Beliefs are the building blocks of the mind. Our beliefs determine our thoughts and attitudes about life, which in turn direct our actions. By our actions we create our destiny. Beliefs about sacred matters-God, man and cosmos-are essential to one's approach to enlightenment. But beliefs are not mere matters of agreement. They are what we value and hold as true. Hindus believe many diverse things, but there are a few bedrock concepts on which most Hindus concur. The following nine beliefs, though not exhaustive, offer a simple summary of Hindu spirituality.
· 1) I believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world's most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God's word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.
· 2) I believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and non evidential Unmanifest Reality.
· 3) I believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution..
· 4) I believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
· 5) I believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas has been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.
· 6) I believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.
· 7) I believe that a spiritually awakened master, or sat guru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation.
· 8) I believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, "no injury."
· 9) I believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God's Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.
Hinduism, the world's oldest religion, has no beginning-it precedes recorded history. It has no human founder. It is a mystical religion, leading the devotee to personally experience the Truth within, finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are one. Hinduism has four main denominations-Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. The above nine beliefs form a common ground for all Hindu sects.