Hindu Culture and traditions

ॐ Hindu Of Universe ॐ
“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Hindu Clothes

Indian clothing is famous because it is colorful and also graceful. Outfits for women are designed to be graceful. While men’s clothes are for the warm climate and comfort. Certain trends in clothing prevail even to date throughout the country.

Women’s clothing:

The traditional Indian clothing for women is the Sari, which can be worn in many different ways. A choli is worn over a sari, which is a blouse that ends just below the bust. The Salwar Kameej is one of the most popular costumes. The Salwar Kameez too has had many designs. One of the other traditional dresses is the Lehangas.

The sari:

The Sari is still so popular even after centuries because it has a sense of luxury and sexuality to it. Even though it is a single length of material, the sari is a very versatile garment. It is a rectangular piece of cloth, which is sometimes five and usually six yards in length. The style, color and texture of this cloth vary. But the most traditional ones are the handloom or hand woven saris. Now a -days it is made from cotton, silk or one of the several man-made materials.

The choli:

It is a tightly fitted blouse that ends just below the bust and is worn under a sari. It can be long sleeved or even short sleeved. The choli came developed as a form of clothing in 10th century AD. The cholis first used were only front covering; the back was usually bare. Blouses of this kind are still common. Today, there are a number of styles of cholis which are inspired by other cultures as well.

The salwar kameej:

Another commonly used attire of women in India is the salwar-kameez. This dress was used in the northern part of India as a comfortable and especially in Kashmir and Punjab. Now it is very popular in all regions of India. Salwars are loose trousers like pants drawn tightly to the waist and the ankles. Over the salwar, they wear long and loose clothing known as a kameez. Occasionally women wear churidar instead of a salwar. A churidar is like the salwar but is tight fitting at the hips, thighs and ankles.

The lehanga:

Apart from the sari’s, women in some regions wear a kind of pleated skirt known as the ghagra or lehanga. This skirt is tied around the waist and thus leaves the back and midriff bare. This dress also has a choli. The choli is covered by a length of cloth known as “odhni” or “dupatta”.

Men’s traditional clothing:

The traditional attire of men includes: Sherwani, Lungi, Dhoti and Kurta Pajama.

The sherwani:

It is a coat like garment, worn by men, which is tight and close to the body. It is usually knee-length or longer and opens in front with the help of buttons. Below this men wear a garment, which is baggy and wide at the top but tight around the legs and ankles. It is considered as a very elegant dress for men and mostly worn only during ceremonies.

The lungi:

The lungi had originated in the south and is still common there. Today men and women wear it in the same fashion. It is simply a long length of material worn around the thighs like a sarong.

The dhoti:

A dhoti is a longer version of a lungi. It has an additional length of material to be pulled up between the legs.

The kurta-pyjama:

The Kurta is a knee length shirt, which is worn, mostly in white or pastel colors. Elderly people usually wore it, because they looked decent in it. Today you find Kurtas made out of the most varied colors and fabrics. Pyjama-are nothing but loose trousers which you tie around the waist with a string. It is traditionally white in color.

Hindu Foods

In Hinduism food is considered as God (Brahman) and said to be a part of Brahman as it nourishes the entire physical, mental and emotional aspects of a human being. It is considered as a gift from God and should be treated respectfully. Here is a brief description about the nuances of Hindu Food.

In Vedas food is acknowledged with the rudiments of the earth. The Prasna Upanishad identifies food with the Lord of Creation. According to Manu, “Food that is always worshipped gives strength and manly vigor but eaten irreverently, it destroys them both.”

Food should be eaten in religious attitude for the purpose survival and giving strength to the body to practice self control and austerities, but not for the sake of pleasure. This is the concept behind Hindu Food.

Hindu Food and Vegetarianism

According to Hinduism “You are what you eat” is a concept behind a man and his food habits as it decides our mental growth as well as physical growth and well being. Eating food by killing animals is said to block mental and spiritual growth. This is the reason why Hinduism emphasizes on vegetarianism. Another reason it believes that killing innocent and helpless animals for the purpose of food is a bad karma that brings harmful consequences not only to the man who is eating but to the entire planet.

Restriction and Hindu Foods

  • Beef is strictly forbidden as a food in Hinduism. Cow is considered as mother in Hinduism. But dairy products like milk, butter and yogurt are said to increase spiritual purity.
  • Pork is strictly forbidden food in Hinduism.
  • Food obtained from any animal is restricted.
  • Certain foods are prohibited according to the geographical location.
  • Some pious Hindus even avoid over stimulating foods such as onions, garlic, and red coloured (blood-coloured) foods such as red lentils and tomatoes.
  • To avoid violence or pain, vegetarianism is advocated.
  • Meat is not always prohibited in the Laws of Manu but they declare that ‘no sin is attached to eating flesh… but abstinence… bears greater fruits’.

Fasting and Hindu Food:

Hindus fast on special occasions (festivals or holy days) as a mark of respect to their god or as a part of their penance. At certain times in a year like the Dusshera they do not eat food for days together. There is a special ceremony to mark a baby’s eating solid food, which in south is called as annaprasanna.

Charity and Hindu Food:

Serving food to the poor and the needy, or a beggar according to Hindus is good karma. Food is associated with religious activity. Food is still offered to God during some of the religious ceremonies. On specific days in a year food is offered to departed souls. Food is also distributed to people at the end of many religious ceremonies. Many Hindu temples distribute food freely every day to the visiting devotees.

Hindu Music

Hindu music is also called as sangeet. Music is believed to have mythological roots and is associated with the heavenly singers, called the Gandharvas. The first person to practice this art form was Narada. The oldest texts associated with music are the Sama Veda, which consists of melodies, which are recited, in the form of hymns during ritual sacrifice. Music is considered as a means of moral or spiritual connection rather than mere entertainment. There are three key elements in the music discipline

  • The guru – coming in parampara where the disciple becomes the successor
  • Vinaya – humility, this is one of the key ingredients expected from a disciple
  • Sadhana -practice of what is being taught regularly

Hindu music is based on two main things called

  • Raga, the melodic scale
  • Tala, the rhythm

Both Raga and Tala chosen carefully invokes the right mood (rasa). In discussing the aesthetics of dance and music, Bharata Muni coined the concept of nava-rasa, (nine principle “moods” or “tastes.)” During the Bhakhi movement, emphasis was on spiritual emotion, so worship was integrated into music. It was considered not only adoration but a means towards a higher consciousness. Tansen is also another important person remembered because he was believed to perform miracles through his singing.

Common instruments used for Hindu music includes drums, such as the tables mridangas, the manjira and the harmonium. Classical instruments include, tabla, include the flute, vina, sitar, sarangi, santoor, and shenai

The music of India is considered monodic. Its tone is divided into 22 segments called srutis. The basic scales in Hindu music are sa-grama. Other scales are derived from the basic srutis by the sharping or flatting of some of the tones. Melody is based on the system of ragas, and is used as the basis for improvisation.There are many ragas, and there are sets of rules for improvisation in that raga.

Each raga is attributed with certain ethical and emotional properties, and is also associated with a certain season and a certain time of day. Ragas are also associated with magical powers. For example if a raga associated with darkness is sung in the middle of the day then it can even bring darkness upon the earth. In the performance of the ragas, lots of importance is attached to the gamakas, (ornaments) of music. Music is based on very complex rhythmic patterns, called talas, which are combined in the most innovative ways.

The oldest instrument is the Drum and there are several types in it. The most important instrument is the Veena. A similar instrument is the sitar, the most commonly used instrument in India. In addition, various types of bagpipe, lute, fiddle, oboe, trumpet, flute, cymbal, and gong have been known in India. Many of the instruments are of Islamic origin.

Hindu Art

Hinduism is a conglomeration of a wide variety of beliefs and Infact, it is unique in its tolerance of diversity. Roots of this religion have been since 4000 years in India, and as it developed it absorbed many beliefs and practices of various kinds of people. Assimilation happened differently for different parts of India.

The Hindu religion is a great repository of heterogeneity of beliefs. Worship of different kinds of deities is a very personal choice, and that aspect of Hindu practice is reflected in the number of different Hindu temples and their sculptural beliefs.

A man who has no knowledge of music, literature, or art is believed to be no better than a beast. Hindu’s always believed art to be a key to salvation or ultimate release that is sought by all good Hindus. There is a kind of a holistic feel about Indian art; it is a unity of many forms and artistic experiences.

Different forms of hindu art:

Art rules every part of Indian life, and is found in every reference of ancient Indian Civilization. Indian art is considered a disciplined style of worship and self-restraint. Hindu art can also be thought of as India’s oldest indigenous science.

Sometimes lord Shiva, is visually represented as “King of Dance” or Nataraja. This form of Shiva is considered as the most remarkable symbol of divine powers, which was ever created by Indian artistic genius.

Indian artists have frozen the beauty of human bodies in various shapes with the help of stone and bronze for around 5,000 years. It is difficult to name only a single person or persons among the geniuses who brought gods to life in places like the Ellora, Ajanta, Elephanta and Karli caves.

The transition from cave excavation and carvings on the Hindu temples are depicted dramatically and powerfully at Ellora. Ellora is an entire mountain which has been literally shaped out over many centuries by devoted artists. These artists created and “extracted” Lord Shiva’s Mount Kailas temple within that enormous rock dome.

Ellora’s Kailas cave temple is still one of the few beautiful monuments of art and Hindu devotion. The carvings on some of the walls and pillars is magnificent. No other work on stone or in any other material are as fine. But still what remains a mystery is what tools have been used to make the very hard and tough stone as it is to be seen on the present day.

Indian art is related to Hindu religion and philosophy. It is hard to appreciate the Indian art unless one has insight into the ideals that govern the Indian minds. In the Indian art there is mostly a religious element, a looking beyond.

The beautiful carvings of the Hindu temples, the beautiful wall paintings of Ajanta, or the intriguing art of cave sites and the sophisticated temple building tradition, the Indian Hindu culture offers a good visual feast.


Rituals and Practices

Devotion (Bhakti)

Devotion (bhakti) refers to both a practice and a path (mārga) towards salvation. Devotion entails total and unconditional surrender and selfless love towards a personal or chosen deity. In turn, the person becomes a devotee of their chosen god or goddess. The idea of bhakti encompasses all rituals related to worshipping or venerating deities, such as worship (pūjā) and service (sevā). Bhakti is a practice open to all Hindus regardless of their caste, life station or gender.

Worship (Pūjā)

Worship (pūjā) is one of the most central practices in Hinduism. Every form of worship consists of making offerings and receiving blessings, from elaborate temple rituals to simple home practices. The frequency, scale and exact details of a pūjā depend on the nature and location of the deity, the connected texts or ritual manuals, the intention of the participants and the occasion for the worship. Home rituals are usually adopted as part of one’s daily routine and performed without the expertise of a priest. Meanwhile, worship conducted at a temple is much more elaborate and may involve multiple people, such as a temple priest.

Some rituals that may occur include ‘seeing’ the deity (darśana), and chanting mantras. Other common elements include playing instruments, ringing bells, burning incense, gestures, prostrations, ceremoniously walking around the deity’s altar, and offerings (usually food, fresh flowers and light produced from ghee-soaked wicks, otherwise known as ārtī). During a pūjā at a temple, the worshipper may receive sweets or a blessing (prasāda), a thread tied to their wrist or coloured powder (usually red or orange turmeric) dotted on their forehead.

Fire Sacrifice

The term ‘yajña’ or ‘homa’ refers to a ritual sacrifice wherein symbolic materials such as ghee, grains and incense are thrown into a special fire pit. A priest is usually required to help facilitate the fire sacrifice. Fire rituals continue to be an essential part of many Hindu ceremonies and, in some cases, worship (pūjā).


The term ‘mantra’ broadly refers to sentences, phrases or words (typically in Sanskrit) that are composed in verse or prose. Mantras are chanted or recited, usually as part of a ritual. They can be spoken loudly, softly or mentally. Mantras are believed to be vested with instrumental, performative or transformative power. There is an enormous variety of mantras. Sometimes mantras can be a way to identify the stream of Hinduism one follows.

Grace (Prasāda)

Grace (prasāda or prasad) refers to a returned portion of a worshipper’s offering, believed to be blessed after the deity’s intangible consumption. The prasāda must first be offered to the deity, which then blesses the item. A few moments or hours after offering the prasāda, the worshipper may then receive the blessed prasāda and use it. Common prasāda items are foods such as bananas, coconuts, candies and milk products as well as fresh flowers.

Service (Sevā)

Service (sevā) is the respectful and regular attention of the needs of someone or something, in acknowledgement of the divine (related to the concept of brahman and ātman). One can do service to enshrined deities (mūrtis), as well as to one’s guru, parents, guests, animals or to the whole community. The specifics of service depend on the kind of entity being served. For example, ‘gauseva’ refers to the service to cows. In this context, it is considered auspicious to serve cows by feeding them first thing in the morning.

Service towards a deity usually occurs at least twice a day. Some practices associated with service include bathing an icon, changing the ornaments around the icon, ringing bells to draw the attention of the deity and offering light from wicks soaked in ghee (a practice otherwise known as ārtī). Service is usually conducted by a ritual expert who is regularly present at the temple or shrine.

Astrology (Jyotiṣa)

A common practice in Hinduism is to call upon a jyotiṣī (also spelt jyotishi, who is someone skilled in astrology and astronomy) to help determine auspicious dates and times for festivals, weddings, pilgrimages and the installation of images (mūrti). Astrology also plays a vital role in determining marriage partners and names of children.

Life Cycle Rites (Saṃskāra)

The term ‘saṃskāra’ refers to important life-cycle rites, beginning with one’s conception and ending with one’s cremation. Though Hindu texts have some prescribed ceremonies and rituals to mark various specific stages of life, the practices of the saṃskāra are diverse. Some families may practise each rite, while others may choose to celebrate the rites most important to them. There are also other factors that determine whether and how a family or individual perform certain rites, such as regional variations and caste. Some of the life-cycle rites are:

  • Garbhādhāna: This life-cycle rite is related to conception. The rite occurs after menstruation and before or after sexual intercourse. Usually, special mantras are chanted by the couple to help ensure the conception and proper development of a child.
  • Puṃsavana: The rite of puṃsavana refers to birthing a male child. Puṃsavana occurs during pregnancy, usually during the third or fourth month. Some versions of the ritual include the husband serving his wife food. More formal ceremonies include placing a pounded substance (usually a particular kind of leaf) into the wife’s right nostril.
  • Sīmantonnayana: Literally translated as ‘parting the hair’, this rite occurs near the end of the pregnancy to assist in the safe delivery of the baby. The rite is similar to a baby shower.
  • Jātakarman: This rite celebrates the birth of the child. The parents usually observe the event alongside close friends and family.
  • Nāmakarana: A rite that commemorates the naming of the child, usually one to five weeks after birth. It may be celebrated at the local community’s temple in the presence of a priest. After the baby’s name is announced, the priest pours holy water on the newborn’s head and amrit (also known as aṃṛta, a liquid made of sugar and water considered to be sacred) on the baby’s tongue. Astrological factors often determine the name of the child.
  • Niṣkramaṇa: This rite commemorates the child’s first outing into the public. It usually occurs when the child is three to four months old. 
  • Annaprāśana: A rite that celebrates the child’s first time eating solid foods, usually at the age of five or six months. Family, close friends and the local community may be invited to the local temple whereby a priest officiates the ceremony.
  • Cūḍākarman: This rite marks the child’s first haircut, usually at the age of one to three years old.
  • Karṇavedha: A rite that marks the piercing of the child’s ears, usually performed when they are a young child. Though not gender-specific, the rite is most common for female children.
  • Vidyārambha: This rite marks the beginning of the child’s education, starting with basic studies in reading. Vidyārambha typically occurs when the child is five years old. The rite may be celebrated at the local temple with other families and children.
  • Upanayana: The term ‘upanayana’ refers to the sacred thread ceremony, which marks the transition of the child into the first life station (āśrama) as a student (brahmacārin). During the ceremony, a sacred thread is placed over the left shoulder and under the right arm. Some families only perform the upanayana to male children or may perform a variation of the ritual for female children. The child is also given a special mantra as part of their educational studies. 
  • Vedarāmbha: This rite commemorates the child’s study of religious texts (especially the Vedas and the Upaniṣads).
  • Keśānta: This rite is reserved for males as it marks the first time the boy shaves his beard and commemorates his growth towards manhood.
  • Samāvartana: This rite commemorates one’s completion of the first life station (brahmacārin āśrama). The individual returns home after study and prepares for the next life station as a householder (gṛhastha āśrama). The event is usually commemorated with a ritual bath (snāna).
  • Vivāha: The Sanskrit word ‘vivāha’ translates as ‘marriage’. This rite marks one’s entry into the life station (āśrama) of being a householder (gṛhastha). The ceremony is often elaborate, filled with various rituals and celebrations.
  • Vānaprastha: This is not necessarily a life-cycle rite, but rather a life station (āśrama) that marks one’s entry into the ‘forest-dwelling’ stage. A couple passes on householder responsibilities to the next generation. Then the couple may reside in a small home next to the main family home. Vānaprastha is similar to a kind of retirement whereby the individual or couple concentrate on religious life and spiritual goals.
  • Antyeṣṭi: This final life-cycle rite is a funerary rite performed within the first thirteen days following death. There are various rituals practised depending on the individual. All ceremonies include the purification and cremation of the corpse.

Pilgrimage (Tīrthayātrā)

Undertaking pilgrimages is a common practice throughout Hinduism. A pilgrimage can be as simple as a family visiting a major shrine dedicated to their personal deity or as large as thousands of people travelling to multiple places of religious significance. Hindu pilgrimage destinations include temples, shrines, rivers, mountains and various major and minor locations associated with legends and myths. Commonly, the points of convergence between major rivers (for example, the Gaṅgā and Yamunā rivers) are particularly sacred and attract millions of pilgrims. Sacred sites include Ayodhyā, Mathurā, Haridvār and Vārāṇasī, all of which are located in present-day India.

The reasons for undertaking a pilgrimage vary. Hindus may go on a pilgrimage to fulfil a vow or promise, to be part of a community of like-minded devotees, to remove one’s previous negative karma, or as part of a spiritual quest. Despite the diversity of locations and intentions, the practices performed at pilgrimage sites are quite similar. These rituals include worship (pūjā), receiving grace (prasāda) and other rituals led by priests.


The term ‘yoga’ refers to a wide variety of religious practice. In its broadest sense, ‘yoga’ refers to a particular method or set of techniques for transforming the individual. It is also used to refer to the practice of controlling the body, senses or breath. Meditation plays a pivotal role in yogic practices. Such methods or techniques are usually followed with the aim of attaining a spiritual goal, such as liberation (mokṣa).

Just as the meaning of yoga is diverse, so too are the practices. One example is haṭha yoga, which includes ideas of human anatomy composed of channels (nāḍī) and wheels (cakra or chakra) that are controlled through postures (āsana), visualisations and breathing techniques (prāṇāyāma). Since the 20th century, yoga (particularly haṭha yoga) has gained an enthusiastic following in the West, where it is usually seen as a way to achieve physical and mental health as opposed to attaining more spiritual goals.

Hinduism Beliefs, Symbols

Some basic Hindu concepts include:


There are two primary symbols associated with Hinduism, the om and the swastika. The word swastika means “good fortune” or “being happy” in Sanskrit, and the symbol represents good luck. (A hooked, diagonal variation of the swastika later became associated with Germany’s Nazi Party when they made it their symbol in 1920.)

The om symbol is composed of three Sanskrit letters and represents three sounds (a, u and m), which when combined are considered a sacred sound. The om symbol is often found at family shrines and in Hindu temples.

Hinduism Holy Books

Hindus value many sacred writings as opposed to one holy book.

The primary sacred texts, known as the Vedas, were composed around 1500 B.C. This collection of verses and hymns was written in Sanskrit and contains revelations received by ancient saints and sages.

The Vedas are made up of:

  • The Rig Veda
  • The Samaveda
  • Yajurveda
  • Atharvaveda

Hindus believe that the Vedas transcend all time and don’t have a beginning or an end.

The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, 18 Puranas, Ramayana and Mahabharata are also considered important texts in Hinduism.

Origins of Hinduism

Most scholars believe Hinduism started somewhere between 2300 B.C. and 1500 B.C. in the Indus Valley, near modern-day Pakistan. But many Hindus argue that their faith is timeless and has always existed.

Unlike other religions, Hinduism has no one founder but is instead a fusion of various beliefs.

Around 1500 B.C., the Indo-Aryan people migrated to the Indus Valley, and their language and culture blended with that of the indigenous people living in the region. There’s some debate over who influenced whom more during this time.

The period when the Vedas were composed became known as the “Vedic Period” and lasted from about 1500 B.C. to 500 B.C. Rituals, such as sacrifices and chanting, were common in the Vedic Period.

The Epic, Puranic and Classic Periods took place between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500. Hindus began to emphasize the worship of deities, especially Vishnu, Shiva and Devi.

The concept of dharma was introduced in new texts, and other faiths, such as Buddhism and Jainism, spread rapidly.

Hinduism vs. Buddhism

Hinduism and Buddhism have many similarities. Buddhism, in fact, arose out of Hinduism, and both believe in reincarnation, karma and that a life of devotion and honor is a path to salvation and enlightenment. 

But some key differences exist between the two religions: Buddhism rejects the caste system of Hinduism and does away with the rituals, the priesthood and the gods that are integral to the Hindu faith. 

Medieval and Modern Hindu History

The Medieval Period of Hinduism lasted from about A.D. 500 to 1500. New texts emerged, and poet-saints recorded their spiritual sentiments during this time.

In the 7th century, Muslim Arabs began invading areas in India. During parts of the Muslim Period, which lasted from about 1200 to 1757, Islamic rulers prevented Hindus from worshipping their deities, and some temples were destroyed.

Mahatma Gandhi

Between 1757 and 1947, the British controlled India. At first, the new rulers allowed Hindus to practice their religion without interference. But later, Christian missionaries sought to convert and westernize the people.

Many reformers emerged during the British Period. The well-known politician and peace activist, Mahatma Gandhi, led a movement that pushed for India’s independence.

The partition of India occurred in 1947, and Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. British India was split into what are now the independent nations of India and Pakistan, and Hinduism became the major religion of India.

Starting in the 1960s, many Hindus migrated to North America and Britain, spreading their faith and philosophies to the western world.

Hindu Gods


Hindus worship many gods and goddesses in addition to Brahman, who is believed to be the supreme God force present in all things.

Some of the most prominent deities include:

  • Brahma: the god responsible for the creation of the world and all living things
  • Vishnu: the god that preserves and protects the universe
  • Shiva: the god that destroys the universe in order to recreate it
  • Devi: the goddess that fights to restore dharma
  • Krishna: the god of compassion, tenderness and love
  • Lakshmi: the goddess of wealth and purity
  • Saraswati: the goddess of learning

Places of Worship

Hindu worship, which is known as “puja,” typically takes place in the Mandir (temple). Followers of Hinduism can visit the Mandir any time they please.

Hindus can also worship at home, and many have a special shrine dedicated to certain gods and goddesses.

The giving of offerings is an important part of Hindu worship. It’s a common practice to present gifts, such as flowers or oils, to a god or goddess.

Additionally, many Hindus take pilgrimages to temples and other sacred sites in India.

Hinduism Sects

Hinduism has many sects, and the following are often considered the four major denominations.

Shaivism is one of the largest denominations of Hinduism, and its followers worship Shiva, sometimes known as “The Destroyer,” as their supreme deity.

Shaivism spread from southern India into Southeast Asia and is practiced in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia as well as India. Like the other major sects of Hinduism, Shaivism considers the Vedas and the Upanishads to be sacred texts.

Vaishnavism is considered the largest Hindu sect, with an estimated 640 million followers, and is practiced worldwide. It includes sub-sects that are familiar to many non-Hindus, including Ramaism and Krishnaism.

Vaishnavism recognizes many deities, including Vishnu, Lakshmi, Krishna and Rama, and the religious practices of Vaishnavism vary from region to region across the Indian subcontinent.

Shaktism is somewhat unique among the four major traditions of Hinduism in that its followers worship a female deity, the goddess Shakti (also known as Devi).

Shaktism is sometimes practiced as a monotheistic religion, while other followers of this tradition worship a number of goddesses. This female-centered denomination is sometimes considered complementary to Shaivism, which recognizes a male deity as supreme.

The Smarta or Smartism tradition of Hinduism is somewhat more orthodox and restrictive than the other four mainstream denominations. It tends to draw its followers from the Brahman upper caste of Indian society.

Smartism followers worship five deities: Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Ganesh and Surya. Their temple at Sringeri is generally recognized as the center of worship for the denomination.

Some Hindus elevate the Hindu trinity, which consists of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Others believe that all the deities are a manifestation of one.

Hindu Caste System

The caste system is a social hierarchy in India that divides Hindus based on their karma and dharma. Many scholars believe the system dates back more than 3,000 years.

The four main castes (in order of prominence) include:

  1. Brahmin: the intellectual and spiritual leaders
  2. Kshatriyas: the protectors and public servants of society
  3. Vaisyas: the skillful producers
  4. Shudras: the unskilled laborers

Many subcategories also exist within each caste. The “Untouchables” are a class of citizens that are outside the caste system and considered to be in the lowest level of the social hierarchy.

For centuries, the caste system determined every aspect of a person’s social, professional and religious status in India.

When India became an independent nation, its constitution banned discrimination based on caste.

Today, the caste system still exists in India but is loosely followed. Many of the old customs are overlooked, but some traditions, such as only marrying within a specific caste, are still embraced.

Hindus observe numerous sacred days, holidays and festivals.

Some of the most well-known include:

  • Diwali: the festival of lights
  • Navaratri: a celebration of fertility and harvest
  • Holi: a spring festival
  • Krishna Janmashtami: a tribute to Krishna’s birthday
  • Raksha Bandhan: a celebration of the bond between brother and sister
  • Maha Shivaratri: the great festival of Shiva

What is Hinduism?

  • Belief in the divinity of the Vedas
  • Belief in one, all-pervasive Supreme Reality
  • Belief in the cyclical nature of time
  • Belief in karma
  • Belief in reincarnation
  • Belief in alternate realities with higher beings
  • Belief in enlightened masters or gurus
  • Belief in non-aggression and non-injury
  • Belief that all revealed religions are essentially correct
  • Belief that the living being is first and foremost a spiritual entity
  • Belief in an “organic social system.” (Steven Rosen, Essential Hinduism, )

Sacred Texts of Hinduism

There is no single, authoritative text in Hinduism that functions like the Bible for Christians, or the Qur’an for Muslims. Instead, there are several different collections of texts. The Vedas are the oldest Hindu sacred texts, and have the most wide-ranging authority. They are believed to have been written anywhere from 1800 to 1200 BCE. The Upanishads describe a more philosophical and theoretical approach to the practice of Hinduism and were written roughly between 800 and 400 BCE, around the same time that the Buddha lived and taught. The Mahabharata is the longest epic poem in the world, the most well-known portion of which is the Bhagavad-Gita, which is perhaps the best-known and widely cited book in all of Hinduism; the Ramayana is the other most important epic poem in Hinduism.

Gods in Hinduism

Hinduism encompasses a lush, expansive understanding of the divine accommodating a vast assortment of dynamic and multifaceted concepts. Hinduism sees the divine as not either one or many, but both; not male or female, but both; not formless or embodied, but both. Some of the most important deities in Hinduism are Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Krishna, Sarasvati, Durga, and Kali.

As a result, there are dozens upon dozens of Hindu festivals honoring and celebrating these multitudinous divinities. Some are celebrated throughout India, and many more are primarily regional. They mark specific seasons, specific events in the lives of the different gods and goddesses, and specific concerns of life—wealth, health, fertility, etc. Two of the most well-known in the United States are Divali and Holi.

Divali, the festival of lights that falls somewhere in October or November, honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune, and lasts roughly four to five days. Families often visit the temple during this time and make offerings to Lakshmi there, but they also worship at home, perhaps even arranging a special place on their home altar for Lakshmi. Doors are left open to welcome her into the house, and the whole period of celebration is a time of great joy, in which Hindus fill their houses with light.

Holi is celebrated with great abandon and gusto all over India. It inaugurates the coming of spring and is celebrated primarily by throwing colored paste and water on anyone who happens to be out walking around. It, too, is celebrated over a period of days.

Hindu Worship

For Hindus, there is no weekly worship service, no set day or time in which a community is called to gather publicly. Although most Hindus do visit temples regularly, or at least occasionally, to pray and make offerings, a “good” Hindu need never worship in public. Instead, all worship can be performed to icons in the home shrine, which is why the home is a very important place of worship in India.

The best word that describes and summarizes Hindu worship is puja, which means respect, homage, or worship. Most—if not all—Hindus have small altars at home on which they place pictures and/or statues representing different deities, including those to whom the family is particularly devoted. Each morning, one member of the family, usually the father or the mother, will perform a short puja at the altar. This may include saying prayers, lighting a lamp, burning incense, making offerings of fruit and flowers, and ringing a bell. The goal in this worship is to please the gods through all five senses.

