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  • Writer's pictureEric Cline

What Might Hindus Believe About...?

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Introduction What exactly does it take to be classified as a world religion? Common among the definitions is that a world religion is "a religious belief system which has become generally recognized as having independent status from any other religion, but which nonetheless may have many, sometimes mutually antagonistic, sects or denominations."[1] What is surprising is that there are actually more languages than there are different religions. There are some 4,300 religions of the world compared with 6,800 living languages spoken somewhere in the world.[2] According to Stephen Juan, Ph.D., anthropologist at the University of Sydney, the world's 20 largest religions[3] and their number of believers are:


1. Christianity (2.1 billion) 2. Islam (1.3 billion) 3. Nonreligious (Secular/Agnostic/Atheist) (1.1 billion) 4. Hinduism (900 million) 5. Chinese traditional religion (394 million) 6. Buddhism 376 million 7. Primal-indigenous (300 million) 8. African traditional and Diasporic (100 million) 9. Sikhism (23 million) 10. Juche (19 million) 11. Spiritism (15 million) 12. Judaism (14 million) 13. Bahai (7 million) 14. Jainism (4.2 million) 15. Shinto (4 million) 16. Cao Dai (4 million) 17. Zoroastrianism (2.6 million) 18. Tenrikyo (2 million) 19. Neo-Paganism (1 million) 20. Unitarian-Universalism (800,000)



Have you ever wondered how you became involved in your current religion or why you speak a particular language? What or who placed you onto this path? If it is possible to not have a religion, how does that happen? Why do you worship the way you do? Where did you learn this ritual? Are you practicing the faith of your parents or the faith of some other influence? George Santayana, a Spanish philosopher said, "What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak."[4] However, traditional Zoroastrians believe the soul is created before being placed into a material body and that soul has chosen, according to the will of God, a specific religion. Therefore, later conversion is blasphemy.[5]

Chances are your religion promotes peace while also being fortified for conflict if necessary, to preserve your way of life or in defense of something. One might claim there is a difference between "cult" and "religion" but in reviewing Webster's definition of cult, the same definition could apply to religion.[6] In fact, Webster provides "religion" as a synonym for cult. Therefore, I present Mormonism as one of the world religions, but some might regard it as a cult. Mormons might consider Christianity as a cult. My point is to avoid classification beyond "religion". Many of us are quick to counter critical views when our faith is challenged. Keep that and the person in mind while learning of contrasting religions. I write this chapter as a Christian and present each religion and that it is likely that I will unintentionally misrepresent certain aspects of other religions. As a Christian, it is well to keep John 16:33 close to your heart, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." The battle has been won but the loving and learning continues. I begin with Christianity to form a framework reference and since I am writing from a broad-stroke Christian perspective, I do not elaborate on any particular denomination. Nevertheless, I do present the different denominations of some religions, such as Judaism, for a more complete introduction of world religions. The religions are not presented in any particular order.

I wanted to have some sort of structure from which to present each religion. I selected significant subjects of the Christian faith as a structure of reference to navigate through each different religion. The Western reader can step from the familiar to curiosity. Notice that I am not comparing one religion to another and my point is to not declare similarities. I am simply using a structure to provide a point of reference using terms familiar to Christianity while understanding those terms may have different meanings in other religions. I intentionally avoided writing about the "life and times" of the religion's founders because, quite frankly, some of their history and all of their myths read too much like fantasy and tales of super heroes.

My intent in providing information in this structure is to provide ready answers to the curious reader about such things as, "What is the Mormon position on Jesus?" or "Do Muslims believe in the Bible?" or "What do Jews think about resurrection?" Keep in mind that what I write about different religions is of course what I glean from my research based upon my understanding. My purpose is to convey information about the different religions while understanding with the reader that "one apple my not always compare with another apple" so to speak. For example, Sacred text in organized religions will be regarded differently in non-structured religions; gods are either visible, physical, theoretical, indescribable or some other entity; and eternity is either timeless or terminal. These are but a few examples.

