There are billions of Hindus around the world today and somewhere in millions in the United States alone. Your neighbor could be a Hindu, or your kids go to a school with Hindu children. In the past few decades, more than 300 Hindu temples have sprung up in the United States alone. Although, Hinduism is not a household name in the Western world, it’s known globally. What does that say about Hinduism?
Hinduism, also known as Sanatana Dharma, is highly regarded as a set of religious beliefs or practices believed to be developed from Vedic religion. Hinduism is believed to be the world’s oldest living religion, the principles and practices of which are almost accepted universally. In Western intellectual discourse, Hinduism is often associated with a belief in something unseen, supernatural and miraculous.
Many would say Lord Krishna is the founder of Hinduism. Many scholars and historians believed that the word “Hindu” was coined by the ancient invaders. But unlike Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism, Hinduism has no founder. Nor is it an organized religion. Hinduism does not have a prophet or founder. Some believe it is not even a religion, but a way of life evolved in Indian subcontinent. It has no hierarchy and no organizational structure that relies on a single powerful leader. Hinduism was made by the beholder Sanatan Dharmas, the yogis and rishis.
Is Hinduism the oldest religion?
It’s true that Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world with a literature larger than any other religion’s. With a unique perspective on life, Hinduism is the largest of the non-Abrahamic religions and and the third largest religion after Christianity and Islam, with over a billion followers around the world. It has the oldest recorded roots in Dravidianism, which was believed to have been practiced around 6,000 to 3,000 BCE. During the British period, the term Hinduism was adopted by those Indians who opposed Colonialism, in order to distinguish them from Muslims.
Is Hinduism monotheistic or polytheistic?
Hinduism spans a wide range of beliefs, traditions and cultures. Unfortunately, the deeper understanding of Hinduism is not common, not even among Hindus. It might sound strange to outsiders, but a majority of Hindus do not probably have the answer to simple questions such as: What is Hinduism? What are its core beliefs? What does Hinduism actually stand for?
Some would argue that Hinduism is a monotheistic religion which had appeared centuries ago and discovered that there is only ONE GOD. Wise and dedicated Hindus who rightly understand their religion will definitely hold onto their basic belief that God is one. That should be the universal truth. But, Hinduism can be both monotheistic and polytheistic since it spans a diverse range of beliefs. But truly, there is no simple answer to that.
Does Hinduism believe in reincarnation?
Hindus believe in a lot of things, but reincarnation is a key belief within the religion. Yes, they believe the soul is immortal and takes birth time and time again. They believe all life goes through birth, life, death, and rebirth. This process is known as the cycle of samsara. Life and death are realities for all of us. Hinduism believes the soul never dies, but inhabits one body after another during its evolutionary journey. In fact, every modern science is discovering reincarnation.
Is Hinduism pagan and what their beliefs?
It is believed that Hindus are the last polytheistic pagans that remain on earth, but the story of their survival or origin has not received the worldwide attention it deserves. It is also true that not every religion that is older than Christianity should be called as pagan. Early Christians often used the term to refer to non-Christians who worshipped multiple deities. In that sense, Hinduism is technically paganism, if paganism refers to any religion that is practiced by people who stayed true to their ancestral land.
When Hinduism started?
Some scholars and historians date the origin of Hinduism to be anywhere from 25,000 to 6,000 BCE, while other scholars, generally Western, typically date the origin between 4500 and 1200 BCE. Because Hinduism is so deeply rooted into the past, very few physical records or artifacts exist to draw a clear picture of the religion’s beginnings or the beliefs of the earliest Hindus.
Which is the holy book of Hinduism?
Hinduism has no single specific religious book, such as the Bible or Koran. However, the Bhagavad Gita is an interpretation and compendium of Hindu beliefs and spiritual ideas. Another point is that Hinduism artificially bundles different religions together, such as the Vaisnava, Saiva, and Sakta traditions of worship, each with its own theology and cult.
Can you convert to Hinduism?
You should understand that conversion to Hinduism is all about practice. There is no official conversion process or ceremony that is widely accepted for religions conversions. Even in India, there is no central law that regulates the conversion to Hinduism or any religion. Several different states have drawn up their own regulations on the subject.
Who is Brahman in Hinduism?
In Hinduism, the Brahman occupies the highest place. Brahman is God or the Supreme Being, and is beyond human understanding. Brahman is among the members of the Hindu trinity and associated with creation. In literal sense, Brahmins are the caste from which Hindu priests are drawn. Brahman is basically a Vedic Sanskrit word. It holds the highest ranking of four varnas or social classes in Hinduism.
Who is the most powerful god in Hinduism?
In Hinduism, the concept of God varies in its diverse traditions. Most Hindus worship one Supreme Being, though by many different names. Most Hindus are principally devoted to the Lord Vishnu, the God Shiva, and the Lord Krishna. The three Supreme Hindu Gods are Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. For many reasons, Brahma is creator of the world.
What do Hinduism and Buddhism have in common?
Hinduism and Buddhism both have common origins in the culture of Ancient India, both believe in the existence of many hells and heavens. Both the religions share belief in karma. Siddhartha Gautama is the founder of Buddhism and was most successful in converting the lower caste Hindus to Buddhism by discarding Hindu scriptures. Since Siddhartha was born into a Hindu family, Buddhism is somewhat considered to have roots in part of the Hindu tradition.
Is Hinduism an ethnic religion?
Yes, Hinduism is the largest ethnic religion and the oldest among all existing religions with over a billion adherents and roots dating back over 4,000 years. Most research points to Hinduism as the oldest form of religion, even older than Christianity. Hinduism is like a family of religions as opposed to a single accepted, organized religion. Hindu scriptures, ancient stories and folktales are full of subtle and not-so-subtle references to the concept of truth and reality.
How Hindus worship?
The most common form of worship in Hinduism is the puja ritual which typically takes place in the temple (Mandir). Hindu followers can visit the temple any time they please and perform a puja, which is an act of devotion usually directed to one or more Hindu deities. Hindus worship many Gods and Goddesses in addition to Brahman, the Supreme Being. For Hindus, there is no set time to gather publicly for puja offerings.
Will Hinduism rise again?
Hinduism is the among the world’s largest religions. With a population in billions, Hinduism is very widespread and more than 90% of Hindus come from India. According to Pew Research Center, the population of Hindus is projected to rise by 34% worldwide by 2050, which is a significant number. The annual growth of Hindus is expected to grow substantially. So, you can say that Hinduism is rising.
Today, Hinduism is not just a local religion of India, its people or culture. It is the basis of the oldest and most diverse of the world’s great religions, which originates from the Sanatana Dharma, ‘the eternal tradition of truth’. To better Hinduism, you have to go back to its broader principles and adaptable practices. There’s actually a lot to know about a religion as ancient and vast as Hinduism, but not all of it is vital. You’ll know more as you learn their origin, what Hindus believe in, and the variety of HIndu denominations.
The Early Aryans and the Indus Civilization. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2015. Print
York, Michael. Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion. New York, United States: NYU Press, 2005. Print
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