Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religion, with approximately 900 million adherents. It is not a single religion, but rather a collection of many traditions and philosophies, and its origins and history are difficult to trace due to the lack of a single founder. About 95 percent of Hindus live in India.
Hinduism is a religious family, not a single religion, and is sometimes referred to as a “way of life” or a “family of religions.” Most Hindus believe in karma (the law of cause and effect) and atman (the belief in the soul).
The om and the swastika are the two primary symbols associated with Hinduism. The word swastika means “good fortune” or “being happy” in Sanskrit, and the om symbol is made up of three Sanskrit letters that represent three sounds when combined.
Hinduism Holy Books
The Vedas, Hinduism’s primary sacred texts, were composed around 1500 B.C. They are a collection of verses and hymns written in Sanskrit that contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages.
Origins of Hinduism
Most scholars believe Hinduism began between 2300 and 1500 BC, during the “Vedic Period,” when the Vedas were written, and other religions, such as Buddhism and Jainism, spread rapidly. Hindus began to emphasize the worship of deities, particularly Vishnu, Shiva, and Devi.
Hinduism vs. Buddhism
However, there are significant differences between the two religions: Buddhism rejects Hinduism’s caste system and does away with the Hindu faith’s rituals, priesthood, and gods.
Medieval and Modern Hindu History
New texts appeared, and poet-saints recorded their spiritual sentiments during the Hindu Medieval Period, which lasted from about 500 to 1500 A.D. In the 7th century, Muslim Arabs began invading areas in India, and Hindu temples were destroyed during parts of the Muslim Period.
Between 1757 and 1947, the British controlled India, and Christian missionaries attempted to convert and westernize the population. Mahatma Gandhi led a movement for independence, and Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. Hinduism became India’s dominant religion.
In addition to Brahman, who is believed to be the supreme God force present in all things, Hindus worship a variety of gods and goddesses, including Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
Hindu Places of Worship
Hindu worship, known as “puja,” is usually performed in a temple, and it is customary to offer gifts to a god or goddess, such as flowers or oils. Many Hindus also go on pilgrimages to temples and other sacred sites.
Sects of Hinduism
Some Hindus elevate the Hindu trinity, which consists of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; others believe that all deities are manifestations of one; and followers of Brahman (followers of all major deities) are known as Smarta.
Hindu Caste System
The caste system is a social hierarchy in India that divides Hindus into four groups based on karma and dharma: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Shudras, and Untouchables. When India became an independent nation, its constitution outlawed caste discrimination.
Hindus celebrate a variety of sacred days, holidays, and festivals, including Diwali, Navaratri, Holi, and Krishna Janmashtami.
According to the Pew Research Center, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion.
Does Hinduism pray to God?
Hindu worship is primarily a personal rather than a communal act, as it involves worshippers repeating the names of their favorite gods and goddesses, as well as mantras, and offering water, fruit, flowers, and incense to the deity.
Which Hindu God is responsible for creation?
Brahma is the first of three gods in the Hindu triumvirate, or trimurti, who are responsible for the creation, upkeep, and destruction of the world. The other two gods are Vishnu and Shiva, who are responsible for preserving the universe and destroying it in order to re-create it.
Why do we pray to God Hinduism?
We pray to thank God for his blessings, to melt the mind and ego in silence in front of God, to ask God for strength, peace, and pure intellect, and to ask God to purify the heart and make us abide in Him forever.
Which God should I pray to Hindu?
Prayers are offered to the highest Creator God, Brahman, and His many manifestations, including Shiva and Vishnu, as well as Krishna and Rama (incarnations of Vishnu), Ma Kali (Mother Kali, the feminine deity, or Mother Goddess, aka Durga, Parvati, Shakti, and others).
What is the most powerful mantra in Hinduism?
The Gayatri mantra, derived from the 10th verse of Hymn 62 in Book III of the Rig Veda, is considered one of the most universal of all Hindu mantras, invoking the universal Brahman as the principle of knowledge and the illumination of the primordial Sun.
Who are the 3 gods of Hinduism?
Trimurti (Sanskrit: “three forms”) is the Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva’s triad.
Who is the top Hindu god?
Vishnu is the main god in the Vaishnavite sect of Hinduism; according to many Vaishnava Scriptures, Vishnu is the Supreme Brahman. Shiva is the Supreme in Shaivite Traditions, while Adi Parshakti is supreme in Shakti Traditions.
Who is the Supreme God in Hinduism?
Hindus worship one Supreme Being known as Brahman, though he is known by many different names, because the peoples of India speak many different languages and cultures, each understanding the one God in their own unique way.
How many gods do Hindus have?
Why Hindus worship so many gods and goddesses is a mystery to most people. In the West, where the majority of people follow the Abrahamic faith tradition of one God, the concept of polytheism is nothing more than fantasy or mythology worthy of a comic book.
How do I pray to God for a miracle?
Repeat the Catholic “Miracle Prayer” to help you focus: “Lord Jesus, I come before Thee, just as I am, I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins, please forgive me, and I forgive all others for what they have done against me in Thy Name.”
Who do the Hindu pray to?
Most Hindus have a personal god or goddess, such as Shiva, Krishna, or Lakshmi, to whom they pray on a regular basis. The three most important Hindu gods (forms of Brahman) are: Brahma – known as the Creator; Brahma – known as the Protector; and Brahma – known as the Protector.
Which God is most powerful in the world?
Shiva is also known as the God of Gods, and is the supreme masculine divinity in this universe, as well as the lord of the three worlds (Vishwanath), and is unrivaled in wrath and power. Sarvaripati Shiva is one of the most terrifying manifestations of the supreme God.
Which day is for Vishnu?
Thursday is dedicated to Vishnu, the supreme God, and devotees worship him with milk, ghee, and other offerings. Those fasting on the day are allowed to eat milk products only once.
Who is the God of Friday?
Friday is dedicated to the Mother Goddesses Mahalakshmi, Santhosi Ma, Annapuraneshwari, and Durga, and sweets are distributed on the day, with devotees observing the Vrat eating at night.