Religions in Brief
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       =======  Understanding Hinduism  =======

Religions in Brief

Click on underlined words to open paragraph

Compiled in 1984 by Swami Shivapadananda
The Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa

Buddhism in Brief      Zen in Brief

Confucianism in Brief

Christianity in Brief  (Nine Basic Beliefs of Christianity )

Hinduism in Brief    
Nine basic beliefs of Hinduism)

Sikkhism in Brief        Jainism in Brief

 Islam in Brief

Judaism in Brief

Taoism in Brief

Zoroastrianism

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Preamble
By Swami Shivapadananda

Man sooner or later must realize that he is a thinking being endowed with discriminating faculties. This is the special blessing of God and Nature to man. Therefore it behoves man to willingly, freely and lovingly practise those disciplines that would make man manifest his Real Nature which is Divine. These excercises are found in all religions.

These disciplines are practical, genuine and well-tested by the votaries of the respective religions. The only criterion is that one would take it seriously and perform those exercises with sincerity, regularity and purity of motive. Be loyal to the ideal. This in turn will yield the highest result.

My prayer is that God gives you the strength and discrimination to realize the Truth. In conclusion, I appeal to you to join me in the following prayer:

Om sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu
Sarveshaam svatir bhavatu
Sarveshaam shantir bhavatu
Sarveshaam purnam bhavatu
Sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu

Om shantih!  Shantih!  Shantih!

May there be good to all
May there be auspiciousness to all
May there be peace to all
May there be fullness to all
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Buddhism in Brief

Although an independent and major religion of the world today, Buddhism began as a reform movement within Hinduism. The Four Noble Truths expounded by the Buddha in his first sermon at the Deer Park at Sarnath constitute the core of his teachings.

  1. There is suffering (dukkha) in the world.
  2. This suffering has a cause.
  3. Suffering can be eradicated.
  4. There is a way to accomplish this end. This is the Eightfold Path. Each of the eight phases has to be developed simultaneously because they are linked together, and the cultivation of one helps in the observance of the others.
  1. Right Understanding: Resulting from a conviction in the Four Noble Truths.
  2. Right Aspiration: Intense desire to follow the path to eradicate suffering.
  3. Right Speech: Abstention from telling lies, backbiting, slander, and from talk that may bring about hatred, enmity, disunity and disharmony among individuals. It also includes abstention from idle, useless and foolish gossip, and from the use of harsh and abusive language.
  4. Right Action: Is that which avoids destruction of, or injury to life and property, and promotes honourable and peaceful living. It means avoidance of dishonest dealings with others and illegitimate sexual intercourse.
  5. Right Livelihood: One should adopt an occupation, which is honourable and blameless and involves no harm or injury to others. Selling of intoxicating drinks and trade in lethal weapons and killing of animals for food, are banned under this rule.
  6. Right Effort: We should direct our energies towards preventing evil and unwholesome states of mind from arising, and to get rid of them if they have arisen, and to develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states already present.
  7. Right Mindfulness: Is to be diligently aware, mindful and attentive with regard to:

the activities of the body
sensations and feelings
the activities of the mind
ideas, thoughts, conceptions and things.

8.Right Absorption: There are various exercises for concentration to develop meditation, culminating in absorption.
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Zen in Brief

As time went on Buddhism split into two main groups – Theravada and Mahayana. Within the Mahayana tradition there are five main schools, of which Zen is the intuitive school. Zen is the Japanese counterpart of the Chinese word Ch’an which, in turn, is a translation of the Sanskrit word Dhyana meaning the meditation, which leads to insight. The intuitive experience or enlightenment is called Satori.

In order to achieve Satori the mind has to be trained through three main methods.

  1. Zazen (seated meditation).
  2. Long hours are devoted to sitting silently with eyes half-open and the gaze falling unfocused on the floor a few feet in front. In meditation use is made of the Koan.

  3. Koan (problem). They contain the enlightenment of the Master who constructed them, and by answering it the same enlightenment is realized by the trainee. These could be described as puzzles that provoke, baffle and exhaust the mind, bringing it to an intellectual and emotional impasse breaking the structures of ordinary reason and opening the mind for the intuitive experience. An example of a famous Koan is: ‘What did your face look like before your ancestors were born?"
  4. Sanzen(private audience). These are brief meetings or consultations between the trainee and his master.

When the springs of intuition are released and Satori realized the individual experiences the bliss of oneness with the rest of creation. He must not be content with this experience but must relate it to his everyday life. He must live in the world without being affected by its joys and sorrows, success and failures.

