In the history of mankind, many cultures have come and gone but Hinduism has withstood many challenges posed by the time and has spread all over the world. The secret of this success of Hindu religion lies in the fact in its practical approach towards human life, belief in eternal truths, and modifications made without changing the basic beliefs.
Despite being the world’s third largest and the oldest religion, lots of people are unaware of the facts about Hinduism. There are also a number of misconceptions about Hinduism, which need to be explained. Therefore, in this article, we would try to put forth all the Hinduism facts in brief before the world, so that everybody would have an idea about what Hinduism is.
Fast Facts about Hinduism Religion:
Existence Since: Hinduism is the world’s oldest known religion. History of Hinduism can be traced back to 5000-10,000 B.C.
Facts about size and Rank: It is the third largest religion of the world with more than 1 billion followers.
Location: Most of the Hindus live in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka with considerable presence in all other parts of the world also. About 85% of Hindus live in India. That is why India is also called as “Hindustan.” Known as: People who follow Hinduism are called as “Hindus.” Hinduism (हिंदू धर्म) is also known as “Hindu Dharma,” Hindu Religion, “Sanatan Dharma (Eternal Religion),” “Vedic Religion,” or Vedic Dharma.
Founder: Hinduism has no single founder. It has been evolving over the thousands of years and will continue to.
Origin: Hinduism originated in India. Hinduism is largely based on the teachings from Vedas.
Meaning of the word: The word “Hinduism” actually has no real meaning because Hinduism was not founded as a religion. The name “Hindu” is given by the people outside of the India, especially Greeks and Arabs, to those living in the vicinity of “Sindhu” river. So, the way of life those people were following is called “Hinduism.”
What do they worship: Hindus believe in one God named as “Brahman” but view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations of Him. Therefore, in practice, they worship more than one God. Most Hindus worship God in the form of an idol. Rivers, mountains, trees, animals, and natural things which are useful for a human being are revered in Hinduism. Cow is the most revered animal for Hindus.
Place of Worship: The place of worship of Hindus is called as a temple.
Main Deities: Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva are the creator, protector, and destroyer respectively. These are the three main deities in Hinduism. Besides them, Lord Ganesha, Lord Krishna, Lord Hanuman, Lord Rama, and Goddess Parvati are the most popular deities in Hinduism.
Yugas: According to Hinduism, as there are four seasons in a year, there are four Yugas namely Satya-Yuga, Treta-Yuga, Dvapara-Yuga, Kali-Yuga. At the end of a full cycle of four Yogas, the life on the earth comes to an end (though not completely) and a new era starts. The humanity enters into a new era. The present era is known as Kali-Yuga i.e. Dark Age.
Facts about sects in Hinduism: Hinduism consists of different sects like Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism. The common people follow all the three sects collectively worshiping Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Devi.
Aims of life: Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (salvation) are the four objectives of a Hindu’s life.
Goal: Salvation is the ultimate goal of a Hindu’s life.
Stages of life: According to Hinduism, four stages of life are Brahmcharyashram (Student phase), Grihastahshram (Living with wife and children), Vanprasthashram (leaving the home and pray to God, may keep contact with family), and Sanyasashram (discard everything in life including wife, children, and material things).
Contribution: Yoga, Pranayama, meditation, Ayurveda, vegetarianism, and meditation are the best gifts of Hinduism to the world.
Tantric sex, Palmistry, acupressure, acupuncture, Jyotish Shastra, martial art, and many other ancient wonders originated in India and are parts of Hinduism Religion.
Hinduism is the source of inspiration for three other major religions of the world viz. Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.
Zero, point system, and decimal system were invented in India. On the basis of which the modern science exists.
Symbols: AUM and Swastika are the main symbols of Hinduism. Besides those, Trishul, Tilak, Lingam, Shri, and Yantra are other popular Hindu symbols. The saffron is the official color of Hinduism and the saffron flag is the official flag of Hindus.
Sacred Books or Scriptures: Four Vedas, Upanishadas, Bhagvadgita, 18 Puranas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata are the sacred books of Hindus.
Language: Most of the Hindu scriptures are written in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is considered to be the mother of all the languages. Sanskrit is considered to be the language of demi-Gods.
The languages Hindus use vary according to regions. They speak all the India languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malyalam, Gujarati, Kashmiri, etc. Outside India, the languages spoken by Hindus are English, Sinhali, Indonesian, etc.
Eating Habits: Most of the Hindus do not eat beef and/or pork. They also do not eat non-vegetarian food on auspicious days. Hinduism strongly advocates vegetarianism. Food is highly revered and wasting the food is considered as a very bad habit.
