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Hinduism

Assumptions: Hinduism makes two fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality. 

  • The first is the assumption of the unity of all things. In Hinduism, Brahman the creator god is also the creation. The universe is an emanation from him and his essence is found in all created objects, including humanity. 
  •  The second fundamental assumption has been discussed previously:  the law of karma and samsara.  Essentially, every deed has its consequences which determine the state in which a person will be reborn. 

The Problem: In a sense, the problem is stated in the second assumption above.  On could say that the problem is karma and samsara, or rather,  how to overcome karma and samsara.  If every deed produces karma that leads to rebirth, life become something less than a pleasant existence.  The effects of each deed must be worked out over many lifetimes.  Moreover, there is always the possibility that based on one's karma, his/her next life will be worse than this one.  It is even possible to be reborn in non-human form or into another plane of existence.  The dilemma is how to stop producing karma that will result in continued rebirths, unpleasant existence, suffering and death.

   
The Cure:  The solution to the problem is to attain moksha - release from samsara. In Hinduism there are at least four different ways that one attains moksha.  We will look at these in more detail in the next unit.  Each way involves a different discipline or yoga that can lead to moksha. While each approach is different, they all seek the same goal and they all involve realizing the essential unity between Brahman and the self. 
Once one fully identifies himself not with what is weak and mortal, but what is eternal, karma ceases to be produced.  If there is no karma, there is nothing attached to the individual the determines how he/she should be reborn. This lack of karma thus prevents rebirth and releases a person from samsara.
Type of Salvation:  The concept of moksha fits into the category of individual salvation through cosmic expansion. "Salvation is achieved when the eternal spirit joins with a larger consciousness."  Thus in Hinduism the process of cycling ends when the spirit achieves moksha or liberation, thus joining the infinite, Brahman .