Hindu Religious Traditions

Essay by calif4meUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, May 2008

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Hindu Religious Traditions � PAGE �1�

Hindu Religion is not a single religion, but derived of many religious systems. With a multitude of religious traditions within the Hindu culture perhaps this is why Hinduism seems like such a complex religion. Hinduism is not the traditional organized religion most of us know and practice but is considered to be a way of life.

A ritual of devotion, or Puja, is a religious ritual where purity is emphasized. Puja is performed every day in the morning, after one has bathed and dressed but before a meal or drink, and every evening only after one has washed. The ritual of purity is often carried out in one's home where a holy shrine holds pictures or statues of assorted deities. If the family has a teacher or guru, his or her picture is placed in the shrine. These objects are considered receptacles of spiritual energy allowing the follower direct communication with his or her gods (Smithsonian, 1997).

Orthodox followers believe when a woman has her menstrual cycle that she is impure and is not allowed to approach the shrine or enter the prayer room during this time.

Bhajan is a deeply rooted Indian tradition. "Bhajans are simple songs in soulful language expressing the many splendored emotions of love for God, a complete submission of self-surrender to Him through singing" (Das, 2008). Songs or music is a form of worship or prayer offerings to the Lord. Bhajans trace back to the third Veda in the Hindu scriptures. Bhajan's today consist of different genres such as Nirguni and Madhura-bhakti to name a few, each with its own style of singing. As the different genres of music in America have developed into a modern and upbeat style so have the songs of Hinduism.

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