i am doing a project on Hiddhuism and i am searching for it,but i cannot really understand in what hinduists believe in...Also it would be useful if someone can clarify in what hinduists believe in as far after life is concerned!
These are the main concepts that all Hindus believe in which is traditionally different from what modern philosophy and science seem to suggest:
1. Rebirth and Reincarnation:
All Hindus believe that under general conditions all souls generally pass through endless rebirth i.e., they are born in the world and die again, then they are born again and again. The cycle ends with Moksha (in most Hindu schools)
Sri Krishna Chapter 4, Verse 3
Lord Krishna said: Many births of Mine and also of yours have passed O Arjuna; I am knowledgeable of all of them but you are not knowing
2. The Doctrine of Karma:
All Hindus believe that under general conditions all souls are subject to the law of cause and effect. They believe that all events that occur in lives of humans are a result of deeds that were done in previous lives (or previously in the current life) of their existence. What is done comes back. This is called karma.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5-6
Now as a man is like this or like that, according as he acts and according as he behaves, so will he be: a man of good acts will become good, a man of bad acts, bad. He becomes pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds. And here they say that a person consists of desires. And as is his desire, so is his will; and as is his will, so is his deed; and whatever deed he does, that he will reap. And here there is this verse: "To whatever object a man's own mind is attached, to that he goes strenuously together with his deed; and having obtained the end (the last results) of whatever deed he does here on earth, he returns again from that world (which is the temporary reward of his deed) to this world of action. So much for the man who desires."
3. The existence of Immortal Atma or Soul:
All Hindus believe that this physical existence with body, and in this world, is only temporary. There is a real immortal existence behind all this.
That is called the Atma. Similarly there is Ultimate Being who is the controller of all. He is God or Brahman. Some say that Atma and Brahman are one. Some say they are different. But everyone believes in it.
Sri Krishna Chapter 13, Verse 32
This Paramatma is beginningless, immutable, devoid of any material quality O Arjuna; although situated within the body it never does anything nor is it influenced.
Sri Krishna 2:20
The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed.
The traditional belief is that to be truly happy, one must reach this Ultimate Soul or Paramatma. There are different techniques to get there. But knowing that the world is temporary and Atma is permanent, knowing that all that happens is based on Karma, and that there have been infinite births before this, will help in getting there for sure!!
After death beliefs
There are four possibilities after death:
- Higher birth (born in a Heavenly planet, born as Deva, born in Brahma Loka, etc)
- Lower birth
- Same birth again
- Moksha (or end of all births)
Sri Krishna says in Gita Chapter 18, 12:
The results of the three-fold actions characterized as righteous and unrighteous are: undesriable actions lead to lower births (eg animals, etc), desirable actions lead to higher births (eg devas, etc), and mix of both lead to human birth again. These results accrue after the death of the body of those who have not renounced. But never at anytime they accrue for the renunciate.
Sri Krishna says in Gita Chapter 8, 16:
All beings in the lokas (worlds) right from the highest (Brahma Loka) are subject to rebirth. But the one who reaches Me is free from rebirth O Arjuna.
So basically Sri Krishna is saying that there are many worlds, and souls can be born in any one of those worlds. But the goal is to reach Him, whereby one never dies. This is sometimes believed to be a physical Kingdom of God or a metaphorical one where reaching God means to realize who we really Are.
These are the common beliefs that I can think of among Hindus. Other than this,there may be others that are missed. I am sure other answers will highlight those differences. All the best for your project sir!!