MANOHAR’S RELIGION – HINDUISM
Brrr! Manohar shivers as his mother pours water over him. He is standing outside his house in the village of Amtala, India and the morning air is cold on his bare skin. But he must bathe first thing each morning, right after he wakes up. This is a law of his religion.
When Manohar has bathed, he goes into the kitchen. Above the stove is a shelf on which stands a picture of the god Siva. Each morning Manohar puts a few grains of rice or a flower before the picture as an offering. He presses the palms of his hands together and bow his head. His mother lights a stick of sweet-smelling incense for the god. Then, with yellowish paste, Manohar puts a round mark on his forehead that shows he is a follower of Siva.
Manohar knows that while Siva is one of the greatest gods, there are many others. Ganesha, the god of luck, has a man’s body and an elephant’s head. The god Hanuman is a monkey. But Manohar knows that all the gods are just different shapes of Brahman, the one great power that rules all things.
Manohar believes that when he dies he will be born again, to start a new life in a new body. If he is good and kind to everyone while he is alive, he may be a rich man or a priest in his next life. But if he is bad, he maybe a dog, a snake or even an insect. If he act very good, he won’t has to be born again at all or known as reincarnation and gain moksa (perfect peace).
Manohar is a Hindu. Hinduism is one of the oldest of all religions, and the largest religion in India.