Humanity is on the never-ending quest of curiosity. In all times and places in the world, people have always imagined immortal questions such as When were we formed? What’s our destiny? Who created us? And most importantly, what happens when we die? Though we cannot answer these questions accurately, we do have some theories.
Religions and beliefs were made in order to answer these immortal questions. It has developed and evolved over time to answer the questions of Human beings that are otherwise shrouded in mystery. Because some questions can only be answered with faith, people created and followed all types of religions in the world. There are currently 4,200 religions active religions in the world, with major religions being- Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.
Hinduism is the third-largest growing religion in India. It is an Indian religion or Dharma suggesting the way of life. Almost 15-16% of people in the world follow Hinduism which roughly translates that over 1.2 billion people being Hindus. It is an ancient religion that has no recollection of the specific date it was formed.
What is Hinduism?
If put together, Hinduism doesn’t belong to a specific faith or god but is the collection of several deities and spiritual practices. But this one statement is often misjudged as Hinduism being Polytheism, in fact, it is very much based on Monotheism.
The religion dates back to five millennia to the time which Hindus believe to be known as Satya Yuga. It was a time when there were no Human beings but only Gods. Hinduism has divided the cyclic age of cosmology into four different times or Yugas- Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga, and Kali Yuga. Hinduism is the oldest living religion on Earth. It is the most diverse religion in the world that offers vibrant festivals and deities.
The basic belief of Hinduism teaches about Dharma and the cycle of life. Dharma is the way of life and it should be followed on virtues of goodwill, purity, and selfless love. Hindus believe that all life follows Karma, the law of cause and effect, and our job is our only duty or what they call Dharma, without worrying about the outcome. When we die, we are reincarnated into a new body and given a new purpose in life. This cycle of life is repeated till a person finds moksha or salvation, the ultimate goal of life.
But just like every other Religion, Hinduism too has myths that need to be debunked!
Hinduism is based on Polytheism: It is the most misjudged concept of Hinduism that the religion is based on Polytheism when in reality it is all about Monotheism. Though Hindus worship more than 330 million deities, their beliefs are centered on one supreme God that cannot be fully known or understood.
The Trimurti or three main deities in the religion are Brahma(the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer). That’s why Hinduism is often thought of as polytheistic religion. But it is not. As per the Rig Veda, the polytheism of Vedic religion sometimes functioned as a kind of serial monotheism referred to as ‘henotheism’. Hindus believe that there is one Supreme God above all the deities, who had divided the roles and duties of humanity among the deities.
Hindus worship Idols: Now, this could be a little tricky as Hindus do worship idols, but in essence, it doesn’t. Hindus do not just worship an idol, they worship the reminder of god in the form of an Idol that helps them focus or meditate. For instance, before beginning any business or any job that promises money, they worship Goddess Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth and good fortune. This way, Hindus do not really worship an idol but a reminder of their roles.
All Hindus are vegetarians: Let this be clear- No, not all Hindus are vegetarian. The basic belief of Hinduism promotes that every living being has a soul and needs to be respected- just like cows. But that doesn’t mean that Hindus are not involved in the food cycle! If we go by the logic then Hindus might not even eat plants because they too are living beings- but that’s not the case!
This myth originated from a basic belief in ahinsa, the principle of non-violence. While Hindus might not enjoy beef, they definitely had a taste of chicken at least! Even so, many deities are offered meat, for example, goats are regularly offered to the Hindu goddess Kali.
Hinduism makes women submissive: Hinduism, as a religion, never made women weaker than men. In fact, the religions recognized forms of God as feminine, unlike many major religions of the world. Even the god of power is a female God known as goddess Shakti. Hindus worship three main female deities known as Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Shakti.
Though it does not make women equal to men, yet they do appreciate feminity like no one else. The only thing in every religion that makes women submissive is their culture and deep-rooted prejudice against them.