"My daily activities are not different,
Only I am naturally in harmony with them.
Taking nothing, renouncing nothing,
In every circumstance no hindrance, no conflict…"

Generally Zen sects accept as normative four conditions:

  1. A special oral transmission from master to disciple outside the scriptures.
  2. No dependence upon the authority of words and letters.
  3. Direct pointing to the soul of man.

Seeing into one’s own nature and attaining Buddhahood.

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Confucianism in Brief

The three religions that have influenced Chinese culture are
Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
Confucianism is basically an ethical religion geared for social
and political life.

Religion in ancient China took the basic form of ancestor worship. Confucius did not interrupt these ancestral rites but at the same time his emphasis was directed towards the living family. He said: "While you are not able to serve man, how can you serve their spirits?"

Virtues

(Using the analogy of a tree)

Jen (the root) – stands for a man’s good relationship with others. It has as its heart the important Confucian concept of Shu (reciprocity) i.e. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others. It is the motivation force in moral life. It is this virtue that separates man from the beasts.

Yi (the trunk) – this is righteousness by justice.

Li (the branches) – is that reverent propriety which is expressed by acting correctly in both a moral and religious way, Confucius conveyed the meaning of Li through maxims: anecdotes in which he sought to order an entire way of life so that no one properly raised need ever be left to improvise his responses on momentary impulse because he is at a loss as to how to behave.

Chih (the flower) – is wisdom.

Hsin (the fruit) – is faithfulness.

The superior man (Chun-tzu) or true gentleman is able anywhere and everywhere to have these virtues. As a son he is always filial, as a father just and kind, as an official loyal and faithful, as a husband righteous and judicious, as a friend sincere and tactful.

Chu His is regarded as the best interpreter of Confucianism. He was not only a scholar but he led an exemplary life. He would rise at dawn, clothe himself decently and pay homage to his ancestors and to Confucius. Then he went to his study and attended to his daily work. Sitting and sleeping he held himself erect, working or resting he behaved according to the model of behaviour prescribed by Confucius in his Classics. Everything in his home was permanently in good order, and in this way he lived from youth to old age.

Silent Sitting

Chu His found his spiritual and moral development best served by devoting a certain portion of each day to solitary meditation, something he called ‘Silent Sitting’. This was primarily a form of introspection in order to get oneself into a state of equanimity in which one could feel at one with the order and harmony of the universe.
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Christianity in Brief

Of all the religions of man Christianity is the most widespread and has the largest number of followers. It has also the greatest amount of diversities. The main divisions are Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and the Eastern Orthodoxy. The Christian faith is centred in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ although there are differences in custom and interpretation.

Jesus’ Teachings

The reality of God and Jesus’ intimate relationship with God occupied the centre place in his thinking and determined the consistency of his point of view.

  1. The Kingdom of God – the Jews of his day hoped for the restoration of the Kingdom of David. Jesus replaced this with the vision of God’s reign extending to all lands. Jesus also deviated from the general thinking by teaching that while the kingdom in its fullness was still in the future, it was in a real sense already present – within each one.
  2. God is the sovereign moral personality ruling the universe, the moving spirit in history, a transcendent being, sternly righteous and just, yet forgiving and merciful to those who turn to Him. God is utterly good and holy. Men should trust Him and regularly seek spiritual enlightenment through prayer, especially private prayer in one’s room or in the solitude of the fields and hilltops.
  3. Nature is not the ultimate reality. God works behind and through nature. Therefore we should first seek the Kingdom; God Himself will supply all that is necessary in nature.
  4. There were to be no exceptions to the law of love; it was to be international and inter-racial. "You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and your whole mind. That is the great, first command. There is a second like it: You must love your neighbour as you do yourself. These two commands sum up the whole of the Law and the Prophets."
  5. His primary interest was in man’s doing the will of God. Moral obligations were to be put above all social, legal or ceremonial demands. Harming the moral nature of another is the gravest of crimes. "Do not judge others. You should rather correct your own faults – try and be perfect like God. For the measure you use with others they in turn will use with you."
  6. Good and evil have their origins in the heart. Only if one’s heart is right and one is sincere in doing what the heart directs can one be called a truly moral person. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

Nine Basic Beliefs of Christianity
   (Compiled by 'Christianity Today')

 Christians believe that the Bible is the uniquely inspired and fully trustworthy word of God. It is the final authority for Christians in matters of belief and practice, and though it was written long ago, it continues to speak to believers today.

