Hinduism for Beginners By Subhamoy Das, About.

com Guide If you're new to this faith, here's where to begin. In this simple introduction to a complex religion, get your basic questions on Hinduism answered and explained in brief. What is Hinduism?: Hinduism is the world's oldest extant religion, with a billion followers, which makes it the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is a conglomeration of religious, philosophical, and cultural ideas and practices that originated in India, characterized by the belief in reincarnation, one absolute being of multiple manifestations, the law of cause and effect, following the path of righteousness, and the desire for liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. Read More: How do you define Hinduism? How is Hinduism unique from other religions?: Hinduism cannot be neatly slotted into any particular belief system. Unlike other religions, Hinduism is a way of life, a Dharma, that is, the law that governs all action. It has its own beliefs, traditions, advanced system of ethics, meaningful rituals, philosophy and theology. The religious tradition of Hinduism is solely responsible for the creation of such original concepts and practices as Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Jyotish, Yajna, Puja, Tantra, Vedanta, Karma, etc. Read More: The Uniqueness of Hinduism How and when did Hinduism originate?: Hinduism has its origins in such remote past that it cannot be traced to any one individual. Some scholars believe that Hinduism must have existed even in circa 10000 B.C. and that the earliest of the Hindu scriptures – The Rig Veda – was composed well before 6500 B.C. The word "Hinduism" is not to be found anywhere in the scriptures, and the term "Hindu" was introduced by foreigners who referred to people living across the River Indus or Sindhu, in the north of India, around which the Vedic religion is believed to have originated. Read More: Theories About the Origin of Hinduism What are the basic tenets of Hinduism?: There is no “one Hinduism”, and so it lacks any unified system of beliefs and ideas. Hinduism is a conglomerate of diverse beliefs and traditions, in which the prominent themes include:

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Dharma (ethics and duties) Samsara (rebirth) Karma (right action) Moksha (liberation from the cycle of Samsara)

It also believes in truth, honesty, non-violence, celibacy, cleanliness, contentment, prayers, austerity, perseverance, penance, and pious company. Read More: The Main Tenets of Hinduism What are the key Hindu scriptures?: The basic scriptures of Hinduism, which is collectively referred to as "Shastras", are essentially a collection of spiritual laws discovered by different saints and sages at different points in its long history. The Two types of sacred writings comprise the Hindu scriptures: "Shruti" (heard) and "Smriti" (memorized). They were passed on from generation to generation orally for centuries before they were written down mostly in the Sanskrit language. The major and most popular Hindu texts include the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Read More: The Sacred Texts of the Hindus What are the major Hindu deities?: Hinduism believes that there is only one supreme Absolute called "Brahman". However, it does not advocate the worship of any one particular deity. The gods and goddesses of Hinduism amount to thousands or even millions, all representing the many aspects of Brahman. Therefore, this faith is characterized by the multiplicity of deities. The most fundamental of Hindu deities is the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - creator, preserver and destroyer respectively. Hindus also worship spirits, trees, animals and even planets. Read More: Gods & Goddesses in Hinduism Who is a Hindu and how to become one?: A Hindu is an individual who accepts and lives by the religious guidance of the Vedic scriptures. While the teachings of the Hindu tradition do not require that you have a religious affiliation to Hinduism in order to receive its inner teachings, it can be very helpful to formally become a Hindu because it provides one a formal connection to the “world's oldest continually existing enlightenment tradition." Gods & Goddesses in Hinduism The Basics of Hinduism

