Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: How To Study Hinduism

  1. How To Study Hinduism

    Hi,

    I have a question. I am a Hindu by birth but non practicing Hindu. I believe in a Supreme Godhead Brahman and I follow an ethical life.

    I wish to begin study of Hinduism systematically. Since it is a vast body of work, where do I start - from Gita ?

    If yes, does study of Gita mean reading it from pages one to end or certain passages.

    At what point does one begin study of Vedanta ? Basically can one point out a curricula of study ?

    Note - I am only interested in study of Hindu philosophy. Pujas do not interest me. I believe that sitting on my room and meditating on God and living ethical, moral life is Puja.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    July 2012
    Age
    55
    Posts
    639
    Rep Power
    0

    Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Namaste.

    I will endeavour to reply to this, seeing as how you posted it in the Bhagavad Gita forum and I am a Shaivite and Vedantin.

    Do you have any Ishta Devata or do you solely believe in the concept of Brahman without the need?

    If you haven't read the Bhagavad Gita before, it's best to start at the beginning, reading it through like a 'story book' so you can familiarise yourself with content and layout.

    You will probably need to do this a few times, before you can place the Shlokas in context, then refer to them or study each one separately, as circumstances arise.

    As for Vedanta, if there's 'one Scripture that you will ever need to read and that's all' that would be the Chhandogya Upanishad - well, for me at least.

    I cannot recommend a study outline or guide, since it has been years since I did all that. Now, my head hurts (quite literally) when I go to read philosophical posts on here.

    Everything just seems 'lost in the translation' to me now, so it's best if/when you do read Bhagavad Gita, to do so in the original Sanskrit (IF you can do that).

    Good luck with it.

    Aum Namah Shivaya

  3. Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by Necromancer View Post
    Namaste.

    I will endeavour to reply to this, seeing as how you posted it in the Bhagavad Gita forum and I am a Shaivite and Vedantin.

    Do you have any Ishta Devata or do you solely believe in the concept of Brahman without the need?

    If you haven't read the Bhagavad Gita before, it's best to start at the beginning, reading it through like a 'story book' so you can familiarise yourself with content and layout.

    You will probably need to do this a few times, before you can place the Shlokas in context, then refer to them or study each one separately, as circumstances arise.

    As for Vedanta, if there's 'one Scripture that you will ever need to read and that's all' that would be the Chhandogya Upanishad - well, for me at least.

    I cannot recommend a study outline or guide, since it has been years since I did all that. Now, my head hurts (quite literally) when I go to read philosophical posts on here.

    Everything just seems 'lost in the translation' to me now, so it's best if/when you do read Bhagavad Gita, to do so in the original Sanskrit (IF you can do that).

    Good luck with it.

    Aum Namah Shivaya
    I believe in Brahman alone.

    I will go through the Gita, fully but I do not know Sanskrit. I will follow a good English or Bengali translation. I know Hindi but not enough to catch nuances in language.

    I posted here since I have Gita with me but no other scriptural texts. I also have no idea how to get a book on Vedanta. Are there any in English with commentaries ? I cannot just walk into a bookstore and say I want a book on Katha Upanishad (I like to be armed with name of a writer if possible).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    September 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Age
    66
    Posts
    7,191
    Rep Power
    5026

    Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by arijitmitter View Post
    Hi,

    I have a question. I am a Hindu by birth but non practicing Hindu. I believe in a Supreme Godhead Brahman and I follow an ethical life.

    I wish to begin study of Hinduism systematically. Since it is a vast body of work, where do I start - from Gita ?

    If yes, does study of Gita mean reading it from pages one to end or certain passages.

    At what point does one begin study of Vedanta ? Basically can one point out a curricula of study ?

    Note - I am only interested in study of Hindu philosophy. Pujas do not interest me. I believe that sitting on my room and meditating on God and living ethical, moral life is Puja.
    Vannakkam: Study? I presume you mean books. But for most Hindus, study would mean a lot more than that. We study our own minds and reactions in Raja Yoga, we study people to help us better understand ourselves, we study the Gods in prayer, we study rituals to be able to beckon the divine presence.

    We study jyotish, arurveda, and more. The philosophy is just one part of it. But best wishes anyway.

    Aum Namasivaya

  5. #5
    Join Date
    July 2010
    Location
    The Holy Land - India
    Posts
    2,799
    Rep Power
    5344

    Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Namaste,
    Quote Originally Posted by arijitmitter View Post
    I have a question.....

    I wish to begin study of Hinduism systematically. Since it is a vast body of work, where do I start - from Gita ?

