World has been big riddle for both, western scientists as well as ancient Hindu rishis. However, for the living beings, world is the objects perceived through the five sense organs viz. eyes, ears, tongue, nose and skin. Whatever one sees, hears, smells, tastes and touches; he experiences in the mind. These accumulated experiences, past & present, form the world for him. Therefore, the worlds of two persons are never same.
Western and Indian philosophers analyzed the mind. For the western philosophers, mind is subject and rests are objects. Indian philosophers probed it further through recording experiences that mind is also an object. It is consciousness or jivatma which activates mind to work. Actually, jivatma is the subject in Indian philosophy and rest is object.
Constitution of the World:
As per western scientists, during the Big Bang, all of the space, time, matter, and energy in the Universe were created. This giant explosion hurled matter in all directions and caused space itself to expand. As the Universe cooled, the material in it combined to form galaxies, stars, and planets.
As per Hindu Philosophy, Vaisheshika Darshan, founded by Kaṇada Kashyapa around the 2nd century BC, explains about the universe, living beings, soul and moksha. The darshan has explained that the world is constituted by nine items which contains five physical matters – solid, liquid, gas, space and energy (Panchbhoot – Prithvi, jal, vayu, akash and agni) and four non-physical matters - time, direction, soul and manas (kaal, atma, disha, manas-मन).
(An article on Vasishesika Darshan is published on this website on 13.08.2018 under the category of philosophy)
Real cause of World:
In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (chapter 2, Brahmana 2), there is a detailed conversation between Ajatashatru and Balaki Gargya wherein Brahman, the ultimate reality is profoundly explained. Sri Shankaracharya propounded Advait philosophy wherein he went a step further and explained that it is Brahman where the objects appear. The objects have no independent existence and therefore relatively unreal. Hence, Brahman is absolutely real.
(An article on Vedanta Darshan or Brahma Sutra – key of Upanishads – is published on this website on 24.8.2018 under the category of philosophy)
Form of World:
Shri Krishna in Shrimad Bhagwat Gita has beautifully explained about the form of the world in fifteenth chapter of Purushottam Yoga.
“ऊर्ध्वमूलमधःशाखमश्वत्थं प्राहुरव्ययम् । छन्दांसि यस्य पर्णानि यस्तं वेद स वेदवित् ॥ १५-१॥ अधश्चोर्ध्वं प्रसृतास्तस्य शाखा गुणप्रवृद्धा विषयप्रवालाः । अधश्च मूलान्यनुसन्ततानि कर्मानुबन्धीनि मनुष्यलोके ॥ १५-२॥“
World of human body has been further explained very well in ten points:
Five main Prana
Five sub Prana –
Permanent liberation from world of human body:
Shri Krishna in Shrimad Bhagwat Gita has further explained about permanent liberation from world of human body in fifteenth chapter.
“न रूपमस्येह तथोपलभ्यते नान्तो न चादिर्न च सम्प्रतिष्ठा । अश्वत्थमेनं सुविरूढमूलं असङ्गशस्त्रेण दृढेन छित्त्वा ॥ १५-३॥ ततः पदं तत्परिमार्गितव्यं यस्मिन्गता न निवर्तन्ति भूयः । तमेव चाद्यं पुरुषं प्रपद्ये । यतः प्रवृत्तिः प्रसृता पुराणी ॥ १५-४॥ निर्मानमोहा जितसङ्गदोषा अध्यात्मनित्या विनिवृत्तकामाः । द्वन्द्वैर्विमुक्ताः सुखदुःखसंज्ञैर्-गच्छन्त्यमूढाः पदमव्ययं तत् ॥ १५-५॥“
Charity is giving help voluntarily to the person in need or the organization set up for the purpose. The word charity originated in late old English to mean a "Christian love of one's fellows," Charity is done out of compassion.
In Hinduism, various Hindu scriptures such as Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramcharitramanas etc., have highlighted importance of donation or daan. Under Pancha maha yajnas, every householder has to do five offerings to Devatas, Ṛishis, Pitris (departed ancestors), living beings and human beings. These offerings or charities are obligatory as against voluntary offerings done in west.