The word 'dharma' connotes "that which supports the universe" and effectively means any path of spiritual discipline which leads to God. Hindus have a multitude of gods and goddesses. Therefore. Vishnu and Shiva creator. About. Many of these idols are housed within ornate temples of unparalleled beauty and grandeur. Also known to practitioners as Sanatana Dharma. and does not advocate the worship of one particular deity. The gods and goddesses of Hinduism amount to thousands or even millions. Hinduism forms an integral part of the entire Indian tradition. Krishna. It is neither the “old man in the sky” concept. About. . Hinduism can best be defined as a way of life based on the teachings of ancient sages and scriptures like the Vedas and Upanishads. preserver and destroyer respectively. is the Trinity of Brahma. The Rig Veda says: "Ekam sath. According to some scholars. However. Other popular deities include Ganesha. which means everlasting or eternal religion / truth / rule. It is not easy to define Hinduism. trees. Deities are represented by a complexity of images and idols symbolizing divine powers. practised by over 80% of the population. The doctrine of Spiritual Competence (‘Adhikaara’) and that of the Chosen Deity (‘Ishhta Devata’) in Hinduism recommend that the spiritual practices prescribed to a person should correspond to his or her spiritual competence and that a person should have the freedom to choose (or invent) a form of Brahman that satisfies his spiritual cravings and to make it the object of his worship. The most fundamental of Hindu deities. Hanuman and a number of Goddesses. Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti" (The Truth is one). all representing the many aspects of only one supreme Absolute called “Brahman”. nor the idea of something capable of being vengeful or fearful.com Guide Hinduism is generally associated with a multiplicity of Gods. It is the dominant faith of India.com Guide Hinduism is essentially an Indian phenomenon. Since religion is a way of life in India. How Do You Define Hinduism? The Basics of Hinduism By Subhamoy Das. to equate “Brahman” with “God” is imprecise. for it is much more than a religion in the Western sense. Thus. animals and even planets. to believe that the multiplicity of deities in Hinduism makes it polytheistic is erroneous. Hindus also worship spirits. Hinduism is not exactly a religion.By Subhamoy Das.

and thus is cultural. and so is characterized by a rich variety of ideas and practices resulting in what appears as a multiplicity of religions under one term 'Hinduism'. According to philosopher Jeaneane Fowler. In ancient times the river was called the 'Sindhu'. but the Persians who migrated to India called the river 'Hindu'. the thick trunk (2) symbolizing the spiritual experiences of numerous sages. gurus and saints. However. About.000 or more years. the land 'Hindustan' and its . can be compared to a fruit tree. Theories About the Origin of Hinduism The Basics of Hinduism By Subhamoy Das. The word "Hindu" is derived from the name of River Indus. with its roots (1) representing the Vedas and Vedantas. About. monotheism. pantheism. theism.com Guide Filed In: 1. The unique concept of the Absolute “Brahman” that cannot be equated with “God” is also exclusive to Hinduism. There is also no point in time when it could be said to have begun. the concept of Hinduism defies a definite definition because of its uniqueness. polytheism. The Basics 2.Hindu Dharma. as one scholar analogizes.com Guide According to historians. Hinduism is also marked by an attitude which seems to accommodate religious and cultural perspectives other than one's own. the origin of Hinduism dates back to 5. which flows through northern India. The Uniqueness of Hinduism The Basics of Hinduism By Subhamoy Das. its branches (3) representing various theological traditions. Hinduism can never be neatly slotted into any particular belief system — monism. It does not require its adherents to accept any one idea. Hinduism is perhaps the only religious tradition that is so diverse in its theoretical premises and practical expressions that it is like a compilation of religions with a history contemporaneous with the peoples with which it is associated. > Hinduism 101 Hinduism does not have any one founder. in different shapes and sizes (4). not creedal. symbolizing various sects and subsects. panentheism — for all these systems are reflected in its many facets. and any one core doctrine to which controversies can be referred to for resolution. and the fruit itself.

The Main Tenets of Hinduism The Basics of Hinduism By Subhamoy Das. Traditional Hinduism has two life-long dharmas that one can follow: ‘Grihastha Dharma’ (Domestic Religion) and ‘Sannyasin Dharma’ (Ascetic Religion). dharma and moksha. the evolution of Hinduism may be divided into three periods: the ancient (6500 BCE-1000 AD). and there are defined rites and rituals for each stage from birth till death. The ‘Sannyasin Dharma’ recognizes ‘moksha’ as its ultimate goal. It is a phenomenon and represents a broad spectrum of beliefs and practices which on one hand are akin to paganism. abstract. However. emotive expressions like 'bhakti' (devotion) or 'dharma' (what is right) and 'yoga' (discipline) are used to depict essential aspects of the religion. About.com Guide Hinduism lacks any unified system of beliefs and ideas. and on the other very profound. The Sacred Texts of the Hindus . purity and generosity. fortitude. pantheism and the like. Since religion and culture are nearly interchangeable terms in Hinduism. ‘dharma’ (the laws of life). reincarnation. The ‘Grihastha Dharma’ has four goals: ‘kāma’ (sensual pleasure). truthfulness. karma. Some moral ideals in Hinduism include non-violence. compassion. Hinduism is commonly thought to be the oldest religion in the history of human civilization. and ‘moksha’ (liberation from the cycle of births). Thus the religion followed by the Hindus came to be known as 'Hinduism'. and the modern (1800 AD to present).inhabitants 'Hindus'. self-control. Hinduism believes in idol worship. According to scholars. the medieval (1000-1800 AD). friendship. this theory has now been proved to be a flawed one and is considered nothing more than a myth. metaphysical ideas. ‘artha’ (wealth and prosperity). Human life is divided into four stages. It was earlier believed that the basic tenets of Hinduism were brought to India by the Aryans who invaded the Indus Valley Civilization and settled along the banks of the Indus river about 2000 BC.

