Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reincarnation: Yes and No

Hinduism is one of the most complex religions in my opinion. The only defining characteristic of Hinduism is that there is no one defining characteristic. In this belief, the path to absolute is as unique as the individual. Your own spiritual path is unique to you.

To illustrate this last point, our class was divided into two groups and brought to two opposite sides of Vanderbilt campus. Our goal was to find the location shown in a class picture on campus. All we had to go on was a large, old tree; two benches; grass; and a covered pathway. Our group’s plan of action was to walk to the older side of campus, since the area where our dorms are newer. The picture seemed to depict an old location. We set off in our direction, but the opposite team got to the location first. The professor told us that the point of this adventure was to realize that everyone has a common goal to reach, but everyone has their own way or idea of getting there, depending on their own wants, beliefs, or actions. Essentially, that is what Hinduism is.

Since today is our first day trying to grasp Hinduism, my understanding of the learnings and teachings and stories of the religion are still a bit hazy. There are many circles and contradictions that are all correct. One of the things that I kind of have a handle is the form of God. God has “hundreds of thousands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes” that can only be seen with a divine eye. Krishna, who is God incarnate, was revealed to Arjun (a warrior that asked Krishna for guidance) as a terrifying and frightening infinite being with infinite tusks, arms, eyes, legs, etc., and is the entire universe but is also One. BUT, for those who reach Brahman and see God through their divine eye, God can be seen in any form of one’s choice because He is a vision in your own self, in your own mind, BECAUSE you have individual enlightenment. So God is different, but is also everything, because everyone reaches God in different ways. See the circle? But to find God, you must limit distractions in your life which keep you from discovering who you truly are, and discovering Brahman, which is a spirit that lives inside all. When Brahman is discovered, the cycle of reincarnation (which isn’t good) is broken. It’s a lot to take in and understand.

Honestly, I feel like compared to the Abrahamic faiths, I can connect more with Hinduism. Even though I don’t fully understand it, I like the idea that every single being on this planet has a spirit inside of them that could lead them finding their inner selves and being close to God. And even though Hinduism dislikes reincarnation, I think it would be pretty cool to constantly be reborn into something new, and have a new life. But Hindus dislike the constant dying part of reincarnation. I like the constant living part. It’s a bit conflicting, but I’ll learn more about it throughout the week.

We learned our last dance for arĂȘte today. We’re doing our final practice tomorrow before the performance on Friday.

Kye and I played ping-pong in the common’s work out center before meeting with Ms. Bulls. Ms. Bulls checked in with how we’re doing, and made another date to have breakfast, hopefully with a Vandy College Admissions officer for California. She also dropped off cupcakes for us from Gigi’s Cupcake shop, the bakery that we wanted to go to yesterday, but was closed. I got the Wedding Cake cupcake which was pure white and pure deliciousness. I shared some with my roommate, Cat, who had a heart attack when she saw that I had a cupcake from Gigi’s.

For our activity tonight, we signed up for different sessions for College Night. I signed up for the Academic Life session and the Freshmen Adjustment session. Since I’ve been thorough many of these sessions before, I mostly learned about what majors each of our proctors went into, what classes they took, what life is like at Vandy, what activities they did, the housing choices, etc. It was more on a personal level than a general talk about the school with hard facts.

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