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The India Connection

The Hindu Religion

Besides its push for better education, India's progressive government has worked towards creating a more equal working environment. But this is not an easy task. To understand the government's difficult job, you must first know a little about India's major religion of Hinduism. Hindus believe that the soul never dies. After a person's body dies, they believe the soul is reborn into another life form. This process is repeated many times until the soul reaches "spiritual perfection." Thus Hinduism divides people into a large number of rigid social groups called "castes." A person's social status usually depends on their caste. They are born into a caste and it can never change during this lifetime. Marriage between castes seldom occurs. Outside the caste system, a group called the "untouchables" has existed for thousands of years. They rank below even the lowest caste and make up almost 15 percent of India's population. They hold the lowest, most menial jobs and are prohibited to enter temples or even to draw water from public wells.

Hindus also follow the principle of ahimsa-which promotes non-injury to any living creatures. This especially applies to cows, which Hindus believe are sacred. Because of this belief, cows often roam freely even in India's modern districts. Also, as a result, hardly any Hindus eat beef and many do not eat any kind of meat or egg products. Promoted in this religion is the worship of over six million gods. There is a god for every emotion, mishap, desire or basically anything imaginable. Included in some Hindu's worship is Jesus Christ. But as one of the Ten Commandments clearly states: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) The mere inclusion of Jesus Christ among worship of many false gods is not acceptable for a true follower of Christ.

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