|Welcome, Guest [ Sign In ]|
|History of Punjab - Comprehensive text of Punjabi history||Theme:|
History of Punjab: Modern Hindus
Hindu Gods The Hindu system of theology is professedly founded on the Vedas, and great objects of worship include Indra, the firmament, Surya, the god of the sun, Soma, the god of the moon. Brahma, the grandfather of the gods and the human race, is the chief person of the Trinity, representing the creating, the preserving and destroying principles. Indra is regarded as the generous bestower of sons, riches, houses, and various pleasures. Shiva, the destroyer, the prince of death and god of war, is represented with five faces and four arms. Vishnu, the preserver, is represented in the form of a black man and is the household god that has power to remove family misfortunes. Ganesh, with his elephant head and four hands, has power over civil matters. Many business people keep his image as an emblem of protection. The goddess Durga is represented as having ten arms and is the great destroyer of giants. Kali is represented as a black Medusa, with every characteristic of horror and dread. Saraswati, the goddess of learning, is represented as a white woman.
System of Caste The system of caste is so deep rooted in the social institution of the Hindus that it now forms the vital part of their religion. The Brahmins worked on the imaginations and fears of the people so well that they became an indolent, covetous and superstitious set of people. He who breaks his word with a Brahmin, or inflicts injury on him, will, after death, be born again in the form of a devil living in a thick forest. Nor have the Muslims in India been able to exclude the effects of the caste system. For instance, the Indian Muslim would often neither dine with a Christian nor eat food prepared by him. Buddhism, which professes a common brotherhood among mankind, waged a war of centuries against caste, but was not accepted by the people, who relapsed into caste. The great Nanak, founder of Sikhism, preached social equality of all races, but was unable to completely break the fence of caste.
Customs and Practices The larger rivers of India are the objects of great veneration among Hindus. Bathe in her waters, and all your sins, however heinous, are washed away. It is meritorious to die within sight of the Ganges. Sick persons are taken to its banks, that they may breathe their last by the holy stream and thereby pave the way to heaven. The cow is the object of the profoundest veneration. Snake worship is very prevalent in the Punjab in honour of the snake deity. Stones possessing some peculiarity are worshipped, as well as the sainted dead. A belief in the transmigration of the souls forms the principle element of the Hindu faith. Until the soul is purified in its essence there can be no deliverance from a future existence; the soul must appear and disappear in the forms of various beings until that degree of purity is attained. The pious should consciously neither molest or destroy any living being. One's future state of being depends entirely on the good or bad deeds of the present life. A touch of a dead body also causes uncleanness, and a man considered to a certain extent impure while on a bed of sickness. A man who kills a cow, even by accident, commits a great crime, and forthwith becomes unclean, and he cannot be purified without going to the Ganges, and performing there certain ceremonies.