Sruti literatures are of two parts: the Vedas and the Upanishads. written about the 2nd century BC and forms the sixth part of Mahabharata.The Basics of Hinduism By Subhamoy Das. Kena. and deals with the power struggle between the Pandava and the Kaurava families. and contain some of the most beautiful and exciting stories in the history of religion world literature."Knowledge of Sacrificial Rituals" The Atharva Veda . because they are easy to understand. There are four Vedas: • • • • The Rig Veda -"Royal Knowledge" The Sama Veda . Chandogya.The most popular of Hindu epics. Sruti literature refers to the habit of ancient Hindu saints who led a solitary life in the woods."Knowledge of Incarnations" There are 108 extant Upanishads.com Guide Filed In: 1. Scriptures & Epics According to Swami Vivekananda. Mundaka. Smriti Literature refers to 'memorized' or 'remembered' poetry and epics. The three most important of Smriti literature are: • The Bhagavad Gita . Brihadaranyaka. It contains some of the most brilliant theological lessons about the nature of God and of life ever written. Katha. Taitiriya. Mandukya. of which 10 are most important: Isa. composed by Valmiki around 4th or 2nd centuries BC with later additions up to about 300 CE. where they developed a consciousness that enabled them to 'hear' or cognize the truths of the universe. It • • . The Mahabharata . They are more popular with Hindus. Collectively referred to as the Shastras. The Ramayana . Aitareya. "the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times" constitutes the sacred Hindu texts. called the "Song of the Adorable One". About. Prashna."Knowledge of Chants" The Yajur Veda .The world's longest epic poem written about 9th century BC. with an intertwining of numerous episodes that make up life.The most well known of the Hindu scriptures. explains universal truths through symbolism and mythology. there are two types of sacred writings in the Hindu scriptures: Shruti (heard) and Smriti (memorized).

These incarnations are called avatars. A lotus sprang from his navel and from that emerged Brahma. wherein there is no such thing as upward mobility. the fertility goddess. Under still another name. Hinduism by James Mannion Hinduism is the main religion of India. Approximately 700 million Hindus practice today. Shiva is a contradictory god. a Xena-type warrior princess. Shiva and Vishnu are the main gods.Ram and Sita and a host of other characters and their exploits. It is not so much what you think as what you do. Hindus observe a rigid caste system. The Hindu Gods Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. though hundreds of minor gods and goddesses are in the Hindu cavalcade of deities. Universal Themes Hinduism. Vishnu is the main god in the Hindu belief system. and the reverence for cows. You are born into a socioeconomic class. Among the goddesses. and Devi is the main goddess. Devi. By another name. Vishnu has gone through many incarnations since his initial appearance. some benign and others quite nasty. As goddesses go. is worshipped under that name and sometimes in the form of other goddesses who are believed to be incarnations of Devi. has its universal themes: belief in reincarnation. single ones are to be feared. an unsavory deity who kills and eats her victims and then performs a frenetic dance while wearing the skulls and the hands of her dinner. the river goddess (the Ganges river is named for her). Intermarriage between castes is forbidden. she is called Kali. The religion is replete with rituals. Americans and Europeans are often shocked when visiting India to find people starving in the streets while cattle wander freely and unmolested. Fortunately. This is very similar to the Greek myth of Zeus. but he is also the deity of the phallus. but was forced to carry his skull around with him at all times thereafter. because unlike the married goddesses. vegetarianism. Polytheism means the worship of many gods. which are the three main monotheistic religions. . Shiva killed his father Brahma. and the people may look like they are part of a religious monolith. the hapless father of Shiva. and there you shall remain. Beware of single goddesses! The Hindu tradition has a pantheon of gods and goddesses. who castrated his own father Cronus. an unsavory sort who apparently had it coming.depicts the story of the royal couple of Ayodha . and the lowest caste is called untouchable. You will not find any “yuppies” in the Hindi tradition. The word Hindu is from the ancient Sanskrit language and means Indus. Ganga. the goddess of the Himalayas. they are given to mood swings and hormonal rages. This is made prominently clear in the statues of Shiva. as opposed to Christianity. Parvati. as in the Indus River. they make the characters on Sex and The City seem like Girl Scouts. of course. and Islam. but Hinduism is a diverse creed that is practiced in different ways by different sects. The main goddess. making it one of the major world religions. Judaism. Devi is known as Druga the Unapproachable. Hinduism is an action religion. He is the god of those who renounce the material world and the pleasures therein. there are more pleasant goddesses in the Hindu pantheon: Lakshmi. and many more.

