My SCRAPBOOK (సేకరణలు): A COLLECTION of articles in English and Telugu(తెలుగు), from various sources, on varied subjects. I do not claim credit for any of the contents of these postings as my own.A student's declaration made at the end of his answer paper, holds good to the articles here too:"I hereby declare that the answers written above are true to the best of my friend's knowledge and I claim no responsibility whatsoever of the correctness of the answers."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

1848- What are the main differences between Hindu religion with other religions, Islam and Christianity in particular?

Summary :
*Christianity is based on the Gospel as preached by Jesus. The central message from Jesus was of forgiveness and love - love your fellow human beings including your enemies, take care of the poor and unfortunate, if someone strikes you turn the other cheek,forgive those who harm you. This message was indeed truly extraordinary, unique and radical. 'love your enemies' - nobody had ever said that before. The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount are especially wonderful.
*Islam is based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad as revealed to him by the angel Grabriel. Islam means 'surrender' or 'submission' and the religion asks its followers to surrender everything to Allah, the one and only God and follow strictly His teachings as given in the Koran which was dictated to His last and final Prophet, Muhammad. Islam is said to be the religion of peace and brotherhood - it does not discriminate against any one based on color, race, language or wealth. However, for a religion of peace, Muslims have been responsible for a lot of wars and killings which continue to this day. These killings are not just of infidels, but also of each other - Sunnis kill Shia, Shia kill Sunni and they both kill the Ahmadis and all this killing is apparently sanctioned and approved by the religion. Its strict beliefs and practices give simple people structure and discipline in their lives without complicated theology or philosophy to understand.
*Hinduism is based on the ancient revealed texts called the Vedas and Upanishads, so does not have a single founder or source. The central theme of the religion is the divinity of all beings and that God is present in all things - animate as well as inanimate. This is the belief in panentheism (not to be confused with pantheism) - that God is beyond human comprehension and that He contains everything within Himself as well as stands beyond and apart from it all - that God is both male, female as well as undifferentiated. However, even though basic Hinduism has these lofty concepts, most Hindus do not know this philosophical background. The philosophy is usually lost in rituals or habitual practices or no practices at all. In spite of believing that all life is sacred or that we are all One, Hindu organizations, in general, are not very involved in charity, philanthropy or social work. However, Hinduism is the most ancient religion being practiced on Earth today. Almost all esoteric knowledge about God and the fundamental realities of life are preserved within it (you just need to know where to look and what to ignore). In a very short time, basic Hindu beliefs of reincarnation, karma, the sacredness of all life will be well accepted facts by almost all of the people on Earth. Hinduism, also known as Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Way) will probably last for ever, but it is still appropriate mainly for people of Indian origin, it is too uniquely Indian to be a universal religion (like either Christianity or Islam).
1)First of all the point of commonality in all the religions, is the concept of 'soul'. Even here, the 'anaatmavaadi' school of Buddhism differs.
2)Most religions cover ethical aspects of life too as important aspect of religions.
3). Hinduism has concept of Guru. Others have concept of "messiah", Jews, still awaiting his arrival and praying once a year at the wailing wall of Jerusalem, for his early arrival; Christians deeming that Jesus is the "Messiah" prophesied; Muslims differing from both, considering Jesus as one of the long lineage of messiahs(prophets/Hazrat/Paigambar) and considering Prophet Mohammad as the last and final one.
4).Concept of Original Sin: Common to all the Semitic religions, (defiance of God's injunction by the original progenitors Adam and Eve) but not in Hinduism .
5). Other religions have concept of sin only and not its opposite and hence no word in lexicon. Hinduism has got concept of Paapam and PuNyam(sin and merit).
6).Concept of Heaven and Hell: Other religions deem these as places of permanace, placements assigned to human souls on the Day of Judgement (Qayaamat), by God. Hinduism considers these as temporary abodes as reward or retribution for PuNyam and Paapam respectively, administered by the judicial authority of Yama, (Dharmaraja), as per the defined set of rules of penology and scheme of rewards. Both PuNyam and Paapam will undergo decrement by enjoyment of heaven and sufferance at hell and the soul shall return to this earth in its rebirth.
7). Day of Judgement: Common to Semitic religions and not relevant at all in Hinduism.