  1. Christians believe that the Bible is the uniquely inspired and fully trustworthy word of God. It is the final authority for Christians in matters of belief and practice, and though it was written long ago, it continues to speak to believers today.
  2. Christians believe in one God in three persons. He is distinct from His creation, yet intimately involved with it as its sustainer and redeemer.
  3. Christians believe that the world was created once by the divine will but was corrupted by sin, yet under God’s providence moves towards final perfection.
  4. Christians believe that, through God’s grace and favour, lost sinners are rescued from the guilt, power and eternal consequences of their evil thoughts, words and deeds.
  5. Christians believe that it is appointed for human beings to die once and after that face judgment. In Adam’s sin, the human race was spiritually alienated from God, and that those who are called by God and respond to His grace will have eternal life. Those who persist in rebellion will be lost eternally.
  6. Christians believe that spirit beings inhabit the universe, some good and some evil, but worship is due to God alone.
  7. Christians believe that God has given us a clear revelation of Himself in Jesus and the sacred Scriptures. He has empowered by His Spirit prophets, apostles, evangelists, and pastors who are teachers charged to guide us into faith and holiness in accordance with his word.
  8. Christians believe that life is to be highly esteemed but that it must be subordinated in the service of Biblical love and justice.
  9. Christians believe that Jesus is God incarnate and, therefore, the only sure path to salvation. Many religions may offer ethical and spiritual insights, but only Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.


"Copyright Hinduism Today
107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, HI, 96746 USA
used with permission."
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Hinduism in Brief

‘Under the name of Hinduism there still exists in India today a system of religion which embraces all the religious thought of the world. It stands like a huge Banyan tree, spreading its far reaching branches over hundreds of sects, creeds and denominations, and covering with its innumerable leaves, all forms of worship…"
- Swami Abhedananda

For Hindus the attainment of spiritual perfection and freedom is the aim of life and the purpose of human birth. There are basic human values that are regarded as preliminary in this quest. The Hindu scriptures give several lists of virtues, which stem from the five cardinal virtues of:

1. Purity – implies both internal and external cleanliness, straightforwardness, frankness, innocence and freedom from envy, pride and malice.
2. Self-control
-implies both the control of the flesh and the control of the mind. It means moderation and self-mastery, not self-torture.

  1. Detachment - from the enticement of perishable objects and attachment to the imperishable spirit.
  2. Truthmeans not mere truth speaking but the supreme Truth viz. God who is the source and sustenance of all existence and the spring of all values. The surest way to realize this principle is to be truthful in thought, word and deed.
  3. Non-violence-is the expression of Truth.If Truth is the all, then nothing should be injured. It means refraining from giving pain to any creature in any way and it also means perfect love towards all.

With these virtues as a foundation the Hindu pursues his search for God along the path that suits his nature. Hinduism sees man as being a combination of body (action), emotions (feelings), will (thoughts) and intellect (discrimination). Each of these facets of an individual’s personality can be made perfectly attuned to the Divine – this is called Yoga or union of the individual soul with the universal Soul.

The ways to this union are also called Yogas. There are four Yogas, which correspond to each of the facets mentioned above. According to one’s nature, one Yoga will be predominant. They are all practical methods involving various disciplines that take one to the goal of 'Moksha’ or God-realization. This is brought out in the famous aphorism of Swami Vivekananda:

"Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work (Karma Yoga or yoga of action) or worship (Bhakti Yoga or yoga of devotion - feelings) or psychic control (Raja-Yoga or yoga of meditation - will) or philosophy (Jnana-Yoga or yoga of knowledge- discrimination) – by one or more or all of these – and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines or dogmas or rituals or books or temples or forms are but secondary details."
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Nine basic beliefs of Hinduism
(Compiled by 'Hinduism Today')
"Copyright Hinduism Today
107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, HI, 96746 USA
used with permission."

1.Hindus believe in the divinity of the Vedas

The Vedas are the world’s most ancient scriptures and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.

2.Hindus believe in one, all pervading God

One all pervasive God who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

3.Hindus believe in endless cycles of creation

Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.

4.Hindus believe in Karma

Hindus believe in Karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.

5.Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates

Evolving through many births until all Karmas have been resolved, and Moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth , is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.

6.Hindus believe that divine beings exist

Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these Devas and Gods.

7.Hindus believe that Guru is essential

Hindus believe that a spiritually awakened master or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendental Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation.

