Hinduism is a religion that began in India thousands of years ago. It is the oldest, most complex and world’s third largest religion. The term Hindu derived from Sanskrit name for Indus river. It meant that those who lived on one part of the Indus river. Hinduism is a mixture of religious, philosophical, cultural ideas and practices that originated in India. Hinduism is one of the most unique religions. It does not have a founder and also there is no point in time where it could be said to have begun. After the history was recorded historians believe that origin of Hinduism dates back to 5,000 or more years.it was the ways of the Aryans whose philosophy, religion, and customs are recorded in their sacred texts known as the Vedas. Teachings of Hinduism are contained in the Vedas. It became dominant faith of India, and it is practiced by over 80% of Indian population. Hinduism dates back to the early Harappa period in India. It spread throughout India, and to other areas through trade, nomads, travelers, and other transportations.
It did not diffuse as much as other major religions. Hinduism didn’t change its beliefs over time. It diffused in Nepal, Mauritius-the southern part of Africa, and Southeast Asia. There are many core beliefs of Hinduism. It has a caste system with Brahmans at the top, which are priests, and then the Kshatriyas, which are warriors and king. Then comes the Vaishyas, which are skilled merchants and officials, and finally the shudars, which are the untouchables. Families pass on castes. Reincarnation is another major belief. It is the journey on the “circle of life”, a series of birth, deaths, and rebirths. Karma also plays a major role in Hindus’ lives. Karma is the law, which states that good brings good and bad brings bad, what goes around comes around. Happens either in the present life or one to come. Having good karma allows the person to reincarnate into higher caste. Bad karma lowers their caste, possibly even an animal. Nirvana is very important belief in Hinduism; it is reunion with the universal spirit, or freedom from the cycle of birth and death. One of the most sacred texts of Hinduism is the Vedas. There are four different Vedas. They are Rig-Veda, SamaVeda, Yajur Veda, and Artharv Veda.
They are all written in Sanskrit and contain hymns, chanting and rituals, which teaches Hinduism. There are epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata that contain legendary stories about god and humans. Also there is Upanishads, which speculates on origin of the universe and the nature of deity. Last, but not the least Bhagavad Gita, an influential text that describes paths to salvation. The Vedas are filled with conversations and stories with moral or spiritual messages. Early descriptions of the caste system are found in the Vedas. The Vedas describe pantheon of gods, supported by the belief that God is everywhere in everything. The Upanishads are commentaries on the Vedas. Ramayana is Sanskrit for “ Romance Of Rama.” Rama is the hero and central Character of Ramayana. Ranvana is demon king who kidnaps Rama’s wife Sita. The story is all about how Lord Rama fights and wins over evil. Victory of “good” over “bad.” Mahabharata is Sanskrit for “Great Bharata War.” Lord Krishna Teaches Arjun to follow his dharma no matter what happens. Lastly Bhagavad Gita, which is Song Of God. Hinduism is the third most followed religion in the world.
This mean about 13.475% of the world population is Hindu, which are about 950 million followers. It’s the dominant religion in countries like India and Nepal. In the US there is about 1.5 million Hindus and growing. Symbols are very important to the Hindu religion. This most important symbol is the Om. It is to Hindus as the cross is to Christians. It is a symbol of piety and its prolonged intonation is associated with the primeval sound through which they believe the universe was created. The second most important symbol would be the swastika. It symbolizes eternal nature of the Brahman. Has four points in all directions representing omnipresence of the Absolute. There are four main sites. One of them is Puri, which is located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Puri is often called sri puruottama dhama, which means abode of Lord Vishnu on earth. Dwaraka is another one that is important because it was where lord Krishna spent most of his time on earth. The Badrinath temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu. In olden days people would walk for months to visit there and seek the blessing of lord badrinath.
Benares is the most sacred city of India. It is the center of Hindu learning, and it is also known as Varanasi. Buddha preached his new gospel in Benares. Hindus don’t have celebrations according to dates; they celebrate based on the cycle of nature. Some of their celebrations are Holi the festival of colors and spring in February-march; Diwali is the festival of lights and Lakshmi from September-October. Rama Navami is the birthday of Lord Rama in April; Krishna Jayanti is the birthday of lord Krishna July-August. Dasserra is the victory of Rama over demon king Ravanna September-October. Raksabandhana is a festival to renew the bonds between brothers and sisters July-August and there is a lot more. Maybe the biggest conflict for Hindu is he one against Muslims. It started fifteen years after the birth of Islam in 700 A.D.
This continued until 2002 when Muslims attacked a Hindu train and killed 58 people, there was a call for peace among the world leader but tensions still run high. The first attack was because of India’s involvement with Persia and India’s capture of an Arabian ship. Hinduism thrives despite numerous reforms and shortcuts through modernization and urbanization of Indian life. The myths endure in the Hindi cinema, and the rituals survive not only in the temples but also in the rites of passage. Thus, Hinduism, which sustained India through centuries of foreign occupation and internal disruption, continues to serve a vital function by giving passionate meaning and supportive form to the lives of Hindus today. Hinduism believes the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution. Also, it believes that all life is scared and pure.