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Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Religion essentials

Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Religion essentials

Make sure you have everything you need when you’re on the go. The religion essentials that you need to know are the following:

the name of the God and the basic doctrines of the religion.

Religion Essentials

1. Name of the God

God is the personal and almighty God who is supreme and the Creator of the universe. God is holy, perfect, eternal, and self-existent.

2. The basic doctrines of the religion

The Bible is the primary authority for the doctrines of the religion.

3. The Sabbath

The Sabbath is a day of rest, a day of worship, and a day of prayer.

4. The Sabbath day

The Sabbath day is Saturday. It begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.

5. The Sabbath year

The Sabbath year begins at sunset on Saturday of the first week of the year and ends at sunset on Saturday of the last week of the year.

6. The number of days in the week

The number of days in the week is seven.

7. The holy days of the week

The holy days of the week are: the Sabbath, the day of atonement, the new moon, the first day of the week, the second day of the week, the third day of the week, and the fourth day of the week.

the gospel of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, and baptism.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that God has sent to us in the form of Jesus Christ. It is the message that we have been saved by the blood of Jesus and that we can be saved from our sins through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the message that we can be forgiven for our sins and be made new through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the message that we can be made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ.

The plan of salvation is the way that we are saved. It is the way that we can be saved from our sins and be made new through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the way that we can be forgiven for our sins and be made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ. It is the way that we can be saved from our sins and be made new through faith in Jesus Christ.

Baptism is the way that we are saved from our sins and be made new through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the way that we can be forgiven for our sins and be made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ. It is the way that we can be saved from our sins and be made new through faith in Jesus Christ.

Brief introduction to Hinduism

Brief introduction to Hinduism

With more than a billion followers, Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest existing religions. It originated in India thousands of years before the birth of Christ, and is currently the world’s third largest religion. Hinduism is composed of religious, philosophical, and cultural ideals and practices. It remains to be the dominant religion practiced in India and Nepal today.

The influence of Hinduism can be seen all over the world today. They are not only strong in India and Nepal, but even in the west as well. For instance, one of the leading temples known in the world is the Hindu Temple Society of Canada. Read on to learn basic knowledge about Hinduism.

Definition

Hindus view their religion as an all-encompassing lifestyle. It is a complex system of beliefs and traditions with a system of ethics, meaningful rituals, philosophy, and theology. The center of Hinduism is the belief in reincarnation called Samsara. 

It also places high importance in major beliefs like one absolute being with multiple manifestations and related deities; law of cause and effect called Karma; path of righteousness by participating in spiritual practices and prayers; and the aspiration for liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth.

Origins 

In contrast to Islam or Christianity, the origins of Hinduism cannot be traced to a single individual. Rig Veda is one of the earliest Hindu scriptures. It was composed long before 6500 B.C. The roots of the religion itself can be traced as far back as 10,000 B.C.

The term Hinduism itself is not found in any scriptures. Hindu as a term was introduced by foreigners as a way to refer to people living across the River Indus or Sindhu. These places were in North India, and the Vedic religion is believed to have originated around such areas.

Basic Tenets

At the core of Hinduism, it teaches its followers four Purusarthas or goals of human life. They are as follows:

Dharma – ethics and duties

Artha – work and prosperity

Kama – passion and desires

Moksha – liberation from the cycle of samsara

For Hindus, Dharma is most important among these goals for day-to-day life. This is because Dharma is what leads to Moksha in the end. If one were to neglect Dharma over material pursuits of Artha and Kama, life becomes chaotic. Thus Moksha cannot be attained.

Major Deities

Hindus believe that there is only one supreme Absolute called Brahman. However, it is important to remember that Hinduism does not advocate the worship of any one particular deity. The gods and goddesses in Hinduism number in the thousands or even millions, which all represent the many aspects of Brahman.

Among the immense number of deities, the fundamental ones are the following. You may be familiar with them if you attend temples such as Hindu Temple Society of Canada.

Divine trinity of Brahma – the creator

Vishnu – the preserver

Shiva – the destroyer

Besides them, Hindus also worship spirits, trees, animals, and planets. 

Hinduism beliefs known and adopted by the world

Hinduism beliefs known and adopted by the world

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world that have been passed down from one generation to another. Today, some beliefs from this religion have become popular and believed even by those who do not practise it. To give you an idea, here are the actions and mindsets that originated from Hinduism that have been adapted by many:

Life, death and reincarnation

In Hinduism, people believe that all lives have a cycle. Each life does not end but instead reincarnates into another body or form. To give you a clearer picture, consider yourself as an example: you live today as a human, but once you pass away, your next life can be a cow or a cockroach. Likewise, your previous life can be another human or a bird. 

Furthermore, it is believed that your next life depends on your personality and behaviour. If you are acting badly towards others, then there is a possibility that your next life will have a lot of bad omens and despair. That is why Hindus strive to live right to receive more blessings when they reincarnate. 

Karma

Karma is a spiritual principle of cause and effect. If you do good things, then it will come back to you, and the same thing goes for when you do bad things. This belief keeps people grounded because it makes them mindful of their actions towards others. 

Additionally, the concept of karma helps people maintain their peace. Instead of inflicting harm, they would rely on karma to teach those who have hurt them.