Hinduism

Introduction

Hinduism is often called Sanathana Dharma, which means law, duty, and truth. Some claim it means eternal righteousness or "righteousness forever, that which has no beginning or end."[7] Differing versions of history assert that either invading Persians gave the name Hinduism from the root word "Indus" in the sixth century BCE or migrating central Asian tribes did so before 2000 BCE. Regardless, Hinduism is a collective term applied to a variety of religious traditions that appeared in India. It is a religion having no single founder, no single host, and no single prophet. Its origins are mixed and complex. Hinduism has no centralized organizing institution. Love, nonviolence, good conduct, and the law of dharma define the Hindu path. Hinduism is more of practice than of belief. "Hinduism is the relentless pursuit of truth."[8] It is believed that before 2000 BCE, nomadic Aryans wandered into India and Iran with their religious beliefs and practices and having many gods. Sixth century Zoroastrianism and pre 2000 BCE Hinduism both originated among Aryans after their migration to the Middle East and South Asia.[9] The similarities, and the existence of many common features between the Vedic (the large body of religious texts from India) and Avestan texts (those of Zoroastrianism) indicate a strong ancient interconnection. Zoroastrianism and Hinduism had been interconnected before and at the time of the Great Migration before taking different routes after the settlement of their followers in different geographic areas. Today there are a lot of differences between these two religions in addition to their original similarities.[10]

Westerners may associate Hinduism with Krishna, Hare Krishna, and Transcendental Meditation (TM). Krishna is one of the most popular deities, plays the flute, has lively relationships with the milkmaids, and is the one who revealed Hindu philosophy and devotional practice.[11] Hare Krishna is a movement and an extension of Krishna, officially known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) which was popular in the United States in the early seventies. Transcendental Meditation was made popular, in part, by the Beatles and other celebrities in the sixties. Meditation was supposed to alleviate stress and lead one to a "cosmic bliss." Traditional Hinduism promotes a caste structure featuring various grades of purity or pollution that more or less correspond to social position. In a modern high caste society, it is quite possible that conservative and uneducated Hindus from some villages will not eat with those from lower castes.[12]

God

There is only one God and one truth, but that God is expressed in many different forms.[13] Many contemplate inward to the divine Self or atman. Most all Hindus recognize the existence of a unifying principle and Supreme Reality behind all existence, called Brahman. The one God can be worshiped through many deities. Therefore, where there is not one god with a capital "G", there are multiple gods in many various forms. Some sources will claim at least 330 million gods (some sources claim only 33 million), but the number is hypothetical and can be misleading. Hindus believe every person can represent a god; every person may have a bit of atman, and if the population is 330 million, one could therefore claim 330 million gods. Regardless, Hinduism has a fluid pantheon of gods but many gods in various forms. Not all Hindus choose a god. Many of the gods have multiple arms to indicate their great power. The Hindu gods are a collection of deities such as god of the sky, god of fire, god of water, god of sun, creator god, god of sacred drink, and mountain god. Foremost among the many Hindu gods and goddesses are the Holy Triad of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the creator, sustainer, and destroyer of worlds (in that order). Sometimes, the three may appear in the form of an avatar,[14] embodied by a Hindu god or goddess. But the most popular of these gods and goddesses are important deities in their own right.[15] The deities are identified with each other in different ways and in different parts of India depending on the devotion of the person telling or writing the story. From this, and whether 33 million or 330 million, it is probable that the number of gods is exaggerated to illustrate the magnitude of the gods.[16]

Hindus believe in the incarnation of God on the earth in one form or another to protect the people. Hinduism is not polytheistic because the people relate to God in the way that suits them best, like worshipping many deities who are believed to be manifestations of the one Supreme Reality. One example of explaining events this way is the story, "It is believed that God was born as a Varaha i.e.hog during Satyuga when Hirayakaksha, an Ashur, one of the three kinds — Devata (gods), Manushya (man) and Ashur (demon) – had engulfed this Earth and had taken away to Patal, a deep and dirty region below the Earth, then He reached there and killed him ,and brought it back to its original position. It appears that Hinduism talks about each and every thing – animate and inanimate – that is in this cosmos."[17]

Jesus

Christians see Jesus as a Holy Man and in some ways, Jesus can be added a pantheon along with Shiva, Vishnu, and the other numerous deities. However, Jesus is high on the deity "food chain" and one would be wise to emulate His eternal good works and perfect life. An over- simplification of how some Hindu thinkers might explain the story of Jesus could be, "Hindus believe that when God came down as Jesus Christ, he took over the bad Karmas of all his disciples and thousands of devotees around him. Then, to fulfill the law of Karma, he allowed himself to be crucified. Jesus Christ allowed himself to take care of the Karmic debt of his apostles and the devotees surrounding him. Each time he saved someone from death and each time he cured incurable diseases of people, Jesus Christ was voluntarily accepting the Karmic load."[18] Karma is the sum total of all the good and all the bad done in one's lifetime. Karma is a physical process, and not a spiritual being. Bad Karma perpetuates the cycle of reincarnation.

