its difficult to generalize about hinduism. at the most you can say that hinduism is a way of living in harmony with nature and growing inwardly over lifetimes.
before writing about key beliefs of hindus, i want to share the essence or the criteria.
anything which leads you closer to god or bring peace in your heart or bring harmony in the world is accepted in hinduism.
important beliefs of hindus:
1. all religions are way to realized god within. no religion is higher or inferior. lets not compare about religion and waste time. instead find a religion which suits you. there are billions of people in the world and everyone is unique. so one religion or path can not suit everyone. so you are free to choose the sadhana or path which takes you closer to god easily. respect all religion and follow your chosen path with totality.
2. reincarnation – it takes many many life times to grow and realize god within. there is a continuous cycle of birth and death unless you realize your true nature (you can call it enlightenment, salvation, moksha, nirvana, self-realization, nirvikalpa samadhi or any other word). i repeat, unless you realize your true nature, you will be born again. your consciousness at the time of your death will greatly affect the conditions of your next birth. so do good karma, dharma all your life because that will decide how you are going to face death. after death, body is cremated and not buried (except in case of infants or people who have realized samadhi) so that soul attachment to the body is finished and the soul can starts it upward journey to next birth. there is a complete ritual of 14 days.
3. law of karma – every action has equal and opposite reaction. you must have heard about it. you have to face your karma. so be careful about it. what you sow that shall you reap. no one is exempt from this law of karma. if you are very sensitive then you will face your karma not in near future but right now also. e.g. you do a bad deed you will feel bad immediately.
4. god is formless as well as with form – there is enough debate about this. some say god has forms and some say god is formless. choose the concept which suits you. hinduism accepts that both way to leads to god. what is important is that you reach to god and the path chosen is secondary. the difference in opinion is because some people will have problem in realizing formless nature of god. so for them its better if they start with the realization of god with form and once that is realized they can realized formless nature of god. read about sri ramakrishna paramhansa samadhi to know more about this. ultimately everything is ‘shunyata’ (or zero).
5. live in harmony with nature – don’t harm the mother earth. take care of birds, plants and all living beings. be compassionate to all living beings. be vegetarian and be non-violent. don’t harm anybody even in your thoughts forget about in actions. but to save dharma you can fight with oppressors. don’t spoil water bodies, don’t do air pollution or noise pollution. thats the reason hindus avoided the aeroplanes way back. because the noise of aeroplanes was creating disturbance in ethers.
6. “vasudhaiva kutumbakam” – which means the world is one family. don’t think of just yourself and your immediate family. the whole earth is one big family. the people who are dying today in iraq, yemen or anywhere in the world, could be your relatives in previous lives. so whenever possible share your abundance with less privileged people. don’t hoard much. don’t waste things. share whatever you can. we all have some thing to share. it could be love, wealth, knowledge or just a simple smile. share and it will grow. hoard and it will reduce.
7. satyam shivam sundaram – very important because god has all these three qualities and following any of these 3 qualities with totality you can realize god.
lets see what they are. satyam means truth, shivam means consciousness and sundaram is beauty. so always speak truth and defend it at any cost. consciousness comes via meditation. be more conscious of your thoughts, actions and emotions. sundaram is beauty. so be creative and artistic. see beauty in everything. create a beautiful world (very important in current time as we are creating a very bad world for future generations). see beauty within and outside. that means when you look at a women look with love but not with lust. that love could be of a brother, son, father. because another important principal is except your wife all other women are your mother, sister or daughters. so be loving and protective.
om om om – (the primal sound, the most important mantra)