because if the Buddhists are right. Hinduism also teaches that things have been going downhill since a golden age. 1. learning and growing (hopefully) in each subsequent lifetime. Karma is the principle that maintains there is an inherent balance to the cosmos. including human life. If you are an evil person in this life. About. which is a Sanskrit document detailing the rituals to be practiced by Hindu priests. and other distinctive features. The goal is to become more and more enlightened until finally you do not have to return to the physical realm. Everything in the universe is cyclical. Karma is the force of cosmic justice in the universe. the Sama-Veda.” he could have been discussing Hinduism. an insensitive super-stud will be a monk in the next life. you will find a collection of hand-picked resources to guide you through the basics of Hinduism. Two other important Hindu texts include the Brahmanas. good or bad. Things fall apart. A murderer will be a victim. Whether you return as a supermodel or a giant tree sloth depends on your karma. and the Atharva-Veda.com Guide In this section. you can expect payback in the next. And perhaps the most famous Hindu text to Westerners is called the Upanishads. called the Krita Yuga. this means that what you do in your life.Hindu Texts The four main texts of Hinduism are called the Vedas. and live normal lives within the framework of the real world. in prehistory. What is meant by the transmigration of souls? This is another name for reincarnation. so shall ye reap. Hindus typically take one of two paths in life. it says.” In Hindu terms. This is the most popular text to Westerners because of its very “New Age” sounding mystical meditations on the meaning of life. will come back and bite you in the next. seeking to jumpstart the process of karma and reincarnation and grow closer to enlightenment in this lifetime. others take their ancient scriptures more to heart and live lives of ascetic self-denial. Then you can enjoy eternity as fully awakened spiritual being. They believe that the universe is an enclosed shell with concentric universes going round and round with India at the center. and the center cannot hold until that universe is destroyed and another golden age begins. have families. The spiritual literature of Hinduism also contains a unique view of the universe. Hinduism 101 2. You had better be good for goodness sake. Reincarnation When Sinatra sang. The goal is to become enlightened to the degree that you transcend your humanity and become one with all. “Life keeps goin' in cycles. Beliefs & Practices By Subhamoy Das. In the Bible. its beliefs and practices. “What you sow. It is not surprising that almost every society and culture has regarded themselves as the chosen people and their neck of the woods as the center of the universe. your actions in this life will affect your karma. Many work. Hindus and Buddhists believe that we are reborn into another body after death. which is another name for reincarnation. either in the form of rewards or punishments. Hindus believe in the transmigration of souls. The Hindu Deities . The other three are called the Yajur-Veda. You acquire karma through your multiple incarnations over the millennia. Rig-Veda is the oldest and has been committed to memory by devout Hindus for thousands of years.

3. get the answers to some of your basic questions. The Sacred Texts 5. • • • • • • • • What is Hinduism? Who is a Hindu? How is Hinduism Unique? When and Where did Hinduism Originate? What are the Basic Beliefs of Hinduism? What are the Main Hindu Scriptures? What are the Major Hindu Gods and Goddesses? How To Be an Ideal Hindu The Hindu Deities Hinduism is known for a multitude of gods and goddesses. • • • • • • • • • • Who's A Guru? Adi Shankaracharya Sri Ramakrishna Swami Vivekananda Ramana Maharishi Sai Baba of Shirdi Sri Aurobindo The Gurus of Sergeant Pepper Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Amma: The Hugging Saint Mother . The Gurus & Saints 4. • • • • • • • • Brahma Vishnu Shiva Ganesha Krishna Hanuman The Goddesses Top 10 Hindu Deities The Gurus & Saints The word 'guru' is of Hindu origin. Tenets & Concepts Hinduism 101 Before you explore the various characteristics of this religion. Here're the profiles of some well-known Hindu sages and saints of the past and contemporary gurus. Here's an introduction to the prominent figures of the Hindu pantheon.

