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Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Practising Hinduism at home

Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Practising Hinduism at home

Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion and it has existed for more than 4,000 years now. It is widely practised around the world, following Christianity and Islam. Although most Hindus live in India, you can still find them in different parts of the globe such as here in Canada. 

Hinduism follows plenty of beliefs and some of the most important ones include the following: 

  • Truth is eternal
  • Brahman is truth and reality
  • Vedas are the ultimate authority 
  • We should strive to achieve dharma 
  • Each soul is immortal
  • A significant goal of every soul is moksha or liberation.

Besides learning about these things, it is important for every Hindu to practice our belief in our own ways. An example of this is to apply this in our own homes. Here is everything you need to know about it:  

Have your own shrine 

A shrine or any clean room in your home is a good place for Hindus to worship. This would depend on your preference but what matters is that this area is where you can peacefully pay respects to Brahman. Let your entire family participate in this so that the younger ones can see its value even from their tender age. 

The shrine should contain the following objects that can heighten your five senses: 

  • Bell

A bell is used to awaken the god and let them know that you are ready to worship. Your sense of hearing is awakened during the start of the ceremony. 

  • Food offerings 

Food offerings can be of any kind but some of the most popular ones are fruits. The sense of taste is heightened during this part of the worship. 

  • Murti

Murti is the image or the statue of the god that you plan to worship. Your sense of sight is focused on this part of the ceremony. 

  • Incense

You should burn the incense during this puja ceremony. Its smoke fills the room which is a reminder for all worshippers that Brahman is always there. Moreover, it is meant to purify the air. Your sense of smell is used in this part of the worship.  

  • Kumkum powder 

Kumkum powder is used to mark the head of the worshipper and the god as a means to show respect. Your sense of touch is used during this part of the ceremony. 

About Hindu Temple Society of Canada 

Aside from practising Hinduism at home, you can also pay respects in the Hindu Temple Society of Canada. It is open from Mondays to Thursdays from 8:00 AMto 1:00 PM and 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM. You can also come on Fridays and weekends or holidays from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. If you want to stay updated with the schedules and different events hosted by us, visit our website for the details.

How is Hinduism thriving at the time of coronavirus?

How is Hinduism thriving at the time of coronavirus?

The wake of the pandemic has drastically changed life as we know it. Shops, restaurants, schools, and other public spaces have been shut down to prevent the virus from proliferating and infecting more people. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, one of the most affected facets of the society was the religious sector. During this time, practitioners of various religions were forced to retreat to their homes and refrain from attending gatherings to stay safe from the virus.

With 1.3 billion people, Hinduism is the most practiced religion in India. Celebrations like Durga Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Navratri can be extremely crowded, so government officials have deemed it necessary to put a stop to gatherings to keep the public safe. 

However, the presence of the virus didn’t stop people from praying and showing reverence to their gods. In some cities such as Mumbai, the festival for Ganesh which starts from August 22 to Sept 1 has been transferred into a moving, artificial pond where people can immerse their idols. The truck has its own water tanker and can be contacted throughout the duration of the festival. 

Pre-pandemic, the humid streets of Mumbai become crowded with people, banners, and flyers where attendees hand out modaks, a confection made of sweet dumplings stuffed with grated coconut. 

In neighbourhoods and villages, people set up platforms called pandals, which is where a life-size image of Ganesh will be displayed, adorned with flowers, food, and incense. However, for this year, a massive cut down on festivities took place because the images have to be under 2 feet before they can get submerged in the pond. 

Moreover, people are not allowed to barricade the streets as only municipal officials and front-liners are allowed to go outside. 

Aside from gatherings, activities such as wakes have also been affected. In India, people send off their deceased loved ones by parading the body in the streets, dressed in colourful clothing. After this, the body will be cremated and then scattered in the cremation grounds. 

Now, gatherings for the dead have been cut down to 20 people and the line of funeral pyres in the Ganges River have lessened to prevent the area from overcrowding. 

In Varanasi, a holy city in India, only one priest recites prayers and sutras to send off the dead to lessen the people getting in contact with each other. Due to a shortage in services and cars that ferry remains back to their families, a lot of funeral pyres have piled up in the area. 

More updates are available on our website. If you’re interested in learning more about Hinduism, visit our page now! 