8)God: Anthropomorphic in Judaism and *Christianity, though no iconography has been there. Biblical saying "God created man in His form" and Jesus' ascendency to the Kingdom of Heaven and sitting on the 'right palm of God', are supportive. The Trinity - Three Persons in One God: the Father, the Son (incarnated as Jesus) and
the Holy Spirit (Not actively worshiped)
*Islam differs. Concept of God is formless but repository of all power. Icons are strictly prohibited in Islam, including any visual representation which perpetuates the memory of any humans, including prophets. Allah (pbuh) - One and only God.
*In Hinduism, one supreme Reality (Brahman) manifested in many gods and goddesses. In Hinduism, Bhagavan, Eeshwar, Brahman, Paramaatmaa, are some of the words to denote God. There are broadly two types of worshipping- one worshipping the Formless (NirguNa Brahman) and the other , with form ("SaguNa Brahman"). The former remains conceptually accepted but in practice only the latter remains.
Variety of deities and worship leads to a misconception of polytheism in Hinduism. Though the theological schools differ in details, common point is one Divinity only, but with distinct aspects thereof for different functionalities. Adi Shankaracharya integrated all into one philosophical base and six broad theological schools (Shanmata) .
The "Shan-mata" or the 6 Systems are as follows -
Saiva - System of worship and belief where Lord Shiva is considered the ultimate form of God.
Vaishnava - System of worship and belief where Lord Narayana is considered the ultimate form of God.
Sakteya - System of worship and belief where Shakti is considered the ultimate form of God.
Ganapathya - System of worship and belief where Lord Ganesha is considered the ultimate form of God.
Kaumara or Skanda - System of worship and belief where Lord Subhramanya is considered the ultimate form of God.
Saura - System of worship and belief where Lord Surya is considered the ultimate form of God.
Since then several theology-based schools and cults have evolved into one or the other aspect of Divinity being accorded the primacy of place in worship.
9). Deliverance: This is deemed to tbe the concept of 'salvation' in other religions but as 'liberation' in Hinduism. Salvation is by Judgement of God.
In Hinduism,Liberation by the Jeevaatma (individual self)'s own 'path-finding' with Divine Grace. Humans are in bondage to ignorance and illusion, but are able to escape. Liberation is from the bondage of cycle of births and deaths (loosely called in Hindi as 'chauraasi laakh yoni- the eighty four lakhs of species) or at least a better rebirth.
In path-finding (saadhanaa) a variety of methodology is available, including the difficult 'ashtaanga yoga' to the easy 'surrender to the Lord by bhakti', to the easiest 'prapatti', (the word meaning as synonymous to 'bhakti' by all except the orthodox followers of Srivaishnavaite school, who mean it as surrender of individual to the 'acharya' whose responsibility it is to ensure liberation).
Here too there are two broad schools, as 'markata nyaya' and 'marjaala nyaya' that is : As an offspring of a monkey clings tightly to its mother for safety, the individual self has to cling to the Lord by his persistent efforts / as the mother-cat safely carries its offspring clutching the latter in itsmouth, it is the responsibility of the Lord, to ensure the safety of the individual self.
On liberation, the common words used are "Moksha" and "mukti" and the Upanishads use the esoteric aphorism "na sa punaraavartate" literally meaning ' the jeevaatmaa will never return" meaning there won't be any more birth.
10). Primacy: The Semitic religions accord primacy to human beings in creation. All the animate and inanimate objects in the world are deemed to be for the enjoyment of humans.
In Hinduism Brahman Itself (Him/Herself) constitutes the essential building material of all reality, being the antecedent primeval ontological substance from whence all things proceed. Thus Brahman is, in Aristotelian terms, both the Material Cause as well as the Efficient Cause of creation. Cause is hidden in every effect. Cause is not different from effect. So Brahman is cause of all creation. Hence, all natural objects are considered divine. Therefore, Hinduism deems humans as just one of the several aspects of creation and accords equality to all. There should be no offense against any other object animate or inanimate.
11)The religious texts/ Scriptures: Hindus:Vedas (Sruti - revealed), Upanishads (Sruti - revealed), Mahabharata (Smriti - remembered(not revealed)), Ramayana (Smriti), Bhagavat Gita (Smriti), Puranas (Smriti) Dharmashatras (Smriti) .
