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Hinduism and Social Responsibility

  • Vasantha Muthuswamy
Chapter
Part of the Advancing Global Bioethics book series (AGBIO, volume 9)

Abstract

Hinduism, known initially as Sanatana Dharma (eternal or timeless religion), is more of a “way of life” than an ideology; it is a lived religion, not simply a cognitive one. The Hindu way of life is a science of salvation to liberate the human beings from the cycle of births and rebirths so that the individual soul reunites with the universal soul. Vedanta provides the highest spiritual knowledge and the code of conduct and spiritual values. Vedantic philosophy developed these values to anticipate the socio-economic problems fully. It prescribes the Dharma, the righteous duty of each, and Karma, the line of selfless action to be undertaken without expecting any return towards individuals, family, society, nation and the Universe. The concepts of the four goals and five debts everyone is born with, as per Hindu belief, emphasise our interpersonal duties and social responsibilities in this life. They provide each person with a moral compass to guide one’s life by cultivating family and social values to fulfil the social responsibilities towards the weak and the needy. Thus, Hindu ethics leads eventually to self-realisation or liberation from the cycle of birth and death, moksha, through service to humanity. Hindu philosophers encourage the performance of duties not with a sense of compulsion but through love which springs from the perception of God in all living beings. We examine the concept of UNESCO Declaration as applicable to human rights, fundamental freedom, and human dignity in this paper through the Hindu philosophical approach from time immemorial. They are the individual and societal duties and responsibilities that form the current guiding principles of Constitution of India for protection of the fundamental rights of its citizens. We also elaborate on how the Hindu tenets of Dharma and Karma execute their social responsibility in religious institutions and modern corporate houses in promoting Health for All.

Keywords

Hinduism Dharma Karma Moksha Corporate social responsibility 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasantha Muthuswamy
    • 1
  1. 1.Forum for Ethics Review Committees in IndiaMumbaiIndia

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