What is really of central importance?

It might be presumed that matters of central importance in any religious tradition or non-religious worldview would be the teaching about what tend to be thought of in RE as the ‘big questions’ or ‘ultimate questions’ (or perhaps ‘existential questions’ if thought of as how they affect you personally rather than as abstract philosophical debates): questions such as ‘Why are you here? What is the meaning of life? How can you attain liberation from a life of suffering? From where did the universe come? What happens when you die? What is the best way of spending your life? Indeed, most worldviews have ‘views’ on such issues, but the priorities may be different, and ‘religions’ are not best understood as alternative sets of intellectual answers to an agreed set list of ‘ultimate questions’. Many scholars have pointed out that, in common with some other non-Western traditions, the Hindu tradition is less about what you believe about such questions and more about what you do, an ‘orthopraxy’ rather than an ‘orthodoxy’, so that ritual and daily life take central stage.

It might also be said that in the Hindu tradition, what is of central importance depends somewhat on who you are. Some may prioritise ritual, some focus on experiential meditative and ascetic practices, others concern themselves with intellectual questions, ethical action or the everyday customs of family life.

Download the entire essay here

Hindu Worldview Traditions


648.3 KB

Download resource