Christians :The Holy Bible consisting of the Old Testament (Jewish Scripture)and the New Testament.
Muaslims: The Holy Koran and Hadith
12) Denominations (Main ones):
*Hindus:Shaivites - worshippers of Shiva
Vaishnavites - worshippers of Vishnu
Shaktas - worshippers of Shakti/Goddess
Smarthas - worshippers of PanchDevata (five Main Gods)
Although each sect worships the corresponding deity as their main chosen God, all Hindus celebrate and worship the other Gods on their respective festival days and Ganesh is worshipped by all at the beginning of each puja/ritual.
*Christians:Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Methodists,Baptists,Latter Day Saints, Unitarianism and Universalism
*Muslims: Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Ahmadiyya
13) Date of Origin: *Christianity: 33 AD. *Islam: 622 AD and *Hinduism: 6000 BC if you date by the birth of Rama. Probably older if you date by composition of the Vedas
14) Founder: *Christianity: Jesus, St. Peter/Paul. *Islam: Muhammad
*Hinduism: None
15) Impersonal God: No such concept in Christianity and Islam. Impersonal God in Hinduism is Brahman.
16)Divine Incarnations:*In Christianity, The Only Begotten Son of God: Jesus, the Christ.The Christ will Return at the End of the World.
*In Islam: None - God can never incarnate as human
*In Hinduism: Ten Avatars of Vishnu: Shri Rama, Shri Krishna, Seven previous ones that are not actively worshipped. The next Avatar, Kalki, yet to come.
17) Creation Story: *In Christianity: The Trinity always existed and is eternal. Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity (all three), but mainly of the Son (the Word) and somewhat of the Holy Spirit (the giver of life). God creates the Universe out of nothing, but he is still immanent in it. Everyone knows the story from Genesis in the Bible - creation in 6 days. Adam and Eve in the garden, eating the apple of knowledge etc etc,
*Islam is also a Abrahamic religion and shares the creation story of the Old Testament.
*In Hinduism: Before Creation only Brahman exists in a state of rest. Then the Trinity appears out of Brahman.The third person of the Trinity (Brahma) creates the Universe and all creatures in it out of the substance of Brahman.The second person of the Trinity (Vishnu) then preserves/ sustains the Universe. One of the way is to incarnate periodically as a mortal being and act as a Savior. At the end, the first person of the Trinity (Shiva) destroys the Universe. (There are many creation/destruction cycles in between). After the final end, the Trinity dissolves back into Brahman.
18) Beliefs
Original Sin: The first man Adam disobeyed God by eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" - he preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God! This sin of Adam has been passed to all his descendants so that a newly born baby is already implicated in this sin! This sin is removed only by Baptism and redemption through the Christ.
Jesus by dying on the cross redeems humanity and believers from this sin. Through his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, the Christ atoned for our sins (the Atonement of Jesus). It is only possible for those who have been redeemed through Jesus, to be ultimately saved (sent to heaven) after death.
Immaculate Conception/Virgin Birth - Jesus was born of a virgin and conceived through the Holy Spirit
Resurrection and Ascension - On the third day after crucifixion, Jesus's physical body was resurrected and ascended to heaven physically. The death and resurrection of Jesus makes possible the reconciliation between God and humanity.
Angels - Besides the physical world with all its creatures (including humans), God has created non-corporeal beings known as Angels through and for the Son. "From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures."
Devil/Satan - the Fallen Angels - Satan was the 'first good Angel' created by God, but he and his friends rejected God and have become evil. He is the one who encouraged Adam to sin and continues to do this to humanity ever since. It seems that Satan's name before his fall from grace was Lucifer.
Allah - There is only One God - no Trinity, no Son, no Goddess, no Other being
Judgment day - The day will come when all people will stand before Allah's judgment. On that day the deeds of each person will be weighed against the bad ones. Those whose good deeds outweigh the bad ones will be sent to paradise, others will be sent to hell.
Angels - Below God there are angels the main one among these is Jabrail. Angels have no free-will and are always good.
Jinns - Below the angels are jinns. Jinns have free-will like men and maybe good, bad or neutral.
Shaytan - The main evil Jinn is Shaytan or Iblis who refused to bow down to Adam. He and his minions constantly whisper evil thoughts to human beings.