Common misconceptions on Hinduism

Common misconceptions on Hinduism

The Hindu Temple Society of Canada is an organization in Canada that offers a variety of spiritual services at an affordable rate. Customers can use the temple halls and gatherings for sacred events.

The organization believes that the rich history behind Hinduism is important and must be taken seriously. Many misconceptions have been made about the religion. Here are some of them.

The religion is called Hinduism

The term Hinduism and Hindu are anachronistic, meaning they are terms associated with the wrong period in time. The terms actually refer to the people of the Indus River in India and likely came from the Persians who invaded the Indian subcontinent. “Hindu” means “river”. 

Sanatana Dharma (“eternal duty of God”) is the original term for hinduism. The followers are called Dharmis, meaning the followers of Dharma. Hindu and Hinduism are mainly used in Western countries. Despite having the original term, many modern Indians have adapted the term..

Hinduism has a discriminatory caste system

The caste system divides the Hindus into four: Brahmins (priests and teachers), Kshatriyas (warriors and rulers), Vaishyas (farmers and merchants), and Shudras (laborers). Those who fall outside the system are Dalits (outcasts/untouchables). The common misconception is that the religion is the same with the caste system and that the discrimination that exists in india is related to Hinduism. However, many modern Hindus believe that this system is not created by the religion, but the culture of India itself. 

Patriarchy rules in India only because of Hinduism

No, not mainly because of Hinduism but because of the culture in India. 

Like most religions, Hinduism is patriarchal. But this belief, unlike other major religions, are also filled with feminism ideologies. However, these feminism ideas are ignored because of the culture of India, which is patriarchal. This is because a lot of Hindu leaders and activists are men who don’t agree with the feminism ideologies of the religion.

The Hindus worship Shakti, the personification of the one true God’s energy through a female figure. This is what differentiates Hinduism from major religions Christian or Islam. Some commonly worshipped goddesses are Parvati, a primary form of Shakti Saraswati, Saraswati and Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity. In Hinduism, female goddesses are equal to male goddesses. For instance, Indra, a male deity, has to treat Durga, a female God, with the same respect as he has for the gods Vishnu or Shiva. However, this does not mean that Durga is of the same level as the three main Gods. 

Karma is fatalistic

Hindus believe they have to face the consequences of past actions. For every action, “a person sets in motion, there is a corresponding reaction”. The Hindus believe that each person creates a destiny of his own and the ultimate goal be rebirthed with a free soul. But the truth is, everyone is free to create their own life.

Hindu Temple Society: Hindu practices that people still do today

Hindu Temple Society: Hindu practices that people still do today

Hindu Temple Society: Hindu practices that people still do today

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. While many Hindus already changed their traditions over time, there are still various customs that they practised today. Check out some of those cultural customs below.

Marks on the Forehead

Marking their foreheads is probably one of the most common traditions Buddhists still do today. It is also a way to determine what kind of believer you are. Here are some of the meaning of the following Hindu markings below:

  • Three stripes across the forehead signify that someone was at a Shiva temple.
  • Two vertical lines across the forehead mean that they worshipped at a Vishnu temple.

While this is done by others, it simply shows that you are devoted to Hinduism. Nowadays, it has also been a fashion accessory for women as well. Moreover, there are also particular marks that show if a woman is married or not, but will vary from place to place.

Doing Pujas

Puja is a traditional custom where Hindus offer devotional homage and prayer to their Gods. The reason this is done is to host and honour a guest, or to spiritually celebrate an event. Moreover, it usually includes a priest depending on how big the event is. Some of the essential things needed for this event include:

  • A lamp with oil
  • Burning incense
  • Bells
  • Flowers
  • Fruit
  • Camphor
  • An image of the deity
  • Chanting of sacred scriptures
  • A pot with mango leaves

Performing life cycle rituals

Life cycle rituals are one of the most popular traditions that Hindus still do today. A priest is normally involved since they are required to perform a special prayer for the events that are being celebrated. There are four major samskaras, or life-cycle rites, that mark the important transitions of a Hindu’s life. These include:

  • Namakarana (naming of a child)
  • Upanayana (ceremony for males of the first three castes)
  • Vivaha (wedding)
  • Aantyeshi samskara (funeral sacrament)

Tips for outsiders:

Keep in mind that being invited to this event means that someone sees you as part of their inner circle. For this reason, we recommend attending these events as much as you can. 

