Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Rama?
Bhagwan Shri RamChandra (Rama) is the seventh avatar of the God Vishnu. Bhagwan Rama is believed to belong to the treta yuga, which is the second out of the four ages of mankind. Bhagwan Rama is considered Vishnu's perfect incarnation. He is considered purushottama, meaning the "ideal and supreme personality."
Born as the eldest son to king Dasaratha, Rama was considered a superior soul as he was said to possess exceptional qualities. He had three brothers: Bharata, Laksmana and Shatrughna. He married Sita, the daughter of King Janaka. Sita was the avatar of Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu. Rama went into exile along with his wife to keep up his father's promise to Kaikeyi, one of the queens of King Dasaratha.
While Bhagwan Rama, his wife and brother are in exile, living a simple yet happy life in the forest, tragedy strikes!
From that point, the plot revolves around the abduction of Sita by the demon king Ravana, the ten-headed ruler of Lanka, and Bhagwan Rama’s pursuit to rescue her, aided by Lakshmana and the mighty monkey-general, Hanuman.
Sita is held captive in the island as Ravana tries to persuade her to marry him. Bhagwan Rama assembles an army of allies comprised mainly of monkeys under the brave Hanuman. They attack Ravana’s army, and, after a fierce battle, succeed in killing the demon king and freeing Sita, reuniting her with Bhagwan Rama.
The victorious king returns to his kingdom as the nation celebrates is homecoming with the festival of lights Diwali. Bhagwan Rama assumed the throne on his return from exile.
What is the purpose of life?
Purpose of life according to Hinduism has always been to attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death. According to Hinduism, the purpose of life is to complete these three steps: Dharma, Artha, Kama to attain Moksha.
1.) The first, dharma, means to act virtuously and righteously. That is, it means to act morally and ethically throughout one’s life.
2.) The second purpose of life is Artha, which refers to the pursuit of wealth and prosperity in one’s life. Importantly, one must stay within the bounds of dharma while pursuing this wealth and prosperity. Artha encourages the gaining of wealth through lawful means.
3.) The third purpose of a Hindu’s life is to seek Kama. In simple terms, Kama can be defined as procreation and pursuit of material pleasures.
4.) The fourth and final meaning of life according to Hinduism is Moksha, enlightenment, the pursuit of salvation which happens if the above three have been done. By far the most difficult meaning of life to achieve, Moksha may take an individual just one lifetime to accomplish (rarely) or it may take several.
However, it is considered the most important meaning of life and offers such rewards as liberation from reincarnation, self-realization, enlightenment, or unity with God.
What is Dharma?
Hinduism describes dharma as the natural universal laws whose observance enables humans to be contented and happy, and to save himself from degradation and suffering.
Manusmriti written by the ancient sage Manu, prescribes 10 essential rules for the observance of dharma:Patience (dhriti), forgiveness (kshama), piety or self control (dama), honesty (asteya), sanctity (shoch), control of senses (indraiya-nigrah), reason (dhi), knowledge or learning (vidya), truthfulness (satya) and absence of anger (krodha).
Manu further writes, "Non-violence, truth, non-coveting, purity of body and mind, control of senses are the essence of dharma".
Dharma is also about paying the five debts. Hindus believe that they are born in debt to the gods and various humans, and they must repay those karmic debts during their lifetime. The debts are:
1. ) Debt to the gods for their blessings; paid by rituals and offerings.
2.) Debt to parents and teachers; paid by supporting them, having children of one's own and passing along knowledge.
3.) Debt to guests; repaid by treating them as if they were gods visiting one's home.
4.) Debt to other human beings; repaid by treating them with respect.
5.) Debt to all other living beings; repaid by offering good will, food or any other help that is appropriate.
What is Karma ?
Karma is the universal principle of cause and effect. Our actions, both good and bad, come back to us in the future, helping us to learn from life's lessons and become better people.
As written in Bhagwad Gita:
The self-controlled person, moving among objects, with his senses free from attachment and malevolence and brought under his own control, attains tranquility.
Karma is "sum of person's actions in one of his successive states of existence, viewed as deciding his fate for the next".
According to Hindu teachings there are three types of karma.
1.) Prarabdha karma is karma that is experienced during a person's current lifetime.
2.) Sancita karma is stored karma that has not reached fruition yet.
3.) Agamin, also known as Sanciyama karma, is karma that has been sown in the current life, but not reaped until a future life.
Who is Vishnu?
Vishnu is the second god in the Hindu triumvirate (or Trimurti). The triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Brahma and Shiva. He preserves and maintains the order of the universe. All avatars come from Vishnu, Lord Rama is also an Avatar of God Vishnu.