Much the same thing happens in temple worship, though the rituals are much more elaborate there, since deities are believed to inhabit the temple images at all times, rather than just when invited, as in a home puja. In temple worship, the priest performs the puja, then on behalf of the god he returns to the people some of what they first brought as offerings—food, flowers, etc. This is called prasad, which means grace, goodwill, or blessing. In this way, the offerings are then received back by the devotees as a blessing. So, for example, small morsels of food are eaten, flowers are worn in the hair, incense is wafted around one’s body, holy water sipped, and colored powders are mixed with water and used to make a tilak, a mark in the center of the forehead above the eyes.

Nine Beliefs of Hinduism

Our beliefs determine our thoughts and attitudes about life, which in turn direct our actions. By our actions, we create our destiny. Beliefs about sacred matters–God, soul and cosmos–are essential to one’s approach to life. Hindus believe many diverse things, but there are a few bedrock concepts on which most Hindus concur. The following nine beliefs, though not exhaustive, offer a simple summary of Hindu spirituality.

  1. Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
  2. Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.
  3. Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
  4. Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
  5. Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.
  6. Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.
  7. Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation and surrender in God.
  8. Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, noninjury, in thought, word and deed.
  9. Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.

Hinduism, the world’s oldest religion, has no beginning–it precedes recorded history. It has no human founder. It is a mystical religion, leading the devotee to personally experience the Truth within, finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are one. Hinduism has four main denominations–Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism.

25 Interesting Facts about Hinduism

Want to know more about Hinduism? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Hinduism that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Hinduism facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

1. The Rig Veda is the oldest known book in the world

The Rig Veda is an ancient text written in Sanskrit. The date is uncertain, but most experts date it back to 1500 years B.C. It’s the oldest book known in the world, and therefore, Hinduism is also sometimes referred to as the oldest religion. 

2. 108 is considered a sacred number

So-called Malas or Garlands of prayer beads come as a string of 108 beads. Mathematicians of Vedic culture saw this number as a wholeness of existence, and that it connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth.

108 has long been a sacred number for Hindus. 

3. It’s the third largest religion in the world

Only Christianity and Islam have more followers than Hinduism, which makes it the third largest religion in the world!

4. Hindu belief says that gods can take many forms

There is only one eternal energy, but it can take form as many gods and goddesses. It is also believed that a part of the Brahman lives in every single being in the Universe.

One of the many interesting facts about Hinduism since the other major religions are monotheistic. 

5. Sanskrit is the most commonly used language in Hindu texts

Sanskrit is the ancient language of which most of the sacred text is written in and the language’s history goes back to at least 3500 years in time.

6. Hinduism believes in a circular concept of time

The Western world follows a linear concept of time, but Hindus rather believe that time is a manifestation of God, and that it is never-ending.

They see life in cycles that begin to end and ends to begin. God is timeless and the past, the present and the future coexist simultaneously.

7. There is no single founder of Hinduism

Most religions and belief systems in the world have a founder, such as Jesus for Christianity, Muhammad for Islam, or Buddha for Buddhism and so on.

Hinduism, however, has no such founder and there is no exact date when it originated. This is because it grew out of cultural and religious changes in India.

8. The real name is Sanātana Dharma

The original name in Sanskrit for Hinduism is Sanātana Dharma. The word Hindu or Indu was used by Greeks to describe the people living around the Indus River.

By the 13th century, Hindustan became a popular alternative name for India. And in the 19th century, it is believed that English writers added ism to Hindu and that it was later adopted by the Hindus themselves. 

9. Hinduism encourages a vegetarian diet

Ahimsa is a moral principle which can be found in the Hindu faith as well as Buddhism and Jainism. It is a Sanskrit word which means “not to injure” and compassion.

That is why many Hindus eat a vegetarian diet because if you eat meat on purpose it is believed that you cause harm to the animals. However, some Hindus just refrain from eating pork and beef. 

10. Hindus believe in Karma

A person who does good in life is believed to receive good karma. For every good or bad action in life, the karma will be affected, and if you have good karma at the end of this life, Hindus believe that your next life will be better. 

11. There are 4 life goals for Hindus

These are Dharma (righteousness), Artha (means of money), Kama (right desire), and Moksha (salvation).

This is another one of the interesting Hinduism facts, and especially since the goal isn’t to please God in order to allowed into heaven or sent to hell. Hinduism has totally different goals and the ultimate goal is to become one with the Brahman and leave the cycle of reincarnation. 

12. Om represents the sound of the universe

Om, also Aum is the most sacred syllable, symbol or mantra in Hinduism. It is often chanted before a mantra or independently. It is thought to be the sound of the Universe or Brahman as sound. It is also used in Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

It’s a spiritual sound that you will hear frequently while practicing yoga or visiting a temple. It is also used for meditation. 

13. Yoga is a vital part of Hinduism

The original meaning of Yoga was “Union with God” but in recent years it has moved closer to Western society. But the term yoga is also quite loose as the original term actually refers to various Hindu practices.

There are various forms of yoga, although the most common one today is Hatha yoga.

14. Anyone can attain salvation

There is no saying that people from other religions can’t attain salvation or enlightenment. 

15. The Kumbh Mela is the largest spiritual gathering in the world

The Kumbh Mela festival has been awarded the status as a cultural heritage by UNESCO, and on 10 February in 2013, more than 30 million people participated in just one single day.

5 x Random Facts about Hinduism 

  • Million of Hindus worship cows
  • There are three major sects in Hinduism: Shaiva, Shakti, and Vaishnava
  • There are more than 1 billion Hindus in the world, but most of them are from India
  • Ayurveda is a science of medicine that is part of the sacred Vedas
  • Diwali, Gudhipadawa, Vijayadashami, Ganesh festival, Navratri are some of the important Hindu festivals

5 x Hinduism Facts for Kids

  • It originated at least 4000 years ago, but its history can be traced back to 5000-10,000 B.C
  • There is an elephant god known as Ganesha
  • Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva are the main deities in Hinduism
  • Brahman is the eternal origin, who is responsible for the creation of the universe
  • Hindus believe in reincarnation, which means that the soul is eternal and is constantly reborn in one form or another

General Facts about Hinduism 

Below is some general information about Hinduism that might be interesting to know.

  • Total number of Hindus: 1.08 billion people
  • Original name: Sanātana Dharma
  • Place of Origin: India
  • Sacred text: Vedas and Upanishads
  • Original language: Sanskrit

Hindu Gods
Brahma Ganesha
Shiva Vishnu
Krishna Shakti
Yamuna Hanuman
Ayyapan Kartikeya

Hinduism beliefs

Hindus believe in a universal soul or God called Brahman. It is thought to be eternal energy that is timeless and the cause of the creation of the universe and everything that comes with it. 

The Brahman is neither a he or she and can take forms on Earth in many ways, which is why Hindus believe in various gods and goddesses. 


This is the concept of being reborn in a different physical form or body. The Vedas does not mention the doctrine of Karma and rebirth.

The Vedas only mention the belief in an afterlife, so reincarnation is something that has grown into the religion, and it was first mentioned in the early Upanishads.

However, in modern times, reincarnation plays a big role within Hinduism, and what physical form or body your soul will enter depends on your karma. 


This is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence. For every good deed that you do, the better the karma you will receive as long as the intention was pure.

And the opposite will happen if you do something wrongfully. Karma decides the fate for your soul during reincarnation.

Hinduism Symbols

The Aum symbol and Swastika are two ancient Hindu symbols. 

Hindu Festivals

  • Diwali
  • Holi
  • Onam
  • Maha Shivaratri
  • Krishna Janmashtami
  • Makar Sankranti
  • Ganesh Chaturthi
  • Rama Navami
  • Ugadi
  • Kumbh Mela

What is Hinduism?

Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is the collective name for Indian traditions, religious- and philosophical beliefs. It’s the major belief system in India and has more than 1 billion followers. It is unique since it has no founder, but rather grew out of Vedic religions.

The followers of Hinduism are known as Hindus and it is known as the oldest religion in the world.

Founder of Hinduism

There is no single founder of Hinduism. It was created out of cultural and religious changes in India, and its history goes back to at least 5000-10,000 B.C. 

Why it matters

No matter what you believe in yourself it’s important to educate yourself about world religions and belief systems. In order to accept others and stop judgemental actions, we need to understand each other. 

Now you know the basics of Hinduism, and despite if you agree with it or not, at least now you don’t have to make assumptions, and you can go ahead and become inspired by it or the very least accept Hindus and their beliefs. 

We only have 1 planet that we live on, and we need to be open towards other cultures. We need acceptance and respect to maintain peace and make Earth a prosperous place to live for every living being, no matter background. 

Also, if you travel to India or any other country with many Hindus, it’s a good idea to learn a thing or two beforehand to show respect and appreciation of their culture. 

Do You Know the Basics of Hinduism?

Mahatma Gandhi, the famous nonviolent Hindu reformer, explained that Hinduism is not an exclusive religion. Gandhi said, “If a man reaches the heart of his own religion, he has reached the heart of the others too. There is only one God, and there are many paths to him.” Although some ideas unify Hinduism, it is an extremely tolerant religion that allows its followers full freedom to choose their own belief system and way of life.

It’s rare that two Hindus believe exactly the same thing. What follows is a general summary of Hinduism, but it’s always best to ask individuals what they personally believe.

What Do Hindus Believe about God?

Hinduism has traditionally been considered polytheistic—the worship of many gods—but may better be described as henotheistic—the worship of one particular god without disbelieving in the existence of others. Hinduism recognizes up to 333 million gods, but many Hindus believe this vast number represents the infinite forms of god—god is in everyone, god is in everything.

Many Hindus believe in and worship three gods that make up the Hindu “trinity”: Brahma the creator of the universe, Vishnu the preserver of the universe, and Shiva the destroyer of the universe. These gods, along with the other millions of deities, are considered manifestations of either one supreme god or a single, transcendent power called Brahman (not to be confused with Brahmins, the priestly social class). Many Hindus would even say Jesus was a manifestation of one of their gods.

No matter what form of Hinduism they follow, most Hindus are also active animists. They attempt to appease good and bad spirits by worshiping at auspicious times, studying horoscopes, and wearing amulets to guard against diseases and evil.

Hindu Holy Texts 

Many Hindu practices today somewhat rely on the spiritual literature and authority of the Vedas—texts of sacred truth revealed from an absolute power to the inhabitants of northern India. The Sanskrit texts that make up the Vedas were composed and orally transmitted by ancient poets and sages as early as 1700 BC. However, many people neither read, adhere to, nor know how to interpret these holy texts. High-caste Brahmins—members of the priestly social class by birth—have closely guarded knowledge of the Vedas to preserve their dominant position in society. Therefore, many Hindus instead choose to follow family traditions and guidance provided by their spiritual teachers, called gurus.

Salvation According to Hindus

Hindus believe in the soul, or true self, called atman. According to Hindus, the soul goes through reincarnation—a rebirth of the soul into a new body after death. Life, birth, death, and rebirth is an endless cycle called samsara. Rebirth is affected by karma—the result of deeds or actions—in the present life. 

There is no concept of sin in Hinduism as it is perceived in Western thought. Instead, there is the law of karma that says every good thought, word, or deed affects the next life favorably while every bad thought, word, or deed leads to suffering in the next life. The law of karma does not allow for the possibility of forgiveness but only the accumulation of inescapable consequences—good or bad, according to right or wrong action. Karma does not affect a Hindu’s relationship with the universal power, Brahman. Whether a person’s karma is good or bad has no impact on their intrinsic oneness with Brahman.

Individuals are born into a particular caste depending on their actions in the previous life. Good karma leads to rebirth in a higher caste and bad karma to a lower caste. One can only become a member of a different caste through death and rebirth. Eventually, the soul will attain moksha—alternately called salvation, enlightenment, or liberation from rebirth—and become one with the universal power, Brahman.

What Is the Purpose of Life for a Hindu?

Hindus have four specific goals in human life.

  1. Dharma: pursuing virtuous behavior and fulfilling one’s duty in life
  2. Artha: pursuing and acquiring success and wealth
  3. Kama: pursuing pleasure in all its forms
  4. Moksha: pursuing salvation

The first three goals of human life deal mainly with the quality of life and are very important to Hindus. But moksha is arguably the most significant goal. Hinduism offers at least three paths to pursue moksha: the way of ritual and action, the way of knowledge and meditation, and the way of devotion. Hindus usually prioritize or adopt one path over the others.

The way of ritual and action claims that performing one’s duty in this life is the sacred and moral responsibility of the individual. Each caste has a duty or function that helps to sustain society as a whole. If someone deviates from fulfilling his or her function, it is interpreted as bringing disaster to both the individual and to society. Similar to Buddhism, the way of ritual and action focuses on detachment from desire in order to attain salvation. This path is primarily followed by high-caste Hindus, such as Brahmins.

The way of knowledge and meditation says that humans are trapped in an illusion that keeps us from realizing we are a part of god. When this illusion is dispelled, we will reach salvation by becoming one with the ultimate reality. Followers of this path practice yoga, meditation, and are also encouraged to study philosophy in their pursuit to dispel illusion. Modern-day gurus of this path claim they are god and suggest all of us can be god too. This path is followed mainly by the intellectual elite, and its philosophy has been widely embraced by non-Hindus with New Age beliefs.

The way of devotion is characterized by acts of devotion to one’s personal god in the hopes of receiving mercy and instant salvation. These acts range from ascetic practices, singing hymns, and repeating the name of god (the word om), to pilgrimages and sacrifices. This path is open to all—even low-castes, outcasts, women, and children.

Holy Cows, Vegetarianism, and Yoga

Despite the broad spectrum of faith and practice, Hinduism has several common cultural elements: the veneration of cows, vegetarianism, and yoga.

During the Vedic Period of northern India, the cow was a symbol of wealth and prosperity, as well as one of the animals offered in ritual religious sacrifices. But over time, possibly through the influence of Buddhism and Jainism, animal sacrifices waned, and the cow emerged as a sacred symbol to Hindus. The five products of the cow—milk, curds, butter, urine, and dung—are used in purifying and healing rituals. One popular Hindu god, Krishna, spent his early life as a cowherd, further elevating the status of the cow. In some states of India, there are bans and strict regulations concerning the slaughter of cows and eating of beef.

Many rules concerning food govern a Hindu’s life—when to eat, what to eat, and who can prepare food for whom. The preparation and consumption of food are central to a Hindu’s notion of ritual purity and, ultimately, their liberation from rebirth. Not all Hindus are vegetarians, but vegetarianism is seen as an indicator of purity. Many high-caste Hindus are vegetarians.

In Hinduism, yoga is a discipline to transform the individual and become one with the universal power. It takes many different forms according to the traditions or methods under which it is practiced. At its most basic, yoga consists of a particular set of techniques, usually including meditation, to control the body, the breath, and the mind. The practice of using yoga to alter one’s conscious state and suppress the senses has roots going back to the Vedic Period. By contrast, yoga has become popular in the West as a way to achieve physical and mental fitness.

20 Facts About Hinduism for Kids
What are some interesting facts about Hinduism?
If you’ve enjoyed reading about Hinduism, why not use this handy Hinduism fact file to learn some fun facts about Hinduism? See how many Hindu facts you can memorize and impress your family and friends!

  1. To kick off our Hinduism fun facts, did you know Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religion after Christianity and Islam?
  2. Another interesting fact about Hinduism, 90% of Hindus live in India!
  3. Two other religions have originated from Hinduism: Sikhism and Buddhism.
  4. Worldwide, there are over 1.1 billion Hindus – that’s around 16% of the global population!
  5. Nature is very important to Hindus and many believe that some rivers are sacred and can help you wash away sins. The River Ganges is a river in India that many Hindus believe is sacred.
  6. Most Hindus are vegetarian because it minimizes the harm caused to other life forms. Some Hindus also believed a vegetarian diet purifies the body and mind.
  7. While there are Hindu temples, many Hindu households have an area of their house that they also use to worship; this is known as a ‘shrine’. Hindu places of worship are called mandir.
  8. In 2013, 30 million Hindus celebrated Kumbh Mela, which is a special pilgrimage that only happens every 12 years. This meant it was the largest gathering of humans ever witnessed!
  9. Unlike Christianity and Islam, Hinduism doesn’t have a singular holy book but instead has many ancient texts and scriptures.
  10. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world – some Hindu traditions started over 3000 years ago!
  11. In Hinduism the supreme God is called ‘Brahman’. All other gods worshipped by Hindus are believed to be a different part of Brahman.
  12. A mooo-st know fun fact about Hinduism – cows are considered sacred by Hindus.
  13. Hindu temples around the world always have an orange flag outside, even if they look slightly different.
  14. In Hinduism, worship is called Puja.
  15. The god Ganesh is a good luck symbol for Hindus; he is a god with the body of a man and the head of an elephant. Many Hindus will pray to Ganesh when they’re starting something new!
  16. Because the Hindu religion is so old, people aren’t sure of its origins or who started it!
  17. Many Hindus believe in something called karma. This is the belief that everything a person experiences in their current life is because of their actions in a past life.
  18. An important symbol in Hinduism is the ‘Om’ or ‘Aum’. It is also said by some Hindus three times before chanting prayers.
  19. Only a few Hindusim facts left! Hindus refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma which means ‘the eternal law’ or ‘eternal teaching’.
  20. During Diwali, Hindus draw beautiful patterns called ‘rangoli’. Rangoli are made using powders made from colourful flowers and Hindus place them at the entrance of their homes to welcome gods and bring good luck. Take a look at this fun colouring activity where you can use your new knowledge of Hinduism fun facts to create and colour in your own rangoli:

Looking for more facts about Hinduism? Take a look at this PowerPoint to learn about mandalas and what they mean as well as more Hindu facts. It is completely free to download and use at home – you can even just follow along with the slides on-screen so there’s no need to print!

We also have some fun Hinduism-themed activities that can help you learn more about this fascinating religion and even more Hinduism facts. This word search can help you practise your Hinduism vocabulary – can you spot all the words?

Looking for MORE facts about Hinduism?
Hinduism is a super interesting religion to learn about, there’s certainly no end of interesting facts about Hinduism! If you’re hungry for even more Hindu facts then how about 10 facts about Hindu gods for your Hinduism fact file?

10 Facts About Hinduism’s Gods and Goddesses
Brahma, the Creator. Brahma is the first of three gods known as the Hindu Trinity. He is also known as ‘the Creator’ because Hindus believed he creates everything in the universe.
The second member of the Hindu Trinity is Vishnu is the second member of the Hindu Trinity. Vishnu keeps harmony in the universe between Brahma and Shiva.
Shiva is the third member of the Hindu Trinity. He is also known as ‘the Destroyer’, which sounds worrying but this part of the cycle of regeneration that Hindu’s believe in. Shiva must destroy in order for things to renew or grow. As Brahma creates, Shiva destroys, and vice versa, in a cycle that Vishnu keeps harmony over.
Another name Hindus have for gods and goddesses is deva, meaning “heavenly” or “divine”. In fact, deva is the masculine name, the feminine name is devi.
What about some fun facts about Hindu goddesses? Saraswati is the wife or Brahma and goddess of many wonderful things such as knowledge, wisdom, music and art. How does she have the time for all of these things? She has four arms to help her!
Another famous Hindu goddess is Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, power, beauty and general prosperity. She is married to Vishnu.
Lakshmi’s image has been found across many remains of ancient civilizations, on coins and in the form of statues, supporting the idea that Hinduism is an ancient religion even if we don’t know exactly how old!
A third Hindu goddess is Parvati, goddess of harmony, devotion and also motherhood. She is married to Shiva and is the mother of Ganesh.
Along with Lakshmi and Sarawati, Parvati is part of another Hindu trinity called the ‘Tridevi’, similar to the Hindu Trinity of their husbands, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

It might take you a long time to learn about all the Hindu gods and goddesses – there are approximately 33 million in total! For now, if you’re interested in learning more about the more well-known deities, check out these illustrated Hindu Gods Fact Files!

15 Interesting Facts About Hinduism That Might Surprise You

Hinduism is one of the most influential religions in the world and the oldest that goes back as far as 5,000-10,000 BC. It comes at No. 3 after Christianity and Islam in terms of followers. Regardless of which religion you practice, most of the major religions preach peace and non-violence, so does Hinduism. Here are some interesting and lesser-known facts about Hinduism. Let’s have a look.

  1. Hinduism Isn’t The Accurate Name Of The Religion

Hinduism or what we call Hindu dharma isn’t the actual name for this religion. Its actual name is Santana Dharma, which means the Eternal way of Salvation. The word Hindu or Indu comes from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, meaning a large body of water or River. The people who lived beside the Indus valley were called Hindus by the Greeks.

  1. Sanskrit, Mother Of Many Languages

Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages in the world having a history of more than 3500 years. Many linguists consider it to be the mother of many (almost all) languages, It belongs to the language family of Proto-Indo-Aryan, Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Indo-Europian Languages. It is also been proven that Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computers. Pretty cool, isn’t it!

  1. Holy River Ganga Has Her Bodyguard!

Yes, you read it right. The holy river Ganga has its bacteria called Bacteriophage. It infects and kills other harmful bacteria invading the river. That’s the reason river Ganga water doesn’t go bad if being kept for a long time. University of Roorkee’s D.S. Bhargava, an environmental engineer, stated that the Ganga is the only river in the world that decomposes organic wastes at a rate 15 to 20 times faster than any other river in the entire world.

  1. The English Word Juggernaut Is Named After A Hindu Deity

The English word Juggernaut, which means huge or powerful, is named after the Hindu deity Lord JagannathEvery year, a cart festival is held in Puri, a city of Odisha, named The Holy Rath Yatra. The carts used for Lord Jagannath along with his brother Lord Balavadra and sister Goddess Suvadra are huge and the devotees would crush themselves under the wheels of the carts to attain salvation. That’s where the word came from.

  1. Hinduism States That Gods Have Many Forms

In Hinduism, it is believed that God is one eternal energy, who can take any form or Avatars according to the situation and in the favour of mankind and it’s also believed that a part of Brahman lives inside every single being in the universe or multiverse.

  1. There Is No Founder OF Hinduism

Most religions have a founder such as Prophet Muhammad for Islam, Jesus for Christianity, Buddha for Buddhism, Mahavir for Jainism and so on. Hinduism, however, has no single founder and no one knows the exact timeline for when it originated.

  1. Hinduism Follows A Vegetarian Diet

Hinduism believes in Ahimsa or non-violence. They don’t want to hurt any living being. That is why many, if not all, Hindus prefer a vegetarian diet as they don’t want to hurt animals.

  1. “OM”, The Sound Of The Universe

OM or AUM is the most sacred symbol or syllable in Hinduism. It’s often chanted as a prefix of any mantra. Its also been suggested that when chanted the vibration of OM is said to be 432HZ which is the vibrational frequency of everything in this universe.

  1. “Yoga”, The Face Of Hinduism To The World

Yoga is a vital part of Hinduism. Even if you don’t know Hinduism or India still you know what yoga is. That much influence yoga has created into this world. The original meaning of yoga is ‘Union with God’ for Hindus. But in recent years it has been adopted by western society as well. Lord Shiva is said to be the lord of Yoga often mentioned as Adi Yogi or the First teacher as he is the first person to describe the secret of yoga to the Sapta Rishis or the seven saints.

  1. The Only Religion That Doesn’t Have A Conversion Rule

Hinduism is the only religion that never invaded any country or other religion to convert them into Hindus. Hinduism has no rule or ritual for conversion. But it will not be going to restrict you if you want to practice Hinduism. You can practice it and attain salvation even being into your religion.

  1. “The Kumbh Mela”, A Gathering That Can Be Seen From Space

The Kumbh Mela, a spiritual gathering of Hinduism held on the banks of Holy river Ganga every 12 years. Millions of people gather there to bathe in the holy river. The gathering is so massive that it can be seen from space and on 10th February in 2013, more than 30 million people gathered in a single day! It has also been awarded the status as a cultural heritage by UNESCO.

  1. “Vedas”, The Oldest Known Scripture In The World

The Vedas are a large body of text originated in ancient India. Composed in Sanskrit around 1700-1100 BCE making them the oldest religious scripture in the world. They had a great influence over Hinduism and Indians. There are 4 Vedas Rig Ved, Sama Ved, Yajur Ved and Atharva Ved. Vedas are also called ‘Sruti’, as knowledge of the Vedas were passed orally thousand of years ago from generation to generation.

  1. The House Of Incredible Knowledge And Innovation

Indians, the followers of Hinduism offered this world some great knowledge and innovations. Yoga, Astrology, Decimal system, Infinity, Pi, Meditation, Vastu, Navigation system, Shampoo allegedly have their origins in Hinduism. The Mathematics Society will always bow down to Aryabhatta as the greatest mathematician as he invented ‘Zero’. Can you Imagine number system without zero? The first man to perform plastic surgery was Sushruta back in 600 BC, often regarded as the father of surgery and medicine, he was the son of Rishi Viswamitra.

  1. Hinduism Believes In The Circular Concept Of Time

Hinduism believes in a circular concept of the timeline rather than a linear concept. According to Hinduism, time is divided into four Yugas such as Satya-Yuga, Treta-Yuga, Dwapara-Yuga and Kali Yuga. Right now we are in Kali-yuga. At the end of Kali Yuga, an apocalypse will come to destruct anything and everything for the recreation of the Universe and Multiverse.

  1. Hanuman Chalisa Predicted The Distance Between Sun And Earth

Hanuman Chalisa is a prayer offering to Lord Hanuman written by Santh Tulsidas in the 16th century. In a verse of this prayer, it’s written as follows

Yuga-Sahasra-yojana para Bhanu
Leeloo Tahi Madhura Phala Janu”

According to the above verse, the distance between the Sun and Earth is Yuga-Sahasra-yojana. As said by Hinduism, 1 yuga is 12000 divine years, Sahasra means one thousand and Yojana means 8 miles. Now Equating this calculation we get 12000 x 1000 x 8 = 96million miles, which is 154.4 million km approximately, much closer to the 20th-century calculation of 152 million km at Aphelion (Longest distance between the Sun and the Earth). Just WOW!

So, these were some interesting and lesser-known facts about Hinduism.

Hinduism Fast Facts


There is no single founder or founding incident of Hinduism. It grew out of cultural and religious changes in India.

The Hindu belief is that gods or divinities can take many forms, but all form one universal spirit called Brahman. The three most important representations of Brahman are Brahma, the creator of the universe, Vishnu, the preserver of the universe and Shiva, the destroyer of the universe.

The Hindu belief involves reincarnation of the soul, which is rebirth after death. Hindus believe the conditions of one’s present life are due to karma, or accumulated good or bad behavior in past lives.

One improves one’s conditions through good behavior and creates suffering for oneself through bad behavior. Eventually the soul will achieve moksha, or salvation, and stop the cycle of rebirths to become a part of the absolute soul.

Paths to salvation are called the margas or yogas.
– Karma Marga – performing social obligations and offering selfless service.
-Jnana Marga – studying and cultivating an intellectual understanding into one’s identity with Brahman.
– Bhakti Marga – devotion to one’s personal god.
– Raja or Dhyana Marga – not as widely recognized as the three outlined in the Bhagavad Gita, this path uses meditation to gain insight into the absolute soul that resides within one’s self.

There are multiple sects, theologies, and beliefs in Hinduism, and there is no single book of doctrine. It is an inclusive religious group, allowing for a lot of diversity.

The Vedas are the primary literary works, containing sacred verses and hymns composed in Sanskrit. The Rig Veda was the first of the four Vedas. The Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda followed later.

Two other important texts are the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.

Pilgrimages and festivals are common in Hinduism. Diwali, the New Year’s celebration, features gift-giving and lighting of ceremonial lamps. Holi, the Festival of Colors, marks the arrival of spring each year.

India’s Caste System

Indian society has traditionally been divided into a hierarchical system called caste or jati, which is not limited to Hindus, but which most Hindus have observed throughout history. It is hereditary, and each caste has its own set of values, rules, dietary beliefs, etc. Many do not marry outside their castes.

There are four major varnas or social classes most caste members fall into:
– Brahmans – the priests and other educated professionals.
– Kshatriyas – warriors and those who own a lot of land.
– Vaishyas – formerly the farmers, now those involved in commerce.
– Shudras (some sources say Sudra) – the lowest of the social classes. Made up of laborers, artisans and other servants.

There are some that do not fall into any of these categories, and they are now considered part of the Scheduled Caste. They are lower than the Shudras on the hierarchy, and they are people who perform “unclean” work, such as leather working and street cleaning. They have been called untouchables, Dalits, Harijans or backward castes. Although Hinduism teaches that discrimination and prejudice go against the idea of the divinity of all beings, both sometimes exist within the caste system.

Mahatma Gandhi called these untouchables “children of God.” Although the 1950 Indian constitution outlawed “untouchability,” violence against them continues.


2300-1500 BC – A very developed civilization dwells in the Indus Valley with its own religion and culture, and is believed to be the beginnings of Hinduism.

1500 BC – Indo-European language and culture spread into the Indus Valley through a mix of trade and migration.

1500-1200 BC – The Rig Veda is written and is composed of 1,028 hymns devoted to the gods.

800-600 BC – The Brahmans are written and added to the Vedas. They are prose writings that explain certain ceremonies found in the Vedas.

600 BC – The belief in reincarnation develops.

300-650 AD – The worship of images, especially female divinities, becomes common.

800-1800 AD – The most divisive period. Many different schools and sects emerge, and Islam becomes a major influence in India.

1947 – British India is split into what is now India and Pakistan. Hinduism is now the major religion of India.

