45 Facts About Hinduism


Hinduism is variously defined as an Indian religion, a set of religious beliefs or practices, a religious tradition, a way of life, or dharma—a religious and universal order by which followers abide.

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Hinduism is a diverse system of thought marked by a range of philosophies and shared concepts, rituals, cosmological systems, pilgrimage sites, and shared textual sources that discuss theology, metaphysics, mythology, Vedic yajna, yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics.

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Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, virtue, and compassion, among others.

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Currently, the four major denominations of Hinduism are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and the Smarta tradition.

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Hinduism is the most widely professed faith in India, Nepal and Mauritius.

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The term "Hinduism" was coined in around 1830, and appropriated by those Indians who opposed British colonialism, and who wanted to distinguish themselves from Muslims and Christians.

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Term Hinduism, then spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India.

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Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, pandeistic, henotheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist.

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Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, and "a way of life".

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Study of India and its cultures and religions, and the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by the interests of colonialism and by Western notions of religion.

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Since the 1990s, those influences and its outcomes have been the topic of debate among scholars of Hinduism, and have been taken over by critics of the Western view on India.

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Hinduism accepts numerous divine beings, with many Hindus considering the deities to be aspects or manifestations of a single impersonal absolute or ultimate reality or God, while some Hindus maintain that a specific deity represents the supreme and various deities are lower manifestations of this supreme.

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Hinduism includes among "founded religions" Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism that are now distinct religions, syncretic movements such as Brahmo Samaj and the Theosophical Society, as well as various "Guru-isms" and new religious movements such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and ISKCON.

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Hinduism was construed as emanating not from a reason of spirit but fantasy and creative imagination, not conceptual but symbolical, not ethical but emotive, not rational or spiritual but of cognitive mysticism.

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Hinduism, according to Inden, has been neither what imperial religionists stereotyped it to be, nor is it appropriate to equate Hinduism to be merely the monist pantheism and philosophical idealism of Advaita Vedanta.

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Hinduism, to them, is a tradition that can be traced at least to the ancient Vedic era.

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However, the late 1st-millennium CE Indic consensus had "indeed come to conceptualize a complex entity corresponding to Hinduism as opposed to Buddhism and Jainism excluding only certain forms of antinomian Shakta-Shaiva" from its fold.

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Hinduism was a major influence on Swami Vivekananda, who, according to Flood, was "a figure of great importance in the development of a modern Hindu self-understanding and in formulating the West's view of Hinduism".

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Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan sought to reconcile western rationalism with Hinduism, "presenting Hinduism as an essentially rationalistic and humanistic religious experience".

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Term Hinduism was coined in Western ethnography in the 18th century, and refers to the fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder.

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Some academics suggest that Hinduism can be seen as a category with "fuzzy edges" rather than as a well-defined and rigid entity.

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Hindu beliefs are vast and diverse, and thus Hinduism is often referred to as a family of religions rather than a single religion.

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Pennington, while concurring that the study of Hinduism as a world religion began in the colonial era, disagrees that Hinduism is a colonial European era invention.

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Hindutva movement has extensively argued for the unity of Hinduism, dismissing the differences and regarding India as a Hindu-country since ancient times.

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The scope of Hinduism is increasing in the other parts of the world, due to the cultural influences such as Yoga and Hare Krishna movement by many missionaries organisations, especially by Iskcon and this is due to the migration of Indian Hindus to the other nations of the world.

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Hinduism is growing fast in many western nations and in some African nations.

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Beliefs in moksha or samsara are absent in certain Hindu beliefs, and were absent among early forms of Hinduism, which was characterized by a belief in an Afterlife, with traces of this still being found among various Hindu beliefs, such as Sraddha.

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In Hinduism, kama is considered an essential and healthy goal of human life when pursued without sacrificing dharma, artha and moksha.

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Moksha in these schools of Hinduism, suggests Klaus Klostermaier, implies a setting free of hitherto fettered faculties, a removing of obstacles to an unrestricted life, permitting a person to be more truly a person in the full sense; the concept presumes an unused human potential of creativity, compassion and understanding which had been blocked and shut out.

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Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with a wide variety of beliefs; its concept of God is complex and depends upon each individual and the tradition and philosophy followed.

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The Yoga school of Hinduism accepted the concept of a "personal god" and left it to the Hindu to define his or her god.

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God in Hinduism is often represented, having both the feminine and masculine aspects.

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Hinduism has no central doctrinal authority and many practising Hindus do not claim to belong to any particular denomination or tradition.

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The term Smartism is derived from Smriti texts of Hinduism, meaning those who remember the traditions in the texts.

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Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and other missionaries, Hinduism gained a certain distribution among the Western peoples.

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Since the 19th-century Indian modernists have re-asserted the 'Aryan origins' of Hinduism, "purifying" Hinduism from its Tantric elements and elevating the Vedic elements.

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The list of sanskaras in Hinduism include both external rituals such as those marking a baby's birth and a baby's name giving ceremony, as well as inner rites of resolutions and ethics such as compassion towards all living beings and positive attitude.

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The major traditional rites of passage in Hinduism include Garbhadhana, Pumsavana, Simantonnayana, Jatakarman, Namakarana, Nishkramana, Annaprashana, Chudakarana, Karnavedha, Vidyarambha, Upanayana, Keshanta and Ritusuddhi, Samavartana, Vivaha, Vratas and Antyeshti.

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Bhakti-marga is considered in Hinduism to be one of many possible paths of spirituality and alternative means to moksha.

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Hinduism has many festivals throughout the year, where the dates are set by the lunisolar Hindu calendar, many coinciding with either the full moon or the new moon, often with seasonal changes.

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The festivals typically celebrate events from Hinduism, connoting spiritual themes and celebrating aspects of human relationships such as the Sister-Brother bond over the Raksha Bandhan festival.

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Pilgrimage sites of Hinduism are mentioned in the epic Mahabharata and the Puranas.

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Hinduism has a developed system of symbolism and iconography to represent the sacred in art, architecture, literature and worship.

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The period from roughly 650 to 1100 CE forms the late Classical period or early Middle Ages, in which classical Puranic Hinduism is established, and Adi Shankara's influential consolidation of Advaita Vedanta.

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

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