Knowledge of 3 Gs: Ganga (sacred river). • • • • • • • • The Vedas: World’s Oldest Spiritual Teachings All About the Upanishads (Vedanta) The Itihasas or Histories: Ancient Hindu Scriptures Bhagavad-Gita Online Bhagavad Gita For Busy People Learn a Verse from the Bhagavad Gita The Mahabharata: Summary The Ramayana: Summary Tenets & Concepts Here we discuss some of the basic tenets and concepts of Hinduism. Maheshwara (Shiva) Several divine forms 2. Satya (Truth) 2. Heaven and Hell Brahman: The Concept of God The Hindu Concept of Time The Four Ages of Man 5 Principles & 10 Disciplines The Basics of Hinduism By Subhamoy Das. Gangadhar Choudhury: 5 PRINCIPLES 1. Gita (sacred script). • • • • • • • • • • What is Dharma? What is Karma? What is Om? What is Namaste? The 5 Principles & 10 Commandments Common Myths About Hinduism Reincarnation. All human beings are divine 3. Ahimsa (Non-violence) . Gayatri (sacred mantra) 10 DISCIPLINES 1. About. Vishnu.The Sacred Texts The beliefs that form the foundation of Hinduism are based on some of the oldest texts known to humankind. One Trinity: Brahma.com Guide What are the main principles of the Hindu way of life? And what are the 10 commandments of Sanatana Dharma? Read these 15 easy-to-remember basic tenets of Hinduism as summarized by Dr. Read about the major Hindu scriptures. Religious harmony 5. Unity of existence through love 4. God Exists: One Absolute OM.

which flows through northern India. It was earlier believed that the basic tenets of Hinduism were brought to India by the Aryans who invaded the Indus Valley Civilization and settled along the banks of the Indus river about 2000 BC. Hinduism is commonly thought to be the oldest religion in the history of human civilization. Swadhyaya (Reading of scriptures) 9. However.3. In ancient times the river was called the 'Sindhu'. the evolution of Hinduism may be divided into three periods: the ancient (6500 BCE-1000 AD). the origin of Hinduism dates back to 5. perseverance.000 or more years. Santosh (Contentment) 8. and the modern (1800 AD to present). Shaucha (Cleanliness) 7. Asteya (No desire to possess or steal) 5. Aparighara (Non-corrupt) 6. Brahmacharya (Celibacy. this theory has now been proved to be a flawed one and is considered nothing more than a myth. Ishwarpranidhan (Regular prayers) Theories About the Origin of Hinduism The Basics of Hinduism By Subhamoy Das. penance) 10. Thus the religion followed by the Hindus came to be known as 'Hinduism'. According to scholars. non-adultery) 4. About.com Guide According to historians. the medieval (1000-1800 AD). The word "Hindu" is derived from the name of River Indus. Tapas (Austerity. Revealing facts about Hinduism • Today's date: Wednesday Jul 13 2011 Hinduism Facts| Facts about Hinduism Religion . but the Persians who migrated to India called the river 'Hindu'. the land 'Hindustan' and its inhabitants 'Hindus'.

So. to those living in the vicinity of “Sindhu” river. in this article. The name “Hindu” is given by the people outside of the India. The secret of this success of Hindu religion lies in the fact in its practical approach towards human life. . the way of life those people were following is called “Hinduism. Facts about size and Rank: It is the third largest religion of the world with more than 1 billion followers. many cultures have come and gone but Hinduism has withstood many challenges posed by the time and has spread all over the world. especially Greeks and Arabs.C. Hinduism is largely based on the teachings from Vedas. Most Hindus worship God in the form of an idol.þÿ Search Home | Hinduism Facts In the history of mankind. Nepal. About 85% of Hindus live in India. History of Hinduism can be traced back to 5000-10.” or Vedic Dharma. in practice.” What do they worship: Hindus believe in one God named as “Brahman” but view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations of Him.” Known as: People who follow Hinduism are called as “Hindus. they worship more than one God. Origin: Hinduism originated in India. Meaning of the word: The word “Hinduism” actually has no real meaning because Hinduism was not founded as a religion. so that everybody would have an idea about what Hinduism is.000 B. There are also a number of misconceptions about Hinduism. Facts about Hinduism Religion: Existence Since: Hinduism is the world’s oldest known religion. Therefore. and Sri Lanka with considerable presence in all other parts of the world also. belief in eternal truths. That is why India is also called as “Hindustan.” Hinduism is also known as “Hindu Dharma (Hindu Religion). we would try to put forth all the Hinduism facts in brief before the world. It has been evolving over the thousands of years and will continue to. Founder: Hinduism has no single founder. Location: Most of the Hindus live in India. and modifications made without changing the basic beliefs. which need to be explained.” “Sanatan Dharma (Eternal Religion). Therefore.” “Vedic Religion. lots of people are unaware of the facts about Hinduism. Despite being the world’s third largest and the oldest religion.

