Is Hinduism a Religion or a following?

Around a billion people practise Hinduism. Many people who practise the religion live in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.  It has been estimated that around 85% of people are Hindus and they live in India. According to Wikipedia, the major religion in India is Hinduism. The world’s third largest religion is Hinduism.  The position of Hinduism is just after Christianity and Islam.

Importance of Hinduism

The other names of Hinduism are Hindu Dharma, Sanatan Dharma, Vedic Dharma and Vedic Religion.

There is no single founder of the religion of Hinduism.

Hinduism originated in India. The basis of Hinduism is the teaching from the sacred book called Vedas.

The Tridev, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh

There is no real meaning of Hinduism because Hinduism has never been followed as a religion. It is actually a way of life people practised or followed and it came to be known as ‘Hinduism’.  In Hinduism, Hindus worship God in the form of an idol and place of worship is the temple.

There are different sects in Hinduism like Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Shaivism. The aims of life in Hinduism are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. The ultimate goal in the life of a Hindu is salvation. The main symbols of Hinduism are AUM and Swastika.

Lord Krishna and Arjun

The nature of Indian philosophy is extremely vast. There are many sages who have spent their whole life in learning and making people understanding the concept of Hinduism.  There are four books of Vedas like Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda.

Again, these Vedas are divided into two different sections and they came to be known as Karma Kanda and Jnana Kanda.  Vedanta is the end part of the Vedas. Vedanta is not based on speculation rather it is a spiritual experience of people. The Upanishads tell us about Indian Philosophy.

The Hindu Gods

Basic Concept of Hinduism:

According to Hinduism, the human body is mortal however the soul remains to exist and they go through a continuous process of birth and rebirth.  Like a human being changed clothes, similarly, the soul changes bodies. When death occurs, soul changes from one body to another body. The goal of Hinduism is to attain Moksha or Salvation.

Hindu Philosophy-Existence of Six Schools:

  1. Nyaya Darshana- This school was founded by Sage Gautama. In the 6th century BCE, Sage Gautama wrote the Nyaya Sastra. The methodology adopted by this school is different from all other schools. Their methodology was simply based on logic and this was adopted by all other schools eventually.  According to the thinkers of this school, to obtain release from pain and suffering, one needs to gain knowledge.  The four sources of knowledge as identified by them are the inference, comparison, testimony and perception.
  2. Vaiseshika Darshana- Around second century BCE, Sage Kanada found this school. This school is associated with metaphysics. This school tells us
  3. The world is created due to the will of God.
  4. There are many categories and they are action (Karma), substance (dravya), attribute (guna), samanya and vishesha.
  5. There are seven classes of realities like earth, water, light, air, time, space, direction and mind.
  6. Samkhya Darshana- The founder of this philosophy is Sage Kapila. One of the oldest schools in Indian Philosophy is Samkhya Darshana. A methodology of philosophical analysis is suggested in this concept. This Philosophy tells us that the universe is created as a result of contact between nature and person. There lie three gunas in Prakriti which is sattva, rajas and tamas. The source of happiness is Sattva, the source of gruelling pain is Rajas and source of indifference are Tamas. The union between Purusha and Prakriti results into evolution. The cosmic intellect gives rise to cosmic ego (ahamkara).
  7. Yoga Darshana- This philosophy has been founded by Sage Patanjali. The Patanjali Yoga Sutra is the basis of Yoga Darshana.  The end of the epic period marked the inception of this philosophy. In Baghavad Gita, the philosophy of Yoga Darshana has been explained.  According to this philosophy, there exists a mutual contact between Prakriti and Purusha. There are three gunas or qualities in Prakriti. In the Samkhya Darshana, Purusha plays a role of a witness while in Yoga Darshana, Purusha acts as an agent. The Lord of the mind is Purusha.
  8. Purva Mimamsa- the founder of this Philosophy is Sage Jaimini. The basis of Purva Mimamsa is Karma Kanda of the Vedas. It is regarded as one of the most conservative and orthodox schools. This school aims at establishing the authority of the Vedas. The schools believed in the performance of the Vedic rituals. According to the school, if Nitya Karmas are performed; liberation can be attained.
  9. Vedanta Darshana- The basis of Vedanta Darshana is the last portion of the Vedas which is known as Upanishads. Moksha or liberation can be attained with the help of knowledge. The Upanishads tell us about the nature of Brahman and the various ways to understand it.

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