Hinduism religion is perceived to be dominant and is embraced by Indians as their way of life. It consists of diverse customs that incorporates the Shaktism, Shaivism Vaishnavism, and norms that relate to karma dharma. This religion is categorized under philosophical perspective with beliefs that relate to the native India. Hinduism is perceived to be the oldest religion in the universe, whereby its followers relate to it as an eternal law that is beyond origin of people. It advocates for virtues, such as mercy, self-restraint, honesty and purity to individuals who practice it.
This religion is believed to have originated from India but its specific date is known to be timeless (Fowler 44). According to followers, Hinduism is a way of life that has always been in existence. Sanatana Dharma is a name give to their sacred texts that reveal eternal teachings. It is perceived to be complex with various interrelated doctrines with common norms but lack unified practices and beliefs. It is impossible to determine its origin because the religion evolved when culture and time already initiated ideas of early India.
The historical circumstances that have influenced Hinduism are unique contrasted to those of other religions. First, the religion has no specific date or founder and only Indians practice it. Hinduism has developed gradually for a period of four thousand years. Authors and origin of Hinduism sacred texts remain anonymous while current form of worship is different from the earlier one. History of this denomination dates back from 2000 BC, which portrays it as the oldest religion that is still surviving. Due to its age, the history circumstances that revolve around Hinduism remain unclear. As a result, scholars are forced to depend on studies that relates to their contemporary texts and archaeology. Historically, political controversy is the key factor that influences Hinduism when there was rise and fall of various empires.
Hinduism has also been influenced culturally via the contentious Aryans. This reflects culture of Indus valley that started to decline back in 1800 BC. The reason of its decline was contributed by drought and floods. Another aspect that influenced Hinduism more is when Indo-Europeans attacked Iran and India during the same period. It is noted that Aryan culture has contributed to development of Indus valley civilization. The Indus Valley and Aryan are two common cultures that are known to influence Hinduism. This impacted to a situation whereby there was a complex combination of aspects that incorporated these two religious customs (Hopkins 68). The influence by Aryans led to a foreign religion from Europe that superseded indigenous Indus, which was in existence.
Environmental factors have influenced Hinduism and are evident when followers protect the ecosystem. According to those who practice the religion, this idea was inherited from their ancestors. During the society’s formative period, Hindus viewed the presence of God within them via nature. As a result, the environment had a positive influence on this religion because they believed that forces of nature guided them in their lives. Furthermore, Hindus considered the environment to represent their creator who was popularly known to be Brahman. Through the surroundings, Hindus felt existence of their creator, which motivated them to stay in harmony with His creation.
Components of Hinduism
The central concepts of Hinduism include God, matter and soul. Individuals who follow this way of life know God as their Supreme Being who is transcendent, creator, immanent as revealed in reality. They have a faith that the soul rejuvenates and evolves via numerous births ensuring that all Karmas are resolved. The soul also liberates moksha from rebirth cycle and they believe that all souls have a destiny. According to Hindus, matter represents the unseen universe, which enables them to create a personal relationship with their creator. They believe in Vedas and its divinity that incorporate ancient scripture representing eternal religion.
Where Hinduism is Practiced
Hinduism is practiced in various sections of the universe and its main sub-continent is India. Other regions within Indian sub-continent that practice it include Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Different parts of the world outside India that embrace the religion are Kenya, Malaysia, United States, Canada and South Africa. Hinduism is spreading fast to most parts of the globe due to immigration and people’s interest to seek spirituality. Approximately a population of 900 million people across the world practices Hinduism (Johnsen, 90).
Sacred Texts Linked to Hinduism
Hinduism does not have a key individual who is linked to religion and this explains why it lacks a fundamental authority or historical founder. This implies that there is no biographical information when there are no specific people who are connected with the denomination. The key sacred texts that relate to practice of Hinduism include the Vedas. It falls under four categories namely Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda (Sivaya 125). These are primary Hinduism books, which had a vast impact on other denominations such as Buddhism. There is also the Upanishads that were drafted in 400 BC reflecting continuation of Vedic beliefs. The book depicts ways in which souls are united with truth via mediation.
Rituals and Myths
There are rituals that are associated with Hinduism religion and they fall under four stages. First is Brahmacharga that occurs during school period. They enable individuals to focus on developing character and gaining knowledge. The second ritual is Grastha and it centers on worldly pursuits such as career and family. Vanaprastha is the third rite that motivates kids to concentrate on spiritual aspects when they become adults. Sanngasu reflects last years of living when an individual leaves the universe and focuses on contemplation. The significant myths of the religion show that Hindu gods are 330 million in number. The reality to this myth is that the religion has only one supreme God known to be anonymous to many people. There is also a myth that Hindus are idol worshippers but the truth is that Hindus adore a reminder of the creator. Another widespread myth is that Hindus worship cows but the reality indicates that they perceive life to be sacred and respects God’s creation. It is a myth when other people think that Hindus eat vegetable only when majority also feed on meat (Fowler 148).
Hinduism is observed to incorporate different practices in their worship. For instance, there is Ayurveda that depict the old system of healing which is popular and has extended to the west. Hatha Yoga is another practice that is outside the culture of this religion and is perceived to be a meditative movement. It leads to a final goal of Raja Yoga and aid in contemplating reality that is connected to this religion. Kundalini Yoga is a practice that incorporates the psychic energy found at the foundation of a spine. It also exhibits progress of seven chakras revealing how they are found at the spine top.
Fowler, Jeaneane. Hinduism Beliefs and Practices. New York: Citadel Press, 2007. Print.
Hopkins, Thomas. Hindu Religious Traditions. London: University Press, 2009. Print.
Johnsen, Linda. Complete Guide to Hinduism. Sage Publications, 2012, Print.
Sivaya, Satguru. Contemporay Hinduism. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.