Significance of the Hindu Religion

The Bhagvad Gita
The Bhagvad Gita | Source

Introduction

At the end of the 18th century, Colonist referred the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. English language introduced Hinduism in the 19th century. This denoted religious, philosophical and cultural traditions native to India, Nepal.

Origin of Hindu

Hindu word originated from the Sanskrit word, Sindhu, which symbolizes the Indus River flowing in the Indian Subcontinent.

Hinduism has no single founder and is one of the oldest living religions in the world. It has approximately one billion followers thus, making it the world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam.

Hindu Religious Books

Their holy scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita and Agamas. The compilation of the major epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, occurred during the BCE and early CE. These two books contain stories about rulers and their wars in ancient India.

Hindus

Hinduism is a diverse system where the Hindus comprise of different sects worshipping either the stone where they see divinity. They worship fire for sacredness or pray the idol where they find positivity to sustain the daily challenges of life. The concept of God is complex and depends on a tradition that a person follows.

The Rig Veda, which is the oldest scripture, allows all Hindus to seek and discover the answers of life on their own terms.

Hindus understand Brahman as a Supreme being, and they worship him as Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma depending upon their beliefs. The fundamental idea of the Hindu religion is about incarnations of God in the form of human being. Avatar is an incarnation.

Avatars so far have been Rama and Krishna who played a crucial role in forming the two books: Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Beliefs of Hindus

Hindus believe in the soul, which is the true “self” of every person as eternal. This soul (Atman) is indistinct from Brahman, who is the supreme spirit.

The Upanishads state that when an individual becomes aware of his atman (soul); he will take steps to reach salvation (Moksha).

Hindus is a firm believer of karma and binds the notions of destiny and reincarnation. The cycle of action, reaction, birth, death, and rebirth is a process called samsara.

Samsara provides the different pleasures of life. However, once that soul attains Moksha; it will unite with one entity; God. Thus, the soul does not need a physical body to take birth and experience happiness and sorrow that life has to offer.

As one of the holy books (Bhagvad Gita) indicate:

As a person puts on new clothes and discards old and torn clothes. Similarly, an embodied soul enters new material bodies, leaving old bodies

Bhagvad Gita 2:22

But exceedingly dear to Me are those devotees who make Me (the Purushottama) their one supreme aim and follow out with a perfect faith and exactitude the immortalising Dharma described in this teaching.

Bhagvad Gita 12:20

And yet all existences are not situated in Me, behold My divine Yoga; Myself is that which supports all being and constitutes their existence.

Bhagvad Gita 9:5

But those who giving up all their actions to Me, and wholly devoted to Me, worship meditating on Me with an unswerving Yoga, those who fix on Me all their consciousness, O Partha, speedily I deliver them out of the sea of death-bound existence.

Bhagvad Gita 12:6-7

The senses, mind and intellect are its seat; enveloping knowledge by these it bewilders the embodied soul.

Bhagvad Gita 3:40

Swastika
Swastika | Source
OM
OM | Source
Namaste
Namaste | Source

Goal of a Human

Each Hindu has an aim in his life.

That includes:

  • Walk on the path of righteousness, and follow the principles of law, order and harmony.
  • Earn your livelihood respectfully and be able to support yourself and your family.
  • Be able to limit yourself from sensual pleasure.
  • Perform deeds that could lead to liberation of the soul and freedom from the cycle of birth and death.

Based on the above goals, there are books (Example: Bhagvad Gita) that help guide a man towards that the path to achieve the spiritual goal of life by different methods (yoga)

  • Method of Bhakti. It teaches the path of love and devotion.
  • Method of Karma. It teaches the path of right action.
  • Method of Raja. It teaches the path of meditation.
  • Method of Jnana. It teaches the path of wisdom.

Symbols pertaining to Hinduism

Symbols such as OM, the Swastika sign and the tikka on the forehead identify a follower of this faith.

Rituals

Hindus perform certain religious rituals at home. They include lighting a lamp and singing hymns to the lord after a shower in the morning. They offer food to the deity before consuming it.

Occasions of birth and death involve elaborate sets of religious customs. Each of them involves prayers, and food.

Pilgrimage

Hinduism does not force anyone to go to any pilgrimage.

There are some sites that are famous amongst Hindu devotees.

  • Kumbh Mela

Every 12 years this festival is held amongst four cities namely, Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, Ujjain.

  • Char Dham

Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri compose the four abodes of this pilgrimage site.

  • Temples such as Vaishno Devi, Puri, Shirdi, Sabarimala, Tirupati.

Festivals

Hindus have many festivals through out the year. The Hindu calendar gives the dates based on the positioning of the planet and stars. Each festival has a Hindu mythology and different sects of Hindus celebrate it.

Some of the examples of Hindu festivals are:

  • Holi
  • Dussera
  • Diwali
  • Krishna Janmashatmi
  • Pongal
  • Ram Nayami
  • Raksha Bandhan

Hindustani Music

Demographics

Hinduism is a religion practiced majorly in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.

Demographically, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.


Hindu values

Hindus campaign the practice of non-violence and have a respect for all forms of life. Thus, many embrace vegetarianism. Hindus regard cow as a symbol of unselfish giving, thus legally banning cow slaughter.


Significance of Namaste

Namaste is a common salutation, which originated from Hindus and Buddhists. This greeting has a slight bow while hands pressed together, palms touching, and fingers pointed upwards. Place the hands in front of the chest. In other cultures, there is shaking of hand or embracing each other. Namaste is a non-contact form of meeting and greeting another individual, and is equivalent to saying, “Greetings” or “Have a Good Day!” in English.