Prophets - God sent a prophet to each nation to teach them. There are 124,000 prophets, the main ones are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Jonah, John the Baptist, Jesus and the last and final Prophet, Muhammad.
Tat Tvam Asi - translates as 'thou art that'. Hinduism postulates that the Universal Soul (Paramatma) is identical to the individual soul (Atma), meaning that the Self - in its original, pure, primordial state - is wholly or partially identifiable or identical with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena.
Reincarnation - this states that your current life is just one in a series of lives as a human being. After your death you will be reborn as a human being at some point in the future and this cycle will continue until you have achieved enlightenment or moksha (liberation) from the cycle of death and rebirth.
Karma - This law states that each thought, word and action of a human being puts into motion a cause that results in an equivalent effect either in this life or in subsequent lives. So if you hurt somebody, you will be hurt equally sometime in the future. If you perform a good deed for someone, an equal reward will be yours in the future (in this or a subsequent life). Sanchaita, prarabda and agami karmas.
Devas/Danavas/Daityas/Asuras - There are three types of beings in Creation:
Devas - gods with a small 'g' (equivalent to angels),
Danavas/Daityas/Asuras - anti-gods (equivalent to demons)
Manavas (human beings).
Devas live in heaven (Swarga/Svar-loka), humans on Earth (Bhur-loka) and Danavas/Asuras in lower worlds (Atala-loka,Vitala-loka,Sutala-loka,Talatala-loka,Mahatala-loka,Rasatala-loka,Patala-loka). There are many different types of Devas as well as Danavas. Devas can be helpful to humans while Danavas can be dangerous, but usually the three do not interfere with each other as long as humans leave them alone. There is no supreme evil being, like Satan, tempting mankind constantly. Evil on Earth is our own fault.
Many Hindus are vegetarians because all life is considered sacred. They especially do not eat beef because cows are considered specially sacred (for reasons given above).
19) Sacraments:
Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation/Confession, Confirmation', Marriage, Holy Orders (Ordination), Anointing of the Sick
The five pillars of Islam can be considered as sacraments:
Shahadah: Testimony of faith - declaring there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is God's Messenger
Salat: ritual prayer five times a day
Zakat: giving 2.5% of one's annual savings to the poor and needy
Sawm: fasting and self-control during the blessed month of Ramadan
Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime
Namakarana (Naming the child)
Chudakarma (First time cutting of hair)
Karnavedha (Piercing the ears)
Upanayana - Sacred Thread Ceremony (Performed after 7 years, considered Second birth, Beginning of Education)
Samavartana (Completion of Education)
Vivaha Samskara (Marriage ceremony)
Grihasthashrama (Entry into life of a house-holder.)
Vanprasthashrama (Retirement. Renouncing the house-holder's life)
Sanyasashrama. (Renunciation of the world. Leading the life of a monk)
Antyeshti (Funeral: last rites of the dead)
20) Goal of Life and How to Attain It :
Goals: To know, love, and serve God in this life, so as to attain salvation and be happy with Him in heaven
Methods: Obey Jesus's teachings about love and service to mankind. However, today the emphasis is on Old Testament laws and Paul's admonishments
Goals: Total surrender, submission, obedience, worship of Allah by accepting Allah's Will over ones own.
Methods: Following the five pillars of Islam (see above).
Four Goals:
Dharma - Performance of duty and fulfilling obligations per ones station in life
Artha - Persuit of prosperity or worldly success
Kama - Persuit of pleasure or material/sensual desires
Moksha - Persuit of Enlightenment - liberation from rebirth, self-realization, union with God
Four Methods/Paths:
Karma Yoga - the path of action or selfless service
Bhakti Yoga - the path of devotion
Jnana Yoga - the path of knowledge (about the self or God)
Raja Yoga - the path of meditation/contemplation
21) Life After Death
If you have not repented all your mortal sins and sought absolution before death, you will go straight to eternal hell. (So if you get hit by a bus while running away after shop-lifting, you are doomed).
Examples of mortal sins which deserve eternal punishment in hell (other than obvious ones): using contraceptives, masturbation, extra-marital sex, gay sex etc.
Those who have repented their mortal sins go to purgatory for a while to be purified/cleansed
After purgatory, you go to eternal heaven where time does not exist.
At the end of the world, you will be joined by your resurrected 'glorified physical' body!