Holy Spirit

Hindus have nothing close to Christianity's Holy Spirit. However, Shakti, an aspect of the indivisible spirit, can be called the god's wife. Therefore, every god has male and female aspects. The goddess infuses the god with power. Think along the lines of how a woman induces sexual arousal in a man. Every god has a Shakti but most every god is powered by spiritual prowess, not sexually. Yet, in Hindu artistic depictions you might get the idea it is by sexual power. For example, there is a painting of Krishna, in a tree, gazing upon the gopis (female cow herders) bathing naked in worship of him after he stole their clothes.[19] In a quote from author William Dalrymple, "Westerners coming to India have always been baffled to encounter a very different set of attitudes to the sensuous and its relationship to the sacred. Here it is considered completely appropriate to cover the exterior walls of a religious building with graphically copulating couples."[20] It is quite normal for Hindus to depict their gods having aspects of male and female. Afterall, reproduction requires male and female – there is nothing sexually perverse about those portrayals. It is the cultural differences which can make the naked images in the National Geographic magazine more appealing to Western teenage boys than to those outside Western cultures.

Trinity

The trinity, the trimurti, is usually described as Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver and Shiva (or Mahesh), the destroyer. Brahma revealed the Vedas to a group of holy men, Vishnu is possibly associated with the sun, and Shiva's role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it. By some accounts, Brahma is not worshiped as a major deity because Brahma is undefinable. However, other accounts describe Brahma as having four heads and four arms. Shiva has a third eye and a cobra necklace, and maybe a blue face and throat. Brahma is, in some accounts, considered to have been born from a lotus flower which grew from Vishnu’s naval.[21] As you can see, it is difficult to find a consensus regarding the characteristics of the gods or even a doctrinal pattern in Hinduism.

Incarnation

Traditionally and not strictly, only the god Vishnu can be incarnate, and the incarnations are called avatars. In this respect, an avatar is a released soul in bodily form.[22] The bodily form can appear as most anything (be incarnate) whereas a manifestation is an appearance without physical change to form. Manifestations can be tangible or intangible, as in a dream. By popular tradition there is no need of incarnations for Brahma and Shiva because they can be manifest, yet it is possible for them also to be incarnate. Since all living beings have God within, technically all are incarnations of God, an aspect of Brahma. However, God incarnate is without all of the short-comings humans possess, and every incarnate of Vishnu God is incarnate in various ways. For example, the incarnation of Vishnu as a fish (Matsyavatar) was to save Manu (the first born) and the seven sages from a deluge that inundated the earth. The incarnation of Vishnu as a boar (Varahavatar) was to slay the demon called Hiranyakasipu and save the earth which was submerged under water due to a great flood.[23] Avatars are most known by Westerners.

Bible

Hindus do not regard the Christian Bible as their sacred Scripture any more than they would the phone book. Their sacred scriptures are contained in at least four books called Vedas: the Rig-Veda (prayerful hymns), the Yajur Veda (mantras), the Sama Veda (songs or chants), and the Atharva Veda (magic spells and incantations). Since the majority of Hindus practice their way of life through rituals, most know very little, if any, of what is written in the Vedas. It is likewise with the expansions, such as the Brahmanas (priestly commentaries), Sutras (ritual obligations), and the Upanishads (philosophical extensions of Vedas). The Vedas were originally given orally and what is in Sanskrit print now is believed to be a faithful reproduction with little alteration during the three thousand years of oral transmission.[24]

In addition to the Vedas are Puranas, a main source of popular mythology along with legend and genealogy. Hindus are more familiar with the Purana than they are with the Vedas and the expansions. The Purana also treat various topics concerning religious developments.

Baptism

Hindus have nothing like the Christian sacrament of Baptism. Hindus are not buried with Jesus through baptism into death, and Hindus are not raised from the dead because the Self never dies. Hindus believe in reincarnation (samsara), a continuous cycle of living which is something Hindus wish to avoid. Reincarnation is dreaded rebirths. Hindus want their souls to become an eternal part of the spiritual realm and skip the cycle of samsara. However, babies are ceremoniously welcomed into the family by the ritual Jatakarma, where some ghee and honey are placed into the child's mouth (or on the baby's lips or tongue) and the father whispers mantras over the navel or into the baby's right ear.