Following a certain diet

This is one of the most popular traditions that Hindu people still follow today. They usually follow a certain diet where they only eat vegetables. While Hinduism does not strictly require a vegetarian diet, some Hindus still avoid eating meat because they believe that it helps in minimizing hurting other life forms. Being a vegetarian is also considered as a sign of their devotion.

Interested to know more about Hinduism? Don’t hesitate to visit our website at hindutemplerichmondhill.ca for more information.

Hindu Temple Society: 4 major events in Hinduism

Hindu Temple Society: 4 major events in Hinduism

Hindu Temple Society: 4 major events in Hinduism

Hindu festivals attract the attention of most people because of their large following and the brightly-coloured and lavish celebrations that reflect the richness of their culture. Here are some examples of Hindu festivals that make people from all over the world interested and intrigued.

Kumbh Mela

Also called Kumbha Mela, this religious festival is celebrated four times in the span of 12 years. In this bathing ritual, Hindus believe that dipping in the water where the rivers meet will help cleanse them of their sins and bring salvation The place of the festival alternates between four pilgrimage sites on four sacred rivers: at Haridwar on the Ganges River, Nashik on the Godavari, Ujjain on the Shipra and at Prayag, where the Jamuna, the Saravasti and the Ganges meet.

Every 144 years, a Great Kumbh Mela festival is celebrated at Prayag, and the 2001 festival was attended by 60 million people. 

Diwali 

This is the Festival of Lights, the second biggest festival in Hinduism after Kumbh Mela, and which is usually celebrated in October and November. Its name came from Deepavali, a Sanskrit word that means rows of lighted lamps. Symbolizing the inner light, these lamps are lit by Indians outside their homes to serve as protection from spiritual darkness. The importance of this festival to Hindus is similar to that of the Christmas holiday to Christians.

The Festival of Lights lasts for five days, where people light diyas or candles, clay lamps and firecrackers to signify the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness. 

Some people also consider the Diwala as the start of the new year, so they clean out their homes and make big purchases during this time. This event also puts emphasis on giving service, urging people to make charitable contributions and help those in need.

Holi

This festival is celebrated on the full moon day in March, the month of Phalgun. Also called the Spring Festival, Holi marks the beginning of spring. This event must be celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm because it acknowledges the end of the gloomy winter and the arrival of bright summer days.

On the day of the festival, people get whacky on the streets as they pour colour water over one another. Coloured powder is also thrown into the air to cover all the people in the near area. These colours bear specific meanings; for instance, green symbolizes new beginnings and red means love and fertility. Children can be seen running around squirting water with a water gun or throwing balloons filled with coloured water up into the roofs. 

After dancing and jumping around with colors, people then gather for festive meals with their families.

Pongal

Celebrated on the winter solstice, Pongal is a Hindu festival that lasts for three days and is held throughout South India. This is to commemorate an important celestial event, where the Sun reaches its southernmost point, turns back to the north, and then transitions into makara or Capricorn. 

Pongal is also a festival of harvest and is similar to Thanksgiving in that families share large meals together and express gratitude for the bounty harvest that the new season brings.

Hindu Temple Society: How does Hinduism affect culture?

Hindu Temple Society: How does Hinduism affect culture?

Hindu Temple Society: How does Hinduism affect culture?

Does religion impact your life in any way? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. While not all people practice a certain religion in their lifetime, most of them will encounter religious beliefs in some form. Whether it’s from a friend, family, or even the whole community. Religions have the power to dramatically change the culture of the community it was applied in. 

Religion can affect more than just a person’s habit. The beliefs and practices of religious groups can influence an entire region or even the whole nation. Religious practices shape the culture around them. 

Let’s see how Hinduism affects the culture of the countries that apply it. Today, we will look at four major aspects that are shaped by Hinduism. Let’s get right to it!

4 major impacts of Hinduism 

Impact #1: Marriage

Hindu marriages involve a lot of rituals and practice. First thing you need to know about Hindu marriages is that it was arranged. The opinion of the bride and groom doesn’t affect the decision for marriage. And, they are usually unaware of who they are going to marry. 

Modern times have changed this practice. Now, both the groom and the bride’s opinion are accounted for. However, they should be in the same caste. A caste is like a symbol of status in Hinduism. Marrying out of your caste is considered a taboo. 

