Hinduism was once something that I wasn’t too knowledgeable of until a friend I had worked with brought it up. He’d been practicing for some time and even had a tattoo on his back of Lord Ganesha surrounded by lotus flowers. After telling me what he could while we worked I did read into the religion, as I do like learning about different religions around the world.
One of the few religions that does not have a founder, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion. Yoga, and the belief of karma originate from this religion. So, you aren’t to far from being around it in your daily life. There could be other practices that you take into your daily life that you may not realize are part of Hinduism, or maybe there are some practices that you aren’t aware of. In short, I will brief the description of five practices followed by the Hindu’s.
1. Puja: “Honor, worship, and devotional attention.” In Puja you bow, chant and make offerings. Either done at home or in a temple daily and either in the morning, evening, or both.
This ritual is done with the Hindu followers chosen icon. Though not all sects practice this ritual through icons.
2. Chores: These aren’t your sweeping the kitchen, washing the windows type of chores. These are done at dawn after bathing. Such chores include reciting religious scripts, singing hymns, meditation, and chanting mantras.
3. Efficacy and Merit: Done through charity and good deeds. It is believed that the more of this you do, the less your suffering will be in the next life.
4. Annaprashana: “Baby’s first intake of solid food”. A priest is present during this rite and he is in charge of setting the date for the ceremony. The child is usually six months of age when the ceremony occurs. Other Hindu communities do it later. family, friends, and neighbors join. Either the mother or grandmother prepares a dish of rice, milk, and sugar. The child sits in the mother lap and the grandfather or uncle is the first to start in the feeding. Every family member attending will get a chance to offer a spoonful to the child. After the feeding a game is brought out which is a tray that holds several items. a bangle or jewel (wealth), a book (learning, a pen (career), and a clay pot or container of soil (property). Which ever the child picks up is what the child’s life path will be.
5. Yajna: A form of sacrifice to the god(s) to obtain certain wishes. Religious offerings are put into a fire and believed to reach the god(s). Usually done by a priest. Large quantities of ghee, milk, grains, cakes, or soma are put into the fire. Or milk products, fruits, flowers, cloth and money. Depending on the type of Yajna being performed. They can be held privately or for larger groups. For weddings, temple worship, or daily worship. There is much to this ritual as to the many types that there are.
You already know of yoga being on of the many rituals that Hindu’s practice. Also, they believe in a chain of enlightenment. Meaning that you go from being one creature to another until you reach the ultimate being.
Vegetarian lifestyles are also a major part of being Hindu as it is one other ways of showing respect to all life. As someone who has worked in the food business (where I also met my friend who was Hindu) you get used to hearing requests to have a sandwich made a certain way. Even when they want the vegetables toasted with the bread.
I hope that this short detail of practices is fun for you to read. It gives you a bit of something to think about if you are wanting to venture into another religion or perhaps learn more about one.