1. Did you know that Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world?
The origins of Hinduism date back to 2300 – 1500 BCE – that’s up to over 4,000 years ago! (CNN)
2. The word "Hindu" derives from the name of the River Indus, which flows through northern India. (Thought Co).
3. Unlike many religions, Hinduism does not have a founder.
It grew out of cultural and religious changes in India. (CNN)
4. Hinduism is the 3rd largest religion in the world, after Christianity and Islam. (CNN).
5. Hinduism teaches reincarnation - the belief that all living organisms continue eternally in cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. This is where the term you’ve all heard – Karma- comes into play. Hindus believe that existence of this cycle is governed by Karma.
6. So what exactly is Karma?
Karma is the belief that all of life is governed by a system of cause and effect, action and reaction, in which one's deeds have corresponding effects on the future. Once the weight of all bad karma is removed, the karmic wheel of reincarnation ceases to turn, and the soul (Atman) is released and the seeker is reunited with Brahman, or the supreme existence or absolute reality – thereby achieving the goal of Moksha - the release of the Atman from the cycle of rebirth. (Religion Facts).
7. Contrary to popular belief, Hindus actually only believe in one God – Brahman.
Brahman is the eternal origin who is the cause and foundation of all existence. The other gods of the Hindu faith represent different forms of Brahman. The 3 most important Hindu gods (forms of Brahman) are: Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver), Shiva (Destroyer) (BBC).
8. Hindus can worship both male and female gods.
However, they also believe that the ultimate divine energy exists beyond these descriptions and categories – that the divine soul is present and active in all living things. Therefore, all living creatures are important to Hindus, especially cows.
9. A common misconception is that Hindus worship cows. They don’t.
“We respect, honor and adore the cow. By honoring this gentle animal, who gives more than she takes, we honor all creatures.” Hindus consider cows to be sacred, for they provide humans with life sustaining milk. To the Hindu, the cow symbolizes all other creatures. The cow is a symbol of the Earth, the nourisher, the ever-giving, undemanding provider. (NHSF).
10. Following up with #8 and # 9, most forms of Hinduism include the practice of vegetarianism.
The primary reason is the practice of ahimsa (nonviolence), which forbids violent actions against animals. (UUA).
11. Hindus do not usually proselytize (attempt to convert others to their religion). (CliffNotes).
12. Like Judaism, the Hindu place of communal worship is called a Temple.
13. In Hinduism, the dead are cremated.
It is believed that this will help their soul to escape quickly from the body. (BBC).
14. Like in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, pilgrimages are an important aspect of Hinduism. (Brittanica).
Popular pilgrimage sites are often located in spots of great natural beauty thought to be pleasing to deities as well as humans. Many are located within India.
15. It is no secret that yoga came out of India. However, did you know that the word Yoga first appears in the Vedas (sacred Hindu Script)?
In Hinduism, there are four paths or yogas that a Hindu can take to achieve Moksha. They are the paths of: Knowledge (Jnana-Yoga), Meditation (Dhyana-yoga), Devotion (Bhakti-yoga), and Good Works (Karma-yoga). (Sivananda Yoga).
NOW YOU KNOW!
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