Moral Issues: Examples
The theory of reincarnation in Hinduism views death as a comma rather than a full-stop. Though Hinduism places great emphasis on the sacredness of life, it would view issues like abortion or voluntary euthanasia in a slightly different way.
Abortion and Voluntary Euthanasia: in the case of the abortion of a seriously malformed foetus – if the foetus is destined to suffer and certain to die due to its malformation, the Hindu teachings can be interpreted to suggest that by not terminating pregnancy the parents are incurring bad karma. That individual may be reborn in a better foetus so it may be best to let it progress to its next life rather than let it undergo suffering for no apparent reason. There are no strict religious injunctions to fall back on hence the individual family will be left to take the final decision. Similar views could be expressed in dealing with the issue of voluntary euthanasia. The individual has a right to terminate his or her own life and continue his or her journey to the next life after being freed from suffering.
Contraception: it is acceptable because it does not take life, though using it as a means for a promiscuous life style goes against the Hindu ideal of overcoming bodily infatuation.
Just War: despite appearances, Hinduism is not a pacifist religion. It recognises that there are situations where it may be necessary to take up arms. The scripture of authority for Hindus – the Bhagavad Gita – was preached on a battlefield.
Hinduism promotes spiritual humanism wholeheartedly. However this is not the same as the materialistic humanism that is in vogue. The basis for human rights, social justice and citizenship are given firm footing through esoteric Hindu teachings. These teachings suggest that men and women are not material beings aspiring to spirituality to improve their material status, but spiritual beings on a material journey.
It is essentially the same spirit that manifests in everyone. This gives a firm footing to the ideals of human rights, social justice and good citizenship. Mahatma Gandhi successfully combined the religious teachings of satya (insisting on truth) and ahimsa (non-violence) to forge a potent political tool that has been used again and again as a humane resolution to issues of gaining Human rights
From ancient times it has been recognised that earning money righteously to support the needs of family and society are very important. The creation and accumulation of wealth are entirely acceptable, yet the ultimate aim should be selfless rather than selfish; the wealth should be redistributed for the good of others. Sri Ramakrishna, a recent prophet of Hinduism states that householders should not act as hoarders of wealth, but become stewards of wealth. He tells the wealthy that it is necessary to ‘act in the world as a servant, look after everyone and act as if everything belongs to you, but know in your heart that nothing is yours; you are only the guardian, the servant of God’. This is dharma or truly religious living. Looking after those around us is not simply a matter of practical concern but also a matter of spiritual concern, since the dignity of all is a central doctrine of Hindu philosophy. Selfless action is called karma yoga and is one of the prescribed ways of making spiritual progress.
Physical and Mental Health: Hindu philosophy contends that we possess three layers to our being: physical, mental and spiritual. Good physical and mental health are pre-requisites to allow the spiritual element to become visible. Developing nations require more help with physical health issues and developed nations need more help to foster better mental health.
War: Gandhi’s use of Ahimsa or non-violence as a religious tool has successfully resolved many political issues in a non-violent method. This idea has been successfully used by many groups to resolve serious issues without waging war.