Hinduism for Beginners

Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion. It has about a billion adherents, making it the third largest religion in size. Hinduism is an amalgam of cultural, philosophical and religious practices and ideas, that have their origin in India. Hindus believe in reincarnation, cause and effect and treading the path of righteousness. The goal of Hindu life is to get liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

A Way of Life

Hinduism is a way of life. It abounds in theology, philosophy, rituals, ethics, traditions and beliefs. Hinduism has given rise to practices and concepts such as karma, vedanta, tantra, jyotish, ayurveda, yoga, etc.

Origins of Hinduism

The origins of hinduism cannot be traced to a particular individual. The word “Hindu” was coined by foreigners with reference to the people living along the river Indus or Sindhu, in north India.

Basic tenets of Hinduism

Some of the most important tenets of hinduism include:

  • Dharma (duties and ethics)
  • Samsara (rebirth)
  • Karma (right deed or action)
  • Moksha (freedom from the cycle of birth and death)

Hindus are also advised to follow these qualities: keep pious company, do penance, perseverance, austerity, prayers, contentment, cleanliness, celibacy, non-violence, honesty and truth.

Key Hindu scriptures

Hindu scriptures are a collection of spiritual truths composed by sages and saints during its history. They were passed down the generations orally, before being written in the ancient Sanskrit language. Hindus popularly read the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.

Major Hindu Deities

There are millions of dieties in Hinduism, representing various aspects of the absolute, known as “Brahman”. The fundamental trinity of Gods consists of of Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer). Hindus also worship planets, animals, trees and spirits.

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