Religion in Canada

Hindu in Canada

Hinduism is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. In Canada there are about 297,200 practicing Hindus and 70 temples. Hinduism is the world's oldest organized religion and is unique in many ways. Hinduism is a pluralistic religion in that Hindus do not believe in one god, but in many gods and religious groups as they have evolved in India since 1500 BCE. Because of Indian migration, it is practised around the world, including Canada .

The many forms of Hinduism are henotheistic religions. This means that each form of Hinduism recognizes a single deity, while viewing other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of that supreme God.

Hindus maintain one or more shrines in their homes as the focus of worship. The temple is the centre of the religious, social and cultural life of Hindus. The architecture of temples follows pattern set out in ancient texts, the Shastras, compiled by Brahmin priests. The form is meant to be an architectural representation of the universe. In Canada , there are approximately 25 Hindu temples.

Hindus are devoted to gurus (spiritual leaders) and often form Hindu communities called Ashrams. Hindus are often extremely devoted to animals, especially cows. Many devout Hindus do not kill or eat animals.

Some of the earliest sacred Hindu texts are the Vedas. Additionally, there are the Bragmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads. The major concepts in the Upanishads include:

the Brahman, meaning the divine reality at the heart of things;

Atman, meaning the divine spirit that is shared between all human beings and the experience of the sacred within oneself;

descriptions of the everyday world as Maya, meaning magic and illusion, in that the world is one basic holy reality that takes different forms.

Karma, meaning the moral law of cause and effect, that there are moral consequences of every act. Karma also determines if one will be reborn in a higher or lower form

Moksha refers to the ultimate human goal of liberation, freedom and detachment from human egotism and selfishness

The three major gods are objects of devotion because they are associate with the interlinked forces of creation, preservation, and destruction. The three gods of the Trimurti are:

Brahma: the creative force that made the universe

Vishnu: the force of preservation in the universe

Shiva: the force of destruction, transformation and re-creation

The Great Mother is called Devi, who is both loving and cruel.

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