Sri Vivekananda’s concept of charity is the service of all beings in the spirit of the God. The ideal of service is inspired by reverence and humility. The giver thanks to the receiver and the receiver stand up and permit.
The practice of giving to the needy is Charity. Charity may be in cash or kind; directly or through a charitable organizations. Charitable giving may be as a religious act. Donations may be voluntary or obligatory under the law such as Corporate Social Responsibility. However, private charity has almost come to end after inflation, break down of joint family system, new taxation system and with the rise of the standard of living.
Many social charity institutions are coming up. But the danger of drying up of voluntary charity is always there which increases their dependence on government. Further, the donor misses the spiritual joy of giving and seeing the effect of his gifts immediately or in course of time. The social worker, through whom the donation is given, may not always feel uplifted. The receivers often ‘demand’ things as their right. There is always a danger of misuse in institutionalized donation.
Breaking of joint family system is rendering women and children helpless. A few old homes, Vanaprastha Ashramas (homes), children Ashram (Anathashrama) etc. came up.
Charity in Hinduism:
In Hinduism, every householder was expected to perform five daily duties or sacrifices. These are called pancha maha yajnas. These are offerings to Devatas, Ṛishis, Pitris (departed ancestors), living beings and human beings. These are called as Dev Yajna, Rishi Yajna, Pitr Yajna, Bhuta Yajna and Manushya Yajna respectively.
It was considered to be one of the five main duties. Shree Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita has explained three types of donations viz. Satvika, Rajsika and Tamsika. The detachment begins by donations and forgiveness. (A comprehensive article on charity named as “Act of giving - Charity, Donation or दान” has been published in this website on 2nd March, 2019 under the category of Puja & Bhakti.)
Service of deity:
During the medieval period, the philosophers such Ramanujacharya, Nibakacharya, Madhavacharya, Vallabhacharya etc. introduced the system of services to be offered to the deity. Service in the form of Navdha Bhakti of the deity (listening, kirtan, meditating, service, worship, salutation, servitude, comradeship, and total surrender) was accepted by Sri Madhavacharya.
Broadly, ten types of worship or service are included viz. Ritual worship of deity, Arti, Bhajan or Kirtan, Darshan or taking audience of a deity, Prasad – offering and eating sacred food, Pravachan – talk or lecture on the scriptures, Havan – the sacred fire ceremony, Japa/Meditation/Prayer – internal practices of worship, Parikram/Pradakshina – circumambulation and Seva – active service, to the deity.
Shri Vallabhacharya, who started Pushti Marga, had introduced Shringar (adoring), Bhog (offering food) and Raag (melody & music) in service of deity. During the day, eight darshan (glimpse) of deity is permitted – after waking up (Mangla), after taking bath (Shringar), after breakfast (Gval), after mid-day meal (Rajbhog), afternoon nap (Utthanpan), after evening snacks (Bhog), bath before evening meal (Sandhya) and after evening meal & before going to sleep (Shyan).
Service of poor & downtrodden:
Swami Vivekananda, the disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, who lived for around thirty nine years (Born on 12th January 1863 & died on 4th July, 1902), wrote
“Who loves all beings, without distinction, He indeed is worshipping best his God”.
He believed that service to the poor, the miserable and the weak is doubly beneficial. If we forget God in the temple the whole service is practically a loss whereas in case of service to poor at least the sufferings will be physically mitigated. Hence, it is more useful.
He said: Service cannot degenerate into charity. A person becomes charitable either to get rid of beggar or to get name and fame or if it is a purer motive, out of sympathy. Altruistic actions are performed for one’s own sake. The ideal of service is inspired by reverence and humility. The giver thanks to the receiver and the receiver stand up and permit. The worshipper can only serve and adore, not pity and help. No service is small, for all work is God’s service and he takes as much care of the means as of the end.
Reference: Vedanta & Vivekananda by Swami Swahananda