January 30, 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi is shot and killed by a Hindu fanatic who disagrees with his efforts to reconcile Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi, born October 2, 1869, is considered the father of modern India. He was raised in a highly religious family and practiced law. He led a campaign of non-violent protests against British rule, which eventually led to India’s independence in 1947.

Who is the founder of the Hindu religion? 

yadā yadā hī dharmasya glānirbhavati bhārata।
abhyutthānamadharmasya tadātmānama sṛjyāhama।
paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṃ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtāma।
dharma saṃsthāpanārthāya saṃbhavāmi yuge yuge ॥’

Vedic religion was the first in the whole universe. Then this religion started to become malignant. People and so-called saints gave birth, and in this way, people of the same religion were divided into many castes and sub-castes. These racists were those who did not believe in faith in the Vedas, Vedanta and Parmatma. From this one class used to call himself a follower of the Vedic religion and Arya, the other who believed in magic and worship was nature worshiper of the elements. Both classes were living in confusion and disorientation because in reality, their Vedic religion was of no avail. It is said that more than 72 non-Vedic communities were present in the world during Sri Krishna’s era. In this way, Shri Krishna united all and again established Vedic Sanaatan Dharma.
* Today the condition of Hindu religion is that every saint has his own religion and every caste has his own religion. People are living in confusion and disorientation. Apart from the Vedas, saints, astrology and others have become supporters of other or arbitrary religion. Well …

agnivāyuravibhyastu tryaṃ brahma sanātanama।
dudoha yajñasidhyarthamṛgayu : samalakṣaṇam॥- manu smṛti

* The God who created the human being in the creation of the body, and after receiving the four Vedas from the four Rishis, the Brahma assumed the formation of Rig, Yaju, Sam and Atharvaved with fire, air, Aditya and angira.-Manu Smruti

* After the Avantara Rebellion in the universe, Brahma’s son Swayambhav Manu preached religion. Manu got an education from Brahma, taught the Vedas to Bhrigu, Marichi and Rishis. A substantial part of the description of this Vichik tradition is found in the genre of Manusmriti.
According to the Sathpath Brahmin, fire, air and sun received penance and received Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samveda.

* In the ancient times, Rigveda was only after the Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda started. By the very time, it was only three Vedas. They started to be called Vedratri. According to the recognition, the compilation of knowledge of these three was done in the time of Purva Rishi before the birth of Lord Rama.

* According to Manusmriti in relation to Atharva Veda – its knowledge was first to Maharishi Angira. Later, the compilation of Atharvaveda heard by Angira was done by Sage Atharva. In this way, Hinduism was divided into two parts, one who believed in Rigveda and the other who believed in Atharvaveda. In this way, four books were descended.
During Krishna, Krishna Dwapayan (Vedavas), son of Maharishi Parashar, edited the Vedas in four Divisions. The education of these four divisions was given to four disciples Pail, Vaishampayan, Jamini and Sumantu. In that sequence, the Rigveda-Pell was entrusted to Yajurveda-Vaishampayan, Samaveda-Jamini and Atharva Veda-Sumantu. Krishna dwaraiyapan is called Ved Vyas only.

* In the Gita, God says through Krishna that ‘I told this indestructible knowledge to Aditya, Aditya told his son Waivaswat Manu and Manu told his son Raja Ikshvaku. In this way, the Rajshis have known this yoga knowledge gained from tradition.
* This knowledge from God gave Brahma to 11 Prajapati, 11 Rudras and Swayambhuva Manu and Sartupa to their own form. Swayambhuv Manu gave this knowledge to his sons and then he got this knowledge from Swaroopish, Attami, Tamas Manu, Raavat, Chakshush and then Vaishavvat Manu. In the end, this knowledge got Lord Krishna as Gita. Now the Manvanthar of the seventh Manu Vaivasvat Manu is going on in Varah Kalp.

* About 414 sages of Rigveda get their names, of whom about 30 names are from women sages. In this way, Rishi and Manu, who is the Vedas and the Vedas, who is taking care of the Vedas, are the founders of Hindu religion.

It is often said that there is no founder of Hindu religion. The beginning of this religion is not known at all. Although according to religion experts, this religion, which is presently introduced, was from Manvantra of First Manu Swayambhav Manu.

* Agni, Aditya, Vayu and Angira along with Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh established this religion. Saying successively, this religion was established through Vishnu through Brahma, Brahma 11 Rudra, 11 Prajapati and Swayambhuv Manu. After this, different religious branches of Shiva were created from this religious knowledge. Vedas and Manu are the roots of all religions. Many messengers came after Manu and conveyed this knowledge to the people in their own way.

With the tradition of more than 90 thousand years, this knowledge has reached Sri Krishna and Gautam Buddha. If someone asks – Who is the founder of Hindu religion then Brahma is the first and Sri Krishna-Buddha is the last. Tell those who ask that … fire, air, Aditya and angira established the Hindu religion. This is not the name of any other sages.

8c. The Rise of Hinduism

Dharma. Karma. Reincarnation.

Brahma. Shiva. Vishnu.

Not many things have endured without interruption or major transformation for over 5,000 years. Hindu traditions such as these are great exceptions. Arguably, Hinduism is the oldest religion on Earth.

To understand how Hinduism has withstood the tests of time, it is important to know the principles upon which it is grounded. And to understand the principles, it is necessary to know their historical foundations.

Archaeologists have determined that highly developed civilizations flourished throughout the Indus Valley between 4000 and 1500 B.C.E. But for still unknown reasons, the valley’s inhabitants appear to have moved out rather suddenly. They resettled among new neighbors in northwestern India and encountered a group of people from central Asia who brought with them warrior ethics and a religion called Vedism.

Within the ruins of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, archaeologists have discovered many artifacts of modern Hinduism that were not found in any Vedic civilizations. These include statues and amulets of gods and goddesses, huge temple tanks for bathing, and sculptures of people in yoga postures.

Based on this evidence, it seems that when the people from central Asia settled in India, their Vedic beliefs were mingled with the beliefs of indigenous Indians. Thus, it is likely that the Indus Valley tradition and Vedic gods and beliefs combined to form the foundations of Hinduism.

One Faith, Many Paths

Hinduism stands apart from all other religions for several reasons. It has no single founder, no single book of theological law and truth, no central religious organization, and no definition of absolute beginning and end.

Hinduism is a code of life — a collection of attitudes, personal experiences, and spiritual practices. It is, in essence, defined by behaviors rather than beliefs.

According to Hindu philosophy, there is one divine reality, and all religions are simply various interpretations of it. Because of this, Hinduism allows and even encourages individuals to choose a religious path that best suits their social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual needs.

One Hindu devotee might worship well-known gods such as Vishnu and Shiva in a large, public temple, whereas another might worship less common deities in a private shrine within his or her own home. Yet they would both be considered good Hindus, provided that they honored each other’s choices.

This tolerance makes Hinduism difficult to understand and define, but it does explain why so many gods, goddesses, and rituals are described in the numerous Hindu scriptures.

The Vedas and the Upanishads

Despite the fact that Hindus characteristically believe and do different things, several concepts and traditions bind them together. Many of these beliefs were compiled in a set of scriptures written around 1300 B.C.E. known as the Vedas. It is believed that the Vedas are the eternal truths that were heard, then written down by holy seers.

According to the Vedas, time and life are cyclical. After death, one’s soul leaves the body and is reborn, or reincarnated, into a new form.

The constant cycle of birth and rebirth is known as samsara and the measurement by which the quality of new birth is determined is known as karma. Karma, the accumulated result of one’s actions in various lives, can be good or bad. Righteous and moral conduct, known as dharma, is the road to good karma.

Examples of traditional good conduct included marrying within one’s caste, revering upper castes, doing good deeds, and abstaining from meat, particularly that of cows.

The writings known as the Upanishads appeared six to eight hundred years after the Vedas and focus mostly on how to escape the cycle of rebirth. The Upanishads explain how to leave Samsara through a release and ultimate enlightenment known as moksha. The appearance of the Upanishads marked the beginning of a period known as the Vedantic Age.

The End of the Vedas?

Literally, ‘Vedantic” means “end of the Vedas.” But the Vedic beliefs never really disappeared. Gods of the Vedic tradition became less commonly worshipped, but the Vedic philosophies recorded in the books were surely not forgotten. The principles of karma and dharma were too popular (especially among members of the lower castes) to fade away.

Scholars continue to debate over the beginning of Hinduism, but most agree that during the Vedantic Age (between 800 and 400 B.C.E.) there was a shift to the widespread worship of the gods Vishnu and Shiva. They also agree that this shift coincided with the emergence of new religions in India that sought enlightenment, such as Buddhism and Jainism.

In the years to come, Hinduism became divided into many sects. But true to the foundations of Hinduism, the new sects’ beliefs and practices were accepted. Because of such tolerance, Hinduism thrives today, millennia after it began.

How does any religion get founder?

Normally a person, prophet or a philosopher comes up against some questionable approach or thought process or mankind with his own system revolutionary and when people starts following it with complete devotion and zeal thats when the new stage of religion is set up. This tends to happen when this system is unique and donot follow any of the existing thought process and hence formation of new religion. now once this new religion comes into existance with its discuples and followers it starts spreading among the people who believe in this new and unique revolutionary system.Thus this man, prophet or a philosopher who have brought it to the world becomes the founder of this newly formed religion, but incase of Hinduism whatever the seers have taught or bring in new have already been part of Hinduism some way or the other way.Hence when it comes to Hinduism there is no specific founder and not specific day of its origin

Hinduism always have had Gurus, seers, Rishis, Saints and revolutionary leaders who reformed the society with the new way of the forgotten thought processes if hindu culture and traditions.

Who is the founder of Hinduism?

This is one of the most basic questions asked about Hinduism by the majority of people who don’t know about Hinduism.

They take Hinduism as a religion hence search for the founder of Hinduism as in other religions like Christianity which was founded by Jesus Christ, Islam was founded by Prophet Mohammad , Buddhism by Gautam Buddha and so forth.

The answer to this question is there is no founder of Hinduism as it existed from the time mankind existed on earth.

In case of Hinduism it existed from time unmemorable.

You might see that Hindu scriptures and holy books talk about the things and events that happened over period of time and the calculation of time is well mentioned in the holy books of Hindus.

Many scientific excavations have show the existence of the community even thousands of years back taking examples of the most ancient civilization that existed in harappa and Mohenjo daro reveal the truth where in they worshiped lord shiva in the forum of shiva linga.

Many philosphers and saints have come with in this system of belief and they formed many subsets or sub-sects of this great religion with their set of beliefs but majority of them took the teachings of vedas to different forms of Hinduism So, there is No Single (Human) Founder for Hinduism and it existed from time unexplored, as a religion.

The culture is said to be flourished in ancient India which was formerly called as bharat but the recent excavations have shown the remains of Hindu customs and traditions around the world.

Hinduism was always taken from one generation to another generation by the Ancient rishi’s and saints’ through teacher-disciple tradition (Gury-Shishya Parampara).

Vedas are believed to be the supreme commandment of god and the age of veda’s is still unknown to the scientists

If we look at the vedic or ancient history of Hinduism , there have been countless rishis who propagated the ancient teachings of hindu literature to the different parts of the world but none of them can be called a founder. Each one of these spiritual gurus passed on the knowledge received from their gurus.

As said by one of the saints “Religions will come propogate and distory by dharma was from the start of the universe and will remain till the date universe exists “

dharma cannot be made not can it be destroyed

dharman tu sakshad bhagavat pranitam.

Age of Hinduism

  1. Dates for your Concern
    • RIGVED: 6000 BC: Rigvedic mantras were composed.KALIYUG: -3102: Kaliyuga begins. Kali era, Hindu calendar also known as Yugabd starts.SINDH (HINDU): -3000: Hindu religion weaving in Sindh near East and Indus- (Sarasvati) Valley.DHRITRASTRA: -1472: Reign of Dhritarashtra, father of the Kauravas. Reign of Yudhisthira, king of the Pandavas.MAHABHARAT: -1316: Mahabharata epic poem is composed by Sage Vyasa.SMRITI: -500: Over the next 300 years numerous secondary Hindu scriptures (smriti) were composed: Shrauta Sutras, Grihya Sutras, Dharma Sutras, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas, etc.HINDU YEAR: -58: Vikrama Samvat Era Hindu calendar begins.MANU: 400: Laws of Manu (Manu Dharma Shastras) written. Its 2,685 verses codify cosmogony, four ashramas, government, domestic affairs, caste and morality (others date at -600).
    Origin of word Hindu.There was no word “Hindu” or “Hinduism in any of the Hindu holy sculptures or holy books.The term Hindu came into existence from the religion of Punjab & the Indus Valley in India. The people of India living beside the Indus river were primarily called as Indu irrespective of His beliefs and sects, which later on became Hindu.The Hindu word in Persian Gave Word Hindu Means BLACK Thief & Slave Etc.original meaning of Hindu is dog, low life or slave, shrewd and worst of mankindPeople who lived on the western side of Hindu Kush (killers of Hindus) mountains gave this name to the natives of India. The word Hindu means black, slave, robber, thief and a way layer.”Hinduism is the oldest religionThe ancient scriptures of India claim the religion is originally established by God Himself (dharman tu sakshad bhagavat pranitam). From the scriptural viewpoint, this religion or dharma, manifests after every creation by the will of the Lord.Vedic religion is therefore known as sanatana dharma, or the “eternal religion”, for it predates all man-made conceptions of time and space. We should not confuse this sanatana dharma with any sectarian religious faith, for the true sanatana dharma is the very function of the soul, as inseparable as liquidity from water…”From the scriptural viewpoint, this religion or dharma, manifests after every creation by the will of the Lord. After the present cyclical creation, the Supreme Lord Narayana instructed the first living entity within the universe, Brahma, in the matters of religion. Brahma in turn instructed this same science to his son, Narada, who in turn passed this knowledge on to his disciple Vyasa Mahamuni. In this way the ancient religion has been passed down in a chain of disciplic succession directly from God for countless millions of years.sanatana dharma is the very function of the soul, as inseparable as liquidity from water.sanatana-dharma (eternal religion), vaidika-dharma (religion of the Vedas), bhagavata-dharma (religion of God), etc. This dharma is ever fresh and eternal.garry420, Apr 25, 2015#1
  2. AumNew MemberFor hundreds of years, many people have searched for some evidence of the founder of Hinduism. The religion, which is open to interpretation, is a collection of paths to wisdom that is based on human reasoning rather than a divine authority and a finger cannot be pointed at a specific founder.The earliest indications of the term Hindu come from the Punjab and the Indus Valley in India. The culture that was established in the third millennium BC is evidenced in the excavations of two cities. If you lived in that region, no matter what religion you believed, you became known as a Hindu or Hindu Muslim.Located by rivers, the culture used water for irrigating the fertile plains. The people not only used the river for bathing but also for ritual cleansings. The waters became known as ‘rivers of life’ and therefore presumed to be sacred. Hindus believe that ‘religion’ is just another aspect of their bodies as is breathing.The temples that have been found have no indication of a primary deity. There are many ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ as symbols of creativity and the ongoing flow of life. Each village had its own unique statue to worship. The aspect of politics mixed with religion models ancient Babylonia, where the ruler was seen as a ‘son’ of the mother-goddess.Thus, this religion was subject to new philosophies that changed with time. Hinduism consists of a wide range of beliefs that are not related to the other at all. There is no known founder of Hinduism, no creed, no single source of authority. All related Hindu philosophies share just a resemblance to each other. There is no defined beginning as with other religions.Hinduism contains a vast body of scriptures. Divided as Śruti (revealed) and Smriti (remembered) and developed over millennia, these scriptures expound on theology, philosophy and mythology, and provide spiritual insights and guidance on the practice of dharma (religious living). In the orthodox view, among such texts, the Vedas and the Upanishads are the foremost in authority, importance and antiquity. Other major scriptures include the Tantras, the sectarian Agamas, the Purāṇas and the epics Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa. The Bhagavad Gītā, a treatise excerpted from the Mahābhārata, is sometimes called a summary of the spiritual teachings of the Vedas.The earliest evidence for elements of Hinduism date back to the late Neolithic to the early Harappan period (5500–2600BCE). The beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era (1500–500BCE) are called the “historical Vedic religion”. Modern Hinduism grew out of the Vedas, the oldest of which is the Rigveda, dated to 1700–1100BCE.[46] The Vedas center on worship of deities such as Indra, Varuna and Agni, and on the Soma ritual. They performed fire-sacrifices, called yajña and chanted Vedic mantras but did not build temples or icons.[citation needed] The oldest Vedic traditions exhibit strong similarities to Zoroastrianism and with other Indo-European religions.[47] During the Epic and Puranic periods, the earliest versions of the epic poems Ramayana and Mahabharata were written roughly from 500–100BCE,[48] although these were orally transmitted for centuries prior to this period.[49] The epics contain mythological stories about the rulers and wars of ancient India, and are interspersed with religious and philosophical treatises. The later Puranas recount tales about devas and devis, their interactions with humans and their battles against demons.Hinduism is a religious traditionthat originated in the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism is often referred to as Sanātana Dharma (सनातन धर्म) by its practitioners, a Sanskrit phrase meaning “the eternal path” or “the eternal law”.[2]Three major movements underpinned the naisance of a new epoch of Hindu thought: the advents and spread of Upanishadic, Jaina, and Buddhist philosophico-religious thought throughout the broader Indian landmass. [50] The Upanishads, Mahavira (founder of Jainism) and Buddha (founder of Buddhism) taught that to achieve moksha or nirvana, one did not have to accept the authority of the Vedas or the caste system. Buddha went a step further and claimed that the existence of a Self/soul or God was unnecessary. Buddhism and Jainism adapted elements of Hinduism into their beliefs. Buddhism (or at least Buddhistic Hinduism) peaked during the reign of Asoka the Great of the Mauryan Empire, who unified the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BCE. After 200CE, several schools of thought were formally codified in Indian philosophy, including Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Purva-Mimamsa and Vedanta. Charvaka, the founder of an atheistic materialist school, came to the fore in North India in the sixth century BCE.[53] Between 400BCE and 1000CE, Hinduism expanded at the expense of Buddhism.one of the most complex of all religious systems. It is difficult to provide adequate history of Hinduism because it has no specific founder or theology. The development of this religion was influenced when light-skinned nomadic Aryan Indo-European tribes invaded Northern India BC from Russia and Central Asia attacking the Harappan people who lived there in 1500.Hinduism is not a religion. It’s a way of life. This is the most ancient religion known as of now. There are thousands of rishis and knowledgeble people contributed to its growth. All the teachings of Hinduism advocates “Humanitarian Values” in all the writings. Advices pertaining to every aspects of human life, health, social, personal, inter personal, physical,psychological, and such every phases can be found in hinduism to live a lifesatisfactorily and fulfilment. Hinduism is the only religion in the world which can cater to the all human needs in the world. This is the mother of all religions. Every religion in the World is inpired and copied many good principles by the Hindu philosophy and there is no leader who has not inspired by this philosophyHinduism is also called as the “Sanatana Dharma”. In Sanskrit, the original language of India, ‘Sanatana’ means Everlasting and ‘Dharma’, means Religion.Hinduism, is open to interpretation, and is a collection of a path to wisdom, which is based on reasoning more than a divine authority and does not have any specific founder.For hundreds of years, many people have searched for some evidence of the founder of Hinduism. The religion, which is open to interpretation, is a collection of paths to wisdom that is based on human reasoning rather than a divine authority and a finger cannot be pointed at a specific founder.Hinduism is the oldest religion of all world religions. For hundreds of years, it has been searched for some evidence about its founder, but no one could point a finger at a specific founder or its date of origin. Even the authors of its sacred texts are largely unknown. The system exists from time immemorial and there is no exact beginning of this religion. It has no particular fonder but has many Rishis, Saints, Gurus, and leaders who reformed and revived the existing culture and traditions. It has developed out of Brahmanis
  3. m.Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centred and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’Several hundred sages, seers & thinkers interpreted, re-interpreted and so on starting with the four Vedas, commentaries on them & comemntaries on commentaries called Upanishads, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Bhashyams etc.
  4. This is the (accepted) core of so-called Hinduism – Vaidicism, from the Vedas. There is much more outside of these by way of Philosophy, rituals & beliefs. One of the Savants by name Gautama, the Bud`dha (enlightened one) who was prince Siddhartha before he became a Parivrajaka (=monk) was the cause of the cult that became separate religion (by popular consent now), questioning & rivaling the Vaidic practices. Later day Hinduism incorporated Bud`dha as one of the ten incarnations of Vishnu and hence one of the Hindu fold though the claim is refuted vehemently. Jainism evolved as a separate thought & is recognised as different from Hinduism, though none can tell apart a Jain from a Hindu, in anything whatsoever.

What does Hindu mean? 

“Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevayah”

Though the real name of Hinudism is the Sanatan dharma. Sanatan means universal and/or eternal. But the name “Hinduism” has become popular worldwide. Many a times some people from other religions try to dig their heads into the word “Hindu”.

Hindu in short is person who lives pious vedic life.

The word “Hindu” itself holds a very pious meaning. It is as follows:

The Sanskrit meaning of Hindu is ” HINAM DUNOTI ITI HINDU”…One who beats unhealthy thoughts and activities, is called by the name “HINDU”.

Second Answer, According to Paniniya Grammer , the word Hindu is made from two different words-

According to pratyahar Syastem
Hi means Himalaya and Indu means Moon.

Thus the meaning becomes
” Hindu is one whose thoughts are that like of Himalaya and who loves each living being just like that of Moonlight.

In short Hindu is the term used for people who believe in Vedic way of life, Follow Veda, Vedanta, Upnishads, Shrimad Bhagvat Gita and believe in the Law of yoga, karma, and Incarnation etc.

“Hari Om Tat Sat”

Ever wondered who is the founder of Hinduism? Almost 99 percent of the world religion has a founder or someone who has laid down the principles of the flourished religion. Say for example Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ or as critically acclaimed Paul, Islam was founded by Hazrat Prophet Mohammed, similarly Buddhism was founded by Lord Buddha and so are other religions.

Who is the Founder of Hinduism Religion?
Its a common trait of human nature which takes for granted that every religion has a founder or at least a person or an individual who has preached it. So, who founded Hinduism religion? There is no single Individual; who has founded this religion or can be said as the founder of Hinduism religion. In simple words Hinduism is not a religion at all. Its a way of life.

For centuries it has been debated as a Religion but if one has an in depth knowledge about this Sanatan Dharma, it can be more emphasized as a way of life which is not limited to an indigenous aspect.
The modern day Hindu Religion follows a mixed up instruction of Vedic commandments and teachings from Maharishis (sages) and Brahman priests since ages. With the wheels of time it was molded in different regions, castes and ethnicity but it always retained the basic principles of living the way of life as instructed since centuries.

As Vedas are the foundation pillars of Hinduism and is believed to be jotted down as instructions from God, in the form of Vedas, directly by saints and sages. It has been passed on from generations after generation in the Hindu Society. Hence, at the end we can conclude that God – the supreme Almighty (na adi na anth) is the sole founder of Hinduism.

Origins of Hinduism
The origins of Hinduism have been traced to the Indus River Valley in the
Indian sub-continent and the peoples who lived there. Hinduism is one of
the oldest religions and there is evidence of the existence of Hinduism dating
back 4,000 years. By 1500 BCE, Hinduism had already reached a high state of
philosophical and religious development which has been sustaining it to the
What has come to be called the Hindu faith, tradition, or religion is the result
of a rich blend of human civilization, including many different practices
and expressions of religious life. Many religious cultures, who spoke many
languages and held many different concepts about the nature of the Divine,
have contributed to its development and evolution.
Within Hinduism, there are a vast array of practices and beliefs. As such,
defining Hinduism is challenging. The three other Indian religions—Jainism,
Buddhism, and Sikhism—have their roots in Hinduism and have close
associations both historically and conceptually.
Unlike many other religions, Hinduism cannot be traced to a single founder,
single scripture, or commonly agreed upon set of teachings. Throughout its
long history, there have been contributions by many important figures who
had different teachings and different philosophies, and who wrote many holy
books. Therefore, some writers think of Hinduism as being a way of life or a
family of religions rather than a single religion.
The term Hindu was historically used to identify people with a geographical
and cultural connection to South Asia or who were indigenous to that region.
It was only later that it became a religious identifier. By the 16th century, the
term began being used to refer to the peoples who resided in the subcontinent
who were not Turkic or Muslim. It is thought that, at that time, the term may
have simply indicated groups that shared certain cultural practices such as the
cremation of the dead and their styles of cuisine.

A more precise and widely used term for describing this belief system
is Sanatan Dharma or Hindu Dharma. Sanatan means eternal, ever-present,
universal, and unceasing; Dharma is harmony, compassion, truth, or natural
law. Sanatan Dharma means eternal path, never beginning or ending. Sanatan
Dharma places spiritual experiences above religious issues and cultural
practices. The term Hindu is thought to have derived from the name of the river
or river complex in northwest India, the Sindhu. Sindhu is a Sanskrit word used
by the inhabitants of the region. Other groups who arrived in the land used
the name in their own languages for the land and its peoples.
Although defining Hinduism is a challenge, it is correct to state that
Hinduism has its roots in India. Most Hindus have a principal body of sacred
scriptures known as the Vedas and share a common system of values known
as dharma. Because of the antiquity of Hinduism, as well as its inclusiveness
and acceptance of diverse expressions and beliefs, an extensive array of
philosophical doctrines and dogmas has evolved. This has resulted in the
appearance of additional scriptural texts, such as the Upanishads, Puranas,
Ramayana, and Bhagavad Gita, among others.

Who is the Founder of Hinduism

A founder implies that someone brought into existence a new faith or formulated a set of religious beliefs, principles, and practices that did not exist before. That cannot happen with a faith such as Hinduism, which is considered eternal. According to the scriptures, Hinduism is the religion of not just humans. Even gods and demons practice it. Isvara, the Lord of the universe, is its source. He also practices it. Hence, Hinduism is God’s Dharma, brought down to the earth, just as the sacred River Ganga, for the welfare of humans.

Thus, Hinduism is not founded by a person or a prophet. Its source is God (Brahman) himself. Hence, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana dharma). Its first teachers were Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma, the creator God, revealed the secret knowledge of the Vedas to gods, humans, and demons at the beginning of creation. He also imparted to them the secret knowledge of the Self, but due to their limitations, they understood it in different ways.

Vishnu is the preserver. He preserves the knowledge of Hinduism through countless manifestations, associated gods, aspects, saints, and seers to ensure the order and regularity of the world. Through them, he also restores the lost knowledge of various Yogas or introduces new reforms. Further, whenever the Hindu Dharma declines beyond a point, he incarnates upon earth to restore it and revive its forgotten or lost teachings. Vishnu exemplifies the duties that humans are expected to perform upon the earth in their individual capacities as householders within their spheres. Lord Krishna, considered Vishnu’s incarnation, is one of the most excellent teachers of the ancient wisdom preserved as a dialogue in the Bhagavadgita.

Shiva, too, plays an important role in upholding Hindu Dharma. As the destroyer, he removes the impurities and confusion that creep into our sacred knowledge. He is also considered the universal teacher and the source of various art and dance forms (Lalitakalas), Yogas, vocations, sciences, farming, agriculture, alchemy, magic, healing, medicine, Tantra, etc.

Thus, like the mystic Asvattha Tree, which is mentioned in the Vedas, the roots of Hinduism are in heaven, and its branches are spread out on earth. Its core is divine knowledge, which governs the conduct of not only humans but also of beings of other worlds, with God acting as its creator, preserver, concealer, revealer, and remover of obstacles. Its core philosophy (the Sruti) is eternal, while its changing parts (smriti) keep changing according to the time and circumstances and the progress of the world. Containing within itself the diversity of God’s creation, it remains open to all possibilities, modifications, and future discoveries.

Many other divinities, such as Ganesha, Prajapati, Indra, Shakti, Narada, Saraswathi, and Lakshmi, are also credited with the authorship of many scriptures. Apart from this, countless scholars, seers, sages, philosophers, gurus, ascetic movements, and teacher traditions enriched Hinduism through their teachings, writings, commentaries, discourses, and expositions. Thus, Hinduism is derived from many sources. Many of its beliefs and practices found their way into other religions that originated in India or interacted with it.

Since Hinduism has its roots in eternal knowledge and its aims and purpose are closely aligned with those of God, the Creator of all, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana Dharma). Hinduism may disappear from the face of the earth due to the impermanent nature of the world, but the sacred knowledge which forms its foundation will remain forever and keep manifesting in each cycle of creation under different names. It is also said that Hinduism has no founder or missionary goals because people have to come to it either by providence (birth) or personal decision due to their spiritual readiness (past karma).

The name Hinduism, derived from the root word “Sindhu,” came into usage for historical reasons. Hinduism as a conceptual entity did not exist until British times. The word itself does not appear in literature until the 17th Century A.D. In medieval times, the Indian subcontinent was known as Hindustan or the land of Hindus. They were not all practicing the same faith but different ones, which included Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Brahmanism, and several ascetic traditions, sects, and subsects.

The native traditions and the people who practiced them went by different names, but not as Hindus. During the British times, all the native faiths were grouped under the generic name “Hinduism” to distinguish it from Islam and Christianity and to dispense with justice or settle local disputes, property, and tax matters. Subsequently, after the independence, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism were separated from it by enacting laws. Thus, the word Hinduism was born out of historical necessity and entered the constitutional laws of India through legislation.

