Hinduism is the oldest major world religion, and it continues to be practised today by millions worldwide. From its ancient customs to its modern-day practices, there is much more to learn about this fascinating religion. With such a rich history and distinct beliefs, many lesser-known facts about Hinduism are often unknown to those unfamiliar with its doctrines. Here we will explore 15 interesting and unknown facts about Hinduism that may surprise you.
1. Hinduism is the third-largest religion in the world.
The third largest religion in the world is Hinduism, following Christianity and Islam. This ancient faith has roots in India, originating about 4,000 years ago and is an important part of many Indians’ cultural heritage. It is estimated that there are over 1 billion adherents to Hinduism, making it one of the oldest religions still in practice today.
Hinduism encompasses many beliefs and practices adapted throughout its long history. Its scriptures are among the most ancient texts known to man, and its pantheon of gods and goddesses is vast. Hindus worship numerous deities and their ancestors, believing that all life is interconnected through Karma. They strive for balance and peace between all living things and harmony with nature, which can lead them closer to their ultimate goal: enlightenment or Moksha.
2. The Rig Veda is the world’s oldest-known book.
The Rig Veda is the world’s oldest book and one of Hinduism’s most important historical documents. Written between 1500-1200 BCE, this ancient text is composed of 1,028 hymns attributed to various Indian sages. These hymns offer insight into the spiritual beliefs and values of Vedic culture at the time, covering topics such as cosmic order, creation myth, deities, fire rituals and offerings.
Despite its age, much of The Rig Veda remains relevant today. Its teachings on meditation still inform modern practices for yogis; its philosophy about life’s purpose continues to be discussed among scholars, and its impact can be seen in architecture and art from Ancient India to modern times.
3. According to the Hindu religion, gods can take numerous forms.
According to the Hindu religion, gods can take numerous forms. Hindus believe that the same God may appear in many different ways, and each form has its purpose. For example, Brahma is known as the God of Creation, Vishnu is the Preserver of Creation, and Shiva is known as the Destroyer of Evil. All three are considered aspects or manifestations of a single Supreme Being. In addition to these three major gods, Hinduism also recognizes thousands of other deities who serve various roles in their spiritual lives.
4. Hinduism regards time as being cyclical.
Hinduism is an ancient religion that dates back over three thousand years. It is a complex and varied faith that includes many different schools of thought and practices, but one thing that binds them all together is the belief in a cyclical concept of time. This idea states that time moves in circles, repeating itself repeatedly throughout eternity rather than being linear.
Hindus believe that the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth will continue until enlightenment is achieved; only then will one be free from the endless cycles of reincarnation to reach Moksha. The cycle of time thus encourages adherents to strive for spiritual liberation as they work through the continuous rounds of life’s experiences. This belief influences many aspects of Hindu thought, including its understanding of Karma, which asserts that human actions have consequences for this life and future life.
5. Sanskrit is the language that is most often used in Hindu texts.
Sanskrit is the most commonly used language in Hindu texts, and its influence has spread far beyond its native India. This ancient language is widely regarded as one of the oldest languages still in use today. Sanskrit has been used for centuries to write important literature, religious teachings, and other important philosophical works that shape modern Hinduism.
The beauty and complexity of Sanskrit make it an ideal language for expressing Hindu beliefs and conveying spiritual concepts. Its intricate grammar structure allows authors to express themselves with a great degree of precision when describing religious or philosophical ideas. Furthermore, the rich vocabulary available in the language gives authors a vast array of words to choose from when expressing their ideas. The result is that many Hindu texts are written using complex sentence structures that can be difficult for non-native speakers to understand.
6. 108 is seen as a holy number
The number 108 is special and sacred in Hinduism, its significance stemming from ancient scriptures. According to the Rigveda, it marks the completion of one cycle of time, containing all numbers within itself.
It is believed that chanting mantras or saying prayers while counting to 108 can help achieve inner peace and attract positive energy into your life. This belief has been passed down through generations, and 108 is seen as a luck-bringing number with great spiritual power. Hindus also use this number in their yoga practice; it’s believed that when practising Asanas (yoga poses), you should do each pose for 9 sets of 12 breaths – this makes up 108 breaths per pose.
Hindus also associate the spiritual qualities of the sun and moon with this number; each has 54 aspects, when combined, makes up 108.
7. Hinduism didn’t start with one person.
Rather than being founded by a particular individual or deity, Hinduism developed as a combination of various beliefs and practices from ancient India. It includes influences from multiple religious faiths, such as Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, among many others. Its core values are based on faith in the divine power of Brahman (the supreme being) and the concept of Karma, which teaches that each action has an equal reaction in this life or beyond.