8.Hindus believe that all life is sacred

All life is to be loved and revered, and therefore practise Ahimsa or non-injury.

9.Hindus believe in respect for all religions

Hindus believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God’s Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.
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Jainism in Brief
By Swami Shivananda, The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh

The first founder of the sect was Parsvanatha. Its first active propagator was Mahavira. The Jains are found in great numbers especially in the western coast of India. They are divided into two principal sects- the Svetambaras (clothed in white garments) and the Digambaras (sky-clad or naked).

The Jains do not admit the divine origin of the Vedas. They do not believe in any Supreme Deity. They pay reverence to holy men or saints who are styled Tirthankaras, who dwell in the heavenly abode and who, by long discipline, have raised themselves to divine perfection. The images of one or more of these Tirthankaras are placed in every Jain temple.

The Jains are strict vegetarians. They attach great sanctity to life. They practise Ahimsa (non-killing, non-violence). Strict Jains strain water before drinking, sweep the ground with a brush before treading on it or before sitting, never eat or drink at night and sometimes cover their mouths with muslin to prevent the risk of swallowing minute organisms.

There are two classes of Jains, viz., Sravakas who engage themselves in secular occupations and Yatis or monks who lead an ascetic life.
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Sikkhism in Brief
By Swami Shivapadananda

Guru Nanak gave to Sikkhism its basic theological concepts and three of its most important institutions i.e. the Sangat (congregational meetings), the Pangat (community kitchens - Langar), and the institution of Guruship. To him true spiritual life meant the performance of duties in the world, and facing and solving the moral and spiritual problems of mankind. All the Sikh Gurus regarded the householder’s life as the highest of all.

Guru Nanak’s mission was twofold – to rid Hindu practices of their superstition and empty formalism and to bring about understanding between Muslims and Hindus.

The main points in the teachings of Guru Nanak are:

1.  God is the formless Absolute, it does not matter which name is used.

2.  Repetition of God’s name (Sumarin) is the best way to realize God.

3.  The doctrine of Sabad. By repetition of the Lord’s name, one gets connected with the Sabad (creative sound) and attains the highest inner illumination.

4.  The necessity of surrendering to a Satguru (true Guru) for guidance and instruction in order to attain God-realization.

5.  The body is the temple of God. It should neither be looked down upon nor mortified nor used for sense gratification. We should regulate and control it and make it a suitable instrument for divine realization.

6.  Proper ethical conduct and purity of heart are absolutely necessary for God-realization. Every one should shun vice and become virtuous. The way to become virtuous is to repeat God’s name with faith and devotion.

7.  Formalities and rituals only have value when we are alive to their inner meanings.

Guru Govind Singh was the tenth and last Guru. At his instruction the holy book of the Sikhs ‘The Granth Sahab’ is now regarded as the Guru.

There are two main sects of Sikhs: the Nanakpanthis or Sahajdharis, who did not follow the new martial order of Guru Govind Singh, and the Khalsa or Keshadhari which was started by Guru Govind Singh in reaction to the cruelty of the Moghul rulers. He wished to revive the old heroic tradition to defend the faith. He opened it to all, regardless of caste. However, it was not to be merely a military group but a group controlled by religious morals and devotion to God.
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 Islam in Brief

The full connotation of the word ‘Islam’ is ‘the perfect peace that comes when one’s life is surrendered to God’. After Muhammad’s time, Muslim authorities subsumed most of Islam under three heads:

  1. iman – articles of faith
  2. There is no god but God (Allah). Allah reveals His will through Muhammad his messenger; through the Qur’an, his revelation; and through the angels.

  3. ihsan – right conduct
  4. The Qur’an gives comprehensive guidance for all acts of everyday life from birth to death.

  5. ibadat-religious study

The following are known as the Five Pillars of Islam that constitute the ‘straight path’ the Muslim is to follow in order to be assured salvation.

1 Repetition of the creed (Shahada)

"There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet". This is the creed which every Muslim must believe and repeat.

2. Prayer (Salat)

Prayer consists of a ritual of ablution, prostrations and recitations from the Qur’an. The main themes of prayer are expressing praise and gratitude and also supplication to Allah. The 5 times of prayer are at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and bedtime. Friday is the special day of public prayer where all assemble in the mosque.

3.Charity (Zakat)

This is a free-will offering made to the poor, the needy, debtors, slaves, wayfarers, beggars and charities. It is calculated at two and half percent of the accumulated wealth of a man or his family at the end of each year.