Today, Hinduism includes all the native faiths that originated in India, including those that became extinct, excluding Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Many secular people and atheists also go by the name Hindu since being born in a Hindu family qualifies anyone as a Hindu until they willingly convert to another religion or officially disavow it. Strictly speaking, Hinduism is not a religion but a basket of religions because it has four sects: Brahmanism, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism, which can be considered religions in themselves. In recent times, it has inspired many New Age faiths and hybrid traditions. ISKON is also a modern offshoot of Hinduism. Since present-day Hinduism incorporates many tribal and rural beliefs and practices, it cannot just be treated as a religion in the Western sense but a socio-cultural phenomenon and a way of life built on the foundation of eternal values.

15 Unknow Facts about Hinduism

Hinduism is the oldest major world religion, and it continues to be practised today by millions worldwide. From its ancient customs to its modern-day practices, there is much more to learn about this fascinating religion. With such a rich history and distinct beliefs, many lesser-known facts about Hinduism are often unknown to those unfamiliar with its doctrines. Here we will explore 15 interesting and unknown facts about Hinduism that may surprise you.

1. Hinduism is the third-largest religion in the world.

The third largest religion in the world is Hinduism, following Christianity and Islam. This ancient faith has roots in India, originating about 4,000 years ago and is an important part of many Indians’ cultural heritage. It is estimated that there are over 1 billion adherents to Hinduism, making it one of the oldest religions still in practice today.

Hinduism encompasses many beliefs and practices adapted throughout its long history. Its scriptures are among the most ancient texts known to man, and its pantheon of gods and goddesses is vast. Hindus worship numerous deities and their ancestors, believing that all life is interconnected through Karma. They strive for balance and peace between all living things and harmony with nature, which can lead them closer to their ultimate goal: enlightenment or Moksha.

2. The Rig Veda is the world’s oldest-known book.

The Rig Veda is the world’s oldest book and one of Hinduism’s most important historical documents. Written between 1500-1200 BCE, this ancient text is composed of 1,028 hymns attributed to various Indian sages. These hymns offer insight into the spiritual beliefs and values of Vedic culture at the time, covering topics such as cosmic order, creation myth, deities, fire rituals and offerings.

Despite its age, much of The Rig Veda remains relevant today. Its teachings on meditation still inform modern practices for yogis; its philosophy about life’s purpose continues to be discussed among scholars, and its impact can be seen in architecture and art from Ancient India to modern times.

3. According to the Hindu religion, gods can take numerous forms.

According to the Hindu religion, gods can take numerous forms. Hindus believe that the same God may appear in many different ways, and each form has its purpose. For example, Brahma is known as the God of Creation, Vishnu is the Preserver of Creation, and Shiva is known as the Destroyer of Evil. All three are considered aspects or manifestations of a single Supreme Being. In addition to these three major gods, Hinduism also recognizes thousands of other deities who serve various roles in their spiritual lives.

4. Hinduism regards time as being cyclical.

Hinduism is an ancient religion that dates back over three thousand years. It is a complex and varied faith that includes many different schools of thought and practices, but one thing that binds them all together is the belief in a cyclical concept of time. This idea states that time moves in circles, repeating itself repeatedly throughout eternity rather than being linear.

Hindus believe that the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth will continue until enlightenment is achieved; only then will one be free from the endless cycles of reincarnation to reach Moksha. The cycle of time thus encourages adherents to strive for spiritual liberation as they work through the continuous rounds of life’s experiences. This belief influences many aspects of Hindu thought, including its understanding of Karma, which asserts that human actions have consequences for this life and future life.

5. Sanskrit is the language that is most often used in Hindu texts.

Sanskrit is the most commonly used language in Hindu texts, and its influence has spread far beyond its native India. This ancient language is widely regarded as one of the oldest languages still in use today. Sanskrit has been used for centuries to write important literature, religious teachings, and other important philosophical works that shape modern Hinduism.

The beauty and complexity of Sanskrit make it an ideal language for expressing Hindu beliefs and conveying spiritual concepts. Its intricate grammar structure allows authors to express themselves with a great degree of precision when describing religious or philosophical ideas. Furthermore, the rich vocabulary available in the language gives authors a vast array of words to choose from when expressing their ideas. The result is that many Hindu texts are written using complex sentence structures that can be difficult for non-native speakers to understand.

6. 108 is seen as a holy number

The number 108 is special and sacred in Hinduism, its significance stemming from ancient scriptures. According to the Rigveda, it marks the completion of one cycle of time, containing all numbers within itself.

It is believed that chanting mantras or saying prayers while counting to 108 can help achieve inner peace and attract positive energy into your life. This belief has been passed down through generations, and 108 is seen as a luck-bringing number with great spiritual power. Hindus also use this number in their yoga practice; it’s believed that when practising Asanas (yoga poses), you should do each pose for 9 sets of 12 breaths – this makes up 108 breaths per pose.

Hindus also associate the spiritual qualities of the sun and moon with this number; each has 54 aspects, when combined, makes up 108.

7. Hinduism didn’t start with one person.

Rather than being founded by a particular individual or deity, Hinduism developed as a combination of various beliefs and practices from ancient India. It includes influences from multiple religious faiths, such as Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, among many others. Its core values are based on faith in the divine power of Brahman (the supreme being) and the concept of Karma, which teaches that each action has an equal reaction in this life or beyond.

8. Sanatana Dharma is the real name of Hinduism.

Sanatana Dharma, the ancient Hindu religion, is the oldest living faith in the world. The literal meaning of Sanatana Dharma is “eternal law”, and it embraces a diversity of beliefs and practices. Sanatana Dharma offers a unique perspective on life, including an understanding of the eternal nature of existence, a reverence for all forms of life and non-violence as one’s highest path to enlightenment.

9. 4 life goals for Hindus

Hinduism is one of the oldest spiritual traditions in the world and has many different life goals to strive for. Hindus aim to accomplish four major goals: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Dharma is fulfilling your duty and responsibilities while living an ethical life. It includes loyalty to family, friends, community, and country and following Indian laws. Artha encompasses material prosperity, while Kama refers to pleasure and enjoyment derived from physical intimacy with a partner(s). Finally, Moksha is the ultimate goal which involves liberation from the cycle of birth-death-rebirth through self-realization or union with God.

These four goals all have equal importance for Hindus, but their order of priority may vary depending on individual circumstances or personal beliefs.

10. Om is the sound of the whole universe.

The sound of OM, or Aum, is an ancient mantra and sacred sound that has been used in many spiritual traditions for thousands of years. It is believed to be the primordial sound of the universe – the vibration that created all existence. It symbolizes a deep connection to the divine and embodies peace and harmony.

Om represents an eternal cycle of creation; its vibrations promote self-awareness, inner strength, peace, calming presence, healing potentials and ultimately, enlightenment. When recited aloud, it brings balance and clarity to both body and mind while connecting us with the universal source of life energy. People worldwide use this powerful mantra as a meditation tool to help clear their minds and open their hearts, allowing them to tap into higher consciousness.

11. Anyone can attain salvation.

Hinduism is an ancient religion that has been around for thousands of years. It is one of the oldest religions in the world, and its teachings on salvation are considered by many to be some of the most profound. According to Hinduism, everyone can attain salvation, regardless of their background or spiritual experience.

The path to salvation in Hinduism involves faithfulness and dedication to one’s journey. This includes following various spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting mantras, and performing religious rituals. The goal is for each person to purify their mind, body and soul to become closer to God and reach enlightenment. Through this process, it is believed that anyone can attain liberation from suffering and eternal bliss with God.

Hinduism encourages followers of all backgrounds and levels of religious experience to strive for enlightenment through their beliefs and practices.

12. The Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest spiritual event.

The Kumbh Mela is an event of immense significance in India – it is the world’s largest spiritual gathering and has been held in India for centuries. It takes place every 3-4 years, with millions of Hindu devotees pilgrimage to the holy sites along the Ganges River. The most recent iteration was held this January, drawing over 100 million people from India and worldwide.

This incredible event is a time for spiritual renewal, prayer and celebration. Devotees come together to participate in various rituals, including bathing in sacred rivers, praying to deities and meditating on religious texts. They also seek out spiritual guidance from revered saints who are present at the site during this time. On top of this, many cultural activities, such as music performances, art displays and theatrical productions, occur throughout the festival period.

13. Yoga is very important to Hinduism.

Yoga is an ancient practice used for centuries by people of many religions, including Hindus. It is a vital part of Hinduism and helps to promote physical and mental health and well-being.

Hinduism is an ancient religion with a long history and many different sects. Yoga has been integral to Hinduism since its inception, providing practitioners with tools to help them achieve spiritual enlightenment through physical postures and breathing techniques. By connecting the mind, body, and spirit in unison, yoga allows practitioners to access spiritual truth more deeply than ever before.

Yoga is essential for practising Hindus because it encourages them to live in harmony with nature’s laws while also helping them develop their inner strength.

14. Hindus believe in Karma.

Hinduism is a widely-followed religion known for its belief in Karma. According to Hindus, Karma is the law of cause and effect; each action has a reaction or consequence that is sometimes immediate, while at other times, its effects may take years to manifest. Hindus believe Karma influences the cycle of birth and rebirth, or samsara, which they believe we are all trapped in until Moksha (liberation) is achieved. Every individual has karmic debt from past lives that must be repaid before Moksha can be attained.

Karma not only refers to our actions and their consequences but also applies more broadly across generations and within entire societies. In this way, Hinduism encourages us to practice compassionate living so that good Karma can be shared across communities and families.

15. Vegetarianism is encouraged in Hinduism.

Hinduism is an ancient religion with a belief system deeply rooted in vegetarianism. It’s believed that Hinduism encourages its followers to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle as part of their religious practices. For Hindus, vegetarianism is not merely about following dietary restrictions. Instead, it is a way of life that emphasizes ethical living and respect for all living creatures.

15 Major Facts of Hinduism

Since we are all aware of the fact that Hinduism is a religion in which some people so much belief in and worship as God. It as become imparative to know that there are some facts that are associated with this religion and it is important that everyone should be familiar with these facts, therefore, we are here in this article to tell us those facts and those facts are listed below.

1. The Rig Veda is One of the Oldest Books Known in the World.

The Rig Veda is a Sanskrit-written ancient book. The date is unknown, but most specialists dated it back to 1500 years B.C. It is the world’s oldest known text, and so Hinduism is often referred to as the oldest religion based on this fact.

2. 108 is Regarded to be a Sacred Number.

As a string of 108 beads, so-called Malas or Garlands of prayer beads come along. Vedic culture mathematicians believe that this number is a totality of life and that it connects the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth. For Hindus, 108 has been a sacred number for a long time.3. Hinduism is the World’s Third Biggest Religion.

“Ganga aarathi- Maha kumbh mela 2013” by R E B E L ™® is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Based on the number of worshipers and the number of those that believed in the religion, only Christianity and Islam have more supporters than Hinduism, this makes Hinduism the world’s third largest religion.

4. Hindu Conviction Indicates that gods Will Take Many Forms.

There is only one everlasting force, but like many gods and goddesses, it can take shape. It is also believed that in every single being in the World, a portion of the Brahman lives. One of the many fascinating facts about Hinduism is monotheistic.

5. Sanskrit is the Language Most Widely Used in Hindu Texts.

Sanskrit is the ancient language in which much of the holy text is written and the history of the language goes back in time to at least 3,500 years.

6. In a Circular Notion of time,  there is the Believe of Hinduism.

A linear notion of time is practised by the Western world, but Hindus believe that time is a manifestation of God and that it is never-ending. In cycles that begin to end and end to begin, they see life. God is eternal and, simultaneously, the past, the present and the future coexist.

7. No Single Founder of Hinduism Exists.

Most of the world’s religions and belief systems have a creator, such as Jesus for Christianity, Muhammad for Islam, or Buddha for Buddhism, and so on like that. However, Hinduism has no such founder and when it originated there is no exact date. This is because of the cultural and religious changes in India that have increased.

8. Sanātana Dharma is the Actual Name.

Sanātana Dharma is the original name for Hinduism in Sanskrit. The Greeks used the words Hindu or Indu to describe the people living around the Indus River. Hindustan became a common alternative name for India in the 13th century. And it is believed in the 19th century that English writers added ism to the Hindu, and later it was embraced by the Hindus themselves and that changed the name from Sanātana Dharma to Hinduism and that as been the name since then.

9. Hinduism Prompts and Allows Vegetables as Diet

Ahimsa is a spiritual concept that can be found in Buddhism and Jainism as well as in the Hindu religion. It is a word in Sanskrit which means “not to hurt” and compassion. That is why many Hindus follow a vegetarian diet because it is assumed that you are causing harm to the animals because you eat meat on purpose. Some Hindus, however, only refrain from consuming pork and beef.

10. Hindus Have Faith in Karma

It is believed that an individual who does good in life receives good karma. Karma will be influenced for every good or bad action in life, and if at the end of this life you have good karma, Hindus has the faith that once next life will be a better one than the first life.

11. For Hindus, we Have Four Major Life Goals.

The goals are; Dharma (righteousness), Kama (right desire), Artha (means of money), and Moksha (salvation). This is another of the interesting facts of Hinduism, particularly when the purpose is not to please God in order to make him go to heaven or to take him to hell. Hinduism has entirely different objectives, and the ultimate purpose is to become one with the Brahman and leave the reincarnation loop.

12. The Sound of the Universe is Represented by “Om”

Om, Aum is also Hinduism’s most sacred syllable, sign or mantra. Sometimes, it is repeated separately before a mantra. It is believed to be the rhythm of the world, or the sound of Brahman. In Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, it is used as well. When practising yoga or visiting a temple, it is a spiritual sound that you can hear sometimes. It is used for meditation as well.

13. A Critical Part of Hinduism is Yoga.

Yoga’s original definition was “Connection with God,” but it has moved closer to Western culture in recent years. But the word yoga is also very loose, as different Hindu rituals are actually referred to in the original term. There are different types of yoga, but Hatha yoga is the most common one today.

14. Every One Will Achieve Salvation.

Hinduism does not belief that people can’t achieve redemption or enlightenment from other religions.

15. Kumbh Mela is the World’s Largest Spiritual Meeting.

The Kumbh Mela Festival was granted UNESCO Cultural Heritage status and more than 30 million people took part in the festival on a single day which was held on the 10th of February in the year 2013.

 The 5 times Random Facts about Hinduism

We have millions of Hindus that are worshipping cows.

In Hinduism, there are three main sects, the sects are the Shaiva, Sha and Vaishnava.

In the world, there are more than 1 billion Hindus, but most of the Hindus are from India. Ayurveda is a medical science that is part of the holy Vedas. Some of the important Hindu festivals are Diwali, Gudhipadawa, Vijayadashami, Ganesh festival, Navratri.

How old is the word Hindu? Where does the word Hindu comes from? –

We want to build on the ancient word “Hindu” from this writing-up. The Communist historians of India and the Western Indologists say that in the 8th century the word “Hindu” was coined by the Arabs and its roots were in the Persian tradition of replacing “S” with “H. The word “Hindu” or its derivatives were, however, used by many inscriptions over a thousand years older than this time. Also, in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat in India, not in Persia, the root of the word most probably lies. This particular interesting story is written by the uncle of Prophet Mohammed, Omar-bin-e-Hassham, who had written a poem to praise Lord Shiva.

There are so many websites saying that Kaba was an ancient temple of Shiva. They are still thinking what to make of these arguments, but the fact that the uncle of Prophet Mohammed wrote an ode to Lord Shiva is definitely incredible.

The anti-Hindu historians like Romila Thapar and D.N. The Antiquity and Origin of the Word ‘Hindu’ In the 8th century, Jha thought that the term ‘Hindu’ was given currency by the Arabs. However, they do not clarify the basis of their conclusion or cite any facts to support their argument. Not even Muslim Arab writers make such an exaggerated argument.

Hinduism – Core Beliefs, Facts & Principles

Hinduism – Core Beliefs: Hinduism is not an organised religion, and its belief system has no single, structured approach to teaching it. Nor do Hindus, like the Ten Commandments, have a simple set of laws to obey. Throughout the Hindu world, local, regional, caste, and community-driven practices affect the understanding and practice of beliefs. Yet belief in a Supreme Being and adherence to certain principles such as Reality, dharma, and karma is a common thread across all these variations. And belief in the power of the Vedas (sacred scriptures) serves, to a large degree, as the very meaning of a Hindu, although it can differ greatly in how the Vedas are interpreted.

The major core beliefs that Hindus share includes the following listed below;

Hinduism Believes that Truth is Eternal.

Hindus are seeking knowledge and comprehension of the facts, the very existence of the world and the only truth. Truth is one, according to the Vedas, but it is expressed in a number of ways by the wise.

Hinduism Believes that Brahman is Truth and Reality.

As the only true God who is formless, infinite, all-inclusive, and eternal, Hindus believe in Brahman. Brahman which  is not an abstract in notion; it is a real entity that encompasses everything in the universe (seen and unseen).

Hinduism Believes that The Vedas are the Ultimate Authorities.

The Vedas are scriptures in Hindus containing revelations that ancient saints and sages have got. Hindus claim that the Vedas are without beginning and without end, the believe is that Vedas will remain until all else is destroyed in the universe (at the end of the period of time).

Hinduism Believes that Everyone Should Work Hard to Achieve Dharma.

The understanding of dharma concept allows one to understand the Hindu religion. No single English word, sadly, adequately covers its context. It is possible to define dharma as right conduct, fairness, moral law, and duty. Everyone who makes dharma central to one’s life seeks to do the right thing at all times, according to one’s duty and skills.

Hinduism Believes that Individual Souls are Immortal.

A Hindu claims that there is neither existence nor destruction of the individual soul (atman); it has been, it is, and it will be. The soul’s actions when living in a body require the same soul in a different body to reap the effects of those actions in the next life. The process of movement of the atman is known as transmigration from one body to another. Karma decides the kind of body the soul next inhabits (actions accumulated in previous lives).

The individual soul’s objective is moksha.

Moksha is liberation: the release of the soul from the death and rebirth period. It happens when, by recognize its true essence, the soul unites with Brahman. To this awareness and unification, many paths will lead: the path of obligation, the path of knowledge, and the path of devotion (unconditionally surrender to God).

Hinduism – Core Beliefs: Other beliefs of Hinduism are:

  • Hindus believe in a single, all-pervading Supreme Being, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality, who is both immanent and transcendent.
  • Hindus believed in the divinity of the four Vedas, the most ancient scripture in the world, and as equally revealed, venerate the Agamas. These primordial hymns are the word of God and the cornerstone of the eternal faith, Sanatana Dharma.
  • Hindus conclude that infinite cycles of formation, preservation and dissolution are undergone by the universe.
  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each human, by his thoughts, words and deeds, creates his own destiny.
  • Hindus conclude that, after all karmas have been resolved, the soul reincarnates, developing over multiple births, and moksha, freedom from the rebirth cycle, is achieved. There will not be a single soul robbed of this destiny.
  • Hindus believe that there are supernatural forces in unknown worlds and that with these devas and gods, temple worship, rites, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion.
  • Hindus believe that understanding the Transcendent Absolute is necessary to an enlightened lord, or satguru, as is personal discipline, good behavior, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender to God.
  • In thought, word and deed, Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be cherished and respected, and thus practice ahimsa, nonviolence.
  • Hindus believe that no religion, above all others, teaches the only way to redemption, but that all true paths are facets of the Light of God, worthy of tolerance and understanding.
  • Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world, has no beginning—it is followed by recorded history. It doesn’t have a human creator. It is a spiritual religion that leads the devotee to experience the Reality personally inside, eventually achieving the peak of consciousness where one is man and God.
  • There are four major denominations of Hinduism—Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism.

Who Founded Hinduism? The Origin Of Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma


What do we mean by Founder? When we say a founder, we mean to say that someone has brought into existence a new faith or formulated a set of religious beliefs, principles and practices which were not in existence before. That cannot happen with a faith such as Hinduism, which is considered eternal. According to the scriptures, Hinduism is the religion of not just humans. Even gods and demons practice it. Ishwar (Ishwara), the Lord of the universe, is its source. He also practices it. Hence, Hinduism is God’s Dharma, brought down to the earth, just as the sacred River Ganga, for the welfare of the humans.

Who is then the Founder of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma)?

 Hinduism is not founded by a person or a prophet. Its source is God (Brahman) himself. Hence, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana dharma). Its first teachers were Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma, the creator God revealed the secret knowledge of the Vedas to gods, humans and demons in the beginning of creation. He also imparted to them the secret knowledge of the Self, but due to their own limitations, they understood it in their own ways.

Vishnu is the preserver. He preserves the knowledge of Hinduism through countless manifestations, associated gods, aspects, saints and seers to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds. Through them, he also restores the lost knowledge of various Yogas or introduces new reforms. Further, whenever the Hindu Dharma declines beyond a point, he incarnates upon earth to restore it and revive its forgotten or lost teachings. Vishnu exemplifies the duties which humans are expected to perform upon earth in their individual capacity as householders within their spheres.

Shiva too plays an important role in upholding Hindu Dharma. As the destroyer, he removes the impurities and confusion that creeps into our sacred knowledge. He is also considered the universal teacher and the source of various art and dance forms (Lalitakalas), Yogas, vocations, sciences, farming, agriculture, alchemy, magic, healing, medicine, Tantra and so on.

Thus, like the mystic Ashvattha Tree which is mentioned in the Vedas, the roots of Hinduism are in heaven, and its branches are spread out on earth. Its core is divine knowledge, which governs the conduct of not only humans but also of the beings in other worlds with God acting as its creator, preserver, concealer, revealer and remover of obstacles. Its core philosophy (the shruti) is eternal, while it changing parts (smriti) keep changing according to the time and circumstances, and the progress of the world. Containing in itself the diversity of God’s creation, it remains open to all possibilities, modifications and future discoveries.

Many other divinities such as Ganesha, Prajapati, Indra, Shakti, Narada, Saraswati and Lakshmi are also credited with the authorship of many scriptures. Apart from this, countless scholars, seers, sages, philosophers, gurus, ascetic movements and teacher traditions enriched Hinduism through their teachings, writings, commentaries, discourses and expositions. Thus, Hinduism is derived from many sources. Many of its beliefs and practices found their way into other religions, that either originated in India or interacted with it.

Since Hinduism has its roots in the eternal knowledge and its aims and purpose are closely aligned to those of God as the Creator of all, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana dharma). Hinduism may disappear from the face of the earth due to the impermanent nature of the world, but the sacred knowledge which forms its foundation will remain forever and keep manifesting in each cycle of creation under different names. It is also said that Hinduism has no founder and no missionary goals because people have to come to it either by providence (birth) or personal decision due to their spiritual readiness (past karma).

The name Hinduism, which is derived from the root word, “Sindhu” came into usage due to historical reasons. Hinduism as a conceptual entity did not exist until the British times. The word itself does not appear in literature until the 17th Century A.D. In medieval times, the Indian subcontinent was known as Hindustan or the land of Hindus. They were not all practising same faith, but different ones, which included Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Brahmanism and several ascetic traditions, sects and sub sects.

The native traditions and the people who practiced Sanatana Dharma went by different names, but not as Hindus. During the British times, all the native faiths were grouped under the generic name, “Hinduism” to distinguish it from Islam and Christianity and to dispense with justice or settle local disputes, property and tax matters.

Subsequently, after the independence, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were separated from it by enacting laws. Thus, the word Hinduism was born out of historical necessity and entered the constitutional laws of India through legislation.

Upanishads and their importance in the Hinduism and Hindu tradition.

The Upanishads are ancient Hindu scriptures that are considered to be some of the foundational texts of Hinduism. They are part of the Vedas, a collection of ancient religious texts that form the basis of Hinduism. The Upanishads are written in Sanskrit and are thought to date back to the 8th century BCE or earlier. They are considered to be among the oldest sacred texts in the world and have had a significant influence on Hindu thought.

The word “Upanishad” means “sitting down near,” and refers to the practice of sitting near a spiritual teacher to receive instruction. The Upanishads are a collection of texts that contain the teachings of various spiritual masters. They are meant to be studied and discussed in the context of a guru-student relationship.

There are many different Upanishads, and they are divided into two categories: the older, “primary” Upanishads, and the later, “secondary” Upanishads.

The primary Upanishads are considered to be more foundational and are thought to contain the essence of the Vedas. There are ten primary Upanishads, and they are:

Isha Upanishad
Kena Upanishad
Katha Upanishad
Prashna Upanishad
Mundaka Upanishad
Mandukya Upanishad
Taittiriya Upanishad
Aitareya Upanishad
Chandogya Upanishad
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
The secondary Upanishads are more diverse in nature and cover a wider range of topics. There are many different secondary Upanishads, and they include texts such as

Hamsa Upanishad
Rudra Upanishad
Mahanarayana Upanishad
Paramahamsa Upanishad
Narasimha Tapaniya Upanishad
Advaya Taraka Upanishad
Jabala Darsana Upanishad
Darshana Upanishad
Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad
Yoga-Tattva Upanishad
These are just a few examples, and there are many other secondary Upanishads

The Upanishads contain philosophical and spiritual teachings that are intended to help people understand the nature of reality and their place in the world. They explore a wide range of topics, including the nature of the self, the nature of the universe, and the nature of the ultimate reality.

One of the key ideas found in the Upanishads is the concept of Brahman. Brahman is the ultimate reality and is seen as the source and sustenance of all things. It is described as being eternal, unchanging, and all-pervading. According to the Upanishads, the ultimate goal of human life is to realize the unity of the individual self (atman) with Brahman. This realization is known as moksha, or liberation.

Here are some examples of Sanskrit text from the Upanishads:

“Aham brahmaasmi.” (From the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) This phrase translates to “I am Brahman,” and reflects the belief that the individual self is ultimately one with the ultimate reality.
“Tat tvam asi.” (From the Chandogya Upanishad) This phrase translates to “Thou art that,” and is similar in meaning to the above phrase, emphasizing the unity of the individual self with the ultimate reality.
“Ayam atma brahma.” (From the Mandukya Upanishad) This phrase translates to “This self is Brahman,” and reflects the belief that the true nature of the self is the same as the ultimate reality.
“Sarvam khalvidam brahma.” (From the Chandogya Upanishad) This phrase translates to “All this is Brahman,” and reflects the belief that the ultimate reality is present in all things.
“Isha vasyam idam sarvam.” (From the Isha Upanishad) This phrase translates to “All this is pervaded by the Lord,” and reflects the belief that the ultimate reality is the ultimate source and sustainer of all things.
The Upanishads also teach the concept of reincarnation, the belief that the soul is reborn into a new body after death. The form that the soul takes in its next life is believed to be determined by the actions and thoughts of the previous life, a concept known as karma. The goal of the Upanishadic tradition is to break the cycle of reincarnation and achieve liberation.

Yoga and meditation are also important practices in the Upanishadic tradition. These practices are seen as a way to quiet the mind and achieve a state of inner peace and clarity. They are also believed to help the individual realize the unity of the self with the ultimate reality.

The Upanishads have had a significant influence on Hindu thought and have also been widely studied and revered in other religious and philosophical traditions. They are seen as a source of wisdom and insight into the nature of reality and the human condition. The teachings of the Upanishads continue to be studied and practiced by Hindus today and are an important part of the Hindu tradition.

10 Mind Blowing Facts About Hinduism!!

1. The religion is so ancient that its founder or historical time frame is unknown. It’s developed over time taking influences, changes and evolution from many different sources. Through archeological research, some scientist gather the religion can be as old as 5000-10000 b.c

2. Hinduism is not the name of the religion. It’s become that only because Greeks and Arabs saw a different civilization of people that lived by the Sindhu River. The real name for Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma which means eternal truth. 

3. Hinduism is the world’s 3rd largest religion. 15.1% of the world population, 80% of India’s and close to 1% of the U.S

4. Hinduism is NOT monotheistic. To the contrary of popular belief, Hinduism believes that one god comes in many forms, and worship is the choice of the benefactor. 

5. The number 108 is important to Hindus. Malas and Garlands contain 108 beads. This number is said to first come from the calculation of the ratio in diameters of the Earth and Sun – with the Sun being 108 times the size of Earth. 

6. Men and Woman are worshipped in Hinduism with equal reverence. In fact Lord Shiva is often represented by a statue called the Lingam where male and female reproductive parts are present thus evoking the unifying force of all creation. 

The symbol OM that has been popularized by the Yoga movement represent the cosmic sound of the universe. Everything is born and will die out of this cosmic sound. If you’re quiet enough and the mind is unencumbered with thoughts you can actually hear it. 

8. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a temple that the king of the time of its inception dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Today you can see symbols and scenes from Hindu Scripture carved in stone throughout the palace.

9. The ultimate goal of Hinduism is to attain salvation or moksha. It’s the release from the cycle of birth and death also called samsara and the end of karma which is the actions of good and bad that can aid or dismiss the pursuit to enlightenment. 

20 Interesting Facts About Hinduism

The world is vast. So vast, in fact, that there are over one billion Hindus around the world.

Most are concentrated in Sri Lanka, Nepal and India.

Since India seems like it’s a world away, there are some misunderstandings about the religion.

For instance, Hinduism is not technically a religion. And did you know Hindus don’t believe in millions of gods?

With that in mind, here are twenty interesting facts about Hinduism.

