Hinduism is a very ancient religion and nobody can trace when it started. Some religious scholars are of the opinion that Hinduism could have started in 10,000 B.C. Some of the Hindu scriptures, like Rig Veda, were known to be composed prior to 6,500 B.C. these scriptures do not define the term Hinduism and the word Hindu was coined by foreign visitors. These visitors called people who lived across the River Indus (or River Sindhu) of Northern India as Hindus. This is where the religion seems to have originated.
Hinduism was not started by a single person or does not revolve around one doctrine alone. The religion does not require that a person should stick to one way of life or accept any one person’s idea. It is culturally vast and has many facets to it. Brahman is also a concept, where the person is equated to god and is exclusively practiced by Hinduism.
It is a very flexible religion and easily adapts others religious and cultural perspectives. They have a variety of ideas and different people have different beliefs. So under the term Hinduism, several kinds of cultures are covered. It is the only religion in the world which is so diverse. Philosopher Jeneane Fowler says that Hinduism cannot be divided into any belief system like polytheism, pantheism, theism, monism or panentheism. All of these theories are actually reflected in Hinduism. The ideas and beliefs are not unanimous.
Some of the main beliefs of Hinduism and that are common to all Hindus are as follows:
- Dharma also called as ethics and duties
- Samsara means rebirth
- Karma means right deeds
- Moksha means gaining freedom from the eternal cycle of rebirth
Hinduism mainly advocates honesty, truth, celibacy, contentment, austerity, pious deeds, perseverance and cleanliness. The scriptures of Hinduism are called shastras and they are a vast collection of spiritual laws. The shastras were compiled by various sages and different times in history.
Shruti means heard and Smriti means memorized are the two kinds of scriptures. These scriptures were passed on for several generations orally and through teachings. They were penned down eventually in Sanskrit. Some of the mainscriptures of Hinduism are Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Upanishads. According to Hinduism, there is just one Supreme Being called the Brahman, which is not god, but the creator of the universe and the world. Also, the religion does not ask you to worship any deity. There are nearly thousands of gods and deities in the religion. The main trinity remains Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
More Articles :
- Basic Beliefs Of Hinduism
- Hindu Creation Story
- Historical Figures And Events Of Hinduism
- When Did Hinduism Start ?
- Where Did Hinduism Come From ?
- Why Did Hinduism Start ?
About.com: The Uniqueness of Hinduism