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Hinduism

About Hinduism

Hinduism Is The World's Third Largest Religion

Hinduism is considered the world's oldest religion and can be traced back to 5000 - 7000 B.C. It has a billion followers and is the world's third largest religion. India, Nepal and Mauritius have a majority Hindu population.

Hinduism originated around the Indus Valley near the river Indus, (India). Hinduism includes religious, philosophical and cultural ideas and practices that began in India. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, scripture and governing body.

    Brahman, The One Supreme Being

    Hindus believe that there is only one Supreme Being called 'Brahman', and that many Hindu Gods and Goddesses represent the many aspects of Brahman.

    Hindus believe in reincarnation (rebirth), the law of cause and effect and the importance of staying on the path of righteousness. Hindu sacred texts include the Bhagavad Gita, (one of the most important), the Upanishads and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Vedas are the earliest recorded Hindu scriptures, probably composed between 1500 and 700 BC containing hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual. They are regarded as eternal truths revealed to the ancient sages. All the books related to Hinduism are written in Sanskrit, the oldest known language in the world. The largest Hindu temple in the world is in Angkor Wat, Cambodia and not in India. In Hinduism, the temple is called a Mandir. Each Mandir is dedicated to a specific Hindu God or Goddess.

    List of Some Gods and Goddesses

    • Vishnu – The preserver or protector of the universe
    • Shiva – The destroyer of the universe
    • Ganesh Chaturthi – Remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom
    • Krishna – The God of love and compassion
    • Rama – The God of truth and virtue
    • Hanuman – The God of physical strength, perseverance, service, and scholarly devotion
    • Lakshmi – The Goddess of wealth and prosperity
    • Kali – The Goddess of death

    Hindus believe in reincarnation (rebirth), the law of cause and effect and the importance of staying on the path of righteousness. Hindu sacred texts include the Bhagavad Gita, (one of the most important), the Upanishads and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Vedas are the earliest recorded Hindu scriptures, probably composed between 1500 and 700 BC containing hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual. They are regarded as eternal truths revealed to the ancient sages. All the books related to Hinduism are written in Sanskrit, the oldest known language in the world. The largest Hindu temple in the world is in Angkor Wat, Cambodia and not in India. In Hinduism, the temple is called a Mandir. Each Mandir is dedicated to a specific Hindu God or Goddess.

    Brahman, The One Supreme Being

    Hinduism is known as a ‘way of life’ or ‘a family of religions’ rather than a single religion. It is referred as the Sanatana Dharma, ‘the eternal law' or ‘the eternal way' beyond human origins.

    They believe all living creatures have a soul which is believed to be eternal. The spirit or true ‘self' of every person is called the (Aatman). The goal of every Hindu is to get salvation from the cycle of life and death (Moksha). The oldest city in India is Varanasi and is considered as the holiest of the places. The Ganges River, also called Ganga, is the longest river in India and is extremely important to the people of India as they regard it as their most sacred river. Bathing in the river causes forgiveness of their sins and allows salvation (Moksha).

    Hinduism started to become popular in the West in the 20th Century. Hare Krishna is a branch of Hinduism which has been influenced by the religion in the West. Yoga the worlds most practiced form of spiritual and physical discipline originated from Hinduism. The word 'Yoga' is derived from the Sanskrit root 'Yuj', meaning 'to join' or 'to yoke' or 'to unite'.

    Hindu Festivals

    Diwali is a five day festival celebrating the start of the Hindu New Year, (Festival of Lights). The celebration features fireworks, small clay lamps and candles. These lights represent the victory of good over evil, and brightness over darkness. Diwali is celebrated in honour of Lord Rama and his wife Sita.

    The Ganesh Chaturthi festival lasts 11 days and honours the birth of the Hindu elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha.

    Kumbh Mela is a Hindu festival held once every twelve years at four locations in India, at which pilgrims bathe in the waters of the Ganges and Jumna Rivers. It is the largest gathering of humans in the world.

    There have been three main waves of Hindu immigration to the UK, the first in 1947, then the 1960s, and 1970s.