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. The earliest documents on Hinduism date back to 5,500 BCE.

No one knows – or cares to know – who started Hinduism. There is no one founder of Hinduism; it’s a way of life. The religion has evolved throughout the years and will continue to do so.

Time is separated into four yugas. At the end of the fourth yuga, all humans will die in an apocalypse, and a new era will come about. Each yuga lasts thousands of years, with one cycle lasting 4.32 billions years. Right now, we’re living in the second half of the final yuga. But don’t worry – the apocalypse won’t come for another 300 years.

With the concept of yuga, Hindus believe in a circular concept of time, rather than linear. This explains why reincarnation is a central tenant of Hinduism.

Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. More than 1 billion people consider themselves Hindus, and 85% of all Hindus live in India.

Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world, the “mother of all languages.” Every Hindu book is written in Sanskrit, and it is said that Sanskrit is the language of the demi-Gods.

Speaking of gods, Hinduism is not a true polytheism. Hindus believe in one god, Brahma, who is manifested in thousands of other gods. It’s up to each Hindu which god they worship.

Hindus have three main gods named The Trimurti. Brahma is the creator of the universe, Vishnu is the preserver of the universe, and Shiva destroys the world in order for the world to recreate.

Basic concepts of mathematics, like the number zero, the decimal system, infinity and pi, were first used by Hindus.

The number 108 is the most sacred number for Hindus. It’s the ratio of the Sun’s distance from earth to the Sun’s diameter, as well as the ratio of the Moon’s distance from Earth to the Moon’s diameter.

Most Hindus are strict vegetarians. Cows are also viewed as sacred animals. Knowing they will never be eaten by Hindus, cows roam the streets of India.

Thank your lucky stars for Hinduism – they invented the concept of marriage.

The word “Hinduism” doesn’t mean anything, since Hinduism did not start out as a religion. It’s a made-up word used by Greeks and Arabs to describe those who are from the “Shindu” river. The way of life these people follow is called Hinduism.

The ultimate goal for Hindus is to attain salvation.

Rivers are viewed as sacred. But no other river is worshiped as much as the Ganges River. Every person’s sin is washed away in the river when he/she bathes in the Ganges, who is also considered a goddess.

Om is considered the first sound from the conscious mind, and the sound that birthed the universe.

If you go to an acupuncturist, thank the Hindus (and the Chinese) for the invention of acupuncture.

Saffron is the official color of Hinduism, and the saffron flag is the official flag of Hindus.

The lotus flower is a special flower for Hindus. It represents “goodwill, peace, prosperity and happiness.”

Kumbh Mela is a pilgrimage Hindus take to the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. They go there in order to wash their sins away and help bring salvation. In 2013, 30 million people celebrated Kumbh Mela, making it the largest gathering of human beings in world history.

Prayer and Meditation – The Main Differences

There have been many discussions over the usefulness of prayer and meditation.

But what’s the difference? Are there any similarities between the two?


Let’s look at the definitions to see if we find any similarities or differences:


To make a request in a humble manner; to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving


To engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness

They both use the mind. They both are concentrated thoughts. But their goals are different.

In theory, there are 7 billion different types of prayer. There are also 7 billion different types of meditation.

Each person has a different goal for their session. Thousands of different prayers exist, as do thousands of meditations.

Both can be silent or spoken aloud.

It would be silly to try and generalize, saying that all prayers are a certain way, and all meditations are a certain way.

Alas, we’re not here to make friends. We’re here to state the facts. Call me silly and let’s do this.The Facts

Prayers are an integral part for monotheistic religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

When people sit down to pray, it’s a time for sending thoughts to God (or Yahweh or Allah) and praising Him.

There are prayers for the sick and for those less fortunate than the one praying.

The Facts

Prayers are an integral part for monotheistic religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

When people sit down to pray, it’s a time for sending thoughts to God (or Yahweh or Allah) and praising Him.

There are prayers for the sick and for those less fortunate than the one praying.

There are prayers for forgiveness. Most prayers, though, include a part or all of these components. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus talks about praising God and asking for His blessing and safety.

Meditations are found all over the world, especially in Eastern religions. Most of these meditations come from Buddhism and its founder, Siddhartha Gautama, aka Buddha.

Rather than sending thoughts to one God and turning outward, most meditations focus within the person’s soul in order to reach a higher sense of spiritual awareness.

Meditations follow a certain formality; sit in silence and put certain thoughts (or no thoughts) in your mind.

Mindfulness meditation is the most popular meditation because it’s one of the easiest meditations to learn. You sit there and follow your breath.

These are just a few differences. What does science have to say about both?

Scientific Reasoning

Scientific studies on meditations are much more prevalent, possibly because meditations are secular in nature.

Prayers sometimes have a negative connotation, and the prayers for any religion will be different not just from religion to religion, but from denomination to denomination and congregation to congregation.

With the few studies we do have on prayer, here’s what they have to say about prayer:

  • Prayer helps with self-control.
  • Prayer helps with forgiveness.
  • Prayer helps with stress.

Guess what the studies say about meditations?

  • Meditation makes you less stressed out.
  • Meditation helps with self-control.
  • Meditation helps with empathy.
  • Meditation helps us forgive ourselves and others.

The Belief In Reincarnation

The belief in reincarnation dates back to around the 6th century BC, and first appears in primitive Indian religions.

Reincarnation is the belief that the man’s soul is reborn time and time again after the body has died.

Western Versus Eastern Views

Most Western religious denominations believe that they person who dies retains their individuality after death, whereas the Eastern religions often believe in the possibility of returning as an animal or a plant.

According to Buddhism and Hinduism, the man or woman is reborn in accordance with how they lived their previous life.

This is commonly referred to as Karma.

There are some sects of Hinduism that hold the belief that reincarnation does not necessarily mean that they will be reborn as another human.

If the person has lived a bad life of crime, then it is possible that they could be reborn as a lizard, worm, or even a cactus!

Hinduism Facts

Despite being the third-largest and the oldest religion in the world, lots of people are unaware of many Hinduism facts. There are also several misconceptions about Hinduism, which need to be explained. Therefore, in this article, I have tried to put forth all the Hinduism facts in brief before the world, so that everybody would have an idea about what Hinduism is.

In the history of mankind, many cultures have come and gone but Hinduism has withstood many challenges posed by time and has spread all over the world. The secret of this success of the Hindu religion lies in the fact in its practical approach towards human life, belief in eternal truths, and modifications made from time to time without changing the basic beliefs.

Fast Hinduism Facts:

Existence Since: Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion. The history of Hinduism can be traced back to 5000-10,000 B.C.

Facts about size and Rank: It is the third-largest religion in the world with approximately 1.2 billion followers. It is about 15% of the world population. In India, there are about 1.03 billion Hindus in 2020. The Hindu growth rate is 1.55% annually in India.

Location: Most Hindus live in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka with a considerable presence in all other parts of the world. About 85% of Hindus live in India. Therefore, India is also called “Hindustan.”

Known as: People who follow Hinduism are called “Hindus.”  Hinduism is also known as “Hindu Dharma” (हिंदू धर्म), ” Hindu Religion, “Sanatan Dharma (Eternal Religion),” “Vedic Religion,” or Vedic Dharma.

Founder: Hinduism has no single founder. It has been evolving over the thousands of years and will continue to.

Origin: Hinduism originated in the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism is largely based on the teachings from Vedas.

Meaning of the word: The word “Hinduism” actually has no real meaning because Hinduism was not founded as a religion. The name “Hindu” is given by the people outside of India, especially Greeks and Arabs, to those living in the vicinity of the “Sindhu” river. So, the way of life those people were following is called “Hinduism”.

What do they worship: Hindus believe in one God named as “Brahman” but view other gods and goddesses as manifestations of Him. Therefore, in practice, they worship more than one God.

Most Hindus worship God in the form of an idol. Hindus rever rivers, mountains, trees, animals, and natural things that are useful for human beings.

Place of Worship: The place of worship of Hindus is called a temple.

Main Deities: Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva are the creator, protector, and destroyer respectively. These are the three main deities in Hinduism. Besides them, Lord Ganesha, Lord Krishna, Lord Hanuman, Lord Rama, and goddess Parvati are the most popular deities in Hinduism.

Yugas: According to Hinduism, as there are four seasons in a year, there are four Yugas namely Satya-Yuga, Treta-Yuga, Dvapara-Yuga, Kali-Yuga. At the end of a full cycle of four Yugas, life on the earth comes to an end (though not completely) and a new era starts. Humanity enters into a new era. The present era is Kali-Yuga, i.e., Dark Age.

Facts about sects in Hinduism: Hinduism consists of different sects like Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism. The common people follow all the three sects collectively worshiping Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Devi.

Aims of life: Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (salvation) are the four objectives of a Hindu’s life.

Goal: Salvation is the ultimate goal of a Hindu’s life.

Stages of life: According to Hinduism, four stages of life are Brahmcharyashram (Student phase), Grihastahshram (Living with wife and children), Vanprasthashram (leaving the home and pray to God, may keep contact with family), and Sanyasashram (discard everything in life including wife, children, and material things).

Contribution: Yoga, Pranayama, meditation, Ayurveda, vegetarianism, and meditation are the best gifts of Hinduism to the world.

Tantra, palmistry, acupressure, acupuncture, Jyotish Shastra (astrology), martial art, and many other ancient wonders originated in India and are parts of the Hinduism Religion.

Hinduism is the source of inspiration for three other major religions of the world viz. Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.

The Zero, point system and the decimal system were invented in India, based on which modern science exists.

Symbols: AUM and Swastika are the main symbols of Hinduism. Besides those, Kalash, Trishul, Tilak, Lingam, Shri, and Yantra are other popular Hindu symbols. The saffron is the official color of Hinduism and the saffron flag is the official flag of Hindus.

Sacred Books or Scriptures: Four Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavadgita, 18 Puranas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata are the sacred books of Hindus.

Language: Most of the Hindu scriptures are written in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is considered to be the mother of all the languages. Sanskrit is considered to be the language of demi-gods.

The languages Hindus use vary according to regions. They speak all the Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Gujarati, Kashmiri, etc. Outside India, the languages spoken by Hindus are English, Sinhali, Indonesian, etc.

Eating Habits: Most of the Hindus do not eat beef and/or pork. They also do not eat non-vegetarian food on auspicious days. Hinduism strongly advocates vegetarianism. Food is highly revered and wasting food is considered a very bad habit.

Important Hindu Festivals:

1. Diwali – The festival of lights.

2. Vijayadashami – Celebrating the victory of good over evil.

3. Gudhipadawa – Hindu New Year.

4. Mahashivratri – The day on which the universe was created.

5. Makar Sankranti – Transmigration of Sun into Makar Rashi.

6. Navratri – Mother goddess is worshiped for nine days.

7. Ramnavami – Birthday of Lord Rama.

8. Ganesh Festival – Festival of Lord Ganesha.

Vedic restraints for Hindus are (mentioned in Sandilya Upanishad):

1. Ahimsa (not to harm others).

2. Satya (truthfulness).

3. Asteya (Nonstealing).

4. Brahmacharya (Avoiding promiscuity in thoughts, word, and deed).

5. Kshama (Forgiveness).

6. Dhriti (Steadfastness).

7. Daya (Compassion).

8. Arjaya (Honesty).

9. Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).

10. Mitahara (moderate food).

Sixteen Samskaras in a Hindu’s life:

Samskaras are rituals that are performed at different stages of human life. According to Gautama Dharmasutra, there are 40 Samskaras of which 16 are referred to as Shodasha Samskaras.

1. Garbhadhana (pregnancy).

2. Pumsavana (quickening the fetus).

3. Simanatonnayana (parting of pregnant woman’s hair in 8th month).

4. Jatakarman (rite celebrating the birth).

5. Namakarana (naming the child).

6. Nishkramana (first outing).

7. Annaprashana (baby’s first feeding of solid food).

8. Chudakarana (first haircut of the baby).

9. Karnavedha (ear piercing).

10. Upanayana  (entry into school).

11. Vidyarambha (initiation of knowledge).

12. Samavartana (rite of passage in the ancient texts of Hinduism).

13. Vivaha (marriage).

14. Vanaprastha (retirement from worldly life).

15. Sanyasa (renunciation of worldly life).

16. Antyeshti (last rites).

Hindu Philosophy:

Hindu philosophy is divided broadly into six different parts called as Darshanas.

1. Samkhya.

2. Yoga.

3. Nyaya or Logic.

4. Vaisheshika.

5. Mimamsa.

6. Vedanta.

Karma: Karma means your deeds. Hindus believe that our fate depends upon our Karma i.e., as you sow so shall you reap. If you do bad Karma, you have to compensate for it in this as well as your next life. Your next life depends upon your Karma.

Reincarnation: A soul dwells in every living thing. The body is mortal but the soul is immortal. When we die, our soul enters a new body, and the cycle continues until we get salvation.

Caste System:

Originally, there were no castes in Hinduism, but there were four Varnas, viz:

1. Brahmin (priests).

2. Kshatriya (warriors).

3. Vaishya (Businessmen).

4. Shudra (laborers).

These Varnas were further divided into castes and sub-castes. Originally, the caste system was not based upon birth. Nowadays, caste is determined by birth. During the medieval period, the persons belonging to a particular caste were supposed to do the same business as of their ancestors. This type of caste system no longer exists. People are free to do whatever they want. Castes come into play mainly during marriages. In arranged marriages, people prefer to marry a person from the same caste.

Five Biggest Sins (mahapataka):

1. Murder of a Brahmin (The word brahmin here means a scholarly person).

2. Stealing gold (Gold refers to valuable items).

3. Drinking intoxicating drinks (e.g. alcohol).

4. An illicit relationship with the teacher’s wife.

5. Being associated with the above-mentioned sinners.

(Chandogya Upanishad 5.10.9)


According to Bhagavad-Gita, whenever Dharma weakens or the sins on the earth increase to the limit, Lord Vishnu incarnates on the earth and removes the sinners and protects the earth. So far, Vishnu has incarnated nine times and the tenth incarnation is yet to come. Following are the 10 incarnations of Vishnu known as Dashavataram:

1. Matsyavatar.

2. Kurmavatar.

3. Varaha avatar.

4. Narsimhavatar.

5. Vamanavatar.

6. Lord Parshurama.

7. Lord Rama.

8. Lord Krishna.

9. Lord Buddha.

10. Kalki Avatar.

The Basic Concept of Hinduism:

It will be easier to understand the basic concept of Hinduism if you know the Law of Conservation of Energy. For those who have a science background or have some interest in science know the Law of Conservation of Energy very well. It is like this:

“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Only one form of energy can be transformed into another. The sum of all the energies in the universe remains the same.”

According to Hinduism, the human body is perishable but the soul is immortal and is subjected to the continuous cycle of birth and rebirth. The soul changes bodies as a living person change his/her clothes. So, the thing we call death is just a transformation of the soul from one body to another as the energy changes from one form to another. This cycle continues births after births, and the soul is subjected to sufferings endlessly.

So, the ultimate goal of a Hindu’s life is to attend salvation (Moksha or Nirvana), i.e., freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth. One can attend salvation when a person’s soul fully becomes one with the supreme spirit called “Brahman” (or God) who is eternal, genderless, omnipotent, and omniscient.

Interesting Hinduism Facts:

So far, we have seen some common Hinduism facts, but now we will have a look at some interesting Hinduism facts.

1. The institution of marriage was founded and put forth in practice by Hindus.

2. The first lawmaker, Manu, was a Hindu and Manu Smriti was the first book on law in the world.

3. Rigveda is the oldest book.

4. Hindus believe that the Vedas are written by gods.

5. According to Vedas, lending money on interest is a bad Karma.

6. Acupuncture and acupressure are vital parts of Hindu customs.

7. Vedas were preserved for more than 5000 years without the help of printing technology. This was done by reciting and memorizing all the hymns and through the Teacher-Disciple tradition (Guru-Shishya Parampara).

8. India is the home of four great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

9. Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world.

10. The concepts of the decimal system, zero, point, pi, and many others were used first by Hindus.

11. According to Vedas, Om is the sound that was present at the time of the creation of the universe and it is the only symbol, which represents God (Brahman).

12. Parents, teachers, and food are considered next to God.

13. Wasting food is considered a very bad habit in Hinduism.

14. There is no officially declared Hindu country in the world as there are Islamic and Christian countries. Nepal was the only Hindu country, but it has now become a republic.

15. Hindu community is the second most tortured community in the world after the Jews.

16. Hindus do not wear footwear inside the temples or homes.

17. Because of the usefulness of rivers, they are highly revered in Hinduism. People call them the mother.

18. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the holiest temple for Hindus. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

19. Kashi is situated along the banks of the river Ganges. It is the holiest place for Hindus. Some Hindus believe that if you die in Kashi, you would attend salvation. Some people prefer to spend the last days of their lives in Kashi.

20. There have been substantial pieces of evidence that Hinduism had spread all over the world including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, the USA, Italy, and many other parts of the world.

21. Hindu population constitutes about 14% of the world population.

22. Hindus believe that we get the human body when our soul passes through 8,400,000 species (Yonis).

23. A few decades back, Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedic Maths, and Hypnotism were considered superstitions and/or rubbish, but with the advent of modern science, it is proved that these things are very helpful for us.

24. Hindus do not worship Lord Brahma individually. They worship him only in the form of the trinity, i.e., Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh together. There is only one temple of Brahma in the world, which is in Pushkar, Rajasthan. The same thing applies to Indra. Indra and Brahma are both cursed because of their weak characters.

Some people use this thing against Hinduism but they should understand that Hinduism is bold enough to punish every culprit whoever he/she may be. This also proves that Hindu mythology is not a fairy tale but a history as no culture would abandon its gods.

25. The Ganges is the holiest river for Hindus. She is a goddess for them. They believe that all of a person’s sins are washed when he/she bathes in the Ganges. Ganges water contains more oxygen than any other river in the world, and the water remains fresh for a longer time.

According to a program broadcasted on Discovery, the Ganges water contains bacteriophage, which eats up harmful bacteria. Hence, despite being over-polluted, there are fewer harmful bacteria in it.

26. Most of the Hindus cremate dead bodies. The practice of burial is also observed in a small number of castes.

27. Since ancient times, Hindus know that there are nine planets in our solar system.

28. Hinduism believes in a circular rather than a linear concept of time.

29. The 108 is a sacred number for Hindus.

30. The cow is the holiest animal for Hindus.

If you know more interesting Hinduism facts, please share them in the comment section below.

The Dharma Traditions of India

Among the religious and spiritual traditions of the world, the traditions born in the Indian sub-continent, belong to a family. They were all born from the great mother tradition called “Sanatana Dharma” that can be translated as “Eternal Dharma”. In fact the word “Religion” itself is a category of thought that is of Western origin and does not capture the nature of the Indic traditions adequately. Modern understanding of India’s spiritual and religious traditions stems from applying the Western category of thought called Religion on India i.e. it involves viewing Indic traditions through a Western lens. When viewed through such a western lens, it may appear that India has four major religions i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, all of which were born and evolved in the Indian soil and mind. Indeed this has become the established understanding about India, and is actually subscribed to by many Indians themselves. There is however, an alternate way of grouping together and understanding the Indic traditions, freed up from the limitations of a Western interpretational lens i.e. through the phrase “The Dharma Traditions of India”.

The central distinction is as follows: When we speak of the Religions of India, i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, we are privileging a western category of thought called “Religion” whereas, when we speak of the Dharma Traditions of India, i.e. Hindu Dharma, Buddha Dharma, Jaina Dharma or Sikh Dharma, we are privileging an Indian category of thought called Dharma.

What then is the difference between the Western word Religion and the Indian word Dharma? Indeed a great many problems have been created in both the western understanding about India, as well as Indian self-understanding by equating these two words – Religion and Dharma.

The Western word Religion is born of Western understanding of its Abrahamic family of Religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam each of which has a historical founder, and a specific canonical book or collection of texts which contains the definitive word of God. In the course of Western or at least middle eastern history, each new Prophet has claimed that the truth that he proclaimed to have received directly from God, repudiates the earlier version of God’s word, or at least God has now updated his own word, through this new prophet. This necessarily sets up a hard boundary between one Abrahamic Religion and another, leading inevitably to opposition and conflict. Even though the Abrahamic Religions may share many common ideas amongst themselves, they also differ from each other quite sharply, and their differences are often far more important. One cannot be both a Christian and a Muslim at the same time – he or she has to convert from one religion to the other and this sets up a competitive space where each religion seeks necessarily to convert others into its own faith.

In contrast, in the Rig Veda, the oldest book of knowledge known to humanity, there is a verse which says “Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanti”, which can be rendered in English as follows:  There is but One Reality, but the wise (the vibrant ones i.e. the awakened ones) speak of it in a variety of tongues. The ancient Rishis (Seers or Enlightened Ones) of Sanatana Dharma anticipated the inevitable plurality of spiritual traditions and religions that would evolve through time, and granted space for their smooth and peaceful evolution. Therefore within Sanatana Dharma there are many sub-traditions generally called “Sampradayas”.  Some examples of Sampradayas are VedantaAdvaita VedantaShaivaVaishnavaGaudiya VaishnavaSmarthaShakta and so on. While many of these Sampradayas differ from each other in terms of philosophy, practices, ritual and forms of worship, they also have a lot in common. For example, most Indic Sampradayas i.e. Traditions are rooted in the concept of Karma and Janma (Punar-Janma means Re-incarnation). This idea suggests that the human being lives many lives, where in the inner being i.e. the soul or spirit of the human being leaves the physical body at death, and takes on a new body and continues its journey, as a newborn. The laws governing the birth, death and rebirth of beings, and their evolution up and down the scale of consciousness is enshrined as the Law of Karma. A corresponding idea shared by all Indic Sampradayas is the possibility of a complete and total release from this seemingly never ending cycle of birth and re-birth, variously called as MokshaNirvana or Kaivalya. And threading through them all, is the idea of Dharma.

The Sampradayas of India, i.e. the various Indic traditions are sustained by a long standing lineage of Gurus or Teachers, beginning generally from a single historical Founder. He or she may be a great Rishi or Mahatma who created a particular school of thought, philosophy and practice. In this sense, the Indian concept of a “Sampradaya” i.e. a religious or spiritual tradition is more equivalent to the Western word “Religion”. On the whole, the various Rishis seek to emphasize their fidelity to the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita and establish themselves as the carriers of the great tradition of Sanatana Dharma. Even Bhagavan Sri Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, states that “He Is not really saying anything new – What he is teaching his famous disciple Arjuna has been said before many times” (BG – IV.1-2).

Even where they do not fully subscribe to the Vedas, as in the case of the Buddha, they still affirm the eternality of the Dharma, for example the Buddhist Dhammapada says “Esa Dhammo Sanatano”. In other words, Dharma is a transcendental category of thought, it transcends individual Gurus and their Sampradayas or lineages; it transcends even the Sampradayas that affirm the Vedas and becomes a category generally common to all the Indian religious and spiritual traditions. Even though there may be differences in each Sampradaya’s enunciation of Dharma, that they are all expounding the one and the same Universal Dharma is a claim common to all. Thus the Dharma Traditions of India is a more Indic way of understanding India’s traditions as belonging to a single family that is more authentic to the Indic self-understanding, without the intervention of the western category called Religion.

Dharma in the Academia

Never before in history has Indian culture been studied by more students than it is today in the curricula of formal education systems in America. It is an integral part of the today’s World Civilization and World History courses at both K-12 and college levels. Through these courses millions of students acquire “authoritative”—but questionable—knowledge about Indic Civilization.

In order to ensure an authentic narrative of their culture, centers for advanced studies in Chinese, Japanese and Islamic civilization, religion, and culture have grown exponentially across American higher education. However, advanced, comprehensive programs in Indic civilizational and religio-cultural studies barely exist. The importance and influence of such centers of study are not well understood by Indian Americans. The South Asia centers which do exist focus on the socioeconomics and geopolitics of the South Asian nations while minimizing the relevance of the Indic Civilization and its traditional religion and culture.

A critical problem revolves around the prevailing narrative about Indian Civilization in general and of Hindu dharma in particular. The key to both is the concept of dharma, meaning “that which upholds,” or “sustains,” which defines the uniqueness of Indic civilization and accounts for its uninterrupted continuity for over five millennia. However, the equation of dharma with religion as interpreted by today’s Euro-centric scholars prevents comprehensive appreciation of its historic import as a system of wisdom. This misunderstanding threatens the very definition of authentic Indic identity as a significant component of world history and civilization.

The Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF) is a Los Angeles-based 501-c(3) non-profit corporation, of which I am a trustee and founding president. DCF was created to promote the multidisciplinary study of, and research in, dharma at accredited institutions of higher education—colleges and universities. Engaging with highly qualified faculty, DCF seeks to advance an integral and transformative approach to understanding Indic culture, religions and civilization that will support a narrative of India’s past which is consistent with the actual lived experience of dharma. This effort is both meaningful in the present global and Indian context and inspirational for the future, as a counterpoint to the prevailing Euro-American version of Indian culture.

DCF aspires to fulfill its mission by creating appropriate academic and intellectual infrastructure, including professorships, centers for advanced study, fellowships, scholarships, endowed chairs and innovative degree programs, journals, book series and other publishing projects. Several of these have already been launched.

DCF and the Graduate Theological Union, which functions in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, have recently agreed to enter into a partnership. The goal is to establish a Center for Dharma Studies within GTU, as well as the first Graduate School of Hindu Dharma Studies in higher education as an independent institution affiliated with GTU.

In this endeavor, the philosophy of the DCF is: The Concord, rather than the Clash, of Civilizations—Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti (“Truth is one, the wise ones speak of It by many names”). DCF invites the Indo-American community to get engaged with this historic vision and mission and contribute towards its fulfillment.

Hinduism and The 5 Elements

Different cultures and philosophies around the world have defined the “5 elements” of life. The system of five elements are found in Vedas, especially Ayurveda, the ‘Pancha Mahabhuta’, or “five great elements”, of Hinduism. The entire cosmic creation begins from the point of the Pancha Mahabhuta.

There are 5 elements in this universe:






Interestingly these 5 elements have got an interesting relationship to five senses.

Eternal Sky/ Ether:  Parameśvara – that in which everything is contained. The eternal sky or ether, it is only heard. Deep meditation is a way of connecting with this. It represents the space in which everything takes place.

Air: Representing God Vāyu & Hanuman-movement. Purity of air is essential to our lives; so it is recommended to have open houses with large windows to allow free air movement, especially in this Covid climate. It is a common practice to burn incense, you can hear and feel the air. It represents the gaseous state of matter and is responsible for the respiratory system.

Fire: Representing Gods, Agni & Shiva – transformation. Fire is an important find my man at a very early stage of our humankind. Vedic texts recommend us to gaze at the lamp and sunrise/sunset. Agni the god of fire is also worshipped by devotees. It represents form without substance and is responsible for digestion and perception.

Water: Representing Gods Varuṇa & Viṣhṇu – preservation. Water can be felt, tasted, seen and heard so it has a relationship with four senses. Water is part of any religious or cultural activity and used during pooja. It represents the liquid state of matter and is responsible for fluid metabolism in the body.

Earth: Representing Goddess Bhudevi & Brahma – creation. It’s believed that one has to be in constant contact with the earth by all senses. That’s why ancient sages often walked barefoot where ever possible. It represents the solid state of matter and is responsible for the physical constitution of the body. Bones, tissues and teeth are considered as earth elements.

7 REAL teachings of Hinduism :- (Excerpts from the Gita)

  1. Core philosophy
    The god you believe in is not half as big as the REAL god – Your actions (Your occupation as well as your karma)
  2. Detachment
    Work hard without giving ANY importance to the reward you will receive. If your intentions are good and if you work hard constantly, THAT state of being is greater than any reward in the world.
  3. Cyclic Nature of Life
    Life will always be a mix of good times and bad times. If you’re sad, you’re living in the past. If you’re nervous, you’re living in the future. If you want to be happy, only live in the present moment


  1. Faith is strength.
    Irrespective of what you experience in life, always have blind faith in the universe. The firestorms that you go through, eventually create the armour you’ll carry through your life.

Have faith that everything will fall into place one day.

  1. Dhyaan
    Meditation is one of the main purposes of life. Your body, your mind and your soul are genetically wired to benefit from the power of meditation.

Over the years, this practice has been lost.

The more you meditate, the more peace you will achieve. The more peace you achieve, the closer you get to hitting the target you were born to hit.

  1. Karma
    The purpose of life is to achieve peace. But the purpose of living is to be kind. Help those weaker than yourself and always stand up in the face of wrong doings. Sinning is a sin, witnessing a sin is an even bigger sin.

Good karma brings you closer to peace.

  1. Dynamism
    Religious and spiritual rules are only guidelines. You are always free to break them, if your gut instinct contradicts what you’ve been told all your life. Focus on being the best version of yourself. If someone doesn’t believe in your beliefs, that is not your problem. Live to spread happiness.

Before expressing your opinions, always ask yourself 3 questions – Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind?

A Hindu who spreads even an ounce of negativity in someone else’s life, is no Hindu at all. Hinduism is NOT a religion, it is a THOUGHT PROCESS.

7 Beliefs of Hinduism

Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion. It has no beginning as it precedes the recorded history. There is on definitive human founder of the religion. So, it is mystical and basic religion that encompasses everything in the world. Everything is worshiped including poisonous snakes as “Naag” and helpful cow as “Mother” and “Laxmi Devi”.