children. Aims of life: Dharma (righteousness). and Moksha (salvation) are the four objectives of a Hindu’s life. martial art. and Devi. Bhagvadgita. Language: Most of the Hindu scriptures are written in Sanskrit. Lord Ganesha. Sanskrit is considered to be the mother of all the languages. Hinduism strongly advocates vegetarianism. Besides them. vegetarianism. 18 Puranas. Pranayama. Lord Vishnu. Contribution: Yoga. Hinduism is the source of inspiration for three other major religions of the world viz. acupressure. Goal: Salvation is the ultimate goal of a Hindu’s life. Sikhism. meditation. Food is highly revered and wasting the food is considered as a very bad habit. may keep contact with family). and destroyer respectively. protector. Trishul. Buddhism. Vanprasthashram (leaving the home and pray to God. Sacred Books or Scriptures: Four Vedas. and meditation are the best gifts of Hinduism to the world. four stages of life are Brahmcharyashram (Student phase). Ramayana. animals. Cow is the most revered animal for Hindus. Vaishnavism. The common people follow all the three sects collectively worshiping Lord Shiva. Important Hindu Festivals: . and Yantra are other popular Hindu symbols. Lord Hanuman. Ayurveda. Lord Rama. and material things). and Jainism. trees. and Sanyasashram (discard everything in life including wife. Kama (desire). Symbols: AUM and Swastika are the main symbols of Hinduism. Lord Krishna. and Goddess Parvati are the most popular deities in Hinduism. mountains. Palmistry. Artha (wealth). Besides those. Main Deities: Lord Brahma. Facts about sects in Hinduism: Hinduism consists of different sects like Shaivism. Stages of life: According to Hinduism. and Mahabharata are the sacred books of Hindus. Lingam. Upanishadas. These are the three main deities in Hinduism. and many other ancient wonders originated in India and are parts of Hinduism Religion. Jyotish Shastra. and Shaktism. They also do not eat non-vegetarian food on auspicious days.Rivers. Lord Vishnu. Grihastahshram (Living with wife and children). Shri. Tilak. and natural things which are useful for a human being are revered in Hinduism. Eating Habits: Most of the Hindus do not eat beef and/or pork. acupuncture. and Lord Shiva are the creator. Tantric sex.

and deed) 5. Brahmacharya (Avoiding promiscuity in thoughts. Shudra (labor) Basic concept of Hinduism: It will be easier to understand the basic concept of Hinduism if you know Law of Conservation of Energy. Ahimsa (not to harm others) 2. 2. Vijayadashami – Celebrating the victory of good over evil 3. 14.1. Garbhadhana. Vivaha. Kshatriya (warriors) 3. Namakarana 6. 3. 12. Vidyarambha. Annaprashana. 1. Simanatonnayana. Vaishya (Businessmen) 4. Brahmin (priests). Caste System: The Hindu society is broadly divided in four main castes: 1. Vedic restraints for Hindus are: 1. 5. Daya (Compassion) 8. Antyeshti. Satya (truthfullness) 3. Chudakarana. For those who have a science background or have some interest in science know the Law of Conservation of Energy very well. Pumsavana. It is like this: . Karnavedana. Gudhipadawa – Hindu New Year 4. 2. 11. 7. 4. Dhriti (Steadfastness) 7. word. 8. Diwali – The festival of lights 2. Sanyasa 16. 10. Asteya (Nonstealing) 4. Kshama (Forgiveness) 6. Nishkramana. Vanprastha 15. Samavartana 13. Mahashivratri – The day on which the universe was created. Jatakarman. 9. Upanayana. Arjaya (Honesty) 16 Samskaras in a Hindu’s life: Samskaras are the rituals which are at different stages of a human life.

