The Hindu Belief in Respect for All Living Creatures

The Hindu Belief in Respect for All Living Creatures
In Hinduism, one of the fundamental beliefs is that all living creatures should be respected. This belief comes from various principle and teachings within Hinduism. Brahman is a very important concept in Hinduism and originates from the earliest scriptures. Priests of the early Indian culture called the magical power of nature ?Brahman? in their rituals with the ?brh? root meaning ?giving forth? or ?growth and creation?. Later on Brahman became known as the life-giving power of the universe. This power dwell in every corner of the universe and beyond as it is a mysterious concept to grasp and many writers of Hindu scriptures used poetry to try and describe Brahman. Many religions accept the existence of a soul or spirit embodied in everyone, containing their divine nature or God being present within them. For Hindus the person does no only consist of body and soul but a true, eternal, perfect self within a temporary and imperfect body. This inner self is known as the atman in Hinduism and as the body dies, the atman, the eternal, indestructible essence of the living being leaves the body to go to another body. This is known as reincarnation. So if every thing in the universe, including living creatures, contains an atman that has the essence of Brahman, Hindus should respect it. There are two stories that represent this teaching from the Upanishads, which are Hindu scriptures: A father tells his son to break a fig in half and asks the son what he sees. The son says that he sees seeds and his father tells him to break one of them and tell him what he sees.The son says nothing. The father says there is the subtle essence there although it cannot be seen and that the whole universe is identified by that subtle essence. The son then asks the father to teach him more. The father told him to place salt in a bowl of water and come back to him in the morning, and it was done. Next day, the father told the son to find the salt in the bowl but he couldn?t because it had dissolved. The father then told the son to sip the water from all sides and the son says that he can taste the salt from all areas. The father explains that it is in the same way that you cannot see the subtle essence but it is there, identifying the whole universe. Karma is the law of cause and effect and means ?action?, so actions have consequences. This involves the theory of reincarnation so selfish and evil actions will make the next life full of suffering whereas unselfish and good actions will make the next life full of happiness and fortune. This means everything that happens to a Hindu is a result of their actions in their previous life. The aim of Hindus in life is moksha, which is the liberation of the atman from the unreal world and combining with Brahman. They can achieve this by attaining good positive karma and one of the ways to do this is by respecting all living creatures. Another way to achieve moksha for Hindus is to fulfil their personal dharma. This refers to what is right and true associated with the laws governing people and the laws governing the universe. Hindus must follow the laws and duties of dharma ensuring a stable society for people to live in. There are two main laws, which are Varnashramadharma meaning ?the laws and duties for each caste and stage in life?, and Sanatana dharma meaning ?eternal law?. This is the true name for Hinduism and means Hindus are followers of the Sanatana dharma. The specific part that relates to respect for living creatures is ?Ahimsa? meaning non-violence, gaining good karma and a step closer to moksha.

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