So Catholic hells are full of unrepentant male masturbators, female contraceptive users, adulterers, divorced people who marry outside the church or those who don't believe in Jesus (unless they have not heard of him). The rest are murderers, thieves etc, but all are there for eternity with no chance of release.
After death, the soul separates from the body (in case of Muslims the soul is taken out with ease and is then taken with respect by the Angels of Mercy, in case of Kafirs with great pain by Angels of Punishment) and then the soul remains in 'Barzakh', a sort of waiting place, till the Day of Judgment. On the day of Judgment, you are sent to heaven or hell according to your deeds. Islam is kinder than Christianity, there are no deeds which automatically send you to hell (although being a Kafir may qualify). However, there is some confusion, maybe the judgment of heaven or hell as destination, happens right after burial and you don't have to wait for the Day of Judgment?
Heaven in Islam is a place of worldly pleasures, such as living in palaces, drinking wine, eating delicious food and having sex, but apparently that is only metaphorical.
After death you may go to hell to pay for your misdeeds on earth for a temporary period (proportional to your deeds)
Then to heaven for a while as a reward for your good deeds
Then you reincarnate again on earth (so there is no eternal hell or eternal heaven).
A person does not remember his previous lives, but the soul remembers and learns/grows from each life
The circumstances of your birth are determined by your karma
This cycle continues until you become enlightened i.e. achieve moksha or liberation.
22) Schools of Philosophy:
*Christianty: Thomism, Calvinism, Molinism, Arminianism - TBD.
*Islam: Islamism, Salafism, Wahhabism
Also known as Darshanas - Points of View
Samkhya, almost atheistic and dualist, divides the existense into two Purusha and Prakriti - consciousness and matter.
Yoga, a school emphasising meditation, contemplation and liberation.
Nyaya or logic, explores sources of knowledge. Nyaya Sutras.
Vaisheshika, an empiricist school of atomism
Mimasa, an anti-ascetic and anti-mysticist school of conduct/right action or dharma
Vedanta, the final section in the Vedas. Considered by many the most important - students of the Upanishads and the Gita.
23) Eschatology:
The Rise of the Anti-Christ and his deception
At the end of the world (which is same as the end of the Universe), Jesus will come again in power and glory--the Parousia.
At this time the bodies of all the dead will be resurrected!
Those still living will be taken up into the air to meet Jesus. General judgment of all people will then be made!
The blessed will possess heaven for all eternity; the damned will suffer hell for all eternity.
Actually Jesus has described the process of Judgement Day quite well in Matthew 25, but many Christian would rather read about it in the Revelations or Daniels nightmares.
* Muslim eschatology is very similar to the Christian one, except that there is also the Return of the Imam Mahdi. Muslims expect (with some variations) the following events to occur:
Return of the Imam Mahdi
The false messiah, Masih ad-Dajjal appears to deceive humanity.
Medina will be deserted, with true believers going to follow Mahdi and sinners following Dajjal
The return of Isa (Jesus) to kill Dajjal and wipe out all falsehood and religions other than Islam.
Ya'jooj and Ma'jooj (Gog/Magog, two tribes of vicious beings will break out, but will be destroyed by the intervention of Isa and Imam Al-Mahdi.
Mecca will be attacked and the Kaaba will be destroyed
The first trumpet blow will be sounded by Israfil, and all that is in heavens and earth will be stunned and die except what God wills.
The second trumpet blow will be sounded, the dead will be resurrected from their graves and a fire will start that shall gather all to Mahshar Al Qiy'amah - the Day of Judgment and Resurrection - this also the end of the world/universe.
The Universe is continuously going through a process of Creation, Destruction and Rebirth. A specific Universe lasts as long as the Life of its Brahma (equivalent to about 311.04 trillion years). During this period, the Universe goes through multiple deaths and rebirths that correspond to the days in Brahmas life - the dead period being during the night of Brahma's full day(a Brahma day is about 4.32 billion human years). So the universe is not about to end anytime soon - probably has many millions of years to go. However, that does not mean the Earth will last as long - but there is no prediction as to how long.
The earth itself goes through ages that repeat cyclically. There are four yugas or ages:
Satya Yuga - the Age of Truth and perfect morality
Treta Yuga - three fourth perfect
Dwapara Yuga - half perfect
Kali Yuga - our own age of imperfection.
