Hindu Practices

Definition - What does Hindu Practices mean?

Hindu practices are customs specific to the world's oldest major religion, Hinduism (also sometimes called Sanatana Dharma). But because Hinduism is a mixture of different traditions and beliefs, its practices vary depending on the type of Hinduism. For example, some Hindus believe in many gods, while others worship just a few or a single supreme deity. Even the name by which they worship the supreme god varies – Brahma, Shiva or Vishnu, among others.

Hinduism also includes practices for those traditions that ignore deities, instead seeking awareness of the higher Self through intense meditation. Yoga practice can be included in either of these forms of Hinduism and there are various types of yoga that are particularly sacred to Hindu tradition.

Yogapedia explains Hindu Practices

Hinduism accepts and even embraces its diverse paths and practices. Here are just a few of them:

Rituals – Religious rituals vary greatly and they are not required, but devout Hindus practice some type of ritual at home and on special occasions. Such rituals include worshiping in the morning after bathing (puja), reciting scriptures, singing hymns, meditating, chanting, practicing yoga asanas, etc.

Yoga Practices – Bhakti yoga is a form of worship and devotion to God. As such, it is one of the paths to union with the Divine and moksha (spiritual liberation). Other paths are Jnana yoga (yoga of knowledge), Karma yoga (yoga of selfless works) and Raja yoga (yoga of contemplation and meditation). Kundalini yoga is a Tantric school of yoga that is focused on prana and sending it through the seven chakras along the spine. Hatha yoga is the practice of meditative movement and poses that much of the West associates with yoga.

Rites of Passage – Major rites of passage, such as births, graduations, weddings or deaths, are celebrated as sanskaras. The practices vary depending on the type of Hinduism, but could include fire ceremonies, chanting of hymns, simple private events or formal ceremonies. They may or may not include a religious official, such as a priest.

Festivals – Hindus have many festivals, often coinciding with the full moon, new moon or seasons, that celebrate events from Hinduism or honor specific deities. Family gatherings, religious rituals, arts and feasts may be included.

Pilgrimages – Many Hindus go on pilgrimages, although they are not mandatory as in some faiths. Among the most popular pilgrimage sites are old holy cities, religiously significant sites, the Ganges river, and major temples.

Sadhu Life – Some Hindus choose to renounce possessions, leave home and dedicate themselves to spiritual disciplines. They devote their lives to a particular god and/or meditation, yoga and spiritual discussion. These holy persons are called sadhus.

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