Hinduism is the world’s oldest community, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the 3rd largest religion behind Christianity & Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world’s Hindus live in India. Hinduism is unique in that it’s not a single religion but a compilation of many traditions and philosophies.
Most scholars believe Hinduism formally started somewhere between 2300 B.C. and 1500 B.C. in the Indus Valley, near modern-day Pakistan.
• Hinduism embraces many religious ideas. For this reason, it’s sometimes referred to as a “way of life” or a “family of religions,” as opposed to a single, organized religion. • Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) and karma (the universal law of cause and effect). • One of the key thoughts of Hinduism is “atman,” or the belief in a soul. This philosophy holds that living creatures have a soul, and they’re all part of the supreme soul. The goal is to achieve “moksha,” or salvation, which ends the cycle of rebirths to become part of the absolute soul. • One fundamental principle of religion is the idea that people’s actions and thoughts directly determine their current life and future lives. • Hindus strive to achieve dharma, which is a code of living that emphasizes good conduct and morality. • The Om and Swastika are symbols of Hinduism. The Swastika, which represents good luck, and opposite of Swastika is associated with evil and Germany’s Nazi Party made opposite swastika their symbol in 1920. • Hindu loves, respects, and worship all living creatures and consider the cow a sacred animal. • Food is an important part of life for Hindus. Most don’t eat beef or pork, and many are vegetarians. • Hinduism is closely related to other Indian religions, including Buddhism, Sikhism, & Jainism.