Hinduism is the oldest religion with customs going back over 4,000 years. Hinduism has about 900 million followers and is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam (Violatti, 2014). Hinduism is sometimes referred to as a “way of life” or a “family of religions” because it supports many religious ideas (Violatti, 2014).
During the time when Indian society was uncertain about the traditional Verdic religion, some people wrote about their philosophical and religious views and compiled them into books called Upanishads. The name Upanishads is comprised of the phrases ‘upa meaning near’ and ‘shad meaning to sit.’ which means sitting near a teacher to receive sacred teachings (Paramananda, 2014). Some of the principles of Upanishads are: Braham and Atman, Maya, Karma, Samsara, and Moksha (Paramananda, 2014). I chose the principle of Karma which means “action, work or deed.” Karma means that all your actions will have consequences either good or bad (Malloy, 2018). The principle of Karma suggests that what you do today will influence your life tomorrow. This principle encourages you to be reflective of your actions before you act, because every action matters since what you do affects your life and the people around you. Those who do good will experience a spiritual change in a better state while those who are evil will experience a spiritual change in a worse condition.
Yoga is a complete science of life that originated in India thousands of years ago that encompasses body, mind and spirit (Phillips, 2009). There are 4 Yoga Paths: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Raja Yoga. I chose Karma Yoga which means “action.” With Karma Yoga, your heart becomes pure and full of love for others, you develop tolerance and compassion for others, you become selfless and rid yourself of your Ego in order to reach self-realization and gain a path to the divine. Karma Yoga means “doing the right thing, following one’s true purpose without expecting rewards, payment or recognition in return.’ (Phillips, 2009).
I chose Karma Yoga pathway to discuss because as a nurse and a mother, even though I don’t practice yoga, I believe in karma. I believe you reap what you sow, I believe Karma is what is delivered back to you from the deeds you have done- that can be both positive and negative to you and the people around you (family and friends). I also believe that people who do things to harm others will one day be harmed themselves from a higher power (Divine Power). Working as a bedside nurse for many years, I give back to the patients on a daily basis with love, care and compassion not expecting thanks, rewards or recognition in return.
Molloy, Michael. (2018). Experiencing the World’s Religions: Traditions, Challenge, and Change, Seventh Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Paramananda, S. (2014). The Upanishads. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/3283/pg3283.html (Links to an external site.)
Stephen Phillips (2009). Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy (Links to an external site.). Columbia University Press. pp. 28–30. ISBN (Links to an external site.) 978-0-231-14485-8 (Links to an external site.).
Violatti, C. (2014, May 04). Upanishads (Links to an external site.). Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Upanishads/