Hinduism is the most central religion in India and Nepal as 80% of Indians claim to be Hindu, it is also prevalent in various other nations around the world. Hinduism is the worlds third largest religion with over 900 million people pledging allegiance to it, however, there is no common founder to the Hinduism faith nor piece of scripture, it also has no set of teachings. Therefore, it is tough to track it back into history and, thus, piece together a complete picture of it.
In a historical sense, as well as in a practical sense Hinduism is in various ways related to other religions found in India such as Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.
Furthermore, Hinduism gets its name from the Sindhu River, a vast river complex that flows through Pakistan (93%), India (5%) and China (2%) near to the Indus Valley. It branches off through western Tibet and northern India. The Sindhu River itself has a rich history of ownership spanning form Muslims, to invaders, Greeks (4th century BCE), Persians (sixth century BCE) and Aryans (second millennium BCE).
Hinduism is said to be the world’s oldest religion as various components of it tend to stretch back many thousand of years. Furthermore, it is near impossible to completely define the faith as it holds a variety of teachings, beliefs and practices.
As Hinduism progressed through its considerably lengthy history a variety of teachers and philosophers had written numerous holy books.
These teachers, however, focused on various subjects and not just a solitary one, this differs to other faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Christianity focuses solely on Jesus as the saviour of humankind from their sin and preaches mercy, love and forgiveness. On the other hand Islam preaches total submission of its followers to the all-powerful and all knowing god, Allah.
This is the reason many analytics and writers refer to Hinduism as a “way of life” rather than simply defining it as a religion.
It is largely claimed that people are born a Hindu even though there are various Hindus in the world that are not of Indian decent.
Majority of Hindus will say that they believe in a Supreme God of whom is represented by multiple deities that emanate from him, as a result it is also said that outsiders criticize Hindus of being polytheistic, although some of them claim to be monotheistic.
Many Hindus consider the teachings of the Vedic tests, whilst others tend to identify with the “Sanatana Dharma” which is the eternal order of conduct that surpasses any body of sacred literature.
It is also is unlikely that we are able to define the Hindu belief in concepts such as reincarnation (karma and samsara) because other prevalent Indian religions, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, also tend to believe and accept such teachings.
With the notion of death, it is centrally believed that there is cycle of birth, death and rebirth of which is dictated and governed by karma.
As a result Hindus believe that ones soul passes through a cycle of lives and the next life (incarnation) is dependent on how one has lived their previous life.
As previously mentioned there is no simple manner in which we can define the Hindu faith, however facts still speak for themselves if we are to further research and appreciate Hinduism as it is.
It is clearly observable that the Hindu faith is centrally rooted in India, its is also evident that most of the Hindu population hold the Veda in high regard, they believe the Veda is a sacred body of text and scripture, thus, they hold it close to their hearts as a Christian would the holy Bible to theirs and the Quran to a Muslims heart.