Hinduism is a unique and ancient religion. Unique, because unlike all other religions, Hinduism has no date of origin or even a founder. And at over 7000 years old it is also the world’s oldest active religion.
Some quick facts reveal that Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with over a billion worshippers, there is only one God but God appears in many forms – many thousands of forms! The goal of practicing Hinduism is to attain enlightenment and in doing so liberate yourself from the cycle of reincarnation. The idea of enlightenment and karma set the foundations for its followers to be fundamentally good people.
It is thought that the Sanskrit language and the Vedic religion were both attributed to the Aryans and their descendants, though this theory is quite controversial. Others believe that Hinduism developed in this ancient culture, evolving over time and becoming what we recognize as Hinduism today. The oldest scripture Rig Veda can be dated back to the year 6500 BC.
The word ‘Hinduism’ is not to be found anywhere in the scriptures. The term ‘Hindu’ was introduced by foreigners who referred to people living across the River Indus or Sindhu, in the north of India, the area where the Vedic religion is believed to have originated.Hinduism spread across Southeast Asia, having the heaviest influence in Tibet and Nepal. It was around the 12th century BC that Hinduism first started influencing Nepal, it became steadily more popular and remains strong in Nepal to this day. Many of the early Kingdoms in Southeast Asia adopted Hindu texts, rituals, and styles, beginning with Borneo in the 4th century. The famous Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia was originally built as a shrine for Lord Vishnu and was the largest Hindu temple, although now it is a Buddhist temple.
More than a religion, Hinduism is a way of life, a Dharma, that is, a law that governs all action. It has its own beliefs, traditions, advanced system of ethics, meaningful rituals, philosophy and theology. The religious tradition of Hinduism is responsible for the creation of such original concepts and practices as Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Jyotish, Yajna, Puja, Tantra, Vedanta and Karma.
It is a truly fascinating religion, with hundreds of colourful temples, thousands of gods and huge celebrations several times a year!
If you’d love to come and see Hinduism at its roots and learn more about its profound philosophy come and join us on our wonderful ‘North India Spiritual and Cultural tour’ or one of our other amazing tours with a “touch of spirit”
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