Hindu Music/Hindustani Music

Ragas are a common way of Hindu music, and it includes classical music, Bhajan and other musical genres.


Hindu Clothing

Hindus adorn themselves with colorful outfits. Woman’s traditional clothing is the Saree. Men dress up in Kurta Pajama.

Conclusion

There are approximately 4,000 religions in the world.

Each religion has the essence to keep man grounded by preaching the values of life and showing him the path to enlightenment. Religion helps man dig deep within himself to find his ethics, morality and then choose a lifestyle accordingly. Hinduism is one such belief.

More by this Author


Comments 30 comments

Sheri Faye profile image

Sheri Faye 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

Very informative. Thank you for sharing. I have heard of a few of those terms via my readings of Depak Chopra (big fan!) but learned a lot. I think this kind of sharing can bring understanding, tolerance and peace to man kind.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Fascinating and very informative, Ruchira. I learned much new information from you, m'dear. Thank you and Namaste.


srsddn profile image

srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

Ruchira, I am glad you have put the Hinduism in its historical perspective. Its scientific linkage is appreciated in other parts of the world as well. A great Hub. Thumbed up and shared.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Great hub, you have explained about Hinduism very well in your hub. Great write. Voted up.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

interesting. Thank you for this.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

thanks for opening up an eye to the Hindu Religion... it is fascinating as all religion... thanks Ruch :)


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Ruchira, what an interesting article - I was fascinated to see the swastika among some of the symbols, how very strange. I had to study hunduism as part of a wideruni course on Victorian religion and really felt that it was a religion that became 'one' with it s believers, just another part of their lives which meant a lot to the way they lived. Very interesting, shared etc.


Renalda Q Cullhaj profile image

Renalda Q Cullhaj 3 years ago from Bologna

Very interesting . Thank you


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Wonderful information, Ruchira! Thank you for breaking it all down into a very easy to understand hub. Well done!


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States Author

Thank you Bill, Renalda, Jools, Frank, Mhatter, Nithya, srsddn, drbj, Sheri.

Namaste!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

I found this a most informative hub, esp. the video, Scientifically Proven Religion. Ancient religion has always fascinated me. I use the OM when i meditate, ensuing a calmness that relieves life stresses. Thank you Ruchira...


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

That was fascinating Ruchira, I never knew about the swastika, I knew it was from an old religion but not Hindu, this was so easy to read, and very helpful for people to dip into for information, voted up and shared, nell


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

This Hub was very informative. I certainly agree with the principles of the Hindu religion. Everyone should live a life like the Hindu.

Voted UP, etc.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very interestingly written, Ruchira. This hub will make it easy for non Hindus to understand what Hinduism is. I commend you on this effort of writing it in such a simple language.

Voted up and interesting.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Namaste, Ruchira! Thanks for this comprehensive explanation of the faith. It is readable and accessible! Thanks for sharing, sharing too!


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

Interesting presentation of hindu religion.. To be honest I knew only a little bits and bytes about Hinduism till now. Thanks for sharing.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

This was so interesting. You did a great job of outlining everything and giving us just the right amount of detail and information. So many know about Karma but not much else in the Hindu Religion....now, we have learned more.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 3 years ago from Philippines

Instead of proselytizing or insisting that our interpretation of god (or non-god) is the only truth. Hubs like this helps us understand better the diversity and similarities of different kinds of religion. We should remember that all religion share a common purpose, which is to serve as a sanctuary in time of need.


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 3 years ago from Upstate, New York

Great hub. Thank you for providing such a thorough explanation to a beautiful religion.


mr-veg profile image

mr-veg 3 years ago from Colorado United States

Nice information Ruchira !! I love those Bhagvad Gita Proses !! Voted up and sharing..


rambansal profile image

rambansal 3 years ago from India

All religions have proved disastrous to humanity in lowering human dignity for know verifiable reason. People follow religions under terrors of phantom of God.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

What an interesting and informative hub on Hinduism. I knew a little of the Hindu religion here and there, but not a comprehensive understanding of it as you give here. Also, I had no idea the swastika originally came from Hindu. That is interesting. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of this religion.


qlcoach profile image

qlcoach 3 years ago from Cave Junction, Oregon

Great work here. Yes to finding our Truth within. We are all One. Namaste....Gary


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

A very useful hub! I did not know many of these details, so I am learning so much.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Thank you for the education on the Hindu Religion. The respect of life and practice of non-violence should be part of all faiths.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

What I've found most attractive about the Hindu religion is its acceptance of other religions and ways of living, which comes from its multiplicity of deities. Voting this Up and Interesting.


sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

sunilkunnoth2012 3 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

Good work. People outside India don't have a good idea about Hindus. I hope your hub will educate the people. This is the most ancient religion in the world and stand for communal harmony. Hindus are known for their great tolerance. Thank you for writing this informative hub on Hindus.


ravi1991 profile image

ravi1991 2 years ago from Lucknow, India

@ruchira A nice hub specially from someone who is not in India. I have some doubts could you explain me what are these agamas ? I have never heard about them, though I have travelled much in the premises of my religion.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 2 years ago from United States Author

thanks Ravi.

Agama is a collection of Sanskrit,Tamil and Grantha scriptures chiefly constituting the methods of temple construction and creation of idols, worship means of deities, philosophical doctrines, meditative practices, attainment of sixfold desires and four kinds of yoga.


ravi1991 profile image

ravi1991 2 years ago from Lucknow, India

Okay ! That`s very kind of you.

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