Hinduism is the religion professed and practiced by most people living in India and Nepal. It also occurs among significant populations outside the subcontinent and has more than 900 million followers worldwide. Hinduism can be said to be the world's oldest living religion, or at least the elements within it go back many thousands of years. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single script, no common set of teachings. Throughout its long history, a large number of key figures have emerged who teach different philosophies and write numerous sacred books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as a way of life or as a religious family rather than as a single religion.
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world and one of the most complex because they have different gods, beliefs and sects. It is one of the largest and is mainly located in India and Nepal, although it has spread to countries around the world.
The word Hinduism comes from the Hindu Persian language, which was the way the Persians pronounced the name of the Sindhu River. Hinduism has its origin in the years 3000 and 2000 before Christ. It has its origin when, in India, there was a mixture of religious beliefs. It began with the belief that gods were elements found in nature. Sometime later, the deity called “brahman” appeared. Time before Jesus Christ was born, a Hindu scripture called Bhagavad Gita arose, giving rise to gods’ veneration as the only means to achieve salvation. Hinduism was then divided into two different currents: one that focused on all things, and another that focused on the dedication of life to the gods.
Hinduism as a religion emerged in India around 1750 B.C. There are no data on a single founder, or any prophet of the religion or an institutional structure to protect it. It is considered that the Aryan peoples who invaded India brought in their culture and with it, the first gods.
Its main characteristics are:
One of the main rites takes place in the temples, where the priests are in charge of taking every day offering ceremonies. The birth and the first time that children are fed with solids is very important. The rite of the first haircut in children and purification after the arrival of menstruation. They have rites for marriage and blessing for pregnant women, so that they can have male children. They have altars or domestic temples in a place of the houses that has been consecrated for prayer. They usually light an oil lamp and make offerings of light and incense to the gods. The base of the rites are the offerings.
The four oldest texts of Indian literature are known by the name of Vedas. The RigVeda consists of 1,028 hymns dedicated to a pantheon of gods. Two other Veda were added to the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda or the book of sacrifice and the Sama-Veda that contains the hymns. The fourth book, the Atharva-Veda which is a collection of magic spells. The Veda are considered revealed norms and cannot be altered even in one syllable.
Hinduism does not have a leader in common, as the peoples who practice it worship and venerate a large number of different gods.
Some of the main representatives are: