Because of its great age, the early history of Hinduism is
unclear. Apart from animism Hindu is one of the world's oldest
religions. It is difficult to provide adequate history of
Hinduism because it has no specific founder or theology.
India is said to be the birthplace of Hinduism. Hindu is
the predominant religion in India and approximately 82% of
the population in India currently practices Hindu. In addition
Hindu has spread to many countries in South East Asia including
Bali, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Hinduism can also be found in the West Indies, Caribbean,
Fiji, South Africa and Mauritius. There are currently more
than 950 million Hindus in the world.
Until the 19th century the term Hindu represented both culture
and ethnicity, not just a religion. In many ways Hinduism
is a philosophy and a way of life than a religion. Even today
many feel that the term Hindu represents more than just a
religious faction. Hindu identifies a diverse group of philosophies
and traditions. Thus Hinduism is more of a way of life, rather
than a religion.
They passed down the teachings of Hinduism through oral stories
at first. The orally-preserved tradition and communication
makes the records of Hinduism close to the nature of the people
of India, and their history.
The main divine principle of Hinduism is that God is one,
but his avatars or incarnations are many. Hinduism is not
a religion of force. Some moral ideals in Hinduism include
nonviolence, truthfulness, friendship, compassion, fortitude,
self-control, purity and generosity. These form the basis
of the modern history of Hinduism. Each act of Hindu worship
reflects some deep spiritual significance.
Since the early days of Hinduism, it has branched and now
encompasses a wide variety of religious beliefs and religious
organizations. Although a number of factions exist within
the Hindu religion. Hindus are known for their religious tolerance
and friction is not evident between the various groups. Thus,
Hindu thought distinguishes itself by strongly encouraging
tolerance for different beliefs since temporal systems cannot
claim sole understanding of the one transcendental Truth.
Many Hindus do not eat beef, while many others abstain from
eating meat on holy days. A vegetarian diet is encouraged
by many Hindus because they believe that all animals have
a soul and should not be killed. In fact perhaps the most
famous Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi, was a proponent for following
a strict a vegan/vegetarian diets. This belief follows absolute
nonviolence to all forms of life and stems from the fact that
Hindus believe that killing leads to bad karma, and that killing
disrupts the individuals close connection to the supreme being.
Fasting is also very common amongst Hindus. Hindus will often
fast on certain week days to appease various deities. Certain
holy days are also celebrated with fasting. Many Hindus feel
that fasting is a form of penance that brings them closer
to the Supreme Being.
Baths are an important ritual in the Hindu religion. Baths
have been found that may indicate ritual bathing, a component
of modern Hinduism. The modern Hindu custom of bathing at
the beginning of the day and before the main meals may well
have started here.
3 primary factions - Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism
1. Hindu deity that is nearest in spirit to the Buddha avatar
is Jagannath, the god of love and mercy.
2. Hindus do not form congregations and mostly worship at
3. Yoga has remained a key part of Hinduism and all its derivatives
to this day.