Religion and Politics in Nepal

Religion in Nepal

Until recently, Nepal was the only Hindu state in the world. Despite the fact that in 2006 the parliament declared Nepal a secular country, and in 2007 the king was removed from government, Hinduism still remains the official religion. Statistical estimates are very contradictory: according to them, from 80 to 90% of the population classifies themselves as Hindus, from 5 to 20% as Buddhists, about 3% of the population profess Islam. The rest of the religions, including the ancient rites of animism, shamanism and witchcraft, the religion of the ancient Kirat tribe – Kirant Mandham, and even Christianity, are practiced by less than 1% of the population of Nepal.

The discrepancy in assessing the number of Buddhists and Hindus in the country is due to the fact that some nationalities only formally declare their adherence to Hinduism. In addition, many Nepalese, not wanting to anger the gods, believe in everyone. Despite the long-standing coexistence of the two religions, in general, there have never been religious wars and persecutions in Nepal, and many shrines are equally revered by both Buddhists and Hindus. Representatives of these two religions are tolerant towards each other, but at the same time they do not accept Christians very well. And being on the territory of some Hindu temples is generally prohibited for non-Hindus.

The pantheon of Hindu gods is very large, the main gods are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Each of them has many incarnations, they can be local gods or even people. So, the kings of the Shah dynasty were considered the incarnation of the god Vishnu. Vishnu is often represented as the mythical bird-man (Garuda). In addition, the god Ganesh is popular in Nepal., four-armed with an elephant head, he can decide the outcome of any human undertaking. The Pashupatinath Temple, built on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River in Kathmandu, is dedicated to Shiva. Pashupati, like Shiva, is considered the incarnation of Vishnu, the owner and protector of animals, especially cattle. Every day, crowds of Hindu pilgrims from all over Nepal and even from India flock here to make a puja (offering) to Shiva. To do this, they use roosters or goats bought nearby, and then they eat the meat of animals. It is customary for Hindus to cremate the dead on special sites not on the river bank, and only the son of the deceased can kindle a funeral pyre. Hindus believe in the existence of some heavenly law that governs the state of the world, which people should be aware of. Therefore, Hindus must follow certain rules and ceremonies accepted for that caste, in which they were born. By acting in accordance with the Drahma (religious law and moral code), Hindus can achieve enlightenment. A properly lived life brings rebirth into a better life, the cycle of rebirth is called Samsara.

Despite the fact that there is a place in Nepal Lumbini, considered the birthplace of the Buddha (Sidhartha Gautama), Buddhism came to Nepal from the north. Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha) is the doctrine of the four truths discovered by him through meditation. Life is misfortune, everything in life brings suffering, suffering and misfortune bring the desires and aspirations of people. You can get rid of desires and achieve enlightenment by following certain rules. Buddhists write prayers on flags and drums that adorn stupas and temples. Prayer wheels are rotated clockwise with the right hand to send prayers into the sky. It is also customary for Buddhists to burn the dead, but those who have reached the highest heights of enlightenment are mummified and placed in stupas.

Stupas, existing as a grave mound, usually have a cubic base with a spherical body and a tower roof. This design mimics the design of the mandala, a cosmic representation of the universe conducive to reflection. The cubic base symbolizes the solid state of the earth, the spherical mound symbolizes water, the tower symbolizes fire, the ring above it, air, and the crowned top symbolizes ether. The thirteen steps between the mound and the tower symbolize the number of steps to the attainment of perfect knowledge. Most of the stupas have masonry, on the four sides of the tower are the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha. The eyes follow the Universe, and the symbolic third eye, located between the two, is needed to look inside oneself. The symbol in the bow is the Devanagari script, in the form of the number “one”, reminding people that, there is only one way to salvation. Stupas are made for the burial of remains or relics. People circumambulate the stupas by walking clockwise and turning the prayer wheels built into the wall surrounding the temple. Stupas Boudhanath and Swayambhuthnath, the largest stupas in Kathmandu, were built over 2000 years ago.

Political State in Nepal

According to politicsezine, the new constitution of Nepal has been in force since January 15, 2007. According to it, the prime minister is the head of both the state and the government of the country. The legislature of Nepal became a bicameral parliament (Sansad), consisting of the National Council (Rashtriya Sabha) and the House of Representatives (Pratinidhi Sabha). The council has 60 seats, of which 50 are popularly elected for 6 years, and 10 are appointed by the king, and in the House of Representatives there are 205 seats, deputies are popularly elected for 5 years.

Political State in Nepal

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