4. The Observance of Ramadan

This is the fast undertaken during the holy month that commemorates Muhammad’s receiving his initial commission as a prophet and ten years later, his historic Hijraj from Mecca to Medina. Those who are able, fast from daybreak to sunset. Fasting also makes one think, teaches self discipline, reminds one of man’s frailty and dependence on God and make one feel for the hungry and needy.

5. Pilgrimage(Hajj)

Once in a lifetime every Muslim, man or woman, is expected, unless it is impossible, to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

There are many different sects of Islam the chief two being the Shias and the Sunnis. Islamic mysticism is known as Sufism. Devotion, meditation and prayer form important parts of the Sufi way of life.

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Judaism in Brief

The one great theme of the Jewish religion is that a single, righteous God is at work in the social and natural order, and He has revealed His will in history. There are many different forms of Judaism. Some conservative, some intellectual, others mystical etc. – all are different approaches to the basic beliefs which are as follows:

  1. The central affirmation of the Jews is: "Hear O Israel, the Lord of our God, the Lord is one." He is unutterably great, holy, righteous and loving.
  2. The world is God-created and is therefore good. Physical aspects of existence are not to be abandoned but relished with zest – the Jewish ideal is an holy, but not ascetic life.
  3. Inanimate objects cannot be other than they are, but man creates his own destiny through his choices.
  4. History is of utmost importance, because God is the ruler of history, which is a teaching experience for man.
  5. The Law (the Torah) contains the ritualistic and ethical prescriptions, which make man’s collective life, endure. Although there are some 613 commandments regulating human behaviour, the Ten Commandments have had the greatest impact on the world.(Exodus 20)
  1. I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any other gods before Me.
  2. Thou shalt not make any images nor bow down and serve them.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name the Lord the God in vain.
  4. Six days shalt thou labour but remember to keep the sabbath day holy.
  5. Honour thy father and mother.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. Thou shalt not covet anything.
  1. The prophets – they offer encouragement and inspiration in the struggle for justice. Their writings convey the will of God to man in different circumstances. They are regarded as the mouthpiece of God.
  2. The covenant – God (Yahweh*) continues to give Himself in goodness to his people if they in turn pledge themselves to keep His commandments.

There is no official creed or doctrine for Jews to accept, but there are rituals whose aim is the hallowing of life. Piety consists in seeing the whole world as belonging to God and reflecting His glory. By observing tradition one elevates eating, marriage, children, nature etc. to holiness.

*[Note: Re:'Yahweh Email received by us:  minor correction by a reader:]

Your descriptions of other religions seem very accurate and respectful.  Please note for Judaism, that the term "Yahweh" is an academic reconstruction, and it is considered blasphemous to attempt to pronounce the word written YHWH by all religious Jews.

All respects
Set Comam

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Taoism in Brief

Tao means literally ‘path’ or ‘way’. There are three senses in which this ‘way’ can be understood:

The way of ultimate reality: The transcendent, ultimate Tao, the ground of all existence, from which all life springs and to which it again returns.

The way of the universe:The immanent Tao, the ordering principle, the energy and rhythm of nature.

The way man should order his life:To be in harmony with Tao is to attain fullness of life – this is the chief aim of human existence.

Although popular Taoism has degenerated into a type of magic, the philosophical Taoism continues to shape the Chinese character in the direction of serenity and grace.

Virtues of Wu Wei

The basic quality of life in tune with the universe is Wu Wei. This is not inaction but creative quietude or non-assertive effortless ‘being’. When this quality is manifested one lives in Tao.

Water is used as an example because of the way it adapts itself to its surroundings and seeks out the lowest places and yet, despite its accommodation, wears down rocks. Infinitely supple yet incomparably strong – these virtues of water are precisely those of Wu Wei. The man who embodies this virtue works without working – he acts without strain, persuades without argument, is eloquent without flourish, makes his point without violence. Though unnoticed, his influence is decisive. By being humble one does not assert oneself but blends with nature, thereby achieving the highest i.e. to identify with Tao and let It work through one.

Yang Yin

This is the traditional Chinese symbolism of life’s two interacting energies – the positive and the negative. Everything that exists is seen to be made up of these basic opposites e.g. good/evil, active/passive, light/dark, male/female etc. They interact in creation, but are held together and finally resolved in the all-embracing circle, symbolizing Tao, which is beyond these relative pairs of opposites. Taoists use this symbol for meditation.