Hinduist brides usually wear “Sari” and the groom wears a “Sherwani”, both of which are traditional Hinduism wedding attire. The traditional wedding colour is red and white. The most sacred part of every Hindu wedding is tying the mangalsutra and the seven vows. 

The mangalsutra is a necklace made of black tinted gold with a diamond pendant. It is tied around the groom and the bride’s necks during the wedding, and the bride is required to wear it until her husband’s death. 

Impact #2: Art

Art is one of the major components of Hinduism. Hinduist arts are mostly paintings, sculptures, and architecture found in the temple. Most Hinduist art involves their deities with more than one head or limb. Each work of art articulates beauty, love, and truth. All of these are the core of the religion. 

Impact #3: Food

The traditional Hindu food is believed to be gifts from the lord Prasada. Once consumed, Hindu foods are believed to purify the body, mind, and soul. It also grants religious merit to the people who eat it. 

A person’s consumption of food determines a Hinduist’s mental and physical state. Eating pure food known as “Sattvic” will help them become pure as well. Most of their cuisine doesn’t involve livestock. This is due to the belief that all living things are equal.

Impact#4: Animals 

For Hinduists, animals are considered sacred and equal to human beings. They believe that some animals have a connection with god. For this reason, animals are often worshipped in Hindu temples. One of the most sacred animals in Hinduism is the cow.  

Cows have a gentle nature that represents the Hindu’s dominant teaching of non-violence. Also, cows portray wealth, motherhood, and purity. The cow gives more than it takes, making it one of the most worshipped animals for its grace. 

The Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Teachings of Hinduism

The Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Teachings of Hinduism

Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Teachings of Hinduism 

As the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism evolved from thousands of years of devotion and servitude from its worshippers. It is a diverse religion that continues to change depending on socio-political events that affect its people. 

Billions of followers still subscribe to the Sanskrit teachings of Hinduism up to this day. The Hindu Temple Society of Canada shares in this responsibility of educating its devotees of these sacred teachings that survived wars and religious suppression. 

The core beliefs of Hinduism

The Hindu philosophy cannot be pinned down to a definite doctrine because its main characteristic is resisting definitive identification. As the oldest recorded religion of humankind, no one is old or knowledgeable enough to put the whole essence of Hinduism into simple comprehensible words. 

These are the general beliefs that Hindu devotees subscribe to in a nutshell:

  • The belief in the different gods of the cosmic realms. These gods are seen as the manifestation of the unity of the universe and its natural processes. 
  • Even if a devotee has a preference to a single deity, the Hindu belief does not exclude the other lower deities in worship. 
  • The universal law of cause and effect called karma is held in high regard in everyday life. Your karma will affect your standing when reincarnation in the next life comes. 
  • Believing in the possibility that moksha, your liberation and release from the cycle of life and death called samsara, will be resolved by way of faith. 

To better understand this as devotees, you must understand that the Hindu philosophy is roughly divided into three general categories that overlap over the centuries. These stages are the following: 

  1. Non-systematic Hindu Philosophy that is anchored in the teachings of Vedas.
  2. Established systematic Hindu Philosophy
  3. Neo-Hindu Philosophy of modern times

Hinduism and its teachings

Hinduism is continuously evolving as the world enters one millennium to another. In fact, these traditions can be traced back to the first civilisations of the world. Indeed, the teachings evolve naturally through time and a lot more will happen in its eternal existence. 

Karma

Karma is one of the most important teachings of Hinduism because it helps devotees to evaluate their actions. Although it is pivotal in the lives of Hindi devotees, this does not encompass everything about Hinduism and its traditions. 

Your karma will determine the moral, psychological, spiritual and physical consequences of your decisions in life and this will determine what you will be in your next life. Grave consequences are given by the cosmic deities to those who do not take their faith seriously. This belief is not exclusive to Hinduism because other religions have their version of karmic faith.

Dharma

The most important teaching in Hinduism that every devotee should pattern his or her life to is the philosophy of Dharma. This is defined as a religious duty and the moral order of the universe. Each devotee should embody the fundamental principles of Hinduism law, religion and duty that dictates your reality. 

This central concept is shared among other religious sects that the Indians practice but it still is vital in the Hindu life. This also defines your karmic standing in your reincarnation that is why most Hindus believe in this philosophy. 