Important Hindu Festivals:
1. Diwali – The festival of lights
2. Vijayadashami – Celebrating the victory of good over evil
3. Gudhipadawa – Hindu New Year
4. Mahashivratri – The day on which the universe was created.
5. Makar Sankranti – Transmigration of Sun into Makar Rashi
Vedic restraints for Hindus are:
1. Ahimsa (not to harm others)
2. Satya (truthfullness)
3. Asteya (Nonstealing)
4. Brahmacharya (Avoiding promiscuity in thoughts, word, and deed)
5. Kshama (Forgiveness)
6. Dhriti (Steadfastness)
7. Daya (Compassion)
8. Arjaya (Honesty)
16 Samskaras in a Hindu’s life: Samskaras are the rituals which are performed at different stages of a human life.
1. Garbhadhana. 2. Pumsavana. 3. Simanatonnayana. 4. Jatakarman. 5. Namakarana 6. Nishkramana. 7. Annaprashana. 8. Chudakarana. 9. Karnavedana. 10. Upanayana. 11. Vidyarambha. 12. Samavartana 13. Vivaha. 14. Vanprastha 15. Sanyasa 16. Antyeshti.
Hindu Philosophy: Hindu philosophy is divided broadly in six different parts called as Darshanas.
3. Nyaya or logics
Karma: Karma means your deeds. Hindus believe that our fate depends upon our Karma i.e. as you sow so shall you reap. If you do bad Karma, you have to compensate for it in this as well as your next life. Your next life depends upon your Karma.
Reincarnation: A soul dwells in every living thing. Body is mortal but the soul is immortal. When we die, our soul enters a new body and the cycle continues until we get salvation.
Caste System: Originally, there were no castes in Hinduism but there were four Varnas viz
1. Brahmin (priests).
2. Kshatriya (warriors)
3. Vaishya (Businessmen)
4. Shudra (labor)
These Varnas were further divided into castes and sub-castes. Originally, caste system was not based upon birth. Now a day, caste is determined by the birth. During medieval period, the persons belonging to a particular caste were supposed to do the same business as of their ancestors. This type of caste system no longer exists. People are free to do whatever they want. Castes come into play mainly during marriages. In arranged marriages, people prefer to marry the person from the same caste.
Basic concept of Hinduism:
It will be easier to understand the basic concept of Hinduism if you know Law of Conservation of Energy. For those who have a science background or have some interest in science know the Law of Conservation of Energy very well. It is like this:
“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Only one form of energy can be transformed into other. The sum of all the energies in the universe remains the same.”
According to Hinduism, human body is perishable but the soul is immortal and is subjected to the continuous cycle of birth and rebirth. The soul changes bodies as a living person changes his/her clothes. So, the thing which we call death is actually just a transformation of soul from one body to another as the energy changes from one form to the other. This cycle continues births after births and the soul is subjected to sufferings endlessly.
So, the ultimate goal of a Hindu’s life is to attend salvation (also called as Moksha or Nirvana) i.e. freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth. One can attend salvation when the soul of a person fully becomes one with the supreme spirit called “Brahman” (or God) who is eternal, genderless, omnipotent, and omniscient.
Interesting facts about Hinduism: So far, we have seen some common Hinduism facts, but now we will have a look at some interesting Hinduism facts.
1. The institution of marriage was founded and put forth in practice by Hindus.
2. The first law maker, Manu, was a Hindu and Manu Smriti was the first book on law in the world.
3. Rigveda is the oldest literature known to mankind.
4. Hindus believe that Vedas are written by Gods.
5. According to Vedas, lending money on interest is a bad Karma.
6. Acupuncture and acupressure are vital parts of Hindu customs.
7. Do you know the fact that Vedas were preserved for more than 5000 years without the help of printing technology? This was done by reciting and memorizing all the hymns and through Teacher-Disciple tradition (Guru-Shishya Parampara).
8. India is the home of four great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
9. Sanskrit is the oldest language known to mankind.
10. The concepts of decimal system, zero, point, pi and many others were used first by Hindus.
11. According to Vedas, Om is the sound which was present at the time of creation of universe and it is the only symbol, which represents the God (Brahman).
12. Parents, teachers, and food are considered next to God.
13. Wasting food is considered as a very bad habit in Hinduism.
14. There is no officially-declared Hindu country in the world as there are Islamic and Christian countries. Nepal was the only Hindu country, but it has now become a republic country.
15. Hindu community is the second most tortured community in the world after Jews.
16. Hindus do not wear footwear inside the temples or homes.
17. Because of the usefulness of rivers, they are highly revered in Hinduism. People call them as mother. Ganges is the highest revered river for Hindus.
18. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the holiest temple for Hindus. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
19. Kashi is situated along the banks of the river Ganges. It is the holiest place for Hindus. Some Hindus believe that if you die in Kashi, you would attend salvation. Some people prefer to spend the last days of their lives in Kashi.
20. There have been substantial evidences that Hinduism had spread all over the world including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, USA, Italy, and many other parts of the world.
21. Hindu population constitutes about 14% of the world population.
22. Hindus believe that we get the human body when our soul passes through 8,400,000 species (Yonis).
23. A few decades back, Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedic Maths, and Hypnotism were considered as superstitions and/or rubbish but with the advent of modern science it is proved now that these things are very helpful for us.
24. The Ganges River is considered as the most sacred river by Hindus. The Ganges is considered as a goddess. They believe that all of the sins of a person are washed when he/she bathes in Ganges. Ganges water contains more oxygen than any other river in the world and the water remains fresh for longer time. According to a program broadcasted on Discovery, the Ganges water contains bacteria veg which eats up harmful bacteria. Hence, despite being over-polluted, there are less harmful bacteria in it.