8. Sanatana Dharma is the real name of Hinduism.
Sanatana Dharma, the ancient Hindu religion, is the oldest living faith in the world. The literal meaning of Sanatana Dharma is “eternal law”, and it embraces a diversity of beliefs and practices. Sanatana Dharma offers a unique perspective on life, including an understanding of the eternal nature of existence, a reverence for all forms of life and non-violence as one’s highest path to enlightenment.
9. 4 life goals for Hindus
Hinduism is one of the oldest spiritual traditions in the world and has many different life goals to strive for. Hindus aim to accomplish four major goals: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Dharma is fulfilling your duty and responsibilities while living an ethical life. It includes loyalty to family, friends, community, and country and following Indian laws. Artha encompasses material prosperity, while Kama refers to pleasure and enjoyment derived from physical intimacy with a partner(s). Finally, Moksha is the ultimate goal which involves liberation from the cycle of birth-death-rebirth through self-realization or union with God.
These four goals all have equal importance for Hindus, but their order of priority may vary depending on individual circumstances or personal beliefs.
10. Om is the sound of the whole universe.
The sound of OM, or Aum, is an ancient mantra and sacred sound that has been used in many spiritual traditions for thousands of years. It is believed to be the primordial sound of the universe – the vibration that created all existence. It symbolizes a deep connection to the divine and embodies peace and harmony.
Om represents an eternal cycle of creation; its vibrations promote self-awareness, inner strength, peace, calming presence, healing potentials and ultimately, enlightenment. When recited aloud, it brings balance and clarity to both body and mind while connecting us with the universal source of life energy. People worldwide use this powerful mantra as a meditation tool to help clear their minds and open their hearts, allowing them to tap into higher consciousness.
11. Anyone can attain salvation.
Hinduism is an ancient religion that has been around for thousands of years. It is one of the oldest religions in the world, and its teachings on salvation are considered by many to be some of the most profound. According to Hinduism, everyone can attain salvation, regardless of their background or spiritual experience.
The path to salvation in Hinduism involves faithfulness and dedication to one’s journey. This includes following various spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting mantras, and performing religious rituals. The goal is for each person to purify their mind, body and soul to become closer to God and reach enlightenment. Through this process, it is believed that anyone can attain liberation from suffering and eternal bliss with God.
Hinduism encourages followers of all backgrounds and levels of religious experience to strive for enlightenment through their beliefs and practices.
12. The Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest spiritual event.
The Kumbh Mela is an event of immense significance in India – it is the world’s largest spiritual gathering and has been held in India for centuries. It takes place every 3-4 years, with millions of Hindu devotees pilgrimage to the holy sites along the Ganges River. The most recent iteration was held this January, drawing over 100 million people from India and worldwide.
This incredible event is a time for spiritual renewal, prayer and celebration. Devotees come together to participate in various rituals, including bathing in sacred rivers, praying to deities and meditating on religious texts. They also seek out spiritual guidance from revered saints who are present at the site during this time. On top of this, many cultural activities, such as music performances, art displays and theatrical productions, occur throughout the festival period.
13. Yoga is very important to Hinduism.
Yoga is an ancient practice used for centuries by people of many religions, including Hindus. It is a vital part of Hinduism and helps to promote physical and mental health and well-being.
Hinduism is an ancient religion with a long history and many different sects. Yoga has been integral to Hinduism since its inception, providing practitioners with tools to help them achieve spiritual enlightenment through physical postures and breathing techniques. By connecting the mind, body, and spirit in unison, yoga allows practitioners to access spiritual truth more deeply than ever before.
Yoga is essential for practising Hindus because it encourages them to live in harmony with nature’s laws while also helping them develop their inner strength.
14. Hindus believe in Karma.
Hinduism is a widely-followed religion known for its belief in Karma. According to Hindus, Karma is the law of cause and effect; each action has a reaction or consequence that is sometimes immediate, while at other times, its effects may take years to manifest. Hindus believe Karma influences the cycle of birth and rebirth, or samsara, which they believe we are all trapped in until Moksha (liberation) is achieved. Every individual has karmic debt from past lives that must be repaid before Moksha can be attained.
Karma not only refers to our actions and their consequences but also applies more broadly across generations and within entire societies. In this way, Hinduism encourages us to practice compassionate living so that good Karma can be shared across communities and families.
15. Vegetarianism is encouraged in Hinduism.
Hinduism is an ancient religion with a belief system deeply rooted in vegetarianism. It’s believed that Hinduism encourages its followers to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle as part of their religious practices. For Hindus, vegetarianism is not merely about following dietary restrictions. Instead, it is a way of life that emphasizes ethical living and respect for all living creatures.