One of the greatest thing in Hinduism is that a person can personally experience the Truth within and can reach the pinnacle of consciousness – where the man and the God are one.

The four main aspects of Hinduism are:

Dharma (ethics/duties or the rules to be followed)
Samsāra (the continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth)
Karma (action, intent and consequences)
Moksha (liberation from samsara or liberation in this life)
As Hinduism is about beliefs of an individual and the following the loosely defined boundaries of doing the right things and avoid the wrongs things. The actions we take help in creating our own destinies and consequences.

Hindu’s belief is very diverse and it is not easy to include everything in a few points. But, the following ten beliefs, though not exhaustive, offer a very simple summary of the Hindu spirituality.

Hindu believe:

there is One, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.
the divinity of the four Vedas guide them. Vedas are the world’s most ancient scripture are considered God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma (the eternal religion).
the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.
karma of an individual create the destiny. This is also the law of cause and effect. Each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
the soul doesn’t die. It reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.
one can attain divine status and experience the Truth within and can reach the pinnacle of consciousness – where the man and the God are one. Such enlightened person can guide others to follow the same path. That was how the early education system in the world evolved.
all lives are sacred and they should be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, noninjury, in thought, word and deed.

10 Beliefs of Hinduism Religion

Hinduism is the oldest religion that is still practiced today, and between 900 million and 1 billion people around the world belong to this faith. Hinduism embraces a diversity of beliefs. Our beliefs determine our thoughts and attitudes about life, which in turn direct our actions. By our actions, we create our destiny. So, check out the key important ten beliefs about Hinduism.

1. Belief in soul (Aatma)

All the Hindus believe that every living being has a soul (Aatma) and this soul is led by one superior soul known as Parmatma. Animal’s soul is believed to be equivalent to the soul of a human being and Hindus believe that the main aim of a Hindus should be one of those soul’s that are with Parmatma. This is called Moksha.

It is believed that after death, one’s soul enters a new body depending on the past deeds or the karma until it becomes one with the Parmatma.

2. Belief in Karma

Hindus believe that our present depends on our past that is, the deeds we did in our past. Those who did bad deeds in their past life suffer in their present life and continue to suffer in their upcoming lives until the soul’s punishment is complete. So Hindus are always taught to do good deeds in their lives so that we can be happy in present life and the coming lives.

3. Belief in Reincarnation

Hindus along with many other religions believe in the concept of reincarnation. The concept is that “The soul never dies, but it is only the body that dies.” The soul travels from one body to another till it becomes one with the Parmatma. Many proofs are now available on the internet to prove that reincarnation is possible and it does happen.

4. Next to God

Hindus believe that parentsteachers, and food come next to the God. Since parents give us birth, they nurture us and teach us about life, teachers give us enough knowledge to survive in this world and food keeps us alive, so these three elements are considered to be of the utmost importance in Hinduism.

5. Reincarnation of Lord Vishnu

It is believed that whenever the world is near its end, Lord Vishnu will reincarnate himself and save this world by protecting the good people from the evil. Lord Vishnu is said to have reincarnated nine times already as MatsyavatarKurmavtarVarahavatarNarasimhavatarVamanavatarParashuramaShree RamaLord Krishna and Gautam Budha. Some believe that 10th reincarnation of Lord Vishnu has already happened and is called ‘Kalki Avatar.’

6. Meaning of Life

In Hinduism, it is believed that a human is born not only for just one goal but four goals –

(i) Dharma – Dharma means responsibility. One should complete his responsibility before dying.

(ii) Artha – Artha means wealth and success.

(iii) Kama – Hindus believe that one shouldn’t die without enjoying their life that includes – desire, sexuality, enjoyment.

(iv) Moksha – Enlightenment through good deeds. Moksha is believed as the soul’s freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth.

7. Vedas

The Vedas are Hindu scriptures that contain revelations that were received by the ancient saints. Vedas are considered very valuable since it is believed that they are the heard one and not man-made. Vedas means sacred knowledge, and there are total four Vedas in Hinduism. These Vedas include RigvedaSamavedaYajurveda, and Atharvaveda. The Rigveda contains prayer chants, the Samaveda contains hymns, the Yajurveda contains sacrificial formulas, and the Atharvaveda mostly contains charms to cast spells or achieve particular ends. These Vedas are used to invoke various Gods to ask for help and peace.

8. Belief in Nature

Hindus believe that nature (Prakriti) is a part of God and worship her as such. They believe that nature represents the feminity of the Universe and that she represents everything in us. She can be loving, uplifting and be nurturing but when the time comes, she can be even destructive. Nature is believed to be eternal and indestructible, but her forms can be destructible, divisible and changeable.

9. Belief in Gods and Goddesses

Hindus don’t worship just one God, but they worship some Gods and Goddesses who are believed to be sent by the Supreme Brahma to look after us, to keep the order and regularity of the world intact. Hindus believe that each God or Goddess has his or her role in this Universe and this world cannot exist without them. These different Gods and Goddesses are considered as the manifestations of a single unity, Brahma.

10. Salvation

Hindus do not believe that there is only


There are seven shared tenents or principles that Hindus all tend to abide by. To be clear, they all accept these concepts and accept that they have a relationship to each other. What that means principally and how that shows up in practice differ widely.


‘An eternal fragment of Myself becomes embodied as the living beings – jīvas – within this mortal world. It acquires the five senses, and the mind, which is the sixth, all of which reside in this material nature.’ Bhagavad Gita, 15.7
The atma, or soul, is the very divinity of the Self. It is such a central point to all Hindu philosophy that much of that exploration has been in pursuit of that Truth. It is the very core of who we are.

Within the Vaisishtaadvaita philosophy, the atma is an infitismal part of God. It is the same as God in quality but not in quantity. It it pure, unadulturated Love that exists in an eternal, enduring, ever-growing love-relationship with God. Whereas in the Advaita philosophy, the atma is seen as equal to God both in quality and quantity and to merge back into complete awareness of that reality.


‘Arjuna, whatever state one remembers when leaving the body, that state one will certainly attain after death. For a person’s condition is the inevitable result of what has been dwelt upon throughout one’s life.’ – Bhagavad Gita, 8.6
Samsara, or reincarnation, is the cycle of birth and death. We are born to live out certain aspects of our karma, we die, and our soul takes up a new body. This cycle is repeated adnauseum but it is not eternal. There is an end that is found in moksha, or liberation. According to Understanding Hinduism, ‘Each incarnation is one story, one episode in a much grander cosmic journey. As we move through this jorueny, we learn and achieve higher states of consicousness. Life therefore is not a test to see if we can choose the right belief system, it is an experience; a long process of growth and evolution.’


‘Giving up the fruits of action, the yogī attains everlasting peace. But the one who is attached to the results of action, impelled by desire, is subject to bondage.’ – Bhagavad Gita, 5.12
Karma is the cosmic law of action and reaction. It’s the governing law of samsara, and the momentum that makes life happen and allows us to go on having experiences in the world until we become free of our karma through spiritual practices and attain liberation.


‘Having reached the highest perfection and attaining Me, the great ones never again take rebirth in this world which is transient and full of misery.’ – Bhagavad Gita, 8.15

Moksha means liberation. It’s specifically liberation from samsara or the cycle of birth and death. We liberate ourselves, or are liberated through grace, from the material existence and we reach the only eternal state or abode. The methodolgy for this changes between paths and traditions. For some, moksha is only obtained by the act of surrender and the loving grace of God. For others, it is about inquriy and contemplation. Regardless, these methods both require the seeker to detach from the world and move beyond the influence of karma.


‘But behind the idea of dharma is the understanding that everyone is equal, because we all have the divine atma within, but not everybody is the same. We are all unique and have a specific indidivudal purpose. The challenge of life is to stay aligned with this purpose at all times. This requires insight, acceptance, and concious awareness of our soul.’ – Understanding Hinduism, pg 16
Dharma is a bit of a strange word as it holds many meanings. In its most literal translation, it means the right way, path or purpose. The principal is built on the understanding the everything in the universe as a set rhyme and reason for its existence. There are three types of dharma:

Dharma of the soul – this is to attain moksha
Dharma of the individual – the notion that every person as their own role and purpose to fulfill in this world
Dharma of action – the twelve pillars or tenents of action that support us in how we live.

‘One should meditate on the all-knowing Supreme Person. The one who is the oldest and supreme Controller of all. His Form is inconceivable, more subtle than an atom, and the maintainer of everything. He is brilliant like the Sun and beyond all darkness.’ Bhagavad Gita, 8.9
Think of Brahman as the reality that underpins all things. He is the creator, foundation, and sustainer of all that exists. Brahman is the absolute Truth one aims to experience as a result of moksha. In some traditions, Brahman is impersonal and formless. There are no qualities or characteristics that can be ascribed to this Brahman. In other traditions, Brahman is personal and has a form and even a name like Narayana or Krishna. This Brahman is the well-wisher and grace-granter of the world and actively intervenes on behalf of those who worship Him.

Srishiti (and Pralaya)

‘At the beginning of a Day of Brahmā all beings come forth from the unmanifest, and when the Night comes, they are dissolved back into the unmanifested state.’ Bhagavad Gita, 8.18
In Hinduism, time is cyclical, not linear. Think of it like a spiral, rather than a circle. The cycles repeat but there may be variation in them. Srishti is the act of projection – the moment where all of creation is brough into a manifested world. As the cycle completes, pralaya, or dissolution, takes place. When this happens, all of creation is withdrawn into a dormant, condensed state.

A Verse to Unite Them All
These seven tenents make up the common concepts shared within the Hindu faith. As stated, the concepts may be shared but what that means practically varies widely. The Rig Veda contains a specific verse that provides support to this diversity in unity. It states, ‘The Truth is one but the wise speak of it in many ways.’

There are many ways to interpret the Truth and the path to unravel it can be understood in the analogy of the five blindfolded men and the elephant. As the story goes, five men were taken to an elephant, given the opportunity to touch it, and then identify what it was. One found the tail and insisted it was a rope. Another found its leg and said it was a tree trunk. And so on. Eventually, they were granted sight and saw the elephant. Nonetheless, they each described it differently. Through direct-first hand experience, they found the Truth (in the elephant) but spoke of it in the various ways that made understanding it accessible.

What are the 5 main practices of Hinduism?

What are the 5 main practices of Hinduism?

Five things Most Hindus Would Agree With

  • There is authority in the Vedas.
  • There is one God.
  • The universe has some control over our lives.
  • The four aims of life are pleasure, prosperity, dharma, and liberation.
  • Bhakti is the way to God.

Is Hinduism a re?

The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

How do you teach children about Hinduism?

  1. Weave in lessons and stories within day to day talk.
  2. Fact vs Fiction and myth busting.
  3. Make it a family effort.
  4. Get children involved in festivals and celebrations.
  5. Visit the Mandir.
  6. Participate in community events.
  7. Classes & Group Study.

What are the goals and practices of Hinduism?

The purpose of life for Hindus is to achieve four aims, called Purusharthas . These are dharma, kama, artha and moksha. These provide Hindus with opportunities to act morally and ethically and lead a good life.

What are the 3 main traditions of Hinduism?

Hinduism has no central doctrinal authority and many practising Hindus do not claim to belong to any particular denomination or tradition. Four major traditions are, however, used in scholarly studies: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism.

What are the three basic teachings of Hinduism?

Three basic teachings of Hinduism include:

  • dharma (ethics and duties)
  • artha (prosperity and work)
  • moksha (liberation or…

Who created Hinduism religion?

An excellent reason can be given for this: Hinduism has no single, known founder. Nor is there a particular date for its “founding.” It seems to have emerged gradually, out of elements already discernible roughly 3,500 years ago.

Are Hindu gods real?

While there are diverse deities in Hinduism, states Lawrence, “Exclusivism – which maintains that only one’s own deity is real” is rare in Hinduism.

What are some traditions in Hinduism?

The most common rituals practiced in all Hindu households are puja, meditation, silent prayers, yoga, recitation of scriptures from Bhagavad Gita or bhajans, reading religious books, participating in Satsang (prayer meets), performing charitable work, visiting a temple, and chanting the name of their beloved God.

Why is the son important in Hinduism?

Amongst followers of the Hindu faith, sons are important for parents since a person’s soul can reach heaven only if a son and in his absence a grandson or another male member of the family lights the funeral pyre and sons are also believed to be able to enable the souls of deceased parents to achieve salvation by …

What is the core teaching of Hinduism?

Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) and karma (the universal law of cause and effect). One of the key thoughts of Hinduism is “atman,” or the belief in soul. This philosophy holds that living creatures have a soul, and they’re all part of the supreme soul.

What is the custom of Hinduism?

How can I teach my KS2 child about Hinduism?

Hindu religion resources for KS2 children. Made by teachers for teachers, these resources are the perfect way to teach your KS2 children about Hinduism. We’ve got a really wide range of resources here, like presentations, fact files, word searches and loads more! Here are a few of our favourites from the collection:

How many followers does the Hindu religion have?

It has 1.1 billion followers – that’s about 15% of the entire global population! In the Hindu religion it is believed there are four main duties in life: moral duties and ethics (Dharma), work (Artha), passion and love (Kama), and re-birth or self-realisation (Moksha)

What is in the KS2 re collection?

This KS2 RE collection includes PowerPoints, worksheets, activities and games based on the Hindu Mandir, the Hindu Creation Story, Diwali, the main values of Hinduism, Hindu Gods and Hindu vocabulary. How can I teach my class about the Hindu religion?

5 Beliefs Most Hindus Would Agree With

As we have said, while beliefs are an important component of religion, they are not the most important part about being a Hindu. A Hindu can reject nearly all the usual teachings of Hinduism and still confidently call herself a Hindu if she belongs to a Hindu community and performs the normal behaviors.

So, what do Hindus believe?

Hindu beliefs can be extremely diverse. Since Hinduism was formed as an amalgamation of several belief systems and not from one common source, it is very hard to identify some universal beliefs that apply to most Hindus.

So, you should cautiously approach anyone who says, “This is what Hindus believe.”

Instead of trying to give a full systematic theology for Hinduism (which doesn’t exist), I’ve pulled out five things that most Hindus will incorporate into their belief systems, as well as how they talk and act.

Five things Most Hindus Would Agree With

  1. There is authority in the Vedas
    The Vedas are a set of ancient scriptures that focus on the proper way to perform certain rites. The oldest of them was written around 1000 BC. The Vedas are more concerned with behaviors and practices than outlining a belief system. So while there are similarities with the Quran, Torah, and Bible, they are not the same thing.

They hold an authoritative position in Hinduism because they are so ancient. Modern Hindus still ascribe a lot of value to something being “Vedic”. An extremely rough comparison is to the phrase “constitutional” for US Americans. Very few people have read or understood either the Vedas or the US Constitution, and many of the ideas are carried much farther than perhaps were originally intended. But both of them remain the standard for claiming authority and legitimacy in their respective cultures.

  1. There is one God
    This one might surprise you. You thought Hinduism was polytheistic, right?

It is true there are thousands (if not millions) of gods within Hinduism. But nearly every Hindu will claim that in the end, God is one. Hindus disagree on the name for that one God and what form he/she takes, but they will agree that God is the spiritual, all-powerful creator of the universe.

If you are speaking in an Indian language, you will hear a wide diversity of terms used for “God”. However, nearly all of them translate into English as “God”. Therefore, when you are discussing “God” with your Hindu friends in English, you may feel they sound very similar to how Christians use the same term or how Muslims talk about Allah, yet the differences might be profound.

One unique point within Hindu beliefs is the strong connection between atman and God. Atman is sometimes translated as “soul” or “true self”. Most Hindus believe there is a part of the universal “God” living in each soul.

  1. The universe has some control over our lives
    Across economic, educational, social, and regional sections of India, most Hindus believe in the power of the universe to control the events of our lives. This is most often expressed in a deep interest and respect for astrology.

Swami Dayanand Bharati says, “From birth to death nothing is more dominant among Hindus than astrology”. All major life events, business dealings, and even political campaigns are subject to astrological assessment. If a certain planet is in an “inauspicious” place, a contract will be delayed, a potential spouse will be rejected, or a caesarean section delivery will be preponed.

This belief in the power of the universe’s ability to interfere with life is one of the most practical beliefs of Hindus and affects someone’s daily life as much as any other belief.

  1. The four aims of life are pleasure, prosperity, dharma, and liberation
    The Sanskrit terminology is kama, artha, dharma, and moksha. I mention these here not because Hindus grow up repeating these four things, but because of how you see them reflected in their practical lives.

In theory, these four things make up a hierarchy. Pleasure is an aim of life and not condemned, but most would say there is something better. Prosperity is celebrated and desired at all levels of society. While renunciation is also a theme in Hinduism, seeking and obtaining material comforts has always been accepted as a valid aim in life.

Dharma and moksha are supposed to be more elevated aims and guide the first two. We’ve discussed the importance and centrality of dharma elsewhere, but it determines to what extent pleasure and prosperity are pursued. Moksha refers to being released from the cycles of rebirth. While most Hindus would agree with its importance, it is usually too abstract of a concept to affect day-to-day lives.

  1. Bhakti is the way to God
    Hinduism has presented several paths to reach God, but none has been so popular in the last few centuries as bhakti, best translated as “devotion”. Bhakti offers a path to liberation through showing complete devotion to one particular god. All worship and praise should be offered to that one god, and other gods are seen only as manifestations of the true god.

Usually there is a family god (kula devata) that people will worship, but individuals are also permitted to take on a personal god (ishta devata) as well.

Bhakti often involves special songs, functions, and meditative chants directed at that god.

There are other common beliefs beyond these five, such as renunciation, ahimsa, reincarnation, karma, and others. However, there is either some debate on how universal these beliefs are, or they simply do not make it into the consciousness of practical life very often in my opinion.

Looking at a Hindu’s beliefs is a great step towards building more understanding in living and working with them. These five beliefs are a part of the core of the worldview of most Hindus. If you start with these, you will be able to have a better foundation for a relationship with the Hindus in your life.

Main Beliefs and Practices of Hinduism


Hinduism does not truly fit into the western notion of a religion. It has many beliefs and practices, some of which date back to prehistoric times. It is a complex belief system with an amalgamation of numerous faiths, beliefs and practices. Hence, it defies a definition that can truly reflect its essence and character. Hinduism is also the oldest living tradition and contains in itself the beliefs and practices of numerous lost or forgotten traditions and belief systems, which makes it even more difficult for the historians to trace its origins. Since God is considered to be the main source of its knowledge, beliefs and practices, Hinduism is also known as Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Dharma).

Although Hinduism originated in the Indian subcontinent, many races, communities and ethnic groups contributed to its beliefs and practices and thereby to its development. Hence, it is considered a composite religion, consisting of several sects and schools of philosophy each with a long history of at least a few thousand years. It also has a close affinity with other religions of Indian origin, namely Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism and shares with them many common beliefs and practices.

Because of its long history, Hinduism has many unique beliefs and features, which make it appealing to a wide section of people. Today Hinduism is practiced all over the world. It is mostly predominant in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Fiji, Mauritius, the West Indies, and South Africa. In recent times, many Hindus migrated to Europe and North America, where Hinduism has gained popularity not only with people of Indian origin but also with many educated people from other cultures.

The following is a brief summary of the main beliefs and practices of Hinduism in a nutshell. Readers are requested to note that since Hinduism is a complex religion and this being a condensed presentation of its essential features, there can be exceptions to what you may find here in some sects, schools and sub sects.

Belief in the Vedas 

Belief in multiple paths 

Hinduism differs from all other world religions because it is a pluralistic religion and accommodates divergent beliefs, paths and practices. Hindus firmly believe that the paths to God and liberation are numerous and all paths lead to him only. Some may be circuitous and take time, but their final destination is Brahman only. According to the Bhagavadgita, a person’s faith is according to his nature. In whatever form he worships God or gods, in that form God stabilizes his faith. People worship God or gods for numerous reasons, to fulfill their worldly desires, resolve their suffering, out of sheer curiosity, or to achieve liberation. Because of ignorance or desires, some may not even consider their liberation a priority. A person’s spiritual and material destiny are determined by his past karma, his essential nature, desires and attachments. Human beings are deluded by nature, and hence it is natural for them to lack discretion, make wrong decisions and remain bound to the mortal world. A wise teacher may take pity on them and teach them the right knowledge, but neither he nor anyone else should confuse them with the knowledge which they cannot understand. The Bhagavadgita states that one’s dharma, however inferior may be, is better than the dharma of another, however superior it may be. It is imperative for the order and regularity of the world that each individual should stick to his or her set of duties and religious practices, and does not change them because they find them unpleasant, inferior or difficult. The two ideas seem contradictory. However, what it means is that you cannot abandon your moral duties and worldly obligations that come to you by birth, profession, gender or status, but you have the freedom to choose your path and methods of devotional worship for your liberation and spiritual wellbeing.

Belief in Brahman, the Supreme God of gods 

Critics of Hinduism try to undermine its importance by arguing that it is not a monotheistic religion. It is untrue because Hinduism recognizes a universal, supreme God as the source of all creation. Undoubtedly, it is the oldest of all the current religions, which worship a creator God. In Hinduism, the highest God is Brahman, who is also described variously as Supreme Self, Iswara, Purusha, Parameswara, Narayana, Mahadeva, etc. He is both existence and non-existence, being and nonbeing, visible and invisible, one and many, creator and the created. He is described in the scriptures as eternal, indestructible, immeasurable, infinite, supreme, pure, absolute, support of all, pervader of all, lord, enjoyer, witness, etc. According to the Vedas, he creates all the worlds and beings for his enjoyment and subjects them to the modifications of Nature, duality, diversity, objectivity, delusion, egoism, and ignorance of their own divine nature. For the order and regularity of the worlds, he also shares or delegates all his duties to the beings of different worlds according to their nature and responsibilities. Human beings are therefore expected to perform God’s duties of creation, preservation and destruction to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds. According to the Vedas, the one God becomes many. He becomes 3, 33,333, 3333, and so on. His highest aspects are Isvara (God), Hiranyagarbha (Soul), and Viraj (the body or the objective reality). Another important manifestation of him is Time or Death (kala), the lord who rules the objective world and devours everything as his food. Isvara in turn manifests as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who are known as Trimurthis, to perform the duties of the creator, the preserver and the destroyer respectively. The entire creation of Brahman constitutes a little part (amsa) of his infinite dimensions and absolute reality.

Belief in Atman, the individual Self 

Unlike Buddhism, Hinduism believes in the eternal Self as the inmost Self (atman) of all beings. The individual Self is a microcosmic aspect of Brahman only. It is described as eternal, indestructible, unchanging, blissful, alone, transcendental, pure, intelligence, consciousness, etc. It is unreachable by the mind or the senses, but because of it alone they work. The early Upanishads identified it with breath, and hence the name Atman really means the breathing one. Although the Self is pure and infinite, when it is embodied in the mortal beings, it remains covered by the realities (tattvas) and modes (gunas) of Nature and bound to the mind and the body. It is called the samasara, or bondage to the cycle of births and deaths, which continues until it achieves liberation. The Upanishads state that the Self resides in the body in three locations, the eyes, the heart, and the mind. It is also described as the enjoyer and the Witness consciousness. The school of non-dualism holds that the individual souls are mere projections and not real. Only Brahman is real. Hence, when a person is liberated, he ceases to exist both as a being and as a soul, and merges into Brahman. According to some schools of Hinduism, the souls are of three types, the bound ones, the liberated ones, and the forever free ones. The liberated souls and the forever free souls eternally exist in the world of Brahman and remain so even when the worlds are dissolved at the end of each creation cycle.

Belief in Prakriti, Nature 

Some people mistakenly regard Hinduism as a naturalistic religion, or animism, which is not true. Hindus worship Nature as an aspect or force of God. In Hinduism, Nature represents the universal femininity. It is called Prakriti, the primordial Nature, who represents the materiality of all existence. The energy or shakti in her subtle form, she is both manifested and unmanifested. Acting as the dynamic force of God, she manifests his Will and creates the diversity that we find in the existence, using a set of realities that are known as tattvas and three universal qualities or modes called gunas. In Hinduism she goes by many names and has both pleasant and fierce forms, just as Nature has on earth. Everything that you touch, feel, and experience in you and in the objective world is Nature. She represents your very being, name and form. The whole body and mind of all beings are but aspects of Nature in the microcosm. As the primordial Nature, she is eternal and indestructible, while her forms and creations are destructible, changeable and divisible. The dynamism and the drama of the universe are caused by Nature only for the enjoyment of the Self, which remains passive. Thus, she responsible for the beingness of the beings, their desires, attachments, duality, delusion, confusion, modifications, suffering, attraction and aversion, and bondage to the cycle of births and deaths. However, she is also the transformative and purifying power on the path of liberation. She can be loving, uplifting, nurturing, supporting, caring, and purifying to those who worship her and seek her help and protection. Followers of Tantra and Shakti regard Prakriti as the highest and the ultimate reality, and worship her as the Supreme Being.

Belief in many gods and goddesses 

There is no religion in the world which is as colorful and vibrant as Hinduism, with its pantheon of gods and goddesses and the vision of a hierarchical universe, ruled by numerous deities who derive their power and authority from the highest, supreme Brahman. Hindus not only worship the Supreme Self and Shakti, but also numerous male and female deities, who are considered aspects of Purusha and Prakriti only. However, they are not mere functional aspects or symbolic concepts, but actual beings who play a vital role in ensuring the order and regularity of the worlds. They live in their own spheres, in the company of their associate gods and devotees, and participate in the creation, preservation and destruction of the worlds and beings as part of their obligatory duties. Since each has a specific role and duty and occupies a certain place of importance in the hierarchy of gods, the worlds cannot exist without them. Each deity is a combination of Purusha and Prakriti, and in their purest and supreme aspect is but Brahman only. Each god has one or more female deities acting as their consorts and providing him with dynamic force. Most of the male and female deities are worshipped not only in their individual aspects but also in their universal aspect as Brahman or Shakti or both. It is in this regard that Hinduism fundamentally differs from the western notions of polytheism. Hinduism accepts the diversity of creation as a fundamental reality of existence, and accepts a vast hierarchy of gods as part of that diversity. It is the same Purusha (Cosmic Being) manifesting numerously to enact the sacrifice of creation in which he is the worshipper, the offering and the one who is worshipped. The most popular gods of Hinduism include Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Saraswathi, Lakshmi, Parvathi, Durga, Kali, Rama, Krishna, Venkateswara, Ganesha, Hanuman, and Kumaraswami, and their local versions, aspects, emanations, and manifestations.

Belief in the sacrifice as basis of existence and liberation 

The idea of sacrifice is central to both Hindu ritual practices and spiritual philosophy. Sacrifice is the cause and the basis of life, and sacrifice is also the ultimate purpose of life. A person comes into existence because of a sacrifice in which a father pours his water into the female sexual organ as an offering, which results in the formation of an embryo in her womb as the fruit of that sacrifice. Once a person is born, his life become a continuous sacrifice in which his actions become the offering and karma its fruit. At the time of death, the person’s body is again offered in a final sacrifice as the offering, and the fruit of that offering is the afterlife in the ancestral world or the immortal world. Thus, one of the distinguishing features of Hinduism is its emphasis upon sacrifice as the source of life, the way of life and the purpose of life. It recognizes rituals and sacrificial offerings as part of a human being’s obligatory duty to maintain the order and regularity of the world. Creation also is envisaged in Hinduism as the sacrifice of God, in which he becomes both the sacrificer and the sacrificed. The outcome of that sacrifice is existence and manifestation of all worlds and beings. Meditation, austerities, yoga and other spiritual practices are considered internal sacrifices, in which the body is considered the sacrificial pit, breath is regarded as the offering, and liberation as the outcome. The worlds exist because of sacrifice. Each living being is a sacrificer in the sacrifice of life, in which the embodied self (jivatma) is the sacrificer, the body is the sacrificial pit, the actions and their consequences are the offering, and God is their final recipient. Since life is a sacrifice, you must be careful about what you claim as yours. If you enjoy the fruit of your sacrifice instead of offering it to God, you become responsible for them and suffer from their consequences. Thus, the model of sacrifice forms the basis of Hinduism and its essential concepts of karma, rebirth, and suffering. Devout Hindus are expected to perform daily sacrifices to nourish gods, ancestors, animals, spiritual people, etc. Apart from it, there are rituals that are performed on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or annual basis. Some rituals and festival like Kumbh or Mahakumbh repeat once in several years or a century. The purpose of the rituals is to nourish gods, ancestors, and ascetic people who cannot make food for themselves and in return seek their blessings for the welfare of the world, peace and prosperity.