Polytheism 

This is a distinctive feature of Hinduism, worshipping various deities that represent the different cosmic realms of the universe. There are hierarchies among the gods and goddesses worshipped in Hinduism because of their designated power in the cosmos. 

The main deities:

  • Brahma – He is the creator of the entire cosmic universe and is viewed as Prajapati’s equivalent in the Vedan scriptures. In the triad of great Hindu deities, he reigned supreme. Because of his elevated status, he isn’t as involved in human affairs as the other deities. He isn’t worshipped as much in modern Hinduism.
  • Devi – Best known as Mahadevi, she is the great all-embracing mother goddess that was first worshipped in prehistoric times. She represents the female energy of her husband, Shiva. Some believers also refer to her as Sakti which means female power. 
  • Shiva – The third god of the Hindu triumvirate, Shiva is responsible for the destruction of the whole universe to recreate it in a vicious cycle. He is the god of chaos but the Hindus believe that his power is used to destroy the illusions of the world. His extreme behaviour can either be passionate or severe abstinence from pleasure. The Shaivism sect of Hinduism worships Shiva in their powerful temples.
  • Vishnu – Known preserver and protector of the universe, Vishnu is the second god of the Hindu triumvirate. He is tasked to return to earth in times of trouble because he is the only one who can restore the balance between good and evil. In the ancient Vedan texts, he is associated with light especially the symbolism of the sun. There is a Hinduism sect of monotheistic worship of Vishnu called Vaishnavism. 
  • Krishna – He is the avatar of Vishnu, but he is considered more as the original Godhead rather than the former. Some devotees interchange Vishnu and Krishna since he is the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. He is most beloved by Hindus because of his adventures in Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita. 
  • Rama – Considered as the ideal monarch, Rama is the seventh avatar of Vishnu. He is popularly known as the slayer of the demon king Ravana told in Mahabharata and Ramayana. Hindus revere him because he is the most virtuous hero in the sacred texts.

The other deities:

  • Hanuman – the monkey warrior
  • Lakshmi – goddess of wealth and fortune; she is also the consort of Vishnu
  • Saraswati – consort of Brahma, she is the goddess of learning and the arts
  • Ganesh – the son of Shiva, he is the remover of obstacles; also known as Ganapati
  • Skanda – he is the commander in chief of the devas and is Shiva’s son
  • Surya – the sun god of the administrative gods; sometimes considered by the Hindus as Vishnu’s counterpart
  • Indra – king of heaven and the god of rain
  • Agni – the deity of fire
  • Yama – a deity that presides over death
  • Surya – the presiding deity of the blazing sun
  • Varuna – the presiding deity of water
  • Kuvera – treasurer for the demigods; the god of wealth
  • Vayu – the presiding deity of air
  • Soma – may also be referred to as Chandra; the presiding deity of the moon

The other higher beings:

  • The Asuras (demons)
  • The Devas (demigods)
  • The Apsaras (celestial nymphs)
  • The Nagas (celestial serpents)
  • The Gandharvas (heavenly singers)
  • The Rakshasas (man-eaters)
  • The Prajapatis (forebears of mankind)

Religious Hindi texts

For a culture as old as Hinduism with roots tracing back to the Indus Valley, the religious texts are also considered as one of the oldest pieces of literature of humankind. Unlike other religions such as Catholicism, Judaism and others that have a singular text of doctrines, Hinduism is not tied down to just one body of scripture. 

There are a lot of sacred teachings that were written throughout the thousands of years that Hinduism existed. You may have read a few of the following books at least once in your life:

  • The Vedas – Considered as the primary text for Hinduism, most devotees seek these teachings as a guide for a peaceful life. These teachings transcend all time without any beginning or end. 

There are four Vedas that are important to the Hindu teachings:

  • Rig Veda
  • Sama Veda
  • Yajurveda
  • Atharvaveda
  • Upanishads – These sacred texts are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy. Part of the teachings of these texts is the exploration of how the soul can be reunited with Brahman or the ultimate truth through contemplation and meditation. 

