Hinduism in a nutshell

Our exploration of different religions continues with a look at the key aspects of the Hindu faith

Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha are the 7th, 8th and 9th incarnations of the preserver Lord Vishnu and prior to them was the 6th Lord Parshuram, before that Lord Vishnu came in the form of a Lion, a tortoise, a fish and so on – quite in line with the Darwinian Theory of Evolution.

The fish incarnation, incidentally, is the story where king Manu and his subjects including animals were led to safety in the great flood – interesting that a similar story comes under Noah of the Abrahmic religion.

It might be opportune here to elaborate on the Manu dynasty here in that Brahma created the first 4 men to head the 4 original civilisations, the Caucasian, the Chinese, the Red-Mongloid and the Negro. These men were called Manu’s and each has a name in the scriptures but for the Caucasians the Adi-Manu was given the knowledge in Sanskrit to civilise his race and those are detailed in the Manu-Samriti – again it is interesting that Adi-Manu resembles the word Adam but the two stories are completely different. Adam’s story is not at all like Adi-Manu’s who was the first civilised man among many created to establish God’s law, even prior to the first Satyug era.

Adi-Manu established created 4 different groups of activity,
- Spiritual,
- Defence,
- Trade and agriculture,
- Labour

And the names of these professions he categorised as Brahmins, Kashtryias, Vaishyas and Shudras. At the time these were interchangeable professions - in the period of Rama we had the sage (Rishi) Valmiki who was born into a Shudra family but became a sage whom everyone sought fit to worship – but later with time these professions became very rigid in hereditary. The British coming form a class based society named these as castes. The Sanskrit word is Varuna which means activity or profession. All systems in society degenerate if not reformed continuously and some of the bad aspects of this system are now under reform through Government policy.

One positive aspect of the even degenerated system has been that the practice of slavery remained alien to the Indian culture.

One very important aspect of Hinduism is that man and woman are given equal status. Brahman created the male as the potential energy and the female as the kinetic energy in universe. The male cannot move without the female, they are equally important to achieve anything complete in life. Hence if there is a God there is an equivalent Goddess. The consort of Lord Vishnu is Goddess Laxmi, of Brahma it is Saraswati and Lord Shiva’s wife is the Goddess Paravti. The Goddess is called as Mother and represents Shakti (strength and security). Goddess Durga Ma is revered the most among Hindus.

Anil Bhanot read Actuarial Science at university but then qualified as a chartered accountant. He was one of the founding members of Hindu Council UK in 1994 and was first elected as general secretary in 2003.
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Theresa May's U-Turn may have just traded one problem for another

The problems of the policy have been moved, not eradicated. 

That didn’t take long. Theresa May has U-Turned on her plan to make people personally liable for the costs of social care until they have just £100,000 worth of assets, including property, left.

As the average home is valued at £317,000, in practice, that meant that most property owners would have to remortgage their house in order to pay for the cost of their social care. That upwards of 75 per cent of baby boomers – the largest group in the UK, both in terms of raw numbers and their higher tendency to vote – own their homes made the proposal politically toxic.

(The political pain is more acute when you remember that, on the whole, the properties owned by the elderly are worth more than those owned by the young. Why? Because most first-time buyers purchase small flats and most retirees are in large family homes.)

The proposal would have meant that while people who in old age fall foul of long-term degenerative illnesses like Alzheimers would in practice face an inheritance tax threshold of £100,000, people who die suddenly would face one of £1m, ten times higher than that paid by those requiring longer-term care. Small wonder the proposal was swiftly dubbed a “dementia tax”.

The Conservatives are now proposing “an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs”. The actual amount is TBD, and will be the subject of a consultation should the Tories win the election. May went further, laying out the following guarantees:

“We are proposing the right funding model for social care.  We will make sure nobody has to sell their family home to pay for care.  We will make sure there’s an absolute limit on what people need to pay. And you will never have to go below £100,000 of your savings, so you will always have something to pass on to your family.”

There are a couple of problems here. The proposed policy already had a cap of sorts –on the amount you were allowed to have left over from meeting your own care costs, ie, under £100,000. Although the system – effectively an inheritance tax by lottery – displeased practically everyone and spooked elderly voters, it was at least progressive, in that the lottery was paid by people with assets above £100,000.

Under the new proposal, the lottery remains in place – if you die quickly or don’t require expensive social care, you get to keep all your assets, large or small – but the losers are the poorest pensioners. (Put simply, if there is a cap on costs at £25,000, then people with assets below that in value will see them swallowed up, but people with assets above that value will have them protected.)  That is compounded still further if home-owners are allowed to retain their homes.

So it’s still a dementia tax – it’s just a regressive dementia tax.

It also means that the Conservatives have traded going into the election’s final weeks facing accusations that they will force people to sell their own homes for going into the election facing questions over what a “reasonable” cap on care costs is, and you don’t have to be very imaginative to see how that could cause them trouble.

They’ve U-Turned alright, but they may simply have swerved away from one collision into another.  

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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