What is Hinduism?

Hinduism is the religion of the majority people in India and Nepal. This is the 3rd largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Unlike most other major religions, the Hindu religion has no single founder, no single scripture and no commonly agreed set of teachings. This is not a single religion, but a variety of different religious groups which come out of India.

The word “Hindu” comes from the name of the river Indus, which flows from Tibet throught Kashmir and Pakistan to the sea.

 Om is the main symbol of Hinduism. This is the sound heard in deepest meditation and is said to be the most suited name for God.

guesthouse[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] Swastika is a symbol of good fortune and represents an eternal nature of god, the omnipresence of Absolute.[/inlinetweet]

For many Hindus, religion is a matter of practice rather than of beliefs. It’s more what you do, than what you believe. Hindus believe in reincarnation, the cycle of repeated births and deaths, a belief that the soul is eternal and lives many lifetimes, in one body after another. The soul is sometimes born in a human body, sometimes in an animal body, sometimes in a plant body, etc…[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]This is believed that all forms of life contain a soul and all souls have the chance to experience life in different forms.[/inlinetweet]

This cycle of births and deaths is believed to be run by Karma. The reincarnation of soul is always dependent on how the previous life was lived. Karma is the cause of one particular destiny. Misfortunes or welfare in a present life is the result of acts that ones have committed in the past.

Most Hindus worship (puja) every day at home and have a shrine there. A shrine can be anything from a room, a small altar or simply pictures or statues. At the shrine, Hindus make offerings to a murti which is a sacred statue of god or goddess. A Hindu temple is called Mandir and each temple is dedicated to a different god.

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Hinduism is a polytheist religion. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]However contrary to what one might imagine, Hindus believe in one God, called Brahman[/inlinetweet]. The gods of Hindus faith represent different forms of Brahman. The 3 most important gods are Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Shiva (the Destroyer). Among the others gods, you have 4 another ones well known such as : Saraswathi (goddess of wisdom, wife of Brahman), Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, wife of Vishnu), Parvati (goddess of household and motherhood, wife of Shiva) and Ganesha (son of Shiva and Parvati, god in a human body but with the head of an elephant, god of good luck).

The most ancient sacred texts of Hinduism are written in Sanskrit and called the Vedas. The Vedas (means “knowledge”) are several scriptures guiding Hindus in their daily life. Actually they were not written down, but transmitted in oral way. The Vedas are still known to be Shruti or “that which is heard”.


At the origins, the caste system was a division of society to preserve society. It divided people by occupation: teachers and philosophers were brahmins; fighters were kshatriya; shopkeepers and tradesmen were vaishya; and servants and cleaners were shurda. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]No caste were higher to another.[/inlinetweet] All were equal and regarded as essential to the society.