Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life. It is the world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion followers, or 15-16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as San?tana Dharma (Sanskrit: ?, lit. ''the Eternal way''), which refers to the idea that its origins lie beyond human history, as revealed in the Hindu texts. Another, though less fitting, self-designation is Vaidika dharma, the 'dharma related to the Vedas.'
Hinduism is a diverse system of thought marked by a range of philosophies and shared concepts, rituals, cosmological systems, pilgrimage sites and shared textual sources that discuss theology, metaphysics, mythology, Vedic yajna, yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Pururthas, the proper goals or aims of human life; namely, dharma (ethics/duties), artha (prosperity/work), kama (desires/passions) and moksha (liberation/freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth/salvation), as well as karma (action, intent and consequences) and sa?s?ra (cycle of death and rebirth). Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (Ahi?s?), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, virtue, and compassion, among others. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation (dhy?na), family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Along with the practice of various yogas, some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions and engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monasticism) in order to achieve Moksha. (Full article...)
) are Hindu scriptures
language. They contain the central religious concepts of Hinduism
, some of which are shared with Buddhism
. The Upanishads are considered by the Hindus as Sruti
, or that "which is heard". The early Upanishads discuss the nature of ultimate reality (brahman
(Soul, Self), Self-knowledge, and the means for human salvation (Moksha
), freedom and a content, happy life in Hinduism.
The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions. Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are at the spiritual core of Hindus.
More than 200 Upanishads are known, of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found in the Vedas. The oldest, such as the Brhadaranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads, have been dated to the early half of the first millennium BCE. The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, some in all likelihood pre-Buddhist (6th century BCE), down to the Maurya period of ancient Indian history. Of the remainder, some 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the start of common era through medieval Hinduism. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to being composed through the early modern and modern era, some dealing with subjects which have little to no connection to the Vedas.
The festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. It is referred as Dipavali in the South India.
A wedding is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life. A typical Hindu wedding is solemnized before Vedic fire ritual (shown).
Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and the United States, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion.
A goshala or cow shelter at Guntur
A Ganesha-centric Panchayatana ("five deities", from the Smarta tradition): Ganesha (centre) with Shiva (top left), Parvati (top right), Vishnu (bottom left) and Surya (bottom right). All these deities also have separate sects dedicated to them.
Om, a stylized letter of Devanagari script, used as a religious symbol in Hinduism
A statue of Shiva in yogic meditation
The statue of Nataraja, depicting the cycle of creation and destruction through the cosmic dance.
Hinduism - Percentage by country
Priests performing Kalyanam (marriage) of the holy deities at Bhadrachalam Temple, in Telangana. It is one of the temples in India, where Kalyanam is done everyday throughout the year.
Vy?sa (Devan?gar??) is a central and much revered figure in the majority of Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Krishna Dwaipayana, (the island-born) or Veda Vyasa '( , veda vy?sa), meaning - 'the one who classified the Vedas'. He is accredited as the scribe of both the Vedas, and the supplementary texts such as the Puranas. A number of Vaishnava traditions regard him as an avatar of Vishnu. Vyasa is also considered to be one of the seven Chiranjeevin (immortals), who are still in existence according to general Hindu belief. Vyasa appears for the first time as the author of and an important character in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. It is traditionally held by Hindus that Vyasa categorised the primordial single Veda into four. Hence he was called Veda Vyasa, or "Splitter of the Vedas," the splitting being a feat that allowed the populace of the Kali yuga to understand the divine knowledge of the Veda.
In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita
in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.
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