What is Hinduism?

My colleagues and acquaintances often ask me what exactly is Hinduism and, honestly, I’m tired of explaining it over and over again. So I’ve decided to write a short post on it in my blog www.ohmohmohm.org ! Please, never ever again ask me this question, instead – find a couple of minutes and read this post!

To begin with, Hinduism is among the oldest religions on Earth, the holy scripts date back to 1400 to 1500 years before Christ. It’s also one of the most complex religions as it has millions of gods in it. Hinduism does not have a single faith, instead, there’s hundreds of them, including different sects. Although it’s the third largest religion in the world, it mainly exists only in Nepal and India.

The main stories of Hinduism are the Vedas, Upanishad), Mhabharata and Ramayana. These stories contain hymns, philosophy, various magic spells and rituals, as well as poems and legends to which Hindi base their faith. There are also other stories used in Hinduism, such as, Brahmas, Sutras and Aranyakas.

Hinduism recognizes about 330 million gods, the most significant being Brahma. Brahma faith essence lays in the enhancement of every part of reality and existence throughout the great universe. Brahma is something unknown, unfamiliar and impersonal; it exists in three different forms: Brahma the Creator, Vishu the Guardian and Shiva the Destroyer.

It really hard to briefly summarize the Hindu theology as there are dozens of Hindu schools each of them containing different elements of the theological system. Hinduism can be:

  • monistic – only one thing exists, the school of Sankara
  • pantheistic – there is only one divine being; so God is the universe; Brahmanism
  • panentheistic – the world is part of God; Ramanujam School
  • theistic – only one God, distinct from the Creation; Bhakti Hinduism

Vedas are much more than just theological books. They contain a rich, colorful teo-mythology. It’s a religious kind of mythology that deliberately and intentionally twist myths, theology and history with the intention to find the roots of religion. It is so deeply rooted in Indian culture and history that the rejection of Vedas is seen as an act of treason towards India and its people. Therefore, Hinduism rejects any other belief system if it does not include Indian culture to all its extent. If the religion adapts Indian culture then it can be accepted as Hindu religion, even if in terms of theology it is theistic, nihilistic, or atheistic.

Hinduism considers the humanity as a deity. Since Brahma is essentially everything, Hinduism asserts that every single being or object is a deity. Atman (individual soul as a divine manifestation of the spirit in man) is together with Brahma or not. Everything outside of Brahma is considered to be an illusion. The spiritual goal of every Hindu follower is to become such as Brahma, meaning to stop existing in our own illusory, individual form. This freedom is named after the word Moshka. Hindi believe that as long as Moksha is not reached, the person has to work with himself to reach the ultimate truth. Rebirth of the human soul depends on karma and the principle of natural balance prevaletion. Everything done in the past affects the future, it represents what will happen in the future.