The karmic doctrine is explored through these texts:

  • The Upanishads Part I and II
  • Thirty Minor Upanishads
  • From the Upanishads 
  • Puranas – Post-Vedic texts that contain the complete historical narrative of the universe from beginning to end. There are 17 canonical Puranas that are divided into categories which are:
    • The Vishnu Purana
    • The Garuda Purana
    • The S’rimad Devî Bhâgawatam
    • The Devî Gita
    • The Prem Sagur
    • The Transmigration of the Seven Brahmans
    • Kundalini: The Mother of the Universe
  • The national epics of India – Most scholars consider these epics as Hindu mythology but there are sacred texts that are embedded in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. These stories are based on centuries of oral traditions that were written down from 540 to 300 BCE. 

Other primary Hindu texts: 

  • The Laws of Manu
  • The Sacred Laws of the Aryas, Part I and II
  • The Institutes of Vishnu 
  • The Minor Law Books (SBE 33)
Hinduism 101 with Hindu Temple Society of Canada

Hinduism 101 with Hindu Temple Society of Canada

Hinduism 101 with Hindu Temple Society of Canada

Hinduism is considered by many scholars to be the oldest religion in the world. It’s rich history and traditions can be traced back for thousands of years. Some experts may argue that in a stricter sense, this religion was only officially established during modern times, however, it is also factual that its practices and teachings are ancient. 

The Hindu Temple Society of Canada believes that the rich story behind Hinduism’s story and teachings are more important than debating whether the religion is ancient or not. Even the most respected Brahmins cannot tell you when exactly everything started. 

Hinduism and its roots

As was said before, Hinduism has no established starting point because of its cyclical view of time. For the rest of the world, time seems to move on, leaving everything behind in its wake. With the Hindu faith, time is seen as eternal and boundless. 

Hinduism is more than a religion; it is a culture with its way of life. Unlike some religions across the world, Hinduism has no historical founder. Everything that devotees follow came from sacred texts that guided them for thousands of years. 

Various beliefs and traditions from ancient civilisations cultivated the Hinduism practices that you know today. Scholars often say that the sacred teachings of this religion came from the fusion of beliefs by different customs and philosophies across different periods. 

Religious timeline of Hinduism

Even though there is no specific date when Hinduism was founded, the Hindu Temple Society of Canada has compiled a general timeline of the religion’s history. Knowing the context of its rich history will help in understanding your faith better. Devotees need to know the roots of their cultural beliefs because it strengthens your spirituality and general disposition in life. 

Indus Valley Civilisation (2000 BCE)

This civilisation was located on the basin of Indus River which can be seen today in modern-day Pakistan. The way the culture developed in this place is similar to that of Mesopotamia, the first recorded human civilisation. The cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa kept this old civilisation alive and thriving. Historians believe that the people who lived during that time had high standards of living because there is evidence of sophisticated water systems, drainage, wells, and other cultural advancements. 

There are no solid pieces of evidence that can point to the specific religion that the people in this valley practice but scholars believe that they practice various temple rituals and spiritual bathing. People during this time often do ritual bathing in the great bath of Mohenjo-Daro. 

Terracotta figurines have been uncovered by archaeologists and they believe that these may be images of gods and goddesses they worship. Some think that these religious figures are the early depictions of the Hindu god, Shiva. 

Many of the cultural pieces of evidence uncovered in this prehistoric civilisation are linked to the beginnings of Hinduism. 

Vedic Period (1500 to 500 BCE)

Scholars believe that the early development of South Asian traditions began from the Aryans when they migrated from the Indus Valley to the Indian subcontinent. This supports the idea that the religion of the early Indus Valley civilisation led to the development of early Hinduism.

During this period, the famous Sanskrit texts of the Vedas were composed. This is the oldest book known to the Hindu religion. The Vedic Period’s rituals centred on the sacrificial offering to their gods. Archaeologists believe that the people during this time preferred sacrificing horses than other animals in the land. 

Many of the Vedic rituals are still practised by Hindu devotees until today. Majority of the influential gods and goddesses that the Hindus worship are traced back to this period. Here are the following Devas or gods divided into their hierarchical realms:

  • Sky
    • Dyaus lord of the sky 
    • Varuna lord of the cosmic law
    • Vishnu the pervader
  • Atmosphere
    • Indra the warrior
    • Vayu the wind
    • Maruts the storm gods
    • Rudra the terrible
  • Earth
    • Soma (plant god)
    • Agni (fire god)
    • Brhaspati (god of priestly power) 

Epic, Puranic and Classical Age (500 BCE to 500 CE)

This era in ancient history led to the discovery of more sacred literature that solidified Hinduism as a religion and culture. These Hindu texts are still influential, not only among the devotees but also in the university curriculum. 

