
One husband
Five husbands
One hundred husbands
The five Pandavas were all married to Draupadi
6.
How is the Buddha regarded in Hinduism?
He was a demon
He never existed
He smoked too many lotus seeds
He was one of the avatars of Vishnu
Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is considered to be one of the many incarnations of Lord Vishnu, as stated in Bhagavata Purana
7.
Which of these Hindu festivals celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana?
Rama Navami
Holi
Maha Shivaratri
Dasara
Dasara, which is celebrated in the month of September/October every year, marks the victory of the good one over the evil
8.
The Trimurti is made up of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. What does "Trimurti" mean?
Three Forms
Three Gods
Three Crowns
Three Avatars
The Trimurti is used to describe the three forms of the same Supreme Soul. The creator is called Brahma, the protector Vishnu and the destroyer Shiva
9.
The purpose of life is seen to be gaining liberation from the circle of reincarnation by resolving Karma. What name is given to this achievement?
Sutra
Moksha
Veda
Upanishad
Moksha, or the eternal salvation, is what everybody is to strive for. As mentioned in the sacred texts, if everyone follows a path which will lead to Moksha, the world will be a very peaceful place where every being will co-exist happily
10.
What 'decoration' does the wrathful goddess Kali wear about her neck?
A king cobra
The Hanging Demon, Raktabija
A necklace of fire
A garland of skulls
The skulls represent the authority of the Great Mother. The skulls show us that it is very easy for our Eternal Mother to kill any evil doers. This induces a feeling of fear in those who would commit evil deeds and a feeling of security for those who are good. We know that the Mother is there to protect us as she is so powerful that she can behead all who are evil

 

Author:  Siddarth Bhattacharjee

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