Atman and moksha

Along with reincarnation, Hindus also believe in atman, which is known as the belief in the soul. They believe that everything has a soul, and all of them are part of one supreme soul. Throughout their service, Hindus dream of achieving the goal of ending the cycle of rebirth and becoming part of the supreme soul. This belief is called moksha

Achieving dharma

One core belief in Hinduism is known as the dharma. It is a universal law that maintains society and lets all life flow throughout the entire universe. Aside from that, the dharma gives people the chance to be morally good and act virtuously. 

For the Hindus, this belief is important because it teaches them the way of living. Without it, life would not exist, for it is the law of being itself. Additionally, following the dharma is believed to make them achieve moksha later on. 

Basically, the fruit of knowledge and awareness unites people together. This makes them understand not only themselves but also other people that are from different nations. All of these beliefs in Hinduism are diversely known by people across the world, even if they do not practice the religion. If you want to know more about Hinduism, you can visit the website of Hindu Temple Richmond Hill for more information. 

The most popular Hindu festivals you need to experience

The most popular Hindu festivals you need to experience

The most popular Hindu festivals you need to experience

Every culture has something unique to offer and India is no exception. Aside from the rich culture, delicious food and hospitable locals, India also has a diverse array of festivals and practices that come from Hinduism. These practices are considered to be the oldest religion in the world, dating back to 4,000 years ago. 

During special times of the year, people who practice Hinduism celebrate festivals. These are so much more than just lively music, dancing and eating. There are sacred meanings behind these festivals and people celebrate them to pay tribute to the gods. Learn more about some of the most popular festivals in India below:  

Holi Festival

Festivals are known for being full of music and colour, and the Holi festival is no exception. This celebrates the power of Lord Vishnu as the dedication and belief of the god lead to the demise of demoness Holika. To celebrate, people throw coloured powder and squirt water guns at others. This is considered a happy and colourful moment in Hinduism that is celebrated from March 28 to 29 every year. 

Ganesh Festival

The powerful elephant god Ganesh is considered one of the most sacred gods in Hinduism. From September 10 to 19, people all over India decorate their own likeness of Ganesh. In the streets, huge floats or statues of Ganesh are paraded around the area while citizens worship and provide offerings and prayers to these statues throughout the entire week. 

Onam Festival

This festival is only celebrated in the Southern parts of India, specifically in Kerala. The Onam Festival celebrates the arrival of King Mahabali using flowers, delicious food and fun activities! One of the highlights of the festival includes the snake boat races that take place all day and involve the youngsters in the state. 

Diwali Festival  

The theme of the Diwali festival is celebrating the power of light over darkness. It is also known as the festival of lights and is held every year on November 4. During this day, people can expect gorgeous fireworks, fire shows, performances, lanterns and so many more. It’s an amazing sight to see and will surely take anyone’s breath away. 

About the Hindu Temple Society of Canada 

The Hindu Temple Society of Canada is located in Richmond Hill. This is an association that supports the citizens of Canada who practice Hinduism. Our facility is open every day for people to gather and pray whenever they want. We also hold events and gatherings a few times a week for people to come and take part in hearing Hindu scriptures. 

If you are interested to learn more about our community, feel free to see our website. There you will find a full list of our gatherings and upcoming events as well. For other questions and concerns, you may visit our office and refer to one of our staff members.

Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Hindu gods and goddesses

Hindu Temple Society of Canada: Hindu gods and goddesses

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world along with being the third largest. Despite having a strong belief that there is only one god, Hindus worship several deities that they think represent the one supreme being. 

With the countless gods and goddesses involved in Hindu stories, it can be hard to follow who’s who and what are they known for. For this reason, we have compiled the most popular deities in Hindu scriptures. 

Meet the different gods and goddesses of Hinduism right here at the Hindu Temple Society of Canada!

  1. Indra 

Indra is known as the king of heaven and the ruler of Devas. He is often depicted sitting atop a white elephant known as a Vahan. Another Vahan that is associated with Indra is the chariot drawn by 10,000 horses. 

Indra is a representative of strength and courage and he is the son of Aditi and Sage Kashyap. Just like every other Hindu god, Indra also has a weapon represented by a thunderbolt and diamonds called Vajra. 

He is known as a cunning god who often sends challenges and tribulations to his devotees in hopes of ruining their efforts to please the gods. 

  1. Hanuman 

Hanuman is one of the most popular Hindu gods. He is described to have the appearance of both a monkey and a human. He is the son of two air deities named Pawan and Vayu. 

Additionally, Hanuman is considered as one of the 8 immortal gods called Astachiranjiwi. His personality is a bit mischievous and playful. There is a story that when he was little, he tried to swallow the sun. 

Due to this, he was punished and his powers were restricted until he met Ram and became a faithful devotee. He is a key character in Ramayana and became Ram’s ally in burning down Lanka, the king of Ravan’s kingdom. 

His most famous deed is saving Lakshman by carrying the entire mountain of Sanjiwani Buti. Due to this, he is honoured as the symbol of the power of devotion.

  1. Harihara 

Harihara is the embodiment of two supreme deities: Vishnu and Shiva. For this reason, Harihara is viewed by the devotees of Vishnu and Shiva as the supreme god who lords over everything. 

He appears to be split down the middle with one of his sides having a blue complexion. Harihara wears tiger skin and his hair flows with water.

  1. Mahesh or Shiva 

Shiva is known as the destroyer of the universe and is considered as part of the trinity of gods. Among the gods involved in the trinity, he is the only one who resides on Earth. 

Despite having a reputation as a destroyer of the universe, Shiva is a peaceful god that guards meditation, yoga and art.  He is also very simple and enjoys a life free of lavishness. 

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.

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