Eucharist

Hindus do not have a "eucharist," yet some Hindu sources claim similarity between the Christian eucharist ceremony and the Hindu sacrifice. Yajña is the term given ritual sacrifice in Vedic times, and today a Puja is a form of Hindu religious ritual sacrifice but not always. If the eucharist is defined as partaking in the sacrificial body and blood of Christ, then the Hindu "eucharist" is with sacrificial offerings made to gods or goddesses which can take many forms. Hindus offer sacrifices for self-improvement, to gain a more favorable reincarnation. The sacrifices made can be as simple as gazing upon an image or an offering food or flowers. Christians bring bread and wine to the altar and Catholic Christians view the eucharist as a sacrifice. Again, there is no eucharist in Hinduism but from Puja, a devotional homage and prayer, one can get a better understanding of sacrifice.

Salvation

Hindus believe in redemption but not salvation. Hindus strive to find release (moksha), from the wheel of samsara, the continuous cycle of reincarnation (birth and rebirth) whereas salvation in the Christian sense is reconciliation of sinful human beings with a Holy God. Some Hindu references use salvation and redemption as synonymous but as distinctly separate from Christian salvation. For example, one reference claims that "salvation can be obtained by continually chanting the Krishna mantra (Hare Krishna)" a thousand times a day.[25] Hindus can look at a devotee, a prostitute, and a murderer in the same way. Salvation is for everyone and each self is progressing toward God at their own pace. Hindus are all part of the evolutionary process. One must exhaust all bad Karmas. The best of person will achieve salvation in a few lives and the worst of person will achieve salvation after many lives.

Heaven

The concept of eternal glory in Heaven does not exist in Hinduism. The closest description of what Hindus have for "heaven" is Svarga, a higher esoteric plane in Hindu cosmology. Upon death, Hindus go to one of fourteen worlds where their souls repair before being sent back to the Mortal World (Earth) or to some other location. For example, those having righteous actions on Earth (good Karma) go to the celestial world called Swarga. Keep in mind that in which ever location their souls are in, their souls are still in the cycle toward liberation. Their souls are seeking emancipation (moksha). Even in Brahmaloka, the highest heaven where Hindus enjoy spiritual communion with the personal God, they are either eventually liberated from the cycle of samsara (reincarnation) or are returned to Earth.

As long as Hindus continue to have desire, whether in a human, celestial, or animal body, they will be stuck in the cycle of samsara. All Hindus believe in moksha but disagree about the path to emancipation. Some believe that celestial and animal bodies are a result of past Karma and efforts for moksha are not possible.[26] Once human souls are able to become desireless, Hindus will become immortal and attain Brahman. Brahman is the impersonal and pantheistic form of God, the ultimate reality, the supreme existence, and the source, goal, and purpose of all spiritual knowledge. It is the ultimate in cosmic consciousness.

Hell

Just as the concept of eternal glory in Heaven does not exist in Hinduism, neither does eternal damnation in Hell. The closest description of what Hindus have for "hell" is Naraka, a place of countless torment. Moreover, there are hellish states of mind that will torment a soul after death, and it is Karma that will liberate one or not. Those who lived as unrighteous are not liberated and are sent to the subterranean worlds where they are born as worms, insects, or other low life forms.

Angels

Hindus do not refer to them as angels but as spirit beings which can be lesser gods, devas (representing powers of Light), asuras (representing powers of Darkness), or apsaras (beautiful, supernatural female beings). There is continuous struggle between Devas and asuras. They can help or hinder a person's path toward moksha.

From Hinduism Today, Sivasiva Palani writes, "In folk Hinduism the gramadevata or "village gods" are important. These are often called kshetrapala "protectors of the field or place." They watch the land, keeping intruders away, and they are often set up in the northeastern corner of the farm or village, facing east, with their all-seeing three eyes and their manifold arms displaying protective powers. Many are females, worshipped widely for protection, often associated with the color blue, and said to be guardians of pools, lakes, and plants. There is Annapurna, mother goddess of abundant harvests. There are angels that oversee marriage, fertility, and health. Those that protect the home and the hamlet. Those that bring messages and warn of dangers. Those that run with animals and inspire music. There are devatas that harm and injure, communicate disease, and wreak havoc. In short, every human activity has its spiritual, devonic [or Devonian][27] dimension which lies beyond the merely human."[28]