Only one form of energy can be transformed into other. human body is perishable but the soul is immortal and is subjected to the continuous cycle of birth and rebirth. The institution of marriage was founded and put forth in practice by Hindus. the ultimate goal of a Hindu’s life is to attend salvation (also called as Moksha or Nirvana) i. lending money on interest is a bad Karma. Sanskrit is the oldest language known to mankind. genderless. 5. freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Manu. The concepts of decimal system. According to Vedas. which represents the God (Brahman). The sum of all the energies in the universe remains the same. . but now we will have a look at some interesting Hinduism facts. Rigveda is the oldest literature known to mankind. 10. Buddhism.” According to Hinduism. Jainism. Acupuncture and acupressure are vital parts of Hindu customs. 3. zero. The first law maker. 7. the thing which we call death is actually just a transformation of soul from one body to another as the energy changes from one form to the other. The soul changes bodies as a living person changes his/her clothes. and omniscient. 9. omnipotent. was a Hindu and Manu Smriti was the first book on law in the world. Interesting facts about Hinduism: So far. we have seen some common Hinduism facts. 1. So. and Sikhism.e. This cycle continues births after births and the soul is subjected to sufferings endlessly.“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. India is the home of four great religions: Hinduism. 8. and food are considered next to God. Hindus believe that Vedas are written by Gods. Do you know the fact that Vedas were preserved for more than 5000 years without the help of printing technology? This was done by reciting and memorizing all the hymns and through Teacher-Disciple tradition (Guru-Shishya Parampara). Om is the sound which was present at the time of creation of universe and it is the only symbol. pi and many others were used first by Hindus. So. 6. point. 11. 4. One can attend salvation when the soul of a person fully becomes one with the supreme spirit called “Brahman” (or God) who is eternal. teachers. 2. According to Vedas. Parents. 12.

16. which all austerities aim at. It is the holiest place for Hindus. There is no officially-declared Hindu country in the world as there are Islamic and Christian countries. This syllable Om is indeed Brahman. but it has now become a republic country. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. Kashi is situated along the banks of the river Ganges. Some Hindus believe that if you die in Kashi. 17. People call them as mother. Hindu community is the second most tortured community in the world after Jews. 18. you would attend salvation. they are highly revered in Hinduism. 15. Some people prefer to spend the last days of their lives in Kashi. omnipresent.com Guide "The goal which all the Vedas declare. Wasting food is considered as a very bad habit in Hinduism. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma. This symbol (as seen in the image on the right) is a sacred syllable representing Brahman. This is the best support. Nepal was the only Hindu country. so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable. this is the highest support. 19. in itself. Hindus do not wear footwear inside the temples or homes. the impersonal Absolute of Hinduism — omnipotent. is incomprehensible. Om: Symbol of the Absolute All About the Hindu Icon By Subhamoy Das. Om. 14. and the source of all manifest existence. It is located in Varanasi. Brahman. Because of the usefulness of rivers.13. Uttar Pradesh. represents both the unmanifest . About. and which men desire when they lead the life of continence … is Om. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the holiest temple for Hindus. therefore." ~ Katha Upanishad I Om or Aum is of paramount importance in Hinduism. Ganges is the highest revered river for Hindus.

It is believed to be the basic sound of the world and to contain all other sounds. race. The past. transcends the barriers of age. the supreme combination of letters. au and ma which. "Om is the one eternal syllable of which all that exists is but the development. On the other hand. the present. After birth. when combined together. at the beginning of examination papers and so on. it can resonate throughout the body so that the sound penetrates to the centre of one's being. the child is ritually cleansed and the sacred syllable Om is written on its tongue with honey. aa. Om is also a popular symbol used in contemporary body art and tattoos. the atman or soul. and the future are all included in this one sound. as an expression of spiritual perfection. Thus right at the time of birth the syllable Om is initiated into the life of a Hindu and ever remains with him as the symbol of piety. and all that exists beyond the three forms of time is also implied in it". like music.(nirguna) and manifest (saguna) aspects of God. to mean that it pervades life and runs through our prana or breath. Om in Daily Life Although Om symbolizes the most profound concepts of Hindu belief. wear the sign of Om as a pendant. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters. There is harmony. it is in use daily. culture and even species. peace and bliss in this simple but deeply philosophical sound. Many Hindus. By vibrating the sacred syllable Om. The Hindus begin their day or any work or a journey by uttering Om. make the sound Aum or Om. it projects the mind beyond the immediate to what is abstract and inexpressible. The Music of Om Om is not a word but rather an intonation. On one hand. he will certainly reach the highest state of "stateless" eternity. If repeated with the correct intonation. The sacred symbol is often found at the head of letters. states the Bhagavad Gita. The Eternal Syllable According to the Mandukya Upanishad. It is interesting to note that a newly born child is ushered into the world with this holy sign. That is why it is called pranava. it makes the . The Vision of Om Om provides a dualistic viewpoint. if one thinks of the Ultimate Personality of Godhead and quits his body. This symbol is enshrined in every Hindu temple premise or in some form or another on family shrines. It is a mantra or prayer in itself. which.

