Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life. It is the world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15-16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as San?tana Dharma (Sanskrit: ?, lit. ''the Eternal Dharma''), which refers to the idea that its origins lie beyond human history, as revealed in the Hindu texts. Another, though less fitting, self-designation is Vaidika dharma, the 'dharma related to the Vedas.'
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. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Pururthas, the proper goals or aims of human life; namely, dharma (ethics/duties), artha (prosperity/work), kama (desires/passions) and moksha (liberation/freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth), as well as karma (action, intent and consequences) and sa?s?ra (cycle of death and rebirth). Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (Ahi?s?), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, virtue, and compassion, among others. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation (dhy?na), family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Along with the practice of various yogas, some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions and engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monasticism) in order to achieve Moksha. (Full article...)
is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality
, wherein the intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.
Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in some schools of Hinduism, wherein the karma of an individual in the present affects one's future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives - or, one's sa?s?ra. Other schools of Hinduism, the karma theory impacts an individual's current life by shaping his or her future circumstances in current life, while the present circumstances of the individual are explained with reference to his or her intent and actions in the past. Over time, various schools of Hinduism developed many different definitions of karma, some making karma appear quite deterministic, while others make room for free will and moral agency. The results or "fruits" of actions are called karma-phala.
Karma is an important theory of ethics, and is central to the historical free will and destiny debate within various schools of Hinduism. Karma concept can be traced back to the early Upanishads. All living creatures are responsible for their karma, according to Hinduism. The effects of all intents and deeds, engaged in or avoided consciously or unconsciously, actively create circumstances, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the suffering and joy it brings to self and others.
Hindu wedding is solemnized before Vedic fire ritual (shown). (from Hinduism)
A wedding is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life. A typical
Hinduism - Percentage by country. (from
Kalyanam (marriage) of the holy deities at Bhadrachalam Temple, in Telangana. It is one of the temples in India, where Kalyanam is done everyday throughout the year. (from Hinduism)
Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. It is referred as Dipavali in the South India. (from Hinduism)
The festival of lights,
Basic Hindu symbols: Shatkona, Padma, and Swastika. (from
Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and the United States, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion. (from Hinduism)
Panchayatana ("five deities", from the Smarta tradition): Ganesha (centre) with Shiva (top left), Parvati (top right), Vishnu (bottom left) and Surya (bottom right). All these deities also have separate sects dedicated to them. (from Hinduism)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
(October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was a major political and spiritual leader of the Indian Independence Movement
. He was the pioneer of satyagraha
— resistance through mass civil disobedience
strongly founded upon ahimsa
) becoming one of the strongest philosophies of freedom struggles worldwide. Gandhi is commonly known and spoken of worldwide as Mahatma Gandhi
: ?, m?hatma
; from Sanskrit
: Great Soul
) and is fondly called Bapu
(in Gujarati, Father
Gandhi first employed his ideas of civil disobedience in the Indian struggle for civil rights in South Africa. Upon his return to India, Gandhi helped lead poor farmers and laborers to protest oppressive taxation and widespread discrimination.
The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still.
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