Hinduism –The Basics •Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion.•It is the main religion of India and Nepal and has over 900 million adherents worldwide. •Hinduism is considered by many to be the oldest religion in the world, dating back many thousands of years. •Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings.
The Basics continued •Hinduism originated around the Indus Valley near the River Indus in modern day Pakistan. •About 80% of the Indian population regard themselves as Hindu. •Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him. •Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by Karma. •Hindus believe the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived.
The Basics continued •The main Hindu texts are the Vedasand their supplements. Veda is a Sanskrit word meaning 'knowledge'. These scriptures do not mention the word 'Hindu' but many discuss dharma, which can be rendered as 'code of conduct', 'law', or 'duty' •Hindus celebrate many holy days, but the Festival of Lights, Diwaliis the best known.
Hindu Terms •Atman- means 'eternal self'. It refers to the real self beyond ego or false self. It is often referred to as 'spirit' or 'soul' and indicates our true self or essence which underlies our existence. •It entails the idea of the self as a spiritual rather than material being. Thus it can be said that in this world, a spiritual being, the atman, has a human experience rather than a human being having a spiritual experience. •Dharma- an important term in Indian religions. In Hinduism it means 'duty', 'virtue', 'morality', even 'religion' and it refers to the power which upholds the universe and society.