Considered the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism comprises several traditions, ancient texts, beliefs, practices, rituals, and philosophies. Here are a few lesser-known Hinduism facts that you need to know.
What is Hinduism?
Hinduism is a way of life and the world’s 3rd largest religion after Christianity and Islam. With more than 1.25 billion global followers, it is an amalgamation of different philosophies and traditions without any specific origin or founder. According to CNN, the term Hinduism is derived from the Sanskrit term Hindu meaning “dwellers by the Indus river.”
The various sacred Sanskrit texts have helped in spreading the religion across the globe through ritual and arts. Hinduism has created a serious impact on Southeast Asian culture since the 4th century CE.
Interesting Hinduism facts you may not know
There are tons of mystifying and exciting facts about Hinduism that most people don’t know about. However, before we can delve into some of the most interesting facts about this religion, let us take a quick look at some statistics related to this fascinating religion:
- Around 15 to 16% of the world’s population are Hindus.
- Over 79.8% of the Indian population, which accounts for 966 million people, are Hindus.
- About 0.7% of the US population identify themselves as Hindus.
- Around 94% of the global Hindu population resides in India.
Now that we have some idea about the sheer volume of people who practice this religion vehemently, let us learn about some mesmerizing Hinduism facts that you need to know about:
1. There is no clear origin
Hinduism does not have a founder or even a founding event. The religion evolved from various religious and cultural changes in India. “Hinduism has no definite starting point,” writes Professor Gavin Flood for the BBC. He adds “The traditions which flow into Hinduism may go back several thousand years and some practitioners claim that the Hindu revelation is eternal.”
2. It is the oldest religion
Hinduism is believed to be the oldest religion in the world with its traditions dating back over 4,000 years. According to the BBC, the Vedic Period, when the Vedas were primarily being written, was circa 1500 – 500 BCE, whereas the Indus Valley Civilisation existed before 2000 BCE.
3. There is only ONE Divine spirit
Hinduism is mostly henotheistic. Although there are 33 Million Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon, the Hindus firmly believe that all divinities are avatars or forms of the single universal spirit known as Brahman. The Trimurti or the Hindu Trinity of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer) are the most crucial representations of Brahman. This is one of the most enlightening Hinduism facts you must know about.
4. The Vedas are the oldest religious texts
There is no single religious text or doctrine that is considered the ultimate in Hinduism as there are different beliefs, theologies, and sects. The Vedas are the oldest Hindu Sanskrit scriptures. There are 4 Vedas, namely:
The Rig Veda is believed to be the first among all the 4 Vedas. The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita are the two other important religious texts in Hinduism.
5. One of the Dharmic traditions
Hinduism, along with Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, comprises the “Dharmic” or “Indic” traditions. This is one of the least known Hinduism facts. In fact, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism have all originated from the primary religion of Hinduism. In fact, Gautama Buddha is the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. All 4 religions share similar perspectives, philosophies and spiritual and religious understandings like karma, dharma, moksha and samsara.