Different sacred literature was written during this time and they are as follows:

  • Dharma Sutras
  • Shastras
  • Mahabharata
  • Ramayana
  • Puranas
  • Bhagavad Gita

These texts, especially the Dharma Sutras and Shastras gave rise to the teachings of Dharma that focus on law, duty and truth. This is central to the teachings of Hinduism that we know and live by today. 

There are three sources of Dharma:

  • Revelation or the Veda
  • Tradition or smrti
  • Good custom

During this period, the rise of the Gupta Empire was influential to the following Hindu traditions:

  • Vaishnavism – the worship of the god Vishnu
  • Shaivism – focused on worshipping Shiva
  • Shaktism – the worship of Devi

Sacrificial rituals are lessened during this time because the devotional worship called Puja was introduced to the masses. These rituals enabled the Hindus to pray in front of the images of their deities in sacred temples. Traditions and sacred teachings that were developed during this time are still practised today.

Medieval Period (500 – 1500 CE)

The collapse of the Gupta Empire during this period led to the development of regional kingdoms that followed different religions. Temples in these regions are powerful and influential to their people. These great temples are centres of religious and political power and they include the following:

  • Jagganatha Puri in Orissa
  • Shiva Temple in Tanjavur and Taminaldu 

Not only did the sacred Sanskrit teachings thrive during this time but devotional sentiments made by poet-saints and gurus became widespread. These scholars formulated new theologies that garnered attention from devotees. 

The prominent poet-saints and gurus of the time are:

  • Andal the female poet-saint
  • The sixty-three Shaiva Nayanars
  • Shankara

Vaishnavism and Shaivism also gained influence during this time because of disciples and philosophers that propagated the religions’ teachings. The Tantra texts became influential and were revered by people because they supported Veda teachings. 

Spiritual commentaries were shared by these philosophers:

  • Ramanuja
  • Madhva
  • Abhinavagupta

British Period (1757 to 1947)

The end of the Mughul Empire during the Battle of Plassey in 1757 led to the British occupancy in the Indian subcontinent. During the first few years, the Hindus were given the freedom to practice religion until the Christian missionaries came. 

These missionaries wanted the Hindus to convert to Christianity and westernize their culture during the time, which led to their unrest. Various resistant movements wanted to free India from the British colonial rule and Hindu became a word heavily charged with socio-political meaning. 

As the 19th century approached, the Hindu Renaissance was born, motivating a lot of Indian devotees to push for reform. These Hindu reformers sacrificed a lot of things in the name of freedom and religion. Many of Hindus today revere the following reformers:

  • Dayananda Sarasvati
  • Ram Mohan Roy
  • Paramahamsa Ramakrishna
  • Mahatma Gandhi

There are also different cultural organisations during this time that fought for Hinduism:

  • Rashtriya Svayam-Sevak Sangh
  • Vishva Hindu Parishad
  • Bharatiya Janata Party

After the British occupation 

When India was given its freedom, the country was split into two. Not everyone agreed that the motherland should be a solely Hindu nation. This resulted in communal violence that continues today. The Hindus are still suffering because other religious sectors insist that they convert.

This led to the Hindu diaspora and their subsequent identity crisis. The post-war Hindu movements had no choice but to migrate to western countries to be at peace. Different gurus established Hindu communities in their areas and taught them Sanskrit teachings. 

Hindu Migration and the Temple Society of Canada

Hindu communities established themselves in the west after the diaspora. Many of the immigrants wanted to practice Hinduism in their new homeland. That is why the Hindu Temple Society of Canada was established by the board of trustees because of the rising need for a place of worship among the community. 

For decades, this became a safe space for local devotees in Canada to worship. We are also proud to be the largest Hindu temple in North America that welcomes Hindus with open arms. Be part of our growing community and learn more about the ways of Hinduism. 

Contact The Hindu Temple Society of Canada Today!

Please coordinate with the administrative officer and our chief priest for your inquiries about scheduled rituals and prayers. We ask that you call during the day, preferably on business hours so that we can accommodate your inquiry. 

One of our staff will be attending your inquiry once you contact us through our channels. Call us on the following numbers: 

  • Phone: 905- 883 9109
  • Fax: 905- 883 9834
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