A very good morning to you. This is the continuation of my “Understanding Religions” series, and today we look at Hinduism major beliefs, including a little bit of its rich history and its position in the world today. Just want to note that there are some uncanny similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism, and I think you would find the information shared below to be quite interesting.
Here’s part 3 of the series if you missed it.
Hinduism Major Beliefs
Hindus believe in their one true God Brahman – eternal, limitless, and encompasses everything seen and unseen in the entire universe.
Hindus believe their sacred scriptures, the Vedas, to be the ultimate authority. According to their religion, the Vedas contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages.
The goal of each Hindu is moksha, liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. Beyond the body and mind is the soul. Your soul cannot be created or destroyed, it has always existed and it will always exist. One’s actions while inhabiting a particular body will be repaid (karma) in future lifetimes and bodies. Thus, everyone should strive for dharma, which includes right conduct, righteousness, moral law and duty. Moksha only occurs when the soul unites with Brahman by realizing its true nature.
Hinduism began about 4000 years ago in India, and is said to be the world’s oldest living religion. Because it has no specific founder (plus the fact that it is a very old religion), it is difficult to trace its origins. Hinduism was the religion of the Aryans, a race of ancient people whose religion, philosophies and customs were recorded in the Vedas. The information in these texts was initially handed down by word of mouth from teacher to student, and only much later were they written down.
I won’t go through the evolution of Hinduism through the ages here, because then this post would be too long. I think it suffices to say that through the rise and fall of different empires and kingdoms, and through various social and political developments, Hinduism has survived.
Hinduism in the World
Hindus’ places of worship are called temples, although they can also worship in their own home. Many Hindus have a shrine at home dedicated to certain gods and goddesses – Hindus worship many deities, but with Brahman the supreme God who is present in all things. Some of the most prominent gods and goddesses aside from Brahman are Vishnu (God who preserves and protects the universe), Shiva (God who destroys the universe in order to recreate it), Devi (Goddess who fights to restore dharma), and Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth and purity).
Hinduism can essentially be broken down into four denominations – Vaishnavism (followers of Vishnu), Shaivism (followers of Shiva), Shaktism (followers of Devi), and Smartism (followers of Brahman and all major deities).
Stay Tuned Everyone!
That is it for part 4. Come back often to see whether I have published a new part, and please subscribe to my emails! Just leave any questions or comments that you may have in the comment box below and you will find me more than ready to start a discussion with you. Finally, my friend, please share this post if your heart wills it so. Thanks a lot!
Part 5: Buddhism