    Note - I am only interested in study of Hindu philosophy. Pujas do not interest me. I believe that sitting on my room and meditating on God and living ethical, moral life is Puja.
    Thank you for coming to the forum to ask questions for your spiritual journey.

    Advice is normally person specific, i.e. how old are you, what prompted you to take up study of the scriptures at this stage, what is your current level of sadhana - daily meditation etc., what exactly is it that you do during your meditation, how much time do you have for this new endevor that you intend to take up, is there a burning desire to learn about the spiritual content of the scriptures or is it just a desire to read and familiarize yourself with the text contained in them?

    The first thing to do is to relax and ask about things one at a time instead of getting the whole curriculum in one shot. Who knows you may read for a few days and decide that it is not for you. So, the key is not to be wired but to be calm and take one thing at a time.

    Having said all that, yes, study - not read - the Bhagwad Gita with devotion, instead of reading it like a story book. And read it many times over till things start to make sense to you and then come back for more recommendations. Study of religion is not like a university degree curriculum to be spread out before you start anything. It all depends on your desire to assimilate, your dedication to practice what you study and the level of your intellect in absorbing the spiritual content of the text. As EM has wisely pointed out study of religion is a multi-faceted approach, not a mere 'reading' of a book. Good luck.

    Pranam.

    PS. BTW, no one sits on the room and meditates , usually people sit in the room.

  6. Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: Study? I presume you mean books. But for most Hindus, study would mean a lot more than that. We study our own minds and reactions in Raja Yoga, we study people to help us better understand ourselves, we study the Gods in prayer, we study rituals to be able to beckon the divine presence.

    We study jyotish, arurveda, and more. The philosophy is just one part of it. But best wishes anyway.

    Aum Namasivaya
    I am an agnostic and have no reason to change it immediately. I cannot study God in prayer, since I believe that I cannot prove whether God exists or does not exist. That is why I am a theist agnostic ( the view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence. ) and a recent believer in Buddhism in it's pure form ( Theravada ).

    Respectfully speaking rituals, jyotish, ayurveda are out of the question for me. Yoga is something I subscribe to.

    I want to learn about Hinduism. My ultimate goal being if I can compare Vedanta with Buddhism by myself and decide which has superior logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,

    Thank you for coming to the forum to ask questions for your spiritual journey.

    Advice is normally person specific, i.e. how old are you, what prompted you to take up study of the scriptures at this stage, what is your current level of sadhana - daily meditation etc., what exactly is it that you do during your meditation, how much time do you have for this new endevor that you intend to take up, is there a burning desire to learn about the spiritual content of the scriptures or is it just a desire to read and familiarize yourself with the text contained in them?

    The first thing to do is to relax and ask about things one at a time instead of getting the whole curriculum in one shot. Who knows you may read for a few days and decide that it is not for you. So, the key is not to be wired but to be calm and take one thing at a time.

    Having said all that, yes, study - not read - the Bhagwad Gita with devotion, instead of reading it like a story book. And read it many times over till things start to make sense to you and then come back for more recommendations. Study of religion is not like a university degree curriculum to be spread out before you start anything. It all depends on your desire to assimilate, your dedication to practice what you study and the level of your intellect in absorbing the spiritual content of the text. As EM has wisely pointed out study of religion is a multi-faceted approach, not a mere 'reading' of a book. Good luck.

    Pranam.

    PS. BTW, no one sits on the room and meditates , usually people sit in the room.
    I am 40. I have written above what prompted me to take up the study. My current level of meditation will be what is called in Buddhism, basic level Samatha - calming meditation. Due to my description I hope you understand I cannot read Gita with devotion but only academically. I have none because at this stage I do not believe God can be born as a man. I believe in an unmoved mover / first cause of existence whom for sake of simplicity I call Brahman. But I do not believe in petitionary or intercessory prayer to such an entity ( if such an entity at all exists ). If it exists it has more things to do than listening to my whining.

    I have strong ethical and moral system due to modern secular education. So not believing in a deity does not cause me to harm others.

    I am studying to see what opinion Hinduism has about it. And if such an opinion will change my belief system.

    I am mostly interested in metaphysical arguments not rituals. I am very strongly a non practicing Hindu. I find deities and idol worship meaningless. I do not believe God can be worshipped in human form. I am interested in Atman and Parmatman.

    Now that I have spelled out my needs, in greater detail can anyone tell me what to study ?

  7. #7

    Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Come up, O Lions, and shake off the delusion that you are a sheep

  8. #8

    Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Sita Ram Arijitmitter,

    Given your preconceived notions pertaining to various integral aspects of Sanatana Dharma as explained through your current beliefs and practices, I would recommend the practice of nama-japa in addition to your study of the Bhagavad Gita.