Death

At death, many Hindus believe the soul, which never dies, is carried by a subtle body into a new physical body which can be a human or non-human form (an animal or divine being).[29] The soul exits the body via the nose, mouth, eyes, or anterior fontanel, that soft spot on a baby's head which is believed to develop atop an adult's head if yoga is devotedly practiced. The rituals performed just prior to and directly after death vary depending on caste and region of India. Some place the dying on a mattress on the floor, some walk clockwise around the deceased, then counter-clockwise, some mourn for thirteen days, and some perform rituals on ritually purified soil or near a river with ten balls of barley flour mixed with sugar, honey, milk, curds, ghee, and sesame seeds are then placed, one by one, in the soil.[30] Most all but deceased children under two years of age are cremated. Children are not placed on the floor but are allowed to die in their mother's arms.

Satan

Satanic forces are the effect of maya and are caused by ignorance. Hindus do not regard the devil as the personification of a dangerous being but rather as a negative force standing in the way of moksha or freedom for the individual soul from the cycle of rebirth. Hindus believe they can give birth to a number of demons with their destructive thoughts, words, and actions. According to the general editor in Readings in Oriental Thought, there is a race of demons, called Daityas.[31] When the mythological father of Bali (Virochana) went to Prajapati to learn about the atman (self), Virochana went to the demons and declared to them the doctrine of Self.[32]

Sin

Hindus do not believe in sin in the same manner as Christians but rather in bad Karma, ignorance of the truth. Ignorance is the root of all evil. False knowledge is Maya. Maya can be thought of in similar respect to Christianity's original sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were convinced to faulter because of the false knowledge given by the Serpent. Adi Shankara, the founder of the Advaita Vedanta tradition of Indian philosophy, proposed one reality but two very different ways of understanding the world as Hindus experience it. There is the apparent world which is derived from the senses' interpretation, the illusion (maya), and there is the pragmatic world where minds impose ideas upon our environment. Both are an illusion but the world itself is not an illusion. To get past the illusion, the false knowledge, one must gain an enlightened awareness of the true self and Brahman, the single reality of truth, the atman of pure consciousness.[33]

Blood

Blood and blood products are not allowed in the vast majority of Hindu temples. Any act of animal sacrifice is not an acceptable practice in Hinduism. Besides, most Hindus are vegetarians. My research revealed nothing more about blood so I included here some interesting information that would involve blood. Nonviolence is the weapon of the strong. Raised as a Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi sought to seek political justice, which may mean to follow one's social duty (which may include violence) while at the same time emphasizing ahimsa (nonviolence). Bloodshed occurred in the last year of his life in the mutual genocide between Muslims on one side and Hindus and Sikhs on the other. In August of 1947, the subcontinent was partitioned into two independent nation states: Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. In 1948, Gandhi was assassinated in Delhi by a Hindu fanatic for being kind to Muslims.

Eternity

The Self is immortal and eternal. The body dies but the soul lives into eternity, passing from one body to another, until the individual soul (Jeevatman) depletes all its Karmas and unites with God the Absolute Soul (Paramatman). Therefore, eventually all Hindus live for eternity, but it takes longer for some of them to get to peaceful eternity than others. Passing into eternity does not require the soul to inhabit an eternal body because in this state of the Self or atma, the soul has no attributes or form. For Hindus, this is what differentiates reincarnation from resurrection.


Church

With the exaggerated number of deities of 330 million, the Hindu religious observances are of course varied. Temples are all physically different, but they are common as a symbolic place to bring humans and gods together. Hindus worship in a temple or at the shrines established in their homes.

Clergy/Organization

There is no hierarchy in Hinduism. Hinduism is not an organized structured religion.

Resurrection

Since Hindus are cremated, some Hindus believe that resurrection is untenable. The soul must move to a different body–not the same body.

Wrap-up

Adherents to Hinduism have lots of latitude for how they practice their way of life in India. However, throughout the world, Hindus find themselves surrounded by a diversity of culture and rather than adapt some consider themselves as living in a diaspora with the bits of culture they brought with them from their home in India. Hinduism if a very fluid religion and is practiced in various ways among Hindus. There is no set of core beliefs that remains constant throughout. Commentary about Hinduism attempting to compartmentalize their belief system and explain their terms using vocabulary familiar to Westerners will produce writings that fail to adequately describe Hinduism. For example, to compare their use of the Vedas as sacred writings to that of the Christian Bible fails to recognize the difference between Hindu cyclical timelessness and Christian destination. The Vedas provide guidelines produced by unknown isolated individuals and the Bible provides absolutes within God-established time and space. Hinduism includes a tremendous amount of diversity in what people actually believe and practice.


