6. Worshiping male, female & animal forms of the Divine
According to Hinduism, Brahman can take different forms, hence they worship the universal Divinity in male and female and animal forms. The female form of the Divine is identified as Devi, an avatar of Shakti, the creative force. Some prominent forms and Gods resemble certain animals like Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman. Every single form contains a spiritual symbolic meaning.
7. The cycle of birth & rebirth
According to History.com, “Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) and karma (the universal law of cause and effect).” Karma or good or bad deeds in past lives is believed to determine our present life conditions. As the soul or atman is eternal, it reincarnates after death. We can improve our conditions through our deeds and behavior. The cycle of rebirth stops when the soul achieves moksha and unites with the divine soul.
The margas or yogas are believed to be the path to salvation. The Vedanta explains there are 4 margas or yogas, namely-
- Karma Yoga – The path of selfless service
- Jnana Yoga – The path of wisdom, knowledge & intellectual understanding
- Bhakti Yoga – The path of devotion to God
- Raja or Dhyana Yoga – The path of self-discipline through meditation
8. Acknowledging various aspects of Brahman
Hinduism venerates various aspects of the Divine. Brahman has different manifestations for specific qualities. Hence, Hindus worship different Gods and Goddesses for each particular quality. Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, is worshipped for his great wisdom; Goddess Lakshmi represents prosperity; and Goddess Saraswati represents learning and arts.
9. Worshiping idols to understand the Divine
Idolatry or the worship of an idol is a crucial aspect of Hinduism. However as God is formless, Hindus worship an idol or a statue as it allows the mind to comprehend the infinite. As our mind needs an object to focus on, idolatry acts as a physical representation of God. It is not that Hinduism suggests worshipping idols as Gods themselves, but as a representation that allows Hindus to focus their prayers on. It is a way to visualize & meditate on Brahman.
10. The concept of time, Yuga & Kalpa
According to Hinduism, time is divided into 4 Yugas. Maha Yuga or Chatur Yuga is an epoch where eternal cyclic time repeats certain events. Every cycle consists of 4 dharmic ages or yugas, namely:
- Satya Yuga
- Treta Yuga
- Dvapara Yuga
- Kali Yuga
After the end of Kali Yuga, or the apocalyptic era, a new cycle of time will begin. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, these four yugas form the maha yuga and 2,000 mahayugas create the basic cosmic cycle, known as the Kalpa. One Kalpa is 4.32 billion years, which is equal to a “day of Brahma.” The concept of Yuga is one of the most fascinating Hinduism facts one must know.
However, that’s not all. There are many more facts about Hinduism that most of us don’t have much knowledge about. Here are some other quick Hinduism facts you should learn:
– Hinduism is also known as Sanātana Dharma, which translates to “the eternal way” and Vaidika Dharma which means the religion of the Vedas.
– Hinduism believes in the existence of the soul of atman. All living beings have a soul and are connected to the Supreme Being.
– Hindus worship and respect all creatures and the cow is considered as a sacred animal.
– Hinduism gives special attention to food. It is believed having a Sattvic Diet or pure vegetarian food cleanses the soul.
– Accomplishing Dharma is crucial to Hindus. It is a way of life which focuses on good conduct and morality.
– Hinduism consists of four different sects namely Shaivism (worshippers of Shiva), Vaishnava (worshippers of Vishnu), Shaktism (worshippers of Devi) and Smarta (worshippers of Brahman).
– Hinduism has several sacred festivals and holidays like Diwali, Navaratri, Holi, Krishna Janmashtami, Maha Shivaratri etc.
– Hinduism is considered to be Polytheist, Monotheist, Atheist and Henotheistic at the same time. Hinduism is the only religion to include atheism in its belief system.
– 108 is the holiest number in Hinduism. It is the ratio of Sun’s distance from earth/Sun’s diameter and Moon’s distance from earth/Moon’s diameter.