    As others have said, studying the Gita is surely a good place to begin, and I would definitely advise thorough and repeated readings of the text before delving into Upanishads. Search on these forums for recommendations of good translations.

    The practice of nama-japa, the repeated chanting/meditation upon the names of the Gods, is an essential Hindu practice that is suitable for all seekers of all levels and paths. Rather than a more structured, in-depth meditation that is more beseeming for those with more experience, or formalized rituals which should be undertaken by the initiated, nama-japa is a sustaining practice that purifies and elevates one's consciousness through all of the dharmic journey.

    At it's most basic, nama-japa is the mere repetition of the divine name(s). As one practices more and more, a spirit of faith and surrender engrosses one's consciousness through the unwavering grace of Brahman, which is invoked and garnered through a continued, concentrated, and collective effort.

    Since you aren't already connected with any of the Gods, perhaps you can begin with Krishna to go along with your study of the Gita. Ganesha is also a great God to begin with, but ultimately any of the Hindu Gods/Goddesses. Simply chant out loud, whisper silently, or mentally the name(s) of Krishna. Govinda and Gopala are also great names for japa. In time, you can delve into the sahasranamas. Since you currently don't desire to worship God in a "human form", you can gaze upon a picture of a flower, mountain, river, cow, galaxy, etc as you chant. Of course, you can also close your eyes.

    Part of the beauty of nama-japa is that it is a practice that ranges from silent, un-moving, one-pointedly concentrated meditation to ecstatically loud and moving chanting and dancing. It is all up to the bhava, the feelings, tendencies, and moods of the devotee, which is all reflective of the individualized beauty of Sanatana Dharma as a whole.

    Nama-japa is such an integral part of Hinduism, that it forms a real foundation for the "study" of the religion, for beginning seekers as well as experienced souls. To chant the names of the Gods is to invoke their very presence in the most intimate of ways. To meditate upon the sacred sounds is to envelop one's consciousness with the grace of the Gods, with the power, love, truth, light, and knowledge of Brahman. It is not prayer in the traditional sense that you reject, yet it is the most profound of prayers.

    In a sense, nama-japa is the essence of the beginning, middle, and end of Hindu practice. It is the "beginning" because, unlike more in-depth meditation and formal rituals, a preexisting state of purity is not necessary. The invocation of the divine names is a purifying act in and of itself. It is the "middle" because it is a sustaining and ever-present practice, forming the basis of sadhana as well as an immanent component of many rituals and meditations. And it is the "end" because the act of nama-japa itself provides the fruit of our greatest yearning, which is everlasting communion with the Gods.

    Best wishes to you on your journey.

    Jai Sri Ram
    Sanatana Dharma ki Jai!
    Jai Hanuman

  9. #9

    Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Good luck to you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    June 2013
    Location
    श्रीवर्धन
    Posts
    570
    Rep Power
    1118

    Re: How To Study Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by arijitmitter View Post
    Hi,

    I have a question. I am a Hindu by birth but non practicing Hindu. I believe in a Supreme Godhead Brahman and I follow an ethical life.

    I wish to begin study of Hinduism systematically. Since it is a vast body of work, where do I start - from Gita ?

    If yes, does study of Gita mean reading it from pages one to end or certain passages.

    At what point does one begin study of Vedanta ? Basically can one point out a curricula of study ?
    Then welcome to the world of Hindu Dharma .

    As per my view , I would recommend you to read Upanishads first.

    I really feel that you shouldn't read the gita first. Though People consider gita as easy to understand, I consider it difficult like Upanishads.

    Know that Gita is essence of Upanishads. So One must read Upanishads first. If you understood it, it's too good. If you don't, don't worry Start reading Bhagavad Gita. I am sure that you would certainly know what was Upanishads trying to say.

    I highly recommend Adi Shankara's Upanishads. Then you should read Dnyaneshwar Vaishnawa's Gita. ( Dnyaneshwar was a realized topmost Bhakta of Shri Krishna. He knew that truth & He himself was Avatar of Vishnu /ParaBramhan . )

    Hari Krishna ..
    Hari On!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. khalsa rejects
    By GURSIKH in forum Sikhism
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 26 March 2012, 02:28 PM
  2. A Need for a United Hindu Voice
    By Surya Deva in forum Politics - Current Issues
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 13 September 2010, 09:27 AM
  3. Neo-Hinduism
    By keshava in forum Hot Topics
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 25 March 2010, 10:25 PM
  4. Teaching others about Hinduism
    By Ramakrishna in forum I am a Hindu
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 27 February 2010, 10:35 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •