As promised today we continue on our quest for a better understanding of the 5 different religions of the world and in this edition we will seek to understand more about the 3rd largest religion in the world – Hinduism.
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism is often referred to as Sanātana Dharma (a Sanskrit phrase meaning “the eternal law“) by its adherents. Generic “types” of Hinduism that attempt to accommodate a variety of complex views span folk and Vedic Hinduism to bhakti tradition, as in Vaishnavism. Hinduism also includes yogic traditions and a wide spectrum of “daily morality” based on the notion of karma and societal norms such as Hindu marriage customs.
Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India, and as such Hinduism is often called the “oldest living religion” or the “oldest living major tradition”.
Demographically, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam, with more than a billion adherents, of whom approximately 1 billion, live in the Republic of India. Other significant populations are found in Nepal (23 million), Bangladesh (14 million) and the Indonesian island of Bali (3.3 million).
A large body of texts is classified as Hindu, divided into Śruti (“revealed”) and Smriti (“remembered”) texts. These texts discuss theology, philosophy and mythology, and provide information on the practice of dharma (religious living). Among these texts, the Vedas are the foremost in authority, importance and antiquity. Other major scriptures include the Upanishads, Purāṇas and the epics Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa. The Bhagavad Gītā, a treatise from the Mahābhārata, spoken by Krishna, is of special importance.
(Excerpt from Wikipedia)
In doing research for this blog post I realized that even though I am Christian I can incorporate some of the notions of Hinduism such as, Karma – which states that the quality of somebody’s current and future lives as determined by that person’s behaviour in this and in previous lives – into my daily life without feeling like I’m betraying my own faith and it is my greatest hope that reading this post has inspired you to do the same – not just with Hinduism, but with all religions.