One Mahayuga = 4800*360 Satya yuga, 3600*360 Treta yuga, 2400*360 Dwapara yuga, 1200*360 Kali yuga - 4,320,000 years.
Kali yuga probably started - 3102 BCE. At the end of this current age, the next Avatar Kalki will appear to destroy evil and save the righteous.
24) Egalitarianism, Racism, Casteism, Sexism:
*Christianity as preached by Jesus is a truly egalitarian religion which makes no distinction between human beings on the basis of religion, race, skin color, gender or material wealth - in fact according to Jesus, the poor and wretched are especially blessed.
However, Paul makes it that women are not equal to men and should be submissive, subservient and obedient to their husbands.
The Church, of course, finds it easier to follow Paul rather than Jesus and denies women the same rights as men to become priests and conduct mass etc.
The Church also states that non-Christians are condemned to eternal hell except if they are 'invincibly ignorant' of Jesus and Gospel
Most Christians also still believe that Jews are a 'Chosen' people - clearly a racist dogma
For a religion that believes in equality among men, the Church tolerated slavery for quite a long time before unequivocally rejecting it in the 20th century.
*Islam also claims to be an egalitarian religion - all men are equal. except that Arabs are more equal than all others. According to many hadiths, 'Allah has chosen the Arabs over other nations' - very much like the Jewish claim of being 'chosen'. Even among Arabs, certain tribes are claimed to be superior to others. Many Hadiths speak disparagingly of people of color (mainly blacks).
Women are clearly considered inferior to men in Islam (a position which goes far beyond the patriarchal attitudes of other religions). In my opinion, Muhammad had serious doubts whether women had a soul or not. In laws and rights women are treated as inferior and unequal to men - somewhat like their property. The Koran when it describes life after death in heaven, only mentions the presence of men from earth. The women in heaven are apparently virgins from somewhere else, their main purpose being to serve the men.
However, Islamic treatment of women was far better than what existed at the time of Muhammad who improved their lot considerably.
Just like Christianity, Islam claims that non-Muslims are doomed to eternal hell after death.
Slavery appears to be sanctioned by the religion and is still practiced in certain Muslim countries to this day.
*Hinduism does not claim to be egalitarian at all. It divides society into four levels or castes in the following order:
Kshatriyas - rulers and warriors (these are not foot soldiers, this is the aristocracy)
Brahmins - priests and teachers
Vaishyas - merchants, trades people, artists, craftsmen, doctors, engineers
Shudras - unskilled laborers and field workers
The first three castes were the 'twice-born' whose sons where eligible for the sacred thread and some form of education. The Kshatriyas often claim that they are the highest caste while sometimes Brahmins claim superiority (when they feel it is safe to do so, because Kshtriyas are usually more powerful and richer).
The fifth group are the out castes, the untouchables who are the lowest of all. They do the dirtiest of jobs (like working with leather or corpses or cleaning toilets or sewers).
This division of society appears to be based on profession, and a person's caste is passed from father to son with inter-marriage between unequal castes strictly forbidden.
The caste system has been the cause of much suffering and oppression, with lower caste people, especially the untouchables, subjected to unspeakably horrendous atrocities.
In ancients days the caste system was not hereditary but was based on merit and that it was possible to escape the caste situation you were born into, but in due course of time, this stratification of society became rigid and impossible to change. The caste system is officially banned in India since independence, but it has become so entrenched in the society that even Budddhist and Christians in India maintain their caste from generation to generation.
As in any patriarchal society, in Hinduism, women are often treated as inferior and subservient to their husbands and male relatives. In extreme cases, they were once even expected to throw themselves willingly on a husband's funeral pyre (sati). However, according to Hindu beliefs, a woman may return as a man in the next life (and a man may return as a woman) according to their karma from past lives.
Slavery as an institution was unheard of in India before the invasion of the Muslims, since the concept of ownership of another human being or being able to buy/sell another human was not acceptable. However, indentured servants or bonded-labor have always existed in India and is a wide-spread problem even today with the world's largest population of such indentured workers (including many children).
Hindus do not believe that salvation (or mokhsha) depends on your religion or whom you worship or your specific belief system. Anyone can attain enlightenment or moksha, including non-believers like atheists or communists.



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