Belief in the power of mantras 

A mantra is a sacred prayer, hymn, or word from the sacred texts used in ritual and domestic worship to communicate or consecrate a deity, cast spells and charms, or seek protection against them. Literally, a mantra means that which you release with the power of your mind. Each mantra has a presiding deity, from which the mantra receives its potency and the power to manifest or fulfill the desires and wishes of the worshippers. A mantra’s power depends upon how it is used, by whom it is used, and for what ends. For maximum efficacy, it must be used with utmost purity and chanted correctly with right intentions. Since mantras can be used for positive or negative purposes, they are meant to be revealed only to the qualified ones. The mantra tradition is very peculiar to Hinduism, with a history which is as old as the Vedas themselves. The Vedas are books of sacred hymns, mantras, spells, and incantations to propitiate gods for peace and prosperity. They rely upon the power of the sounds, speech, and mind to communicate with gods and obtain their help in return for the offerings made. Each mantra uttered during worship also becomes an offering to the deity. The Vedic tradition recognizes three types of mantras, namely the Riks, Yajus, and Samans. Riks are metrical mantras which are recited loudly during sacrificial ceremonies. Yajus are sacred formulas composed in prose, which are muttered in low tones. Samans are also metrical mantras, which are sung loudly due to their melodious quality. Mantras are used to infuse objects, such as water, an image, or a place with the sacred power of Brahman to purify it and use it as a protective shield or a sacred object to fulfill desires or cast spells. A person who is well versed in the knowledge of the Mantras and Vedas is known as a mantri. In the Vedic times kings used to employ them for consultation and counsel. It gave birth to the tradition of royal counsel and the council of ministers. The closest among them was called the mukhya mantri, or chief minister. Mantras are also used in healing and overcoming obstacles.

Belief in Dharma 

Hinduism should be rightly renamed as Dharma, because it forms the core of Hinduism. In Hinduism Dharma is synonymous with religion or faith. It is the basis of its moral, social, religious, spiritual and philosophical teachings and practice. The world is created for dharma, continues because of dharma, and becomes dissolved as part of dharma. Dharma means moral, sacred, and obligatory duties that directly arise from God which are vital to the creation, preservation, and destruction of the worlds and beings, and for the order and regularity of the worlds. God is the creator and upholder of Dharma. Every human being has to perform the triple functions of creation, preservation, and destruction for the continuation of the worlds and beings, and in so doing he must consider himself a mere servant, agent, or representative of God. In the performance of his duties, he must relinquish all notions of doership, ownership and desire for the fruit of his actions and offerings. Hinduism is also known as Sanatana Dharma because the duties of God that humans are expected to perform upon earth are considered eternal, constant and imperishable. The Bhagavadgita mainly teaches how to perform your duties, however unpleasant they may be, with detachment, renunciation and as a sacrificial offering to God for the welfare of the worlds as well as your own welfare. The Hindu law books (dharmashastras) are books of moral, personal, social, and family duties. They specify the duties that are specific to different categories of people according to their profession, status, and responsibilities. Life is a battle between dharma and adharma. Where dharma prevails, there peace, harmony, and happiness prevail, and where it is weak, chaos spread and evil grows. The Taitrriya Upanishad affirms that if you protect and uphold dharma, dharma will protect you and uphold you. Thus, the practice of Hinduism is synonymous with the practice of Dharma, or sacred duties.

Belief in the purusharthas 

Hinduism offers a very practical model of life for the humans to lead by suggesting four chief aims of human life known as purusharthas. They are based upon the four chief aims of God himself, or Purusha, in creating and upholding his creation. Since human beings embody the Purusha as their very selves and represent him upon earth as the upholders of his sacred duties (dharma), the aims of Purusha become their aims also. The four purusharthas are, dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama (sexual desire), and moksha (liberation). The first and the last are of utmost importance in the life of an individual since they form the basis of his moral and spiritual conduct and the means to his liberation. They also serve as the basis for humans in pursuing the other two goals of wealth and sexual pleasure since people can become trapped in them and lose their way. However, the four aims are not obligatory for all Hindus. They are prescribed mainly for those who choose to become householders and go through the four phases of varnasharma dharma (brahmacharya, grihasta etc.), which are described in another section. Some may pursue only the twin aims of dharma and moksha by renouncing worldly life and following the ascetic path of liberation. Artha and kama constitute the worldly pursuit, and dharma and moksha the spiritual pursuit. Together they ensure that human beings lead holistic lives and do not ignore their main duties that are part of their dharma, such as supporting their families, gods, ancestors, seers and sages, protecting cattle and other animals, procreation, continuation of family lineage, and protection and preservation of the sacred knowledge of the Vedas through study, recitation and sacrifices. It is also important to pursue the four aims, with detachment and as an offering or a sacrifice to God, and with no desire for personal gain or enjoyment, so that one can avoid the consequences of karma that arise in their pursuit. In today’s world, the purusharthas serve as an ideal. However, it is doubtful whether anyone strictly follows them in their real lives in the order of their importance or adhere to the lifestyle they prescribe.

Belief in varnashrama dharma 

The varnashrama dharma forms part of the Vedic tradition, which is not currently followed by a majority of Hindus. It is even doubtful whether anyone follows it at all because the current education system, householder lifestyles and living conditions have little in common with those of the Vedic times. However, from a theoretical and historical perspective, it still holds a value as an ideal, which people can pursue with suitable modifications to fit into their current lifestyles. According to the varnasharama dharma, human life is divided into four phases. In each phase people are expected to perform different duties as part of their obligation to God and to themselves. The four phases are brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha, and sanyasa. Brahmacharya is the phase of celibacy, during which a child who has been initiated into the study of the Vedas should practice celibacy and complete his mastery of the scriptures. In the past this phase used to last until one reached the age of 30-35. In grihasta, a person has to lead the life of a householder and fulfill his obligations towards himself, his family, ancestors, gods, seers and sages, animals, other human beings, and the world in general. He has to live responsibly, pursuing the four chief aims of human life as described before. In Vanaprastha, a person has to take leave from his family and householder responsibilities, and live in a forest or a secluded place to pursue his study of the scripture, live in contemplation, and prepare himself liberation. In the final phase of sanyasa, he should entirely give up the use of fire, renounce all attachments, observe austerities and pursue the path of renunciation, with the sole aim to pursue liberation. Although it may be difficult to follow the traditional varanshrama dharma, a person can still model his life on the ideal, and divide his life into four phases to pursue both material and spiritual goals.

Belief in different forms of worship 

In Hinduism devotees worship God and their favorite deities in various ways to express their love and devotion or to fulfill their wishes. In the Bhagavadgita, Lord Krishna assures that in whatever from people worship God, in that form he manifests. Therefore, devotees have the freedom to choose any object, symbol, thought, world, or form, which is convenient to them and meditate upon it. They may also worship him physically and ritually or mentally and spiritually, at home, in a temple, a sacred place, or in a congregation, with the help of a priest or by themselves. However, with regard to certain rituals and complicated sacrificial ceremonies, which are highly structured and very complex, they invariably require the assistance of qualified priests to avoid any ill effects or unintended consequences that may arise from them. It is also important which deity you worship, because a person becomes what he worships. As the Bhagavadgita states, those who worship the gods go to the gods, those who worship the ancestors go to them, and those who worship the elements go to the elements, but those who worship Brahman, go to Brahman only. Worship is also of different kinds, daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, yearly, or on specific occasions according to tradition. Some rituals require prior preparation and utmost purity, while some can be performed spontaneously without any preparation. Devotees may also choose different methods of worship such as rituals, prayers, chants, sacrifices, repetition of names, meditation, and make different offerings according to the object and purpose of the worship. There are also right hand methods which follow the traditional Vedic beliefs and practices, and left hand methods as prescribed in the Tantras.

Belief in creation 

In Hinduism there are two divergent opinions about creation. According to one view which is found in certain schools of Hinduism, existence is eternal without any creator. Life manifests spontaneously due to the actions of Nature when it subjects the individual souls to its modes and modifications. However, the more popular opinion holds that Brahman, the Supreme Being, is the creator. He creates the worlds out of himself and subjects them to delusion and desires. Nature (Prakriti) acts as his agent to manifest his will and create diversity. Existence is either a projection, superimposition, or reflection of God in the field of Nature. Hence, it is not real, but a temporary creation or illusion which will last as long as God is actively present in it. When he withdraws from it, it will instantly disappear. There are also many theories of creation in Hinduism, some very detailed, some vague, and some symbolic. There are no clear explanations, although there are many theories and philosophies, why the worlds come into existence, and what might have existed before they were manifested. The Rigveda even expresses skepticism whether God has any knowledge of the state that existed prior to creation (since he remains in deep sleep). It is commonly believed that God creates the worlds for his enjoyment (lila). We also know from the scriptures that there is a definite pattern to his creation, which happens cyclically and repeatedly as he goes into the alternating modes of activity and rest. The world’s manifest when he is active and it is the day for him, and they disappear when it is night for him and he is resting. In each cycle of creation deities such as Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, Brahma, Manu, the mind born sons of Brahma, and other gods, seers, and beings appear at regular intervals according to a predictable pattern. Each cycle of creation is also subject to definite divisions of time, and predictable phases of epochs, known as Satya yuga, Thretha yuga, Dvapara yuga, and Kaliyuga. Each of them is distinguished by specific events, characteristics, manifestations, duration, and the play of divine and demonic activity. Another important belief associated with the Hindu theories of creation is that it happens due to the union between God (Purusha) and Nature (Prakrithi). God represents the Self, which is pure consciousness, and Nature represents the body which is made of matter, energy, and materiality. Both are eternal and may be independent. However, Purusha is immutable while Nature is mutable. In creation, Purusha remains untouched by the modification of Nature, while Nature undergoes transformation to create or evolve names, forms, and beings. It is also true that there are many parallels between the Hindu theories of creation and the modern theory of Big Bang, in which elements, space, cosmic egg, energy and consciousness play an important part.

Belief in a complex cosmology 

Hindu cosmology presents a multitier universe and a hierarchy of worlds and planes of existence which are inhabited by numerous beings, with varying degrees of purity and light, or impurity and darkness, or a mixture of both. The Vedic people believed in a four-tier world, namely the earth, the mid-region, the water-bearing world, and the heaven. In addition, they believed in three other worlds, the immortal word of Brahman in the sphere of the sun, the world of ancestors in the sphere of the moon, and the underworld beneath the earth ruled by Lord Yama. In the Puranas we find descriptions of seven upper worlds of light, and seven lower worlds of darkness, with the earth or the mortal world as the seventh from the top. Each of the worlds is given a specific name. According to some theories, these worlds exist in each of us as subtle planes which can be accessed through meditation. The lower worlds are the worlds of pain and suffering, unpleasant memories and dark, demonic, and disturbing images. The higher worlds are worlds of pleasure, enjoyment, positive memories and bright forms gods and celestial beings. In addition to the worlds described before, each of the triple deities (trimurthis) has his own world, the Brahmalok of Brahma, the Vaikuntha of Vishnu, and the Kailash of Shiva. Apart from them, we also find references to the world of serpents and mythical beings, with half human bodies, beneath the earth and in the oceans. The Puranas also describe the earth as part of a huge mountain called Meru which stretches high into the heavens, with gods living in its upper regions and other beings below, and surrounded by seven concentric circles of oceans, which are encircled by a huge wall of tall mountains. Beyond them is said to be the indeterminate existence, about which nothing is known. In this great hierarchy of worlds, the mortal world of humans has a great significance since only humans have the opportunity to achieve liberation and ascend to the highest heaven of Brahman. Some scriptures also suggest that our universe (brahmandam) is just one of the numerous universes manifested by numerous Brahmas in numerous spheres of existence under the watchful gaze of the Supreme Being, Narayana. The Vedas also speak of four planes of consciousness, the wakeful state, the dream state, the deep sleep state, and the transcendental state, and five sheaths in the body, the gross body, breath body, mind body, intelligence body, and bliss body. Each of them may have a corresponding plane in the macrocosm also.

Belief in karma 

One of the important features of Hinduism is the belief in karma, or the belief that beings in the mortal world are subject to the consequences of their desire-ridden actions, which may be mental, physical, expressed, unexpressed, direct, or indirect. Hindus do not believe that God punishes anyone for their actions. People punish themselves by indulging in desire-ridden actions that produce sinful karma as their fruit. Karma means any actions one performs with or without desires. Karma-phal is the fruit that arises from such actions. In general usage, however, the word karma is used to denote both the actions and their fruit or consequences. Karma is an effect of your thoughts and actions. It keeps accumulating in the life of an individual and becomes the basis of his future lives. At the time of death, it becomes attached to the soul as latent impressions (samskaras), and accompanies him to the next world as well as to the next birth. The scriptures distinguish different types of karma,, namely the karma that is accumulated from past lives, the karma that is accumulated in the current life, the karma that is currently being exhausted, the karma from the past lives that has been exhausted, and the karma that becomes transferred into future lives, etc. Each person’s life and destiny are thus products of his or her past actions. No one can escape from karma because no one can remain without performing actions. Bodily functions such as breathing, seeing, eating, listening, and sleeping are karma only with positive or negative consequences. Even mutely witnessing evil actions of others or silently giving consent to them out of fear, selfishness, or self-interest can produce consequences. Liberation is not possible, until all karma is exhausted and the latent impressions in the subtle body are completely burnt. Hence, the Bhagavadgita prescribes karma-sanyasa yoga, according to which one should perform actions without desires and offer their fruit to God, acknowledging him as the source of all actions. The grace of God or of a spiritual person may also play an important role in neutralizing the effects of karma. In a philosophical sense, karma is a self-correcting and self-cleansing mechanism. Through karma a being gradually evolves and learns to discern the truth about himself and God, and his state of bondage and delusion. However, left to himself, it may take many births before a person reaches perfection in his knowledge and wisdom to come to that realization. Hence, the practice of yoga to hasten the process and arrest the ill effects of karma is prescribed in the scriptures.

Belief in maya 

Maya is another name of Prakriti. Maya also means illusion or delusion, or mistaking one thing for another. Maya also means magic. According to the Vedas, the asuras excel in magic and misleading their enemies. They wage wars with the help of magic, or use it to disrupt the worlds. Gods may also resort to magic, but it is for the good of the world. God himself is described in the Vedas as the greatest magician with the power to control, conceal and reveal. References to Maya are found in various schools of Hinduism, but it has a special significance in the Vedanta philosophy which is based upon the teachings of the Upanishads. According to it, the objective, everyday reality (vyavaharika) that we perceive with the senses is not true. What is true is the transcendental reality of Brahman which can be experienced only through self-realization. The Truth is hidden behind a veil of deception, whose source is God himself. He casts a spell upon the beings so that they cannot see him, but only his reflection, which they take for real. Hence, the world is not what it appears to be. It is partly a projection of your mind and partly a distorted version of your knowledge, perception, and understanding, filtered by the impurities of your mind and senses. We know today that the visible world is but a fraction of the invisible world, which remains hidden from our view and senses. The Vedic seers realized this truth long ago and cautioned people not to be misled by their perceptions and reasoning, but develop a deeper vision and understanding of the world to see it clearly and directly. The school of nondualism (advaita) holds that Brahman is the only reality. Everything else, including the world in which we live, is unreal, or an illusion because it is a projection of God in the field of Nature. It is like the dream of God, which lasts for the duration of creation. Since it lasts for billions of years, we do not know its illusory nature. Because of the activity of the senses and the mind, we take the it for real and ignore the reality that is hidden in it as its very soul. This illusion is created by Brahman with the help of the modes (gunas) of Nature by subjecting them to the impurities of egoism, attachments, ignorance, and delusion, whereby they take their minds and bodies for real and fail to recognize the soul which is present in them. The Svetasvatara Upanishad describes Brahman as a magician who casts the net of illusion upon his creation and subjects all beings to delusion. By removing the impurities that are present in the mind and body due to the activities of the triple gunas, and cultivating purity (sattva) one can overcome the delusion and achieve liberation.

Belief in rebirth or reincarnation of souls 

Belief in rebirth or reincarnation of souls is common to all religions of Indian origin. It characterizes many aspects of Hinduism. According to the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita and every other Hindu scripture, the soul takes numerous births during its existence in the mortal world before it achieves liberation. As the Bhagavadgita states, in each life the soul wears a new body like a clothe and discards it at the time of death. Rebirth is inevitable for the embodied souls, who indulge in desire-ridden actions, and whose karma is not exhausted. At the time of death they go to the ancestral world and return from there after their karmas are exhausted to take another birth. In the ancestral world they wear a casual body according to their karmas and fall to the earth when those bodies are worn out. Those who perform meritorious actions and incur good karma take birth in pious families, whereas those who indulge in sinful and evil actions take birth through sinful wombs and suffer greatly. Beings who indulge in mortal sins fall down into the darker world and return to the world to take birth in the bodies of animals and lower life forms. The Mundaka Upanishad suggests that rebirth is inevitable for those who pursue ignorance (avidya), and perform desire-ridden actions and rituals (karma-kanda) but those who renounce worldly life, live in forests in contemplation of Brahman, attain the world of Brahman and never return.

Belief in Moksha, liberation 

Liberation (Moksha) in Hinduism means liberation from the cycle of births and deaths or from the soul’s involvement with the materiality of Nature. In a limited sense it means freedom from suffering, delusion, ignorance, duality, impurity, and attachments. In an objective sense it means liberation from the burden of having an impure mind and body. The souls are caught in the cycle of births and deaths due to the modifications of Nature and desire-ridden actions. Desires are induced by the activity of the senses which are in turn influenced by the modes of Nature, namely sattva, rajas, and tamas. For the embodied soul the body is like a prison-house. It is not free until it is fully liberated from the hold of Nature and returns to its pristine state of pure consciousness. According to some schools of Hinduism, moksha means freedom from duality and delusion and dissolution of the (illusion of) individual soul into the Supreme Self, whereby it ceases to exist as an entity. According to other schools, liberation means self-realization or the realization that one is not the mind and body or the name and form but the eternal, indestructible, and infinite Self. Upon reaching that realization, souls travel by the path of gods (devayana) to the world of Brahman which is located in the sphere of the Sun and stay there, never to return. The scriptures are not unanimous with regard to state of the continuation of liberated souls in the world of Brahman, how they exist, what they do, and whether they remain active or passive. According to some sects, they remian blssful and in unision with the state of the Supreme Being, staying forever in the field of his direct gaze and infinite love. Some teacher traditions hold the belief that upon their departure from here, the liberated souls ascend to the higher worlds where they are assigned different tasks or asked to become the messengers of God. Accordingly, they may incarnate in other gross or subtle worlds to spread his word and spiritualize the beings there.

Belief in avatar ir the incarnation of God 

In Hinduism, the whole universe is sacred because it embodies God as its very soul. God is not separate from his creation just as the light that spreads from the sun is not separate from him. The world may be an illusion, but it is infused with his light and presence. God pervades it as its very soul and support. He manifests numerously as gods, beings, objects, wonders, worlds and planes of existence. However, he does not equally manifest his dynamic presence in all. Depending upon the situation, in the beings he may manifest his power fully, partially, or minutely, or remain fully hidden. Gods are his highest manifestations where his light, purity, and potency are the brightest, while the asuras are his lowest where it is as if he does not exist at all. In the darkest hells where the daithyas and rakshasas rule, his light and purity remain completely suppressed and enveloped by darkness. In the mortal world, his presence is mixed, according to the spiritual purity and progress of the beings. In most cases he remains a passive witness, and lets Nature rule their minds and bodies. However, from time to time, when the order and regularity of the world are disrupted by evil forces, in his aspect as Vishnu, the preserver, he may directly incarnates upon earth in a mortal body and resolve the problem. On such occasions he may choose to incarnate fully or partially. His full incarnations are limited to ten only, whereas his partial incarnations are said to be numerous. The purpose of each incarnation is to restore dharma by destroying the evil or spreading the knowledge of liberation and righteousness. An incarnation is different from a messenger, prophet, god, or teacher. It is God himself in mortal form, with a specific mission to save the world and restore order, without an intermediary. The scriptures suggest that nine incarnations of Vishnu have already taken place at different times in the present cycle of creation. The last one, that of Kalki, will happen in future at the end of Kaliyuga, when the world will be destroyed in a huge conflagration. The idea of incarnation is very predominant in Vaishnavism. Followers of Shiva do not believe that an incarnation is necessary for God to restore dharma. They believe that Shiva, the all knowing, ominpotent God, may directly intervene in the world in a particular asepct, form, or emnation or depute Shakti or his associate deities and ganas to deal with the problem.

Belief in charity 

Charity or dana is one of the most important aspects of ethical conduct and religious practice in Hinduism. According to the essential beliefs of Hinduism, Hindus are not supposed to live for themselves, but for the sake of God, in the service of God, and to server those whose existence is vital to the continuation of the worlds. Therefore, it is an obligatory duty of every Hindu householder to practice charity as part of his or her religious duty to ensure the order and regularity of the world. There are many people in the world who depend upon others for food, such as students who study the Vedas and practice celibacy, ascetics who take the vows to practice austerities and renounce cooking or the use of fire, people who are disabled or extremely poor, saints, seers, and wandering monks (shramanas) who cannot have permanent shelters, and gods who cannot make their own food. They depend upon the charitable nature of humans. It is also an obligatory duty for a householder to honor the visiting guests, and serve them with food and other comforts. They are also expected to make the five daily sacrificial offerings to gods, ancestors, humans, animals, etc. Giving charity is thus a very important part of Dharma (sacred duty) for people on earth. It is by giving and serving the humanity that they serve God and earn the merit. Truly speaking, sacrificial ceremonies and ritual worship are prescribed in Hinduism mainly to promote charitable activities. Since human beings are selfish by nature, it difficult for them to overcome their attachment to worldly possessions and share them with others. Charitable activities help them practice detachment and overcome their selfishness. According to a story in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, it is said that once upon a time Brahma assembled gods, demons and humans and gave them specific instructions to improve their conduct. He asked gods who were excessively drawn to pleasure seeking behavior to practice restraint (dama). To the demons he gave the advice to practice compassion (daya) because they were excessively prone to cruelty. When it came to the humans he asked them to practice charity (dana) because they were prone to selfishness. The story illustrates how important charity is for human beings to earn good merit or achieve liberation. Charity is not just about giving money or food, but sharing knowledge, healing others, giving blessings, and being generous in forgiving others.

Associated beliefs 

The following are a few associated or derivative beliefs that are worth mentioning.

2. The belief in the living images of God. Hindus believe that the images in the temples and at home which they worship are incarnations (arcas) of God and should be treated with reverence and respect.

3. The belief in the evolution of life. Hindus believe that being evolve both physically and mentally through rebirth, karma, self-purification, and spiritual practice.

4. The belief in the social order. Hindus believe that due to karma people are naturally predisposed to perform certain tasks, professions and skills. This led to the formation of caste system, which presently divides the Hindu community into caste based groups and affliations.

5. The belief in the spiritual basis of marriage. Hindus believe that marriages are made in heaven and in married life both husband and wife have to perform specific duties to uphold dharma and preserve their families.

6. The belief in the spiritual significance of India, Bharat. For Hindus India is the sacred land of the Vedas, the land where the Bharatas ruled, the land of gods, goddesses, and enlightened humans, where knowledge flows, where God incarnates, where sacred rivers like the Ganga flow, where gods breathe in the bodies of seers and saints, where the Buddha and the Thirthankars were born, where wisdom prevails, and where souls take birth to improve their spiritual destinies and cleanse their karmas.

In Hinduism the Vedas are considered inviolable and indisputable because they are the heard ones (shruti) and not man-made (apaurusheya). Veda means sacred knowledge which is believed to exist eternally in the world of Brahman and revealed at the beginning of each cycle of creation in the worlds of gods, humans, and demons by Brahma, their creator, to help them perform their Dharma, or duties and sacrifices. The Vedas were originally three, but subsequently the fourth one was added. The four Vedas in the order of their composition are the Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda. The Rigveda contains prayer chants (riks). The Samaveda contains, hymns (Samans), which can be sung loudly. The Yajurveda contains sacrificial formulas (yajus), and the Atharvaveda mostly contains charms to cast spells or achieve particular ends. The hymns of the Vedas are used in sacrificial rituals and ceremonies to invoke various Vedic gods and obtain their help for peace and prosperity or to overcome problems. The Vedas are very large texts containing thousands of hymns, and each hymn contains numerous verses. Each Veda is primarily divided into two parts, the Samhita and the Brahmana. The former contains hymns, and the latter verses in prose to deal with the ritual and philosophical aspects of various beliefs and practices of the faith. The second part is further divided into, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads. Each Veda contains one or more Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads. The Aranyakas deal with advanced ritual knowledge, while the Upanishads deal with various aspects of liberation, Brahman, Atman, creation, rebirth, realities, modes, aspects of Nature, and spiritual practice. In Hinduism the Vedas are used as the standard to validate philosophical truths and arguments. Any opinion, philosophy, or metaphysical assertion becomes vindicated if it finds an approval in the Vedas. However, although the Vedas are central to Hinduism, currently their importance is limited to the Upanishads and a few ritual and spiritual practices. The Upanishads are the heart of Hinduism. They form the basis of almost every Hindu sect, school of philosophy, and teacher tradition.

God and Soul, Atma and Paramatma, in Hinduism

In Hinduism God is known as Brahman, Isvara, Paramatman or Supreme Self. He is also often addressed as Bhagavan, Parabrahman, Siva, Vishnu and Yaksha.

The soul is known as Atman or Self or the individual Self. The Self and Supreme Self are the two eternal entities of creation.

One is enjoyer and the supreme Lord of the macrocosm and the other is the enjoyer and lord of the microcosm of a living being.

In Hinduism, the phenomenal world, which we call Samsara, is transient, where as the world of Brahman is eternal and imperishable. In samsara a being is subject to modifications, aging and death.

This is the suffering from which one must escape finally into the realm of Brahman and become free from the shackles of mortal existence.

There are several theories and schools of speculative philosophy in Hinduism which try to explain the relationship between God or the Supreme Self and soul or individual the Self, but there is no unanimity among the them.

In a wakeful state, no one knows for sure the true equation between God and His creation. We cannot say conclusively whether they are the same or different.

Philosophers and scholars have been exploring and speculating about it since the ancient times, but as history proves they have not able to reach a conclusion.

Since, both the Self and the Supreme Self are beyond the mind and body, neither of them can be grasped with the senses or the intellect.

Hence nothing can be proved about them empirically or in a wakeful state, except through an inner personal spiritual experience.

In Hinduism, there are essentially three views regarding creation: projection, transformation and super imposition.

According to the first, creation was a projection of God’s power just as light is projected by the sun in all directions.

According to the second, creation is a transformation of God’s materiality and mutable aspects.

According to the third, creation is a superimposition, just like a movie on a silver screen or a dream on a resting mind.

These three views in turn influence our views regarding the relationship between God and His creation.


According to one school the whole universe is one and only one reality. Brahman or God is the only truth. The rest is His maya or His concealing and deluding power.

There is no distinction or duality between God and the soul except in our perception. God and the soul are one and the same.

There is nothing like a soul separating itself from God and then entering the body as a separate entity.

The soul has never been separated from God and would never be. When the light of the sun spreads, it enters into everything. So is the case with Brahman.

The same Supreme Self pervades all beings like space and envelops them all.

The same Supreme Self acts as individual souls without undergoing any change or division.

This is the Advaita or non dualistic school of philosophy.


According to another school of philosophy, there is no actual division or separation between God and Self. But as He comes into contact with His own Nature or Prakriti, He becomes reflected in various gunas and aspects of the latter, resulting in the creation of diversity and numerous life forms.

In truth there is no diversity. It is just a reflection of God, just as your reflection appears in water, glass or in a mirror.

The reflection of God in sattva is Isvara, the Supreme Lord.

The reflection of God in rajas is Hiranya Garbha (Cosmic Egg), the soul of creation of which all the individual souls are a part.

The reflection of God in tamas is Viraj (the shining one), the body of creation of which all the elements, objects and beings are a part.

These are the triple aspects of Brahman in creation. In reality they are His reflections and disappear when He steps away from Nature. You may call the Father, the Holy Ghost and the Son.

In other words, God and His creation are identical whatever difference arises is notional and temporary. This is called Vishishtadvaita or qualified non-dualism school of thought.


According to the third school of thought, known as the Dvaita, popularized by Sri Madhvacharya, there are two sets of reality and they are eternally different and never the same.

God and His creation represent two distinct and eternal realities. The liberated souls may come into the presence of God but never merge into Him. The souls are also not created by God.

Like God they are eternal, but unlike Him, they are dependent entities in various stages of liberation and bondage. The bound souls are caught in Samsara, the cycle of births and deaths due to their delusion and desire ridden actions.

When they are liberated, they reach the highest heaven of God and live forever in His company, with no prospect of rebirth or bondage again.

The truth

These are the major currents of thought in Hinduism that are speculative in nature but provide a glimpse in the nature of reality with their own set of beliefs and justifications.

Each of the three schools draw their conclusions and validations from the same Vedas, the Brahmasutra and the Bhagavadgita, interpreting the verses according to their beliefs.

These speculative philosophies are beyond the understanding of ordinary Hindus. It does not deter them from worshipping God in their own ways. Indeed, existence is such that no one can tell us what is the ultimate nature of reality and whether what we experience is real or an illusion.

A subject like this cannot be clarified or explained by any one to our complete satisfaction. One has to arrive at the truth by Himself and experience the transcendental state personally.

Only then perhaps one can transcend the speculative thinking and enter into the light of true knowledge.

The importance of food in Hindu Worship

In Hinduism, food (annam) is considered Brahman or an aspect of Brahman (annam parabrahma swarūpam). It is central to both creation and life. The whole material existence is symbolized as food. It is the lowest aspect in which Brahman manifests. The Upanishads declare that by creating different types of food, names, forms and functions, God manifested diversity.