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Zoroastrianism

These are the tenets of the Mazdayasni Zarathushtri religion, as accepted and preached by all the Dasturjees and religious teachers and common Zarathushtris in India.

May our faith increase day by day, in these glorious tenets, that our ancestors have believed in for thousands of years. All our Scriptures are sacred, including the Gathas, Yashts, and the Vendidad. We pray all of them in our Fire temples, before the Sacred Fire, and they have immense spiritual power, their very utterance in the sacred Avestan language serving to further righteousness and fight evil.

All our fire-temples and rituals of the Yasna are sacred and are necessary for the religion, such as the Nirang-din ceremony, which creates the Holy Nirang. The spiritually powerful Nirang forms the foundation of many other sacred rituals, that when performed, increase the power of good in this world and decrease the power of evil.

Dakhma-nashini is the only method of corpse-destruction for a Zarathushtri, as enjoined in the Vendidad: this is the destruction of the dead body in the stone-enclosed Dakhma, by the flesh-eating bird or the rays of the Sun, the most spiritually powerful method as commanded by Ahura Mazda to Zarathushtra. Dakhma-nashini is also very hygienic and ecologically-sound, because it prevents the world from being spiritually or materially polluted by decaying dead matter.

Marrying, Zarathushtri man or woman, to a Zarathushtri only is commanded in our religion in the Vendidad, to preserve the spiritual strength of the Aryan Mazdayasni religion, and the ethnic identity of the Zarathushtri Aryans. For the Zarathushtri, ethnic identity and religion are synonymous, as declared in the Vendidad by Ahura Mazda Himself - the Mazdayasni faith was revealed by Ahura to the Aryans under King Jamshed, thousands of years before Zarathushtra, and was meant only for the Aryans of Iran.

As such, there was no "conversion", because the Aryans of Iran were already Mazdayasnis when Zarathushtra came, and Zarathushtra was RE-REVEALING THE ORIGINAL FAITH, along with the AGUSTO VACHO - previously unheard of words of Ahura Mazda, such as the most powerful Ahunavar (Yatha Ahu Vairyo). The Fravardin Yasht also says that the Righteous of every nation in this world are present in heaven in the form of Glorious Fravarshis. Thus, the Righteous of every religion go to heaven, all religions are equal, and it is folly to convert. Conversion goes against the Master Law of Ereta (righteousness) itself, because God has given us birth in our respective religions, to adore Him in them, and not to mistrust His Judgement and rebel and go over to another faith. For, each faith leads ultimately to God. Thus, the Zarathushtris do not convert other people, but they rely on MARRIAGE WITHIN and INCREASED CHILD BIRTH to increase their numbers.

The observance of the Laws of the Vendidad is an important pillar of the Zarathushtri religion. This includes the concept of menstrual seclusion (the woman is in a state of impurity during menstruation and must stay away from all religious objects including the household fire, and also stay away from her husband during those days) and the dreaded impure state of NASU the corpse is in after death, only touchable by the Nassesalars (corpse-bearers) who may then be purified by ritual means. The Vendidad also carries strong moral injuctions against the acts of homosexuality and prostitution, prohibiting these immoral acts.

Faith, and Hope in the coming of the Saoshyant (Saviour) has sustained our religion through the centuries. We firmly hope, and pray, that Ahura Mazda sends the Saoshyant to the earth to defeat evil and further righteousness (Ashoi). The Zarathushtri religion was the first to proclaim that Ahura Mazda will send the Saoshyant, born of a virgin, and many other religions took on this belief.

We firmly believe that when the Saoshyant comes, the final spiritual battle between the forces of good and evil will commence, resulting in the utter destruction of evil. Ristakhiz, the ressurection of the dead will take place - the dead will rise, by the Will of Ahura Mazda. The world will be purged by molten metal, in which the righteous will wade as if through warm milk, and the evil will be scalded. The Final Judgement of all souls will commence, at the hands of Ahura Mazda the Judge (Davar), and all sinners punished, then forgiven, and humanity made immortal and free from hunger, thirst, poverty, old age, disease and death. The World will be made perfect once again, as it was before the onslaught of the evil one. Such is the Frashogad (Frasho-kereti), the Renovation, brought on by the Will of Ahura Mazda, the Frashogar. Atha Zamyat Yatha Afrinami, May it be so as we wish

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Related articles
Buddhism
Hinduism-Brief Sketch
Kaaba a Hindu Temple?

Islam Stagnant
Hindu Sects
Jesus versus Churchianity

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