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Hindus/Hindu Practices and Beliefs

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Question
Hi Aupmanyav,

I have a few questions about Hinduism.

1) What God(s) do Hindus believe in, why, and how do these Gods affect daily life? Or is there only one God? Who is Ganesha, Shiva, and Vishnu?
2) Why is eating meat and animal byproducts acceptable but eating beef is not? What makes the cow sacred? Is a vegan diet common or uncommon amongst Hindus?
3) Is it insulting to the faith when people of other faiths/locations, especially Westerners, convert?

Thank you!

Answer
Dear Isbelle;

Dp Gods or Goddesses affect daily life?

1. We have Hundreds of Gods and Goddesses. 20 or 30 major ones and then the village Gods and Goddesses. Nobody really has made a count of them. The village Gods generally considered the second level Gods and the Goddesses are considered a form of the Mother Goddess Durga, also known as Shakti (Power). Apart of Shiva and Vishnu, the two major Gods of the Hindu trinity (Brahma is not considered as important as these two though he is the third of the trinity), the other Gods are family. Ganesha and Kartikeya are Shiva's sons. And Rama, Krishna, Buddha along with other six are known as Avataras of Lord Vishnu in human form. Shiva's spouse is Parvati the Goddess of family, Vishnu's is Laxmi the Goddess of wealth (please note that money is not the sole wealth, health also is a wealth. There are eight kinds of wealths), Saraswati is the spouse of Brahma and is the Goddess of learning and fine arts. Sita, Rama's spouse and Rukmini, Krishna's spouse also are considered forms of Shakti. Hanuman, the celebate monkey God is revered as the companion of Rama and is the God of wrestlers and body builders.

2. Cow and bulls are very important for the life of an Indian villager. The whole family is involved in their care from birth to death. They are what Dogs are to west, dear pets. Many of the times a cow or a bull is the sole wealth of the family apart from a small patch of land. That is why Hindus do not eat beef. Half the Hindus (there are no statistics) are non-vegetarian, but a vegetarian diet is respected by those who cannot turn vegetarian because of their gluttony (I am like that). Non-violence being an important point in all Indian religions.

3. Indian religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism) are not very keen on evangelism, though we welcome people to join us. A conversion to Hinduism without understanding what we stand for (acceptance of multiplicity of views) does not impress us.

Have I been able to answer your questions. Please fell free if you have further questions. BTW, I am an atheist Hindu. With best regards,

Yours sincerely,

Aupmanyav

Hindus

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Aupmanyav

Expertise

Especially religious history of India. I follow 'advaita' philosophy (non-duality) and am an atheist. My answers would be consistent with science and practicality.

Experience

Explaining Hinduism for about 8 years.

Organizations
None.

Education/Credentials
Science graduate. Extensive studies of hindu scriptures.

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