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Dharmic Religions   >   Hinduism   >   Beliefs

   
 

Hinduism Beliefs



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Here is some information about what Hindus believe:
  1. Hinduism is the largest (by population) religion of India and the Indian subcontinent.

  2. By most measures, Hinduism has the third largest number of followers of any religion, after Christianity and Islam.

  3. Hinduism traces its roots to the Vedic traditions of Iron Age India, so is arguably the world's oldest living religion.

  4. Unlike most Western religions, Hinduism encompasses a very diverse set of traditions and beliefs.

    • Hinduism does not have a single founder.

    • Hinduism does not have a single system of belief. Different schools of Hinduism have different beliefs - including monotheism (the belief in a single God), polytheism (belief in multiple Gods), atheism (belief that there is no God), panentheism (that the divine interpenetrates all aspects of the universe), pantheism (the belief that everything is divine), and monism (all things are part of the same underlying reality).

    • Hinduism does not have a single shared philosophical concept. Different schools of Hinduism again have different beliefs.

    • Hinduism does not have common religious rites. Different schools of Hinduism follow different religious practises.

  5. There are many Gods (devas) and Goddesses (devis) in Hinduism. Different Hindus regard the Hindu Gods and Goddesses in different ways. For example, some schools of Hinduism regard them as aspects (avatars) of a single underlying Supreme Being, whereas others regard them as separate independent entities.

  6. Hinduism is based on upon a set of scriptures, many of which are written in Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language). The scriptures generally allow for a spectrum of beliefs (the oldest, Rig Veda, does not take a restrictive view on nature of God, but encourages the individual to seek answers).

  7. Hindu texts are subdivided:

    • Shruti ("that which is heard" - containing revealed religious truths) - The Vedas, religious truths revealed to ancient sages.

    • Smritis ("remembered") - including epics such as Mahabharata (which includes the Bhagavad Gita) and Ramayana.

    • Purana - scriptures from ancient times,such as historical narratives, descriptions of Hindu cosmology and philosophy, and genealogies of heroes and demigods, etc.

    • Sistachara - scriptures containing "that which was followed by the good [in recent times]".

    • Atmatusti - scriptures which one has to decide for oneself whether valid.

    Generally speaking, that the earlier scriptures in the list (beginning with Shruti) take precedence over latter scriptures, especially in the case of contradiction between scriptures.

  8. Hindu religious beliefs from most schools generally encompass the following concepts:

    • Dharma - Ethics and duties.

    • Samsara - The cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

    • Karma - The idea of action and reaction to one's actions.

    • Moksha - The liberation from samsara, the cycle of birth and rebirth.

    • Yoga - Physical, mental and spirital practices aimed at achieving inner peace.
Our site also contains information about some of the best-known Hindu Gods and Goddesses, or, for further information about what Hindu beliefs, please review our recommended further reading on Hinduism.

Brahma



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