Food as the universal matter

The physical body is called the food body (annamaya kosa) because it is made up of food only.  The soul or the Self is eternal, self-existing and independent. He does not depend upon food, but the created beings invariably depend upon it. Food is both the source of life and the cause of death because it is both the nourisher and destroyer.

According the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, “Prajapati created seven types of food through austerity. Of them only one was common. He provided the gods with two. Three he made for himself. One he gave to the animals. On that rests everything, whether it breaths or not.” Of the seven, one is the physical or elemental food which is common to all, five are breaths (prana), which serve as subtle food to the senses or gods. The one which was given to animals was milk which is used by humans both as food and offering in the sacrifices. Gods receive food through breath in the body and air in the macrocosm.

The same Upanishad states that the multitude of gods can be reduced by their spheres into three, the earth, the mid-region and the heaven. They can be further reduced into two categories according to their dependence upon subtle (breath) and gross foods. Thus, in Hinduism food is not just what we eat. It also includes what we breathe, perceive and accumulate in the mind and body as virtue (punya phalam), desires, sin (papa phalam), attachments, karma and material possessions. In this essay, we discuss the importance of food in the ritual and spiritual practices of Hinduism.

At the highest level food is the universal matter and energy. It represents Nature, all the materiality, phenomena and the tattvas (finite realities) from which the whole diversity manifests. Food is the object as well as the subject of sacrifice. It is the means to creation as well as procreation. Existence is not possible without food. The world itself is considered the food of Kala, the lord of the mortal world. Hence, he is also known as the devourer. He eats everything. Since the whole material existence is considered the gross body of Brahman, everything in it is worthy as a sacrificial material.

Breath plays an important role in the movement, digestion and transformation of food in the body as well as in the macrocosm. Through austerity and breath control, food transforms into heat (tapas) and vigor (ojas) in the body (tapas), into mental brilliance (medhas) in the mind, and retas (seed) in the male sexual organ.

Wrong food or foods with the predominance of rajas or tamas cause sickness and inertia or strengthen demonic qualities, whereas light foods with the predominance of sattva improve health and strengthen divine nature. Food is also a healer and purifier. Hence, diet is considered an important aspect of healing in the Ayurveda. The symbolism of food is depicted in the following image.

Food in worship

Hindu rituals invariably involve the offering of food due to the significance attached to it. It is divine and worthy of worship because just as God, food also performs the triple functions of creation, preservation and destruction. Food also serves as the connecting link between the triple worlds, just as God is considered the thread that binds all worlds together. Annam in a general sense means all food, but in a specific sense boiled rice. Food and clothing are considered the bare necessities of life. Hence, gifting them was an integral part of the Vedic sacrifice.

According to the Vedas, gods in heaven cannot make food for themselves and depend upon humans for nourishment. So is the case with the ancestors in the ancestral heaven who depend upon their descendants for ritual food to build and sustain their casual bodies. Then there are animals, mendicants, beggars, poor and decrepit people, ascetics, wandering monks, etc., who depend upon other for their survival.

The scriptures stipulate that it is obligatory for humans to perform daily sacrifices, sacraments and other sacrificial ceremonies to nourish these different types of beings and uphold Dharma. Thus, every Hindu ritual is essentially an act of sacrifice or offering in which one offers both gross and subtle objects. At the end of the ritual, the remains or what is left of the sacrifice is distributed between the worshippers and the host of the sacrifice as a sacred food. The Bhagavadgita states that he who eats food without offering it to God verily eats sin.

Food in penance

While in ritual worship, the worshippers offer food to gods and partake the remains of the food as a gift from the gods, in penances they abstain from it to affirm their faith or loyalty, fulfill an oath, overcome an adversity or expiate for sins and transgressions. Such penances may be performed as a part of ritual worship or separately.

According to Hindu Varnashrama Dharma, students have to obtain food only through begging. Except on certain occasions, they should not eat food unless it is obtained from more than one person, Householders have the obligation to offer food as part of their religious duties, while those who renounce worldly life and undertake Sanyasa, have to abstain from cooking, develop a distaste for food and subsist upon as little food as possible to purify their minds and bodies. In the final stages, they are expected to completely stop taking food and allow the soul to leave the body to achieve final liberation.

The law books such as the Manusmriti prescribe several types of penances as part of ritual worship or punishments for sinful actions. For example, the Manusmriti prescribes that if a student who has taken initiation from a guru remains asleep at the time of the sunrise or the sunset, he should fast the next day reciting the Gayatri. Otherwise, he will be tainted by great guilt. One of the most notable penances of the Vedic times was the Krikkhra penance, in which for the first fifteen days during which the moon waned the worshipper increasingly reduced the intake of food by certain mouthfuls, and in the next fifteen days he gradually increased it by the same number.

Hinduism – Rules for Fasting

Question: What can you eat when you are fasting? What are the rules, customs and manners associated with fasting in Hinduism?

Fasting is a very common and ancient form of austerity in Hinduism. It is usually done in Hinduism to show your sincerity and resolve or express your gratitude. The gods in your body are not pleased if you starve yourself for long. Therefore, when you fast, you have to keep your body’s wellbeing in mind.

There are no fixed rules for fasting in contemporary Hinduism unless you are performing a particular Vedic sacrifice or a traditional ritual, in which case you have to follow the scriptures and the long-established traditions.

On such occasions, you will usually be guided by the priest who officiates the ceremony or your spiritual guru, who may have advised you to perform it. The fasting may be either complete or partial. For example, in some Vedic ceremonies, the worshippers are allowed to drink only milk and water.

The tradition of fasting for religious or spiritual purposes is integral to Vedic tradition. In the Vedic period, householders practiced fasting on various occasions as part of their ritual practices. However, the renunciants (sanyasis) who gave up worldly life practiced it as a way of life and as a part of their effort to give up their bodies.

Fasting in Hinduism is a declaration of faith and resolve and a way to build character, strength, and purity as part of one’s preparation for liberation. It is also helpful to restrain the mind and the senses and practice detachment, austerity, and self-control.

The Hindu Law Books, such as the Manusmriti, prescribe elaborate rules and procedures for both men and women to practice fasting on specific occasions. They also consider fasting a meritorious deed or good karma. According to Manu, women should not observe fasting when they are apart from their husbands.

Manu also declares that students who subsist on begged food earn the same merit as fasting. Fasting is also used as a punishment. If a student remains asleep after sunrise, he shall fast during the next day, muttering the Savitri chant. If a person eats food from forbidden people, he has to observe fast for three days. Manu prescribed three days of fasting for minor thefts also. These punishments suggest that fasting was used for atonement and considered a purifier and remover of sins.

Probably, the practice of fasting had its origin in the Vedic ritual of kindling the sacrificial fire for the purposes of sacrifices. We draw this inference from the fact that in Sanskrit, the same word, “upavas,” is used to denote both fasting and kindling sacrificial fire. People probably practiced fasting when they had to kindle or rekindle the domestic fires, which they kept in their homes to perform the daily sacrifices.

Fasting has also been practiced in India for centuries as a penance for the expiation of sins, dereliction of duties, crimes, etc., or to annul the mistakes made during religious observances and sacrifices. One of the penances prescribed in the scriptures is the Krikkhra penance, which has to be observed for several days or a month.

Manu explains how it shall be performed. In one type of penance, a twice-born man shall eat for the first three days only in the morning, for the next three days only in the evening, for the next three days eat only what has been given to him unasked and observe complete fasting during the last three days.

In another type of penance called Paraka Krikkhra, he has to reduce the daily food intake by one mouthful per day during the dark half of the month and increase it by a mouthful during the bright half.

It is customary for those who participate in Hindu domestic ceremonies, including marriage ceremonies and pujas on specific occasions, to abstain from eating food until the completion of such ceremonies.

In most cases, people break their fast after performing sacrifices or rituals and eating the remains of the food, called prasadam, which was offered to gods.

On the occasion of certain Hindu festivals such as Maha Shivaratri and Durga Puja, the worshippers have to observe fasting either for a day or for several days.

Those who undertake vratas or vows to worship deities in a specific traditional manner also follow a strict code of conduct with regard to their eating and other activities. On such occasions, they either observe complete fasting or avoid eating certain types of food, such as sour items, curd, etc.

In some ceremonies, only women have to fast, while no restrictions apply to their husbands. Such ceremonies are mainly meant for the protection and wellbeing of the husbands.

Some Hindus, both men and women, observe fasting on specific days in a week or month, which are considered auspicious or favorite days of certain deities.

People also observe fast to fulfill their wishes, overcome adversity, drive away evil spells, please the gods and planetary gods, or obtain their blessings.

Under normal circumstances, if you are fasting for your own good or for spiritual progress, you may set down ground rules. Generally, in Hinduism, there are three types of fasting.

1. Abstaining from eating food of all kinds, both liquid and solid foods

2. Abstaining from drinking water

3. Abstaining from sexual pleasure

All three may be practiced simultaneously, selectively, or in stages. Some people abstain from eating solid foods while fasting but consume liquid foods like fruit juice or milk. Some people abstain from eating certain foods like rice, meat, etc., but eat fruits and vegetables.

Whatever fasting you may practice, sincerity and purity of intention are important in today’s world. If you want to fast selectively, you may have to consider your body’s tolerance for certain types of food and, if necessary, make such decisions in consultation with your physician.

Some people fast for several days continuously on occasions like Navaratri. They do not consume anything except water. Many people fall sick at the end of such austerity and even develop digestion problems for a few days after they complete their fasting.

It is important to know what food you may eat after you complete prolonged fasting and consult your physician before making an informed decision.

Overall, fasting in moderation is good for the mind and the body. It purifies the system, besides making you feel light and energized. Medical research proves that the habit of fasting prolongs life and keeps the body in good shape. Therefore, if you fast in moderation, without starving your body for days, both the gods in your body and you will feel good about it.

What is Maya in Hinduism?

In Hinduism maya is used to denote both Prakriti or Nature and the deluding power. Prakriti is the dynamic energy of God. According to some schools of Hinduism, Prakriti exists eternally as a separate entity from God. Just like Him, it is unborn, uncreated, independent and indestructible. It either acts independently of Him or acts in unison with Him as a co-creator or partner.

According to other schools, Prakriti is the dynamic energy of God, either latent or created on purpose. It comes into existence during the act of creation, as a manifestation of His Will, to envelop the beings He creates and subject them to the state of duality. Whether it is independent of Him or dependent, all schools of Hinduism, with a few exceptions, recognize God as the Creator.

In His role as Iswara, the Lord of the visible and invisible universe, God undertakes five different functions, namely, Creator, Preserver, Destroyer, Concealer and Bestower of grace. In His role as Concealer, He unleashes the power of Maya, through Prakriti, to conceal Himself from what He creates and delude all the living beings (jivas) into thinking that what they experience through their senses is true and that they are independent of the objects and other beings they perceive through their senses. Maya therefore causes ignorance and through ignorance perpetuates the notion of duality, which is responsible for our bondage and mortality upon earth.

When we know that maya is the power that blinds us, binds us and deludes us, we become aware of the extent of its influence and its role in our lives. Out of this awareness comes a sense of caution and discriminating, which ultimately leads to our salvation. But till we reach that stage, we remain in the grip of maya, like fish, caught helplessly in a net. Saivism recognizes maya as one of the pasas (bonds) or malas (impurities). It is responsible for our animal (pasu) existence or beingness and becomingness. It causes in us ignorance and egoism and binds us to the objects we desire and seek. It makes us believe that the objective world in which we live and experience alone is true. It draws us outwardly and binds us to the things, we love or hate or we want to possess or get rid of. It is responsible for our experience of time and space which otherwise do not exist. It conceals our true nature and makes us believe that we are mere physical and mental beings. Through its powerful pull, it draws us forcefully into the objective reality of the world in which we live and binds us to things and events through our thoughts and desires.

Unlike the western religion, in Hinduism God is not separate from His creation. His creation is an extension of Him and an aspect of Him. This world comes into existence, when God expands Himself outwardly, like a web woven by a spider. In His subjective and absolute state, His creation is unreal and illusory, but in our objective and sensory experience and in our beingness it is very much real and tangible. It is a projection or reflection of Him, like the objects in the mirror and the mirror itself, different from Him somewhat, but also not so different, dependent but virtually distinct. He uses the concealing power of His own maya to draw Himself into Prakriti and conceal Himself in it as a limited and diluted being.

How the beings are subjected to delusion? It is through the senses and their activity. The Bhagavadgita explains the process thus, “By constantly thinking of the sense objects, a mortal being becomes attached to them. Attached thus he develops various desires, from which in turn ensues anger. From anger comes delusion, and from delusion arises confusion of memory. From confusion of memory arises loss of intelligence and when intelligence is lost the breath of life is also lost (2.60-63).” So the sense first draw out and involve us with what we see and experience. Through this constant contact with the sense objects, we develop attachment with them. This attachment in turn causes desires. Because of the desires, we want to own and possess things, we develop likes and dislikes, attraction and aversion. We draw ourselves into situations and relationships we believe will lead to our happiness and fulfillment. We become so involved in the process and with Prakriti that we forget who we are and why we are here or what we need to do in order to be ourselves.

Maya causes delusion in many ways. Under the influence of Maya an individual loses his intelligence and power of discretion. He forgets his true nature. He loses contact with his true self and believes that he is the physical self with a mind and body that are subject to constant change, instability, and birth and death. In that delusion, he believes that he is doer of his actions, that he is responsible for his actions, that he is alone and independent, that he cannot live with or without certain things and so on, where as in truth he is an aspect of God, who has concealed himself, who is actually the real doer, and for whose experience all this has been created. Because of his ignorant thinking, he develops attachment with worldly objects and wants to possess them. He spends his life in the pursuit of unworthy objectives in the world considering them to be imperative for his success, survival, happiness and personal pride.

He accepts as true what his senses perceive, ignoring the truth that is hidden in every thing or that lies beyond his mind and senses. Driven by passions and emotions, instincts and desires, he suffers from the conflicting experiences and sensations of heat and cold, happiness and sorrow, success and failure, and union and separation from what is desirable and undesirable. He becomes restless, driven by the passions and emotions of his unstable and undisciplined mind. Deluded thus, he pursues wrong aims, indulges in wrong actions and suffers from the consequences of his own actions and gets caught in the cycle of births and deaths. One can overcome the power of maya, by developing detachment, by withdrawing the senses from sense objects, by surrendering to God and by performing desireless actions accepting God as the doer.

Nature of Reality

Does Hinduism consider the world in which we live as real or unreal? Hinduism considers the world in which we live as a projection of God and unreal. It is unreal not because it does not exist, but because it is unstable, impermanent, unreliable and illusory. It is unreal because it hides the Truth and shows us things that lead to our ignorance. It is unreal because it changes its colors every moment. What is now is not what is next.

In one moment so many things happen here. Many new souls enter. Many depart also. Friends become enemies and enemies friends. The sun and the earth change their positions continuously in space and time, while the wind moves, the rivers flow and the oceans shift their currents. The people who live on earth are also very fickle. Their minds are never stable. Their thoughts never cease. They seem to live today and disappear tomorrow. While all this is going on in the whole wide world, at the microscopic level, millions of atoms, cells and molecules in the bodies shift and change their positions or get destroyed.

The world in which we live gives us an apparent illusion of stability, where as in truth it is not. It is an illusion to believe that this world is the same always, or that the people we deal with are the same all the time. The world is therefore an illusion, not because it does not exist in the physical sense, but because it is unstable, ever changing, impermanent, unreliable and most important of all never the same. Ask yourself this question. Are the same person you were a minute ago?

The scriptures say that it would be unwise on our part to center our lives around such an unstable world, because if you spend your precious life for the sake of impermanent and unreliable things, you are bound to regret in the end for wasting your life in the pursuit of emptiness. The real world lies beyond our ordinary senses where our existence would be eternal and where things would not change the way they do in this plane.

The philosophy is very simple but difficult to follow. After all what is illusion? It is something like a mirage which misleads you into wrong thinking and wrong actions. This world precisely does that. It offers you happiness but leads you into the darkness of suffering. It tempts you with many things and when you run after them you find them to be unreal and incapable of quenching your thirst for stability and permanence.

The 5 Principles and 10 Disciplines of Hinduism

The specific principles and disciplines of Hinduism vary with different sects: but there are commonalities which represent the bedrock of the religion, expressed and reflected in the ancient writings of the Vedas. Below are brief descriptions of these common principles and disciplines.

5 Principles

The principles of Sanatana Dharma were made to create and maintain the proper working of a society and its members and governors. Regardless of the circumstances, the principles and philosophy of Hinduism remain the same: the ultimate aim of human life is to realize its true form. 

  1. God Exists. According to the Hindu religion, there is only one Absolute Divine, a singular force that joins all facets of existence together known as the Absolute OM (sometimes spelled AUM). This divine is the Lord of All Creation and a universal sound that is heard within every living human being. There are several divine manifestations of the OM, including Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara (Shiva). 
  2. All Human Beings Are Divine. Ethical and moral behavior is considered the most prized pursuit of human life. The soul of an individual (jivatma) is already part of the divine soul (the Paramatma) although it remains in a dormant and deluded condition. It is the sacred mission of all humans to awaken their soul and make it realize its true divine nature. 
  3. Unity of Existence. The seekers aim to be at-oneness with God, not as separate individuals (oneness of self), but rather a closer connection (at-one-ness) with God.
  4. Religious Harmony. The most basic natural law is to remain in harmony with its fellow creatures and the universal. 
  5. Knowledge of 3 Gs. The three Gs are the Ganges (the sacred river in India where the cleansing of sins occurs), the Gita (the sacred script of the Bhagavad-Gita), and the Gayatri (a revered, sacred mantra found in the Rig Veda, and also a poem/intonement in the same specific meter).

10 Disciplines

The 10 disciplines in Hinduism include five political goals called Yamas or Great Vows, and five personal goals called Niyamas. 

The 5 Great Vows (Yamas) are shared by many Indian philosophies. The Yamas are political goals, in that they are broad-based social and universal virtues in the form of moral restraints or social obligations.  

  1. Satya (Truth) is the principle that equates God with soul. It is the mainstay of the basic moral law of Hinduism: people are rooted in Satya, the greatest truth, unity of all life. One should be truthful; not act fraudulently, be dishonest or a liar in life. Further, a true person does not regret or brood over losses caused by speaking truth. 
  2. Ahimsa (Non-violence) is a positive and dynamic force, that means benevolence or love or goodwill or tolerance (or all of the above) of all living creatures, including the objects of knowledge and various perspectives. 
  3. Brahmacharya (Celibacy, non-adultery) is one of the four great ashrams of Hinduism. The beginning student is to spend the first 25 years of one’s life practicing abstinence from the sensual pleasures of life, and instead concentrate on selfless work and study to prepare for life beyond. Brahmacharya means stringent respect of personal boundaries, and the preservation of vital life force; abstinence from wine, sexual congress, meat-eating, consumption of tobacco, drugs, and narcotics. The student instead applies the mind to studies, avoids things that ignite passions, practice silence, 
  4. Asteya (No desire to steal) refers not just to the theft of objects but to refrain from exploitation. Do not deprive others of what is theirs, whether it is things, rights, or perspectives. An upright person earns his or her own way, by dint of hard work, honesty, and fair means.  
  5. Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness) warns the student to live simply, keep only those material things that are required to sustain the demands of daily life. 

The five Niyamas provide the Hindu practitioner with rules to develop the personal discipline essential to follow the spiritual path

  • Shaucha or Shuddhata (Cleanliness) refers to the internal and external purification of both body and mind. 
  • Santosh (Contentment) is the conscious reduction of desires, the limiting of attainments and possessions, narrowing down the area and scope of one’s desire.
  • Swadhyaya (Reading of scriptures) refers not just to the reading of the scriptures but the use them to create a neutral, unbiased and pure mind ready to conduct the self-introspection required to create a balance sheet of one’s omissions and commissions, overt and covert deeds, successes and failures. 
  • Tapas/Tapah (Austerity, perseverance, penance) is the performance of physical and mental discipline throughout a life of asceticism. Ascetic practices include observing silence for long periods of time, begging for food, remaining awake at night, sleeping on the ground, being isolated in the forest, standing for a prolonged time, practicing chastity. The practice generates heat, a natural power built into the structure of reality, the essential link between the structure of reality, and the force behind creation. 
  • Ishwar pradihan (Regular prayers) requires the student to surrender to the will of God, perform every act in a selfless, dispassionate and natural way, accept the good or bad results, and leave the result of one’s deeds (one’s karma) to God. 

Importance of Indian Culture

Indian culture is famous across the world due to its diversity in music, art, dance, language, cuisine, costume, philosophy, and literature. The important characteristics of Indian Culture are civilized communication, beliefs, values, etiquette, and rituals. India is well known for its ‘Unity in Diversity’ across the world. That means India is a diverse nation where many religious people live together peacefully having their own different cultures. So, we can see people of different languages, dresses, food habits, and rituals living with unity in India.

India is having 29 states and 7 union territories across all the directions. There are 22 languages and several religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, etc. exist in India. Hindi is the official language of India. However, India is the oldest civilization where people still follow their old cultures of caring and humanity.

Even though people became modern in today’s world, still they celebrate festivals as per the customs.

Festivals play an important role in Indian culture and tradition. People celebrate variety of festivals in India. Popular festivals like Diwali, Dussehra, Navratri, Janmashtami, Shivratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Bakrid, and many more festivals are celebrated with great devotion.  Other than this, many harvest festivals like Makar Sankranti, Chapchar kut, Pongal, Sohrai, etc. are celebrated with happiness all over India.

Women and Jewelry: The Tradition of Wearing Jewelries in Hindu Culture

Jewelry helps in enhancing one’s beauty. It also symbolizes wealth, power, and status. For some, jewelry is a form of art for self and creative expression. Then, there are some people who use jewelry as part of their tradition and culture. Though they may differ in terms of importance and relevance, they all play significant roles.

Significance of Jewelries in Indian Culture

For the Indian culture, jewelries plays a symbolic role. They carry ethnic and spiritual meanings, especially during weddings. The pieces of jewelries worn by the bride signifies that she is to become a part of her husband’s extended family. They are a part of the purification ritual as she becomes a part of the extended family of her bridegroom.

Indians give importance to the nuances of bridal jewelries. The heavier the nuances of these jewelries are, the bigger role they play in the legacy of the family and the jewelry itself. So before giving the jewelries to the bride, the family often makes sure that they are heavy with more distinct designs.

Aside from bridal jewelries worn by the bride, there are also religious jewelries. These are often connected to the Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism. Wearing these jewelries signifies that you are asking for protection from these divine beings. It also a way of asking blessing.

Different Jewelry Materials and Their Importance

As mentioned above, jewelleries carry a very deep significance in both tradition and religious beliefs. And these jewelleries are made from precious stones and metals or a combination of these two.

Gold is the most popular metal used in making jewelry. It is durable and doesn’t tarnish despite of everyday use. For many Hindus, gold is considered precious. Hindus believe that gold has the power to purify anything it touches. It is also considered as a sign of power and wealth. Aside from that, it also symbolizes good health, prosperity, and femininity.

Silver is also another metal that is often worn by people. It stands next to gold. In the Hindu culture, gold is worn above the waist. Meanwhile, you can wear silver from waist down. Bangles, rings, anklets are usually made in silver. Silver, in their, tradition signifies protection from magic. Hindus believe that silver stands for the Moon or Luna. It symbolizes femininity and motherhood. It is also believed that it helps fight negative emotions and improves one’s dreams.

Another commonly worn metal is copper. Copper is often associated with fertility and money. Being a highly conductive metal, it can easily merge with other metal alloys to produce a more conductive and durable jewellery. Copper jewelleries signify love, peace, and better relationships with your loved ones. It can also help people create better rapport with others.

Platinum is one of the most expensive metals that is used in making jewelleries. It is easy to clean; you can use mild soap and a soft cloth to bring back its luster. It is also known as a hypoallergenic metal, which is perfect for people suffering from allergies

Diamond is one of the most popular gemstones used in jewelleries. It is often associated with weddings and engagements. In traditions, diamond brings comfort to its wearer. This stone carries supernatural powers that will lead them to success. Diamond signifies purity, innocence, and eternal love.

In Indian tradition, a diamond’s meaning differs depending on the person’s caste. The colors of the gemstones also depend on the person’s statues. People belonging to the Brahmins must wear a white diamond while the Kshatryas must adorn themselves with red gemstones, which signify obedience of people below his caste. The Sudra, as the lowest caste, shall wear black. Meanwhile, the Baniyas shall wear yellow.

Wedding and Religious Jewelleries

Compared to Western weddings, Indian traditional weddings are often colourful and lavish. The bride wears several ornaments with significant presentations. The bride wears these jewelleries from head to foot. Necklaces signify protection and prosperity. Nose ornaments often signify that the bride is of marrying age. Ear ornaments symbolize the bride’s mental and physical health. .

Rings are commonly used in marriage as well. In Indian weddings, they do not only use one-finger ring but a web-like hand ornament called haath phool. They also have head ornaments which protect the wife and husband and used as a sign of their married status. Feet ornaments like anklets and toe rings preserve the wife’s energy and promote better menstrual cycles.

Religious jewelleries symbolize the faith of the person. The design of religious jewelleries varies depending on the person’s religions. Each religion has a specific design which makes it easier to identify them. Religious jewelleries are usually worn as amulets and talismans as protection against bad spirits.

Some religious jewelleries can be placed between the eyebrows. They call this as the Tilak. This religious ornament stands as the door of one’s soul. It gives the wearer a feeling of belongingness. Aside from that, it makes them feel a step closer to their divine beings.

Changes Over the Year

Over the years, traditions have changed. However, jewelleries remain constant. The transition from wooden jewelleries to metal designs are seen. Jewellery makers have learned to incorporate several precious metal to create a more durable jewellery. Aside from that, they have started to use several stones that are not commonly used in traditional jewelleries like amethyst and garnet.

These customizations in creating and designing jewelleries pave ways to mass production of jewelleries. They are no longer limited to traditional and religious use. However, they are also use to enhance a person’s beauty. Colors are no longer decided according to one’s status, but they can now be used to match different clothes and occasions.


Overall, jewelry plays an important role in culture and religion. Despite the changes of its composition and design of jewelries, they have never lost their value.

Indian Culture and Tradition

India has a diverse and distinct culture that has been developing for thousands of years and varies from region to region. Here is a brief overview of culture and tradition in India.


India is considered the birthplace of some of the world’s major religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. Today, other religions such as Muslim and Christianity have worked their way into the population as well, though Hinduism remains the most popular.


For some visitors, the heavy spices and herbs used in Indian cuisine can be difficult to adjust to. Indian spices are legendary for their medicinal purposes, food-preserving powers and flavor kicks. Spices, such as cumin, turmeric and cardamom, have been used over thousands of years to make otherwise bland but nutritional dishes taste better. Though it varies from region to region, wheat, Basmati rice and pulses are staples of the Indian diet. Several religious groups are vegetarian or have certain limitations as to what meat they can consume, but lamb and chicken are most common for those who do eat meat.


Being the world’s second most populous nation (after China), India has an extensive range of languages. The constitution recognizes 15 regional languages but Hindi and English are recognized as the official languages. There are well over 1,000 dialects spoken in India.


Colorful silk saris are what many can picture women to be wearing in India while men traditionally wear a dhoti. Saris vary from five to nine yards long and two to four feet in breadth, and are wrapped around the waist and draped over the shoulder often baring the midriff. The sari may have originated among India’s temple dancers in ancient times because saris allowed them to maintain modesty while also giving their limbs the freedom of movement. A dhoti is an unstitched piece of cloth ranging from four to five yards in length and tied around the waist and legs. Gandhi used to wear a dhoti, and it was considered to be an attire that commanded dignity and respect.


The Taj Mahal is the most well-known example of Indian architecture. Located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, the Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum that was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, as a testament of his love for her.



Often referred to as “Bollywood,” the Indian film industry is located in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Bollywood’s films are known for their elaborate singing and dancing. The “Golden Age” of the Hindi cinema was from the late 1940s to the 1960s.

Indian culture is unique and though modernity has occurred over the years, the people of India remain rooted in their rich heritage.

Vegetarianism In Hinduism

The concept and practice of Vegetarianism is inherent in much of Hindu history and civilization. Hindus have traditionally eaten vegetarian diet. The concept of ahimsa (non-violence) and the reverence of life in all forms are fundamental aspects of Hinduism, culture and tradition. However, some Hindus have also adopted a meat-based diet.

Hindus, deeply wedded to the concept of Ahimsa and staunch believers in the sacredness of all life, have been re-affirming the importance of a vegetarian diet.

The Hindu knowledge texts promote the concept of Vasudeva Kutumbakam (the world is one family). The mantras from Vedas imply universal and all inclusive meanings, e.g., “May all be happy and healthy.” Within that “all” are included human beings and all living beings.

The reason why majority of Hindus avoid non-vegetarian food is because the violence and suffering to the animals. Inherent in the idea of eating meat is the fact that the animal has to be killed. Therefore, clearly, the very nature of a non-vegetarian diet is one of himsa (violence).

Hindu heritage and knowledge texts are the bearers of sciences of ayurveda, yoga and pranayama, bearing witness to the Hindu emphasis on natural health and balance of the body and mind. Thus maintaining health and balance both physically and emotionally, is another important reason that Hindus choose the vegetarian path.

Hinduism does not force anything on an individual. So there is no rule in Hindu society that you should be a strict vegetarian to practice the religion.