it ceases the sound. The Power of Om During meditation. And all Hindus are touched by this allpervasive symbolism all through the life in some way or the other. Such is the immeasurable power of Om. but discovering the deeper meaning of the such symbolism is sheer joy! .absolute more tangible and comprehensive. when we chant Om. It encompasses all potentialities and possibilities. On the surface. Basic Hindu symbolism is enunciated in the Dharmashastras. the single thought—Om—is quenched. is. there is no thought. You will type in Om! Major Hindu Symbols What Are The Most Important Symbols of Hinduism? By Subhamoy Das. many Hindu symbols may seem to be absurd or even dumb. About. at last. No religion is so replete with symbols as this ancient religion. How to Type it on your Computer Try this! To get the Om symbol on your computer screen. It is a moment when the petty worldly affairs are lost in the desire for the universal. open MS Word and key in backslash ( \ ) in Wingdings font. but much of it developed with the evolution of his unique 'way of life'. In the silence. It is omnipotent and likewise remains undefined. Mind moves between the opposites of sound and silence until. The momentary silence between each chant becomes palpable. it is everything that was.com Guide Hinduism employs the art of symbolism with amazing effect. or can yet be. we create within ourselves a vibration that attunes sympathy with the cosmic vibration and we start thinking universally. This is the state of trance. where the mind and the intellect are transcended as the individual self merges with the Infinite Self in the pious moment of realization.

Om is often found at the head of letters. thus representing the omnipresence of the Absolute. Thus Om is also used to signify divinity and authority.Om or Aum As the cross is to Christians. Swastika Second in importance only to the Om. For its protective power this shape began to be sanctified. the Om is to Hindus. when combined. for it points in all directions. in itself. it occurs in every prayer and invocation to most deities begins with it. a symbol which look like the Nazi emblem. the Swastika. The syllable Om occurs even in English words having a similar meaning. . enshrined in every Hindu temple and family shrines. Even the word 'Amen' used by Christians to conclude a prayer seems to be akin to Om. Historians say Swastika could have represented a real structure and that in ancient times forts were built for defense reasons in a shape closely resembling the Swastika. but a pictorial character in the shape of a cross with branches bent at right angles and facing in a clockwise direction. pendants. Brahman. aa. 'omniscience'. for instance. 'omnipresent'. make the sound Aum or Om. Swastika symbolizes the eternal nature of the Brahman. 'omnipotent'. Its similarity with the Latin 'M' as also to the Greek letter 'Omega' is discernable. The most important symbol in Hinduism. This symbol is actually a sacred syllable representing the Brahman or the Absolute the source of all existence. A must for all religious celebrations and festivals. It is made up of three Sanskrit letters. which when combined means 'May Good Prevail'. is incomprehensible so a symbol becomes mandatory to help us realize the Unknowable. holds a great religious significance for the Hindus. As the symbol of piety. Swastika is not a syllable or a letter. au and ma which. The term 'Swastika' is believed to be a fusion of the two Sanskrit words 'Su' (good) and 'Asati' (to exist).

the color of Agni or fire. it's saffron . Triangular and often forked saffron flags are seen fluttering atop most Sikh and Hindu temples.The Saffron Color If there is any color that can symbolize all aspects of Hinduism. the fire altar is regarded as a distinct symbol of ancient Vedic rites. The saffron color. hotaram ratna dhatamam. it was customary to carry fire along. The foremost hymn in the Rig Veda glorifies fire: "Agnimile purohitam yagnasya devam rtvijam. which reflects the Supreme Being. seems to have obtained religious significance much before these religious came into being. the Buddhists and the Jains. . As such. Fire worship had its origin in the Vedic age. While Sikhs regard it as a militant color. also auspicious to the Sikhs. The inconvenience to carry a burning substance over long distances may have given rise to the symbol of a saffron flag. Buddhist monks and Hindu saints wear robes of this color as a mark of renunciation of material life." When sages moved from one ashram to another.