Hinduism is the oldest known religion in the world. In fact, it goes back as far as 5,000-10,000 B.C.
There is no known founder or governing body of Hinduism.
“Hinduism” is not the real word for the religion. That was made up by Greeks and Arabs to those living by the Sindhu river. The real name for Hinduism is Sanātana Dharma. This means “eternal dharma”, or eternal truth.
Hindus believe the purpose of life is to attain self-realization, or enlightenment.
Hinduism is the 3rd largest religion in the world, with over a billion followers.
Hindus believe there is only one unmanifested, eternal reality that can be found through enlightenment. This one reality has taken on the form of everything we see today- including gods and goddesses. So even though they worship many gods, in reality it’s a monotheistic religion.
Dharma (righteousness), Artha (means of money), Kama (right desire), and Moksha (salvation), make up the 4 main life-goals of Hinduism.
SEE ALSO: Puruṣārtha: The 4 Life Goals Of Hinduism
The major books of Hinduism are: the Vedas, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, 18 Puranas, and Mahabharata.
The most common language for Hindu scriptures is Sanskrit- the oldest language in the world.
Hinduism strongly encourages a vegetarian diet- something that many Hindus follow. However, many practitioners in India simply omit beef and pork from their diet, and follow vegetarian guidelines on auspicious days.
Hindus believe in reincarnation- the soul is immortal, but takes on the form of many bodies until they achieve enlightenment.
The Rig Veda is the oldest known book in the world.
The Vedas were preserved for over 5,000 years without the use of printing. This was done by memorization!
The ideas of decimals and many other complex math equations were created by Hindus.
Om is considered to be the subtle sound of the universe, and can be heard in deep meditation.
The supreme divine spirit is considered to be both male and female.
Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, Vastu, Jyotish, Tantra, Astrology are huge contributions to the world, and have become extremely popular in the west…often influencing many different aspects of culture- fashion, diet, lifestyle, and spirituality.
The Kumbhamela, a spiritual gathering of all types every 3 years, is the largest gathering of human beings in the world.
There are three major sects in Hinduism: Shaiva, Shakti, and Vaishnava. But these are not strict; a follower can practice multiple paths because they’re so similar.
Hinduism accepts the idea that anyone in any religion can attain salvation/enlightenment through perseverance, devotion, and personal experience in deep prayer or meditation. Instead of closing off to many religions, they have opened themselves up to it.