Hinduism is the third, largest religion in the world and considered the oldest. It has roughly 837 million believers totaling to be about 13% of the globes population. It is the leading organized religion in Nepal, India in Sri Lanka. The United States alone has about 1 million followers. The characteristics of the Hinduism long history, way of life, symbolic meaning and the popular yoga practice makes this religion very unique.
Hinduism history is built on a theological system of morality. It consists of “thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE” (B.A. Robinson, par.1). The majority of Hinduism is henotheistic- worship of one God while acknowledging the existence of other Gods. Hinduism concepts teach a cycle of life. From birth to rebirth can happen 84 million times because there are 84 million species. All living beings are created by God and has a soul known as Hindus. It identifies one deity and acknowledges the remaining Gods and Goddesses as part of the supreme God. Henotheistic religions are known to be very tolerant and diverse. B. G. Tilak (1995, July 2) at the Supreme Court in India quoted, the true definition of Hinduism:
“Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realization of the truth that the number of gods to be worshipped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of the Hindu religion.”
Hinduism is not regulated by a central institution. It welcomes other religions as one of the many paths to redemption and is not in favor of organized effort to convert someone to a religious faith. Throughout its history, scholars, kings and emperors, seers and sages have contributed to modifying and molding aspects to suit the social and intellectual requirements or the times.
Many Hindus believe Hinduism is not a religion but more so a way of life. Religion is imbedded in the life of Hinduism. According to the Hinduism principles life and religion go hand and hand. Religion is everywhere dominating, regulating life with divine existence making for a purposeful and meaningful life. Each Hindu person is free to follow a path they would like but underneath the mind the religion remains and influences the actions and decisions made. V. Jayaram (2009, May 26) proposed that religion is:
“According to Hinduism, religion is not separate from living. It is living itself. God does not exist in temples and sacred places only. Going to the temples is a good practice, but that is not the only way to worship God. God does not exist in temples alone, in some particular alter or sacred place.” The Hinduism lifestyle urges individuals to accept everyday as self-realization. As stated by (V. Jayaram, 2009) every activity that we perform while living and every aspect of life that we know and deal with becomes means to realize God. Life is a time to discover your hidden self.
Hinduism has three symbolic essentials: roots, for meditation on Vedas; ethics, focusing on karma and ignorance of self. The most well-known Hindu concepts are Advaita, Samkhya, Vedanta and Yoga. The most sacred scriptures of Hinduism is the Vedas. According to the Hinduwebsite (V. Jayaram, 2009), some people say that all human knowledge is available in the Vedas in symbolic form and that the knowledge of all our discoveries and inventions is already contained in the Vedas. The Vedas are religious texts full of spiritual knowledge and often thought of as the basis of Sanatana Dharma. They are a celebrated set of ancient hymns that was not written until the first millennium B-C-E. The text contains four parts established over time: Samhitas, which are hymns of worship; Brahmanas, instructions on how to carry out ritual sacrifices to the Gods; Aranyakas, literature by inhabitants meditating in the woodlands; and Upanishads, based on teachings from superior spiritual leaders. The...