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Hindu Beliefs

Updated on March 31, 2008

Hindu Goddess

Hinduism Facts

Approximately 900 million people practice Hinduism throughout the world. It is the main religion of India, and a major world religion. The word Hindu is a Sanskrit word referring to the Indus River. There are several different sects.

There are universal themes throughout Hinduism. Some of the most prominent are the beliefs in karma and reincarnation.

Hindu Beliefs - Reincarnation

Reincarnation is the belief that life is cyclical. Indeed, believers in Hinduism believe that the entire universe is cyclical. Another term for reincarnation is the transmigration of souls. This is the belief that humans are born again and again. After death, we are born into another body. Each lifetime teaches us important lessons. During each life, a person should grow more spiritual until finally reaching the highest level and transcending the human form. Then a person lives as a spiritual being.

Hindu Beliefs - Karma

Karma is also an important component of the Hindu religion. This is the belief that your actions in this lifetime will affect your subsequent lifetimes. This explains how some people's lives seem blessed and others appear cursed. Hindus don't believe that you will necessarily return as a human in the next lifetime. If you are a really bad person, you may return as a mosquito or something else just as bad.

This is one reason why many Hindus practice vegetarianism. Because they believe that people can return as animals as well as humans, they do not want to eat any animals. It could be a relative or loved one.

Cow Wandering in India - Hindus Do Not Eat Beef

Hindu Beliefs About Cows

It is taboo in Hinduism to kill a cow or to eat beef. This is because cows are honored as a symbol of life. The Rigveda, an important Hindu text, refers to the cow as a deity. Cow's milk, curds, butter, cow urine and dung are all used in important religious Hindu rituals. Once a year, cows are honored by being bathed and dressed up in the temple.


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