[1] Definitions.net, STANDS4 LLC, 2020."world religion." Accessed August 21, 2020.<https://www.definitions.net/definition/world+religion. [2] Stephen Juan, Ph.D. What are the most widely practiced religions of the world? The Register. theregister.com/2006/10/06/the_odd_body_religion/ [3] Ibid., [4] Neil Philip, The Religions Book, (Penquin Random House, 1974) p. 14 [5] Anonymous, http://www.pyracantha.com/Z/convertz.html [6] Cult: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous. Cult: a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much. Cult: a small group of very devoted supporters or fans [7]Ed. Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu? The Hinduism Primer, (San Francisco: Halo Books, 1992) p.25 [8] Ed. Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu? The Hinduism Primer, (San Francisco: Halo Books, 1992) p.1 [9]Although there remains some controversy that there ever was an Aryan immigration. That India represents the original civilization of the world, and Hinduism is the supreme religion. [10] Aramesh K. (2019). Perspectives of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism on abortion: a comparative study between two pro-life ancient sisters. Journal of medical ethics and history of medicine, 12, 9. <https://doi.org/10.18502/jmehm.v12i9.1340 [11] Winfried Corduan, p. 287 [12] Matt Stefon and Yehudi A. Cohen <https://www.britannica.com/topic/dietary-law/Islam [13]Ed Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu? The Hinduism Primer, (San Francisco: Halo Books, 1992) p.22 [14] Incarnations are called avatars. In this respect, an avatar is a released soul in bodily form. [15] Subhamoy Das, 10 of the Most Important Hindu Gods. Updated June 25, 2019, <https://www.learnreligions.com/top-hindu-deities-1770309 [16] Winfried Corduan, p. 282 [17] Arjun Dubey. Race and Religion: The Hindu Perspectives. Humanities and Social Sciences. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2013, pp. 7-10. doi: 10.11648/j.hss.20130101.12 [18] Ed Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu? The Hinduism Primer, (San Francisco: Halo Books, 1992) p.143 [19] Kirubell Asmamaw, Inside The 17th Century Paintings That Show Sexuality And Purity Of Hindu Gods, May 24, 2019, <https://religionunplugged.com/news/2019/5/24/seeing-the-divine-17th-cent-paintings-show-playful-and-sensual-sides-of-hindu-gods [20] William Dalrymple, A Point of View: The sacred and sensuous in Indian art, BBC News, <https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26873149 [21] Mark Cartwright, Vishnu, Ancient History Encyclopaedia, <https://www.ancient.eu/Vishnu/ [22] Unlike an icon or figure representing a particular person in video games, Internet forums, etc. [23] Jayaram V. The Meaning and Concept of Incarnation in Hinduism, <https://www.hinduwebsite.com/incarnation.asp [24] Winfried Corduan, p. 271 [25] Winfried Corduan, p. 288 [26] Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York, Hinduism, The Ideas of Heaven and Hell, <https://ramakrishna.org/heavenandhell.html [27] Devonian, Of, relating to, or being the period of geologic time from about 416 to 359 million years ago, the fourth period of the Paleozoic Era. The Devonian Period is characterized by the development of lobe-finned fishes, the appearance of amphibians and insects, and the first forests. <https://www.wordnik.com/words/Devonian [28] Sivasiva Palani , New Angle on Angels, Hinduism Today, <https://www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=964 [29] Gavin Flood, Hindu Concepts, <https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/concepts/concepts_1.shtml#top [30] Christopher A. Pallis, Death, Encyclopaedia Britannica, <https://www.britannica.com/science/death/The-fate-of-the-soul [31] Ainslie T. Embree (general ed. William Theodore de Bary) The Hindu Tradition, Readings in Oriental Thought (Vintage Books, Random House, 1972) p. 210 [32]Ainslie T. Embree (general ed. William Theodore de Bary) The Hindu Tradition, Readings in Oriental Thought (Vintage Books, Random House, 1972) p. 56 [33] Neil Philip, The Religions Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained (London: DK Publisher, 2015)p. 230

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