Hinduism in Action
Reform of Social Practices -
Caste is not essential to Hinduism.
Hinduism values scientific development.
The Social Class structure (Varna system) was initially started for smooth and efficient functioning of the society. Caste (as Varna degenerated into it) is not intrinsic to the Hindu tradition and the social compact in Hinduism is constantly evolving and many Hindu Reformers are working to overcome caste.
Constant and Unchanging
Social agreements and practices in Hinduism are continuing to evolve,
although the spiritual core remains constant.
The spiritual core of Hinduism is searching and understanding the mystery of consciousness and our being.
Unity is a very important message in Hinduism. The categories or professions, based on the spheres of activities, were initially started as the Varna system for smooth and efficient functioning of the society. In the Bhagavad-Gita (4.13), Lord Sri Krishna himself declares “According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me.”
It did not depend upon the family one was born in, contrary to what the caste (a Portuguese word) system dictates. The three siblings in the same family could have different chosen professional classes. There was the freedom to move from one profession to another, based upon one’s preference and training. But somehow, this Varna system degenerated into castes where one caste became superior to the other, which is a perversion of the Hindu Varna system.
Research question: Compare and contrast the caste system to race relations in the USA.
Concept of Time in Hinduism: Cyclical and Endless no Beginning and End
Just like death is not the end but a gateway (birth) to the next cycle, it is also true of the universe itself. Hindu scriptures speak of the universe going through cycles: current cycle of 8.64 billion years and the period of the largest listed cycle is 311 trillion years.
Hinduism believes that cosmos go through reincarnations. For example, the book “Cycles of Time” by Sir Roger Penrose (he has received numerous prizes and awards, most notably the Wolf Foundation Prize in physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking) presents a somewhat similar view on the Big Bang: essentially the idea is that there was a pre-Big Bang era and there will be a post-Big Crunch era too.
Humanity of Hinduism: A Truly Pluralistic Tradition
“Hinduism, therefore, sees itself as being of universal significance, because it represents an entire range of spiritual possibilities and provides spiritual technologies by which one can practice any religion one chooses.
It can accommodate spiritual seekers who see God as personal, and also those who prefer an impersonal Absolute; it speaks to those who call themselves Hindus, and to those who do not. It even includes modes of practice for the gradual elevation of those who disbelieve in spiritual reality and who favor atheistic worldview.”